In case you haven't already discovered it, check out the Cape Dory
forum at Cape Dory Boats - Index
Yes, many of the boats have gotten some water in the deck core
and it is something to watch out for. Repairing this can be done in a few different ways depending on how bad it is. We actually just finished doing 2 small areas on our own boat. The best way to repair it is to actually remove the top layer of fiberglass
, replace the core, replace the top layer, fix the gelcoat
. This is a big process and you may well spend several hundred dollars for every square foot fixed if you decide to have someone else do it. If you catch it early, you may be able to get away with drilling a few holes and injecting epoxy
into the deck but this is not considered good practice with truly rotten decks. Member
CharlieCobra posted an interesting method using a grease gun which in my opinion would make sense for slightly rotten decks. If you can avoid buying
a boat with wet decks, it will be best.
The engines is the next biggest thing to watch out for as you have said. There is someone who actually makes bolt-in replacement engine
beds to repower
with a Beta marine
engine but it will still be ~$12k and it is unlikely that the price
of the boat will ever reflect this.
Otherwise, the next thing to watch out for in my opinion would be the electrical system
. Most of these boats have older electrical
systems not up to the current
standards. Whether it is safe usually comes down to the quality of previous owner modifications.
One other Cape Dory specific thing to check is the bowsprit
which some models have. Most were originally either oak or teak
and some of them will have rotted at this point. Replacement is very straightforward but it does take some time. Most of the ones that I have seen are still in very good shape but there are a few that are new (mine included).
Cape Dory's were not premium boats like Morris but they were very well built and generally have few problems for boats of their age. If the boat has been kept simple, it should present a manageable amount of maintenance
. Having the brand specific forum is extremely helpful and one of the best parts
of owning a Cape Dory. You certainly should not limit your search to only one brand but you will not go wrong if you buy one.
Good luck in your search.