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Old 11-06-2020, 12:28   #1
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Maple Leaf 48 Advice

Hello All,
I rarely post on sites like this, as there is usually enough information I can gather from old threads, except for now! My wife and I (and daughter) are considering buying a 1973 Maple Leaf 48 that 'appears' to be in fine condition. Here is a link (hopefully it works) https://www.yachtworld.com/boats/197...af-48-3569643/

We are planning to live aboard for a couple years and working on improvements for a crossing to Hawaii, then on to New Zealand in 3 years or so. The layout of this boat is incredibly ideal... the protected cockpit for out young daughter, private aft stateroom with exterior access, and easy tender access off the stern.

My biggest concern is the build quality of Maple Leafs of this era. From what I gather, they were Airex cored hulls BELOW the waterline. It's hard for me to imagine this won't be delimited or saturated when we survey. The Balsa core decks are less of a concern, but still not ideal. Does anyone have experience with these boats, or have seen owners shelling out thousands of $ int he boatyard keeping them afloat?

Second concern is seaworthiness in a following sea. All owners I have spoken to say they do "great", no issues with lack of control. that big 'arse' still spooks me!

Any Advice would be greatly appreciated! We submitted a pretty low offer, and after a few back and fourths it was accepted. we have till mid July to suss it out.

Thanks all!
Mark & Sharon
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Old 11-06-2020, 12:51   #2
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Re: Maple Leaf 48 Advice

At that age, a really good survey is your only way to know whether she is sound. Have a long talk with your surveyor about your concerns.

Used to be the stern would make me wonder about a following sea - I was used to 1960's overhang. But, I've got a blunter stern than that on my trawler, and it has ridden up over a bunch of waves. Now I just wonder about boats that have open to the stern cockpits.

My biggest concern is why she is for sale for so little.
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Old 11-06-2020, 13:14   #3
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Re: Maple Leaf 48 Advice

Thanks tkeithlu,
I have called quite a few surveyors, have yet to line one up. I am quizzing them on their knowledge of cored hulls and maple leafs, but coming up a bit empty. I assume they are saving the good stuff until I fork out some $.

The price, I am told, is reflective of the fact that the boat has been on the market a while without any offers. the current owner is going to power boating, and just wants this one gone. It also has Awlgrip on the deck that is starting to let go, and does not show well. interior is pretty antiquated.

That being said, I am always skeptical of acceptance of a lower offer. makes me wonder what big issues have not been disclosed...

Appreciate the feedback on the stern. I love the layout from a static point of view, but getting pooped on might get hairy? I might need to modify for larger drains there...

M-
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Old 11-06-2020, 13:59   #4
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Re: Maple Leaf 48 Advice

In my opinion you have nothing to worry about with that transom. I believe there is a drain in that little cockpit and not much volume for water to fill anyway.

I think the design is excellent, my friends Gary and Grace Hughs in Woodenville owned one for years, named Lagrimas, and may be able to give you some local knowledge if you can figure out how to contact them.

You don't need a Maple Leaf 48 specialist surveyor, just a good surveyor. If the hull has delam its might be repairable, or it might be a big deal.

There are other risks in a boat of this age so be prepared for high costs to get it all in great shape before an ocean crossing.
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Old 11-06-2020, 14:43   #5
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Re: Maple Leaf 48 Advice

The Maple Leaf line was not known as a high quality build at a high quality price. It's a high value boat of that era that might be comparable to the Beneteaus, Bavaria's Hunters of today. That said they did offer a very large living area which made it very attractive as a live aboard. They never sailed to weather all that great but did very well on a reach and a run. Many have made offshore trips but they are getting long in the tooth so a very though survey should be made. As far as cored hulls, it really gets down to the builder and how carefully the hulls were laid up. There is nothing inherently wrong with them and if they were done well and maintained there are several advantages to cored hulls aside from lighter in weight and stronger in construction. Good luck in your boat search.
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Old 11-06-2020, 14:59   #6
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Re: Maple Leaf 48 Advice

Appreciate the comment wingssail!
I agree, the design is brilliant, especially for family cruising. We were initially "just looking" until we got on the boat. My wife and I looked at each other, and said "this is it!" love the protected cockpit for letting our kiddo roll around, and not off the side of the boat!

I will try to reach out to your friends for advice. I found a couple owners on facebook that have done nothing but rave on the boat. Good things all around.

not looking for a maple leaf 48 surveyor, just one who is more familiar with Cooper boats in general. They are more common in the PNW (built in Vancouver), so hoping to find a more keen eye.

as far as age, we have fixed up a few boats of this era. Ton of work, but we enjoy it as long as there is not a time crunch (and depending on the task).

M-
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Old 11-06-2020, 15:35   #7
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Re: Maple Leaf 48 Advice

Thanks robert sailor,
I don't like the comparison to a "Hunter", Ha! (owned one a while back). But I am all for honesty. I wouldn't expect it would sail well to weather, given it's a beast, but it's a compromise for livability.

The Owner has put a lot of new systems on the boat, but it definitely needs some more attention before bluewater. We hope to do the work while living on the boat for the next couple of years.
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Old 11-06-2020, 16:22   #8
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Re: Maple Leaf 48 Advice

Hi Mark & Sharon,

Mapleleaf's are fine vessels that were laid up by Cooper Enterprises Ltd. The Cooper line (I have a Cooper 416) also had Airex coring below the waterline, and mine has an Airex cored deck as well). While coring below the waterline is not ideal, in the case of my Cooper the Airex core extended only a few inches below the waterline. You can easily see where the coring ends and the solid frp layup begins when you start poking around in the bilge.

Any good surveyor who does a diligent job of "sounding the hull" and using a moisture meter around thru-hulls below the water line will discover any delamination and any degree of water in the coring material.

The biggest problem with cored hulls is poorly/improperly installed thru-hulls (which is common for boats of this era). Some yards simply drilled the hole, used a plywood backing plate and a bunch of sealant and did NOT seal the core around the hole. That's a recipe for a potential and likely leak. Again, a good surveyor with a moisture meter will find this problem. (But, unless there is delamination...moisture in the core is not necessarily a deal breaker as it can be resolved.)

WRT your second concern...have you seen the sterns on many modern boats? The new Bene's, Catalinas, and Hanse's are much wider.

The boat overall looks to be in fair shape from the photos. Rigging upgraded in 2012 a big plus, and other systems are not ancient. Big flag though is the pin hole in the port side water tank. This is not a trivial fix. The tank is likely built in. Another Cooper owner in BC had a "pin hole" leak in his amidships diesel tank and had to completely dismantle the galley and remove part of the sole to even get to the tank. It also says 550 gal of fuel, but the tankage doesn't seem to add up. One tank removed, a fuel bladder installed...look carefully.

I would highly recommend Bill Evans from Blue Water Marine. He's in the Seattle area.
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Old 11-06-2020, 17:05   #9
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Re: Maple Leaf 48 Advice

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Originally Posted by MARK98110 View Post
Thanks robert sailor,
I don't like the comparison to a "Hunter", Ha! (owned one a while back). But I am all for honesty. I wouldn't expect it would sail well to weather, given it's a beast, but it's a compromise for livability.

The Owner has put a lot of new systems on the boat, but it definitely needs some more attention before bluewater. We hope to do the work while living on the boat for the next couple of years.
I didnt mean to compare boat for boat, simply that Maple Leafs and Coopers were high value boats for that era. On the plus side they were stick built boats and not liner built like our current high value boats so they are much easier to inspect and easier to rebuild and probably stronger if well maintained.

We cruised for several months with a 48 as well as a 42 and compared to our boat they were huge, unfortunately that makes you the party boat, lol. I think if you could find one that had reasonable maintenance history they would make a great mid to lower latitude cruiser. Keep one thing in mind, boats this size are not the cheap seats when it comes to refitting and maintaining so keep a reasonable sum in the cruising kitty.
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Old 11-06-2020, 17:22   #10
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Re: Maple Leaf 48 Advice

No offense taken! It definitely no Amel =) We tend to take pride in the miles sailed over looks, so as long as it get us to our destination safely we will be happy.

As far as $, that is one thing that concerns us at this size. I have seen how quick our 36'-40' have drained the bank in the past. Like a vortex! We have lived aboard previously (prior to a kiddo), and with my salary as an Architect, we were able to save a substantial amount of money renting out our house, while also outfitting the boat. Unfortunately, our "minimum size" for living aboard keeps growing with our family. This is about as small as we can make it work.
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Old 11-06-2020, 17:32   #11
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Re: Maple Leaf 48 Advice

Discovery 15797,
One of my first questions to owners of ML 48's was whether thru hulls were laid up with solid fiberglass, and they indicated yes. in visiting the boat, I did my amateur sounding with a screwdriver handle, and could not find any soft spots. I will definitely rely on a good surveyor and may reach out to your recommendation (seattle is a 1.5 hrs away, so bit of a fee there).

Re: Stern design. Very logical point. I love the functionality of it, so just wanted to sound off opinions here.

Re: Pin hole leak, The owner did disclose that, and has dropped the price accordingly. The tankage is still quite large, and we intended to just not fill the tank all the way up (hole at top). This does segway into another concern I have (no experience with), which is a keel tank for diesel. We intend to scope the tank, but are there any warnings to consider? for the other tanks, I have never pressure tested in a survey, but can that be done?
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Old 11-06-2020, 19:44   #12
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Re: Maple Leaf 48 Advice

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Originally Posted by MARK98110 View Post
Discovery 15797...Re: Pin hole leak, The owner did disclose that, and has dropped the price accordingly. The tankage is still quite large, and we intended to just not fill the tank all the way up (hole at top). This does segway into another concern I have (no experience with), which is a keel tank for diesel. We intend to scope the tank, but are there any warnings to consider? for the other tanks, I have never pressure tested in a survey, but can that be done?
Uh, "we intended to just not fill the tank all the way up"?

How about heeling over? And the other thing is, if there is one pin hole leak there are others just ready to develop.

No big deal, just start thinking about exactly how you'd go about getting this tank out (what has to be cut away, etc) and by the way, the keel tank too. Huge jobs, but start thinking, because it is inevitable.

BTW, our tanks are very much easier to access, but we've had to do it. Getting them out is the hard part, but getting a new one made custom by a welder(and cheapest ), and getting a new one back in the easy part but the disruption to the interior is scary.

BTW 2, Gary and Grace raced theirs for years, and they do go to weather. Clean bottom, flat sails, and good steering and this boat will sail!
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Old 11-06-2020, 20:23   #13
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Re: Maple Leaf 48 Advice

A foam cored hull doesn’t get wet inside unless... the thru-hull fittings were installed badly, or the skin was damaged. Or there was some differed maintenance. I have seen thru-hull fittings that were installed by a well known boatbuilder by drilling a hull in a cored hull, slathered with 5200, and called good. This is NOT good...

The older the boat the more likely there is an issue, but water doesn’t migrate through a sound fiberglass skin and saturate the core (which sounds like it might be your concern).
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Old 13-06-2020, 07:46   #14
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Re: Maple Leaf 48 Advice

Wingsail,
It’s something we intend to fix, just not right away. It has multiple tanks, there is just 1 with a pin hole. We want to make sure we like the boat well enough to rio the interior apart.

And glad to hear it sails to weather! All owners I have talked to report good things. I have heard 9knts on a reach. Guess we’ll see!
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Old 13-06-2020, 07:55   #15
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Re: Maple Leaf 48 Advice

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A foam cored hull doesn’t get wet inside unless... the thru-hull fittings were installed badly, or the skin was damaged. Or there was some differed maintenance. I have seen thru-hull fittings that were installed by a well known boatbuilder by drilling a hull in a cored hull, slathered with 5200, and called good. This is NOT good...

The older the boat the more likely there is an issue, but water doesn’t migrate through a sound fiberglass skin and saturate the core (which sounds like it might be your concern).


SV Harmonie,
Every surveyor I have talked to “guarantees” there will be moisture in the hull. Working on getting a core sample with the owner. With over 50 years of water trying to work it’s way through the outer “membrane” seems probable. The path of least resistance will of course be in cracks or thru hulls, so we are checking there first. but I would tend to agree with them. Water will find a way. Moisture is less if a concern for us, than a degrading of the core material, and structural loss.

I just was hoping to get some build inflation. From looking at unpainted parts of the interior hull, looks to be a heavy matte and rove layout with polyester (unfortunately).
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