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Old 08-28-2016, 12:17 PM   #1
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Flybridge construction Taiwanese trawler

I drilled a new hole above the lower helm position using a hole saw. And, what to my wondering eyes should appear as I lay on the flybridge deck with my head and shoulders stuck through the louvered doors? The deck, which appears to be gel-coated plywood is actually striated or wood-grained gelcoat, on fiberglass, on 3/4" Balsa core, on fiberglass. And then a 3/8" gap. And then a smooth gelcoat surface, on fiberglass, on 3/4" plywood, on fiberglass.

Huh? Why two decks? And, looking up at the bottom of the deck that's visible above the helm, the plywood appears to be in chunks, and looks like Balsa.

I coated out the raw wood and epoxied in a fiberglass tube for passing wire up to the flybridge enclosure. The original tube is full of hydraulic tubing, engine control cables, and the original wiring. A newer tube was put in for Radar and is maxed out.

Pics are the two cores in edge view, then from the top and again from the bottom.
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Old 08-28-2016, 12:25 PM   #2
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Mine was made by untrained, unsupervised aliens who had never actually seen a boat before.


Mine was random assorted teak blocks with poly resin poured over it and let to cook off hot.

Yep, quality control was not in the vocabulary for my model/year.....
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Old 08-30-2016, 05:06 PM   #3
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I believe the 2 decks are because the flybridge is removable - it has its own deck and the boat has its own "overhead". My boat is also this way.

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Old 08-30-2016, 06:15 PM   #4
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The flybridge enclosure is certainly, and readily removable, once you've dealt with the helm and engine controls, and various bits of wiring. The screws that anchor it are concealed under a trim strip and the flybridge deck has relatively sloppily-moulded hat channels to locate it and receive the screws. The flybridge deck and the Europa overhangs have not revealed their fastenings to me. The Europa 'wings', support panels, have concealed fastenings as well, which is a problem for me; rainwater gets into the wings and takes days to dribble out. Rainwater also gets into the space above the overhang's fiberglass ceiling, overhead, and dribbles out of the deck lights - sources unknown as yet.
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Old 10-18-2016, 11:15 PM   #5
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Our Sea Lord 35 is constructed the same way with the flybridge deck separate from the salon roof. The good thing is this design makes for a nice dry salon with little chance for leaks and it was a very affordable solution to simply inject new closed cell foam into the flybridge floor and resurface it...or it would have been if we had stopped there. Once in the shop for that we kept adding to the work order.
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Old 10-19-2016, 12:23 PM   #6
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My bridge is of similar construction. Did the same as you to gain and route stuff up to the flybridge. However my flybridge is not removable.
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Old 10-19-2016, 12:55 PM   #7
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Neither is mine removable. Personally I've yet to see one that is removable from a Taiwanese trawler. I'm sure the manufacturers idea was to have the option of selling the boat with or without the flybridge. The core used in the construction varied quite a bit from what I understand. I was quite surprised to find foam in mine. I fully expected to find rotten end grain balsa blocks. My sundeck has a couple soft spots under the teak however I suspect they didn't use foam there.
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Old 11-03-2016, 10:58 AM   #8
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Flybridge construction Taiwanese trawler

DHeckrotte: The suggested 'flybridge bottom' and cabin top is possible. Is the inside of your salon a finished fiberglass surface? With no (at least original) exposed wiring or connections visible?

However more likely, the interior of some boats have what is called a 'component' mold which is what you see in the inside of the hull, house and under the deck. My '79 prairie has component overheads, and head modules. The bulkheads were not component but melamine ply sheets between the salon deck and the overhead component. They are built lighter and aren't really structural but just to hold interior bulkheads and hide wiring etc.

I would bet your core samples are: plywood from the first hole (FB deck) and second with Balcor from the second (interior component) core.

I don't know your particular boats construction. But component philosophy made all the boats uniform both inside and out. Having been involved in the '70's with the before and after of this development on three models of boats it made light years different in fit and finish of interiors.
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Old 11-03-2016, 11:52 AM   #9
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my 1988 flybridge deck is random block of teak tossed together with polyester resin poured over them. With solid glass under the teak deck above and a single layer of glass below...the whole mess sits on the arched teak cabin supports, then a plywood with viny covering finishes the inside between the supports.....

Almost unbelievably poor construction technique...can't believe some people think Albins are "great construction"...Hah!...guess you just have to know which years and models didn't get the "leftover" construction techniques....
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Old 11-03-2016, 12:42 PM   #10
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my 1988 flybridge deck is random block of teak tossed together with polyester resin poured over them. With solid glass under the teak deck above and a single layer of glass below...the whole mess sits on the arched teak cabin supports, then a plywood with viny covering finishes the inside between the supports.....

Almost unbelievably poor construction technique...can't believe some people think Albins are "great construction"...Hah!...guess you just have to know which years and models didn't get the "leftover" construction techniques....
Over the couple of years I've participated in this forum, you've related some of your Albin horror stories. Yet, I've been through every inch of my boat and have found the construction and workmanship excellent everywhere with high quality materials used for every item. So there's obviously a huge variability in Albin construction. I'm certainly happy about what I have but I'm curious if anybody has any knowledge of why this would be? Different yards? Different groups of workers? Trying to hit different price points for different customers?

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Old 11-03-2016, 12:49 PM   #11
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PS; there's really nothing at all wrong with the core being made of plywood, or solid wood blocks. Presuming the 'glass on bottom and top is thick enough, it's perfectly good, if a little heavy, construction. Better, for weight, would be balsa core. Also presuming the scraps were sound to begin with. My lazarette hatch core was scrap wood and plywood of various thicknesses, layered up in places; the scraps were not glued between the layers. Only remained serviceable for 32 years; the failure was water getting into areas of the core because the edges weren't sealed or covered in 'glass.

I would opine that your teak laminate 'cabin suppprts' under the ceiling beams are not structural. I've got the same 'look' with lovely teak laminated knees, teak laminated beams and 'columns'. One of the ceiling beams ends at the centerline where it butts into ceiling-hung galley cabinets. The columns end where they go out of sight behind built-in furniture and cabinets. The whole 'house' gets its lateral stability and stiffness from the front wall - cut through with the three big windows - and the back wall with its sliding door and window. The house roof acts as a diaphragm transferring lateral forces to the front and back wall. Evidently good enough.
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Old 11-03-2016, 03:06 PM   #12
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but I'm curious if anybody has any knowledge of why this would be? Different yards? Different groups of workers? Trying to hit different price points for different customers?

From my research I have found all of the above is true. Also, adding to the apparent inconsistency is that a well maintained boat over the years may never expose it's build quality issues if any exist. A highly maintained "poorly" built scow can give the impression of a well founded vessel while a poorly maintained masterpiece of construction can appear to be a POS.

Like you, and aside from the normal window/tanks/blister issues found on all brands, "even the US built ones" I have found my Albin to be very well designed and constructed with quality materials, much of which came from the US. Nearly "every issue" I have had can be traced back to sloppy or virtually non-existent maintenance during the early years of its life.

Where Albin and nearly all the others failed miserably was not so much design and construction issues but rather one of "consistent" quality control. Albin supposedly had engineers supervising construction but that said, it is pretty clear there must have been very sporadic supervision at times and likely none in some of the secondary yards which were building under the Albin banner.

The moral of the story is "any and all issues of quality and construction" are limited to the boat in question and can not always be extrapolated to the brand. If anyone doesn't believe this head over the the Grand Banks forum and you can read more about leaky tanks, crappy windows, blisters and rotten wood.
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Old 11-03-2016, 03:30 PM   #13
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DHeckrotte: The suggested 'flybridge bottom' and cabin top is possible. Is the inside of your salon a finished fiberglass surface? With no (at least original) exposed wiring or connections visible?
The salon interior ceiling is a soft vinyl surface held in place by hand rails, overhead lighting etc with no exposed fiberglass or wires.

As for the initial fly bridge core being plywood that's not the case at all. The only thing under the FB deck was foam core on top of the salon roof. The piece you see was from the high traffic area in the background and was quite thick which is why, amazingly, the floor, while soft, had not cracked. The bit of foam you see was all there was in that area.

The other pic is the finished floor (don't know why that photo won't upload the right way up).
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Old 11-03-2016, 03:42 PM   #14
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PS; there's really nothing at all wrong with the core being made of plywood, or solid wood blocks. Presuming the 'glass on bottom and top is thick enough, it's perfectly good, if a little heavy, construction. Better, for weight, would be balsa core. Also presuming the scraps were sound to begin with. My lazarette hatch core was scrap wood and plywood of various thicknesses, layered up in places; the scraps were not glued between the layers. Only remained serviceable for 32 years; the failure was water getting into areas of the core because the edges weren't sealed or covered in 'glass.

I would opine that your teak laminate 'cabin suppprts' under the ceiling beams are not structural. I've got the same 'look' with lovely teak laminated knees, teak laminated beams and 'columns'. One of the ceiling beams ends at the centerline where it butts into ceiling-hung galley cabinets. The columns end where they go out of sight behind built-in furniture and cabinets. The whole 'house' gets its lateral stability and stiffness from the front wall - cut through with the three big windows - and the back wall with its sliding door and window. The house roof acts as a diaphragm transferring lateral forces to the front and back wall. Evidently good enough.
Sorry but random teak blocks of several inches in length, width and height with poorly cured poly over them is hardly acceptable building on any planet. Plywood yes, poorly poured and hot kickoff poly resin has little chance of lasting as a building material.


I am not talking layered up like composite board, I am talking single layer, random blocks...

You can guess how other boats get their rigidity but I disagree with your structural analysis of how the house supports the flybridge and has some racking resistance on my boat. Sure the beams are mostly for flybridge deck support...but at 12 inches at the knees...they do something.

I don't know how many of you cut boats to the bone and rebuild them...but I have done a few and this is the worst example and has little to do with stellar maintenance although it may make it last a little longer

I hope ALL Albins are built better than mine...buy if they aren't...you better never let them develop minor leaks or standby.

I have also been aboard many boats where the owner swears their boat is built like a tank...until they find out they really aren't.

Tear into one and see..... and the picture show bock I lifted out with no resistance...filled a trash can.

All that said...I have over 10,000 miles on mine up and down the ICW and I am neither scared, worried or gonna change much more. These boats are fine ICW and mild ocean condition boats unless n Bristol/Original condition. I doubt most are but that doesn't mean they can't look good and be fun.
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Old 11-03-2016, 04:05 PM   #15
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[I]

The moral of the story is "any and all issues of quality and construction" are limited to the boat in question and can not always be extrapolated to the brand.
I agree with this statement 100 percent. The build quality will vary on every boat of a model line albeit the drift is smaller the better the manufacturer. Asian boats have garnered a well earned reputation for structural problems but that doesn't mean they all have the same issues. I poured over our 1989 Taiwan built trawler with all I had before advancing to a survey. Everything about the boat had been neglected except the engine and the hull exterior below the waterline. She looked like hell but she was dry and still solid in all respects and I looked very hard. There are many of these boats out there but it takes time, effort and unfortunately some money to find them.

Here she is going back in this fall after her first set of repairs and upgrades including a larger swim platform, new davit and even a new name decal. You can see how dirty she was in the 'before' picture of the stern
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Old 11-03-2016, 04:22 PM   #16
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How does one know what the core of a deck is until they cut it open?


How does one know if there is deep delamination of the hull without destructivve testing...and for all you hull thumpers amd moisture meter guys...there are some good yards and surveyors that will disagree with you if you think you can be sure 100%.


How do you know the quality and condition of wiring that is laminated over in rough cut trenches in plywood?


Why would you blind screw widow frames from the inside and laminate veneer over them" Like windows never get broken?


I could fill pages with "bad building techniques" and impossible to discover items even as a surveyor....at least about my boat...and I will bet there are a few more on this forum.


You can love your older Taiwan boat all you want....but thinking the vast majority were built to standards a high as some think ....well...it is just not realistic.
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Old 11-03-2016, 04:41 PM   #17
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You can love your older Taiwan boat all you want....
Makes me thankful for what I have.
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Old 11-03-2016, 04:47 PM   #18
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You can love your older Taiwan boat all you want....but thinking the vast majority were built to standards a high as some think ....well...it is just not realistic.
Oh don't get me wrong you are absolutely correct. Like I said the reputation of Taiwan built boats is well deserved. What I am saying is not all of them should be considered unworthy of ownership. Poor practice and just plain dumb things were done on these vessels without doubt. In fact I never intended to buy one in the first place. My eye was set on a Monk 36 built after 92 (in Nova Scotia) and when my wife got interested in an Asian boat I tried to find a good reason 'not' to buy it and couldn't. I was forced to put prejudice aside and admit that it was a good find for the price , and 'for the price' is probably the biggest caveat in the entire Taiwan built argument.
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Old 11-03-2016, 05:13 PM   #19
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Oh don't get me wrong you are absolutely correct. Like I said the reputation of Taiwan built boats is well deserved. What I am saying is not all of them should be considered unworthy of ownership. Poor practice and just plain dumb things were done on these vessels without doubt. In fact I never intended to buy one in the first place. My eye was set on a Monk 36 built after 92 (in Nova Scotia) and when my wife got interested in an Asian boat I tried to find a good reason 'not' to buy it and couldn't. I was forced to put prejudice aside and admit that it was a good find for the price , and 'for the price' is probably the biggest caveat in the entire Taiwan built argument.
Thanks...and I totally agree with this post....

While I am tired of rebuilding my boat....I finally am done the major stuff...mostly cosmetics now....took 5 years and probably $20-$30K to make her right...but I am there now. The next big projects will probably be a newer genset and main. But they could be a decade away easy. Plus she has 4 round trips of 2500 miles each winter for the last 4 years so she has earned her stripes...despite the poor attention to building by the manufacturer and dubious maintenance by her previous owner.

I have about 1/3 to 1/5 of what most owners here have in their boats and more than a few are probably sitting on ticking time bombs needing work they don't even know yet.

So all is well as the sun sets in NJ....

Less than a month till Florida bound again, and dinner at Harborview on Cape May Harbor is only an hour away with my Avalon Manor Boat Ramp and Port St Lucie, Fl loaner convertible car guy...

And Freedon will pull to the task yet again....
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Old 11-03-2016, 09:19 PM   #20
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Thanks...and I totally agree with this post....

While I am tired of rebuilding my boat....I finally am done the major stuff...mostly cosmetics now....took 5 years and probably $20-$30K to make her right...but I am there now. The next big projects will probably be a newer genset and main. But they could be a decade away easy. Plus she has 4 round trips of 2500 miles each winter for the last 4 years so she has earned her stripes...despite the poor attention to building by the manufacturer and dubious maintenance by her previous owner.

I have about 1/3 to 1/5 of what most owners here have in their boats and more than a few are probably sitting on ticking time bombs needing work they don't even know yet.

So all is well as the sun sets in NJ....

Sorry for the drift, I'm too smart to make any comments on this thread

Less than a month till Florida bound again, and dinner at Harborview on Cape May Harbor is only an hour away with my Avalon Manor Boat Ramp and Port St Lucie, Fl loaner convertible car guy...

And Freedon will pull to the task yet again....
Hey Scott sounds like you just might catch up with DIRT FREE. We are still just doddling along and arrived in Charleston a few hours ago and still having a blast. There is a cold beer waiting with your name on it
I'm getting smarter in my old age ,,,,, too smart to make any comments on this thread
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