When you google
for advice on buying
a foam sandwich boat, you come across the suggestion that if the boat's skin fittings are not correctly installed, water
will have leaked into the core
and the boat is a disaster - run away!
I have a 30' catamaran
, and every screw and bolt and some skin fittings have leaked. The survey
didn't pick it up. My experienced advisors didn't either (various friends with decades of boating
experience). With hindsight, I now know I can spot a soaked core
from across the other side of the boat yard - brown stains where water
is leaking out of the core is a giveaway ( this is a Airex core in the bottom of the hull
, Divinycel in the topsides and some of the deck
. Polyester/glass skins. Some deck
is solid grp.)
I have already done a lot of other work that I was aware needed doing when I bought the boat - rebuilding the daggerboards and rudders, rewiring, replacing some bulkheads that had delaminated. The aft beam had been laminated with polyester/glass. The mainsheet track was screwed to the aft beam, and the screws leaked water in. I stripped the beam. There was just a little rotten ply, which I replaced. I dried the beam ( covering in bubble wrap, and applying low level heat below it for several weeks ), and glass/epoxied it. More work than I care to list....
Anyway, I saw someone in the yard playing with a moisture meter, and I borrowed that. I was aware that in one or two places there was water in the core. The meter showed where the water had reached.
Almost every deck fitting on the coachroof shows water nearby and downhill from it. Each window in the bridge deck roof has many screws in it, and below each window the core is saturated. In a couple of places, the water has travelled into the hulls - there are areas from the deck to the bottom, perhaps a couple of feet wide that show elevated moisture levels. In other parts
of the hull
, wheer I have needed to drill a hole or I have removed an area of the skin, no water has come out.
The net between the hulls is tied to the hull with a sailtrack, and the sailtrack is held on with screws through the hull and into a timber beam that is glassed onto the inside of the hull. The screws leaked, the timber is soaked - a hole in the bottom part of the glass encasing leaks
water slowly - I have replaced the screws with through bolts, with big washers on the inside, trying to seal the track by using Sikkaflex between the track and the hull, and applying polyurethane
wood glue to each of the bolts before putting them in ( the polyurethane
reacts with water, and expands into the wood - I figured I'd never get the wood dry, so I can't use epoxy
, but if I could prevent more water getting in, and use the fibreglass which encases the wood as a support for the track, well, it's a bodge, but it might work...). I mention this because there is an aluminium rub rail attached to each hull in the same way, the whole length of each hull - a lot of screws, and without looking, I am pretty certain the builder
has just put a bit of sealant
on each screw, and many of the screws will have leaked.... I think the wood laminated on the inside of the hull will be wet, but I think the core is OK.
I am thinking I shouldn't have bought this boat, but I already have, and I wonder how viable it is to rescue
That's a long list of woes, and I could go on. On the upside, I'm thinking that 90% of the core of the hulls is dry.
Yep, I should have run away, but I didn't. No-one would want to start from here, but here is where I find myself. Here's my plan - tell me if you think it is feasible or...
Put the boat under cover next winter, and remove every fitting and screw through the hull.
In the couple of places where there is water in the core of the hull, drill many small downward-sloping holes through the inner skin with the hope that the water will eventually escape, driven by the repeated diurnal heating/cooling cycle. Install some ventilation in all outside lockers.
Either remove the rub rail, or replace the screws with through bolts in the way that I have dealt with the sail track that suports the net.
In the spring, make all the deck fitting holes the right way, with an epoxy
filler between the skins around the holes for the bolts. I appreciate this might be difficult due to any remaining water in the core, but perhaps applying some heat to the area first, I can get it dry enough for the epoxy.
Replace the windows with new perspex or acrylic
winows, using 3M tape to bond them in, and no screws.
Advice, other than I shouldn't have bought it...?