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Old 08-03-2019, 15:06   #1
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Steel Hulled 73 Colvin Gazelle Schooner??

Iím still a little shocked Iím doing this however I have started considering steel hulls for my next sailboat. Not to get off into the weeds but some that I have looked at online meet my criteria moving forward regarding draft, schooner rigged, and size conducive to day sail charters. Only last night did I start doing my research. There's a common opinion online of "if you see rust in the bilge anywhere"......run Forrest run! (Being down here in Bama I couldn't resist that!)
I have a copy of a survey from eight months ago. The thickness gauges came back as what seems to be an acceptable 3.3 mm. I confirmed the instrument used is the type that does not include paint thickness in itís readings.
I have researched the builder. T.D. Vinette Co in Escanaba MI, who built her in 1973. They are still in business and appear to have an excellent reputation. I also know they used Cor-Ten steel and coal-tar epoxied the hole before painting.

This is a direct quote from the surveyor: "There is some minor corrosion in the bilge in the main cabin. The YT thickness meter did not show any appreciable loss of thickness in this spot. This will be addressed by the owner by scraping and the application of a rust-inhibiting compound".

If I managed to do so properly there should be a picture attached of that particular area. My BS meter makes me wonder if it's so easy to correct then why has the owner not done this already? But for now letís assume the only area like this is referred to in the survey and shown here. I understand that it is quite possible some areas were harder to gain access to and therefore may not have even been evaluated, but if this is the extent of the issues should I really walk away from this vessel? Surely it can be cleaned properly, covered with anti-corrosive, primed and painted correct?

I just want some advice from some of you folks as to whether I'm right or not, or if as I read multiple times last night.... rust in the bilge means run!

When I get home tonight I suspect I can find some older postings in this forum and I will take a look, but welcome any comments and opinions you have.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf 72 Colvin Gazelle main cabin bilge area.pdf (51.8 KB, 248 views)
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Old 08-03-2019, 15:48   #2
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Re: Steel Hulled 73 Colvin Gazelle Schooner??

Is there pitting? The thickness guage measures only where it is applied. If there are crevices or pits there could be an undetected problem. I am concerned that I might be seeing rust blisters. These will need care to get out and down to shiny metal without loss of wall thickness.

What I saw in the picture looked like it could be cleaned up nicely with a needle gun. If you are handy with a welding machine, could you fill in any places that turned out to be suspect? ....Don't let this job be the first time you use a welding machine.

An additional thought...if it was me I would not ask the owner to fix. I would take money off the offer to more than cover my costs for the repair, then do the job to my standard. This way I know it is done right.

There are probably some pretty smart metal mechanics around here that could give better advice on repair methods.
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Old 08-03-2019, 16:03   #3
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Re: Steel Hulled 73 Colvin Gazelle Schooner??

Thanks. I'm putting this first reply in the "proceed carefully but don't necessarily feel like I have to run because of some bilge rust category". That's basically your position correct?

I've never welded however I spent 30 years in the fuel and lubricants industry and still have quite a few small shipyard contacts down here on the AL coast. they could mean anything from advice once they see it to hauling and doing anything major, to just recommending someone to do smaller jobs that she wouldn't need to be hauled for. The boat is "half a country away however", so if I proceed it would be a trip to WI with someone lined up to meet me and assess with all new testing. Then go from there.

By the way anyone reading this I apologize if you noticed I somehow managed a "double post". I have been all over the website including in the FAQ section where I located instructions for deleting a post, but I can't even find the "edit" icon I'm supposed to use, plus it mentions it can be done "if the moderator has set it up to allow it". I dont know how to determine that so if anyone has guidance on that I'd appreciate it and I'll remove the other post.
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Old 08-03-2019, 16:41   #4
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Re: Steel Hulled 73 Colvin Gazelle Schooner??

Yes, my view is proceed with caution. I don't see run away just yet.

One approach would be to hire someone with a needle gun to clean up a small section, with the owners permission. Then make a go or no go decision.

Maybe the simplest advice I could give is if there is nothing requiring welding then you might have a good buy. Once welding is required things could get very complicated. Just imagine what the heat of welding is going to do to the exterior paint job...
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Old 09-03-2019, 11:47   #5
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Re: Steel Hulled 73 Colvin Gazelle Schooner??

Having built a 63ft steel sailboat I see nothing big here. However, if you are thinking of putting that size boat into charter, expect some very rigorous criteria to be met to get Coast Guard approval including stability testing. Stability testing involves stacking weight on the rail of the boat to a point which meets Coast Guard standards. And I am not talking about a few sandbags. It is a big deal.
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Old 09-03-2019, 23:34   #6
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Re: Steel Hulled 73 Colvin Gazelle Schooner??

I would be briskly walking--but not running as yet. If this is the ONLY rust in an old vessel I would be astonished.

Any steel vessel can be repaired. Whether or not it is worth doing in the light of costs and better boats available with lesser problems is another matter.

A Colvin Gazelle is not a particularity expensive hull to build, even when built from Corten steel, and some were built in alloy, which would have been my preference in choice of hull material if building in metal. The design was and still is a touch of genius and can be made by many amateur welders. Many of them were. Some were excellent, some sank at their moorings, usually from failed engine hoses or some other damn silly mistake.

If Colvin's pain sequence was fully implemented, any rust patches should be isolated, but one can not be sure without a thorough survey.

For a vessel this age and showing in one area a couple of thousand dollars worth of cutting, panel-straightening and panel replacement, scantlings replacement and hammering and re-painting, I would want to get the vessel with useful masts and tackle for under ten grand. Otherwise that brisk walk would become a run--

I know one can sand-blast a crappy bit of corroded plate and put some paint over the corroded and pitted surface--but that to me is just a get-you-home, not as proper fix.


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Old 10-03-2019, 08:59   #7
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Re: Steel Hulled 73 Colvin Gazelle Schooner??

Pics can lie but I reckon a competent yard could cut that out and replace in about an hour, clean and paint and away you go for few hundred $$.

I am having my bare hull complete interior sand blasted. Very competent yard says cut a hole in the bottom to clean the sand and then re-weld closed - much cheaper than lifting the sand out. A bit surprising perhaps but places your minor issue in perspective hey.
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