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Old 26-09-2012, 15:54   #31
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Re: Soft Deck, How Bad Is Bad ?

FWIW,

Nowadays most surveyors have and use moisture meters for assessing osmosis issues in hulls. I would think that use of this instrument on your soggy deck would help delineate the affected area.

Someone earlier was worrying that the moisture could have come from a leaky hull to deck joint. In all the cored decks that I have seen the coring ends well away from the flange that is bolted/screwed/glued to the hull flange, and thus moisture is unlikely to come from this source. I would bet that your boat's PO installed the windlass without adequately sealing the core where the several penetrations were made. Or possibly without reinforcing the deck in the highly loaded area around the windlass base, leading to flexing and the breaking down of originally good sealing.

Anyway, good luck with your continued searching.

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Old 26-09-2012, 16:14   #32
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Re: Soft Deck, How Bad Is Bad ?

These threads are worth a read (keep an eye out for Minaret's contribution - he does the job commercially).

The Science of Soggy Decks

Survey came back and there are issues
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Old 26-09-2012, 18:25   #33
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Re: Soft Deck, How Bad Is Bad ?

Well, it seems like the whole matter boils down to one question: How will I know the extent of damage until I am able to open up the boat?

Possible answers:
  • 1) Complete the purchase based on what you know.
  • 2) Include clauses in purchase agreement which make final purchase conditional to repairs found after opening up the area. May contain additional clause detailing or limiting amount of work. Negotiate specified sum for itemized repairs which is subtracted from purchase price.
  • 3) Have owner make specified repairs for a specified sum. Corrective work shall be to specified quality using specified materials. Date of completion may be open ended.
In any case it comes down to contract negotiations.
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Old 26-09-2012, 18:43   #34
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Re: Soft Deck, How Bad Is Bad ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard5 View Post
Well, it seems like the whole matter boils down to one question: How will I know the extent of damage until I am able to open up the boat?

Possible answers:
  • 1) Complete the purchase based on what you know.
  • 2) Include clauses in purchase agreement which make final purchase conditional to repairs found after opening up the area. May contain additional clause detailing or limiting amount of work. Negotiate specified sum for itemized repairs which is subtracted from purchase price.
  • 3) Have owner make specified repairs for a specified sum. Corrective work shall be to specified quality using specified materials. Date of completion may be open ended.
In any case it comes down to contract negotiations.
While I don't disagree with you this is really risk transfer and that is one of the purposes of contracts.

Cheap boats, when the owner is done, are cheap for reasons, including soft decks and a million other things.

Elbow grease, labor and skill are often traded for price. The owner may have the repair done commercially at higher cost. Then the owner raises the price to recoup costs.

In general there is no such thing as a "cheap" boat.

In regards to the soft deck I agree with others. It can be fixed. Large area vs. small area is not such a big deal unless the delamination is near structural joints like chain plates and forestay mounts.

I personally would not get involved with a boat that needs this kind of repair but if one goes in with as much knowledge as possible I can definitely see the allure.

The caution about termites and stuff is real. I have a friend who had a soft spot in the (wood) wall near the floor of his pilot house. Ended up nearly rebuilding the entire pilot house when he discovered wood borers.
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Old 26-09-2012, 19:25   #35
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Re: Soft Deck, How Bad Is Bad ?

The core on my Tanton 44 was rotten in the forepeak. I didnt discover it until after the decks had been repainted etc. I cut down over the Vberth and replaced it all. Messy job but was able to leave the deck intact. I found the extent by drilling small holes below deck until the balsa coming out was dry. To some extent I think it depends on how heavy the boat is built and where the wet core is as far as how critical it is. I doubt the bow is going to fall off if you want to sail awhile before doing it as long as the headstay isnt compromised. Wet core on a thin skinned production boat may be a bigger risk than wet core on a heavily laid Chinese boat. Anyone know how thick the decks were on boats with uncored decks in the 60's were?
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Old 26-09-2012, 20:59   #36
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Re: Soft Deck, How Bad Is Bad ?

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Originally Posted by David_Old_Jersey View Post
These threads are worth a read (keep an eye out for Minaret's contribution - he does the job commercially).

The Science of Soggy Decks

Survey came back and there are issues
plus1

also have a look at

Understanding the Moisture Meter / Electrophysics CT-33 Photo Gallery by Compass Marine at pbase.com
Lackey Sailing LLC | Restoring and Rebuilding Great* Boats have a look at his projects cause he details his work and gives that time it took.
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Old 26-09-2012, 21:14   #37
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Re: Soft Deck, How Bad Is Bad ?

Ex-Calif, I agree this is transfer of risk. In fact, I look at every transfer od title as transfer of risk.

Surveys, inspections, expert opinion, et al can be reduced to simply risk management. Of course, risk management is often times not easy.

I would love to see someone (I nominate Sunblock) to 'walk' us through the whole shebang, soup to nuts, initial inspection through survey to final purchase...on pictures!

It would be as 'real time' as quick as posting pics would allow. Am I too presumptious in my belief consensus could be derived in a timely manner?...a consensus which would also be fair to each party involved.
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Old 27-09-2012, 00:11   #38
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Re: Soft Deck, How Bad Is Bad ?

Yes - these buying threads have lots of variation of opinion and often break down.

I know what I did and it worked. I have been doing contract administration and management for 30 years. IANAL but I know how to read and interpret. There are two truths.

- If it ends up in court is was a crap contract
- If it ends up in court the outcome is a crap shoot regardless of what the contract says.

I aim to make sure the contract is not a win-win or a win-lose or any sort of competion. It is as simply as possible what two parties agree will happen with contingencies laid out and explained.

However if parties could communicate either verbally or in written form all corporate lawyers would starve.
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Old 27-09-2012, 03:06   #39
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Re: Soft Deck, How Bad Is Bad ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
Anyone know how thick the decks were on boats with uncored decks in the 60's were?
Mine has solid decks, built in 1970 but that near the end of the model run which started in the early 60's..........I cut a hole recently (new vent) and the cabin top is 1/4 inch. I think the decks are about the same - I have only drilled holes that were too small to measure!

Topsides are nearer 1/2 inch - dunno what the underwater parts are, I suspect not that light .

and yes, I do appreciate that thicker / heavier is not always better. But me core won't be going soggy .
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Old 27-09-2012, 03:29   #40
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Re: Soft Deck, How Bad Is Bad ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard5 View Post
Well, it seems like the whole matter boils down to one question: How will I know the extent of damage until I am able to open up the boat?


Possible answers:
  • 1) Complete the purchase based on what you know.
  • 2) Include clauses in purchase agreement which make final purchase conditional to repairs found after opening up the area. May contain additional clause detailing or limiting amount of work. Negotiate specified sum for itemized repairs which is subtracted from purchase price.
  • 3) Have owner make specified repairs for a specified sum. Corrective work shall be to specified quality using specified materials. Date of completion may be open ended.
In any case it comes down to contract negotiations.
I understand where you are coming from. But IMO only an idiot Vendor would agree to that (remember that he doesn't know the real condition of those decks either). Likely the best outcome is to scare the Vendor witless and get as much as possible knocked off the price.....and then keep fingers crossed.

The good news is that if the job is done well, then the fix will outlast the new owner - so even if costs more than discounted (likely) he has the benefit of zero future problems. Of course that only works if the Boat is a keeper........
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Old 27-09-2012, 04:10   #41
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Re: Soft Deck, How Bad Is Bad ?

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Likely the best outcome is to scare the Vendor witless and get as much as possible knocked off the price.....and then keep fingers crossed.
How about this:

WHEREAS, Seller and Buyer mutually agree there are repairs to be made.
WHEREAS, extent of damage is unknown to either party and scope of work is not easily determined and may include selective demolition to aid in discovery of scope of work.
THEREFORE, Buyer agrees to deposit (specified $ amount) to Seller to allow Buyer to make determination. Aforementioned $ amount shall be applied to purchase price only if Buyer completes purchase or it is otherwise non-refundable.

This may look like earnest money but it is different because the monies are NOT in consideration of the purchase rather it is intended to allow Buyer to move forward in his own due diligence.

The Seller is kept 'whole' by the dollar amount paid to him not to mention he now has a better idea of the amount and type of work required to make repairs. The Buyer's interest is similarly satisfied. It should be considered if the amount will be tied to an hourly labor rate or lump sum. $100 to drill some holes, remove headliner, etc might be enough.

If it were discovered to be an Oh wow! moment the buyer would have happily spent the pittance. In any case, he can now negotiate from a more solid position.

This would be a card up the sleeve only to be used at last resort assuming the Buyer really wants the vessel and the Seller is being hesitant. Sometimes people need a little push.

I'm just thinking on the edge. Again, if the buyer really wanted the boat would this tactic come into play. I'm still at least 8 months out from my planned purchase and already I am blurry eyed from reviewing the many listings. A buyer finds his pride and joy but there's a little hiccup...he should seek to resolve it rather than running onto the next listing.
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Old 27-09-2012, 05:25   #42
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Re: Soft Deck, How Bad Is Bad ?

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How about this:
I am firmly in the camp of everything is negotiable - and it only takes two to be happy to tango, not everyone else and their dog .

But nonetheless I think your approach would need a very keen Vendor.

The downside for a Vendor I can see is that they risk ending up with a boat that is not in the same condition as it was when the destructive investigations started. The clue is in the word destructive - as likely will be pretty much half way through the job before you get the definative good answer (otherwise you are simply getting a better indication - but still without absolute certainty) and putting back to good half a job done is often not as easy as carrying on to a proper fix (how are you intending to fix those drill holes? - simply slap in some Epoxy?.....which makes a later proper fix harder).

In any event, you would have to decide beforehand what is good enough to go forward and what sort of discount would be looking for in the varying scenarios. and then get the Vendor to agree.

As a Vendor I would either fix the decks myself (properly or with a bodge ) or more likely simply reflect the possible work involved in the price, albeit not fully (well, not unless I had to!).

Personally I would only buy a boat with suspect cored decks if I felt able (in time & cash) to complete a well done fix - for the entire deck (whether DIY or professionally).......and then be pleasantly surprised when not required. Anything around a fitting will be suspect (and a lot of fittings on a 42 footer).....and where it goes from there is anyone's guess and probably depends on potluck as much as anything else.

Working from underneath the decks is a lot harder (and requires access that may not be easy to obtain) - but has the benefit of leaving the decks intact. Working from above is the "easy" way - except when it comes to replacing the decks, as any cosmetic imperfections will be on show 24/7. forever (therefore IMO not the best job to learn your fibreglassing skills on!). My suspicion (I am never going to find out!) is that it's one of those jobs where it is pretty much the same time / trouble (and a better result overall) just to bite the bullet and do the job properly as it is to do a lot of bodges.

There are usually reasons why boats are priced low.
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Old 27-09-2012, 09:35   #43
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Re: Zen and boat maintenance?

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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.
You cut away the top layer of fiberglass. If the core is rotten balsa or plywood, you take the old core out and replace it with new. If the core is plastic foam (as it was in my boat), you can either replace the foam or pour epoxy in where the foam has cracked to make the foam monolithic again. You need to feather the edges of the fiberglass back from the hole with a grinder. You lay new fiberglass. Then you fair with epoxy filler. Then you sand and paint the deck. It takes some time and care to make it look good. But if you mess up the first time, it's easy to go back later and improve the result.

This is not hard or expensive work if you do it yourself.

I'm sorry I don't have any photos. It didn't take long enough to warrant the photographic documentation.

As for the discussion above about the elaborate contract language... Just make the owner an extremely low ball offer. If he doesn't take it, move on to the next boat. Probably nobody else in today's market is going to make an offer on a boat with soft spots in the deck. Sooner or later, one of these owners is going to call back and take your offer.

The above advice is not hypothetical. It is based on actual experience.
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Old 27-09-2012, 10:13   #44
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Re: Soft Deck, How Bad Is Bad ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by David_Old_Jersey View Post
These threads are worth a read (keep an eye out for Minaret's contribution - he does the job commercially).

The Science of Soggy Decks

Survey came back and there are issues
Yes , the attachment on using a moisture meter is great, thanks. Definitely an art, but can rule out the worst situations without paying for a survey....
a couple excerpts:
"To master the use of one takes time and should be used with soundings, something many DIY's don't have the ear for.

I do not suggest that you use your meter for bellow water applications, with a solid un-cored hull, as these readings can be very misleading


***Please DO NOT use a meter on any deck or interior hull sections that have dew, condensation or where it has recently rained. If you must take a reading after a rain or dew use a rag dampened with either Acetone or Denatured Alcohol to ensure the surface is bone dry before taking a reading. I still suggest waiting if at all possible.
There is no benefit in even bringing your meter to a boat in the dead of winter."

*** It is very, very important to know what is UNDER the deck before taking a reading and the approximate thickness. Some new boats, from builders like Catalina, have aluminum plates glassed into the deck under winches, stanchions and other hardware. These aluminum insertions will cause "wet" looking readings as they are only about 1/4" deep at best. Large backing plates can also throw off readings so please do your best to look inside and to be sure your not reading metals through the deck.
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Old 27-09-2012, 16:17   #45
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Re: Soft Deck, How Bad Is Bad ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by David_Old_Jersey View Post
In any event, you would have to decide beforehand what is good enough to go forward and what sort of discount would be looking for in the varying scenarios. and then get the Vendor to agree.

As a Vendor I would either fix the decks myself (properly or with a bodge ) or more likely simply reflect the possible work involved in the price, albeit not fully (well, not unless I had to!).

Personally I would only buy a boat with suspect cored decks if I felt able (in time & cash) to complete a well done fix - for the entire deck (whether DIY or professionally).......and then be pleasantly surprised when not required. Anything around a fitting will be suspect (and a lot of fittings on a 42 footer).....and where it goes from there is anyone's guess and probably depends on potluck as much as anything else.
I wouldn't let a stranger destructively investigate my boat unless it was clear that it was at his expense and that the boat would be restored, at his expense, to previous condition or better. And even then probably not. I would price the boat to include all known defects including soft decks. If your survey turn up something I didn't know about then we negotiate some more if you want to.

You allow for this in the surveying clause and you roll your dice. Here is what was in my survey clause (partially...

"Upon completion of this survey and sea trial, Buyer shall present to the Seller any list of discrepancies compiled which Buyer’s require rectified prior to sale. The Seller shall have __Seven__ (__7__) business days to review the list and to notify the Buyer of Seller's decision: (a) to pay to have the discrepancies repaired at Seller's expense and to complete the sale; or (b) to decline to pay the costs of repairs and to terminate the Agreement. If Seller declines to pay the cost of repairs, Seller shall refund, or have refunded, the Buyer's deposit."
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