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Old 13-07-2012, 09:45   #1
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Solid GRP decks?

Ok. Where to start. This my first posting. Having studued this excellent forum I confess I can no longer see the wood for the trees.

Have owned 1960 Vertue for 7 years and now finding this lovely sailing machine too cramped and uncomfortable. I seek something bigger for bluewater single handed liveaboard.

Having built ferro I was seeking pro build, pro fit out Hartley RORC, Samsom, Sayers 39 as they are strong and low maintenance. However due to relative low volumes compared to grp production boats its relatively difficult to get critical mass of feedback on sailing characteristis or indeed reviews.

Hence I am looking towards hand laid-up grp boats circa 1970s 80s with solid hulls and ideally solid decks. Does this exist? Having looked at a Tartan 42 I found delaminated core and soft decks around fittings. Interested to know how these era resins hold up over the decades as I understand some evolved but not for the better.

Was considering Rivals but just discovered balsa core decks. Perhaps Bowman, Valiant, Warrior, Rustlers, Stevens?

All contributions gratefully appreciated.

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Old 13-07-2012, 10:00   #2
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Re: Solid GRP decks?

most all after '70 or so have cored decks. Some old Hinkleys had solid decks... like the 60's. The boating industry just seems to think it's too hard to compartmentalize where the core goes, so they core the whole deck. It's stupid and lacks foresight for sure. Most every used boat out there has core issues. Most of the small powerboats have the same problem: they core the stern, cut a big hole to install the outdrive and the stern gets rotten core. DUH!

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Old 13-07-2012, 10:33   #3
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Re: Solid GRP decks?

You might find that some of the British boat builders were later adopters of core than in the US.

Although a bit smaller than your intended boat, at 30', mine has no core (deck or hull) - indeed that was one of the reasons I bought her. (built in 1970 - I think only up to around 1972).

Anyway, just a thought.

Of course I am not saying that a cored deck is bad - just that with any boat, the biggest likely problem is the PO. and with an older boat likely to have had a lot of them! and some of them are bound to have been more enthusiastic than knowledgable (especially when the boat reaches the stage of becoming (relatively) cheap to buy) - and that even without any design limitations / normal wear and tear.
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Old 13-07-2012, 10:37   #4
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Re: Solid GRP decks?

The CSYs were all built solid glass, no core anywhere. They do tend to be a bit heavy and the decks, though very strong do tend to be just a little bouncy (which is why most builders add a core, makes the deck more rigid).

CSY 44 is one of the roomiest 44' boats ever made but performance is moderate. The deep draft version sails a little better.
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Old 13-07-2012, 10:44   #5
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Re: Solid GRP decks?

I have a csy 44 , yes no core in deck or hull, but is heavy, probably a csy have enough glass in hull and decks to build 2 beneteaus , but the price is weight, a core deck if is build properly and care of it can be a solid super deck, is a matter of construction metods and owners care.
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Old 13-07-2012, 10:51   #6
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Re: Solid GRP decks?

Instead of looking for a boat without coring, because coring is a good thing, look for boat that has been taken care of!

And a deliminated, or even a soft core isn't that big a deal depending on where it is and how the interior was done to be able to get to the core, depending on the price etc.
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Old 13-07-2012, 11:05   #7
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Re: Solid GRP decks?

My boat was built in '83, no core anywhere. There are some out there, but mostly it only makes sense in the larger size ranges.
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Old 13-07-2012, 11:22   #8
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Re: Solid GRP decks?

My parent's Bermuda 40 built in 1063 has no core anywhere.

My Luders 33 has core, but in 1966 when it was built, Allied compartmentalized the core, so it starts 6 inches inboard from toerail, and no hardware or chainplates protrudes through core.
That may be your best bet- finding boats where the core was well executed and isolated.
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Old 13-07-2012, 23:15   #9
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Re: Solid GRP decks?

While yes you can find boats with a solid deck, it has been my experience that you may also find they don't breathe well and the interior temperature will fluctuate wildly depending on the location pf the boat and the time of day.
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Old 13-07-2012, 23:51   #10
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Re: Solid GRP decks?

Earlier Tartans were known for their cored deck problems. I had a Douglass & McLeod (Tartan 37) that had the problem and fixed it. There are many older boats without the problem. Cored decks also allow a reduction of weight above the C/G.
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Old 14-07-2012, 03:55   #11
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Re: Solid GRP decks?

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Yachtboy.
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Old 14-07-2012, 14:37   #12
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Re: Solid GRP decks?

Thanks for all your responses and the warm welcome.

It would seem best then to isolate boats with good sailing characteristics built by manufacturers with a good reputation for quality and then cared for by the owner.

I recently saw a Tartan which filled all these requirements but was still soft in the deck core and I am not inclined to get into the trouble of fixing it. As such I find myself reconsidering the Rivals. They have solid grp hulls, core decks and reasonable sailing characteristics.

Any alternatives? Thanks again.
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Old 14-07-2012, 15:33   #13
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Re: Solid GRP decks?

Cals have a good reputation for build quality and design. Plywood cored decks, though, so thoroughly check each boat you consider.

Some companies used a foam core. These are usually much newer high-end boats.
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Old 14-07-2012, 15:43   #14
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Re: Solid GRP decks?

i have a csy 37. no core anywhere, hull or deck. no sponginess either. there is some spider crazing in a few places but it's relatively easy to repair. although it's a heavy boat (20000 lbs, 8000 of which is a lead keel) it sails suprisingly well, especially when the wind is up. and it's roomy as all heck down below thanks to the flush deck...
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Old 14-07-2012, 16:30   #15
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Re: Solid GRP decks?

Core problems are caused by water getting in around fitting fasteners. If the fittings are installed properly there is little problem. Having said that, things like life line stanchions are nearly impossible to keep sealed because of the extreme torque often put against them. My 43 year old Pearson has no problems with the core. Luckily the lifelines stanchions were all bolted on where there was no core so that took care of that potential problem.

I've R&R'd all the fittings on the boat, reaming out the core around the fasteners, filling the void with thickened epoxy, redrilling the fastener pukas, and chamfering the pukas at the deck to provide a thicker sealant ring where the fastener enters the deck. Just wanted to be sure there was no core problems for the next 43 years.

Another big problem with cored decks is Gorillas installing hardware. Balsa is compressible and some people show off their forearm strength cranking fasteners down with way too much torque. That makes an indentation in the deck where the fitting is and seems to lead to leaks. Had to remove a number of fittings on one boat I owned, grind the deck down and glass in many layers of cloth and matt to bring the surface level again. Some manufacturers use plywood for a core in areas where they expect hardware to be installed because of it's relative uncompressability.

If you don't want to fix rotten core in a deck, look for depressed areas around fittings and signs of water leakage around fasteners on the underside of the deck besides the obvious softspots and wet areas indicated by a moisture meter. If the boat was assembled properly, care taken in installing hardware, good quality caulk used (no sillycone) you shouldn't have any issues with a cored deck.

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