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Old 07-10-2014, 17:32   #1
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Pearson 323 Blister Photo, Mixed Opinions

I am an aspiring boat owner looking to purchase my first cruising boat and have found one that is nicely equipped for my interest with solar panels, refrigeration, good sails, etc.

After speaking with the owner he has been very forthcoming with all information and has informed me that there is a significant number of dime sized blister "clusters below the waterline.

A surveyor has inspected the hull with a hammer and moisture meter. His diagnosis is that these blisters are not of structural concern. He provided two option:

1) Sail the boat and haul it out on a yearly basis to inspect the blisters, address the issue if it becomes a problem

2) Strip the boat to bare fiberglass and apply new barrier coat, bottom paint, etc.

I called the marina where the boat is currently on the hard and they gave me a quote MUCH greater than I was expecting for repair. On the order of 10 to 15 thousand dollars for full repair! This is more than half the asking price of the boat.

The previous owner was the person who applied the last barrier coat and the surveyor is claiming that this is the cause for the blisters..

I know I could purchase the boat at a discount but not sure of how much I will be able to take off as I don't think he will reduce the price by 10,000$ for the repair.

Also I can steer away from this boat and continue my search. I am worried that the other boats I have seen in the water may be suffering from the same deal..

Opinions are welcome. I'm not worried about the cosmetics just lasting hull strength as I want to sail this boat for many years.

Thanks for any advice! I have read lots of information but would like more experienced eyes to give the pictures a look.



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Old 07-10-2014, 17:59   #2
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Re: Pearson 323 Blister Photo, Mixed Opinions

I'm in exactly the same boat so to speak, even to the likely cause being the barrier coat.
I intend to pull it this year and have the blisters ground out, let it lay for a couple of months and fill with thickened epoxy, but I have not spoken to the yard about a price, surely your price is hopefully way more than it should be?
Would even a full peel cost that much?
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Old 07-10-2014, 18:00   #3
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Re: Pearson 323 Blister Photo, Mixed Opinions

Minaret?
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Old 07-10-2014, 18:06   #4
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Re: Pearson 323 Blister Photo, Mixed Opinions

I believe the price quoted is for a full peel but I didn't get into extensive detail concerning the quote at this point. Minaret isn't the boat's name if that is your question.

The interesting bit is that I told the guy who gave me the quote that the surveyor said it wasn't structural and he scoffed at the remark and asked his name. I'm not sure if he is just being biased as he wants to make the load of cash off of the work or he is actually concerned based on his experience. He said there were "thousands" of them which would require a full peel.

So many mixed opinions on the subject. I am going to be in the area to look at the boat in a week but I'm not experienced enough to arrive at a definitive answer. Given the knock test and the shallowness of the blisters I would think the integrity wouldn't be a concern at this point I'm just not sure how fast they will grow.
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Old 07-10-2014, 18:06   #5
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Re: Pearson 323 Blister Photo, Mixed Opinions

Lots and lots of boats for sale, unless you could get it way cheap $5000 or so I would keep looking.
The 323 isn't a rare boat. What area are you looking in?
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Old 07-10-2014, 18:10   #6
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Re: Pearson 323 Blister Photo, Mixed Opinions

I think you should aspire to own a better option. There are plenty of boats available in this world and I imagine fair number of them need LESS work than this one. They all are going to need something but this one seems like a tough one one to start off with in the boat owning world.
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Old 07-10-2014, 18:29   #7
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Re: Pearson 323 Blister Photo, Mixed Opinions

Thank you for the opinions and advice. I'm located in central FL which is a great place with a good market. Suprisingly all of the boats I have found in my price range (< 20,000$) have been in much worse condition on the topsides and interior. Very few boats that seem to be outfitted and ready to go cruising seem to be available in this size and price range.

This boat has been used to bring along paying guests for day sails and is fully outfitted and super clean on the interior. It has made the passage to Bermuda recently and has a wind vane, auto-pilot, new dripless shaft seal install, engine harness.

It seems odd that the owner would outfit his boat this well then let something significant to the integrity of the boat get away from him like this. It must be a new found problem on the last haul out is my guess.

Not set on the boat by any means just having a hard time finding examples in as good of condition. This is the first boat I have seriously considered in which I have seen the hull. Other boats I've considered in need of more work may have the same issue once I haul them out is my fear. I could always try and dive on it before pulling it out but the visibility is pretty low in most marinas.

From the responses thus far and my reading I am gathering that it shouldn't be considered unless a significant chunk of the asking price is removed. A hard bargain as the owner has recently invest about 20,000$ in the last 5 years of ownership and is now looking for a larger boat.
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Old 07-10-2014, 18:57   #8
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Re: Pearson 323 Blister Photo, Mixed Opinions

$20000 over 5 years isn't too bad. That is the reality of boats. Boats in the low 30 foot range are not going to sell for much. And with "problems" may not sell at all. Start watching eBay, lots of insight can be gained by "watching" listings. Don't rush in, buying the boat is the cheapest part.
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Old 07-10-2014, 19:02   #9
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Re: Pearson 323 Blister Photo, Mixed Opinions

Negotiate the price with a new bottom from the yard of your choice. Make sure the put several coat of epoxy on the fixed bottom and have the surveyor approve the bottom. Then you are good to go. My friends had to have their boat out almost 2 years and have two layers of glass replaced. Until you do it you don't know what you are into.


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Old 07-10-2014, 20:11   #10
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Re: Pearson 323 Blister Photo, Mixed Opinions

There are two kinds of blisters, pox and osmosis.

Pox is small dime sized blisters, in clusters, under the layers of bottom paint and on top of the gelcoat. They're harmless. When you put on new bottom paint, run a grinder over them to break most of them, spray with a water hose to clean out the liquid, and paint. Nothing to it.

I can't quite tell for sure from the pictures, but they look like pox. Break a few with a coin, as you're doing. If the gelcoat underneath is sound, it's just pox.

Osmosis is blisters much bigger in area, soft spots. When you tap a sound hull with a wooden hammer it goes tuk, tuk, tuk. When you tap a bigger blister and it sounds like a paperback book, there's osmosis. When you break an osmosis blister, there's raw fiberglass and resin exposed. Osmosis is real trouble, the thing you've read about.

A solidly laminated hull with osmosis is generally quite structurally sound, but it's detestable. A cored hull, like the Pearson 323, has thin fiberglass covering the balsa or foam core, which will tend to turn to mush.

I speak ill of surveyors, yards and epoxy suppliers where pox is concerned. If it's pox, we would know the name of the yard that quoted $15,000 for repair.
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Old 07-10-2014, 20:19   #11
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Re: Pearson 323 Blister Photo, Mixed Opinions

Having gone through a professional blister repair I can assure you that the cost will come in at the top end or a wee bit higher. Some folks are fine with leaving the blisters alone and seeing how it goes. Not me. To my mind letting them be only makes sense if you basically consider the boat to be disposable.

You need to decide if A: this boat is a wonderful enough sailor and made well enough to justify the expense and B: if it's a scarce enough model to warrant that expense as finding another example without blisters is unlikely.

Good luck!
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Old 07-10-2014, 20:26   #12
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Re: Pearson 323 Blister Photo, Mixed Opinions

Quote:
Originally Posted by rlc113 View Post
I am an aspiring boat owner looking to purchase my first cruising boat and have found one that is nicely equipped for my interest with solar panels, refrigeration, good sails, etc.

After speaking with the owner he has been very forthcoming with all information and has informed me that there is a significant number of dime sized blister "clusters below the waterline.

A surveyor has inspected the hull with a hammer and moisture meter. His diagnosis is that these blisters are not of structural concern. He provided two option:

1) Sail the boat and haul it out on a yearly basis to inspect the blisters, address the issue if it becomes a problem

2) Strip the boat to bare fiberglass and apply new barrier coat, bottom paint, etc.

I called the marina where the boat is currently on the hard and they gave me a quote MUCH greater than I was expecting for repair. On the order of 10 to 15 thousand dollars for full repair! This is more than half the asking price of the boat.

The previous owner was the person who applied the last barrier coat and the surveyor is claiming that this is the cause for the blisters..

I know I could purchase the boat at a discount but not sure of how much I will be able to take off as I don't think he will reduce the price by 10,000$ for the repair.

Also I can steer away from this boat and continue my search. I am worried that the other boats I have seen in the water may be suffering from the same deal..

Opinions are welcome. I'm not worried about the cosmetics just lasting hull strength as I want to sail this boat for many years.
Option3: The boat is only worth $20K on the market without blisters. Find a better quality manufacturer.
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Old 08-10-2014, 03:46   #13
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Re: Pearson 323 Blister Photo, Mixed Opinions

Isn't that a solid glass hull?

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Old 08-10-2014, 04:30   #14
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Re: Pearson 323 Blister Photo, Mixed Opinions

The Pearson 323 is a solid hull and not cored.

As long as the surveyor did not find delimitation. I would ask the owner to grind a few of these 'blisters' out to see how deep they go. You could enjoy this boat for many years without doing anything to 'fix' the pox.

Does it still have the original engine? A repower will cost you 15K or more and you probably want a boat with an engine. I repowered one in 2009.

It is a good boat and sails well.

Just my humble opinion.
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Old 08-10-2014, 05:14   #15
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Re: Pearson 323 Blister Photo, Mixed Opinions

I would find a good surveyor to do a laminate profile on the boat. I had one done a couple of years ago and it was around $200. Money well spent.
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