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Old 04-30-2016, 11:13 AM   #17
Nomad Willy
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City: Concrete Washington State
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Willy
Vessel Model: Willard Nomad 30'
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 16,155
Originally Posted by Portage_Bay View Post
I've owned an old classic woodie, maintained another for years and repaired quite a few.

I agree with most of what the other's have said above.

I disagree that wood won't rot below the waterline in salt water. Simply not true. The wood will fail faster and more often from fresh water. But it does rot in salt water.

I also caution against Grand Banks woodies and Chris Craft woodies. In my opinion and after having worked on quite a few they are lightly built and not well built. Escpecially the Chris Crafts. Sure the joinery is beautiful, I'm talking about planking and framing. If you want a woodie take your time and learn the local boat building history. Lean which yards had a rep for good boat. Not just beautiful joinery, good solid, long lasting construction. The bones of the boat. Search out boats built by those yards, carvel planked, bronze fastened. Planks and frames as heavy as you can find. They're rare but they're out there.

In general avoid old wooden work boat conversions. They've mostly been "rode hard and put away wet".

As mentioned get a good wooden boat surveyor. A suggestion is find a good local well respected wood boat shipwright. There are very few left, and hire him to take a look and tell you what repairs the boat needs. Do not use the word survey, he'll run and hide. In a very short amount of time, far cheaper than a survey, you will know if the boat is worth surveying.

Unless you are fabulously wealthy bringing an old woodie back to life is a bank account killer. I learned that lesson personally the hard way.

If the boat is right for you and you are the right kind of boat owner there is nothing better than wood. Nothing. They have a beauty that fiberglass with wood joinery will never equal.

One final comment. If you want a varnished classic in all glorious beauty be prepared to spend a lot of time and money on the brightwork. It it's worth to you, then go ahead. I prefer painted finishes, easier to touch up and keep up.

As Walt says ..... "Can't agree more".

In the PNW getting a Vic Frank or a boat built by another one of the very highly respected yards is probably very good advice. Re the quality of GB and CC if you think about it they were cookie cutter boats punched out as fast as people would buy them.

And re the Asian built boats they knew their local woods and methods but were quite isolated from the mainstream of the boat building industry around the world. It was probably a +- situation as they (the Asian men, women and families) that built the boats took the time to do boat building w methods that would be too time consuming in the western world of boat building. So I think it's a mix. Some aspects of building and materials of very high quality and other aspects lacking. They say if you want to become a very fine artist you must go and learn among other artists. Usually at a learning institution like a college or university. You must read a great deal written by others w varying ideas and methods. Without this input from others your knowledge and skills will be limited.
Boat building is science and technology as well as art. If you're not part of the great pool of science and tech you will be unaware of some of the best knowledge and methods available re building boats.
Re the GB's I'm not familiar enough w them and don't know enough about fine boat building to know if a GB is lacking in quality. But the elements for not being the best they can be is indeed present.
But w the US built boats like CC most of the lacking quality will probably be related to production costs. Like my Willard the boats were built to a price and shortcuts in methods and materials are made in any product addressed to a specific market. I think CC's were built almost entirely out of Philippine Mahogany. The best Mahoganys were far too expensive for production boats. And the cost of labor was almost as dear as it is now so a production boat built to a price will always be of average quality or less.
Richardson, Owens, Mathews and many other boats of the time could be or were of a higher quality than CC.
The best boats are always custom built.

North Western Washington State USA
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