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Old 13-01-2006, 17:36   #1
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How old is too old ?

I do not think there is a right answer here, but since so many of us purchase older boats and bring them back, I wonder if people have and opinion or bias on how old a fibreglass hull can be before they would not consider buying the boat.

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Old 13-01-2006, 17:52   #2
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Since no one has yet been able to determine the life span of fiberglass, it is strictly a factor of quality of build divided by quality of maintenance. A 1972 Swan that has never seen a haul out, I would not take as a gift, however, a 1965 Hinkley that has been meticulasly maintained would be a real consideration.
Some years are more prone to blisters, and some makes. These I would avoid, but that is not a general reflection of age, as it is of the quality of the build.
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Old 13-01-2006, 17:55   #3
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I guess I would have to take a pass on any fiberglass boat made before about 1957 or so ;-) anything more recent than that would be fair game, depending on its condition.

Seriously, its all about build quality and condition, not age.

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Old 13-01-2006, 18:22   #4
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Tim - 57 eh ! Pretty open ended. I think I am fishing around the abstract issue of "fatigue".
All other points are true IMO as well. Is it fair to say we have yet to see a well built, original resin, early technology and chemistry, well maintained boat fail ? Hinckley is a good example, but some of them have seen very large injections of cash to keep them going because they are viewed as a very special boat. I'm not sure some of them did not hit the zero value mark (cost of repair = current market value once repaired) and someone chose to ignore it.

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Old 13-01-2006, 18:24   #5
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I don't know Tim. Dyer was building fiberglass production boats in 1953. They are amongst the first, but they are reported to be a quality boat. I have not owned one, or even seen one in person, but I hear they do not have any more issues than more modern plastic boats.
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Old 13-01-2006, 18:31   #6
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Kai Nui - I live close to and have spent hours at Dyer's shop. That's another good example. They have guys that buy and restore the old boats at costs that certainly equal or exceed the value when complete. Interesting point here is the full refurbishment included everything - except the hull. They do repair and alterations to the glass, but the hull remains substantially original.

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Old 13-01-2006, 18:43   #7
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It sounds like the Dyer is another quality boat, so lets say compare the Swan to a 1967 Cal. I would choose the well maintained Cal over the neglected Swan as well. Granted, as technology improves, quality improves by default, but the old boats do not seem to have anymore delam problems than newer ones in similar care. I would not let the age of a boat determine my decision to buy it. Only the condition, and design.
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Old 13-01-2006, 18:45   #8
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Many insurance companys don't like boats over 25 years old. That may say something.
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Old 13-01-2006, 18:56   #9
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Of course, how many actuaries are sailors? Insurace rates do not reflect reality. They take allot of engineering aspects into consideration without considering some of the real world variables. Variable #1. If you design something to be idiot proof, a bigger idiot will always come along.
The reality is that it is really hard to sell insurance that will cost $10000 in ten years on a boat that only cost $10000. The reluctance of most insurers to carry old boats is more of dollars than of sense.
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Old 13-01-2006, 19:07   #10
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Valid point, though. Banks and insurance companies have increased the age of a boat "worthy" to loan against or insure, but I think 25 is the magic number. They will go further, but for a higher rate or less dollar value, depending on survey. Will we see them extend it even further ? Logic suggests they should if there is no evidence of higher claims or defaults associated with the group as a whole.

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Old 13-01-2006, 19:42   #11
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Quote:
capt lar once whispered in the wind:
Is it fair to say we have yet to see a well built, original resin, early technology and chemistry, well maintained boat fail ? Hinckley is a good example, but some of them have seen very large injections of cash to keep them going because they are viewed as a very special boat.


My father-in-law owns a 1958 Galaxy 32 that is still going strong (without "large injections of cash"). More here.

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Old 13-01-2006, 20:03   #12
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Old 13-01-2006, 20:30   #13
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Nice old classic plastic!
Insurance companies are way out of whack when it comes to assigning risk. The numbers they look at are strictly on paper. If you look at the new yachts that were mentioned the another thread recently, those boats will probably not see more than a daysail for the first 10 years, and therefore be very unlikely be involved in a major loss. Most cruising boats are a few years older, and as they sail many more miles are statisticly more likely to be involved in a loss.
Also if you consider the numbers of boats insured, say there are 100 1979 Catalina 30's insured, and one is involved in a loss, but there are 1000 1990 Catalina 30's insured, and 5 are involved in losses. Statisticly, the 1990 is a lower risk, even though mile for mile, the 100 boats have a far better safety record. The real numbers are there, but it is not cost effective for the insurance companies to research them. Profit is the name of the game. Also consider that financed boats are a lot easier market than cash boats, so why invest more money in a smaller market? And if that don't tick you off, try insuring a 65 year old wood boat.
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Old 13-01-2006, 22:38   #14
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My tractor is a 1941 Ford 9N, the roto tiller / mower / snow remover is a 1953, so was the R Type Bentley, the farm truck is a 1978, the X farm boss 1961.
Outside my bedroom window is a 1975 Tanzer 22. It shows about zero signs of wear on the hull other than faded paint and a couple of paint blisters. Some FG boats dry out and go brittle, you can spot the type when you are used to looking at them. My 1979 Tanzer 8.5 has some fading of the gelcoat and that is about it. Both boats are extremely solid, but they had very good glass work when built. Both will last as long as me, a 1946 model.
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Old 14-01-2006, 04:22   #15
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I don't think it is just an age of hull question. Older hulls we way over built by today's standards and to totally different design criteria. They also used different fibreglass technologies [resins and cloths]. This tended to produce very heavy boats for the LOA.

I think the bigger question is at what point in the curve is the design/age/quality blend?

Most of the older boats are long overhang, full keel or close, CCA style boats. While they are seaworthy the interior volume, speed etc is significantly different from a mid 80s cruiser [note not an IOR racer] which is significantly different again from a mid 90s or current generation. This is due to changes in design and materials avail.
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