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Old 25-05-2013, 14:26   #16
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Re: When is a Hull too Old to Go Offshore?

I can argue with little I see so far, even if some of it seems contradictory.

I own a 40 year old solid hull/cored deck FG boat. I just replaced the original standing rigging. Since I've owned it (nearly 14 years), I've installed backing plates (1/4" aluminum), replaced rotted deck core and retabbed a bulkhead and some galley furniture. The boat is structurally now "better than factory". I still wouldn't take it offshore, but that's more to do with tankage and its IOR-flavoured design, which makes her a touch bitchy downwind. YMMV.

I know of several cases where reputable modern boats have shown detabbing, tabbing absent, resin voids, core voids and other unacceptable build errors. It seems to me that the boats being sold are aimed at the coastal or daysailer; they are fast and light (good) but maybe TOO light (less good) for offshore, leading to a "whippy" motion that I for one wouldn't like. They have trouble heaving to and have insufficient stowage, tankage and are too wide in the beam with too few handholds.

An offshore boat has less to do with the inherent strength of fibreglass and more to do with lay-up quality, attention to detail in terms of bonding the interior to the hull, proper placement of ballast, bulletproof sail-handling setups and proper access to systems, including all tankage and stowage. Many quite expensive boats fail at those criteria in my view.

I would suggest you look at boats from countries that have rough seas surrounding them. The UK, South Africa and Australia come to mind. France once did, but I've seen some indifferently assembled marques in the last 10 years.

It's not only a process of self-education you face, but a critical evaluation of what shortcomings you can tolerate and which you cannot, as there is no "perfect" boat out there (although Swans and Amels come close) in fibreglass.

If you decide against fibreglass, OVNIs and Boreals are very nice in aluminum. Our offshore boat is in steel. That too has its own problems, but at least they aren't buried behind modular grids never to see daylight again.
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Old 25-05-2013, 14:43   #17
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Re: When is a Hull too Old to Go Offshore?

It would seem to me that size would play an important role in this. A larger boat would be more prone to the cyclical stresses from twisting and flexing that could lead to possible delamination over time.

Weren't several of the recent ones that were lost on the large side?

Would cored boats have more flex possibly leading to FG delamination?

What about a smaller number of buklheads per foot in a larger boat, than a smaller boat would have?
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Old 25-05-2013, 16:30   #18
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Re: When is a Hull too Old to Go Offshore?

Bill you are right as far as I know there is no source for hard data on the age of boats that sank offshore or why they sank. Therefore no conclusion can be drawn either way meaning your conclusion is likewise invalid.

"The facts are; Grain de Soleil appeared to be an older boat. I was under the impression that Lady Domina was also older. Additionally Edward Anker's boat also appeared to be older. All that info is available on noonsite.com. I am sure others could provide other examples of missing vessels.

Regarding newer vessels, there have been several incidents posted on this site that discussed crews abandoning newer boats, most would meet your standard of poorly built, wherein the boat washed ashore some after being abandoned by the crew."

You start off saying the "the facts are" and then go on to say you "I was under the impression" and "it appears" these are not facts they are your opinions and it sounds like you have your mind made up.

That is fine and I am not trying to criticize but rather just point out that I do not think your statement is true. I cannot prove it false either. This is sort of like the Bermuda triangle, it cannot be proved, nor can it be disproved, and it is up to the individual to make their own conclusion.

I just think if someone is going to draw a conclusion and then promote that conclusion it should have some more substance to it.

Like others have said it could well be more older boats sink because there are simply more older boats at sea.

I suppose all materials have a limited useful lifespan and like I always say it all depends.
you may find this interesting American Composites Manufacturers Association (ACMA) - Feature

So I respectfully disagree with the thought that older boats are more likely to sink due simply to their age.
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Old 25-05-2013, 19:01   #19
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Re: When is a Hull too Old to Go Offshore?

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Originally Posted by sailvayu View Post
So I respectfully disagree with the thought that older boats are more likely to sink due simply to their age.
The Bounty didnt sink either... it was a CIA conspiracy.

Of course anything older is going to be less robust than the exact newer equivalent.
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Old 25-05-2013, 20:03   #20
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My adze was given to me by grand dad. It's a family heirloom. My great grand dad built a home hewed the timbers using this tool. Great great grand dad slaughtered invading people's using this. Greater then great great grand pooh dad attacked natives using this adze and then walked to school ,l built a house and shaved with this tool. Several times over the years the handle has been replaced. The cutting edge shattered a few times and has been replaced. Otherwise it's still as useful today if you need to hand hew a log and its original. I love this tool although it still works I'm not sure I can do much more with it then tell a story.
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Old 25-05-2013, 20:07   #21
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Re: When is a Hull too Old to Go Offshore?

Can you really shave with an axe? I find it barely tolerable with a few days growth with the latest 3 blade laser sharp job.
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Old 25-05-2013, 20:15   #22
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Re: When is a Hull too Old to Go Offshore?

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Originally Posted by sabray View Post
My adze was given to me by grand dad. It's a family heirloom. My great grand dad built a home hewed the timbers using this tool. Great great grand dad slaughtered invading people's using this. Greater then great great grand pooh dad attacked natives using this adze and then walked to school ,l built a house and shaved with this tool. Several times over the years the handle has been replaced. The cutting edge shattered a few times and has been replaced. Otherwise it's still as useful today if you need to hand hew a log and its original. I love this tool although it still works I'm not sure I can do much more with it then tell a story.
When using a foot adze make sure to lift your toes so that the blade dosent chop you in the shin! Just thought I would throw that out there,you know a little "how to lesson" ,course iff'en you are shaving with one i guess you already knew that ,huh?...
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Old 25-05-2013, 22:06   #23
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Re: When is a Hull too Old to Go Offshore?

The fiberglass doesn't seem to be the problem with older boats. It's all the other stuff that MAY be an issue with an older boat. Broken chain plates, failed thru-hulls, bad packing glands, etc. that can lead to loss of boat in the right conditions. An older boat that has been maintained properly with gear updated when necessary is a way better boat at sea then some shiny new floating condo, however.

The only boat I ever worried about falling apart at sea was a brand new boat fresh from the factory on it's maiden voyage.
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Old 25-05-2013, 22:34   #24
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Re: When is a Hull too Old to Go Offshore?

I would think that flexing past the designed threshold has more to do with it than weather degradation. Some boats, like X-yachts IIRC, lay the mats in alternating patterns. I used to think this was a great idea until one boat maker (cannot remember who) said it is better to lay the mats in one direction so that the inevitable flexing is uniform. All I do know is that nearly every Swan ever made is still on top of the water.
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Old 26-05-2013, 05:30   #25
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Re: When is a Hull too Old to Go Offshore?

Guys thanks for the rather informative debate. Reading about the number of vessels lost in the last few months, made me rethink the logic I used when buying my current boat.

This debate has made it clear that a well built hull, that has been reasonably maintained can still be blue-sea worthy. Clearly the challenge is 25% design selection and 75% finding a good hull.

It is now clear to my logic of basing degradation of the hull off the normal degradation of chain plates was seriously flawed. The debate also made it clear that without detailed info on the root cause(s), the premise that age and not maintenance was a factor was flawed.

I remain your humble student....
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Old 26-05-2013, 08:31   #26
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Very good sorry for my adze wander but it was relevant to replacement and maintenance. Bulkhead tabbing ,chain plates,rigging hull to deck joint may all need checking and replacement. I joke about buying my boats and throwing them away one piece at a time.
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Old 26-05-2013, 09:51   #27
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Actually, I would think this is easy to answer, if one can get access to the data.

A cursory glance around the Caribbean will show you boats of all ages, many in their 70's. we assume they all got there somehow!

So we just need to look at the number of hull failures for off shore boats and do some bath based on guesses/estimates of the proportion of old and newer boats and that will give you a measure of what percentage of boats have hull failure based on their age.

Of course, I suspect almost all the failures of older boats are due to gear, rigging, etc, which is an entirely different discussion.
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Old 26-05-2013, 12:54   #28
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Re: When is a Hull too Old to Go Offshore?

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Originally Posted by Snore View Post
Guys thanks for the rather informative debate. Reading about the number of vessels lost in the last few months, made me rethink the logic I used when buying my current boat.

This debate has made it clear that a well built hull, that has been reasonably maintained can still be blue-sea worthy. Clearly the challenge is 25% design selection and 75% finding a good hull.

It is now clear to my logic of basing degradation of the hull off the normal degradation of chain plates was seriously flawed. The debate also made it clear that without detailed info on the root cause(s), the premise that age and not maintenance was a factor was flawed.

I remain your humble student....

Well in some ways the age and maintenance factors are actually related. The older the boat the higher chance of having multiple owners and the higher chance that things weren't maintained properly. Partially because with age comes the need for more maintenance. So the take home point from that would be.... If buying an older boat, look with scrutiny at the structural components for any signs of neglect and accept that the age of the boat brings higher risk.

When we bought our boat we accepted those realities. She was old. That meant stuff was suspect. Replacing all the rigging components, replacing all the below water line stuff, checking all the main bulkhead tabbing and the bulkheads for rot was a given.

A boat is one of those creatures where ignorance isn't bliss and laziness is a death sentence. Old hulls are fantastic IF you accept the risk and have the means and attitude to address the issues that come with them.
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Old 26-05-2013, 13:33   #29
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Re: When is a Hull too Old to Go Offshore?

Hi, Target,

You wrote, "The older the boat the higher chance of having multiple owners and the higher chance that things weren't maintained properly". But it seems to me that if it's really old, say over 50 yrs., the chances are that it has been well maintained--at least for some portion of its life.

I absolutely agree that one should expect problems with older boats, and go into purchase of one with wary eyes--caveat emptor always applies.

Where Jim and I have recently been (Tasmania, Australia), there are quite a number of timber boats, built in the 1930's, and many are objects of great beauty. They have been "lovingly" maintained. So you're totally correct that buyer mindset and skills have a huge bearing on appropriate purchase.

Ultimately, I think boat purchasing has most to do with trade-offs, and there it's really every buyer for himself, as in if you don't like varnishing, don't get a boat that has "too much" timber to varnish. My boat looks "plain Jane"; all her varnish is below decks, except for the tiller and the companionway coaming.

I do not think it is age by itself that is a problem for a potential buyer; the problem is the condition of the boat, regardless of age; and the costs of maintenance, in terms of labor and money....

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Old 27-05-2013, 06:59   #30
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Re: When is a Hull too Old to Go Offshore?

A hull is never to old to go offshore..its the bits on the hull that are prone to failure.. rig, sails, seacocks etc.
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