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Old 25-09-2012, 18:08   #16
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Re: Soft Deck, How Bad Is Bad ?

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Originally Posted by Richard5 View Post
Let's recap:

The deck is required for structural integrity.
You possess the ability to make the repairs.
You don't want to get over your head on the project.
You want to sail while repair is not yet complete.

Some take aways from that is you should determine how much is too much? If, as you say, 40 hours labor is not too much, then try to determine what can be accomplished in that period of time. Keep in mind that no matter the size of the job there are many things which still must be done. So it's not the amount of tasks as much as it is the scope of work which is the deciding factor.

It seems to me this all hinges on first determining the scope of work. And you won't know until you know. Sure a survey will aid in making that determination but often it comes down discovery during selective demolition.

Summary: I gather you are looking at day sailers or something of that kind. In other words, not a large boat. That plus 40 hours not being too much (ie, "over your head") I say go for it. Just shake off the doubts and plow into it.
Boat is actually a 42 footer, for some reason I dont want to post about it publicly but I'll send you the link via PM

any one else want it I will be glad to send it.
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Old 25-09-2012, 18:22   #17
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Re: Soft Deck, How Bad Is Bad ?

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Planning a trip to go look at a handful of boats, they are all late 70s early 80s so I expect there to be issues, but I am pretty crafty and expect I can fix most items with some elbow grease.
If you don't have the background you won't get by on elbow grease. It really takes a lot of knowledge and it can be gained but it's never that simple. There are a thousand ways to do a decent job yet miss important points. If you don't have experience you need to take on all projects no matter how simple with a bit of doubt. Being anxious, in a hurry, or stubborn will probably come back to haunt you out there on the water.

It ALWAYS takes longer than you think! Genral rule for boat shopping. Find a list of rreally good boats and do the numbers on what it takes to make them great. Then pick the best one on the list and let someone else buy the other boats. Starting with the best boat is the best course.

Dwelling on soft deck issues is not enough. Soft decks usually are common in less than well made boats or in a few spots where someone that didn't know did something bad. Owners do terrible things to boats (see above). Don't lose sight of the bigger picture.

At this point in time 80's boats are all suspect unless they have a long track record of refits. Any boat sitting idle for more than 3 years is also suspect. Neglect is the killer on boats no matter who made them.

Bottom line: You ain't that crafty so don't ask for trouble! You'll get a load of having to be crafty even if you get the nicest boat you see.
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Old 25-09-2012, 18:53   #18
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Re: Soft Deck, How Bad Is Bad ?

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If you don't have the background you won't get by on elbow grease. It really takes a lot of knowledge and it can be gained but it's never that simple. There are a thousand ways to do a decent job yet miss important points. If you don't have experience you need to take on all projects no matter how simple with a bit of doubt. Being anxious, in a hurry, or stubborn will probably come back to haunt you out there on the water.

It ALWAYS takes longer than you think! Genral rule for boat shopping. Find a list of rreally good boats and do the numbers on what it takes to make them great. Then pick the best one on the list and let someone else buy the other boats. Starting with the best boat is the best course.

Dwelling on soft deck issues is not enough. Soft decks usually are common in less than well made boats or in a few spots where someone that didn't know did something bad. Owners do terrible things to boats (see above). Don't lose sight of the bigger picture.

At this point in time 80's boats are all suspect unless they have a long track record of refits. Any boat sitting idle for more than 3 years is also suspect. Neglect is the killer on boats no matter who made them.

Bottom line: You ain't that crafty so don't ask for trouble! You'll get a load of having to be crafty even if you get the nicest boat you see.

Thanks, this what I have been trying to do, but all of these older boats seem to need attention of some kind, another sister ship for example is decent, has a solid deck, but will certainly need a new mast step, I am just jugging issues here to try and discover what is feasible for a person with many tools and better than average resto skills. The mast step for example, I know I would need help with. if the deck problem is confined, that sounds like a simple week project to me.
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Old 25-09-2012, 19:09   #19
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Re: Soft Deck, How Bad Is Bad ?

There is the stuff you can see and then the stuff you find when you fix what you saw. You can't see much now. Older bioats for a decent price have downsides., New boats from the factory have a lot of smaller downsides just the same. Work from a list of boats you can afford and do the best you can. The better boat in any list is the best one to shoot for - but you might not close! You just do the best you can!
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Old 25-09-2012, 19:45   #20
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Re: Soft Deck, How Bad Is Bad ?

I noticed a soft spot in the deck just aft of the stem and started tearing it out. Turns out I had termite damage and dryrot under the glass because the plywood was saturated with rain water. Not only did it effect the soft area but stretched to the deck edge into the beam shelf from the stem to aft of the chain plates. 42 foot boat. Lots of damage to repair. It'll be another year. If you can determine where the rot ends and it isn't too much damage then maybe the boat is worth it. If the owner won't let you do exploritory surgery then don't chance it.
Do you know the core material? Is it ply or foam or balsa? If it is wood then it might have turned to mush way beyond the 3x3.
kind regards,
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Old 25-09-2012, 19:48   #21
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Re: Soft Deck, How Bad Is Bad ?

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I noticed a soft spot in the deck just aft of the stem and started tearing it out. Turns out I had termite damage and dryrot under the glass because the plywood was saturated with rain water. Not only did it effect the soft area but stretched to the deck edge into the beam shelf from the stem to aft of the chain plates. 42 foot boat. Lots of damage to repair. It'll be another year. If you can determine where the rot ends and it isn't too much damage then maybe the boat is worth it. If the owner won't let you do exploritory surgery then don't chance it.
Do you know the core material? Is it ply or foam or balsa? If it is wood then it might have turned to mush way beyond the 3x3.
kind regards,

Its balsa, but wouldn't you be able to step on it and feel mushy spots where ever there is mush underneath ?
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Old 25-09-2012, 19:53   #22
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Re: Soft Deck, How Bad Is Bad ?

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Its balsa, but wouldn't you be able to step on it and feel mushy spots where ever there is mush underneath ?
Maybe, it depends. It depends on where on the deck and how far along the damage and how the deck is supported.

Walking on it wouldn't tell you how extensive the damage. (how far along and how widespread)
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Old 25-09-2012, 20:19   #23
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Re: Soft Deck, How Bad Is Bad ?

Sorry to disagree with so many, but... I bought a boat (for a song) with several soft spots on the deck and in the cockpit a few years back. The largest spot was probably two feet by three feet. I would say it took me no more than ten hours' work to fix all the soft spots. I'm not exaggerating. I sailed the boat thousands of miles, had a great time with it, and sold it for twice what I had in it.

I think there may be some ill-informed opinion in some of the posts above.

By the way, in my experience, you can adequately judge the condition of a deck just by walking softly over it. I've watched a VERY experienced, highly respected boatyard manager do just that. He could tell what was underneath by walking on the deck in his boat shoes.

Soft decks terrify buyers. If you're handy and unafraid, you may be able to take advantage of that. If a deck is old enough to have soft spots, it's old enough to need painting. So all you're really looking at is some fiberglass repair work (and replacing the core). It's cheap and easy to do yourself, in my experience.
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Old 25-09-2012, 21:37   #24
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Re: soft deck, how bad is bad ?

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I am pretty crafty and do not mind time spent tinkering, its a lot more fun than watching TV .. Being my first boat though, I dont want to get in over my head, but I have bought things in the past that most people would not touch and have done some nice restorations. I am thinking I can handle the deck job, but dont want it to get too crazy my first time.
I am the same way but what I thought would be a three month job turned into 6 months. This is my third boat restore but first time on a sailboat. There is a learning curve.
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Old 26-09-2012, 04:15   #25
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Re: Soft Deck, How Bad Is Bad ?

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I have read that soft decks are more of a cosmetic issue than anything
A bit of soft can be simply cosmetic, a lot of soft is structural. Not to say that anything bad will suddenly happen. But it might. Everyone has different comfort levels on that.

Quote:
Any boat I make an offer on I will get a survey first, I just dont want to waste money on a survey if a problem like that is bigger than I am realizing.
A Survey will give you a good heads up, but won't give you a definative answer as to how much is wet / delamed (unless he has X-ray vision!).....only destructive testing will do that.

And likely the Surveyor will mention the wet that is known and simply raise the possibility of more as a concern and recomend further investigation.......which ain't telling you anything you don't already know.

With the size of the wet on the foredeck my concern would be about both the Anchor Windlass (and any mooring cleats) and also the forestay. Not to say that you can't use the boat in the interim, but probably wise to avoid anchoring somewhere that you rely on the anchor / winch staying attached! and also have a plan B if forestay (and chainplates?) also pull out of the deck. Mostly that Plan B would involve not going anywhere challenging / where you can't pick weather. and can swim home?

Have been a couple of good threads about wet core on CF (Minaret has posted some good stuff in the past - worth a search on his posts).

The worst case example is that you could be 42 foot wrong. each side . But likely not that. likely.

I have only messed around with wetcore a couple of times (and never me own boats - my current one is solid glass).....IMO it is one of those things that is DIYable, but a pig of a job and time consuming - to do well. Of course like everything there are shortcuts (bodges) that can be done, including simply digging out a bit of wet and stuffing epoxy wherever it can be stuffed into . Deck no longer moves = problem sorted? ........unless perhaps somewhere that deck being sound is fairly important.

If the rest of the boat is otherwise good, and you can get the doubts over the wetcore reflected in the sale price (plenty of scope for you / your surveyor to do that!) then I can see why a tempter. But 42 foot is a lot of boat.......

Oh, I would also have a good look at access from the inside - both under the foredeck and the side decks (just in case ).
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Old 26-09-2012, 08:30   #26
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Re: Soft Deck, How Bad Is Bad ?

If there is core delamination in one area there is likely core delamination in other areas. Check the whole deck out very thoroughly.
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Old 26-09-2012, 14:16   #27
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Just finished repairing a soft area on the foredeck of my Bristol 34. Area turned out to be about 4x4 ft. Initially it "felt" smaller, but once I got started, the balsa was gone on nearly the entire foredeck. All that said. Took me about 40-50 hours and I primed the deck and will be applying Kiwigrip soon. It came out very well. Structurely sound, no movement at all now. Orig cause was leak around anchor hawse.

If you are handy, you can do this. It is not rocket science. It will take more epoxy and glass than you think.

Good luck

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Old 26-09-2012, 14:32   #28
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Re: Soft Deck, How Bad Is Bad ?

Thanks everyone. Will be checking out the boat soon.
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Old 26-09-2012, 14:50   #29
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Zen and boat maintenance?

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I am the same way but what I thought would be a three month job turned into 6 months. This is my third boat restore but first time on a sailboat. There is a learning curve.
I want to thake this discussion in a different direction which is to talk about that "learning curve".

To wit, limiting the discussion to those who do possess the ability it can be thought that people are of different levels of expertise in that limited group. Then factor in how often does one tackle a job like this? Or, given that each job is different, it can be difficult to qauntify certain statements such as, "it's a difficult job", "it will take longer than expected", or "it will take more material than you thought".

To this end, step-by-step pictures would be very helpful. I am thinking so others can understand the scope of work thereby qualifying those statements.

But the bottom line is where one makes such a statement another may opine the opposite. I agree there is a learning curve but when is that not true? Making a bed, making bread, driving a car, anchoring a boat, all involve a process of learning. But that learning curve should not be steep.

To say "...it will be a larger job or will require more material than you think" really tells me more about the person's scheduling abilities than it does about the job. That is not intended as a negative critique but as aknowledgement that we aren't all the same just as not all jobs are the same.

I guess what I am trying to come to is that one should not be dissuaded by a comment made by another person.

Lastly, given that it is probable that a majority here on CF (as representive of the total cruising population) will not perform many such jobs, there perspective is based on a small experience. Obversely, the more often one engages in such work, the wider the base for their practical opinion. And as one becomes more involved in such work, the flattening of that learning curve. This holds true until, theoreitcally speaking, one arrives at that idealized place where they have acquired enough experience that no job is difficult nor are they surprised by the length of a material list and labor schedule.

Again, not all jobs are the same so even that master craftsman may expect to be befuddled from time to time.
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Old 26-09-2012, 15:08   #30
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Re: Zen and boat maintenance?

I agree, thanks. I split and rebuilt many engines, including the cranks. I do this more for fun than anything, but most people would never even attempt to replace a piston ring.

I become immersed in anything I do, just being new to this, and these boats not being exactly cheap, I do not want to make any greenhorn mistakes.

If I can save 15-20k on a boat because it needs a repair that I can do in a week, now you are speaking my language.
Quote:
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I want to thake this discussion in a different direction which is to talk about that "learning curve".

To wit, limiting the discussion to those who do possess the ability it can be thought that people are of different levels of expertise in that limited group. Then factor in how often does one tackle a job like this? Or, given that each job is different, it can be difficult to qauntify certain statements such as, "it's a difficult job", "it will take longer than expected", or "it will take more material than you thought".

To this end, step-by-step pictures would be very helpful. I am thinking so others can understand the scope of work thereby qualifying those statements.

But the bottom line is where one makes such a statement another may opine the opposite. I agree there is a learning curve but when is that not true? Making a bed, making bread, driving a car, anchoring a boat, all involve a process of learning. But that learning curve should not be steep.

To say "...it will be a larger job or will require more material than you think" really tells me more about the person's scheduling abilities than it does about the job. That is not intended as a negative critique but as aknowledgement that we aren't all the same just as not all jobs are the same.

I guess what I am trying to come to is that one should not be dissuaded by a comment made by another person.

Lastly, given that it is probable that a majority here on CF (as representive of the total cruising population) will not perform many such jobs, there perspective is based on a small experience. Obversely, the more often one engages in such work, the wider the base for their practical opinion. And as one becomes more involved in such work, the flattening of that learning curve. This holds true until, theoreitcally speaking, one arrives at that idealized place where they have acquired enough experience that no job is difficult nor are they surprised by the length of a material list and labor schedule.

Again, not all jobs are the same so even that master craftsman may expect to be befuddled from time to time.
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