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Old 14-09-2019, 22:55   #1
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Able 34 teak decks and what is under them?

I looked at an Able 34 today that the owner says has a solid fiberglass deck, but we cannot see it because of screwed on teak over the entire deck bow to stern and a teak headliner and paneling throughout the entire cabin.

I have the typical concerns regarding the "2000 screws in fiberglass" fear that seems to draw so many discussions on many sailing forums. When I view the so called "sold fiberglass" deck from below via the chain locker I could clearly see ~1.25" - 1.5" deep and ~1.5" diameter holes drilled through plywood mostly for the windlass switches. Finally, my question:

Is it likely that the builder put plywood only at the deck area of the windlass so as to create a structurally sound mounting area? Or, would seeing plywood there insinuate that the remainder of deck areas are most likely constructed of plywood sandwiched between fiberglass and teak over the top.

The teak is on it's last legs. The boat was built in 1988 and most all the filler between the actual teak is higher than the teak itself. I am concerned that perhaps the owner, that has owned the boat for 4 years does not have a clue how the decks were built, or just wants me to assume he is right and therefore believe the decks are not subject to the pitfalls of decades of possible water intrusion into plywood.

Even after his "filling" of the gaps with acetone thinned urethane there are still many pockets where water could have seeped in for years prior to his attempted remedy of sealing it all.

I've read time and time again of surveyors declaring acceptable moisture readings only for new boat owners to find significant problems soon after. And for a newbie I don't know if I have the ability to "feel" soft spots on a teak covered deck.

I will say that the bow's deck area over the v-birth was springy compared to the side decks. But, I would think given the size of the area over the v-birth as compared to the narrow side decks that would be normal?

Thanks for your advice.
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Old 14-09-2019, 23:03   #2
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Re: Able 34 teak decks and what is under them?

I wouldn't take the slightest bit of notice what the seller says the deck is made of.
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Old 14-09-2019, 23:49   #3
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Re: Able 34 teak decks and what is under them?

Agreed Tillsbury. Otherwise it's a gorgeous boat, albeit over-improved in some areas - bow thruster on a 34' and all heavy duty sails. I believe it is languishing on the market due to it being in a harbor in Mexico with no haul out facilities, tired teak decks, and a swing keel that it's designer Chuck Paine noted "The centerboard pin was captured in molded vertical slots and held up by a welded stainless steel bracket that fit up into the trunk. The only deficiency that manifested itself with the passage of time was a propensity of the welds in the bracket to fail." - oops.
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Old 14-09-2019, 23:54   #4
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Re: Able 34 teak decks and what is under them?

The trouble is, most people would want to knock 30k off a boat at least if it has tired teak decks, and that can be close to the value of an older small boat.
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Old 15-09-2019, 00:16   #5
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Re: Able 34 teak decks and what is under them?

He's asking $69k as the owner before him put supposedly put "$100k" into a refit of just about everything (except the dam teak decks!) in 2011 - 2012 in Seattle. That owner then sailed it to Ensenada and passed away before he could sail home to Denmark. I've got to get my head around a few things... . There's a Peterson 44 for sale $89k closer to home for me with no teak decks! But, being that I am just moving from the sky to the ocean; I flew hot-air balloons for 30 years, and I just 2 weeks ago took my basic U.S. Sailing basic keel boat class... I am trying to reasonable and not by something too large. This 34 is right in many ways but, not as a live aboard boat, which my soon to be ex-wife says I now need because, she's keeping the house! Trying to get my ego to go with the "tiny" house thing that's taking the U.S. by storm. And, I have no idea of the cost to maintain a 44' boat. I've tired my self out.
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Old 15-09-2019, 00:45   #6
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Re: Able 34 teak decks and what is under them?

Offer him 69k less the 30k it'll cost you to get the decks done, then. Everyone happy. Most things that money was spent on in 2011 is coming up for replacement again fairly soon, so that money is all dead.
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Old 15-09-2019, 03:06   #7
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Re: Able 34 teak decks and what is under them?

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Tiemo.
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Old 15-09-2019, 03:37   #8
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Re: Able 34 teak decks and what is under them?

Tiemo you mention no haul out facilities. Whatever you do make sure you see her out of the water before you part with your money. You want to see that keel swing up and down and what sort of condition it is in. If she has osmosis as well then she is just one big hole in the ocean.
As for the 100k fit out he might have been an idiot who payed full retail on everything then got milked on the yard charges.
Good to see you beat me to it GordMay!
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Old 15-09-2019, 10:01   #9
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Re: Able 34 teak decks and what is under them?

To answer your question, it is most likely that the thickness of plywood that you see is only in areas like your windlass. And anyway the better question is whether the core is damaged by water intrusion which can’t really be determined well until the teak is removed. Some damanage from water intrusion would be normal and can be repaired. You should assume there has been some water intrusion and price into any offer the cost of replacing the teak and also assume some areas will need some repair. That is what I did when buying my sailboat which also has end-of—life teak and which I know I will have to replace soon. I have now temporarily addressed the 900plus screws by pulling them, drilling the holes out a little, filling with epoxy, NOT putting in any screws, and inserting teak bungs. Watch videos of people removing teak and you will see that it usually is not easy to remove teak from the deck even after removing all the screws. I figured I would get the last half mile out of the teak while at the same time eliminating the potential for water penetration through the screws. I barely have enough teak for a light sanding but I did a test spot of sanding and I think it will look great. When the time comes I’ll just grind the rest off and address any soft spots. Of course it is a lot of work but doable. My main point is that you should price in removing the teak and repairing the deck in any bid, and you should assume there is some damage to the core in that bid.
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Old 15-09-2019, 11:33   #10
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Re: Able 34 teak decks and what is under them?

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Packman.
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Old 15-09-2019, 11:43   #11
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Re: Able 34 teak decks and what is under them?

Thanks for the welcome to the forum and feedback folks. Right or wrong I have am moving away from my initial attraction to the boat as there are too many signs this one may have issues greater than just old teak decks. When I asked about survey / haul-out the seller suggested a scuba survey, which I noted to him would not satisfy hull / rudder inspections to my satisfaction. And, when I bring up anything to do with concerns he carries on about me being paranoid. Just getting him to talk about properly cancelling Mexico's MTIP was a laborious conversation. It is languishing on the market as he presents it as a "unique" and extremely upgraded boat... which it seems to be. But, seems to really want a naive buyer to just offer full price, sign the title at a AAA office and be done with it. Now that paperwork is trickling in... I see a Coast Guard Cert of Documentation indicating it is indeed a 32', not a 34' which is confusing as the CE tag in the boat shows 34! I've asked for receipts of the refit in Seattle, the survey from when he bought it in 2014, MTIP, etc... . Finally, his name is not even on the Coast Guard Doc. Feels like it would be a long shot to get this purchase from A - Z at price that reflects teak decks; a bottom and hull that needs to be painted; water maker that does not work; addressing what appears to be some recent addition of standard residential romex wiring in a few places (that of course he assures me is fine "as it is copper"); satisfactory understanding of the condition of the swing keel that per the boat's own designer has a main holding bracket that is "prone to fail over time" and rudder inspection, etc..., etc..., etc.... . At least I had a nice lunch overlooking the Pacific at one of my old, favorite restaurantes in Baja after seeing the boat.
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Old 15-09-2019, 11:52   #12
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Re: Able 34 teak decks and what is under them?

Is that the Able 34 that is listed in San Diego CL? If so it has been sitting on the market for 4 or five years now. He bought it for $34k and immediately tried to flip it for $75k. Unrealistic owner and a boat that has been sitting for many years. I would avoid it.
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Old 15-09-2019, 12:16   #13
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Re: Able 34 teak decks and what is under them?

That's the boat. I knew it had been on previously, for months I thought. He says he keeps getting low balled. What a chore for him to take on. It must be tiring for him... I spent 2 hours on the boat with him yesterday. I sensed it was small, but do not have a sharp enough sense of boats yet to immediately have picked up that it's not a 34'. Bummer is I just found out the Peterson 44 in San Diego went under contract in 2 days.
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Old 15-09-2019, 12:58   #14
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Re: Able 34 teak decks and what is under them?

As one who has professionally removed teak decks from well built boats
Nautor ,Swan etc It is an expensive operation. I would guess that $35K to $40k would be a good estimate. Even with premium builders there are always unknown problems. You may if you are smart and have a good guy do it get a much more satisfactory , easier to keep AND STRONGER boat that way . I can not see the benefit of teak decks on such small boats.
Look hard at the Peterson 44 an extremely good long distance long term cruiser.
Not showy chances are built in Taiwan, so have a good Fiberglas man survey the boat .
Big enough that you get there sooner . Bigg enough that you should take a crew or well trained Mate but that can make it much more fun. And you are not living in their underwear all the time! Throw out all gadgets that you cannot fix yourself in two hours. Learn Celestial navigation (It is a wonderful hobby and very rewarding emotionally when you get there.) Never breaks down and is relatively inexpensive. Do it like Capt Cook Cheers!
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Old 15-09-2019, 13:05   #15
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Re: Able 34 teak decks and what is under them?

The Peterson sold in about 48hrs. Buyer is flying in Hawaii for survey tomorrow. I wish them the best whilst hoping the boat ultimately is not right for them. Broker has me on the short list to call if it isn't. Seller of the Able told me had a quote of $2500, LOL. The boat is in Mex which I imagine would be cheaper than San Diego, not less than 10% of the cost though. Nothing adds up on this boat.
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