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Old 03-04-2019, 12:00 PM   #1
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Remediating Stringers with High Moisture Content

Can anybody tell me how difficult, time-consuming, and expensive it might be to have a boat yard remediate stringers in a 38-foot trawler the have "high moisture content?"

The boat's price has been reduced, with the intent of selling her "as is," but I don't know whether this is potentially a $5K, $10K, $15K, or $20K problem to fix.

I don't know the extent of the problem, but will assume that major load-bearing stringers, that probably have solid wood or plywood cores, are involved, potentially under the single diesel engine as well as under the rest of the salon/cabin.

I do not have the knowledge, skills, or equipment to undertake a repair of this nature on my own and will have to hire/pay a boat yard to do it?

Any advice/insight or experience other TF members might be able to share would be greatly appreciated.

s/ Larry Buchman
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Old 03-04-2019, 12:14 PM   #2
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Hi Larry. While I don't have direct experience with this type of issue I can relay what our surveyor told me when we bought our boat (no moisture or damage was in our boat's stringers and frames).

The first thing he checked during our survey was the stringers and frames. His theory was if they showed damage, moisture or any loss of integrity we should stop the survey and walk away from the purchase.

As you've stated, stringers can span the length of the boat and the rest of the boat is built on top of them. Engine(s), mechanicals, floors and decks, cabinets, bulkheads, etc all bear down on these structures. Access for replacement/repair could require substantial removal of machinery, joinery, bulkheads, etc.

I'd imagine repair/replacement would be very expensive.
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Old 03-04-2019, 12:31 PM   #3
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Is this your surveyor? While I would be inclined to walk away, identifying whether it's the whole length of the stringers or just a section, would be my first question. The boatyard where I get my work done has replaced engine stringers. For an experienced wood and glass man, it's a very manageable job. Once you start talking about working under floors as opposed to the engine room, walk away.

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Old 03-04-2019, 12:47 PM   #4
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Depends on how the boat was built.

If the stringers are part of a large assembly installed in the hull while building it might be that the "inside" is simply a form used for the build , with the GRP layup doing the work, no problem.

If the stringer is wood , with a hand layup on top to keep it from rotting , it would be a very major job to repair.

However if the engine is removed , you should be OK with cleaning and thickening the stringer with another dozen layers of GRP.

If the stringer is ONLY an engine bed its doable, if it is structure for the bottom, mostly on go fasts to lighten the hull, cross your fingers the material inside doesnt matter.

Is the NA findable?
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Old 03-04-2019, 01:38 PM   #5
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You donít have or give us enough info to really make an informed decision. You must know the extent of the wet areas, what is inside the stringers, where are the wet areas and what access do you have to the wet areas. Probably if you are going to hire the work done, then walk away as it will be an enormous bill and inevitably will be much more that any estimate. If you are going to do the work yourself then maybe, but you said you donít want to do the work. In that case I would walk away.
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Old 03-04-2019, 01:44 PM   #6
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Is this the trawler?
https://www.yachtworld.com/boats/198...ource=standard listing


I would assume moisture in the stringers was discovered during a survey. (Not discovered by seller and the seller decided to sell boat) If so you might ask if the survey is available. While not a 100%, a copy of the survey addressing the moisture issue may give specific details regarding the high moisture reading locations.


The other thing to note is the discovery was in June 2018 - eight months ago. meaning the seller is having issues selling the trawler. The more information known the better to assess the cost to repair. And like many renovations of any thing (car, house or ??) the cost may increase after the area is opened up. And the seller may have bids or ?? which would all be good to understand. This just goes into the negotiation process. If it were me and the boat was a consideration, the offer would be contingent on a contractor or vendor inspection/quote. Whatever the quote became I would multiply by 150% or 200% and subtract that from a low fair market value.


As an example let's the fair market value is $50,000 and the estimate is $15,000. If nothing else is an issue (and that is almost impossible) $15k X 2 = $30 K $50K - $30K is $20,000 my offer.


Because the seller is selling in "AS IS" the buyer is taking all the risk. Because once the deal is done what ever issues found, the buyer owns them. Kind of like a fixer upper home.


The other way to look at it would be salvage value of the yacht. What would a salvage company pay for a trawler that was damaged? (That may be a little harder to grasp) What is the value of the engines if yanked and sold? Or other parts. Then offer to buy based on that price.


Again there is a sale in there somewhere. The seller doesn't want to deal with the problem so someone will have to deal with it. Not understanding the total cost of the problem is .... well ... the problem. The seller is unloading. For some one that can deal with it (even when a professional does the work) and understand more of the scope of the problem then a value can be established. This may not be the boat for you. However it has possibilities for the person that can take some risk, do some diligence and come up with a reasonable value as to the scope of work.
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Old 03-04-2019, 08:24 PM   #7
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Contact dryboat and ask. My boathouse guys said that it appears to work but itís expensive and time consuming. http://dryboat.com

I had a boat surveyed and it showed up with wet stringers. I suggested my price would be half of the listing price- while the guy jumped it it(on the first phone call mind you- thus seemed snakey) I walked as I didnít want to deal with it. In this case- the owner, if interested should remediate it if he ďbelieves in the boatĒ
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Old 03-04-2019, 11:30 PM   #8
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What does your surveyor have to say about the condition of the stringers ?
How was moisture determined and where exactly was it found to be high ?
Were core samples taken ?
What did percussive sounding indicate ?
How thick is the glass over the the wood ?
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Old 03-05-2019, 12:45 AM   #9
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I've a friend who has replaced rotten stringers in 2 TT's, it's a heck of a lot of work, usually made bigger as you find more problems as you go. IMO, it's a repair that doesn't make financial sense if you have to pay someone to do it. Also, IMO free is still to expensive for a boat with rotten stringers.
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Old 03-05-2019, 01:22 AM   #10
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Is it moisture or actual rot. Tons of old screw holes in the stringers? I would want an old timer to poke around and not just with a moisture meter. If there is in fact rot, then that's a problem. The engine must be fastened to solid supports. No compromising on that requirement. But is it's just moisture you may be able to sister in new stingers and lots of wove to maintain strength. Engine would have to be removed of course. Requires some expertise but all doable. Just need a good idea of what needs to be done and you can then get quotes.

Rest of the boat looks good. Little dated but nothing set off any alarm bells. Owner is having trouble selling it, and probably wants to sell before next storage contract is due, so I suspect someone is going to end up with a great boat once the repairs are done.
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Old 03-05-2019, 09:27 AM   #11
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To the many generous TF members who have responded to my inquiry, generously sharing their experience and insight: many, many thanks for your feedback, comments, and advice. Special thanks to those who actually took the time to find and look at the boat in question (a 1986 Marine Trader 38 DC trawler in Chattanooga, TN) on yachtworld. I have reached out to the listing agent/broker to ask for a copy of the marine survey that presumably was done in June 2018; I've also reached out to the (only) certified Marine Surveyor in the Chattanooga, TN area and to the (only) full service boat yard in the Chattanooga, TN area to see what my options might be to investigate the scope of the problem further and obtain estimates of repair/remediation cost. I've also reached out to dryboat.com to ask for more information about their process and how they determine whether or not it can be used effectively (thanks, Gmarr -- I had never heard of them before).
Peace and blessings to you all. s/ Larry Buchman (Boilermaker75)
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Old 03-05-2019, 10:28 AM   #12
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Larry, please post back with what you find out. I'm curious about DryBoat. Couldn't really tell to much from their website - plus it was throwing a bunch of errors.
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Old 03-05-2019, 01:42 PM   #13
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I would kind of like to know what you hear from the seller. That specific trawler I had looked at several times at Yachtworld. It is about the size and style I would like however I am not ready at this point. So it is interesting to get more data about it if you don't mind sharing.


I can think of several ways the sale could be negotiated. I am sure the broker would like to make a sale. And the seller likely wants to move it as well. However like life there are issues!
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Old 03-05-2019, 03:26 PM   #14
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Boilermaker:
Stringers are the spines of a boat. The entire frame system connects and is built on them.
I don't think there is any half way job that will be worth doing and to replace them is to rebuild the entire hull structural system.
There are plenty of good boats for sale, find one and run from this project.
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Old 03-05-2019, 03:42 PM   #15
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A "pre survey survey" just to look at the area in issue makes sense. The surveyor will likely look around for other obvious issues. No substitute for a full survey later,but a big help at this stage, whether to offer at all, and how much. Though if you can establish a price area first it makes paying for an initial survey more worthwhile.
I was going to do just that for some deck issues but didn`t get past the price issue with the seller.
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Old 03-05-2019, 08:59 PM   #16
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Here is a pictorial of replacing engine bed stringers. It was DIY and successful.

http://savingtortuga.blogspot.com/20...build.html?m=1
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Old 03-05-2019, 09:06 PM   #17
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I posted this in August. DIY repair is possible esp. if you have good access. This is a link to what I posted last summer.

http://www.trawlerforum.com/forums/a...6&d=1535633524

Good luck,

Rob
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Old 03-05-2019, 09:20 PM   #18
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I would not want to price this out as a DIY project on the subject boat.

I would want a contractor price to be factored in he negotiation as to, do I entertain buying or walking. And getting the broker and seller involved with the entire process has a greater possibility of getting everyone on the same page. If both of those parties are actively involved there is a possibility of a sale. If either one are not engaged at least on some level then the word next comes to mind.

As a buyer you didn't create the problem. However as a buyer you could be the solution to the problem once there is an understanding of how great the problem may be.
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Old 03-06-2019, 08:25 AM   #19
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Airstream35,

I had a long conversation yesterday with a representative from dryboat, who called me from Michigan, in response to my online/website inquiry. He said he has had numerous inquiries about the MT 38 DC in Chattanooga, from the owner(s), broker(s), and potential buyers. The problem is that nobody knows where the water intrusion into the stringers is coming from -- and he will not undertake the project of drying out and strengthening/reinforcing the stringers unless the source of the water intrusion has been identified and remediated; unfortunately that could require taking the boat apart, which could cost $40K or more.

Dryboat's process involves drying out the core of the stringer by forcing warm dry air throughout/down the inside of the stringer, then filling/sealing the inside core with epoxy. Their website does a piss poor job of explaining that, but a very good explanation can be found at https://www.epoxyworks.com/index.php...erglass-boats/

The dryboat representative told me they have never had a "call back" to repeat the process on a boat they treated in their 11 year history.

Unless I can figure out how to determine the source of the water intrusion into the stringers on the MT 38 DC in Chattanooga, there's no way to proceed, because the boat is uninsurable as is and dryboat won't take on the challenge of treating it.

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Old 03-06-2019, 08:45 AM   #20
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larry: IMO there is likely rot associated with the dampness.
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