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Old 06-19-2016, 08:16 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by KevinCT View Post
For thirty years, I thought Hatteras 53 MY hulls & sides were constructed entirely of fiberglass, hence their 55,000# weight compared to similar size vessels weighing a mere 39,000#.

Surveyor and author,David Pascoe, writes, "[Hatteras 53] hulls and superstructure are built like a tank with the bottoms about an inch thick with balsa cored sides and decks."

Are the Hatteras 53' built with solid glass hull and balsa cored sides? BTW, I knew the decks were balsa cored. It just blew my mind about the hull sides.
FWIW, our 1972 Hatteras 53' MY has a 1 1/4" thick solid glass bottom and thicker along keel, chine and transom; hull sides from chine to deck are solid 1/2" glass; transom is 1/2" glass + balsa core + 1/4" glass. Bottom rudder pads are 2 1/2" thick solid glass; Longitudinal stringers the length of the hull are 1/2" thick, 4" wide solid glass formed over a foam core with steel plate embedded under the length of the engine beds. Decks are a thick glass topside + core + glass underside. Built like a tank is the best description of the early Hatteras 53' & 58' - 1510 versions; but can't speak to later versions.
My understanding is Hatteras did not skimp on any bottom lay-ups of any of their production boats, and did not use core bottoms on any of them, with maybe a few exceptions in the later years. As already mentioned the folks at SAMSmarine.com are good people and the best source of info about these boats, some there worked at Hatteras in the early years.
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Old 06-20-2016, 06:26 AM   #22
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"If there is an all solid laminate FRP, no coring, vessel it would be an oddity"

NOPE , it would simply be an early GRP build.

It took the hull builders a few years to realize the thickness of a wood boat need not be copied.

GRP is almost always strong enough , the hassle is its not very stiff , unless thick.

Cored construction "solved" the problem , but handed owners the maint problem with wood or balsa cores of requiring to re seal all penetrations.
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Old 06-20-2016, 09:42 AM   #23
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You state that as opinion, but curious as to how you formed it. I've never heard cases of people having issues with Hatteras due to quality problems. I did a lot of inquiries as we considered one and ultimately went another way. It's just the cleanest reputation I could find. Now, I did hear of Hatteras boats abused and destroyed by owners but even those generally were structurally sound and could be restored. I'm surprised with the ownership changes, with the long period they were on the market trying to be sold, that quality didn't suffer.

I would say too that Hatteras isn't the only boat brand I've not heard of any structural problems with. There are a lot of good boats built. A few bad as well.

It's not blasphemy. Just wondering if you feel that because you feel conditions had to cause problems or if you're aware of actual quality problems that they had.

Fundamentally I don't trust people's idea that if a company built a good product at one time that all its products are good. Management changes rarely continue products exactly as before and new models and technology changes sometimes don't work out as planned.

There is a halo effect, well known in marketing circles, that tells us if people think well of one aspect of an individual or company they think well of everything. the reverse is also true. The Hatteras brand was bought because of the brand value with the halo effect otherwise the buyer could easily have built an exact copy but with a different corporate name it would have been a much harder sell.

I have seen a number of Hatts over the years that appeared great with well done interiors. The one I looked at buying had such a cheap looking interior I was out of it in quick time. I don't know anything about the quality of the hull construction, or even the boats history, but that boat taught me not to assume all Hatts are the same.

As for the coring discussion people are still in the thought mode of original FG boat builders that thicker is better. Coring is a good technology IMO for above water line areas but it has gotten a bad rep because of poor manufacturing process control and poor owner maintenance. But primarily because the makers use balsa which does not belong on a boat. Other types of coring are good if used properly IMO. I once took a sample of core from a boat maker and submerged it in water for six months. When I took it out it did not seem to have absorbed any water at all, try that with balsa.


I don't like coring below the waterline because the cored hull is easier to crush than solid for minour impacts but that is just my theory.
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Old 06-20-2016, 10:38 AM   #24
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Fundamentally I don't trust people's idea that if a company built a good product at one time that all its products are good. Management changes rarely continue products exactly as before and new models and technology changes sometimes don't work out as planned.

I don't like coring below the waterline because the cored hull is easier to crush than solid for minour impacts but that is just my theory.
I agree with you in theory but there are exceptions and I do believe Hatteras to be one. I would have thought quality would have suffered at some point. However, I've never once heard anything, been made aware of anything, that says that happened in this case. It seems now that you've confirmed that you haven't either. I always go in skeptical but I believe Hatteras has proven themselves.

I've been involved in the purchase of many businesses and many of them had financial troubles. In the majority of situations their quality had slipped. However, there were exceptions.

As to coring, most core above waterline. Early days of coring were materials like balsa. However, that's not the case today. They are advanced materials, advanced foams and honeycomb, even carbon fiber. They are stronger and lighter. Also builders have better techniques.

Let's correct one misnomer too. We talk of "solid" fiberglass. It's not solid. It's layers. It's one layer on top of another on top of another, etc. In essence the middle layers are core. The product is cored in a way, just with the same material. The inner layers do not add stiffness, just weight. And if the techniques of building aren't good you can get water to those inner layers. Many older non-cored boats in lesser brands have had intrusion issues. Now, coring started with products that are more impacted by water. However, today's products handle water as well or better than fiberglass mat. All we're really talking about is instead of layers and layers of glass, replacing some of those layers with other products. The key, just as it was in "solid" fiberglass boats is avoiding intrusion into those inner layers. Today's construction methods generally do that. The core material has more strength per pound than fiberglass. Also, today it's generally done through one or another form of vacuum injection as well. We speak of Hatteras. I don't believe they ever used core before injection processes were developed and refined.

This is not your father's coring. Materials advance every day. We went through balsa, then foams, then harder foams, toss in some kevlar, a bit of carbon, even aluminum along the way. We laid core material by hand just as we did glass but then we advanced to infusion. Coring quality varies, but then so does laminate/glass. All wasn't created equal. I've seen soft bottoms in "solid" glass boats. I've known builders to get bad batches of resin and have to junk dozens of boats, some just hulls and some completed boats before the problem was caught. We're really talking layers of materials and the result will be determined by the quality of the materials and the quality of the building with it.

As to coring materials, there are some excellent builders still using Balsa, who have no issues with it, but it requires great skill. They have decades of demonstrating that skill. When it comes to foams, there are many different types and qualities. Some of the less expensive would never make sense anywhere but upper structures. However, some of the expensive were developed and tested first in racing sailing yachts and have been very refined over time.
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Old 06-20-2016, 11:10 AM   #25
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Agree in principle however the improvements you mention don't often apply to older boats often discussed here.


I remain of the opinion that balsa core does not belong on any boat new or old. Any core sipes saturation is only as good as the guys working that day. Synthetic cores don't easily wick water from one spot to another as does balsa if not perfectly wet out.


Racing boats are limited life products and while good experimental platforms long life is not an objective.
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Old 06-20-2016, 12:27 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by bayview View Post
Agree in principle however the improvements you mention don't often apply to older boats often discussed here.


I remain of the opinion that balsa core does not belong on any boat new or old. Any core sipes saturation is only as good as the guys working that day. Synthetic cores don't easily wick water from one spot to another as does balsa if not perfectly wet out.


Racing boats are limited life products and while good experimental platforms long life is not an objective.
Today's techniques often don't apply to older boats. However, as to Hatteras, I find no issues regardless of vintage, and Hatteras was the original topic.

As to balsa, I share your personal opinion that I wouldn't prefer it, but then there are some excellent boats that have never had issues using it. Viking comes to my mind first.

I'd slightly alter the statement, "any core sipes saturation is only as good as the guys working that day" to "only as good as the quality control of the builder."

My point is that there is no type production that guarantees quality and none that guarantees it won't be achieved. It's materials, design, skill, control. I would be very suspicious of any older boat, whether "solid", balsa, or foam until it's proven to me to not have water intrusion. We don't own any balsa cored but we do own foam cored above the waterline. We have Airex, but they make at least 10 different foams and the same company does Baltek which is Balsa and Banova which is balsa plywood.

This is much like fuel tank materials and we can find issues with older ones regardless of the material or even boat materials where steel, aluminum and glass all can have issues in older boats.

Ultimately the major issue with any glass boat though is to know whether there has been intrusion. Then you know if it's Balsa cored, that intrusion has probably caused greater problems than otherwise.
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Old 06-20-2016, 01:59 PM   #27
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Not the biggest fan of Surveyor and author,David Pascoe, much miss information on the website of his.
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Old 06-20-2016, 04:15 PM   #28
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Not the biggest fan of Surveyor and author,David Pascoe, much miss information on the website of his.
One problem we have is people publish on the internet and some start to consider them to be the most knowledgeable person on the planet. He's one person, one surveyor. He often forms a conclusion on a boat based on one he sees and surveys. There is a lot of good information on his site, but a lot of statements as fact that are simply his opinion. Also, much depends on the age of the boat you're looking at as his site is woefully outdated. In 1996, Pascoe wrote that he found balsa superior to the foams in use, but that was 20 years ago and at the same time he was on the warpath against Sea Ray and their Balsa coring. Ultimately his reviews of boats are very little different than the ones you'll see if specific boats are mentioned here.

I quote him here around 2002:
Now Sea Ray has hundreds, perhaps thousands of ticking time bombs (balsa cored boat bottoms) out there waiting to explode. Will Sea Ray survive the mistake? Only time will tell, but meantime I wouldn't make any bets on Brunswick stock.
Obviously they survived to remain the top boat builder. I don't doubt at all that he was aware of some Sea Rays with issues. I was on a lake and we weren't aware of any, so it appears with 40-55' boats.

That quoted statement is what perhaps I like least about his site as he tends toward broad hyperbole rather than simply stating the problems he's seeing. He's very opinionated and that's no problem as you go to his site for his opinion, but keep in mind it is only one man's opinion, often based on one boat.

So, if I was looking at a boat that he has reviewed, I would definitely look at the review as it might present some areas for me to look at. However, I'd keep in mind that many of the boats he's surveyed have been in very bad condition, not necessarily a reflection of the builder.

There's some good stuff on his site and it's useful as a warning. However, if it was the only place you got information, you'd never buy any boat.

Edit: In fairness too, many companies have survived that I didn't think would, although Sea Ray wouldn't be one. It's just predicting the future is quite an imperfect science.
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