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Old 07-09-2019, 08:27   #31
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Re: Beginner question on fixing damaged balsa core

No one has say Hunter is a quality builder either
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They didn't
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Old 07-09-2019, 14:31   #32
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Re: Beginner question on fixing damaged balsa core

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No one has say Hunter is a quality builder either
4,984 surveys completed and I can say that Hunter, among production boats is no worse than most and better than quite a few.
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Old 07-09-2019, 16:50   #33
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Re: Beginner question on fixing damaged balsa core

I surveyed a custom built balsa core yacht last year that ended up having over 60% of its bottom and top sides replaced. The job started out as a few big isolated patches that the builder repaired then I was asked to run my moisture meter over the rest of the hull before they painted her. We uncovered so much more, I am sure the owner would have scrapped the boat if he was not so committed already.
The hull had got wet via a combination of skin fittings not being sealed and a crack in the hull.

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Old 13-09-2019, 07:10   #34
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Re: Beginner question on fixing damaged balsa core

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Remove port, gouge out as much wet core as you can, fill with thickened epoxy. Replace port. Don't hire someone to do job - do it yourself. Get on with your life. Most of strength is in fiberglass layers, not core. Lots of anal retentiveness regarding this subject.
WOW this is incredibly BAD advice.
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Old 13-09-2019, 10:34   #35
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Re: Beginner question on fixing damaged balsa core

Are you planning to sail round the world? No? Just knock 25% off the price and buy it. The next guy along probably won't get a survey anyway!
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Old 13-09-2019, 10:58   #36
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Re: Beginner question on fixing damaged balsa core

The problem has been pointed out to you, Do more research on the extent of the saturation, This issue would not cause me much concern for the repair, but I would make the issue known to the seller and reflected in the sale price.

Offering 10-15 % less than the asking price seems reasonable to me. Remove the portlight find the source of the leak , drill a few 1/4" holes along the lowest part of the wet core, let the moisture drain, dry the area out with low heat for a few days, inject some epoxy mixed with cotton mill into the core area from the top until it oozes out the bottom holes, tape over the holes. and let the mess harden for a few days. Then smooth and sand.
If every boat with moisture in the core material was junked or scrapped marinas would be a very lonely place. Look at it this way you now know of the problem area , so address all the ports and reseal them before others become an issue.

There are so many online sources for this type of do it yourself repair you'll have no problem to do this yourself and learning a little more about your new boat. If you do this yourself and have no tools or material and had to buy everything the cost would be well under $1000.
That this damage was even found speaks to the quality of the inspection, so if everything else checked out don't let discourage you . Even he said it not a very big deal .
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Old 13-09-2019, 11:37   #37
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Re: Beginner question on fixing damaged balsa core

I've bought several boats with moisture in the coring, I'll tell you the hardest hardest part of the job is the first step, taking a saw or a drill to the deck or hull to start the repair. After that it's pretty straight forward. Of course I've had people look at my projects with disbelief that I bought that turd of a boat. To people who have done this type of repair work, most of these comments are comical. I've done several of this type of repair.... I just don't know a guy who knew a guy who bought a boat with a problem and it bankrupted him. This boat has no hull damage no interior damage in this area just moisture in a two foot section of the hull above the water line and that makes it a deal breaker, to me it's just a bargaining point to lower the price. Hey maybe the seller will be as timid of this repair as many of the posters here and you can buy it for 15% of the selling price. Maybe point out the damage and let the seller decide a new selling price , then make your offer, you could be the only interested party and the boat has got to go. If you have no interest in repairing and just are not capable of doing things for yourself, this may not be the boat for you.
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Old 13-09-2019, 12:34   #38
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Re: Beginner question on fixing damaged balsa core

It seems to me what we are talking about is risk. Tapping and moisture testing seem to indicate a problem, but neither the nature or the extent of any potential problem has been determined. IF (a big IF) the core is soaked over a large area the cost to repair the boat professionally would be uneconomic unless the owner nearly gave the boat away. IF this is the problem it will continue to spread, and if nothing else will make the boat very difficult to resell. OTOH it could be a manufacturing flaw that might be stable. The reason the surveyor won't answer your question of cost is that he has no idea how bad the problem is - which is typical of many boat repairs. Surveys are supposed to reduce the risk of unknown problems but in this case he didn't, or couldn't, do that.

The question is why on earth you would willingly take on such a risk? The market is awash with used boats that owners are desperate to sell, and which will pass survey. Those tens of thousands of dollars in potential repairs could instead be used to upgrade electronics, replace cushions, even sails, or possibly even an engine, on a sound boat. So why take the risk?

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Old 13-09-2019, 14:12   #39
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Re: Beginner question on fixing damaged balsa core

I generally agree with why take the risk. Though, every used boat has risks and the worst ones are often completely hidden
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Old 13-09-2019, 17:02   #40
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Re: Beginner question on fixing damaged balsa core

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OK, after chartering/borrowing/sharing boats for years I'm finally buying my own. I never really had to worry about maintenance before.

I'm purchasing a Hunter 36. This model is full glass below the waterline, and balsa core above.

A surveyor went over the boat and told me that it most likely has moisture inside the core along the starboard side of the hull. He can't say for sure, but by tapping on the hull, he found several areas that sound inconsistent (he also checked another boat of the same model for comparison). His little electrometer also suggests moisture inside. He says it most likely got in through the edges of the portlight.

He doesn't think it's a terrible problem right now, but he recommends sealing it up so that no more moisture gets in.

OK, this leads to my questions. I asked these of the surveyor too, but he wouldn't give me a clear answer:
  1. Worst case scenario - if we were to do surgery, and replace the core, what would something like this potentially cost to fix?
  2. I can revise my offer on the boat after the survey. In my situation, if all other things are fine, would you still buy the boat? What kind of reduction in price would you ask for?
  3. Instead of just sealing up the leaks, wouldn't it make sense to drain out all water and use some kind of air dryers first?
  4. And if I just ignored it and it went untreated - what is the worst that could happen?

Thanks in advance for any help.
Thats the problem with surveyors in general..The 'it might be or not' doesn't help in my opinion.
If the balsa core in the hull is wet i would wailk away from it. Yes it is nearly impossible to dry out a wet hull core. It really depends on the area compromised.
If its only around a window or fitting above the waterline its a different matter as it most likely is a small area.
What's the point of sealing the moistness in? The bond between the outer and inner layer has been compromised, decks are easier to fix but it's nevertheless an expensive and time consuming exercise, obviously depending on the actual area involved.

Anyway, there isn't enough information to give an answer to to go ahead or not.
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Old 30-09-2019, 18:00   #41
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Re: Beginner question on fixing damaged balsa core

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Thats the problem with surveyors in general..The 'it might be or not' doesn't help in my opinion.
If the balsa core in the hull is wet i would wailk away from it. Yes it is nearly impossible to dry out a wet hull core. It really depends on the area compromised.
If its only around a window or fitting above the waterline its a different matter as it most likely is a small area.
What's the point of sealing the moistness in? The bond between the outer and inner layer has been compromised, decks are easier to fix but it's nevertheless an expensive and time consuming exercise, obviously depending on the actual area involved.

Anyway, there isn't enough information to give an answer to to go ahead or not.
First and foremost, keep the core sealed and the water out.

Moisture in a cored hull is much more serious than moisture in a cored deck.

I would always recore wet core in a hull.

In a deck, if the seal fails (and most sealants will in about 15 +/- 5 years), remove and Rebed the fitting as soon as possible.

If you get to it quick, and just seal it, it will probably be fine for another 15 +/- 5 years.

If you let the water get to the core for 2 or 3 years, you may still be able to seal it up, and be fine.

The longer water can get to the core, the more likely rot and delamination are to occur, which is what actually compromises integrity,

Elevated moisture, no biggy, saturated, a concern, rotted or delaminated, serious.

It is very hard to find a 30+ year old boat that has absolutely no moisture in core somewhere.
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Old 01-10-2019, 07:02   #42
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Re: Beginner question on fixing damaged balsa core

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First and foremost, keep the core sealed and the water out.

Moisture in a cored hull is much more serious than moisture in a cored deck.

I would always recore wet core in a hull.

In a deck, if the seal fails (and most sealants will in about 15 +/- 5 years), remove and Rebed the fitting as soon as possible.

If you get to it quick, and just seal it, it will probably be fine for another 15 +/- 5 years.

If you let the water get to the core for 2 or 3 years, you may still be able to seal it up, and be fine.

The longer water can get to the core, the more likely rot and delamination are to occur, which is what actually compromises integrity,

Elevated moisture, no biggy, saturated, a concern, rotted or delaminated, serious.

It is very hard to find a 30+ year old boat that has absolutely no moisture in core somewhere.
Once the core is wet, it needs to be dried out to prevent further damage. One freeze thaw cycle is enough to delaminate cored construction.

re-bedding a fitting without sealing the core is inviting failure.
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Old 02-10-2019, 16:51   #43
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Re: Beginner question on fixing damaged balsa core

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Once the core is wet, it needs to be dried out to prevent further damage. One freeze thaw cycle is enough to delaminate cored construction.

re-bedding a fitting without sealing the core is inviting failure.
Well that is certainly one point of view.

I live where at least 50% of the sailboat population has some water in balsa core somewhere, and go through many freeze/thaw cycles year after year, and would be surveyed clear to cross any ocean as is.
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Old 02-10-2019, 17:00   #44
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Re: Beginner question on fixing damaged balsa core

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Well that is certainly one point of view.

I live where at least 50% of the sailboat population has some water in balsa core somewhere, and go through many freeze/thaw cycles year after year, and would be surveyed clear to cross any ocean as is.
250 surveyors in Ontario. Five that I would personally hire and none of those five would put that in a survey report.
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Old 02-10-2019, 18:18   #45
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Re: Beginner question on fixing damaged balsa core

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250 surveyors in Ontario. Five that I would personally hire and none of those five would put that in a survey report.
Of course no competent surveyor is going to declare in a report, "The vessel is hereby declared sound for crossing oceans".

I never said they would.

I suspect their association would call them up on the carpet if they ever did for exposing themselves, the trade, and the association to ridicule and possible liability.

In fact I would expect the report to include weasel words like "No warranty of suitability for intended use", (despite the fact that you just paid me crapload to help you determine if this boat is any good).

What a competent surveyor might include in a report, is the purchaser's intended use (which may specify ocean passage making), and sight various findings that do not meet current marine standards, and vessel composite moisture measurements and sounding results.

That report may include findings of elevated moisture in a balsa cored deck, with a recommendation that they be sealed, and subsequently monitored, and repaired if and when deemed necessary.

Essentially, they are declaring, without the specific words, "I understand the boat owner intends to cross oceans, I found some moisture, but percussion tests sounded OK, so I'm recommending they stop the moisture ingress, but I wouldn't go so far as to recommend immediate repair before the vessel is used as intended."

Whereas for some safety issues, such as system faults that are not in compliance with current marine standards, they may very well recommend that the issue be remedied before the vessel makes way.

Sometimes, one has to read not only what is stated, but also what isn't stated.
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