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Old 03-04-2015, 09:40 PM   #1
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Delamination stringer

Hello all. New here and boat stupid. Spouse and I are entering into the scary world of boat ownership. We have found a trawler we like and broker has been forthcoming about issues with boat (well you know..). So the boat we are looking at is a 1985 trawler, Taiwanese. We will definitely have a survey done but want to spare expense if not worth going forward. The boat had a delamination issue with one of the stringers. It was repaired apparently. However when spouse was looking at boat and engines were started up one was moving around a bit. Broker thinks repair wasn't 100% and owner is willing to repair (this is a drilled hole with something injected in terms of what he will do). Before we pay for the survey...would love to know if this is something we should run quickly away from. We realize that there will be some costs, actually many costs down the road but don't want a massive one initially. Thanks for any advice as I repeat we are boat stupid!
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Old 03-04-2015, 09:50 PM   #2
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If he half a$$ed a stringer, what else did he half a$$ you don't know about? I'd walk.
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Old 03-04-2015, 10:08 PM   #3
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He hadn't owned the boat for very long. Got the boat then had a heart attack. I think he owned it a year and a half. Previous owner (according to broker who sold boat to both people) had been pretty meticulous and owned it for 12 years.


The rest of the boat according to survey (not ours) appears to be in good shape.
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Old 03-04-2015, 10:11 PM   #4
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Could be as simple as a loose bolt or bad motor mount. I saw one that had a shiny spot on the shaft, the engine was moving back and forth about 1/2" depending on what gear it was in. The lag bolts going into the stringer had loosened up, the owner fixed it with new mounts and bolts. A couple of hours pay for a good mechanic to check it and give his opinion if it's worth proceeding to a full survey would be money well spent.
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Old 03-04-2015, 10:46 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seaK View Post
Hello all. New here and boat stupid. Spouse and I are entering into the scary world of boat ownership. We have found a trawler we like and broker has been forthcoming about issues with boat (well you know..). So the boat we are looking at is a 1985 trawler, Taiwanese. We will definitely have a survey done but want to spare expense if not worth going forward. The boat had a delamination issue with one of the stringers. It was repaired apparently. However when spouse was looking at boat and engines were started up one was moving around a bit. Broker thinks repair wasn't 100% and owner is willing to repair (this is a drilled hole with something injected in terms of what he will do). Before we pay for the survey...would love to know if this is something we should run quickly away from. We realize that there will be some costs, actually many costs down the road but don't want a massive one initially. Thanks for any advice as I repeat we are boat stupid!

I wonder if the fact that they started it for you pre offer is a positive sign? They will need to fix it whether they sell it to you or someone else. Why haven't they?
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Old 03-04-2015, 10:57 PM   #6
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It may be something simple, but if you're truly interested in the boat, then you definitely want a professional to look at it. If overall you like the boat and it's condition, a qualified surveyor can determine if there is a real problem here. At worst, you may be out a couple of hundred dollars for the survey.

You didn't say the make of boat, but "a drilled hole with something injected inside" doesn't sound particularly good to me. If the stringer is a glassed in wood core and it's got dry rot, that can be an expensive problem.
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Old 03-04-2015, 11:44 PM   #7
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Let`s hope there was no cause and effect between the cost of fixing the delaminated stringer and the heart attack!
If the rest of the boat and the price seem ok, start with a specific assessment of the stringer, how to repair it properly and permanently, at what cost, is a way to proceed. Have the guy check elsewhere to be sure it is a one spot problem.
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Old 03-04-2015, 11:46 PM   #8
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Talk to the surveyor ahead of time and arrange to be there. Tell him you want him to look at that area first and then consult with you. If you call it off, he agrees to a lesser charge for the work completed and does not complete the day's survey. When you find the next boat, you give him first shot on the survey.
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Old 03-05-2015, 12:51 AM   #9
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Some Taiwan boats were made with stringer "time bombs" as it is only a matter of time before the stringers under the engines will no longer support the loads.
Others were built with enough glass in the stringers that the wood that was used to form the stringers is not structural, so if the wood is removed, or rots, the glass is plenty to continue to support the engines.

Which one you have is what you need to investigate.
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Old 03-05-2015, 05:42 AM   #10
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Greetings,
Welcome aboard. Mr. sK. Stop beating yourself up. EVERYONE starts out being "something" stupid (some never learn but let's not go there). You have enough smarts to at least ask questions. Advice given thus far is correct. Check, ask, research, check some more, ask some more...You know the drill. Sure, it may cost you $$ to scope out this and possibly several more vessels BUT in the long run this should be money well spent to prevent you from making a much more costly "purchase". Even a well surveyed boat will present you with a number of "oopsies" or "gosh-darns" at some point in your ownership and a GOOD survey, hopefully, will minimize emptying your pockets. DO NOT GET EMOTIONAL AT ANY POINT DURING LOOKING/NEGOTIATIONS!!!!!
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Old 03-05-2015, 07:33 AM   #11
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All good advice.

In regard to the problem stringer be aware that on some older boats the wood stringers that were originally encased by glass rot away inside the glass casing as Koliver posted.

This usually occurred by various owners etc drilling holes in the stringers for fixtures, these holes allowed moisture to enter, and the glass casing kept the moisture there.Over the years this rotted the timber out.

If this has happened on this boat check the engine bearers very carefully as they tend to sag, if this occurs with the aft bearers then check the condition of the shaft(s) as the sagging bearers will transfer the weight of the engine onto the shaft & couplings, which they most certainly were not designed to support. Water ingress at the shaft is a definite sign of concern, as is a roaring sound from the shaft coupling area when the boat is in gear, this can be done at the dock.If this has happened the shaft itself may well be damaged.

In regard to the drilled hole and injection, this sounds like they have effected a 'fix' by drilling holes into the bearers and injecting epoxy or similar into the stringer until it literally fills up, and replaces the rotten wood.I have seen some boats absorb an amazing amount of epoxy in this way.

The alternative to this method is to remove the stringer completely and replace. Depending on the design of the boat this could run into a very serious amount of money.

So what to do?.............hire a good surveyor as has been suggested already.Don't worry too much about the surveyor's cost, this is part of the price of securing a good boat and in the long run this may well turn out to be the best boat investment you ever make, or to look on the flip side, stop you making the worst investment you ever make.

So after all that doom and gloom, welcome to the Trawler forum.

Good luck and let us know how you go.
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Old 03-05-2015, 08:21 AM   #12
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One added note to the op seaK. As you are brand new to this game the survey thing is probably not familiar either. Yes, the surveyor is an expense you may have not planned on but understand that if you plan on keeping your boat in a North American marina you will need insurance. Securing a new insurance policy in your name without a "current"(last 90 days) survey is rarer than rocking horse poop.

In other words either before or after the purchase you will be paying for one anyway, so it's best to get it done before you purchase. A sellers previous survey is of no use to you either as the insurance company will most definitely not accept it and neither should you.
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Old 03-05-2015, 09:34 AM   #13
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Stringers are the very foundation of the boat. Like floor joists they hold everything together. Usually bad stringers come with otherstructural problems. If you are really interested in this boat talk to a surveyor about a short survey of the stringer issue since the seller is willing to start engines it should be possible to do a quick in water assessment of the stringer issue so that you are full informed of repairs required before you negotiate a price and contract for full survey. Injecting some goop into rotted wood is not really a solution.


IMO you are lucky to find this problem now and should keep looking. There are many many boats without serious problems on the market at cheap prices today.
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Old 03-05-2015, 12:11 PM   #14
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Thanks everyone for your sound advice. Having someone take a look today but feeling like we should pass on the boat.
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Old 03-05-2015, 11:45 PM   #15
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I'm very interested in what he finds. Let us know how it turns out.
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Old 03-06-2015, 12:22 AM   #16
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seaK, don`t pass too quickly, if it is repairable and everyone before you passed without investigating, there could be a bargain here, but check check check, carefully. I once looked at a house, it was cheap, discovered in time there was a wall needing new foundations, I walked. A house I did buy needed a new dampcourse for rising damp, it was done using a very thin silicone pressure injection system, cost about 8K. Some things are economically fixable, some are not.
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Old 03-06-2015, 06:07 AM   #17
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Talk to the surveyor ahead of time and arrange to be there. Tell him you want him to look at that area first and then consult with you. If you call it off, he agrees to a lesser charge for the work completed and does not complete the day's survey. When you find the next boat, you give him first shot on the survey.
Excellent advice. I do this quite often.
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Old 03-06-2015, 11:36 AM   #18
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Thanks all. We did find out a previous buyer walked one hour into survey and it was enough to spook us....the search continues.

If someone can recommend a surveyor in the Seattle area who has experience with Taiwanese trawlers we would be very grateful.
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Old 03-06-2015, 06:12 PM   #19
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Several good ones, Matt Harris out of Seattle and Mike McGlenn from Bellingham.
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Old 03-06-2015, 10:42 PM   #20
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Steve Berg, Berg Marine Surveys in Anacortes did our prepurchase survey 4 years ago. He's quite knowledgeable with regard to Taiwanese boats.
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