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Old 02-27-2019, 09:39 PM   #1
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Unhappy water intrusion/rot

i have been searching for an 80s trawler for two years now. have driven from minnesota to florida, texas to maine. have walked away from two boats after survey. i cannot find a trawler without water intrusion in the cabins, rot in the cabin walls or high moisture content in either the stringers or cabin roof/deck.
i really want one with the teak decks intact. has anyone found a relatively simple way to eliminate rot without cutting the boat apart and redoing all the deck or cabin walls. i am not afraid of , and capable of, redoing the interior walls, just not sure about redoing the decks.
i am currently still looking and have a couple to look at but from the photos i can see the cabin walls have water damage.
my budget is limitedto $50,000. or less
love to find a 36, double cabin, single screw with a thruster, gen and heat/ac
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Old 02-27-2019, 09:44 PM   #2
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I think that decks will be easier to repair than the bulkheads and stringers. Decks are fairly easy to recore. Cut out the top, remove bad core replace deck, glass the joint and then paint the deck with something like Kiwigrip.
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Old 02-27-2019, 10:18 PM   #3
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First:
Are you kidding me? Does your keyboard not work?

Second:
Fix the first and I'll respond.
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Old 02-27-2019, 11:09 PM   #4
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Quote:
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First:
Are you kidding me? Does your keyboard not work?

Second:
Fix the first and I'll respond.
Having a bad day Daddyo? Yes it`s all lower case. So what? It`s easily understood.
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Old 02-27-2019, 11:37 PM   #5
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one thing i know for sure, there is one broker i won't deal with.
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Old 02-27-2019, 11:48 PM   #6
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Wow, totally. This thread took a detour quickly. I wouldn't work with this "commercial member" either.

OP: Good luck in your search. I think you'll definitely be able to find a fixer upper, 80's vintage trawler within your budget.

Have you researched the Mainship 36 double cabin? Pretty neat design. There are a few liveaboards on my dock who have them.
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Old 02-28-2019, 12:20 AM   #7
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tn6437,

In my last boat, there was excessive rot under one of the windows. The house was built with two layers of what seemed to be hardwood plywood, mahogany on the visible layer and possible all the way. I removed it from the from top-to-bottom, all the way to the corner. I cut the other side where it couldn't be seen, behind a bulkhead. To make the repair stronger, I cut the outer and inner layers in different places. I used heavily thickened epoxy to glue the inner layer back into the fiberglass exterior, buttering each surface. The thick mixture of thickened epoxy caused it to accommodate the dimensional variations in the fiberglass. Then, I used a much less thickened epoxy (barely thickened, just enough to avoid drips once in place and while curing) to glue the outer layer to the inner layer. I pushed some heavy boards against the middle of it to keep it in place and then screwed the top and bottom under what would be the trim. I varnished the whole thing a couple times, put the trim back, and varnished it again. When done, I cut the whole for the replacement window and put it in. It was custom to be about the same size as the original, but because of a different corner radius, I had to widen the corners with an angle grinder first. Then I put the window in. It turned out perfect and solid from the inside and out. The only thing one would notice is that the grain is horizontal, not vertical, because the piece was too large for me to go the other way. The color didn't match exactly, but was good enough given that there wasn't old directly against new anywhere visible. It was a weekend of labor, but wasn't super expensive. The board and epoxy+thickener were the only real costs. The board was marine-grade mahogany plywood. It wasn't cheap, but I just don't remember what I paid for it. The epoxy was a gallon or two with fast cure from west marine plus a couple of packages of thickener. That wasn't free either. But, all in, I think it was a few hundred dollars plus about $1200 for the window.

I replaced the plywood under the lower half of another window. This left a seam in the middle and I didn't like how it looked, so I covered it with some mahogany veneer. Overall, it worked very well. It looks perfect unless one really examines it. Even the color turned out to be a compatible match. But, if you really look, at the very bottom by the trim, you might notice that the contact cement didn't fully adhere. Next time I used the veneer, on a refrigerator enclosure, I used the version with the 3M pressure-sensitive backing. It worked 100% perfect. I'd recommend it.

On that same boat (when I bought it), there was significant delamination of the fiberglass deck surface from the underlying and deteriorated fiberglass core. I hired someone to fix it. He injected it with 22 tubes (caulk gun tubes) of epoxy. A ton. Then glasses over it, primed it, and texture painted it with awlrip. The person who did the work was very experienced and skilled -- but it turned out rock solid, rigid, looking perfect, and lasted.

In another case, where a window leak was staining the wood underneath but there wasn't much softness, I was able to rebed the window (not just caulk around the outside) and then sand into the stained area underneath, seal it with a sanding sealer, and revarnish it. The sanding sealer was key to matching the color of the original finsih. Again, it wasn't a perfect match up-close-and-personal. The old varnish had some whitening/opaqueness that the fresh varnish didn't, so the character was slightly different in the repair area than around it. But, it was unnoticable from a distance and didn't look bad up close.

My current boat once had teak decks all around. The prior owner removed most of them, but didn't repair the soft area near the bow. I had it recored, glassed over, and awlgrip texture painted. The person who did it was a slob w.r.t. the awlgrip texture painting. He mixed the texture into the paint and rolled it, which is a valid method of doing it -- but predictably results in an inconsistent texture. None-the-less, it wasn't a bad job. He reported (and charged for) 24 hours of labor -- but it looked more like 15 to me watching. None-the-less, it wasn't an expensive job. Cutting out the core didn't take long. Nor did putting in the new core and glassing it in. Most of the labor was, as you might expect, in feathering it in and getting it primed and painted.

My point is that these types of things can be a bit labor intensive, but don't require a crazy amount of skill, and aren't super expensive. Other than major, expensive things, e.g. engines, generators, running gear, etc, I don't fear single things on boats. My biggest fear is a boat that is, overall, behind the 8 ball w.r.t. maintenance or that has been maintained by improvisation vs properly. In either case, it gets really hard to figure out the issues to price them and address them. Each day turns up something new.

Many trawlers, at least trunk trawlers, have leaky windows. In fact, it almost seems to be the standard. I think most knowledgeable trawler buyers are either looking for a freshly and completely redone boat -- which is rare and very expensive. Or, they are just looking for something that is typical of boats that age, knowing they'll have to maintain the affected areas as each gets ripe.

My new boat is a Europa style. And, it doesn't seem to have these window issues, I'm guessing because the covered decks provide it some level of protection. But, the front windows are designed silly and, because of the angle, hold water in the outside window sill. The previous owner had to caulk it to stop it from leaking in from there. And, I ended up having to redo that -- and probably will have to do it again every couple or few years. Its okay. I know it is a maintenance item, will keep an eye on it, and will make sure I keep it sealed up before it becomes a problem again.

Boats are all about managing maintenance to ensure that the boat remains suitable for the intended use, while still ensuring that it is actually used as intended. I like my boat in truly excellent shape in all respects. But, I know I can't have it perfect. I always have a small list. But, that's okay -- it is the price I pay to get to be an active boater on the water (not just the slip).

Hope this helps. One person's perspective, at the least.
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Old 02-28-2019, 12:30 AM   #8
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tn6437,

also, i think your price range seems fine. if you aren't you might actually want to look at twin screws. there might be more options. i just bought my new trawler, a 42 foot twin screw in florida. And, I just sold a 42 ft twin screw in california.

there seem to be plenty of twin screw trawlers from the late 1970s to the early 1980s from 36-42 feet in your price range. in florida, I saw a couple of 38ft californians in that price range, a really nice 42 ft albin trawler, and a 42ft defever. The californian had some rot around the aft statroom windows. and the defever had some around around more windows. but, nothing that couldn't be addressed by cutting out the wood, replacing it with marine grade hardwood, and veneering to match. In the defever, they'd veneered over it, which only works to a point -- and it was past that point.

but, there are definitely boats out there in that size and range in twin screws.
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Old 02-28-2019, 01:10 AM   #9
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tn6437,your chances of finding intact decks on an 80s trawler are not good. The largely decorative teak was screwed onto the underlying fibreglass real deck, a "sandwich" of top and bottom fibreglass layers,usually with some kind of wood inbetween. Unless you were lucky enough to have foam instead of wood, the wood gets wet. The decks wear, the screwplugs disappear, water tracks down the screws which often pass right through the deck. You`d do better looking for a boat with the teak removed and the decks renovated. These days teak is glued not screwed.
Apart from water finding its way in via windows and flybridge defects,it can wick upwards from wet decks,and drip downwards rusting the tops of mild steel water and fuel tanks,something else to look for.
Good luck with your search. Hopefully there is a good one somewhere waiting for you. Make teak decks an optional "want" and things might open up for you.
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Old 02-28-2019, 01:18 AM   #10
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tn6437 and brucek,

brucek makes an excellent point. I missed the fact that you were looking for teak decks. As brucek says, that is slim pickings -- most are removing them! and, those that still have them, as you've notice, are often still there because they are neglected not cherished.

one thing you might look at is buying a trawler without the teak decks and then using one of the many synthetic glue-down systems designed to look just like teak, but not present the risks or maintenance issues.

flexiteak, patiteak, nuteak, aquamarine decks, ameriteak. there are tons of synthetic teak products to choose from. i have seen some that looked amazing and lasted. i don't remember what brands/products, so you'll want to ask around for recommendations.

but, you can get put a synthetic deck down over one that is just glass now. i don't know the process for sure. but, I bet it is just sanding off the non-skid, priming, painting, and gluing down the synthetic teak and trim.

cheers!
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Old 02-28-2019, 01:20 AM   #11
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I fortunately do not have teak decks anywhere except on my covered sundeck. I am currently in the process of recaulking and refinishing them. I certainly wish that I did not have them there either. What a PITA it is to redo them. If they ever need recaulking again I will rip them off and go with glass. If I were in the market I would look past any that have teak decks and would prefer glass decks.
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Old 02-28-2019, 05:06 AM   #12
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Look for Northern boats that are stored in doors for winter layup. Maine and the Great Lakes are good spots to look as indoor storage is relatively inexpensive. (key word being relatively) These boats are inside 6 months of the year. 50k is going to be difficult as these boats bring all the dollars. However buying a 50k boat that needs fixing is going to cost you 6 figures by the time you are done if you want it right. Don’t give up. They are still out there.
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Old 02-28-2019, 06:01 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tn6437 View Post
i have been searching for an 80s trawler for two years now. have driven from minnesota to florida, texas to maine. have walked away from two boats after survey. i cannot find a trawler without water intrusion in the cabins, rot in the cabin walls or high moisture content in either the stringers or cabin roof/deck.
i really want one with the teak decks intact. has anyone found a relatively simple way to eliminate rot without cutting the boat apart and redoing all the deck or cabin walls. i am not afraid of , and capable of, redoing the interior walls, just not sure about redoing the decks.
i am currently still looking and have a couple to look at but from the photos i can see the cabin walls have water damage.
my budget is limitedto $50,000. or less
love to find a 36, double cabin, single screw with a thruster, gen and heat/ac
Invest in a decent Moisture meter and become familiar with the relative scales. Even a Tramex Skipper ($500+) will pay for itself the first time in saved Survey expenses by ruling out boats before u sign an offer with sea trial & survey at your (further) expense.
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Old 02-28-2019, 06:10 AM   #14
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Greetings,
Mr. tn. Mostly good suggestions (ignore post #3) thus far. I'm sure you're aware that every boat is a compromise in some fashion. I guess the question YOU have to answer is how much or and what will you compromise on?


There are a very many threads on TF detailing where various members have dealt, quite successfully, with the very issues that concern you (decks, windows etc.).


Remember, AFTER you have remedied any shortcomings on a vessel you buy, you still have to be able to enjoy the use of said vessel so I would suggest you find a boat that you like the layout of first, then decide how much work you are willing to do to live comfortably in and with the boat. As mentioned, YOUR boat is patiently sitting somewhere...
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Old 02-28-2019, 06:30 AM   #15
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Many boats that are US built do not suffer the usual TT buried house plywood structural problems.

The old Gulf Stars are not roomerands but might do to cruise with a minimum of rebuilding.

Plan B might be a US built "motoryacht" or sport fish , many are solid GRP.
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Old 02-28-2019, 06:58 AM   #16
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Even if you found a rot free boat, after you buy the boat, the boat can rot. The rot may also be incipient rot, meaning it just waiting for you to buy the boat and then it begins to spread and appear, maybe due to how your storing-using the boat. Its there, it is spreading and you cant tell or find out.

Incipient rot is hard to detect, but really the rot is growing it just has not yet totaled the structure strength to the point where you can notice the effects.

Rot does not just suddenly appear, and you then say, oh its rotten. Rot has already been rotting a structure invisibly for a long time even, spreading it tendrils into the structure. A little here, a little there, enough time, enough water, enough warmth, it can seem to grow fast, buts actually been there a long time already. Rot spores are present in the wood from the forest, even new wood has rot spores. They are like seeds waiting for the right conditions to grow. Lets say the wood dries up and the fungus dies, well it sporulates in the wood and goes into hibernation again as invisible seeds waiting for the right conditions to grow again.

Rot is a dark insidious creature.
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Old 02-28-2019, 07:19 AM   #17
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Rot requires a certain moisture content, too dry , no problem, too wet , no problem.

Thats why leaks cause rot , sometime during the leak or during the dry out the water content can be perfect, for rot.

Sometimes insulation will cause water to form behind it , more rot.

Repairing leaks helps , replacing calking or seal goop before it fails is great PM..

The old Herrishoff trick of using ceilings to ventilate the hull works fine.
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Old 02-28-2019, 08:05 AM   #18
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When we were looking at boats we saw many in sad condition. But did discover a change in about mid - late 80's, in that Marine Trader boats with teak decks from that era were a 'glued down option' when new - no more screws and soft decks. Not sure of the exact date change to glue vs screws. Our 1988 CHB Present never had teak decks, except on the covered sundeck. Good luck with your search.
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Old 02-28-2019, 08:16 AM   #19
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Our boats live in the natural environment, so rain and water is going get into the boat structures. So many rotten boats tells you that's true.
You can mix borax powder with hot water and or alcohol, and or ethylene glycol and spray it around to kill rot. Saturated wood wont rot, but wood can not totally saturate unless submerged, so its going to rot when wet from rain.
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Old 02-28-2019, 09:31 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tn6437 View Post
i have been searching for an 80s trawler for two years now. have driven from minnesota to florida, texas to maine. have walked away from two boats after survey. i cannot find a trawler without water intrusion in the cabins, rot in the cabin walls or high moisture content in either the stringers or cabin roof/deck.
i really want one with the teak decks intact. has anyone found a relatively simple way to eliminate rot without cutting the boat apart and redoing all the deck or cabin walls. i am not afraid of , and capable of, redoing the interior walls, just not sure about redoing the decks.
i am currently still looking and have a couple to look at but from the photos i can see the cabin walls have water damage.
my budget is limitedto $50,000. or less
love to find a 36, double cabin, single screw with a thruster, gen and heat/ac
Hold out for the right boat or pay half of 50k for a boat with water intrusion. I did the 2nd option and put some sweat equity in.

The pros are..
I know my boat inside and out.
I learned some skills to use in the future.
I increased the value of the boat(it's never an investment but makes you feel better).


The Cons are...
Downtime due to repairs. I can say that I used the boat between stages. For example cut out rear deck, install new core, fiberglass, use boat,Following week sand and fill, use boat, following week paint/finish.
Fiberglass work is simple but not easy. Think roofing.
Itchy.

If you plan to live or spend extended weekends on the boat i'd lean towards paying for the mechanical/electrical pristine boat with some rot. You could easily get the job done quickly by spending a couple hours a day on it. You quickly learn that systems are what cost $$$$.
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