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Old 07-31-2019, 12:12 PM   #1
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Swift Trawler 44 hull construction

Hello All, I am in the process of purchasing a Swift Trawler 44 (subject to some work being satisfactorily completed). She is unusual in that she is a 2012 boat and has only 52 hours on the engines. She is immaculate inside and her engines have been serviced annually by an engineer who I have known for 12 years. He used to service the engine on my Hallberg-Rassy sailing boat.

The Swift has a blue hull with white superstructure. My concern is that the surveyor found that the blue gel coat in the middle of the boat was flaky in parts and had a very few bubbles. This blue gel coat came off very easily and under it was a white gel coat which was solid and with a very low moisture reading; in other words, perfect. The blue gel coat at either end of the hull is fine - well secured to the hull and with a low moisture reading. The white white gel coat is a strip about a meter wide.

It almost looks as if the original lay up was done in white, and a blue gel coat put over that. But I can't believe that Beneteau would find that an efficient method of production.

Anyone got any ideas?
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Old 07-31-2019, 12:23 PM   #2
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Got a picture or two?
Can you assertain if that was an OEM option or an after market "upgrade"?
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Old 07-31-2019, 12:26 PM   #3
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Are you sure it was "gelcoat" , or maybe paint.
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Old 07-31-2019, 12:29 PM   #4
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Hi Richard, I'm pretty certain it was a factory supplied option. The broker who I'm buying it through supplied the boat originally and they are Beneteau agents. I haven't got pictures but there may be some in the surveyors report. I'll see what I can find.

Thanks for your interest.
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Old 07-31-2019, 12:31 PM   #5
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Hi Captain Lee, yes it was definitely gelcoat. It was under the antifoul.
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Old 07-31-2019, 12:36 PM   #6
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If it was an option then the original gelcoat may have had wax on it that wasn't fully cleaned off. They wax the female molds and spray in a release agent to get the hull to pop loose.
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Old 07-31-2019, 12:46 PM   #7
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This is a comment about the issue from the surveyors report

"Below the waterline was coated in grey anti-foul in a good sound
condition. Twelve small areas of anti-foul were removed and the underlying
surface examined. This was found to be the original gel coat and primer.
Amidships on both sides, a band of blisters were noted approximately ľ” in
diameter. Sample blisters were opened and found to be between the outer
blue gel coat and a lower layer of white gel coat. Moisture readings were
taken using the relative ‘deep’ scale of a Sovereign Quantum moisture meter.
These were found to be generally between 13 and 15, increasing to 30+
around the blisters and other isolated spots.


"Recommendation

The blue gel coat in the area of the blisters should be removed
to expose the underlying white gel coat, and allowed to dry to a stable
and acceptable level, ensuring the white gel coat is in a sound
condition. Once dry, the surface should be coated with an epoxy
system to the manufacturers recommendation."
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Old 07-31-2019, 12:49 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fgarriso View Post
If it was an option then the original gelcoat may have had wax on it that wasn't fully cleaned off. They wax the female molds and spray in a release agent to get the hull to pop loose.
But do you think they would make the original moulding with a white gel coat and gel over that in blue?
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Old 07-31-2019, 12:58 PM   #9
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If it was a add on factory option the YES it could have ben done to a stock hull.
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Old 07-31-2019, 02:00 PM   #10
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Quote:
Below the waterline was coated in grey anti-foul in a good sound
condition. Twelve small areas of anti-foul were removed and the underlying
surface examined. This was found to be the original gel coat and primer.
Strange, maybe I am am not understanding ... but ...

When new gelcoat is applied over the existing one, you do not use any primer. You clean/degreese the hull well, then sand the existing gelcoat to get better adhesion, and then finaly clean it with an acetone, and "paint" the hull with new gelcoat.

In the defective area where the blue layer separated, is the white gelcoat still shiny?
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Old 07-31-2019, 02:41 PM   #11
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Possible hull damage during construction or later and repair not proper? Any insurance claims with previous owner?
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Old 07-31-2019, 02:55 PM   #12
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I am betting they shot blur gel coat, which is more expensive than white, then white.

Two layers of gelcoat would help keep the glass matt from printing through a dark hull.

Looks like part of the blue gel coat cured before the white was sprayed, and did not bond.
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Old 07-31-2019, 05:10 PM   #13
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It is not uncommon for a hull to be pulled from a mold with some gel problems. The easiest solution is to fare and respray. The prep between was probably the troublemaker. You may be seeing the tip of the iceberg. You could wind up with 88’ of trouble in the next few years. This happed to me. I had 1 small crack in blue gel coat. Six years later I had over 50 covering the complete hull. Complete removal and Awlgrip was a 25k job. I sold the boat at a discount.
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Old 08-01-2019, 04:20 AM   #14
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BruceK, thanks for the information. I'll certainly bear it in mind.
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Old 08-01-2019, 04:28 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arc View Post
It is not uncommon for a hull to be pulled from a mold with some gel problems. The easiest solution is to fare and respray. The prep between was probably the troublemaker. You may be seeing the tip of the iceberg. You could wind up with 88í of trouble in the next few years. This happened to me. I had 1 small crack in blue gel coat. Six years later I had over 50 covering the complete hull. Complete removal and Awlgrip was a 25k job. I sold the boat at a discount.
That is what I'm worried about. The anti-foul is going to be taken off the whole hull and then the flaky blue gel coat removed and then we can see where the blue and white meet. We will see if there is a problem. I'm not committed to buy the boat until I'm happy with the hull, so we will see what happens.

I just wanted to know if anyone had seen this before and get ideas of why it could happen. I'll let you know what happens when the work is being done.
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Old 08-01-2019, 04:35 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunchaser View Post
Possible hull damage during construction or later and repair not proper? Any insurance claims with previous owner?
I'm not in direct contact with the original owner as the broker took this one as a trade-in for a new boat, So I'm actually buying the boat from the broker. The broker did not have a survey done on this boat and the problem has come as a surprise to him. Still, he made so much money on the new boat sale he can probably take a hit on getting my boat fixed up properly.
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Old 08-01-2019, 04:38 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Richard W View Post
Strange, maybe I am am not understanding ... but ...

When new gelcoat is applied over the existing one, you do not use any primer. You clean/degreese the hull well, then sand the existing gelcoat to get better adhesion, and then finaly clean it with an acetone, and "paint" the hull with new gelcoat.

In the defective area where the blue layer separated, is the white gelcoat still shiny?
Yes, the white gel coat under the blue did look shiny rather than abraded as I would expect.
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Old 08-01-2019, 05:47 AM   #18
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I had a number of areas on my boat where the top gel coat could be flaked off with your fingernail. The boat was built as a number of pieces in separate molds. Once the pieces are removed, they are glassed together. When all the joints are finished and level, the whole boat is sanded and prepped for a final gel coat. On my boat, that final prep was crap. It's labor intensive as there is an awful lot of hand sanding in tight areas. We ended up sanding off the entire final coat and going back with Awlgrip.

I can't guarantee the above happened to your boat, but it sounds like an area with bad prep work.

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Old 08-01-2019, 08:07 AM   #19
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a few thoughts:
1) only 50 hours?! on a 2012 boat? low hours can be a bad thing. i would want to know in writing the boats usage history and why it was used so little. perhaps there is a valid explanation and you have found a hidden gem. i think the average boat gets used 50 hours per year. as a rule of thumb, i usually do not buy boats that have been used less than 25-50 hours per year. i would definitely want a full mechanical inspection and sea trial.
2) i can't believe the surveyor was scraping away bottom paint. i would be furious as a seller! did you have to pay to re-prime and re-paint all areas scraped off?
3) its probably worth separating "hull construction" from "cosmetic" gelcoat issues that are on the surface. the st44 is a solid boat from all reports. worst case, gelcoat gets covered over with paint. i wonder what a paint job costs in the UK?
4) on that note, blue is a very difficult color to maintain on any boat. it will fade, need to be re-done. most will eventually have the boat painted (not gelcoat). if there are significant issues present at this time, then use as leverage to reduce the purchase price. it sounds like there are just a few blisters and you will have to decide if its a big enough deal to worry about now or if that is a sign that there is more to come. i would want to ask the owner if he ever noticed them and if so, when they became apparent (i.e. is it something that just recently happened or has been there since the boat was new). if the blisters are small enough, should be a somewhat easy job for any one who does fiberglass/gelcoat repairs to tackle to fix BUT it needs to be fixed right and understand the color will likely never match.
5) moisture readings are their own topic. many surveyors wave the device over an area and put it in a report without understanding what the heck they are doing. many false positives with moisture meters. a competent surveyor should be able to dig deeper and really ascertain whether or not there is an issue. did the owner consent to the surveyor "opening" up the blisters for further inspection? not many sellers would consent.
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Old 08-01-2019, 08:40 AM   #20
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[QUOTE=O C Diver;787309]I had a number of areas on my boat where the top gel coat could be flaked off with your fingernail. The boat was built as a number of pieces in separate molds. Once the pieces are removed, they are glassed together. When all the joints are finished and level, the whole boat is sanded and prepped for a final gel coat. On my boat, that final prep was crap. It's labor intensive as there is an awful lot of hand sanding in tight areas. We ended up sanding off the entire final coat and going back with Awlgrip.

I can't guarantee the above happened to your boat, but it sounds like an area with bad prep work.

Ted[/QUOTE

What make of boat is that, Ted?
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