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Old 01-29-2012, 03:23 PM   #1
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I'm new to the site and learning heaps, thanks CL.

I've noticed that a lot of cruisers on here seem to be in older boats and I was wondering why that is. From what I've been reading it isn't simply becasue they're often cheaper to buy. Would I be right in assuming that it's becasue they're systems are easier to repair / maintain? Were they previously of better build quality? Is 30 years of age old for a boat or do they have plenty of life left in them if they've been treated well?

Excuse me if this has been covered previously. I tried a search which didn't seem to show up much.

Thanks,

Pete.
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Old 01-29-2012, 06:04 PM   #2
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The information about new-vs-older boats and types of boats sort of gets mingled in with all the other advice/info that a particular CL member may be asking for. Sorry about that.

Systems--easier to maintain (older design...) no.
Better quality built 30 years ago... no.

Things are just "different" depending upon the age/era and whatever was state of the art at the time of original construction.

Any age-related issues of the hull really relate to the materials of construction of that hull. Structural integrity and ease of future maintenance are material related as well as related to prior use of that particular boat.

When talking about steel or wooden boats you'll find how the boat was maintained by previous owners to be key to whether an older boat is even something you should consider. Steel boats are "throw away" boats which can fail in as few as 10 years but likely 20 to 30 years because of corrosion issues if they haven't been properly treated and maintained with coatings (inside the hull). So, any steel boat you consider will have to have careful thought. Similarly, carvel planked wooden boats are very sensitive to how the owner has maintained and used the boat. They tend to have a 30 year life before major-major refastening or a rebuild is required. Cold molded wooden boats are sensitive to a lesser degree in terms of maintenance but tend to be non-renewable (e.g. 20-40 year life is all that you'll get, period). Aluminum boats have their own maintenance, use and corrosion issues which I cannot speak to. Fiberglass boats--here you get into interesting design related features/issues that end up being somewhat age related simply because production mfr's of fiberglass boats seem to have tended to do things a certain way during certain time frames. Important to your age-related discussion is that when fiberglass boats were first made (late 1950's through late 1970's) so little was known about the longevity of the materials that they boats were seriously overbuilt. Thick, solid fiberglass hulls--no balsa or foam cores, etc. So, depending on where in the world a boat was built and when it was built, if is is old enough it might have a pretty bullet proof hull. Newer fiberglass boats have taken advantage of knowledge from prior builds and are optimized more for their use--thus they are lighter in general, have core materials in use rather than solid fiberglass. Each core material has its own set of problems/issues and you'll have to learn about those when you look at fiberglass boats primarily built after the late 1970's.
Degradation of those core materials (in deck and hull) can render a fiberglass boat not structurally sound for your cruising use.

Back to age and SYSTEMS. Any boat that is old enough (30 years or more) is likely to have some or all entirely new systems in place. Plumbing, refrigeration, engine, electrical not to mention rigging. At some point each system ends up causing enough problems for the owner that it is upgraded or replaced. So, often you can find an old boat with some decent system upgrades and that whole boat package may be more cost effective than a newer boat with systems that are "due" to fail or start having maintenance related problems within the next decade.

If a boat has been cruised, the rigging will have seen more wear. It is possible that you can be forced to replace rigging wire/elements in as few as 5 years of cruising use. It is also possible for a properly maintained and little used rig to last 30 or more years. A rigging inspection as well as a look at the boat's logs and maintenance records is required for you to know much about the particular rig unless it's brand new.

Money is the driver for most decisions that most cruisers make--how much is it going to cost to purchase and maintain a particular boat and that boat's systems.

Given that many folks have limited financial resources, often they go into the purchase of an older boat with blinders on thinking/saying "because it looks good on the surface...it's all good, it will be fine, the systems are good, this will last," when it is simply not true. Sort of like walking through a dangerous neighborhood at night and whistling in the dark--what I can't see nor hear won't hurt me?

I encourage you to do your research, plan on purchasing something within your budget; plan on replacing and maintaining the systems properly. Newer or older, you'll find that a safe seaworthy boat will cost you pretty much the same once you've upgraded or maintained things as you should.

Welcome aboard.
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Old 01-29-2012, 06:36 PM   #3
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Thanks for the comprehensive answer Red. It pins down some more areas of research.
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Old 01-30-2012, 06:54 AM   #4
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Well covered redboopeep - I'd only add that many of the new 'mass production' yachts have thick caulking between bulkheads and hull as their main fixing system. Sailing an older vessel with screwed, bolted and glassed bulkhead connections to the hull, the 'sikaflex' method scares the bejezus out of me. On our last blue water it was the newer 'plastic fantastics' that experienced all the damage and significant cracking between the bulkhead and hull through caulking deterioration in heavy weather. The rest of us sailing older vessels built like the proverbial brick dunny sailed on through without any problems. I know I'm generalising and there are a number of very capable production boats out there but seeing a new Bavaria come apart literally at the seams was not something I'd wish on anyone.

Fair winds,

Mico
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Old 01-30-2012, 05:52 PM   #5
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mico--yes there's also the case-by-case designs that have huge problems with hull to deck seam leaks. This on fiberglass boats of all eras.

The problems you're talking about may have as much to do with excessive hull flex itself than with method of securing bulkhead to hull.
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Old 01-30-2012, 07:36 PM   #6
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Agree - which then brings us back to one of your original points concerning hull thickness. Mico has a hull thickness of almost 3.5cm - I don't think you'd find that on too many current plastic boats. My other concern is more long term. With a bulkhead to hull join of 2cm of sikaflex - what happens five years down the track when that sikaflex starts to deteriorate and crack? I guess it then comes down to use. If you're only looking at coastal sailing it's not going to be a problem. If however you're anticipating a blue water hammering - I'd want the brick dunny design every time!

Fair winds,

Mico
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Old 01-31-2012, 03:22 PM   #7
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Great info again. Thanks.
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Old 01-31-2012, 05:22 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mico View Post
With a bulkhead to hull join of 2cm of sikaflex - what happens five years down the track when that sikaflex starts to deteriorate and crack?

Mico
A good question to consider is whether these bulkheads are actually structural in nature or whether they're simply there for divvy up of interior space. It really doesn't matter given the latter.

I bring this up because the non-structural bulkheads in our (wooden) boat are screwed into the deck beams and hang down. They are captured by a battens along the bottom edge (the batten attached to a frame or floor and resides adjacent the bottom edge of the bulkhead) so they're sound BUT they have at least 1/2" of open space between them and the actual frame or the hull. The reason for all the space is so they will not cause a "hard spot" in the hull over time. This sort of hard spot occurs when a hull is flexing (naturally does more-or less depending on boat, age, etc) and something solid prevents it. Over time, in some wood boats, this will develop. Especially with structural bulkheads which must be tight against things. Anyway, we don't even have a sealant in place there on structural or on the non structural bulkheads--in two cases you can see light because of the void. The only place where we've got such a sealant is the watertight collision bulkhead in the forward part of the boat. It is caulked and then sealed along the edges. When during our rebuild of the boat, the surveyor stopped in to check on the bulkhead installations, he advised us that 1/2" was not enough space and that most boats use more...

So, you see, it all depends on which bulkheads you're talking about!
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Old 02-02-2012, 04:18 PM   #9
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wow, a discussion of high quality going on here -
a baot building seminary could not be better.

I'd like to draw the focus on the interior issue.

Another reason could be that today's cruising boats interior looks more like the interior of a mobile home: lost of space, big state room and guest rooms and a huuuuge main cabin. No real seaworthy pantries, no real place for doing the navigation, but big "bathrooms" with showers etc...

This is not a safe and usable interior when at sea for a night or longer. We prefer seawothy bunks, bulkheads in front of the navigation place with enough room where we can install our navigational gear and we love our 'cramped' interior: something to hold on to within reach when the seas get up high, and if you fail to get a hold, the uncontrolled flight is not as long as on a modern design. That could be the decision between bruises or broken bones...

And there are not many shipyards left in the world that build boats with extended offshore sailing in mind. And if, these high end products are quite expensive.
Here is my favorite: modellen_atlantic_36_title | Atlantic 36 | Atlantic Yachts
... but I have never seen a used one below 200.000 EUR.

So, we stick to our sturdy built yachts out of the 60ies and 70ies, designed for living on board not just in the harbours, but also at see, as long as possible!

Uwe

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Old 02-10-2012, 09:30 PM   #10
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Newer boats are designed and built by the accounting departments based on demand. The majority market share is looking for roomy boats more suited for entertaining. Durability does not come into play.

In 1975 the EPA made changes in regulations that affected the manufacturing of fiberglass resin. As a result any fiberglass boat made after 1975 is prone to blistering. It is rare to find blisters on a pre '75 boat.

A shameless plug for the Albin Vega 27. Of the 3,500 vegas built between 1969-1975 there has never been a single reported case of osmotic blistering of the laminate.
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Old 02-11-2012, 02:16 AM   #11
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I've already made my shameless plug for a Rawson 30--a great bluewater cruising boat. LOL However, I've been impressed by the places the Albin Vega has shown up around the world!

There are numerous great fiberglass cruising boats of that 1960s-1970s era.

Fair winds..


all this coming from someone cruising on an 81 year old wooden vessel...
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Old 04-27-2012, 02:37 AM   #12
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An interesting discussion. I think one element which has not been mentioned is intended use. I own a 52 y.o. steel hulled vessel which I have just completed a world circumnavigation in, including a cruise to the Arctic Circle and Chilean Channels (blog.mailasail.com/sylph). The vast majority of small boats in these waters are metal hulled and even one of these while I was there, a nice modern aluminium yacht, managed to hit a rock, split its bow open and sink - I hasten to add that fortunately it was salvaged. On the other hand my old boat has hit ice and rocks and apart from a few scratches remained undamaged (scared the bejeesus out of me but). Having made this minor comment I totally agree with all Red has to say (interesting he owns an 83 y.o. wooden craft). And perhaps not so many of us undertake the more adventurous sailing I have ended up doing.
Steel is definitely a lot of work to maintain in good condition (or a lot of money if somone is to do the work for you), as I am sure is the case for an aging timber vessel.
Then there is the aesthetic component of the discussion. A hand built boat, especially timber, has a character that a production boat will never have, and I would say in general the more modern the less character (though of course character can be good, bad or mixed). So part of it for me is the joy of owning (and looking after) a work of craftsmanship, which tend to be older boats. I guess this side of things is strictly one of temperament and personality.
Anyway, so much more could be said and undoubtedly will be, books have been written on the whole subject, maybe we need an updated one.
" Newer or older, you'll find that a safe seaworthy boat will cost you pretty much the same once you've upgraded or maintained things as you should. " This has been my experience also.
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Old 04-27-2012, 04:34 AM   #13
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I have messed around with used vehicles all my life. Sometimes it is was from cost, design, or the start of an 'experiment'. Now that I am older and jaded about just how tired old stuff tends to be, I loved the comment when I was shopping for a moderately-good performing sailboat. In a forum discussing one design, a new owner asked what to look for because his example was slow. The best response was the observation from a seasoned veteran that particular design consistently cost about $50k to get up to competitive performance. You could just buy an excellent example at $50k ready to use, or in the case of the new owner, who had only spent around $30k at that point, plan on spending another $20k for the new sails, rigging and stuff to replace the tired parts needed to bring it up to scratch.

In the same way, I plan on spending about the same amount to end up with something suitable for the purpose, whatever I start with. I tend to end up with something used (for the positive reasons listed earlier) but on the nicer end of that market. I also plan on refitting a lot of stuff right away - stuff that is 'not that bad' but I also wouldn't want to depend on it working to keep me out of trouble.
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