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Old 28-02-2014, 10:46   #1
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Balsa Cored Hulls

We've started to look for our next boat. In reading about the Gozzard 36, I found that they use Balsa core in the hull. That doesn't seem like a very good idea to me. Foam seems a much better choice. Anyone have experience with this?
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Old 28-02-2014, 11:02   #2
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We've started to look for our next boat. In reading about the Gozzard 36, I found that they use Balsa core in the hull. That doesn't seem like a very good idea to me. Foam seems a much better choice. Anyone have experience with this?
Balsa is better. If it is encapsulated balsa blocks, then nothing to worry about. Non-encapsulated Balsa strips - hmm, maybe not.

Cored hulls are lighter, stiffer, stronger, and insulate for heat and sound. If I were designing my dream boat from a clean sheet of paper, it would have a hull cored with encapsulated balsa blocks, with Kevlar outer skin. Oh wait, that's the boat I already have!
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Old 28-02-2014, 11:08   #3
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Re: Balsa Cored Hulls

I was looking at an Reliance 44 here in Ontario which has a Balsa core as well. After asking around with mixed opinions from people, i got cold feet.
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Old 28-02-2014, 11:11   #4
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Re: Balsa Cored Hulls

Neither is good unless the manufacture is perfect and no penetrations are added. There was also a recent post regarding saturation through the gel coat of a cored hull. I know this happened without later penetrations commonly on the C&C Mega 30 which was not completely cored but had wide cored strips on the hull. May only happen on boats with real thin skins...?
Wow, I wasnt aware the Gozzards were cored... are their sisters the Bayfields cored also?
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Old 28-02-2014, 11:33   #5
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Re: Balsa Cored Hulls

I read this in a review on the BoatUS site. It did say that core was eliminated at the thru hulls.
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Old 28-02-2014, 11:45   #6
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Re: Balsa Cored Hulls

See the post I just did on a Bayfield 32 in Cal. Ebay.
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Old 28-02-2014, 12:12   #7
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Re: Balsa Cored Hulls

My Cabo Rico has coring down to almost the waterline. It is bone dry after 27 years.

Also, its important to point out that even it were not, the coring on the CR is used only for insulation and sound proofing and not for structural integrity. I still have over an inch (1.5 in some places) of fiberglass outside of the balsa and fairly thick skin layer inside of the balsa.

Ny advise to you would be to research the purpose of the balsa and where is stops. The gozzard is a really well built boat so I assume it uses the same principles as my CR.
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Old 28-02-2014, 18:01   #8
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You want a end grain balsa core so theres no long grains to suck along water like a sponge.
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Old 28-02-2014, 18:22   #9
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Re: Balsa Cored Hulls

My 1984 Dutch-built Contest 48 is balsa-cored to the keel. The through-hulls also penetrate the core. When I installed a new depth transponder a few years ago, the core was absolutely bone dry. By the way, the hull on my boat was issued a Lloyd's certification when it was built.

Many of the top European boat builders have used balsa coring to the keel. If done properly, there is no reason why a hull won't give a lifetime of trouble-free service with a balsa core.

Fair winds and calm seas.
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Old 28-02-2014, 19:36   #10
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Re: Balsa Cored Hulls

All I have ever heard is stay away. My 1985 Pearson 34 is end grain balsa cored hull, except @ thru hulls, and the hull is in great shape. Methinks it depends on the builder and their total process.
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Old 28-02-2014, 20:01   #11
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My 1984 Dutch-built Contest 48 is balsa-cored to the keel. The through-hulls also penetrate the core. When I installed a new depth transponder a few years ago, the core was absolutely bone dry. By the way, the hull on my boat was issued a Lloyd's certification when it was built.

Many of the top European boat builders have used balsa coring to the keel. If done properly, there is no reason why a hull won't give a lifetime of trouble-free service with a balsa core.

Fair winds and calm seas.
As far as I know, all high-end European boats are balsa cored to the keel, with the sole exception of Oyster. That includes Swans, Contests, HR, etc. Steve Dashews Sundeers are also fully cored.

Inexpensive production boats like Beneteau, Jenneau, Bavaria are solid fiberglass.

If well made, they last a lifetime with no problems. "Well made", however, means expensive, much more expensive than solid hulls. So one should be sure that any balsa core boat is made with resin-infused, encapsulated blocks, and that there are no issues with integrity of the outer skin.
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Old 28-02-2014, 20:45   #12
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Re: Balsa Cored Hulls

You really have to take it on a case by case basis, as others have said, if a balsa cored boat is well built and well maintained it will last a long time but you can absolutely not say that any particular brand of boat is good or bad or that a particular builder is good, I wouldn't buy a Hinkley without checking every square inch with a moisture meter and plastic hammer. Balsa is a fine core but it is not better than foam, it is stronger than some grades of foam but anything from H80 on up is more than strong enough for any application and is much more tolerant of moisture. If you are interested in a particular model of boat you should not be scared off because it has a balsa core, but hire a good surveyor, you can have hull# whatever of a particular boat that's dry while another hull# of the same boat is compost.

Steve.
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Old 28-02-2014, 21:03   #13
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Re: Balsa Cored Hulls

egads, this is enough for me, goodby
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Old 28-02-2014, 21:08   #14
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My Freedom is 30 years old. Every time I've drilled a hole, the Balsa inside has always been dry.

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Old 28-02-2014, 21:38   #15
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Its the space between the two CF/GRP laminates the core provides wich makes this structure strong. Think of an ice cream sandwich, Icecreams not very strong but the buscuit part is. Without the icecream however,theres nothing saparating the buiscut layers and so it becomes much easier to break.
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