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Old 08-10-2014, 06:43   #46
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Re: Balsa Core

I personally know of none, although i have seen one boat, a Scampi 30, where the deck was so compromised that you couldn't walk on it so obviously it could no longer be used as it was. There are thousands of boats sailing around with severly compromised decks, the problem is that they have very little value left if you ever wanted to sell and paying a professional to repair it on a lot of older boats may exceed the value of the boat. The good news is that a competent amature can buy an otherwise decent boat for short money and do the repairs themselves, you don't need to do it all at once, just pick doable an area to do each off season,and go sailing. The materials are cheap, and make sure you document your work with plenty of photos and you should retain your value. Please don't go the often used amature route of drilling hundreds of holes and injecting with epoxy, it does not work and imho should devalue the boat further than if left alone.

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Old 08-10-2014, 06:50   #47
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Re: Balsa Core

I've never heard of a boat being lost from blisters either, but I wouldn't want one that was covered in them
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Old 08-10-2014, 08:01   #48
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Re: Balsa Core

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Originally Posted by clockwork orange View Post
I personally know of none, although i have seen one boat, a Scampi 30, where the deck was so compromised that you couldn't walk on it so obviously it could no longer be used as it was. There are thousands of boats sailing around with severly compromised decks, the problem is that they have very little value left if you ever wanted to sell and paying a professional to repair it on a lot of older boats may exceed the value of the boat. The good news is that a competent amature can buy an otherwise decent boat for short money and do the repairs themselves, you don't need to do it all at once, just pick doable an area to do each off season,and go sailing. The materials are cheap, and make sure you document your work with plenty of photos and you should retain your value. Please don't go the often used amature route of drilling hundreds of holes and injecting with epoxy, it does not work and imho should devalue the boat further than if left alone.

Steve.

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Thanks. Exactly my point. Now if one pick ups a boat with wet deck but otherwise OK to sail for next to nothing, uses it 3-5 years and than scraps her one is still ahead of the game, especially if that's the only way for that person to afford boat ownership.

At some point last year a friend was interested in Kofman 47 (a Swan knock off) which was for sale in SF area for about $50K and the broker sounded like they will let it go for half that price. The issue there was of course a wet deck due to hundreds (thousands?) teak deck screws. I asked my friend (a long time liveaboard and marine industry pro) wasn't he afraid to tackle such an immense job? He laughed and said that his first time fixing such a deck was scary for him but once the job was done that boat (Formosa 51 I think) was as good as new hull wise and he quickly sold her to a couple for circumnavigation. He described exactly what you said - doing the deck in sections, about 2-3 sq. ft each, allowing a day per few sections so the whole job took him a full month give or take. This was in FL so temps were not an issue. Anyway he was thinking of getting that Kofman on the cheap and bringing her up to circumnav condition and probably keeping her to himself. Strangely enough that boat which was on the market for a very long time, the moment we found her for sale was gone within a month.
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Old 08-10-2014, 08:01   #49
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Re: Balsa Core

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After reading this thread I wonder how many members of this forum had catastrophic boat failure due to wet deck only? Not near misses, not "what might have happened", not "few years from now", not "wet deck and x, y and z", etc. but real boat loss due to only the deck core being too wet. Please let us know if you had such a failure.

Catastrophic failure due to wet decks? No, never seen it. Wet hull core, however, is a different story...
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Old 08-10-2014, 11:08   #50
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Re: Balsa Core

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Originally Posted by Island Time O25 View Post
After reading this thread I wonder how many members of this forum had catastrophic boat failure due to wet deck only? Not near misses, not "what might have happened", not "few years from now", not "wet deck and x, y and z", etc. but real boat loss due to only the deck core being too wet. Please let us know if you had such a failure.
If by Catastrophic failure you mean a total loss of the boat. No I have not had it. However I've had one boat that required about $25-30k to fix. (12ft x 1 ft recore from the outside, glass work and repaint the boat) and one that I recored the foredeck extensively taking many hours etc. I've seen a Celestial 48 that was totally saturated (cored hull) and to me it was a total loss, but they were trying to sell it.... some people just keep sailing them!
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Old 08-10-2014, 16:42   #51
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Re: Balsa Core

Uh oh, we had friends buy a Celestial 48 ketch a couple of years ago, don't know where it came from, I hope its not the same one.

To be honest i personally have not seen or even heard of a boat lost where it can be deffinitivley attributed to wet hull core although i could easily believe it has happened.

Steve.
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Old 08-10-2014, 16:50   #52
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Re: Balsa Core

Up in the frozen north its a lot harder to carry out recoring during the off season which is why, if its a boat you are keeping, to do manageable size areas and spread the job out over a few years. I have been coaching a friend who has been recoring deck areas over a few years in the yard under a clear plastic cover supported by pvc hoops 150 miles from where he lives and he's doing great.

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Old 08-10-2014, 19:21   #53
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Re: Balsa Core

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Originally Posted by clockwork orange View Post
Uh oh, we had friends buy a Celestial 48 ketch a couple of years ago, don't know where it came from, I hope its not the same one.

To be honest i personally have not seen or even heard of a boat lost where it can be deffinitivley attributed to wet hull core although i could easily believe it has happened.

Steve.
This was probably 20 years ago... and the boat wasn't very old.. guessing 7 year? I don't know how you would fix a boat that was said to be "saturated" . You'd have to remove the interior or replace the hull! Then again, Chinese boats are often way too thick outside of the core... so maybe it was strong enough with wet core..?
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Old 08-10-2014, 19:56   #54
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Re: Balsa Core

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The positives, balsa core in fiberglass construction will yield a stronger, lighter and stiffer hull than solid glass.

The negative, as you note, if it gets wet in the core then the balsa can rot and the layers of glass and wood delaminate.

The prevention, every where the fiberglass skin is penetrated the hole is overdrilled IE the hole made larger than the bolt or screw needed, then refilled with epoxy and the smaller, proper sized hole drilled. That way the balsa is completely protected from the possibility of water damage.

Can be done in an older boat as well if all the deck fittings were bedded well and the core not wet or even if the core is wet if the damage is not bad and the moisture hasn't spread too far.

I have had two boats with balsa cores, the current one 30 years old with some wet spots but am drying and filling them one by one. The worse were the stanchion bases which take a lot of stress and break the seal of most caulking over time.
Lighter-yes, less expensive-yes, stiffer only by weight. 1 inch of solid GRP is stronger & stiffer than 1" balsa core.

I too have an older boat with wet decks. By the time I am done chasing out the wet balsa, I will have replaced nearly 320 square feet of wet balsa with syntactic foam (epoxy & microballoons drilled in & pumped in from the the cabin interior. If I do not, it is uninsurable and a structural mess. Balsa, at the time, was the best short-term solution to the need for ultralight and material savings rolled into one. In my opinion, it is inadequate for future construction of quality vessels. If you expect more than a 10 year life, no balsa should be in a boat. This is especially true of below water structure such as hulls & rudders in particular. There is probably not a rudder in the entire yard here in Muskegon that does not weep water after a winter freeze-thaw cycle, except mine. It is 6 inches thick X 3 feet X 6 feet, solid epoxy & microballoons with a carbon fiber skin vacuum bagged to the core.

You can see my repair photos for deck & the rudder in the photos gallery Member Galleries - Cruisers & Sailing Photo Gallery

The OP is looking for a heavy boat built before balsa-core or for a new-ish boat of quality epoxy or vinyl-ester construction with low density syntactic filler &/or light weight reinforcements. The heavy, solid core boats are out there. A yard mate found one on EBAY; 33 feet for 2200 dollars; well maintained & ready for a 10 Kilobuck, fair re-fit.
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Old 08-10-2014, 20:25   #55
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Re: Balsa Core

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.
I am not aware of any Beneteau ever which was cored below the waterline, so if that's what you're looking for and what you are afraid of, you shouldn't have a problem.

3. Cored hulls have a lot of advantages: (a) much higher strength and stiffness for a given weight; (b) improved sound and heat insulation (the latter of which means less condensation). There are two disadvantages of cored hulls: (a) higher cost; (b) risk of leaking and rotting.

US navy finds wreck of missing yacht | UK news | The Guardian

...and look closely at the second photo.
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Old 08-10-2014, 20:53   #56
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Lighter-yes, less expensive-yes, stiffer only by weight. 1 inch of solid GRP is stronger & stiffer than 1" balsa core.

I too have an older boat with wet decks. By the time I am done chasing out the wet balsa, I will have replaced nearly 320 square feet of wet balsa with syntactic foam (epoxy & microballoons drilled in & pumped in from the the cabin interior. If I do not, it is uninsurable and a structural mess. Balsa, at the time, was the best short-term solution to the need for ultralight and material savings rolled into one. In my opinion, it is inadequate for future construction of quality vessels. If you expect more than a 10 year life, no balsa should be in a boat. This is especially true of below water structure such as hulls & rudders in particular. There is probably not a rudder in the entire yard here in Muskegon that does not weep water after a winter freeze-thaw cycle, except mine. It is 6 inches thick X 3 feet X 6 feet, solid epoxy & microballoons with a carbon fiber skin vacuum bagged to the core.

You can see my repair photos for deck & the rudder in the photos gallery Member Galleries - Cruisers & Sailing Photo Gallery

The OP is looking for a heavy boat built before balsa-core or for a new-ish boat of quality epoxy or vinyl-ester construction with low density syntactic filler &/or light weight reinforcements. The heavy, solid core boats are out there. A yard mate found one on EBAY; 33 feet for 2200 dollars; well maintained & ready for a 10 Kilobuck, fair re-fit.
Quite correct. I should have qualified my statements by adding "by weight". You can of course get equal or stronger decks with straight glass layup without a core but takes more of it. To get similar stiffness and rigidity takes even more weight, way beyond what is really needed for structural integrity of the boat.

I don't however agree that balsa is only a short term product, good for max 10 years. If properly used IE all holes, fittings, etc completely sealed with epoxy so the balsa is completely encapsulated and isolated from any potential water intrusion I think balsa is an excellent long term solution. My boat is 30 years old and I've spent a good bit of time chasing leaks myself (thank goodness nothing on the scale you have) and have cut a number of inspection holes at several areas on the inside of the hole. Only where there were holes drilled into the outer skin where the caulking had failed and leaked into the core was there a problem. Fortunately for me the worst penetrations were only an inch or two with a couple of exceptions.

The very worst spot was the cockpit floor where the PO had mounted a manual bilge pump with no bedding around the hole cut for the handle. Over 30 years the water had spread and rotted the core in an area about 3" X 12". Just an inch away on all sides of the bad area the balsa was bone dry and looked like freshly sawed wood.

Another potential problem that I have found but fortunately didn't hurt me was an issued I saw mentioned in an earlier post, that is, there are channels in areas either between the sections of balsa mat or where the mat was warped to fit a curved spot on the boat deck. I have found a few channels and voids in the balsa core that could have spread water a long way if it had hit that particular spot.
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Old 08-10-2014, 21:00   #57
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Re: Balsa Core

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This was probably 20 years ago... and the boat wasn't very old.. guessing 7 year? I don't know how you would fix a boat that was said to be "saturated" . You'd have to remove the interior or replace the hull! Then again, Chinese boats are often way too thick outside of the core... so maybe it was strong enough with wet core..?
Yeah, C&Cs also had way too much of the laminate outside and not enough inside, ive recored hulls from both C&C and Tartan where the core got saturated from bilge water.

Steve.
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Old 08-10-2014, 22:02   #58
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Re: Balsa Core

I'm in San Carlos just starting to re-core my bow and decks. PO said decks were plenty strong what with three quarter marine ply. BS. Then he said the main shrouds were obviously attached to the hull. BS. Older Tawianese liked to bury chainplates in the deck. So I have a rotten deck at least to the cockpit and very questionable chainplates. I'll do the job. what to use for core. Every material is questionable and suspect with many obvious failures. If not installed correctly and maintained correctly any material will fail. Coosa board may be the exception. I cannot get it here. Balsa will infiltrate with water if there are minute channels left open, etc... Foam will compress and disintegrate if wet also. What's left that is easy to get, is already laminated, bonds well with fiberglass or either type? Plywood. Two three eights inch layers with staggered joints and all through decks solid fiberglass. Maintained it will last for the life of the hull.
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Old 08-10-2014, 22:10   #59
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Re: Balsa Core

ps. before you talk about weight. The boat has 8500 lead keel and it had teak decks at one time in addition to the plywood. I'm satisfied with this decision unless someone can steer me otherwise considering I am in San Carlos and will be doing this job starting tomorrow. Mast is off, hardware is off and I am taking out the saw in the morning. New deck and new chainplates. As much as I'd like not to go exterior with the plates I must. Way expensive to rebed them in the deck and not that smart.
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Old 09-10-2014, 04:48   #60
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And what's the relevance?
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