1972 GS 36: Buying a boat with flaws... Determining if boat is worth hiring surveyor.

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Limulus

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Joined
Sep 13, 2022
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10
I apologize for length of post in advance.

I expect to buy a 35-50 year old boat that will require a good deal of sweat equity... (Only way I can afford it) as soon as I find the right one.
Planned use: Live aboard in NJ, capable of seasonal trips, to Cape Cod, etc.


I will have a reputable surveyor go over it before I purchase a boat. But before engaging a surveyor, I want, to the best of my ability ascertain the boat is worth being surveyed.



So... Here are pictures and some questions, any and all advice welcome, specific to this model, or more general.

Boat has been on the hard for a year.
Regarding the bottom:

1st) Is the peeled paint a sign of severe blistering, or other serious issue or simply poor prep/application?

2nd) Is there a way to determine myself if the visible crack more than a gel-coat issue(a thin blade does not penetrate beyond what would be accounted for by the coating and listing, but during a torrential rain when pressing on crack, in some places slight flexing movement within maximum 1/2" border of crack is felt and v. small amount of water bleeds up.)

Exterior hull fittings have minimal corrosion and seem very tightly bonded.

Owner states there is one soft spot on Flybridge deck, but otherwise not aware of any more. I will check closely tomorrow generally, and near penetrations.

Owner discovered a leak in potable water tank, and developed a weekend trip work-around to supply pressurized water to sinks and toilet (1) or has used dock supply. I have read the threads regarding the GS water tank and will talk to him further and take a closer look.

120hp Ford Lehman Engine.
States that all filters have been changed regularly, strainers cleaned, etc, and winterized every year, but that no major work has been done in his 5 years of ownership. No problems that he was aware of when last winterized.
Since bypassing water tank, bilges are dry. Pumps and alarm function properly.

No obvious signs of significant interior leaks around hatches port holes or door.

Fridge dead, and generator had not worked since he bought boat.

I have been reading all I can here and elsewhere.

I know it's a lot to ask but any suggestions about things to look at,
and what should be considered deal breakers, for a reasonably competent DIY type with no knowledge of Diesel engines, except running farm tractors (don't run out of fuel)...

If this boat can pass that level of examination, then it may be time to think about finding the right surveyor.

I am looking at one other boat seriously, a Hershine 37 which I will post questions about in the Taiwan thread.

I hope this is an appropriate post.
Thanks, Eric
 

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I would expect that there will be some wet core in a boat of that age. It isn’t rocket science repairing them just hard physical labor. The Lehmans are almost indestructible. I wouldn’t be surprised that there was no major work don on it in 5 years, we had 225s in our last boat and never did anything beyond filters and oil in 5 years. They ran like tops. All the rest is just stuff to be worked on. I would carefully inspect the fuel tanks if they have not been replaced. If they haven’t been replaced they are probably about to need replacement. Look at the top of the tank around the filler hose, that is where a lot of rust starts from the filler fitting on deck not being caulked properly. Check the stringers for rot. Those are the big ticket items. The refer and the rest are small stuff compared to new fuel tanks. I take a small phoenolic hammer to tap out the decks looking for wet core. Good deck will give a sharp sound and bad will give a dull thud. The hammer fits in my pocket and doesn’t damage the finish of the deck. You may not find absolutely all the wet core but you can easily find the bad stuff. Good luck.
 

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I too have done the seat equity purchases since I work on all my toys. When you go to sell there are less dollars lost.

You will need to post a picture of boat, 1972 GS 36. what is that boat? Then the asking price.

If it is on the hard and you are dealing direct with seller I expect a bargain price is expected. The Lehman is usually Bullitt proof and a major cost if not. Does it turn over at least.
Once the price is agreed a survey for insurance will be needed, that will be another hurdle.
 
I'd also be concerned about that crack especially since it also has rub marks right there too. Is that from impact or improper lifting?
 
That crack tells of a serious impact. I'd get a fiberglass guy to look at it before paying a surveyor. Ask around, you want the best fiberglass guy in the area. The yard will know who that is. Shouldn't cost much for an hour of their time.

The chipping bottom paint is not unusual. It's just built up too thick. Subtract the cost of soda blasting (or similar) from your offer.

Good plan to do your own due diligence to the extent possible before paying for a full survey. Just don't let your emotions overrule your common sense. It's very easy to fall in love with a boat, and be blinded to the reality of all the "minor" repairs which turn into major projects.
 
Bottom paint needs to stripped completely off. Start with a new barrier coat. It’s an onerous DIY job.

Crack needs more investigation. If you can see signs of crack on interior fiberglass, I would walk or really lowball the price. A crack that long would indicate severe flexing of hull and I would expect to see some interior tabbing breaks. Repairable but costly unless you are DIY. If it’s just a gouge then it’s just cosmetic.
 
Bottom paint needs to stripped completely off. Start with a new barrier coat. It’s an onerous DIY job.

FYI to OP. Finding yards that allow DYI work is getting more difficult with each passing year. Sounds like you're looking for swear equity projects. Make sure your area allows the type of work you plan on doing or you'll end up with a hefty yard bill, or a second rate job. For example, I agree the bottom paint in the pictures needs to be taken down to fiberglass. Ideally several coats of epoxy barrier coat applied before bottom paint ($$$$). Or you could just scrape the loose stuff off, give a light sanding and repaint ($$). But you'll be chasing flaking bottom paint forever.

As an observation, fixed ownership costs (berth, insurance,etc.) and many variable costs (fuel, haul, bottom diver, etc) are roughly the same for a good condition boat and a project boat. Advise careful consideration of a project boat. Meter runs while you toil. "Buy cheap, buy twice" is always a risk.

Peter
 
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About the crack...

I'm about to go look at the boat again. Thank you all for your input. It's under shrinkwrap which makes everything a little funny to look at.

Oops, I did not post a picture of the boat, just a few issues...

Engine was running when boat was put up a year ago. Totally un-boat related issue kept it from being launched this season, and I am dealing with the owner remotely.

Ran back into the house to grab my soft headed (phenolic, I learned a new vocabulary word) hammer.

Besides the crack, I am concerned about the water tank (hopefully it's connections not the tank). I believe the gas tank is also fiberglass molded into the hull so hopefully no rotting worries there.
I'll post additional information/pictures tonight.
The Marina does "fiberglass repair" but I will certainly ask regarding someone who would be qualified to determine the structural integrity of the hull!

If the marina where the boat is currently does not allow me to work on the boat there, ifnding a place to work on the boat between Kingston NY and Jersey City may turn out to be a major headache. I know Liberty Landing does NOT allow anything but minor repairs. Do so few people bottom paint their own boats these days?

At least it's a gorgeous fall day.:thumb: Last time was windy and raining.
Limulus
 

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Perhaps it’s my eyes but that does not look like a GB to me. Sorry, you did not say GB! My mistake.
 
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Looks like a Gulfstar. If the bottom needs all the bottom paint removed, pay someone who knows what they are doing to soda blast the old paint off. Then do a barrier coat, actually multiple coats, of epoxy. Then do the actual bottom paint. Applying the paint isn’t that hard other than crawling around under the boa. And you will save a lot of money DIY.
 
A low price is low for a reason. If the engine is in relatively good shape, then look somewhere else, deck? Not bad... Hull? Ummm...

Sowhat pointed me in the right direction. The crack is not penetrable in the least. Good news, I thought.
But inside I found this. See pictures below.

My reading of this is that there was an incident that caused significant damage at some point that was repaired and painted gray (first two pictures) and then subsequent lifting probably caused flexing leading to exterior crack and the damage visible in first picture. The third picture(upside down for some reason)
is of aluminum fuel tank. Gulfstar 36 in 1972 came with integral glassed fuel and water tanks. If hull flexed enough for the apparent repairs on starboard side of hull, that likely explains the replacement fuel tank and jury-rigged
Water system.

So.... Restorable? But at what price?
Dang it all.
 

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Everything is restorable it is just what will the cost be. Personally I think I would pass on this one.
 
Run Forest, Run!

With evidence of a collision, flexing of the hull, and damage to integral fiberglass fuel tank, necessitating the cobbling together of a makeshift fuel and water tank, and an engine that MIGHT be okay, but will not be known until after the sale, after much $$$ spent on resurfacing the hull, systems neglected, and not repaired (fridge, generator, etc) it is apparent that the seller has done little or nothing to maintain the boat. These are just the items that are known. The only way I would even consider it is if the boat were for sale for say $500, the seller just trying to get out from under the yard bill, AND the present location being amenable to keeping the boat there for another year, allowing bottom work to be conducted, and getting the engine running on the hard prior to sale, using a garden hose to supply cooling water while it can at least be started and idled. . . . . . Best of luck, but I'd look elsewhere . . .
 
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Good catch on the interior matching the external crack. Suggest you resume searching.
 
I have no idea what this boat costs but find someone who has taken on a similar project and is willing to share their actual costs incurred prior to making a decision on this boat. Marine parts, supplies and components add up quickly and a boat in better shape starts to make more sense.

Sweat equity implies primarily manual labor and incidental supplies are required, when you find yourself months deep into a project, every other trip to the boat includes picking up $100-$200 in supplies all while paying monthly storage, dreams die quickly.
 
Looking for a liveaboard and sea going. Look for a boat with good bones. Make sure the hull is good. This one is not. Be objective, that is from and impact or freeze damage from water in cored side of the boat. The crack in the picture seems to have water run marks starting from it on the right.
 
Agree with all the cautionary observations above. That crack does not look like a cosmetic gouge - it looks like an actual crack in the hull.

That four-bladed prop looks pretty good though - an upgrade from the stock Gulfstar three-blade. Maybe the best thing about the boat!

Any affordable 1970s boat will be a project, to some degree or another. You can find project boats with less to worry about than this one.
 
I have no idea what this boat costs but find someone who has taken on a similar project and is willing to share their actual costs incurred prior to making a decision on this boat. Marine parts, supplies and components add up quickly and a boat in better shape starts to make more sense.

I purchased a project boat in a moment of weakness.
Boat had zero maintenance, had a hole in the keel and broken tabbing from running aground, one transmission was rusted solid, engines wouldn't run...What was i thinking.

Discounting the electronics, I don't think cost was a major factor. The big issue was time. Two years of hard labor before I dared to put it in the water. A month under the boat with a belt sander attacking the multiple layers of bottom paint. Torture.

On the plus side I am now an expert in fiberglass repairs and Lehman engines. The boat has new fresh water system, new exhaust systems, new starters, raw water pumps, raw water filters, dual Racor fuel filters for each engine, new cushions in interior and bridge, new propane system, new props, new windlass, etc,

After 5 years I still have a long list of projects. Hull sides need painting, all topsides need painting, cracked windows need to be replaced, rotten trim around windows is on my procrastination list, Most of the exterior teak needs sanding and multiple coats of varnish.

I don't track costs but I'm sure it's well over $15K but purchase price was extremely low. A similar boat in decent condition would sell for minimum of 30K so I suppose it's a wash.

I'm a retired engineer and I enjoy the projects but I have lost 3 years of boating. If I did not have the spare $15K on hand then the length of time for repairs and upgrades would have been considerably longer.

(My boatyard has a number of project boats that have been bought and sold a number of times. Several of them will be going to auction soon because last owner couldn't pay the yard storage fees. (No, I won't bid on them, my wife has threatened me with painful death))
 
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The learning curve was steep, but not costly... Thanks to all for advice.

Gulf Star - Last Shot

Thanks all, boat was cheap, but apparently not as cheap enough to be a viable project. Ah well, unless the seller is willing to gift it, I am moving on. Shame, I liked it but am too old to take the shot. Under 50, maybe.

The missing piece of the story found using "Google Lens". I could not determine when this occurred but happened on Long Island.

I believe the current owner bought her in RI, and was at least one owner removed from the event below, and possibly did not get the full story himself…:nonono:
 

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Good sleuthing, Limulus! I think you're making a wise call by moving on. Hope Last Shot finds a good home, but not every old boat can or should become a restoration project.
 
Good call sounds like the last guy made the mistake of buying it ant tried to pass it on to you. Potential disaster avoided. Good luck in your search.
 
Those old GBs were built like tanks! However, caveat emptor.



Good advice on checking the fuel tank tops. Take it from me because I had to replace both fuel tanks in my 1988 Grand Banks 42, a disruptive and very expensive job. The starboard side leak was stemmed from a problem at the factory where the tank was never properly fastened in place and, over 15 years, and managed to rock back and forth just enough to wear a hole in the lower outboad side. We knew the tank was leaking but we didn't discover exactly where the leak was until the tank was cut up and removed. The port tank also leaked, but the leaking there was at and near from the top, thanks to rust on top of the tank. Back in those days GB's black iron fuel tanks had flat tops, so once water leaked in from the the hole in the deck for the fill hose, the water just stayed there and rusted the black iron.



My GBs both had aluminum water tanks, and all three of the water tanks in my 42 had to be removed because chlorine in the water corroded the tanks at the bottom. I was able to have the tanks re-bottomed with new aluminum.


Be sure to have an expert check the teak decks carefully, and keep in mind that removing teak decks from an old GB takes many more hours than you can imagine. Unlike many old Taiwan boats where whole pieces of teak could be removed, the old GB teak decks were so well bedded that the teak is removed in small pieces, three or four inches at a time--there's no way to get a large strip of teak off. I watched the process on a friend's 1978 GB42, and removing the teak decking took a highly experienced marine carpenter in excess of two weeks.


Good luck,


Milt Baker, former 1988 GB41 and 1986 GB32
 
Best to have someone else pour the resorstion $$$ into the vessel. Buy one that is already restored. It will be less expensive.
 
The question is whether you want to go cruising or, instead, you want to work on the boat. Both are legit pastimes, but very different from one another. Routine maintenance provides me all the working on the boat that I need. Refitting a 40- or 50-year old boat is a rabbit hole too deep for most of us.
 
DIY boat repair can be huge fun or a huge drag. If you have a time limit or hard cap on money for the repairs the stress can be high. If you enjoy fixing things and learning it can be a good way to de-stress.

I'd say for your first effort find the smallest and cheapest boat you could 'camp' on for a year. Something that allows you to do most if not all improvements while the boat is in the water is a big plus. Then you can see what you enjoy about the work and about the boat. After you have some time and experience you can better decide what you might want to do 'next time' before you are already neck deep in 'this time'.

As this is a forum to tell stories here is mine about a 'fixer upper'. A friend bought a 28ft boat with twin gas engines that more or less ran. The boat had a massive stereo that no longer worked and nothing else worked either. No water, only two outlets when on shore power, heads didn't work etc. She cleaned and cleaned and most systems came back to life with minimal expense. New hoses, new fresh water pump, some new wiring and new shore power inlet - things like that. She lived on the boat for a year and then bought a 50 + foot Hatteras tri-cabin and sold the first boat for a profit.

That story isn't the norm but it could be. Get something small and cheap first so at least you aren't stressed about losing the money if it sinks. While you are messing about on it another opportunity will come along.
 
Hello
I own a gulfstar 36 trawler mark 1 1974 with the original double 4236 perkins engines appr 5200 ours

Did a complete refit 2 years ago incl parts of the decks
-Hulls are solid , cabins walls are solid , only flybridge floor , cabin roofs part of front deck and aft deck is sandwich , had to renew about 1/4 of the flybridge deck , 1/2 of the frontdeck rest was ok , the sandwich is about 34 mm thick , uppersurface 4 mm grp than about 28 mm balsa than 2 mm grp
Fixed all with special filling foam plates wich bend easily and epoxy
Are these boats bad ? No they are sturdy build but lack of maintenance couses water coming into the balsa
Blsters ? Not one
Tanks diesel and water : are grp moulded under the flour with distance to the hull no issues at all much much better than steel wich can give you a lot of problems with older boats
Teak parts ( this is the more expensive model with a lot of teak but not on the decks) apart from the part around the boat perfect , the part around the boat near the gangway was worn not rot i fixed that too
Leaking windows? It seemed lake that but the water came from the roof on the topside of the windows fixed that too and a lot more total cost €80.000, wharf did 80 % ? bit she is a beauty now and there are only 4 in europe ?
The GS you are looking at has a crack in the hull but that is not too much work to repair 4 days i think . But the structure of the hull should not be weakend
The hull is cleaned with high pressure if you do this wrong it will peal off the paint and damage the barriercoating of many boats also new ones !
But nevertheless

Your GS needs one ore two year of work in spare time and it is a moneypit i bought the boat becouse of her lines and charme and love her it is a classicer .

Succes joop
 
Just a word or two of advice from an old guy that has made the mistakes of buying an old boat with unknown history. DON"T DO IT!
 
Those old GBs were built like tanks! However, caveat emptor.



Good advice on checking the fuel tank tops. Take it from me because I had to replace both fuel tanks in my 1988 Grand Banks 42, a disruptive and very expensive job. The starboard side leak was stemmed from a problem at the factory where the tank was never properly fastened in place and, over 15 years, and managed to rock back and forth just enough to wear a hole in the lower outboad side. We knew the tank was leaking but we didn't discover exactly where the leak was until the tank was cut up and removed. The port tank also leaked, but the leaking there was at and near from the top, thanks to rust on top of the tank. Back in those days GB's black iron fuel tanks had flat tops, so once water leaked in from the the hole in the deck for the fill hose, the water just stayed there and rusted the black iron.



My GBs both had aluminum water tanks, and all three of the water tanks in my 42 had to be removed because chlorine in the water corroded the tanks at the bottom. I was able to have the tanks re-bottomed with new aluminum.


Be sure to have an expert check the teak decks carefully, and keep in mind that removing teak decks from an old GB takes many more hours than you can imagine. Unlike many old Taiwan boats where whole pieces of teak could be removed, the old GB teak decks were so well bedded that the teak is removed in small pieces, three or four inches at a time--there's no way to get a large strip of teak off. I watched the process on a friend's 1978 GB42, and removing the teak decking took a highly experienced marine carpenter in excess of two weeks.


Good luck,


Milt Baker, former 1988 GB41 and 1986 GB32

The boat in question wasn’t a Grand Banks it was a Gulf Star.
 
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