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Old 07-05-2015, 22:10   #1
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Question Glassed kauri hull

Planning our big get away and am currently in the stage of starting to seriously look at the boats on the market.

One in particular has caught my eye, but I'm a little unsure about the construction material which is glassed three skin New Zealand kauri. I haven't actually seen the boat in the flesh and will be getting a reputable surveyor to check anything I consider, but it doesn't hurt to be informed.

I've read several times to give wooden boats a wide berth when selecting something for world cruising, but how about glassed wood? How about glassed kauri? Isn't this wood supposed to be almost immune to rot even before glassing?


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Old 07-05-2015, 23:26   #2
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Re: Glassed kauri hull

Kauri is great stuff, & for the most part only available in New Zealand. Where for every 3rd house, someone's also built a (or several) fair sized boats.
More seriously though, do some reading both on; cold molding, & strip planking. Both of which usually involve laying some (or a lot) of glass, overtop of the wood, when building the boat.

Either way, when done with attention to detail, they're building methods which are equal to or better than most glass boats. And in the S. Hemisphere, account for a large percentage of the cruising, & racer/cruisers built. Ditto on a good number of the custom boats built, regardless of location.

There are some good pics of a custom, Kauri, & Carbon Fiber work done in a boat's construction here 1980 Davidson Custom Sloop Sail Boat For Sale -
She's surely one I'd be glad to own, but the wallet said no, before she sold. Which took VERY little time.

Another indication of what builders think of strip planking, & cold molding, is that a LOT of the wildly fast, & well thought of boats coming out of Santa Cruz, are/were built using these methods, or variations there of.
AKA, the early "Sleds" (of all sizes), & ULDB's. As that area & build type, is where, & how the concept came into being.

If you go to the WEST System site, you can download the (free) classic book, On Boat Construction and it has lots of info on the build methods described above. And written in a way that's easy for anyone to grasp & learn from. Expert to newby.

PS: It's easy enough to Google Kauri, & learn all that you need to about it.


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Old 08-05-2015, 03:08   #3
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Re: Glassed kauri hull

A lot of NZ boats were build of double or triple diagonal kauri, glassed over. Its normally Epoxy skin so no Osmosis and is considered just as strong and durable as solid glass, if not more so. What you do have to check carefully is the plywood decks.

We had friends who were trying to sell their Farr 44 which was kauri construction in the Med, no interest. They sailed it back to NZ, sold straight away.
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Old 08-05-2015, 04:49   #4
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Re: Glassed kauri hull

There's wood cored boats and then there's wood boats. Many modern production fibergass boats have a wood core which is typically balsa. In North America and Europe you will see one off fiberglass cedar cored boats built by professionals and home builders. These are known to be strong and light. Kauri is a conifer also and is the southern hemisphere's version of cedar so that's what they use downunder.

The wood boats people are cautioning you about are the old style solid wood boats. There are several types of construction for these but generally they are designed so the wood will absorb water and swell which tightens up the seams and seals it. If you take the boat out of the water for awhile then the wood will dry out and shrink and when you put it back in there will be some leakage until the seams tighten up again. The downside is the rot, worms and termites that can get in there. These boats will not have a glass layer although some were retro fitted with glass after the fact which is not generally accepted practice today.
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Old 08-05-2015, 06:57   #5
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Re: Glassed kauri hull

Not exactly. You will find many Cedar sandwich boats in NZ, but are more of the racer/cruiser variety and are generally boats from the 90's and yard or home built. Kauri boats are not a sandwich construction, they are double or triple diagonal and generally glassed on the outside but not always, and are not glassed on the inside. The construction method was used by boat yards as an alternative to solid fiberglass construction in the 80's.
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