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Old 28-04-2012, 16:18   #46
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Re: Older glass boats

I guess you guys think hydrolysis doesn't exist...it's all the builders fault and the worst you can have is blisters with some delam if it gets real bad.

Gee that's EXACTLY what I read, was told and thought for years.

Reading your posts...a boatload of people will continue to believe the same thing.

I guess I'll write the dictionary people and all the colleges teaching people about hydrolysis and tell them they must be off base....
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Old 28-04-2012, 16:57   #47
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Re: Older glass boats

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I guess you guys think hydrolysis doesn't exist...it's all the builders fault and the worst you can have is blisters with some delam if it gets real bad.

Gee that's EXACTLY what I read, was told and thought for years.

Reading your posts...a boatload of people will continue to believe the same thing.

I guess I'll write the dictionary people and all the colleges teaching people about hydrolysis and tell them they must be off base....
I'm not really sure what you point is...? You seem to have some obsession with it ... or at least the word...? I would guess people just dont care except to the extent that some boats last 50 years and some are full of blisters in 10. You can blame Hydolysis, pox, polyestermites or whatever. Not trying to be rude.. but I just dont get what your ongoing point is....? Do you need us to raise our hands and recognize that it exists or what?
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Old 28-04-2012, 19:11   #48
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Re: Older glass boats

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I'm not really sure what you point is...? You seem to have some obsession with it ... or at least the word...? I would guess people just dont care except to the extent that some boats last 50 years and some are full of blisters in 10. You can blame Hydolysis, pox, polyestermites or whatever. Not trying to be rude.. but I just dont get what your ongoing point is....? Do you need us to raise our hands and recognize that it exists or what?
My point is that many new boaters hear about blisters all the time because that what MOST boaters and even mags refer to.

The underlying cause of blisters is hydrolysis. Your boat probably has hydrolysis to some degree but may not have blisters. They are usually the only warning sign... but much more can be happening to you hull without you knowing it.

I'm just trying to make people aware of that and lots of people seem to just keep saying what I heard all those years...if ya ain't got blisters...don't worry...

How wrong that assumption is....
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Old 28-04-2012, 20:36   #49
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Re: Older glass boats

We bought a 1984 Camper & Nicholson ketch. After the antifouling was removed we had it sand blasted. That revealed many thousands of gel blisters. Also, various sun angles showed strange shadows that turned out to be delamination blisters about 3/8 inch into the layup. I drilled in to relieve the 'water' pressure. (Wear a face shield!!) Use a a grinder to fair the excavaton diameter untill the layup does not weep. I used epoxy and pre-cut piles of glass to re-fill the divits. All gel blisters weere faired out to good resin and filled with epoxy. After fairing the entire boat we gave it 5 coats of Interprotect 2000E. Camper's layup included kevlar which turns out to wick water through the composite. If you have gel blisters - fix them. Once water is free to enter gel blisters it can access the rest of the layup. If I had to do this over, I would have rented a peeler. US Composites is a great source of Epoxy at way lower prices than West and it has no amine blush so easier to use too. Our rudder was totally wrecked from water and de-lamination. I built a new one using Epoxy and Microballoons as filler. Skin is carbon fiber. I posted some photos in my gallery. Member Galleries - Cruisers & Sailing Photo Gallery You can help make the epoxy stick on vertical surfaces by pressing saran or polyethylene plastic film into the wet epoxy, tape the edges.

Our hull is solid and well over an inch thick in most places below the water. Above the water line it is balsa core. I have had to dig out balsa in the decks and pump in epoxy and microballoon slurry. This is tedious but makes a really solid and waterproof repair.
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Old 29-04-2012, 05:51   #50
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Re: Older glass boats

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the question that every boatowner has to guess at till they have the ba**s to grind their gel coat off or core.
Grinding half a hull away just to have a look = ba**s or stupidity?

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Nice head in the sand approach. I used to think that way too.

I now know better... and I can scrape away bottom paint with a knife and see where gel is badly hydrolyzed on MANY boats. I had some issues with my previous 6 big boats and wondered what it was...now I know.

I'll bet there are MANY more boats out there like mine...even tapping the hull doesn't reveal the problem.

Maybe I am chicken little...care to roll the dice with your boat????

Anyway...I don't really care if anyone believes me...my boat is getting fixed and fixed right to outlive me and hopefully my kids....good luck with yours...
I appreciate that despite the 10+ years of hands on experiance in the industry you still bought a lot of (unexpected) work and bills. I too would be pissed . And I sympathise with you (am touching wood as I write ) - but I really think your scare story approach is somewhat overdone.

Sure, plenty of crap boats have been built over the decades (for varying reasons - crap maunfacturers / crap materials / crap workmen / good accountants ....or a bit of everything ) - many of these boats are still afloat......throw in that nothing lasts forever then not a stretch to find that a boat is not always what it seems.

Nonetheless most boats (even those I think are poorly built rubbish I would not be seen dead on . No names ) don't have hulls / bodywork that disintegrates at the first drop of water like a 1970's Fiat motorcar .....even if most Boats are no longer designed to last a lifetime of buyer and their kids - it's not what the Market wants to pay for (despite what the Market may say - plenty of boat builders went broke finding that out the hardway).

Personally I would have dug the blisters out, slapped some Epoxy on and coat of Antifouling and sold it onto to someone else - as problems already reflected in price (not neccessarily discounted )........as 90% of folks probably do........
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Old 29-04-2012, 06:19   #51
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Re: Older glass boats

OK...my chicken little story is done...

Enjoy your boats and like any good horror story plot...don't open the door if you are scared what might be behind it...probably nothing...yeah...probably nothing...

If anyone is concerned about their boats...I can give more specifics about clues it may be happening to them...PM me...
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Old 29-04-2012, 08:36   #52
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Re: Older glass boats

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OK...my chicken little story is done...

Enjoy your boats and like any good horror story plot...don't open the door if you are scared what might be behind it...probably nothing...yeah...probably nothing...

If anyone is concerned about their boats...I can give more specifics about clues it may be happening to them...PM me...
How did your surveyor miss that extensive delamination, did they use an harmonic hammer, my surveyor bashed the **** out of my hull with her little hammer. Gel coat blisters but no voids or delamination.
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Old 29-04-2012, 09:23   #53
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Re: Older glass boats

During the big oil crisis the quality and cost of resin went in opposite directions. Boat builder purchasing agents had a hard time finding good resin at a good price but could find cheaper bad resin. It wasn't a friendly time for the boat building business either and econimic forces shut down a lot of builders. Sometimes cost expectations suddenly overlook the quality. The workers building the boat really could not tell the difference. It all smells bad. A lot of it found homes inside boats. So some good builders were using poor resin and it wasn't that obvious how bad it was. It is now. Quality control during construction is a big part of the end result as you might expect. Lack of owner maintenenace also leads to problems too.

A boat with a blister problem may look like crap but they don't sink from it.
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Old 29-04-2012, 09:26   #54
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Re: Older glass boats

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How did your surveyor miss that extensive delamination, did they use an harmonic hammer, my surveyor bashed the **** out of my hull with her little hammer. Gel coat blisters but no voids or delamination.
So did mine...hydrolysis doesn't cause delam until it is worked hard or starts to go through freeze/thaw cycles, etc....

It just disolves the resin away from the fibers and leaves a dry laminate behind of very little strength or waterproofness.

Once it gets ripping...the process/damage accelerates.
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Old 29-04-2012, 09:36   #55
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Re: Older glass boats

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During the big oil crisis (I think the resin issue was resolved before my 1988 hull but I could be mistaken) the quality and cost of resin went in opposite directions. Boat builder purchasing agents had a hard time finding good resin at a good price but could find cheaper bad resin. It wasn't a friendly time for the boat building business either and econimic forces shut down a lot of builders. Sometimes cost expectations suddenly overlook the quality. The workers building the boat really could not tell the difference. It all smells bad. A lot of it found homes inside boats. So some good builders were using poor resin and it wasn't that obvious how bad it was. It is now. Quality control during construction is a big part of the end result as you might expect. Lack of owner maintenenace also leads to problems too.(Not sure it's lack of maintenance the owner would /could do much for other than drying out the hull every year...and my whole point is that most owners don't even know it's happening to their boat...but I think there are telltale signs)

A boat with a blister problem may look like crap but they don't sink from it (We don't know for sure how many boats may have been weakened and took a shot that cracked their hulls that a solid boat may have survived...I know it's low...but the number may go up as the boats that have hydrolysis starting may get to that weakened stage over the next 5-10-15 years if it isn't caught and corrected. It may still reamain a small number as the older the boat gets...without a major rebuild anyway...how many may get put in situations requiring full hull strength anyway???)
Hey...I'm not saying everyone should panic...just given the opportunity to look deeper...of be VERY thorough when buying a boat that has sat in warm water it's whole life with no drying times each season or two.

But remember, once a boat starts to saturate...with the gel coat still on and all the wet laminate ground/peeled off..it may take several years or more to dry on its own. water pressure forced it in and unless you hot vac it out (read expensive), you will lose use of the boat a very long time.
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Old 29-04-2012, 21:56   #56
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Re: Older glass boats

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Any of the very early Westerlys (pre Centaur) have a layup that could probably stop a bullet . Afterwards they learnt "better" and things changed radically. Not to say that everything in 60's was Osmosis proof - nor was built well! But IMO no core is one of the keys to longevity, even if that also has downsides.

But certainly the mindset of many (but not all!) boat builders back then was to build a boat that was capable of lasting a lifetime. or 2. Of course most (all?!) of those boat builders have long since gone broke .

But really it is a case of each model (and even years of production) being different, as well as how each boat has been looked after (and where). Some far less likely - but IMO none 100% immune.
I agree. I chose my boat (and the last four or five) based largely on reputation of the particular year, brand, model, and also on where the boat spent most of its life.
It really can be somewhat of a crapshoot.
I bought a Cal 20 that had a great history, was a race winner in the local fleet, looke really good, but when I pulled it out of the water there were all sorts of problems, and that is a very well regarded hull build, another that could stop a bullet.
Even well taken care of hulls can hide problems, paint can hide blisters, lazy inspection can leave a lot of things missed.
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Old 29-04-2012, 22:21   #57
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Re: Older glass boats

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a couple of thoughts:
"And I doubt that it's a huge issue with lots of boats .." As others have mentioned this may very well be true....if the hull was layed up thick, in theory you could just buy the boat at a low price due to the blisters, ignore them and when it's time to sell you haven't lost much... if you can sell that is! Trouble is, most boaters are finicky and worry about this crap! Same thing about wet core in decks... so what! unless it has deteriorated the chainplate anchors etc why does it matter?
"I would bet the boat with major peeling had some resin mix issues or the lay up guy just got served divorce papers, whatever. "
A lot of truth to this, the guys working in the mold were often the bottom of the barrel ,newbies paying their dues, or just a sort of "type" that can do that all day.... they didnt stay on the job long breathing the fumes, and were generally "high" from the fumes etc etc. Resin/catalyst mix issues have occurred with some of the best builders. No one knows until cracks start to appear from hot mix/shrinkage.... sometimes after delivery. It's all about how conscientious the employees really are and how well supervised. What supervisor really wants to go out and peer into whats happening out in the messy, stinky layup area....
This is very much the case in a lot of industries.
The guys who built the "bones" of your house, the framing carpenter laborers, are the lowest paid and least skilled of all construction trades, if only because of the heavy labor requiring 19 year olds or people of unusual toughness.
Neither the supervising carpenter, foreman, or the building inspector climbs 2nd floor joists to inspect every framing joint.
You are very much at the mercy of the Friday afternoon thing, the Monday hangover, and the mood and pride of the individual worker.
I've been in construction my entire life, now in management and we never, ever, schedule really risky work for Mondays or Fridays. Tuesday is the best day for that stuff.
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Old 30-04-2012, 07:22   #58
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Re: Older glass boats

Two nails to a stud and friday's payday!
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Old 03-05-2012, 10:03   #59
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Re: Older glass boats

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It's no big deal till it's the boat you buy.

I just spent five months of grinding off the entire bottom and peeling large laminate sections down 3-5 layers deep in places. Having ordered $2000 in epoxy and glass and pissing off every boat owner around me and the marina for all the dust...it can be a big deal. A yard would have charged over $20,000 to do the job.

I will say that most boats show little damage because they are in and out of the water every year. But pre-vinylester glass boats that are in warm salt continuously year after year can expect hydrolysis problems sooner or later if they have never been barrier coated.

Boats from the 80's seem to have the most problems and as far as gel coat goes...it's just there to sell the boat...it does little to stop the migration of water into the hull. Once water is in the hull, it's the death sentence as it seems to slow any drying out period.

David Pascoe should be required reading prior to ever talking to a boatyard about blisters: Boat Hull Blisters : Failed Blister Repairs by David Pascoe, Marine Surveyor
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Old 03-05-2012, 12:05   #60
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Re: Older glass boats

I only know enough to know that I don't know enough about it to form an opinion. So I rely on the experts to educate me. Warning, the following link leads to a discussion hosted by a boat yard. If you believe all boat yards are run by bandits only out for your money then avoid clicking. However, they have a very good reputation around here (I don't work for them and don't keep my boat there - too expensive). Also, if you are set in your opinions and get all angry and post flamey comments when they are challenged, don't click. The link is only for those of open mind who wish to be informed. I don't claim it is correct information. It is just one reference to add to the others in order to make an informed decision.

http://www.zahnisers.com/blisters_hydrolysis.htm

For what it's worth, my new to me boat has blisters, but I got it cheap. The worst offenders were ground out, filled and faired with Vinylester resin. If I could afford a full bottom job, I would do it. However, I beleive the risk versus reward is small enough for cruising in the Chesapeake. At a minimum, I plan to get a reputable surveyer to sound the hull before taking it offshore (if I get to that point). I would also give an exploritory windowing a serious think. Everyone reading this would probably take a different approach (from slightly to drastic) depending on their own risk versus reward comfort level.

To the OP, my opinion is that yes an effective cure is available. However, the "right" way involves lots of time and money. Any classic plastic can have the potential for blisters (in my opinion) since it relies on boat history and not just manufacturer reputation. Your best bet (as in some risk is always involved) is to get a reputable survey and not just the cheapest guy found in the yellow pages (insert internet if you don't know what yellow pages are).

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