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Old 07-20-2016, 05:00 PM   #1
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1980s era trawler; freshwater or saltwater?

I'm still very early in the planning phase, but to help guide that plan, is it better to buy a 30 year old boat that has spent its life in freshwater or in saltwater? Almost anywhere on the Loop is fair game, and finding the right boat at the right price would seem to make it worth looking on the west coast too.
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Old 07-20-2016, 06:16 PM   #2
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all things being equal, I'll take the freshwater boat every time. Previous owner maintenance or lack of is more important than salt/fresh argument. Greatlakes has a shorter season and boats are hauled for a good part of the year.
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Old 07-20-2016, 06:24 PM   #3
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Northern vs. southern boats is another consideration. The sun ages boats much more quickly in the Gulf and southeastern states.
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Old 07-20-2016, 06:27 PM   #4
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Previous owner maintenance or lack of is more important than salt/fresh argument.
That's the key issue. All things are seldom equal. When they are, the freshwater boat should demand a premium.
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Old 07-20-2016, 07:15 PM   #5
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Of two equivalent boats, the fresh water boat will command a 20 - 30% premium. After almost 5000 appraisals and 3262 surveys I'd say they are worth it. Take a look on the Canadian Great Lakes, your US dollar is worth 30% more.
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Old 07-20-2016, 07:25 PM   #6
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Looking for information on (Maine Manufactured) Lyman Morse Trawlers (50 + Feet) late 70s with a single Cat 3208. Any reply, comments would be appreciated.
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Old 07-20-2016, 07:35 PM   #7
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Some of those Lyman Morse boats had unconventional layouts. Aft cabins on Downeast hulls weren't real popular. LM had beautiful craftsmanship if the layouts worked for you.
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Old 07-20-2016, 08:01 PM   #8
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Some of those Lyman Morse boats had unconventional layouts.

True, but then again most of the newer models are pure drool material

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http://www.lymanmorse.com/boats/mid-...talaria-55-114
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Old 07-21-2016, 08:54 PM   #9
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If you buy a 30 year old boat make sure you have the cash to maintain and update grade the boat, as its difficult to finance. So it might be better to buy a newer boat that fits your needs. All things being equal the fresh of course. The eagle been moored in freshwater and or brackish water since we bought her, but we cruise the salt. However the Eagle is high maintained and in better condition than boats a third of its age. Maintenance is key.
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Old 07-22-2016, 08:14 AM   #10
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My tentative plan is to pay cash for a boat that needs some attention, pay for that attention with some combination of doing it myself, updating what is out of date, and having fixed what I can't fix.

Seems like the most difficult repairs are hull blisters and wet coring, and that most everything else can and should be updated anyway. I want a single Lehman 120 because they have a reputation for running forever. I see doing the necessary engine update work as training for emergencies and intend to do most of it myself. Same with the plumbing and through hull stuff.
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Old 07-22-2016, 08:34 AM   #11
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My tentative plan is to pay cash for a boat that needs some attention, pay for that attention with some combination of doing it myself, updating what is out of date, and having fixed what I can't fix.

Seems like the most difficult repairs are hull blisters and wet coring, and that most everything else can and should be updated anyway. I want a single Lehman 120 because they have a reputation for running forever. I see doing the necessary engine update work as training for emergencies and intend to do most of it myself. Same with the plumbing and through hull stuff.
So far so good but pay particular attention to AC and DC electrical education. It ain't the same as your house and amateur hands can kill people or cause tremendous damage. You might find Marine Survey 101 of interest.
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Old 07-22-2016, 08:37 AM   #12
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"and having fixed what I can't fix."

the most difficult repairs are hull blisters and wet coring,

"At some yards this may be $100 per hour"

Expensive and iffy to repair , just look for a boat without wet coring and big blisters, plenty to be found.

There are lots of reliable engines ,

Good hunting
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Old 07-22-2016, 08:47 AM   #13
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Suppose one finds a boat with a few hand-sized blisters. How long might they exist without getting worse to the point of failure or leaking? How long or how far might experienced cruisers cruise with hull blisters?
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Old 07-22-2016, 09:12 AM   #14
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1980s era trawler; freshwater or saltwater?

"fiberglass hydrolysis" is what you need to spend time to study on Google. Hint, "blisters" are not unique to boating. I've never heard of blisters sinking a boat but they've sunk a lot of sales.

Edit: Fiberglass porosity is another good search term
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Old 07-22-2016, 10:21 AM   #15
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Suppose one finds a boat with a few hand-sized blisters. How long might they exist without getting worse to the point of failure or leaking? How long or how far might experienced cruisers cruise with hull blisters?
My boat had hydrolyzed through 5 layers of mat and roving on the starboard side, 6 feet by 6 feet. It had other smaller and less deep spots also.

The surveyor did not note anything other than many minor blisters.

I ground the whole bottom off, including the gel and mat layer, relaminated the deep spots, and recovered the whole bottom with a layer of cloth and epoxy. Finished with barrier coat.

5 years later, not a blister and she lives in the water year round.

I read up a lot on osmosis and hydrolyzing of laminates. Most of the misguided info I got was from boat forums. Some readings and research into the composite underground storage tank and piping industry was eye opening. Even many boat yards had uninformed views of the problem. A few yards that specialize in peeling and bottom work seem to be on the same page with each other and seem to agree with outside industries on composite issues.

Not designed to be a scare post, just informing that it is possible to have something worse than blisters, a survey may not tell you and that it isn't the end of the world (well it might have been had I had to pay $30,000 for a bottom job on a $55,000 boat).

The boat made it from Southern Florida to NJ without the starboard fuel tank falling through....but a full trash can full of hydrolyzed laminate under that fuel tank after making it to NJ didn't give me warm and fuzzies.

Just goes to show you something tiny can sink your boat or destroy it by fire, yet big scary things may not. Go figure.
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Old 07-22-2016, 10:50 AM   #16
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Excellent paper.

http://www.zahnisers.com/wp-content/...r-Blisters.pdf

So do all 1980s era boats have blisters and resin hydrolysis, or were some ahead of the curve in prevention? Or have many been re-laminated?
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Old 07-23-2016, 05:35 AM   #17
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How long or how far might experienced cruisers cruise with hull blisters?

If the boat was designed to be an offshore vessel, Around the World would not be a problem.

Small blisters can be cured , or ignored , no problem.
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Old 07-23-2016, 06:13 AM   #18
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Excellent paper.

http://www.zahnisers.com/wp-content/...r-Blisters.pdf

So do all 1980s era boats have blisters and resin hydrolysis, or were some ahead of the curve in prevention? Or have many been re-laminated?
One of the few papers I read that agreed with the other marine ones that agreed with out of industry thoughts on the subject.

Pretty much all glass boats are being hydrolyzed...just how fast is the big question. Some show almost zero after 30, 40, 50 years.

Others like mine in 21 year, sitting a a warm South Florida canal had serious deterioration.

When I sanded the bottom paint off, my gel coat looked like swiss cheese.

Can't say for sure, but it is possible that at some point the bottom had been sand blasted poorly, never barrier coated and repainted. Then again I have no evidence ce other than the strange looking gel coat.
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Old 07-23-2016, 08:03 AM   #19
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"the strange looking gel coat.."

The military now specifies clear gel coat , at least on the underwater portion of there new GRP boats.

With enough customer pressure (probably from insurance co's ) perhaps even yachts will be easier to survey for laminate flaws and grounding damage.

Sadly it has not worked for Fire Retarding resin , which is still only a commercial/military requirement.
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