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Old 01-07-2017, 12:36 PM   #1
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1980 CHB leaking window deal breaker?

Hi all,

Currently looking at a 1980 CHB that was donated to the Center for Wooden Boats here in Seattle. This would be my first boat larger than a little ski boat and I'd be using it as a live aboard.

https://cwb.org/boats-for-sale/1980-...r-little-bear/

I'm in love with the layout and there are several good things about it including completely overhauled electrical and new transmission. The fuel tanks appear rust free, but I'd likely replace them as a precaution anyway.

The big worry is leaking windows and soft spots on the deck. There's a 4-foot section of soft decking on the port side and a basketball sized soft patch on the flybridge. There's obvious interior water damage around a few of the aft windows and looking down below I can see several spots where brown drip stains have come down from cabin walls, I assume indicating more leaks and water damage.

The kicker here is the price: $26,500. From what I've seen, this is extremely low for these boats, especially for one without teak decks and new electrical. I'm happy to do work on it, but have almost no experience. Fearing the worst, that a majority of the cabin and some decking has wood rot, is there any reason to still consider it?

Thanks for any input!
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Old 01-07-2017, 01:01 PM   #2
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There are more qualified members who I am sure will step up but all that you describe is fixable. The soft decks can be repaired and the window leaks stopped. As long as you can't stick your finger and make a hole in the wood you can fix it.

Our boat had (has) discolored wood where the windows have leaked. As I notice leaks I use metal tape (not duct tape) on the outside to stop the leak. Once warmer weather hits the PNW, either due to global warming or spring, I will start pulling windows and resealing them.

Get someone who is a good mechanic to check the motor(s). Rebuilding or replacing a main will be very expensive. A good survey will help by listing things that need attention and give you a negotiating point(s) to help in pricing. A good surveyor will also be able to tell you what the boat is worth (within reason) in the current market.
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Old 01-07-2017, 01:31 PM   #3
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Lots of postings here about leaking Taiwanese trawlers. They are beautiful inside and out and very appealing but they are very much a honey trap. Unless you plan to repair it yourself, I would plan on at least doubling the purchase cost if you are willing to repair the leaks (only one area of maintenance on an old boat like crap plumbing, wiring fuel systems etc. "properly." If you want to use paint and tape and patches, it's a good price. The problem is, if you don't stop the rot, it will essentially consume the boat or you with all the nasty mould diseases you yourself can get. Also, if there is a leak under this area, there will be leaks in other areas too. Plan on reefing out all the "wood" (some builders used scrap or old pallets or packing cases in there) in a large area of the deck and most likely in the cabin walls. Plan on throwing away or replacing all the teak decking and removing, repairing and rebedding all of the windows. Plan on painting the discoloured, beautiful teak panelling.

Lie on the front bunk and look under the deck overhang - if it's wet or discoloured or you can smell mould/rot when you first enter the cabin, big money. If you meet a broker on the boat, get there before he does and don't let him air it out before you arrive! Old Taiwanese trick!

There is a reason it was donated to the charity... I would also like to add, after re-reading the previous posts, that I don't think the resale price, amount of work to be done, time wasted fixing it allows any room. I think this boat is essentially valueless.
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Old 01-07-2017, 01:55 PM   #4
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Seems like a nice boat and a reasonable price.
Have someone who knows what they are doing look at the soft spots on the deck and fly-bridge and give you some options. They could be deal killers or nothing much at all.
Window leaks are time consuming to fix but not difficult or expensive if you do it yourself.
Don't be so caviler about the fuel tanks. This ain't no ski boat.
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Old 01-07-2017, 02:23 PM   #5
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Second Westman's advice. $500 for a survey is money well spent. Alternatively you can just have a local fiberglass guy come over and give you a repair estimate for the known soft spots. It's not a do it yourself job. Personally I would opt for survey. The boat is 30 years old.
Either approach will tell you exactly how much rot there is, what caused it, and an estimated cost to repair. If it costs $5K to repair, then adjust your offer accordingly.
Market value is somewhere between 30-40K so don't rush into the deal unless the numbers work.
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Old 01-07-2017, 02:32 PM   #6
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First of all Hutch, welcome to the forum. Believe it or not I agree with everything posted so far as it's all true from a certain standpoint.

Generally speaking boats that are hard to sell get donated to these type of charity foundations. Cars, planes and RV's too. Hopefully either you will meet or someone local from the forum will volunteer to give it an in person peek with you to help decide if it's worth taking to survey.

Could be a sweetheart or a bitch but ultimately the more comfortable you are using tools the happier you will be owning a boat from this era.
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Old 01-07-2017, 03:03 PM   #7
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Thanks for the replies so far! I'd definitely be having a survey done on the boat, with particular attention paid to the damage longstanding window leaks have likely had on the cabin. I'll also likely hire a local engine specialist to take a look at the Ford Lehman. I just didn't want to take that next step if I convinced myself it likely wouldn't be worth it.

Regarding the donation aspect, it's my understanding that the Center gets about 20 offers a week for donations, while they only have room to take on about 3 at any given time. This is all to say that they're quite choosy when it comes to accepting donations. In this case, a team of volunteers with the Center checked it out a few times and decided to accept it before they brought it down from Gig Harbor. The boat was owned by a gentleman who planned on making the boat his retirement project, but he only got as far as the electrical and engine before health problems left him unable to work on it, thus the donation.

There was a survey done in 2012 that found no major problems, other than some soft spots in the cabin, which I mentioned in my first post. At that time, the survey valued the boat at $47,000. I've no idea how accurate those appraisals are, but I suppose it could be another useful metric to calculate the boat's risk.

If more thoughts are out there, I'd love to hear them. Thanks all.
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Old 01-07-2017, 03:08 PM   #8
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Greetings,
Welcome aboard.
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Old 01-09-2017, 01:53 PM   #9
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First boat of this size and wanting for live aboard here's a few things I tell people before buying that haven't been mentioned yet. You might of done this already. Check into moorage cost, especially if you plan on mooring in Seattle area. Finding live aboard moorage in area is $$ and limited. Covered moorage is more $$ but your friend in the N/W. Look into marina facility's: parking, bathroom/showers and what pump out services are available. Check into required insurance and cost. Just my 2cents...
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Old 01-09-2017, 04:20 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hutch View Post
The fuel tanks appear rust free, but I'd likely replace them as a precaution anyway.The kicker here is the price: $26,500.
If you are serious about paragraph one above, your 27k boat just became a 50k boat before any leak repair.
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Old 01-09-2017, 05:51 PM   #11
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If you don't mind chasing rot repair for a big chunk of the boats life...then it sounds fair.

I paid 2x as much for a rot queen but I do all the work.

If tanks are in need of repair and you are going to pay 26K to repair them, plus rot...you are in love with a dream, not a cruising boat.

If you have the money to do all those repairs by someone else, look at $100,000 boats and go cruising now.
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Old 01-09-2017, 07:18 PM   #12
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I'll get a better idea about the condition of the tanks during the survey, but in researching tank replacements on here, I've never seen estimates that hover just below $30,000. Am I missing something?
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Old 01-09-2017, 07:34 PM   #13
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It depends on a lot.....

But up to that number is very real.

I have just seen too many people get into lower cost vessels that need a full time shipwright to bring them back that lose their butts on the vessel and wind up bitter....and or broke.
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Old 01-09-2017, 08:02 PM   #14
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I doubt if a surveyor is going to get into a brouhaha about the fuel tanks.

They usually just count them. (2 - yup). Surveyors are not there to protect you, they are there to protect the insurer. The insurer will not be paying to replace bad tanks that you bought. The surveyor will not accept any responsibility other than the quantity of the tanks. You need to check the tanks and decide if you are willing to accept the burden of possibility.

That said, there are options for tank replacement if and when the need arises.

"If and when" - what a good name for a boat...
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Old 01-09-2017, 08:20 PM   #15
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Who's going to fix all that stuff? If you have to pay someone you'll quickly be way underwater financially. No other way to fix all those soft areas than cut them open and rebuild it all.
If you want to drive to Anacortes I've a friend with 2 of these cut open to repair, would be glad to show you what the insides look like. It's not pretty.
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Old 01-09-2017, 09:02 PM   #16
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Well, the tide on this thread sure shifted fast! I truly appreciate the advice and warnings everyone is giving me. I had read that the tanks were a known trouble spot on these boats when I first started researching them, so I looked up a posts regarding replacement and was under the impression that the costs were typically lower. I have no reason to believe that the tanks need replacement, but will hopefully find out more when the survey is done.

As for the rot in the cabin, I understand that it can represent a mammoth amount of work, much of which cannot be realized until you start tearing things apart. My hope is that even with these problems, the boat will be well suited for its primary function: as a full-time liveaboard boat under covered moorage that is seldom sailed.
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Old 01-09-2017, 09:29 PM   #17
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1980 CHB leaking window deal breaker?

Hey Hutch! You are where I was 5 years ago...looking at CHB 34's. Choosing a boat is a journey and it takes time. We spent 2 years just looking and it took 1.5 years just coming to decide what we really wanted. Please take your time and please review the Boat Search 101 in the sticky above. And...get yourself on lots of boats and ask lots of questions.

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Old 01-09-2017, 11:29 PM   #18
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Your boat is two years newer than mine and mine has its original tanks. As above about all a surveyor might do is point out any obvious leaks, big rust or holes in the tank. Your nose will likely tell you if you have a tank leak or look along side the stringers where it will collect. After I bought mine, I hauled it out and had the tank boys come down from Bellingham, open them up, pull the fuel and then clean and inspect. They said the tanks were actually in good shape and good to go for a while at least. I did have to replace a leaky standpipe fitting on one tank. I suspect the boat you are looking at was not in covered moorage? Covered moorage is as noted almost a necessity around here with the rainy winters. Its expensive but you pay it up front or pay it in repairs and leaky windows. When you say the kicker was the price at $26K you were talking about the price of the boat right? Some thought you were talking tank replacement price. Right there in Seattle is an outfit that does tank repair by sealing up the insides if there is enough to seal to I imagine and its loads less expensive than doing a replacement, so look into that before you spend thousands on new tanks. The guys up here do it also so when that day comes I will look into it first. Get a good survey and haulout, eng survey too. How many hours on the FL? Its good that you have a fairly recent survey to go by, most have nothing. The price is not too bad for one of these but as noted it will be costly to do the things it needs if you have to hire it all out. Good luck
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Old 01-10-2017, 06:06 AM   #19
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The leaking windows are not a deal breaker for me. The source is. If you want a true project boat, (literally) and can take on such a massive project without tiring of it, then go for it. Soft decks scare me and by the sound of it the soft spots are large. For this reason, I would continue my search.

There are plenty of boats out there is better shape for a few more dollars.
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Old 01-10-2017, 02:04 PM   #20
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Your boat is two years newer than mine and mine has its original tanks. As above about all a surveyor might do is point out any obvious leaks, big rust or holes in the tank. Your nose will likely tell you if you have a tank leak or look along side the stringers where it will collect. After I bought mine, I hauled it out and had the tank boys come down from Bellingham, open them up, pull the fuel and then clean and inspect. They said the tanks were actually in good shape and good to go for a while at least. I did have to replace a leaky standpipe fitting on one tank. I suspect the boat you are looking at was not in covered moorage? Covered moorage is as noted almost a necessity around here with the rainy winters. Its expensive but you pay it up front or pay it in repairs and leaky windows. When you say the kicker was the price at $26K you were talking about the price of the boat right? Some thought you were talking tank replacement price. Right there in Seattle is an outfit that does tank repair by sealing up the insides if there is enough to seal to I imagine and its loads less expensive than doing a replacement, so look into that before you spend thousands on new tanks. The guys up here do it also so when that day comes I will look into it first. Get a good survey and haulout, eng survey too. How many hours on the FL? Its good that you have a fairly recent survey to go by, most have nothing. The price is not too bad for one of these but as noted it will be costly to do the things it needs if you have to hire it all out. Good luck
Thanks for this! Lots of great information here. Really appreciate everyone's input on this. The survey is likely going to be early next week so I'll put an update on here once I get the report details. If nothing else, maybe this will help someone else looking at these boats further down the line.
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