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Old 04-07-2017, 08:19 AM   #1
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Dryness: An Important Lesson

Two summers ago we bought a 1980 Kady Krogen which we sold less than a year later primarily due to a medical false alarm. Not long after I figured out that the doctor was being CYA conservative, we bought a 1975 Gulf Star 43 MK II which we have now cruised from Detroit to Titusville, FL and down the Saint John River. We are now in Virginia. There has been one huge lesson from this experience which surprised me even after a lifetime spent with boats professionally.

One reason we bought the Krogen was because it had been a mostly stationary liveaboard for a decade with AC going in NC. We figured that all that dry ventilation would be a good for the interior as we didn't want a musty boat. The boat turned out to be a typical Taiwan "Leaky Teaky". We left it hauled out for a month after purchase to have some work done and returned to find every surface covered with grey mildew despite having the contractor opening the doors and windows frequently. It was a huge clean up.

Once aboard, life was a constant mildew battle. We had installed a fireplace style diesel heater with a big flue and these typically dry boats out very well and the boat did become much drier. Still, we could sit for the evening and practically watch the mildew grow across the overhead and along the walls. We wore our shoulders out and went through bottles of vinegar. I didn't think too much about this at the time because, in my life with boats, mildew is sort of like salt spray. As I began working on the boat, I began to see though just how wet the structure was between things like liners and cabin sole layers from years of water intrusion through the window leaks and typical Taiwan construction.

I had a great experience buying my previous sail boat in the Great Lakes. It had some mildew issues since it had sat shrink wrapped for six seasons but the lack of fresh water exposure made it seem half its age. So, when we saw the GS 43 in Detroit, we decided to take a look even though it was larger than we were looking for.

This boat is 1975 and never saw salt water until last November. More importantly, it was kept all its life in a heated shed during the off season. The Gulf Star construction is very tight, high quality metal framed windows, glassed deck hull joint, etc. This boat is absolutely dry. Despite knowing these things, I have still been surprised what a difference it makes. We have not yet seen a speck of mildew despite leaving the boat closed up in Saint Augustine for six weeks over the holidays on an unusually warm winter. Even in colder weather, we could go out for dinner on the Krogen and come back after to see that the mildew had grown. Go away for a 2 - 3 day road trip and we would know there would be a huge clean up after our return. This boat: never, and we also do not have that musty boat smell that I always took for granted.

In summary, what I have learned is something I saw here on the forum while looking for the first boat and wish I had paid more attention to. Once the interior joinerwork and structure of a boat gets wet and the mildew takes hold, it will never be the same again. There is almost no practical recovery except to strip it out to the hull and rebuild. If you are lucky enough to have the rare boat as dry as this one, you have a craft with a major and irreplaceable asset.
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Old 04-07-2017, 08:33 AM   #2
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Sir, as you probably already know, the early Krogens, we're plywood under the decks. Which in turn, were ripped out in later years, and rebuilt, due to water intrusion. I may stand corrected, but I think in 86 , they changed for the better, and dumped the plywood.
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Old 04-07-2017, 11:12 AM   #3
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Wifey B: Glad you found a dry boat. Mildew and mold scare the bejeezus out of me. You're so right whether boat or house or anywhere that once it gets going it's hard to stop. I've seen houses where the owner cleaned and cleaned and it took ripping the wall and floor out. One friend I had bought a house and was constantly complaining about it in her shower. We told her, you're using it every day, you're washing it, it's not coming from you showering. Well, not surprisingly, little drip behind wall, and, of course it went under shower too and $3000 later she had it fixed. Mildew is bad bad bad.
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Old 04-07-2017, 01:49 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hotrod View Post
the early Krogens, [were] plywood under the decks.
So are the decks in the Gulf Star but they built the boat to keep the water out and this boat was kept especially dry due to the short seasons in MI. The heated shed also probably helped a lot by avoiding the freeze thaw cycles that open up joints around fittings and windows.
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Old 04-08-2017, 08:41 AM   #5
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Still any sealing goop will need to be refreshed , every so often.

Fittings thru wood count most , as the wood can depart,

thru GRP , one can wait to see the drips or water stains.
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Old 04-08-2017, 09:56 AM   #6
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Having commissioned or outfitted quite a few new boats, some might be surprised at the amount of mildew the boats have in them straight from the factory that the dealers clean up.
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