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Old 11-27-2020, 01:16 AM   #1
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GB32 Woodie Under Contract: Lots of Questions :)

Well hello! We recently put a 1972 GB32 under contract and have tons of questions. The boat was used as a SUP charter boat and McCovey Cove party barge for Giants games here in SF. Its called the Barbary Ghost and its...infamous.

Sadly the owner's charter business has been shut down during COVID and he is unloading the boat. We've offer $12k conditional on survey and he accepted. I'm hopeful thats a reasonable price for the work we need to do. We plan on learning and doing as much of the work we can, but have started to identify people we can hire out specific jobs for reasonable rates.

Cosmetically its rough but it had a rebuild Ford Lehman 120 and the bottom inspected and repaired 5 years ago. It had another bottom job and inspection 2 years ago. So im hopeful there are no structural issues but the survey will tell next week.

I could use some help to get me oriented and up to speed on the project. I was looking for the GB Woody and GB forum but both look like they no longer work? Thats such a shame. From the comments they seem like they were amazing resources. Is this forum the next best resource today?

Ok so here are the questions I would love some feedback on. If you think we're being naive, by all means, share your opinion. I like to go into these projects knowing all my blind spots.

What I know:
  • The deckhouse, flybridge and all the brightwork needs to be stripped, sanded, repainted and revarnished. We have a team of 3 guys who will help us bang this heavy lifting over 1-2 weeks so we are back to a clean slate. That will make the project far less daunting.
  • I heard the flybridges are prone to rot. Luckily this one seems solid. Im wondering if it was already replaced at some point.
  • The interior needs to be completely stripped, repainted and revarnished. It looks like a fraternity house right now. We will do that ourselves.
  • The decks are so-so. They need to be bleached and the proud caulking trimmed. And then likely be recaulked as a longer term project.
  • The topsides aren't terrible. So that might be a job for next year. But all the bronze rub-rails need to to have pealing paint stripped off them.
  • All the stainless rails where painted black. I dont know why. They need to be stripped.
  • The port fuel tank is shot. We will need to cut it out and likely replaced with plastic tanks? But thats not an urgent job.
  • The bilge is dry
  • I dont see any visible rot. I can see an area near the starboard transom that had been refilled and an area on near the base of the starboard windshield. The place is to fair those properly.


What I dont know:
  • The transmission has a leak. I "think" that can just be uncoupled and the seal replaced.
  • The transmission has a lot of surface rust. I believe its a Borg Warner velvet drive. Im hopeful we can just wire it clean and repaint. Any tips appreciated.
  • I can see some crappy caulk jobs in the foredeck and can feel some moisture in the roof of the v-birth. That concerns me. Any tips appreciated.
  • The starboard v-birth port light also looks like it had rot around the trim at been filled.
  • How do I clean and rebuild the sliding windows? They have a lot of crud in the track and I couldnt move them.
  • Any tips on how you clean and rebel the 3 forward facing windows. Those look ok, no rot, but have years of gunk around the edges.
  • I know the transom is prone to issues. Anything to look for there?


Appreciate any tips to get us going in the right direction. If the survey checks out, I will put together some write-ups on the refit progress.
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Old 11-27-2020, 01:36 AM   #2
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Welcome aboard, you are a braver person than I am. Good luck with all the work.
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Old 11-27-2020, 03:14 AM   #3
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I'll be blunt. This is a mistake. Don't do it. Don't wait for the survey. Walk away now. You have outlined 100s of hours of work and tens of thousands of dollars, and there will be surprises. Much of the work you've described can't be done in a marina, at least not one in SF so you'll be on the hard.

This is a classic example of a cheap boat being very expensive. The only way this works is if you're a bored woodworker with space in your backyard next to your shop to out the boat on blocks for a year or so.

Have you looked into insurance? Have you looked into a marina in SF, or is current slip transferable? Many won't accept a woodie. The yard may require an additional deposit for fear of having an abandoned boat down the road.

Scroll though pics of this boat house stored fiberglass GB32 in PNW asking $58k. Would be cheaper and you could enjoy it immediately. Small enough to truck to SF
https://www.yachtworld.com/boats/197...sedan-3726011/
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Old 11-27-2020, 03:50 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mvweebles View Post
I'll be blunt. This is a mistake. Don't do it. Don't wait for the survey. Walk away now. You have outlined 100s of hours of work and tens of thousands of dollars, and there will be surprises. Much of the work you've described can't be done in a marina, at least not one in SF so you'll be on the hard.

This is a classic example of a cheap boat being very expensive. The only way this works is if you're a bored woodworker with space in your backyard next to your shop to out the boat on blocks for a year or so.

Have you looked into insurance? Have you looked into a marina in SF, or is current slip transferable? Many won't accept a woodie. The yard may require an additional deposit for fear of having an abandoned boat down the road.

Scroll though pics of this boat house stored fiberglass GB32 in PNW asking $58k. Would be cheaper and you could enjoy it immediately. Small enough to truck to SF
https://www.yachtworld.com/boats/197...sedan-3726011/
There is a lot to be said for this approach. I would not own a woodie.
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Old 11-27-2020, 07:10 AM   #5
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Greetings,
Welcome aboard. Sounds like she has been run hard and put away wet. I concur, NOT the boat for you. Even IF you got the boat for free, I'm guessing you will STILL have to dump at least $30K+ into her to eventually own a boat worth $20K.


ONLY my opinion, not having seen any interior or close up pictures...
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Old 11-27-2020, 09:33 AM   #6
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If you want a life long wood working project this is probably a good choice. If you want to go boating probably not so much. However find out if it was a six pack charter or an inspected vessel. If the later there should be a record of inspections, the findings, and needed repairs. Maybe a bright spot in an otherwise bleak picture boating wise.
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Old 11-27-2020, 10:44 AM   #7
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+1 on walk away.
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Old 11-27-2020, 03:43 PM   #8
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Ha! Love the honesty

Question: Is the concern because its a woodie in general, or it was a charter boat?

And very good point about the 6-pack rating. I will check. That was the plus on this boat. It was his business he used it everyday and it was mechanically and structurally sound.

I will say people told me the same thing about buying an older 911. Turned out to be the best car ive ever had. I learned how to take everything apart myself and only paying for parts made maintenance costs immaterial. The car is now worth more than I paid after putting 40k miles on it. The people that told me I was an idiot have paid $36k in lease fees over the same time...

Anyway, I have a guy that works on a number of wood boats and can bring in a team fo 3-5 guys at $30-35/hr for all the sanding, scraping and repainting. Its his low season so he estimated it would take them 3 weekends or 1 week for the the heavy lifting on the cabin house, flybridge, decks and brightwork. I see this being a big plus in making the project less daunting.

Thats a big factor in my calculation. Paying $75-140 at a yard for the same thing doesn't make sense.

I will handle the interior, engine and whatever is left on brightwork. We will do the repaint topsides next year and recaulk the decks over the next year.

Any structural issues below the waterline would be my no-go line. Any rot around the windows seems manageable, but would impact the sale price.

Good feedback, keep it coming.

Ps - Another question...does anybody know the dimension of the forward hatch and if you can retrofit with a lewmar?
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Old 11-27-2020, 04:37 PM   #9
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My thumbs-down wasn't fully because a woodie, but the condition you cite. Tanks, decks, tranny leak, painted-over stuff, interior, all sorts of stuff. For example, you could easily drop $4k on upholstery alone.

Im 80% through a refit in Mexico at $17/hr. I'm a few thousand hours in. And that's just labor. And I know what I'm doing.

The boat is not inspected. The owner has a USCG license and runs a charter. Even though there are clearly more than 6 passengers on one of the pictures you posted, it's limited to 6 paying passengers.

Someday you're going to think back to this thread and say "those guys were right." At least one difference between a boat and a 911 car is you can store a care affordable. You could easily end up in a very difficult situation trying to store your boat. Another difference is in guessing a 911 had a decent resale value in good condition. A wood GB32? $50k if showroom pristine.

Whatever you decide, you are always welcome on TF. Advice is free. I won't say "you get what you pay for" because some of the advice is invaluable.

Peter
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Old 11-27-2020, 04:41 PM   #10
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BTW - on your forward overhead hatch. I just did something similar in my 1970 Willard 36. No, nothing off the shelf available. Second, my original hatch was square whereas everything else has radiused corners. Inside trim is now custom to match the lewmar offshore hatch trim. All-in, arounf $800 at $17/hr labor. Scale accordingly. Of you could get it done for $3k in SF (my old home town), good on you.

Peter

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Old 11-27-2020, 05:42 PM   #11
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I owned a 1972 woodie GB42 for many years selling in 2015. As you can see from my avatar, I went with something a whole lot easier to maintain, especially since it is in a covered lift. Essential to my long time success with the woodie was having it in covered slips for 25 years. I don't suppose you will have that good fortune?

Before you get the team in there sprucing up the exterior, be SURE you have no rot. I was happily sanding the cabin side early in my ownership and suddenly found a huge chunk of rot under a cabin window. I learned really quickly about CPES and how to throw new plywood at cabin and flying bridge rot. It's not rocket surgery. Take a hard plastic mallet to every inch of the exterior to sound it for soft spots.

One of the first things I did was to remove all hundred feet of the cabin-to-deck quarter round and rebuild what I destroyed and rebeddied it all.

All this fairing you wrote about bothers me. Hopefully the repairs were made with new wood and not chunks of body putty or the like. I would remove anything but wood at rot repair points and use CPES-soaked wood to replace with a minimum of fairing. With the team coming after you have routed out all the rot and have new surfaces ready for coating, you can make the most of the team's time aboard.

I fought a leak in the forward cabin for many years, and finally cured it with a recaulk of the whole fore deck. Be sure you do not have a soft deck up there. If you prefer the teak decks, well ok; I did too, but the new owner of my Calypso elected to cover them. He used a series of pieces of door skin like material screwed and glued to the original deck. He sanded to bare wood up two inches on the cabin sides and the bulwark and then glassed the area to form a tray on the decks where water could not intrude between the fiberglass and the wood. He coated the whole works with some space age tank coating used in the refinery where he worked.

You may also find rot behind the fuel tanks. Since you are removing them, be on the lookout to replace the plywood rib gussets with CPES-soaked replacements. I would fabricate the tanks of aluminum and coat them with zinc chromate followed by coal tar for a forever coating. Besure to have a small sump fabbed into it with a drain plug to enable you to get all the crud that could collect.

The underwater hull should have about 50 fasteners pulled during survey. I had to pull 100 during an insurance survey back in 1990. You will almost certainly see thinning of the bronze screws where the rib-to-strakes interface, especially under the engine. How much thinning you see will determine if maybe you should opt for a complete refastening job. DO NOT use stainless screws to replace - bronze only. Poke around on the inside of the hull looking for soft spots around through hulls where delignification due to over zincing has softened the wood.

That is a Borg Warner tranny. When you pull it to fix the leak, replace the pressure plate too. Does the engine sit on its own mounts aft or are the mounts attached to the tranny instead? You will have to support the engine if the latter is the case, To ease the removal and reinstallation of the tranny, fabricate a pair of slider bolts by removing one of tranny bolts to obtain TWO foot-long bolts of the same thread. Cut the heads off and cut a slot in the end. Now replace the top tranny securing bolts with them and slide the tranny aft when ready with all other bolts pulled - you will thank me for this time and maybe name your dinghy for me.

Dry bilge is excellent, but when you haul the boat inspecting the underwater body the first hour out. Chalk mark the areas where you see wet seams for the caulker to recaulk. Regardless of what you do while on the hard, the boat will leak when it goes back in the water for about three days. Be prepared to stay with it and keep it pumped out.

The best thing I did toward keeping a dry bilge was to install PYI dripless shaft seals as well as putting new packing into the rudder seals. Never let any condensate or shower water into the bilge - it all must be sumped and pumped out!

The window channel can be bought new. The "fur" in yours is gone I am sure. Here is how I replaced the channels and well as a broken slider or two. To remove the slider and the standing window you have to remove the whole exterior wooden frame. To simply remove and replace the top and bottom channel you can get away with this trick. Slide the window from fully closed to about two inches opened. Now take a multitool and plunge cut the window frame a half inch outside of the ends of the slider glass. Sand the frame between the cuts to bare wood to expose the wooden plugs over the screws.
Remove the plugs and screws and plan on using the multitool or a putty knife to cut the caulk to remove the frame section. Now you can lever out the slider and pull the channel. The new channel should be of the flexible type. Put the new one in the bottom channel cut and put the window back in and slide it all the way open. Now you slide the new channel in over the top of the glass and work the free end into the other end with the short stub of remaining frame. Reassemble the frame and fair the small gaps before repainting. The fixed forward windshields will probably have to be removed by pulling the whole frame while the opening windshield glass is removed from the inside surface after removing the whole frame from the boat.

Once the boat is all sorted out, fill a garden sprayer with wood rot preventing borate solution and SOAK the entire interior hull and other accessible area annually.
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Old 11-27-2020, 05:49 PM   #12
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Wood GB

Well, it sounds like your already in love with this lady. Buyer beware.
Don't let a pretty face & great figure lines draw you in.

I recommend you stay away, unless your very wealthy & have money to burn, as in the end, when it is all added up & when you see what it ends up costing you, in the long run, you may regret it, financially.

All boats are fun - so not saying you won't have fun, but at what financial cost.

I have been there & done this. Learn from my mistake. I did this already as I was lured in by a low purchase price & pretty lines & face. Ended up costing me a fortune as once your the owner, there is no easy way out. I have owned many boats & can tell you a old wood boat is not the way to go. You have no idea what your getting yourself into.

You will get financially buried in it & by the time your done you will have exceeded what a nice fiberglass boat would cost you. How that works is, with a wood boat, as it is always something. "Gee - this item is just a few thousand & I will be all set" . Unfortunately, with wood boats, it is always something more. Its $ 10 K here & $ 10 k there.

Everything always goes over budget. The list never gets caught up.
Many Marina's don't let you do any kind of big jobs in the marina & being in a yard is expensive too. Many yards will not let you bring in your buddies crew to work on your boat at all. Oh, they may allow you to work on your own boat, but will not allow you to bring in sublet workers. They have employees & don't look kindly on some one taking money away from them. So there can be a big issue with that.

Other issues like many marinas won't rent a slip to a wood boat. Regular Surveys will be needed if they do let you in.
Insurance companies want a complete survey every year if the boat is wood, & if a project is 1/2 done they won't insure you.

There are so many obstacles that will raise their head & cause you heart ache & financial expense, I can't list them all here.

Of course if you would rather spend all your time & money working on it instead of boating on the water with it, & wood working is your hobby, then ok. Building boats & fixing them can be rewarding & fun -- just ask "Gibbs" on the TV show NCIS - he is always building a boat, but never goes boating when it is completed. So, Good luck.

An unlike a car where you can park it in your garage & work on it in your garage with your spare time with zero additional expense at home while your waiting to save up to fix something is not a fair comparison to a boat & it's realities that come with it. This Grand Banks is not a Porsche & it is NOT a collector item like the Porsche is. It will never go up in value & you can never get any of your invested money you put in to it, out of it, when you sell. If you can even find a buyer. Wood boats only go down in value. The boat is in an expensive slip & while your waiting 5 others things become needed that year & the list never ends.

it is not just under the water line - as it is not just salt water & the animals that like to eat wood which live in that salt water that is the only issue & source of expenses - it is also fresh water that causes rot as well from rain & such, etc.

In the end it is only money (your money in this case) & I loved my wood boat just as much as I loved my other boats, so that was not different. It was fun & I got lots of complements on how nice it looked, so I had lots of pride in ownership. but, it was an expensive mistress to have.

You will do what ever you will do. It is your money & time - you pay your money & make your choice -- I wish you good luck with what ever you decide. Wishing you calm seas & fair winds.

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Old 11-27-2020, 07:33 PM   #13
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Based on the OP`s description, this project,using "Yes Minister" language, is at best" courageous", and more likely, "character forming". I think you will regret buying it. Even a f/g boat like that is "challenging".
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Old 11-27-2020, 08:30 PM   #14
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You've gotten lots of well founded, experience based input. So I'll keep my $0.02 short. Don't walk away. Run. I'm on my 3rd old boat needing lots of work. The 1st was a woodie purchased in 1978 when materials and craftsmen were in abundance. DIY yards easy to find. Insurance and marinas weren't uneasy about wood boats. Not today's environment at all. This boat will eat you alive.
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Old 11-27-2020, 09:33 PM   #15
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I'm.....taken back......to be kind,as to the negativity of people that
A. Own a Grand Banks, a company started by a man who loved wood boats,and a company made famous by wood boats
B. People that seem to have lost the "romance"of owning one of these grand ladies if wood.
Have we become a population of"here's my checkbook, fix it"?
What happened to the guy(or gal) that loves his afternoons sanding and shining his baby,to stand back and look at what THEY accomplished.
Give me an old wood boat...any make....but especially a Grand Banks, the best of the best.
Go get your boat my friend. Don't be a weekend warrior, or a "boater"in name only. Be a Capt love your woodie,and "damn the torpedoes...full speed ahead ".
1969,42ft GB Hull #125. Built for Mr Robert Newton, founder/ CEO, and owner of American Marine Ltd (Grand Banks)
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Old 11-27-2020, 10:49 PM   #16
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There are well found wooden classics. Boats that need ongoing TLC. With the right attitude and work ethic they can be a joy to care for. The owner can take pride in the stewardship of a fine traditional vessel.

Then there are floating wrecks that will consume the owner and give nothing in return.

The boat the OP describes is one of those floating wrecks.

I've owned one of those wrecks. Did the lion's share of the work myself. Countless hours. Endless $$$. Never again.
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I'm.....taken back......to be kind,as to the negativity of people that
A. Own a Grand Banks, a company started by a man who loved wood boats,and a company made famous by wood boats
B. People that seem to have lost the "romance"of owning one of these grand ladies if wood.
Have we become a population of"here's my checkbook, fix it"?
What happened to the guy(or gal) that loves his afternoons sanding and shining his baby,to stand back and look at what THEY accomplished.
Give me an old wood boat...any make....but especially a Grand Banks, the best of the best.
Go get your boat my friend. Don't be a weekend warrior, or a "boater"in name only. Be a Capt love your woodie,and "damn the torpedoes...full speed ahead ".
1969,42ft GB Hull #125. Built for Mr Robert Newton, founder/ CEO, and owner of American Marine Ltd (Grand Banks)
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Old 11-27-2020, 11:09 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Portage_Bay View Post
There are well found wooden classics. Boats that need ongoing TLC. With the right attitude and work ethic they can be a joy to care for. The owner can take pride in the stewardship of a fine traditional vessel.

Then there are floating wrecks that will consume the owner and give nothing in return.

The boat the OP describes is one of those floating wrecks.

I've owned one of those wrecks. Did the lion's share of the work myself. Countless hours. Endless $$$. Never again.
I beg to differ.
I myself have one of those "floating wrecks",as you call it. Not only a floating wreck, but,also a piece of history. But,even if it wasn't a piece of history, I'd still have taken her on.
She has been thru a tornado �� that nearly took her out. She survived a partial sinking in the early 2000s. Shall I go on?
She has,
Rusty transmissions
Leaky seals
Stuck thru hulls
A completely missing stbd rub rail
Severl pieces of her bulwarks broken/missing
Broken fuel pickup tubes
I'm sure if I thought about it, i could come up with more.
I have also had a 1967 45ft Matthews TCFD. Come to find out she had termites....lots of them. Replaced 26+-ft of stbd planks,from the gunneys down to the waterline. And the transom, and 10ft of the port. Gave her away finally after over 2 months on the hard,in the summer,working daylight till dark.
I wouldn't have traded the knowledge I gained for anything. It has helped me repair/rebuild many a gem since then..
So,since i do not know the OP abilities, or how much they are willing to spend,or really anything about them,who am I to tell them to buy...or not to buy. But,it sounds to me like they are in love with the boat.....have y'all ever been in love? It makes ya do crazy things. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn't.
But,if everyone keeps telling people "don't get a woodie ",pretty soon,they'll all be gone. And,once their gone,they're gone.
I'm not sure most of y'all will get it.... but,hopefully some will. Including the OP
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Old 11-27-2020, 11:13 PM   #18
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Honest answers were given, but it looks like it is time to encourage success with this one rather than I told you so.
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Old 11-28-2020, 12:31 AM   #19
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I had no intention of insulting you or the OP with the term floating wreck. Poorly chosen words on my part.

Oh I understand the love of wooden boats. I share that love. It takes a person of great passion to be a steward of a beautiful old woodie. There's nothing like the feel of a wooden boat underway or at anchor. But it is an unbelievable amount of work to bring one back from near dead.

Speaking from personal experience. Most or it DIY. On my old wooden floating wreck:

  • 25% of the hull replanked
  • 50% of the frames sistered
  • Aft cabin interior gutted to get at the frames Fuel tanks needed to be replaced
  • Hull refastened, reefed out and caulked
  • New fore deck beams
  • New fore deck hatch.
  • 50% of the cabin tops and sides replaced
  • Windows removed, new trim built, rebedded
  • New transom
  • Hull from keel to sheer stripped to bare wood and repainted

Before I had to move on I never got to:

  • Refitting the aft cabin
  • Rewiring
  • Replumbing
  • Revarnishing exterior and interior
  • And, most important of all, I never got to enjoying cruising the boat.
I hope you and OP enjoy your old woodies. If the OP goes through with the purchase I wish him well. He asked for input and opinions. I gave him mine.

You and I will have to disagree on whether or not the joy is worth the effort and cost. For me it isn't.

I get my joy of old wooden classics with other people's boats now. I've been fortunate to be hired to reposition Westward between La Paz and Port Townsend several times. Wouldn't have missed the experience for anything. But I'm happy not to be her steward.

And yet, I'm a slow learner. I still hear the siren's call of the old wooden boats. I came dangerously close to buying Pelican not too many years ago. Someone saved my bacon and got her before I could. Fortunately.




Quote:
Originally Posted by NUTIN FANCY TOO View Post
I beg to differ.
I myself have one of those "floating wrecks",as you call it. Not only a floating wreck, but,also a piece of history. But,even if it wasn't a piece of history, I'd still have taken her on.
She has been thru a tornado �� that nearly took her out. She survived a partial sinking in the early 2000s. Shall I go on?
She has,
Rusty transmissions
Leaky seals
Stuck thru hulls
A completely missing stbd rub rail
Severl pieces of her bulwarks broken/missing
Broken fuel pickup tubes
I'm sure if I thought about it, i could come up with more.
I have also had a 1967 45ft Matthews TCFD. Come to find out she had termites....lots of them. Replaced 26+-ft of stbd planks,from the gunneys down to the waterline. And the transom, and 10ft of the port. Gave her away finally after over 2 months on the hard,in the summer,working daylight till dark.
I wouldn't have traded the knowledge I gained for anything. It has helped me repair/rebuild many a gem since then..
So,since i do not know the OP abilities, or how much they are willing to spend,or really anything about them,who am I to tell them to buy...or not to buy. But,it sounds to me like they are in love with the boat.....have y'all ever been in love? It makes ya do crazy things. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn't.
But,if everyone keeps telling people "don't get a woodie ",pretty soon,they'll all be gone. And,once their gone,they're gone.
I'm not sure most of y'all will get it.... but,hopefully some will. Including the OP
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Old 11-28-2020, 01:55 AM   #20
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Vessel Name: Weebles
Vessel Model: 1970 Willard 36 Trawler
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The OP asked if thumbs-down guidance was based on the boat being a woodie, to which I responded only partially. The OP didn't wax poetically about the muffled creaks and groans of a wooden hull. He used terms like "looks like a frat house." He talked about end-of-life diesel tanks and teak decks. He didn't talk of his love of woodworking and craftsmanship, he talked of having a bunch of guys swarm her with a quick take down. He talked of leaking windows which almost assuredly means some rot. And this is the stuff he found.

And then there's the wooden boat thing. Let's be honest: woodies, especially old tired woodies, have a reputation. Many harbor masters and yard owners have been burned by a well intentioned wooden boat owner who got in over their head.....literally. It's getting hard to insure an old fiberglass boat in great condition let alone an old wooden one in tired condition. This isn't some sort of conspiracy against wooden boats, these are professional choices by knowledgeable people based on facts and prior experiences.

Yacht world lists several wood GB32s. One is a two-owner freshwater boat in Michigan for $23k. Another is a boat-house stored one in PNW for $19k. So the OP buys a floating wreck of an example for $12k (I did not find Portage Bays moniker objectionable), puts a butt load of time, money and sweat into her and ends up with......wait for it.....a $20k boat.

This is a math problem, not a wooden boat problem. But make no mistake, once you solve the math problem, there will still be a wooden boat problem.

As Portage Bay said, the OP asked for an opinion.

Peter

PS to the OP - the stanchions are painted because they are bronze, not stainless steel. Someone didn't care for the verdigris bronze turns.
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