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Old 13-12-2013, 16:47   #1
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CAL-35 Soggy Deck/Pending Refit

I have owned my 1983 CAL 35 since 2011. When we initially had her surveyed she was listed at $29,500.

Then we got this from our surveyor:
"Ben, I stopped by the Cal 35 this afternoon to moisture test in case it rains tomorrow. She had some big problems. The deck and cabin top have max moisture reading in 70% of the surface and delamination in 30-40% of the surface. You must have seen all the cracking and the soft spots. The survey report will not be favorable, particularly for insurance. Are you sure you want to go thru with it?"

We sent this same email to the previous owner and gave her two options: keep our $4,500 down payment in exchange for a damaged boat or take on the job of fixing the decks and finding a new seller. She took the offer not wanted to deal with the repairs.

Since then we have spent a year living happily on our boat (insured by progressive) and it has spent a year under shrink wrap on the hard. It is time to refit and fix the problem. In truth I think the surveyors email was over blown. The boat has two 4 inch soft spots in the bow and two stress cracks where the cabin top meets the deck in the bow and an obvious winch handle drop crack in the cockpit. Other than that I can not visually notice any problems, nothing leaks inside. I have taken a moisture meter to the entire decks and yes there is moisture intrusion in both the deck and cabin top but the deck is solid as a rock. Construction is plywood and balsa.

I need to figure out how to focus my attention (finances) on the refit. I am trying to balance making this boat something we want to sail/live on and making it something that has resale value all while not spending that resale value on the refit. We are heading to the Bahamas in Oct 2014 and so I am wondering how much I want to spend on prepping for the trip vs just taking the trip.

My options are these:

A.)$15k refit budget: Spend my whole kitty trying to get the boat to a place where it is res-sellable. Pull up parts of deck that feel sound but have intrusion and replace moist wood. Paint the entire deck. Major gel coat work on the hull, replace much of the interior of the boat including crummy Lowes panelling that drives me nuts to look at, replace standing rigging, replace lifelines, replace fridge, add a solar panel/wind, add batteries to undersized house bank, reupolster interior cushions, order new cushions for v berth and quarter berth and any number of little things that bug me. Sell boat for $30+k when I get back

B.)$5k refit budget:Or do I just get the boat ready to sail and spend the money on the experience of heading South? Replace standing rigging and lifelines, fix soft spots in the deck, repair fridge. Untie dock lines and have fun sell boat for $13k ish when I get back.

Please keep in mind I am doing all of the work myself and am experienced in repairing/installing all of this stuff.

What would you do?
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Old 13-12-2013, 17:12   #2
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As a relative newbie to this sort of thing my thoughts are:

1. Buying and selling boats usually costs money unless you are lucky or particularly skilled.
2. I am not sure if anything you describe is a safety concern but if not then I would apply the logic that I have applied to our boat which is function over form and so far I have been thrilled with the results

Matt
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Old 13-12-2013, 17:19   #3
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Re: CAL-35 Soggy Deck/Pending Refit

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Originally Posted by GILow View Post
As a relative newbie to this sort of thing my thoughts are:

1. Buying and selling boats usually costs money unless you are lucky or particularly skilled.
2. I am not sure if anything you describe is a safety concern but if not then I would apply the logic that I have applied to our boat which is function over form and so far I have been thrilled with the results

Matt
Oddly, I have made a profit on every boat I've ever owned. I think that is in part because I am a miser, but also because I do all of my own work. I think the standing rigging and lifelines are a big issue. Is a soggy deck a safety issue?
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Old 13-12-2013, 17:54   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unbusted67 View Post
Oddly, I have made a profit on every boat I've ever owned. I think that is in part because I am a miser, but also because I do all of my own work. I think the standing rigging and lifelines are a big issue. Is a soggy deck a safety issue?
I can't comment on the deck issue with any authority but I do commend you on your boat broker abilities. I suspect that more people end up in the red with boats not the black. I know that has been the case for me.

I am replacing a few bits of our plywood deck more to prevent leaks and as a preventative maintenance item.

Matt
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Old 13-12-2013, 19:51   #5
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Re: CAL-35 Soggy Deck/Pending Refit

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Originally Posted by GILow View Post
I can't comment on the deck issue with any authority but I do commend you on your boat broker abilities. I suspect that more people end up in the red with boats not the black. I know that has been the case for me.

I am replacing a few bits of our plywood deck more to prevent leaks and as a preventative maintenance item.

Matt
I wouldn't disagree. I will say that I always try to think about the next boat when buying the current boat. How will I be able to trade up? Despite the general consensus on this forum that cheap is bad. I would argue that uneducated is always bad and that both cheap and expensive can be beneficial. For example I got a boat for $4500 that has already more than paid for itself in fulfillment and adventure. It's all in what you are trying to get. Thread drift.
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Old 13-12-2013, 21:35   #6
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Re: CAL-35 Soggy Deck/Pending Refit

You ever notice how any post about the impending apocalypse, loading 12 gauge cartridges into a flare gun, or repelling pirates (posted by someone in Road Island) the thread gets a 35 page response? But when someone, i.e. me, has an actual boat related question...crickets, I hear nothing but crickets. Thanks Matt for your input.
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Old 13-12-2013, 23:17   #7
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Re: CAL-35 Soggy Deck/Pending Refit

My attitude is that if it aint broke don't fix it. Anything fixed that isn't broke, or fixed to a Rolls Royce standard when Toyota would have done is wasting money. It may help you sell your boat quicker and for a slightly better price, but ultimately every dollar invested beyond that required to make the boat fit for your purpose is not going to be recouped anywhere near in full at resale time except in rare circumstances.
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Old 13-12-2013, 23:51   #8
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Re: CAL-35 Soggy Deck/Pending Refit

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Originally Posted by unbusted67 View Post
You ever notice how any post about the impending apocalypse, loading 12 gauge cartridges into a flare gun, or repelling pirates (posted by someone in Road Island) the thread gets a 35 page response? But when someone, i.e. me, has an actual boat related question...crickets, I hear nothing but crickets. Thanks Matt for your input.
I used to worry a bit about those sorts of posts when I made them, but I soon realised that in most cases I had usually covered all the options in my original question, so there was no obvious input needed.

I reckon this is one of those cases. You've got two well thought out options and it's hard to provide any easy input. My additions are more psychology related than practical input.

Maybe these sorts of questions could be posted as a poll, but knowing my luck, if I posted an A or B choice, I will find that I missed the critical C point. Then I'd look like even more of an idiot.

And yes, the shotgun/anchor/apocalypse emails get a lot of posts, but the REALLY good feedback comes on what I think of as the pure sailing stuff. I have picked up some absolute gold from CF when it comes to sail handling, rigging etc, as I think there is a lot more room for interesting views on those subjects. A squashy deck is a squashy deck, you have to admit, not exactly the glamour end of boat ownership. But, if it helps, I am dealing with the same thing and I have elected to replace bad bits simply as a preventative maintenance plan, but then I plan to keep our boat till I am too old to sail her, I cannot imagine buying anything else, partly as I don't seem to have your knack of making money out of the process, quite the reverse actually.

Matt
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Old 13-12-2013, 23:53   #9
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Re: CAL-35 Soggy Deck/Pending Refit

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fixed to a Rolls Royce standard when Toyota would have done....
Err... I wonder if these two quality benchmarks should have been swapped. I really reckon the Toyota is now the Rolls Royce standard, if you know what I mean?

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Old 14-12-2013, 04:43   #10
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Re: CAL-35 Soggy Deck/Pending Refit

I recommend Option B.

1. I doubt you will get more than your refit money back when you resell. And that is counting your own labor at $0. Re-coring the deck is an ugly job.
2. Unless you have the boat in a heated shed this winter, are very skilled and have lots of time, Option A will drive you crazy trying to get it all done in time for a reasonable departure date (early!)
3. Do B and the small inexpensive stuff that bugs you. And add some solar.
4. Get a moisture meter, map the soft spots and keep an eye on their progress.

Good luck and fairwinds!
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Old 14-12-2013, 08:24   #11
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Instead of seeing what everyone else would do, do what will give you and your wife the most peace of mind. If you're questioning the boats safety, do as much as you need to to feel safe. Also keep in mind, progressive does not cover live aboards or extended cruising. So you may have to put additional work into your boat to get her insured.
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Old 14-12-2013, 09:49   #12
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Re: CAL-35 Soggy Deck/Pending Refit

Quote:
Originally Posted by unbusted67 View Post
You ever notice how any post about the impending apocalypse, loading 12 gauge cartridges into a flare gun, or repelling pirates (posted by someone in Road Island) the thread gets a 35 page response? But when someone, i.e. me, has an actual boat related question...crickets, I hear nothing but crickets. Thanks Matt for your input.



Crickets?! Lots of people go out of their way to answer the questions posted in C, M, & R. When a guy with as many posts as you asks a question which has been asked so many times before, you shouldn't be surprised when you don't get a response. You should know how to use the search engine by now.
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Old 14-12-2013, 10:03   #13
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Re: CAL-35 Soggy Deck/Pending Refit

I would opt for B. Go sailing, fix the important stuff. I had friends who bought a Pan Asiatic 43 for $120k They refused to do anything to the boat, although eventually they bought a new mainsail in the caribe. They overlooked things that drove me crazy! They spent a I think 3 years sailing the caribe and sold the boat for $120k after they returned. Theirs was one of the most economical adventures ever! You wont get the 15k refit money out of the Cal.

If the deck spots are isolated... are they really effecting anything? I imagine you know the trick of drilling small holes fom below to find the actual extent of the wet core....
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Old 14-12-2013, 11:12   #14
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Re: CAL-35 Soggy Deck/Pending Refit

I guess it depends on how long you will cruise, and if you want to be on a $5K boat or a $20K boat when you do it, and if you have the money or would get some satisfaction from doing the project and sailing the resulting boat.

So it's not really a boat question at all, but a preference question.
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Old 14-12-2013, 18:45   #15
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Re: CAL-35 Soggy Deck/Pending Refit

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Crickets?! Lots of people go out of their way to answer the questions posted in C, M, & R. When a guy with as many posts as you asks a question which has been asked so many times before, you shouldn't be surprised when you don't get a response. You should know how to use the search engine by now.
Wow that's unnecessary. Have people really asked this question a hundred times? "What should I do to my 1983 CAL to refit it?" Why are you lashing out? Thanks everyone else for your insight and for being polite.
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