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Old 30-06-2010, 10:25   #1
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Gelcoat Crazing on Hull - How Serious ?

Hi-

Just looked at a 1971 Pearson 35 over the weekend, was generally pretty happy with the boat.

One item of concern was widespread crazing on the port side hull, there was some on the starboard side as well. This was all above the water line (PO has said the bottom was stripped and some blisters filled in 2002). The owner told me that the boat had the crazing when he bought it in 2002, but has noticed some spread over the years. In 2003 they took it to the Bahamas, but it has been primarily located on the Hudson River ever since, stored out of the water in the winter and covered.

I've read through Gord's very thorough explanation of gelcoat here on the forum's and through some Don Casey stuff on the net. That said, I'm still a little fuzzy on what an appropriate repair would be if we were to purchase the boat. Or, should we just run away from it?

Thanks,
Bill
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Old 30-06-2010, 11:44   #2
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Hi Bill,

This might sound like a weird response, but... the price of a 40 year old boat should be getting close to the 'expendable' level, shouldn't it?

You wouldn't be doing a $5,000 repair as you would never make the money back.

There's a choice of buying it and having fun with it and all that, and then selling it for whatever you can get as you upgrade to another boat.

If you own it for, say, 5 years it will then be a 45 year old boat. Did anyone expect them to last anything near that length of time?

What are your intentions with the boat?




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Old 30-06-2010, 12:05   #3
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Hi Mark,

You bring up a good point in terms of the expend-ability of the vessel.

Our intentions are to live aboard and cruise to the Bahamas/Florida, perhaps eventually further into the Caribbean. Ideally we'd like to set ourselves up where we can work seasonally (summers) in the NE and cruise down south for the winters.

We are relatively young (28 & 27) and want to get out and experience the cruising life before life gets too "serious". Just waiting to sell the house!
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Old 30-06-2010, 15:54   #4
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Originally Posted by Bill_R View Post
Hi-
Just looked at a 1971 Pearson 35 over the weekend, was generally pretty happy with the boat.
1971? Pah! a youngster And 35'? that's BIG

Doesn't make me an expert on older GRP boats though - it's not even as if I have finished (last weekend was a milestone though - my refurb does now include the Kitchen sink ......part of sorting the autopilot - don't ask )

Quote:
One item of concern was widespread crazing on the port side hull, there was some on the starboard side as well.
Although am not familiar with the Pearson 35 (wrong side of the planet for me) that would concern me as well, apart from aesthetics (which affect price - plusses and minuses to that of course) I would want to know why. Could be that the PO was heavy on the docking but my suspicion would be a sign of hull flex (and unlike modern boats, Beneteaus? , vessels of that vintage were not designed and built to flex with wave motion ). I would want to closely look at the bulkheads (to see how well they are still attached) and the deck/ cabin hull join (for the same reason)......simple old age and long use can cause the hull / bulkhead bonding to fail..........depends also on materials used and use / abuse that vessel endured over 40 years.

Could be simply surface, but could also be deeper if hull flex - and especially if hull made of veneered MDF (called "cored" I think in your part of the world? ).........would IMO very likely mean she had reached the end of her economic life (for the use designed for). Fine for a liveaboard though and maybe even once round the bay. If yer pick yer weather


Quote:
This was all above the water line (PO has said the bottom was stripped and some blisters filled in 2002).
I wonder if that was before or after he bought her........(BTW that's a fair enough fix cum bodge, especially for a vessel of that vintage - but it's not a "cure").

Quote:
The owner told me that the boat had the crazing when he bought it in 2002, but has noticed some spread over the years. In 2003 they took it to the Bahamas, but it has been primarily located on the Hudson River ever since, stored out of the water in the winter and covered.
Sounds like to my (sceptical!) ears that owner discovered during / after his Bahamas trip that boat was somewhat more flexible than he thought - and a fix too expensive / not worthwhile............

Quote:
I've read through Gord's very thorough explanation of gelcoat here on the forum's and through some Don Casey stuff on the net. That said, I'm still a little fuzzy on what an appropriate repair would be if we were to purchase the boat. Or, should we just run away from it?

Thanks,
Bill
You would have to fix the cause, then fix the results - that might result in also fixing the cosmetics. or it might not. I would be very surprised if viable to have done proffessionally - even if boat was free. and am doubtful also that the fix to the hull if the crazing was past simply the gelcoat would be much cop - if extensive.

Some boats truly are worthless (than zero). Put $10k into a $10k boat and you have...........a $10k boat that may be slightly easier to sell. I am sure you can do better


(of course the caveats with my above comments are all the usual - not seen her, don't blame me, blah di blah etc etc )
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Old 30-06-2010, 17:13   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David_Old_Jersey View Post
1971? Pah! a youngster And 35'? that's BIG

Could be simply surface, but could also be deeper if hull flex - and especially if hull made of veneered MDF (called "cored" I think in your part of the world? ).........would IMO very likely mean she had reached the end of her economic life (for the use designed for).
The Pearson 35s have a solid hull- they aren't cored- they're very thick & probably as close to indestructible as a fibreglass boat can get. However, the gelcoat on boats of this vintage is also usually thick, it isn't able to flex with the hull, & it cracks... a lot. If you've read the books by Casey or Calder, you'll know what crazing looks like vs. stress cracking.

Not the end of the world. You can paint it, it'll just take a bit more prep work than normal. Doing all the work yourself, rolling & tipping, you can do the job for something in the $1000 range. Alternatively, you can ignore it. I've got quite a bit of crazing on my boat, but since it spends almost 6 months of the year on land, it's not an issue for me.

I would be more concerned about the blisters & blister repair. Even an improper blister repair job can take 5 years to come back, & you won't really know until then.

More stuff here (if you haven't been there already): Pearson 35 Sailboat
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Old 01-07-2010, 13:57   #6
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It definitely seemed like crazing and not stress cracking, as it wasn't that deep. Just looked like hairline spiderwebs at points on the hull. What would you have to do before painting over it?

Here is what the PO wrote regarding the blisters:
"2002 bottom paint removed to gelcoat, blisters filled, bottom completely redone"

Here is the rest of the listing (boat is listed at $19500, btw):
--> SAILS
- 1 main sail, used 3 seasons
- 1 150% furling genoa, 1995, sun strip added in 2000
- 1 working jib
- 1 drifter
- 1 140% genoa
- 1 original main sail
All older sails resewn and refurbished by Hild in 1999

--> Dodger, Bimini & Main Sail Cover
- Dodger & Mainsail cover by Hild in 2000
- Bimini covering entire cockpit in 2003

--> Power
- 37 HP Kubota deisel, installed in 2000, > 900 hr
- Water pump replaced in 2004

--> Dingy
- Avon/Bombard inflatable dingy 1996, used 2 seasons

--> Accessories
- 2003 dingy davits installed
- 2003 64 watt solar panel installed
- 2003 Main sheet & blocks, 6:1 Harken
- 2003 new halyards
- 2003 windex
- 2003 windlass installed with 225ft of 5/16' chain and 35lb bruce anchor with anchor swivel and bow roller and chain stopper
- 2003 electrical panel and all electrical rerun and wires replaces
- 2003 all interior bright work redone
- 2004 35 gallon flexible water tank installed with deck fill
- 2003 stereo with CD and speakers (interior and exterior)
- 2003 VHF
- 2003 Fiberglass icebox installed
- 2003 chartlight
- 2003 2 bilge pumps installed
- 2003 custom interior all weather carpet
- 2003 all interior cushions cleaned and foam replaces
- 2003 brass interior lighting
- 2003 pressure wather system for head and cockpit washdown
- 2003 water heater (not fully installed)
- 2003 rigging replaces
- 2003 depth/knot meter gauge
- 2003 interior lexam sliding cabinet doors
- 2003 interior water & sanitation lines replaced
- 2003 2 interior fans
- 2003 steaming light
- 2003 stern light
- 2003 3 blade prop
- 2003 hot/cold pressure head faucet with shower extension
- 2003 Force 10 cozy cabin heater
- 2003 75 watt inverter

--> Misc
- Major refit done in 2002-2003 for winter Bahamas trip
- Steering cable and centerboard cable replaced in 1996
- 2002 bottom paint removed to gelcoat, blisters filled, bottom completely redone
- Minimal usage, limited to fresh water since 2004 season




Worth doing some work?
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Old 01-07-2010, 14:44   #7
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I think if you're not expecting her to look like a gleaming new yacht again, and are willing to fill and paint (not a big deal) she can likely be made to pass the three-foot test without too much pain.

At 15-20 grand, you can't go too wrong.
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Old 01-07-2010, 14:52   #8
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What you are really interested in is what has been done to the boat as far as use/maintenance since 2004 when the pump was replaced. 2004 was a long time ago in the use/maintenance of a boat. Seals dry up when not used, hoses, pumps need replacing, etc. etc.

Its a project boat if you want to spend the time and money on refurbishing a boat you got a good learner.
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Old 01-07-2010, 16:13   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill_R View Post
Our intentions are to live aboard and cruise to the Bahamas/Florida, perhaps eventually further into the Caribbean. Ideally we'd like to set ourselves up where we can work seasonally (summers) in the NE and cruise down south for the winters. We are relatively young (28 & 27) and want to get out and experience the cruising life before life gets too "serious". Just waiting to sell the house!
Buy it and go look at it this way, if its 40 years old yacht with some battle scars and you crunch it into a jetty a bit too hard on your travels, is it going to be tears or a shrug of the shoulders and a tube of gelcoat filler? Now imagine the same thing on a $100k late Beneteau because at some point it is going to happen, I promise.

There is a Jeanneau 40 sunfiz parked next to me belonging to a French family. The hull looks like someone has attacked it with a grey paintball gun, there are so many patches on it. However they go sailing every weekend whilst others around them are busy washing, cleaning and paying for their pride and joy. Take your choice

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Old 01-07-2010, 17:22   #10
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Well, keeping in mind that I've never done this, the process for widespread crazing is to dewax & degrease as normal, "sand thoroughly" with 120 grit paper, then prime & paint. Iwould certainly want to talk with someone who's done it before though.

To me, without knowing too much background on the Pearson 35, that seems like a pretty reasonable price for the boat. The yachtworld listings run from mid $30k to $19k. Nice to see it was repowered, as that's a major expense. Almost everything else was replaced in 2003, so a lot of the equipment is only 7 years old. On top of that, if the blistering was still a problem I think it should have come back by now.

Mark is right, the problem with these boats is that they're kind of at the used car level of boats. As long as all they need is small repairs, no big deal. When they need a more costly repair, the repair costs can run a significant fraction of the boat's value- or severely devalue the boat if they aren't done. On the other hand, if you make $3000 of repairs to an $800 used car, it's still cheaper than a new car!
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Old 02-07-2010, 11:55   #11
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The Pearson 35s have a solid hull- they aren't cored- they're very thick & probably as close to indestructible as a fibreglass boat can get. However, the gelcoat on boats of this vintage is also usually thick, it isn't able to flex with the hull, & it cracks... a lot. If you've read the books by Casey or Calder, you'll know what crazing looks like vs. stress cracking.
I defer to you on the Pearson 35, as I said above, no direct experiance myself. Not read the books quoted, but know the difference between crazing and stress cracking and what they mean. Lots of old boats around here - mine included .......

........not looking to get into anything , but can't say that extensive gelcoat crazing on the hull / topsides is common around these parts, at least not from simple old age. (faded to chalk, scuffed, scratched, gouged and generally looking well abused and old - for sure ). Can't say also that hull flex is considered normal (or acceptable) either, maybe linked to the gelcoats not tending to flex off? Not claiming that all older boats this side of the world were built well - they weren't But just doesn't sound right to me that the cause is nothing to worry about


Can't go wrong with a $20k boat? Could spend another $10 (or 20k?) creating a very nice $5k boat.

But not my money.............
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