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Old 05-23-2013, 07:24 AM   #1
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Hull Blister "Measles"

Good day all,


My wife and I are home in Cocoa for a few weeks looking at several boats that made our short list. One that we've seen is a 43' Senator produced at the Chiew Hwa yards. Although she has all of the usual ailments that one would expect with any boat of mid-80's vintage and pedigree, the type and number of hull blisters present were new to me. We were fortunate to see the boat on the hard and I've attached a couple of photos. Basically the entire wetted hull surface was covered in blisters, roughly one blister every 2-3 square inch on average, with none of them larger than your small fingernail.

I know that that there is a ton of postings on the subject of blisters and that blister damage is somewhat subjective, so here's two basic questions to the group:
1) Knowing the extent of the blistering, should we even consider taking the step to arrange a survey?
2) Does anyone know a surveyor in the Vero Beach FL area that specializes in Chinese-yard Trawlers that you could recommend?

Thank you to all for your responses to my postings as we continue our search.
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Old 05-23-2013, 09:22 AM   #2
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Interesting ... appears that the bottom paint was put on over them or the blisters are just under the paint.
If the bottom was not dried thoroughly before painting, the blisters could just be superficial.
Did you open any of them up? Ask the yard guys or owner if they painted over the blisters of they appeared later?
Some will just ignore small blisters and go on.
I'd have to at least open them up and let them dry. The severity of the blisters would determine my next step.
Not enough info to say if it would be a deal killer for me.
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Old 05-23-2013, 10:51 AM   #3
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They look to be surface blister, may be cause by years of bottom paint. The general rule is if they are less than a penny maybe a quarter to watch them to make sure they do not get worse. Might want to pop and sand down the hull in the future. I sand the hull and pop the blisters each time before bottom paint that why the paint does not get to thick.

Instead of a yard, I would ask a surveyor. Each time we pull I have the hull surveyed for insurance purposes and peace of mind. I do not trust yards as once they got you then got you! At least get a second opinion!

I like surveyors that have years/decades of experience. Not necessary to be specialized in any kind of boats.
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Old 05-23-2013, 10:57 AM   #4
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I'd have to at least open them up and let them dry. The severity of the blisters would determine my next step.
Not enough info to say if it would be a deal killer for me.
I would agree with that. May just be superficial, or may be an indicator of a deeper problem. As many good buys as there are on boats these days, I would take a good long look, and walk away if they have water in them.

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Old 05-23-2013, 12:30 PM   #5
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All great advice above. My boat had same issue. Dime size and a few bigger. My solution was to haul out Blast and etch and then it grind out bigger blisters then apply two barrier coats and 3 coats of bottom paint. Worked for me. Worry free.


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Old 05-23-2013, 07:51 PM   #6
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You may find this interesting "Osmosis Testing"
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Old 05-23-2013, 09:04 PM   #7
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We are a 35' Senator...same issue. We just recently had ours blasted, ground, 2 or 3 coats of barrier coat epoxy, and 2 coats of hard bottom paint. $3500.00. We had a handful of bigger blisters and hundreds of little ones. We had so much paint on the bottom, it was worth it just to get a smooth surface for future bottom paint jobs! If you search for it, we had a thread going with the whole process.

We love our Senator by the way. Good luck shopping!
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Old 05-23-2013, 09:29 PM   #8
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I have not seen that boat in real life, We have looked closely at that Yachtworld listing (we wanted to buy it). Bess and I would be the "token Senator experts" here. By all means, reach out to us if you have any questions. They are very good boats out of a unique yard in Taiwan.

Don't let the blisters scare you. We had way more than this. Just be aware of them, do your homework on solutions, and enjoy your time on the water.

Here is the thread on what we did. Just use it only as a possible solution. We all have different opinions about how or if to deal with them. Our way may not be yours.

Thoughts on Blisters
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Old 05-24-2013, 09:27 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Cobber View Post
Good day all,


My wife and I are home in Cocoa for a few weeks looking at several boats that made our short list. One that we've seen is a 43' Senator produced at the Chiew Hwa yards. Although she has all of the usual ailments that one would expect with any boat of mid-80's vintage and pedigree, the type and number of hull blisters present were new to me. We were fortunate to see the boat on the hard and I've attached a couple of photos. Basically the entire wetted hull surface was covered in blisters, roughly one blister every 2-3 square inch on average, with none of them larger than your small fingernail.

I know that that there is a ton of postings on the subject of blisters and that blister damage is somewhat subjective, so here's two basic questions to the group:
1) Knowing the extent of the blistering, should we even consider taking the step to arrange a survey?
2) Does anyone know a surveyor in the Vero Beach FL area that specializes in Chinese-yard Trawlers that you could recommend?

Thank you to all for your responses to my postings as we continue our search.

Pop a few of the larger ones open. If nothing comes out, the bubbles are in the bottom paint and not structurally damaging. Once the bottom dried, I am assuming the bubbles retracted and were unnoticeable??

If this is the case, don't try and fix this non structural problem..... you may cause more issues than if you were to leave it alone.
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Old 05-24-2013, 11:04 AM   #10
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Cobber,
I usually have a lot of small blisters. About 35% as many as you and a little bigger (1/2"). I just grind them out down about 3/32" to 1/8" and then coat twice w epoxy. A few slightly bigger blisters I cut out little pices of mat (FG) that fits the ground hole and epoxy it in. Just a relatively small nuisance.

It's very unlikely those blisters you show in the pic are a problem beyond what I describe but an appropriate survey I'd consider a must.
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Old 05-24-2013, 12:47 PM   #11
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I may be wrong but looking at how the hull is faired in that area it appears as though someone has tried to fix them in the past. As far as putting anti-fouling paint over them, if you don't intend on fixing the blisters of course you would.

Personally I wouldn't give them a second thought, every glass boat I've owned over 40 years of boating has had them. In the early years no one even knew what they were, they were never fixed, you just lived with it and not a boat sunk because of them. I bought my present boat knowing they were there and while I would prefer that they weren't for esthetic reasons, I otherwise couldn't care less. Four decades of living with them has shown me "first hand" they are harmless and I have no intention of wasting my money fixing them. Don't be suckered by all the hype, fixing them has become a multimillion dollar industry entirely built on a whirlwind of fear mongering and misinformation.

If you like the boat otherwise, buy it and if they really bother you for cosmetic reasons, fix a few on each annual haul out. You might try to negotiate the price because of them but the days of deep discounts are largely over since the public is waking up to all the B.S. being tossed around on this issue.

Keep in mind that although other boats you look at may not appear to have them at the time of sale, even if they have supposedly been fixed the odds are good in a year or two they will so all things being equal I would base my decision on other more important issues...... surveyors and us old farts zero in on leaky windows & decks. Nothing can destroy a boat faster.

I probably won't be popular over this post but I base my comments on what I have lived not heard. You can spend 10K on fixing something that is never likely to cause you a moment of grief or you can put it into sealing decks, fittings and windows and have a boat that will last forever.
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Old 05-24-2013, 01:14 PM   #12
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I agree K but I'd prolly want to know just how far, deep or whatever the blisters go before cutting loose w lots of money.
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Old 05-24-2013, 02:34 PM   #13
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If I had a choice, I probably would have opted NOT to do our SeaHawk barrier coat job, but we had SOOOoooo much bottom paint on Skinny Dippin' that the only way we saw (and were told) to remove it all was to blast it off. The side effect, of course, was that it opened up all the blisters. So while we could have lived with the blisters, we opened ourselves up for a host of other issues with old flaking off paint.

From the picture above, it sure seems like just paint blisters (but PLEASE don't take my word for it!!) So at least for a few more years, you could totally just slap some paint over them and call it done. But get an expert's opinion first... and NOT the guys at the yard. Maybe a surveyor... and NOT one the broker recommends. Savvy? :-)
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Old 05-24-2013, 10:22 PM   #14
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Boy, this just keeps on going 'round & 'round; sort of like which anchor to get for where. Part of the fun of boating I guess. We had similar pimples on our Californian 34; also had gobs of bottom paint all over the issue. None of the bubbles we popped had any moisture showing. However, I looked at hours of sanding, etc to remove the paint; uh, uh, not for me!. Ended up sandblasting the paint off. Some blisters opened, some did not. Sanded it all smooth & applied Interlux barrier coat & ablative paint. All this took place in 2008/9. There have been no further issues since.
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Old 05-25-2013, 06:57 AM   #15
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Good and thorough research is necessary....
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Old 05-25-2013, 08:57 AM   #16
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Why buy a boat with blisters? The answer is they are bargains when boat shopping. But how do you convince the next buyer there is no problem? As with many on this thread, some overlook this issue. Psneelds pictures are not an anomaly though, so buyer beware.
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Old 05-25-2013, 11:56 AM   #17
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Tiny coin sized blisters can easily be owner cured with West techniques , little effort , little money.

Once they become a foot or two , bigger remedial actions could be worth while.
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Old 05-25-2013, 12:10 PM   #18
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If I had a boat with tiny blisters (and I did have one -- the Allied Mistress sailboat which I had before I sold it and bought the trawler) then I would just fix them each time I got a bottom job.

On the other hand, if I had the choice of having a boat with blisters or having a boat without blisters, then I would prefer one without blisters.

When you are a buyer, you do have that choice.
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Old 05-28-2013, 08:34 AM   #19
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Thanks to all who have replied. Yes indeed, like other hot-button topics any blister question seems to bring out the passion! As per my original post I was looking for advice as to whether we should consider moving on to a survey, and from the responses that answer is a definite yes. I also asked it anyone knew a trawler specialist in the Vero Beach area who could perform a survey, but I did not hear any recommendations yet.

We've been busy continuing our search. We recently viewed a Jefferson 42, and although it is not outfitted for cruising it was still a very nice boat with only minor window leaks, etc. For now we seem to have found two candidates that we really like, the Senator and the Jefferson. We will look at a couple more this week and will endeavor to keep the forum posted on our progress. Again, we are appreciative for the experience and advice we receive from all!
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Old 05-28-2013, 02:31 PM   #20
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The average pre-purchase survey will only hint at hydrolysis/blister issues..... a specific evaluation is required usually to tell you the true extent.
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