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Old 16-08-2014, 18:39   #16
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Re: When is Musty, Moldy, and/or Water in the Bilge a yes/no for Boat Buying?

If its summer its humid across most of the sailing waters in the USA and the boat is closed up for periods of time, it will get musty real quick (3 days) and moldy quite quickly (<1 month).

Water in the bilge is largely irrelevant.. but how it gets into the bilge is.
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Old 17-08-2014, 23:48   #17
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Re: When is Musty, Moldy, and/or Water in the Bilge a yes/no for Boat Buying?

I came to search for an answer for this very question. I was seriously considering a 36' boat purchase and while inspecting, i lifted the floor panel, and I saw water in the bilge. A lot of it just swishing around in there. I am new to sailboats, so don't understand this.

I do not understand how there could/should be water in there? Basic condensation would not put that amount of water in there would it? This is a boat that the owner just leaves docked most of the time. I also saw a small leak on a hose, but even that seems like a small factor.
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Old 18-08-2014, 00:25   #18
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Re: When is Musty, Moldy, and/or Water in the Bilge a yes/no for Boat Buying?

There are a ton of places that water comes into a boat. The only boats I have ever seen dry are less than 5 years old.

I am working hard to chase down leaks on my 33 year old boat but it's a never ending battle.
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Old 18-08-2014, 13:10   #19
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Re: When is Musty, Moldy, and/or Water in the Bilge a yes/no for Boat Buying?

on my boat..

a) in heavy rain, the water enters the mast and flows down inside it, and so drains into the bilge. this can be gallons.
b) running the a/c in humid weather will put a great deal of condensation into the bilge as the air is dried.. this is pints.

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Originally Posted by mattwill View Post
I came to search for an answer for this very question. I was seriously considering a 36' boat purchase and while inspecting, i lifted the floor panel, and I saw water in the bilge. A lot of it just swishing around in there. I am new to sailboats, so don't understand this.

I do not understand how there could/should be water in there? Basic condensation would not put that amount of water in there would it? This is a boat that the owner just leaves docked most of the time. I also saw a small leak on a hose, but even that seems like a small factor.
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Old 18-08-2014, 14:51   #20
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Re: When is Musty, Moldy, and/or Water in the Bilge a yes/no for Boat Buying?

Our boat (from 1986) is dry in the bilge but condensation make some spots on the Teak below the portlights. Mainly I think this has to do with bad ventilation behind the curtains, we have changed them now and it seems to work. I guess that the climat here in Sweden helps but Iv'e been in many moldy, smelly old boats here to. No mold or smell in our. Well built from start I guess, and we try to ventilate even when we not use her.
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Old 18-08-2014, 15:06   #21
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Re: When is Musty, Moldy, and/or Water in the Bilge a yes/no for Boat Buying?

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I do not understand how there could/should be water in there?
Me neither, I clean my bilge with Pledge furniture polish.

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Old 18-08-2014, 16:22   #22
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Re: When is Musty, Moldy, and/or Water in the Bilge a yes/no for Boat Buying?

that's how we got our boat so cheap. Took us two months to get it looking really good. I would do it again.
If, underneath all the must, mold, and bilgewater, it's really a great solid boat, buy it.
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Old 18-08-2014, 16:37   #23
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Re: When is Musty, Moldy, and/or Water in the Bilge a yes/no for Boat Buying?

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it's a never ending battle.
sing it, brother....
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Old 18-08-2014, 16:40   #24
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Re: When is Musty, Moldy, and/or Water in the Bilge a yes/no for Boat Buying?

Amen.
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Old 18-08-2014, 21:52   #25
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Re: When is Musty, Moldy, and/or Water in the Bilge a yes/no for Boat Buying?

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Me neither, I clean my bilge with Pledge furniture polish.

Pete
Welll naturally if you keep your boat on its side the water drains out - LOL...
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Old 19-08-2014, 04:49   #26
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Re: When is Musty, Moldy, and/or Water in the Bilge a yes/no for Boat Buying?

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Originally Posted by onestepcsy37 View Post
that's how we got our boat so cheap. Took us two months to get it looking really good. I would do it again.
If, underneath all the must, mold, and bilgewater, it's really a great solid boat, buy it.

Bingo, the odds against buying a good boat inexpensively that doesn't need work is nil, so find one that mostly needs elbow grease as opposed to an infusion of cash
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Old 19-08-2014, 06:03   #27
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Re: When is Musty, Moldy, and/or Water in the Bilge a yes/no for Boat Buying?

inexpensive projects are good. the boats i've been seeing look like the owners let them sit for a couple of years and then put them up for sale at the same price that they paid 10 or 15 years ago. and yes the smell is usually quite pungent
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Old 19-08-2014, 08:12   #28
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Re: When is Musty, Moldy, and/or Water in the Bilge a yes/no for Boat Buying?

Many good points have been made in this thread. Before I add my two cents, I'll pre-apologize in case I repeat some of them.
  • When boat or house shopping, mildew can be present without being visible or detectable by smell. I know this from the last house I bought. Damn the previous owner and the stupid inspector I hired!
  • I bought a boat that was plenty musty and had visible mildew. It was priced right and because it's a daysailor, I didn't really care. The seller told me that the hull didn't leak, but whenever it rained water came in and he could never figure out where. He told the truth about the hull, but often I found water on the inside of the boat even when it hadn't been raining. And I store the boat on a trailer; explain that! It had to be condensation.
  • My boat no longer smells musty. I keep a tarp over it so rain can't enter and I also keep the drop boards off and a hatch open. Result is a dry, non-smelly boat. But the mildew spores are still there, dormantly waiting for someone to close the boat up and allow the humidity to get high enough for them to wake up.
  • Lesson learned: dry environment is key to mildew control. That means no leaks and plentiful fresh air circulaton or dehumidification with the condensate drained outside.
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Old 20-08-2014, 18:55   #29
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Re: When is musty, moldy, and/or water in the bilge a yes/no for boat buying?

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I am dealing with core rot, but it is worth the end game. One thing I stayed away from was oily bildges, usually a result of a leaky engine seal.
I guess everyone has different criteria about what constitutes a job worth avoiding. I would exponentially rather deal with a leaky engine seal than I would core rot. Even if it means pulling the engine out of the boat.
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Old 20-08-2014, 19:08   #30
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Re: When is Musty, Moldy, and/or Water in the Bilge a yes/no for Boat Buying?

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inexpensive projects are good. the boats i've been seeing look like the owners let them sit for a couple of years and then put them up for sale at the same price that they paid 10 or 15 years ago. and yes the smell is usually quite pungent
The vast majority of boats I've been looking at are asking at least 30% - 40% over what they are likely to get. I watch boats sit on the market for a year or two before the owner faces reality and drops back into at least the ballpark of tenable. But don't be afraid to make an offer: they probably aren't seeing many if they are misjudging the market that badly.
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