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Old 09-10-2012, 07:04 AM   #1
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How would you check a timber built trawler

G'day mates,

This is one for Australian owners of timber trawlers but anyone owning a timber trawler should feel free to stick their oar in

How would you go about checking a heavy displacement (22000 Kg = 24.2508 Tons) timber built retired commercial trawler for soundness, as a pre-check before calling in a surveyor and what exactly would you check? The trawler, a 1964, is Australian built, from Spotted Gum and I believe it would make a great live aboard boat...While doing and after the conversion

I would also like to know if sheathing the hull with epoxy resin would be a good thing to do to help protect the hull.


Thanking you in advance for your advice.


Bill
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Old 09-10-2012, 07:57 AM   #2
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Bill,
First of all is the hull carvel or sharpie built if carvel does it have a hollow heel.
Carvel boats of about that age will possibly have a few split ribs that most likely have been sistered. This is not bad as long as it has been done well.
Is the boat leaking thru any of the seams, a sure sign it requires re caulking at least in a few places.
Check nails, roves etc for being solid and not sick (corroded / weak).
It will be required to haul the boat to check plank condition and any signs of worm. This will take a few days to show up as the planks dry and you can see the worm holes and also smell them as they start to die.

Don't ever glass or epoxy a planked timber boat. , it will only lead to disaster ,especially hardwood planks such as spotted gum, Iron bark etc.

If the boat is reletativly dry then you are of to a good start, there will be some water in the bilges, but as long as the bilge pump is not going off a couple of times a day then it is a reasonably good sign.
Check the shaft stuffing box ensure it is not worn around the shaft and not leaking considerably.
Where bouts are you , I am in Mooloolaba and check out the odd old trawler for friends who are doing the exact same thing.
When it comes to survey , ensure you get a good timber boat builder surveyot as there are plenty out there that know stuff all about timber boats but will still take your money.
Cheers
Benn
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Old 09-10-2012, 08:26 AM   #3
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Bill,
I see you are in Corio.
I take it that this is Vic.
If so is the boat you are looking at Qld/NSW built or a southern boat out of Vic or Tas
It will make a difference as to how the timber has weathered.
Cheers
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Old 09-10-2012, 07:14 PM   #4
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G'day Benn,

Thanks for your advice Benn, and yes mate, I'm on the shore of Corio Bay, Vic
The trawler is I believe, a sharpie and was built in Kayar boat yards, Rockhampton.
It's 50', a bit bigger than I need for myself and me dog and “perhaps” a couple of mates seeking a free fishing holiday for a week or two Here's the URL to the YachtHub sales page.
As for surveyors and broker/agents, I don't have a lot of faith in them, I'm sure there are a number of good ones out there (surveyors and brokers) but I've never met one. With any boat I buy I will be going with my own knowledge and feelings (after inspecting the boat) but I would need a survey for insurance purposes. I have the tools and can do the conversion myself but having no experience with timber plank hulls, I'm in the dark there.
Having been away from Timber boats for over forty years, I need all the advice I can get from those with experience. I have built a couple of glass on ply boats but never a timber plank boat, so I have little knowledge of such boats.
I have also been thinking of buying a trawler, glass or ferro, in the States or New Zealand and importing the boat but that involves a whole parcel of hassles but you never know, I may still go down the import a boat road.
I do know that any boat I buy will be with me the rest of my life, I plan to move aboard full time and head back to QLD, Bundaberg and further North, so I need to get it right first time.

Cheers Benn,

Bill
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Old 09-10-2012, 07:45 PM   #5
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Yeah she looks a little tired.
Good ex trawlers can be had for that sort of money especially up here in Qld. Try this site and don't forget all ex trawlers are very negotiable as the write down value is very low and any excess is heavily taxed.
Contact Kevin who runs the business, a good bloke to deal with.
A friend recently bought a 54' ex trawler from him for 30k.
Also bear in mind with a guy like this if the boat has trawl gear on it he can possibly sell it for you so again reducing the cost.
With that one you are looking at I would be very wary of the RR diesel, that is one thing they couldn't build well.

http://www.queenslandfishingbrokerage.com.au
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Old 09-10-2012, 10:25 PM   #6
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G'day Benn,


Thanks for your advice and the link to that retired trawler site, it's much appreciated Benn.
Judging by the look of things and after reading the story on converting a retired Cray boat from King Island at: cruising-under-power, the people who converted the King Island Cray boat said:
Quote:
We believed we could convert one for an all up finished cost of $(AUD)150,000 (Ha! We ended up spending more than that on the conversion alone).
End Quote:
Those people bought the boat and did the conversion back in 2000, so it looks like buying a retired AU trawler and converting it today would cost me...Is it wishfull thinking...$200,000AU, give or take some bucks.

I believe (still not 100% sure) I would be better off buying an American built solid glass Bristol trawler (cruiser) I have my eye on in the States, register it in Oz, piggy-back the boat to NZ, then after cruising NZ for six-nine months, import the boat to Oz.
That American built displacement hull 42' trawler is an oldie (1964) but has been well cared for and has everything I need for independent living aboard...Including a rope-cutter, bow thruster and water maker but I will not be making any fast decisions, as I have said, the boat I end-up with will be with me the rest of my life so I need to do my best to make the right decision...Non of that buy in haste, repent at leisure lark for me. Decisions decisions.

Thanks again Benn,

Bill
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Old 09-11-2012, 04:27 AM   #7
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Re that Tassie cray boat it is actually an ex Qld prawn trawler that ended up in Tassie.
Typical Qld timber sharpie very similar to my own hull.
The tassie cray boats are a very good buy /conversion but one must remember they are a very full bodied carvel hull and will roll on wet grass but an un beliveable sea boat.
Before I built Tidahapah I sat on a 50 ' aft wheel house cray boat down in Portland for about 4 days before deciding to go the new boat option and build from scratch mainly due to the fore mentioned trait and this was a beautiful Hueon Pine boat.

Doing the conversion can vary in costs , depends on what you want, I have sen expensive conversions that resulted in an incredible boat and very minimilist conversions that have resulted in a quite comfortable cruising boat with hlf decent accomodation.

One recent buy of ex trawler the guy sold the old trawl gear, winches etc to actually get back half the 40 k purchase price so he was streets ahead very quickly.
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Old 09-11-2012, 09:34 AM   #8
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Hi Bill,
I've been scouting around at ex trawlers as well. I'm inexperienced but learning fast. Luckily I did have a good surveyor for the last boat I was considering. It turned out to have some serious issues, and the guy spelled that out very clearly. It was money well spent, even though I received notheing in return other than a lesson on what to beware of next time.
When choosing a surveyor, one potential problem is finding one that has your interests at heart, especially when buying from a dealer. The surveyor probably will get limited repeat business from you, but may be more concerned with keeping the dealer happy, hence some issues might be glossed over. I would defineitely avoid a surveyor based in the same marina as the boat broker.
And - as Benn said - ensure they have timber hull experience. Get him to forward you an example of a previous timber hull survey, with the details blanked out to protect the innocent.
A tip - When looking at a timber hull boat. Be prepared to spend the time below crawling around on your guts with a good flashlight. The most inaccessible part of a boat is where you may find the biggest problems.

Best of luck with your search. Its all a learning experience.
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Old 09-12-2012, 06:22 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tidahapah View Post
Re that Tassie cray boat it is actually an ex Qld prawn trawler that ended up in Tassie.
Typical Qld timber sharpie very similar to my own hull.
The tassie cray boats are a very good buy /conversion but one must remember they are a very full bodied carvel hull and will roll on wet grass but an un beliveable sea boat.
Before I built Tidahapah I sat on a 50 ' aft wheel house cray boat down in Portland for about 4 days before deciding to go the new boat option and build from scratch mainly due to the fore mentioned trait and this was a beautiful Hueon Pine boat.

Doing the conversion can vary in costs , depends on what you want, I have sen expensive conversions that resulted in an incredible boat and very minimilist conversions that have resulted in a quite comfortable cruising boat with hlf decent accomodation.

One recent buy of ex trawler the guy sold the old trawl gear, winches etc to actually get back half the 40 k purchase price so he was streets ahead very quickly.
G'day Ben,

I don't need anything special or fancy on a boat I would convert, I would extend the wheelhouse to create a saloon behind, then leave around 6' x beam width behind the saloon as a after-deck/cockpit for fishing/crabbing. I would also like a walk-through transom and swim platform for ease of boarding while on the hook but I'm not sure if installing a walk-through transom would be a big or small job on an old timber trawler...Or even if doing so is possible.
In the saloon forward section I would have the galley and eating area, behind that area I would have an area to relax in, watch TV, listen to music or read a good book, with a door to the cockpit, so nothing fancy there, just a space to be comfortable in. The conversion would have a curved roof so that I could catch rainwater that would be diverted down to the potable water tank/s. I would also install two or four 200W solar panels and a 200W wind generator to charge the battery bank/s.
The sleeping area would be down below...Somewhere

I have no plans to circumnavigate the globe but I would like to cruise the QLD coast and Islands, the Top-End with “perhaps” a trip to SE Asia and a trip to NZ, in summer, could be on the cards. NZ is one of the few places I've never been, and I would love to visit Fiord-land in the South Island. Heck! I would love to cruise all the coast of NZ, that's why I also considered buying a boat in NZ but mostly I would be found in a quiet spot somewhere on the Oz coast.

I have also considered a Ferro-Cement cruiser/launch like this one but I have no idea on how good they are as seagoing boats. Anyway, I have not wiped timber trawlers for conversion of my list of boats to check (I enjoy working with wood and have the tools and knowledge to do so) and, as I would be doing all the work/conversion myself, I now don't believe it would cost me anywhere near $150,000AU to buy the boat and do the conversion but...I could well be wrong
Thank God I don't need the boat in a hurry, I have time to keep looking for the right boat.

Cheers Ben

Bill

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Hi Bill,
I've been scouting around at ex trawlers as well. I'm inexperienced but learning fast. Luckily I did have a good surveyor for the last boat I was considering. It turned out to have some serious issues, and the guy spelled that out very clearly. It was money well spent, even though I received notheing in return other than a lesson on what to beware of next time.
When choosing a surveyor, one potential problem is finding one that has your interests at heart, especially when buying from a dealer. The surveyor probably will get limited repeat business from you, but may be more concerned with keeping the dealer happy, hence some issues might be glossed over. I would defineitely avoid a surveyor based in the same marina as the boat broker.
And - as Benn said - ensure they have timber hull experience. Get him to forward you an example of a previous timber hull survey, with the details blanked out to protect the innocent.
A tip - When looking at a timber hull boat. Be prepared to spend the time below crawling around on your guts with a good flashlight. The most inaccessible part of a boat is where you may find the biggest problems.

Best of luck with your search. Its all a learning experience.
G'day mate,

Thanks for the advice, it's all much appreciated.
My dear old departed Dad taught me as a nipper, when checking a timber boat, always have a little sharp knife along, try sticking the sharp blade into the planking and if it goes in easily, then the plank needs replacing. I still reckon that's a good way to do a first check on the hull of a timber boat. As for:
Be prepared to spend the time below crawling around on your guts with a good flashlight. The most inaccessible part of a boat is where you may find the biggest problems.

If I were ten years younger, twenty would be even better Doing as you advise would not be a problem, been there done that many times but as I'm no-longer a spring cockerel, I would need to find a young/er bloke to do that for me. Finding a young bloke who knows a bit about timber boats could be, I guess, like finding a needle in a haystack, so I'm seeking advice on this forum.

Cheers and good luck in your search mate

Bill
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Old 09-12-2012, 12:00 PM   #10
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I take an old survey that I copied without the other vessel info. Keeps me on track filling in the blanks as I look through the boat. On a clip board with pencil. Kinda makes you remove the rose colored glasses.

I take a couple of hammers , regular with claw and a small one with one end plastic and the other side rubber.

I also take flashlight, muliti end screw driver pocket knife and flat screw driver. All fits in my breaf case.

I am not familiar with the construction and or materials used with the down under woodies.

But wood boats are realy not that good at hiding there issues IMO. Tapping around suspect areas like loose paint or open joints. Tap the sides of frames and or ribs. Checking under decks for water marks. Looking for discolored or black wood around fastenings , joints. It all tells a story.

While doing so you record what you see or not in the wire runs or hose runs. If there has been caulk or glass added over places etc etc.

I can go on and on. I find the longer it takes to go through the boat with the "blank survey " the better. Cause some times you walk around the outside once, fill in one page, and simply walk away never to actualy see inside.
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Old 09-12-2012, 01:26 PM   #11
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Cause some times you walk around the outside once, fill in one page, and simply walk away never to actualy see inside.
And sometimes that's all it takes to assure a "NO" is the correct decision.

There was one time, back when house hunting, that I didn't even get out of the car. Realtor had about two or three steps past the front bumper before she realized I wasn't walking with her. It was a "NO" house from the curb, heck, maybe from half way down the block.
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Old 02-27-2013, 03:23 AM   #12
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Epoxy On Ply Ex Cray Boats

G'day mates,

I sold my Careel 22 and found a 1979 45' SA ex Cray boat. I have sent the owner an email and now I'm just waiting on a reply to my questions.
All the ex Cray boats I've seen advertised have been fast boats with big diesel engines...Like 375HP, 475HP and up to 850HP Such boats are to rich for this old codger...I would go broke putting diesel in the tank/s
I really like the lines of this old Cray boat and she's not to far away from my home, she's not timber plank, she's epoxy on ply and she comes with plans for extending the wheelhouse. What weaknesses do I look for when inspecting epoxy on ply boats.
If you have any experience with such boats, what do you think of these fast Cray fishing boats.


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Old 02-27-2013, 08:01 AM   #13
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Greetings,
Mr. Kando. Applying epoxy, with cloth, or FRP to a wooden hull is usually a death knell for a wooden boat and in the examples I've seen is a last chance stop-gap measure to get a few more years out of a knackered hull IMHO.
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Old 02-27-2013, 11:47 PM   #14
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Greetings,
Mr. Kando. Applying epoxy, with cloth, or FRP to a wooden hull is usually a death knell for a wooden boat and in the examples I've seen is a last chance stop-gap measure to get a few more years out of a knackered hull IMHO.
G'day Firefly,

I'm no expert on materials for building boats but glass on ply pro' fishing boats in Australia and New Zealand are not cheap to buy. Most ex Cray boats (60's - 70's onward) are glass on ply built and fetch a good price but there are also straight-out glass and alloy boats.
Surely glass on ply boats, like the West System built boats, can't be all that bad, after all, they have been built for over 40 years and are, in a lot of cases, still sea worthy vessels.
This is the lowest priced Ply retired 1973 Cray boats I can find. If it were not for the big Donker: A Volvo Penta TAMD70D at 360 hp with Twin Disc Gearbox.
I would have gone to look her over but as she's 3,405 km away from me, I thought I would give it a miss. The other pro built 1979 ply retired Cray boat I'm waiting on my questions being answered on is a little more expensive but then it's not too far away for me to go check out...So long as the boat does not have a bleeding big Donker
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Old 02-28-2013, 12:13 AM   #15
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Greetings,
Mr. k. 40 years you say? Who am I to argue with success. I stand humbly corrected. I based my comment on fresh water boats I had seen. Duh! You're talking salt water vessels...
Couldn't get the first listing to load but the second had nice lines to my eye. Be sure to get a thorough survey!
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Old 02-28-2013, 01:45 AM   #16
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Kando,are you saying it is glass on ply at build, or is it added later, out of necessity? Could be important, thinks this uninformed f/g boat owner.
There was a lovely example at the last Sydney Boat Show, also turned up at the wooden boat show at Pittwater,and was going to the one in Tassie. Had a Gardiner dsl. Wet well was removed. A real boat, built in huon pine, still had sailing rig. Might have been for sale, not at all sure.
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Old 02-28-2013, 04:57 AM   #17
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G'day Mr Firefly,

Try right clicking on that first link, then select "Open In New Window", it should open. I too like the lines of the second Cray boat but the owner has still not responded to my query on engine make, model and HP rating. I will do nothing about the boat till the owner responds to my query.

Here are a few more links to our Aussie Cray boats, enjoy.

Used 10.8m Mcmanaway Cray Boat for Sale | Boats For Sale | Yachthub

Used Randall 38 Converted Cray for Sale | Boats For Sale | Yachthub

36 Ft RANDELL, REDUCED $10,000 EX CRAY BOAT. FULLY REFURBISHED | Motorboats & Powerboats | Gumtree Australia Fremantle Area - Fremantle

Cray boat Randell 12 meter | Motorboats & Powerboats | Gumtree Australia Western Australia - Perth Region

Bill

G'day Bruce,

As far as I'm aware the glass is applied when the boats are being built, as in the West System of boat building. Here in Australia I believe the builder would have used Bote-Cote Epoxy Resin. Perhaps some Aussie on the fourm has experence of building/repairing glass on ply Cray boats, if so, I hope they give us some information on these great boats.
Just like other boats built in different mediums, i.e. Steel, Ferro, Fiberglass or whatever, if the boat has been cared for and maintained as it should be, then it should be a decent sea going boat.

Bill
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Old 02-28-2013, 10:06 AM   #18
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Kendo - I agree with Brucek, It all depends an whether it is glass ply at build, or later when rot start to appear (when its too late). Once the rot starts to appear, it is almost impossible to stop it. Glassing it with only delay the inevitable.

One boat I was seriously considering, and looked like a great all weather boat and live aboard (even though it was ferro) - Motor Cruiser: Power Boats | Boats Online for Sale | Ferro-cement | Queensland (Qld) - Cleveland Qld
Would that suit your needs?
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Old 02-28-2013, 11:03 PM   #19
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Kendo - I agree with Brucek, It all depends an whether it is glass ply at build, or later when rot start to appear (when its too late). Once the rot starts to appear, it is almost impossible to stop it. Glassing it with only delay the inevitable.
G'day AC,

With Ply Cray boats: As far as I'm aware "the glass is applied when the boats are being built!"
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One boat I was seriously considering, and looked like a great all weather boat and live aboard (even though it was ferro) - Motor Cruiser: Power Boats | Boats Online for Sale | Ferro-cement | Queensland (Qld) - Cleveland Qld
Would that suit your needs?
A nice boat but that Queensland FC cruiser has been on offer for round about a year now, so I don't think I'll be in a mad rush to go check her out, I believe it will still be on offer this time next year. It took me a full year to sell my real nice FG Careel 22...I'm guessing whoever buys "any" Ferro Cement boat will want to keep the boat for their lifetime as they are not the quickest selling boats around. Anyway, I would be in no rush to sell any new-to-me boat I end up with. This 1970 50' Timber DeFever in Mexico or this FC Davidson 43 in NZ interests me more than that Aussie FC cruiser but I can not get away at present. Still, that Queensland FC cruiser is a nice boat...Even if overpriced imho.
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