I would personally look at boats with sythetic cores and avoid balsa cores. But it's a bit controversial. The insurance
brokers I spoke to, who deal with damaged boats every day, mentioned that the catamarans they've had significant claims which use balsa cores ofter were total write offs because of water
intrusion and extensive core
damage moving from fractured balsa allowing penetration of the water
far beyond the initial breach. I would tend to trust them as he's the one actually telling the owner his boat is unrepairable after looking at the repair estimates. Almost any catamaran
will have balsa cores in places where the angles are sharp or for certain areas of high stress. When I had drinks with the manager of Prout, he mentioned that he prefered balsa cores due to offgassing issues at different temperatures with synthetics, however when I mentioned that some manufacturers like PDQ
have used synthetics for almost 20 years now without delamination
problems, he did concede that a lot of it is quality control at the factory has to be very stringent for synthetic cored boats.
Point in fact, a lot of boats which have the "bad reputation" among brokers used synthetic cores to maintain a light weight and got that bad reputation because their 5+ year old boats were showing delamination
problems making them very difficult to sell. Typically now if a manufacturer is going to go for the extra costs of using a synthetic core
, especially in recent years, they've figured out how to do it correctly.
Regarding the water tight compartments, if you are at the Annapolis boat show
, step onto the PDQ
44 to see how they do it and use it as a baseline to compare other boats. I know it's out of your budget
, but I can also have you talk privately with some people at the boat show
who really know catamarans (former repair people).