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Old 12-11-2008, 21:38   #1
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Plywood fiberglass/epoxy catamarans versus...

I dont know much about them, im used to fiberglass sandwhich construction foam cored, I'm down to the wire and will be purchasing before the winter season is up. i've been showed three boats, loved the gemini but another cat has caught my eye a plywood cat.the sureyor said it was in beautiful condition and gave back a wonderful survey minus some rigging replacement looks nice. but i'd llike some more opinions ,benifits, downsides...to a plyood catamaran from you guys since you've always been a help. thanks to eveyone again in advance for always being so helpful on this quest.

sean
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Old 12-11-2008, 22:33   #2
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Here is another thread on the subject:

Hull material

What is the design of the wood/glass cat? The materials are good, it is really a question of the design and build. The Gemini is not a great design in my opinion.

The primary downside to a ply/glass cat is resale. There is also the question of who built the thing. And did they do a good job.

Good luck!
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Old 13-11-2008, 00:56   #3
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thanks or thelink alot of good posts to read, the make is a richard woods windsong design, i have a recent survey on it and i know its plywood with fiberglass/ epooxy sheathed. as far as the builder goes i know his name and that it as done in 1989 and to a T accourding to the survey. i'm not worried about resale as much as i am safety and longevity. i have heard alot of good about richard woods designs, and then again i have heard that he had a sinking accident himself recently. i hope he is ok as i have not read anything to the contrary yet. As it lays my wife and i are much moe excited about this boat than the gemini. and i guess we'll see the true craftmanship during a seatest.


want to noe the plywood is okoume plywood with opoxy for the hull plankng dont have any other info on the exact type of wood.

another question i had that was important to the sale, are plywood cats unsinkable like thier balsa/foam/ glass counterparts? and does the adage of them being more comfortable upside down hold true as with other cats?
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Old 13-11-2008, 06:37   #4
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Sean, whether it is unsinkable or not depends upon whether there are adequate flotation chambers (usually in the bows and transoms). Assuming it was built according to the the original plans, Richard Woods could probably help answer that question.

Further, Richard's boat did not sink - his Eclipse was abandoned in terrible sea conditions, but found later upright and intact (apart from being stripped of the rig, hardware etc. by thieves).

That epoxy was used to sheath the hulls is a positive; however, it is also important to know how many layers of cloth/mat were used, whether it was sheathed inside and out, whether there are frames/stringers than are unsheathed, etc. A good surveyor should be able to answer these questions. And yes, Okoume plywood is typically marine grade.

You should also have the surveryor address the issues of through-hull and hardware installation - were holes merely drilled through the finished hull and the hardware etc. bedded, or were oversized holes drilled, filled with epoxy and then the correct size of holes drilled. The latter method will ensure that water is not able to penetrate the plywood core and is especially critical below the waterline.

As has been pointed out, resale value will be less than a production boat, although I assume that you are in fact the potential beneficiary of precisely that phenomenon.

Brad
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Old 13-11-2008, 08:05   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seancrowne View Post
i'm not worried about resale as much as i am safety and longevity.
As stated by Southern star, flotation will depend on compartments/ water tight bulkheads. The good news is wood floats, so as far as safety is concerned you should be in a good place.
With regard to longevity... As stated in the other thread, Plywood/glass boats can last as long as glass boats as long as they have good care.

BTW, I think the Woods design is a much better one than the Gemini.
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Old 13-11-2008, 12:44   #6
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Windsong is based on the first Woods' design, COCKLESHELL HERO, which they built in 1979 and cruised and lived on for 5 years. Several Windsongs have made Atlantic crossings.

It is hardly comparable to a Gemini! Its like comparing a sportscar to a VW camper with the top up! Ask that surveyor to compare the two boats for you if you can. If not, just sit in each one and imagine life aboard for two weeks with everyone you would really want to go sailing with. If they could get along with each other for two weeks in a camp trailer, go for the Windsong. If they could get along for two weeks in an efficiency apartment, with hot water, go for the Gemini. If you are the only sailor in the group, go for the Windsong; you could easily single-hand it in most conditions. If everyone in your crowd is a sailor, take up a collection and buy a PDQ!

As far as floating upside down, The windsong has few components that would sink, and the Gemini is cored above the waterline. A couple empty jerry cans in the ends of the boat would improve floatation.
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Old 13-11-2008, 13:27   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Southern Star View Post
Sean, whether it is unsinkable or not depends upon whether there are adequate flotation chambers (usually in the bows and transoms). Assuming it was built according to the the original plans, Richard Woods could probably help answer that question.

Further, Richard's boat did not sink - his Eclipse was abandoned in terrible sea conditions, but found later upright and intact (apart from being stripped of the rig, hardware etc. by thieves).
As has been pointed out, resale value will be less than a production boat, although I assume that you are in fact the potential beneficiary of precisely that phenomenon.

Brad
Quote:
Originally Posted by sandy daugherty View Post
Windsong is based on the first Woods' design, COCKLESHELL HERO, which they built in 1979 and cruised and lived on for 5 years. Several Windsongs have made Atlantic crossings.

It is hardly comparable to a Gemini! Its like comparing a sportscar to a VW camper with the top up! Ask that surveyor to compare the two boats for you if you can. If not, just sit in each one and imagine life aboard for two weeks with everyone you would really want to go sailing with. If they could get along with each other for two weeks in a camp trailer, go for the Windsong. If they could get along for two weeks in an efficiency apartment, with hot water, go for the Gemini. If you are the only sailor in the group, go for the Windsong; you could easily single-hand it in most conditions. If everyone in your crowd is a sailor, take up a collection and buy a PDQ!

As far as floating upside down, The windsong has few components that would sink, and the Gemini is cored above the waterline. A couple empty jerry cans in the ends of the boat would improve floatation.

i'm hoping so. its good to hear about his eclipse upright and intact, thats a testement esp if conditions were bad enough or him to abandon ship.

i'm looking for my own surveyor in the area before the preview, and will do what ya suggested, but the windsong is definitly more apealing to me then the gemini, I already left new york city for hawaii and i'm done with the efficiency apartments, give me a mobile home anyday. although i would definitly not complain about a PDQ!!! and if anyone is happening to be getting rid of one for say....half price?
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Old 15-11-2008, 06:55   #8
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Ply

I really like my plywood trimaran here in Mexico. The climate is desert and I have no problems. It is an easy fix if I need to take care of something. It is marine ply over aircraft grade spruce stringers. It is all epoxy bonded and fiberglassed as well as a new Awl-Grip paint job...:-)
HOwever....I had the same vintage and construction type of a tri in the Pacific NW on the Oregon Coast 20 years ago. The weather almost never dried out and was often cold and damp......would get moss in the shaded spots......I had to deal with soaked material under the glass quite a bit. What happens is the glass will crack and you get water in there. The wood will soak up the water. The secret to this (This is from Jim Brown the designer) You have to be very aware of any cracks or holes in the sheathing. And like another poster said earlier. The method of oversizing the penetrations and pugginging it with epoxy, then drilling and bedding will take care of many of the worries that can come back to haunt you later. I did not have this knowledge 20 years ago.
I appreciate my boat, for what it is. Designed to be built out of ply. Easy to fix anywhere. I am not worried at all about resale...you see I was the buyer once, so I got the benefit of a discount due to the "home built plywood" syndrome.....:-)
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Old 16-11-2008, 12:19   #9
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Well said, beautiful finish on your boat.
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Old 16-11-2008, 19:28   #10
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Thanks Pat

Thanks for the encouragement......:-)

Interesting I just came across an excellent blog site by a fellow in Maine. I am going to start rebedding all my deck fittings, winches, tracks etc. tomorrow. This blog taught me a few things. One I agree on is the need to countersink all the newly enlarged holes of all the penetrations. He explains very well and has excellent photos.
"How To" - The Boat Projects & Upgrade Blogs Photo Gallery by Maine Sailing at pbase.com

(Main Sailing is our very own Acoustic.
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Old 17-11-2008, 10:46   #11
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Jmolan,

Nice reflection & I agree on most fixes are easy.............i2f
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Old 18-11-2008, 07:21   #12
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The only "Windsong" I know for sale that is advertised in the USA has a bridgedeck cabin. The Windsong I designed is an open deck boat. So it isn't really a Windsong at all, as I never drew a bridgedeck cabin for a Windsong.

Richard Woods on board Romany in St Augustine

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Old 18-11-2008, 07:48   #13
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Jmolan,

Nice reflection & I agree on most fixes are easy.............i2f

Here are a couple "fun" shots of repairs I was refering too. Although never "easy" I think the arer relativly easy. By that I mean not too high tech. Scarfing plywood and rebuiling stringer and flat panels are not rocket science.
In the first shot..My friend jacked his boat up on the beach he was blown onto and fixxed the bottom in a remote Baja bay.

I had the misfourtune of having my bow damaged when the boat fell from some collapsing supports and crashed into the trailer they were trying to remove (I was not there) I also got a few holes punched in the bottom of the wings. It sucked but just took some plywood and glue (and time) ....
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Old 18-11-2008, 09:49   #14
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Imagine is tri-directional mahogany over frames cold molded. I have had a chunk bigger than my fist ripped out of the bow by a passing boat while asleep, and we were tied to the dock. I have discovered drainage problems that let fresh water stand, and have had to rebuild lockers both storage & chain. Wood screws instead of being through bolted leak, and cause problems. Recently I had to rebuild gutters in my storage lockers in the cockpit floor. I use to butcher wood, but now I am getting pretty good at working with it, and the west system...........i2f.
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Old 18-11-2008, 12:45   #15
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... but i'd llike some more opinions ,benifits, downsides...to a plyood catamaran from you guys since you've always been a help. thanks to eveyone again in advance for always being so helpful on this quest.
I am presuming you are meaning wood epoxy, and not the old style wood boats or even stitch and glue.

I would have a hard time providing the proof of this, thanks to the loss of bookmarks, but I recall reading wood/epoxy has the lowest life cycle cost of boatbuilding materials. That doesn’t make it necessarily the best material to use, obviously. Think of Skip Novak’s Pelagic Australis . You would be foolish to go where they go in a lesser boat. Still, for most of us, either wood or fiberglass are fine.

There are some points with wood/epoxy, specifically cold molding and constant camber, which I think are pretty much missed but are worth considering.

First, the material doesn’t state it is wood plywood at all, though that is what tends to be thought of. Even boat designers make this mistake. Kurt Hughes, who is an excellent designer, pointed out:
...”I have always been curious about why many multihull designers force builders to work outside the nature of materials. manipulating a blob of fiberglass resin into a smooth, fai, thin shape can only be done by applying many many hours. Cold molded plywood or Constant Camber™ construction systems take thin, smooth, fair sheets of plywood and chop it into bits. They they apply many many hours to convert it back to plywood again. Rough plywood. It makes no sense. [1]
While his criticism is accurate for the way most wood/epoxy boats are built, it isn’t really an accurate criticism of Constant Camber, per se. The method has been used in third world countries, using only locally made veneer. [2] [3]

If you want to go for the bonus round and read the patent for yourself, there you go.

Second, and I suppose this applies to all boats to a certain degree, a lot of people confuse design or materials involved with the workmanship of the boat. That’s really what the survey is for, to tell you if the well designed boat is actually living up to its blueprints ... and various standards.

Anyway, do let us know what you decide on.
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