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Old 27-06-2016, 07:47   #16
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Re: Wood blue water boat opinions, would you buy one

I've owned, sailed, delivered and rebuilt many wooden boats. From plywood dinghies to a Cross Trimaran, a 38' double ender, a 32' admiralty barge (double-diagonal riveted planked), several 30-48' schooners, a 65' britt-bros herreshoff, to a 96' Abeking and Rassmussen thoroughbred. Also delivered and owned steel and fiberglass yachts. Currently own a steel boat, mostly because we want to get into ice at some point, and, well, I hadn't owned one yet so I thought it would be cool to try. Alloy is somewhere on the list, in the future... I think it may in fact be the ultimate material (but then we always want what we don't have!).

No material is perfect, they all have their plusses and minuses.

If you are practical, relatively handy, willing to learn, and not easily fazed then there is nothing to be afraid of with wooden boats - of virtually any construction. Yes, cold moulded and epoxy saturated builds are likely to be lower maintenance, but not necessarily. I've seen more than one cold moulded boat separating into strips because it wasn't well built, and was abused during it's life (freezing fresh water in the bilges can destroy any boat, but especially wooden ones).

Trad built plank-on-frame boats are easy to maintain with basic woodworking skills, and are pretty forgiving. They show their issues readily, and a good surveyor will find them. Fixing them is a fabulous way to meet interesting people and gather life-long friends. The satisfaction of maintaining a wooden boat is real, palpable and not to be underestimated as well. it is a hell of a lot more pleasant spiling off a plank and planing or cutting solid wood in shorts and a Tshirt; than grinding fiberglass, steel or other nefarious materials wearing full-face respirators and tyvek suits. Not that you won't run into equally toxic or nasty materials on trad boats, but the presence of them is diminished significantly.

Dollar for dollar, if you get a wooden boat in good shape and treat it well, it will be an excellent choice.

...says the guy with a steel boat!
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Old 27-06-2016, 07:48   #17
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Re: Wood blue water boat opinions, would you buy one

Hmmmm soul, how do you define that? Although I do agree. My boat is balsa cored, does that make it a wooden boat lol? In my mind a wooden boat with soul is more the classic type, ribs etc
I met a guy on a 90 year old timber schooner, a Seawanika class (I think). I remember he said" I went down to look at her, she was to big, to old and made of the wrong stuff, so I bought her" and I have to admit she definitely had a soul.

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Old 27-06-2016, 09:33   #18
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Re: Wood blue water boat opinions, would you buy one

I have been around wooden boats for over 60 years.
One factor rarely considered is the luck of the draw in the wood, the raw material. Luck seems to be the only explanation for the variation in longevity of wood from an individual tree of at least a grove of trees. Some times it lasts 25 years, sometimes it lasts 3 years. I saw an excellent repair on a 25 year old boat last only 3 years. I know of a non-profit organization that had 2 sucessive boats fall apart. One looked great, sturdy design, well maintained. Sold at ten years old. I saw it 2 years later, really was not economically repairable..
Their next boat was about 25 years old. Sank a few times, at the dock, finally gone.
If you have the skill, wood boats can be economical. If you live in a country with practically free labor, you can hire repair of boats.
If you are not already familiar with the repair of wooden boats, DO NOT try to figure out yourself how to do it. Get a good book. Ideas you have yourself have probably been tried unsuccessfully before. Free Advice is often overpriced.
Get a good book.
Would I own a wooden boat? Yes, now that I am retired I could afford a wooden boat.
Is it a good idea? well, there are a lot of fibreglass boats, sail and power, that need some repair, that i can make serviceable. It is harder to repair Glass boats than wood boats.

Well built wood boat will be rebuilt about ever 20 years. Cost in labor hours is greater than new construction, but skill required is not as high as new construction. There are exceptions, but 20 years is the rule.

What it boils down to, if you ENJOY working on wooden boats, do it! Yes, you will spend more time and money, but it is what you enjoy.
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Old 27-06-2016, 09:40   #19
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Depends on the boat.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SKG56 View Post
Did a search to try and find some opinions about this but no luck, I haven't even considered it before, but there some beautiful ones out there, if you were in the market for a long distance cruiser would you or would you not consider one
Depends on the boat. We had a 1926 John Alden schooner for a few years that sailed like a dream. However, the maintinance soon got a bit much.

If you should decide to go wood make sure you get the best surveyor you can find, one that is VERY experienced with wood boats.

All that being said, I LOVE wood boats, especially the schooners.

Good luck and good sailing.
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Old 27-06-2016, 10:34   #20
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Re: Wood blue water boat opinions, would you buy one

Letting water into the bilge to swell up the planking is B.S., just the hull immersed in the water is all that is needed, one of the biggest things is what the boat is built out of and of coarse how the boat has been cared for, I remember seeing a Ketch for sale in the Florida trader that had been built in New Zealand out of Huon Pine with a back bone of Gum wood, that was selling for next to nothing, unfortunately I had just purchased a boat, so was not in the market, BUT, I would have made a offer without seeing her, because of the material she was built out off AND being built in N.Z., on the other hand if she had been built out of Mahogony, that would not have been the case, most of my boats have been built out of TEAK and have had no issues with rot.
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Old 27-06-2016, 10:36   #21
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Re: Wood blue water boat opinions, would you buy one

Not to throw a wet rag over your enthusiasm, but before you buy, you should check insurance rates (high) and that only after you find a marina that allows wooden boats. Many, to my great surprise, do not. Those two factors caused me to very reluctantly cancel purchase plans for a 44ft wooden schooner a few years ago. Good luck in any case. Cheers, Pappy.
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Old 27-06-2016, 10:44   #22
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Re: Wood blue water boat opinions, would you buy one

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dougtiff View Post
Letting water into the bilge to swell up the planking is B.S., just the hull immersed in the water is all that is needed, one of the biggest things is what the boat is built out of and of coarse how the boat has been cared for, I remember seeing a Ketch for sale in the Florida trader that had been built in New Zealand out of Huon Pine with a back bone of Gum wood, that was selling for next to nothing, unfortunately I had just purchased a boat, so was not in the market, BUT, I would have made a offer without seeing her, because of the material she was built out off AND being built in N.Z., on the other hand if she had been built out of Mahogony, that would not have been the case, most of my boats have been built out of TEAK and have had no issues with rot.
Sorry if I was unclear. I didn't mean you took a hose and filled the bilge with water.

When you drop it in, it leaks for a while until the wood swells up, no need to use a hose. I know a couple of unrelated guys with wood boats and that is the process they told me they use.

Its not really an issue. It just was not clear how it fit with the bone dry comment from the OP (which he addressed already as unrelated to the seams swelling).
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Old 27-06-2016, 11:02   #23
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Re: Wood blue water boat opinions, would you buy one

Definition of a wooden boat:
A temporary condition between dirt and dirt.
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Old 27-06-2016, 11:05   #24
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Re: Wood blue water boat opinions, would you buy one

I have not owned a wood boat larger than 17 foot, so my opinions are not based on ownership, but years of being around boats and cruising/delivering plastic boats and my own steel boat. I think there is a huge difference between a traditional plank on frame boat and a modern cold molded boat. I tend to think of a modern cold molded boat as a fiberglass boat with a really strong core. Many are beautiful both inside and out. The one thing I dont care for in modern cold molded boats (I hold the same opinion of many fiberglass boats) is many are built with a basically round bottom and almost no bilge sump, where most plank on frame wood boats have a more wineglass shape, and a nice deep bilge. This may seem like a small point, but a few gallons of water in the bilge of a round bottom boat can get up into lockers when the boat heels or rolls and ruin everything in those lockers. That becomes a huge issue if you are part way into a passage and much of your supplies are ruined. The basic question of this thread is about passage making in an older wooden boat. Would I do it? Probably yes if I trusted the boat (and a recent survey) but after cruising in the South Pacific in a fiberglass boat, I bought a steel boat for my next cruise. That was a bit irrational, but made me FEEL SAFER, when reality is that most sinkings of any type of boat are not hull failures, but thru-hulls or keel bolts or internal plumbing that would be the same on any boat. I did get to meet a number of traditional wood boat owners in the South Pacific, and several talked about how often they had to pump bilges. I had 2 friends that said they basically pumped their way across the Pacific. One pumped about 15 minutes every hour (old poorly maintained boat) and the other was so broke that he delivered a boat (again, old and poorly maintained) from Tahiti to San Diego and pumped most of the trip. Some other wood boats were no more trouble than glass boats, so as has been stated before, it is condition, condition, condition. I have had a life long love affair with Cheoy Lee Lions. I think they are one of the most beautiful boats ever made, but I would hesitate to do a long passage in one. Not because of the hull being wood, but the deck and cabin construction didnt look strong to me. Of course that is just my personal opinion. I am not sure I have answered anything, but maybe just given some things to think about. _____Grant.
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Old 27-06-2016, 11:08   #25
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Re: Wood blue water boat opinions, would you buy one

I have a cold molded yacht.. The hull is just the same as fiberglass for maintenence.
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Old 27-06-2016, 11:24   #26
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Re: Wood blue water boat opinions, would you buy one

Love looking at well maintained wooden boats.

If you want to cruise I would avoid them like the plague. Although we do have a friend with a wooden classic. It took her 15 years of work to get the boat in good shape for weekend use.

There is enough maintenace on well maintained fiberglass without adding the workload a wooden boat entails.

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Old 27-06-2016, 11:54   #27
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Re: Wood blue water boat opinions, would you buy one

If the boat is old, about 40 years or so, the frames have had time to work and get rather "loose". Planks probably have gotten to the point that the fasteners have wiggled themselves larger holes in the frames. Even the best wooden boat made, like a Fife, still need to be refastened , replanked, and mostl likely redecked after 40 years of sailing. Otherwise you take a big risk your garboard strake will fail.

BTw, if you find a wooden boat you are serious about, find a yacht surveyor who really knows wooden boats. Most surveyors nowadays have little real experience with them. Wooden Boat mag is a place to start. Almost any old time boatyard in Maine or in Washington state that makes wooden boats can give you leads. Yup, they still make wooden boats up here.
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Old 27-06-2016, 15:31   #28
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Re: Wood blue water boat opinions, would you buy one

And then there is Simba...1958 S&S yawl...caught a sail once...I would have no hesitation RTW leaving tomorrow. Seek out long term owners. Won "Best Sailboat" at Newport at least once...

http://sparkmanstephens.blogspot.com...251-simba.html


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Old 27-06-2016, 15:55   #29
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Re: Wood blue water boat opinions, would you buy one

"Wooden boats" come in many varieties. Some are more maintenance intensive than others, and the shift to fibreglass in the late '50s, early '60s was predicated to an extent on the fact that future HULL maintenance costs of "frozen snot" boats are very much lower than those of wooden boats. This cost difference is magnified manifold when you begin to talk REPAIR costs - as opposed to maintenance costs.

Consider also that if the devil rides, an amatoor can do an acceptable repair of a holed GRP boat, but is VERY unlikely to be able to do an acceptable, let alone a proper, repair of a wooden hull. That surely is a major consideration if you're gonna go where the coconuts grow!

Note Ann's comments - the Cate boat is STRIP PLANK, not carvel plank, thus the Cate boat is essentially a wood reinforced "frozen snot" boat. Forgive me Ann and Jim - I know I'm exaggerating, but I think this point needs to be made forcefully :-)

I love wooden boats, having grown up with them, and not just carvel plankers either, but lap-strake, which is a whole different can of worms. FWIW I have EVERY number of WOODENBOAT Magazine ever published. The current issue is #251 :-)

A wooden hull that has been properly maintained is as reliable as any other, but maintenance is crucial. In a carvel-planker even sitting on the hard for three months not properly supported, can wreck the hull beyond economical repair.

Frozen snot for me every time, much as I love wood. Content yourself with building lovely wooden appointments on deck and alow :-)

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Old 27-06-2016, 16:06   #30
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Re: Wood blue water boat opinions, would you buy one

I was in the center of the Port Townsend wooden boat mob for decades. We have built several wood cruising boats and my wife's family has built hundreds. We owned a 42' wooden ketch for 23-years and sailed her through the Pacific twice and around the world once.

Wooden vessels are not a great deal more maintenance intensive than other construction types. It is the myriad of things common to all boats that require the most maintenance. If you tend to run aground a lot then a metal boat might be a better option. I prefer wood over all other materials but many wood boats were never meant to last as long as they have. If you find one that isn't iron fastened, and was built with good, old growth timber, you can expect many years of enjoyment. There were many yatchs built with light scantlings i.e. light duty frames, planking etc generally to be competitive racers. I would stay away from these and look for a heavily built timber boat. Oak doesn't like the tropics, mahogany is good if pre WWII from the Philippines vs Hondurus which doesn't fare as well. Hard to beat a teak boat. There is much to learn about these boats but they can be very homey and strong.
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