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Old 07-06-2012, 16:41   #1
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Tartan 34 Soft Deck repair?

Greetings,

I am preparing to purchase a yacht for an extended voyage to the carribbean. I intend to sail the thorny path from Florida through the Bahamas, windward and leeward islands, then west to the ABCs. From there I will probably sail north to DR, then west to Jamaica, Caymans and then finally Rio Dulce, before returning to the US via Isla Mujeres, Mexico. I hope to begin this journey in early November 2012.

I am currently deciding among a Tartan 34, Morgan Out Island 33, or an Oday 30.

The Oday is ready to sail now, the others require work prior to departure.

I am very fond of the Tartan 34, which is in good shape for its age (78), but am concerned with the softness of the deck.

Based upon the reaction of various marina personnel, I expect the Tartan to require a major effort to repair the deck issues, and expect to pay $5000 or more to repair it professionally.

My question is this, assuming the Oday 30 and the Tartan 34 will cost essentially the same once repairs are performed, is it wiser to invest the additional time and effort to make the Tartan seaworthy, or will I miss my November departure window?

I realize there are many variables to questions like this, but I am assuming average skill, price and speed in repairs. If I can't leave in November, the entire voyage will have to be modified.

Any insights on the suitability of these boats for this itinerary are welcomed!
Thanks!
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Old 07-06-2012, 16:53   #2
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Re: Tartan 34 Soft Deck repair?

Quote:
My question is this, assuming the Oday 30 and the Tartan 34 will cost essentially the same once repairs are performed, is it wiser to invest the additional time and effort to make the Tartan seaworthy, or will I miss my November departure window?
For the most part you are already in trouble by setting a departure date for a boat you don't own. Surest way to kill yourself. All boats of this age are chuck full of potential show stoppers. You can't assume you will find them all before you leave let alone fix them all. Knowing nothing I would go for the Tartan but it too could be full of problems. After they leave the factory and sit for a while they are nver what they would have been on paper.

If you MUST leave by this Novemeber you need a newer boat and a have it in hand soonest so you can find all the problems. Little stuff adds up and soft decks would be the least of your problems. On a scale of 1 to 10 deck issues would be near the bottom. Think bigger picture rather than insignificant details. Boats you don't own are always better before you buy them.
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Old 07-06-2012, 17:02   #3
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Re: Tartan 34 Soft Deck repair?

My prior boat was a 1975 Tartan 34. It was perfectly adequate for the kind of trip you describe assuming that the crew will be one or two and the standing rigging has been updated. I would recommend buying one that has had a diesel repower rather than the original A4. Wet decks are pretty common in these boats, especially around the chainplates. The repair can be easy if limited in area or a big deal. I had wet decks and a section of cockpit floor repaired on mine when I bought it ten years ago. That said, there are usually a number of T-34's on the market on the East and Gulf Coasts. It's pretty easy to tell the ones that have been well maintained and ready to go without major repairs. Given the state of the market, you can also often get a pretty good price. I can't comment on the tradeoff with the O'Day since I haven't sailed one.
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Old 07-06-2012, 17:24   #4
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Re: Tartan 34 Soft Deck repair?

Thanks for your replies. I will be soloing. I know that new problems will present themselves on older boats. As the soft deck is the most major issue currently known, I am focusing on that. It seems that Tartans have balsa wood cores, and that the side decks at least will need to be completely redone.

I have not performed this work myself before, but know that it can be difficult and time consuming. So even though departure is five months away, I'm not sure if that will be enough time.

The boat has been repowered with a Yanmar 20 hp, with 600 hours, sails are in good or better shape. Anchors, chain, windlass, winches are in good shape. Rigging seems good and is 5 years old or less. Needs new solar panel and some minor things within my skill ability to address. So, the deck remains the big unknown for me.

Tartansail- how painful was the deck repair? How long was the process? This repair will need more than injected hardeners.
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Old 07-06-2012, 17:50   #5
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Re: Tartan 34 Soft Deck repair?

If it's that extensive, and you will have it done from above I assume.... it's a big, long deal. maybe you can get a yard to stay focused on it and get it done... there's always those issues. They will do it for $5k and repaint the decks?
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Old 07-06-2012, 18:46   #6
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Re: Tartan 34 Soft Deck repair?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SailSabbatical View Post
Thanks for your replies. I will be soloing. I know that new problems will present themselves on older boats. As the soft deck is the most major issue currently known, I am focusing on that. It seems that Tartans have balsa wood cores, and that the side decks at least will need to be completely redone.

I have not performed this work myself before, but know that it can be difficult and time consuming. So even though departure is five months away, I'm not sure if that will be enough time.

The boat has been repowered with a Yanmar 20 hp, with 600 hours, sails are in good or better shape. Anchors, chain, windlass, winches are in good shape. Rigging seems good and is 5 years old or less. Needs new solar panel and some minor things within my skill ability to address. So, the deck remains the big unknown for me.

Tartansail- how painful was the deck repair? How long was the process? This repair will need more than injected hardeners.
Sounds like a good boat. The other thing to check is the centerboard. The design was lousy with a small square stainless steel pivot rotating the board up and down. Almost all of them have had to be repaired at least once or else you can have the board drooping down several feet. Although some people have removed the centerboard, it's very useful for balancing the helm and improving windward performance. Something you'll need on the thorny path.

My deck repair sounds like yours -- most of both side decks -- though I also had the cockpit sole done. I used a very good independent glass person. She did the job from the top, cut out the deck in single pieces, removed the core, dried everything out, put in new core and was able to reuse the deck. Since she did it during the winter in New England, I'm sure it was a PITA for her, but elapsed time was about a month, price was about $5K. It's important to have the section where the chainplates come through the deck either solid glass or ream out around and fill with epoxy in order to prevent recurrence.

The T34 is a great boat. There's also a very active owners group with lots of material on how to do many of the common repairs and upgrades that can be expected on a thirty year old boat.
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Old 07-06-2012, 18:51   #7
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Re: Tartan 34 Soft Deck repair?

Oday 30 ready to go gets my vote.

The Tartan is the best design. But the Oday is a secret gem. I have the practical sailor boat review on the Oday 30, pm me if you'd like the low down, they seem to like it.

Again my 2cents is to get a boat ready to cruise, go play. Wet decks can be a roll of the dice, it can be and usually is a bigger job than anticipated. If you are on a schedule then why buy a fixer upper in this market? Lots of great boats out there for sale, and some are ready to go.

Anyways, happy boat shopping, good luck, hope to see ya out there.
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Old 07-06-2012, 20:39   #8
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Re: Tartan 34 Soft Deck repair?

Recoring decks is a time consuming job but not all that difficult. Determine where the core is rotten. Take a skill saw or any other saw that you can set the depth and set it to cut just through the fiberglass. Cut the deck around the rotten parts and remove. Clean out the old balsa core and replace with new core set in a thin epoxy slurry. Grind a tapered edge in the cutout and existing deck. Set the cut out onto the new balsa core covered with a thin epoxy slurry. Lay in Biax cloth to fill the taper and rebond the deck. Cut the Biax cloth so the widest width is the first layer with each successive layer slightly narrower till you've built up the layup to the thickness of the deck. Once the layup is done, mix up a slurry of micro balloons or other easily sanded material and trowel it on to fill any depressions in the laminate. Get a 9" sander/polisher with a thick foam pad. Use 100 grit or finer snding disc till you get the hang of using the beast and grind the laminate smooth. Use a micro balloon resin mix to fill in any gouges or other blemishes and grind it again finishing with 220 grit. You can throw away the glass you cut out and laminate an entirely new deck but it will take lots of resin and more labor. I'd use epoxy as it bonds way better to the old FRP layup than Polyester resin. Depending on the extent of the rotten core and number of areas you have to cut out, it should be doable in a week to 10 days. Layout, mark, and cut the old deck and removing the old core will take a couple of days. Cutting, fitting and epoxying in the new core, another day or two and the rest of the time laminating in the repair and finishing it. If you can keep your cuts to non skid textured areas, you can use a roller to apply the new nonskid saving you hiring a professional finisher.
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Old 08-06-2012, 06:21   #9
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Re: Tartan 34 Soft Deck repair?

I have to agree with Pblais. Setting a specific "departure window" for this sort of thing is what gets people into trouble. Especially if you are going the thorny path, which is inherently a route that requires EXTREME flexibility in the schedule (to the point of NO schedule, really).

That said, I would consider the Tartan to be the most "seaworthy" of the boats listed, and it would be my choice. Except that it depends on just how bad the core problems really are. Have you had the boat surveyed? Have you asked the boatyard how long the repairs would take? This is where I would start.
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Old 08-06-2012, 06:33   #10
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Re: Tartan 34 Soft Deck repair?

roverhi has it right - it isn't that much of a job and can be done fairly quickly. I recored our previous 40' boat using the method roverhi describes in 5 days - from the first cut to the application of the primer. Finishing the paint job took a bit longer because the weather plays more of a factor.

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Old 01-08-2012, 10:39   #11
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Re: Tartan 34 Soft Deck repair?

I'm looking at a Tartan 41 with a wet core (a common issue). A survey shows about a half dozen wet spots ranging in size from 8 or 9 sq. ft. to 1 -2 sq. ft.. The owner/seller got a $6k quote to have it fixed at a yard near him, which is not desirable to me as that is almost 7 hours away. So, I've looked into how to do a wet core replacement and Epoxy works ( http://www.epoxyworks.com/19/index19.html ) has a great article about how to replace the core, back issue No. 19. They give the materials cost ($2,800 total) and labor (4.5 month of 2 guys on weekedns) in the part 2 article that covers the non-skid deck application. They estimate at least $5,600 was saved in labor doing it themselves... So an $8k plus job for hire.
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Old 01-08-2012, 16:46   #12
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Re: Tartan 34 Soft Deck repair?

I doubt it would be done well at $8k. How many hrs. did they say the guys worked during that 4.5 month period?
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