Integral Strength of a Dried Out Yacht

Discussion in 'Wooden Boat Building and Restoration' started by RHP, Jun 12, 2009.

  1. RHP
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    RHP Senior Member

    To revisit an old subject, a yacht is for sale that the owner states has been out of the water under the hot mediteranean sun for 7 years and is totally dried out but structurally sound.

    Lets say you strip the paint off, re fasten and reseam/caulk, condition the planks, repaint and successfully refloat. The hull takes up and becomes watertight/sealed.

    Question: you're mid passage and a storm is beckoning, you're faced with a 3-4 day hard beat to windward.

    Is that wooden hull still integrally sound or should it not be trusted. If you go offshore you need complete confidence in vessel and fittings in the worst conditions. The yacht is 37 years old, UK built and the planks appears in good shape.

    Thoughts please?
     
  2. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Integrity is based on the condition of the fasteners and structural elements, including the planking and their seams on carvel construction. In other words, the structure as a whole.

    A very dry boat has to be carefully caulked. It's all too easy to over caulk it, just the have the seams spit out the caulk when she takes up.

    The very least a full and comprehensive survey should be preformed. Typically, some repairs will need to be made, fasteners renewed, then the hull is "moistened", usually with a garden sprinkler (or several). for several days. When the moisture content comes up, the boat is caulked, paid, painted and relaunched, typically hanging in the straps overnight.

    Integrity is the condition of the structure, not just seams and dry planking. So, to answer your question, if the yacht has been repaired and recaulked, then yes, it's sound and can be trusted.

    For what it's worth, it's very rare for a yacht to need just some caulk after a long lay up on the hard. Living on land, leaves the boat not very well supported and things sag or droop. Since wood has a memory, it will likely not return to it's original shape when relaunched.

    Complete confidence in a yacht is an earned level of understanding, much in the same regard as people.
     
  3. thudpucker
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    thudpucker Senior Member

    I'd worry about "nail Sick" and all the fittings should be pulled to check the fasteners. Thats the weakest part of an old boat.
    Also if you think your going to get pitched around in bad weather, you better check the motor mount bolts! (if it has one) pull them to make sure they still have a hold onto the Timbers.
    Fuel tank is full of Water and/or rust! It has to be cleaned out and the lines blown out.
    And the electical connections need to be re-fastend. Thats the best way to check them.
    I dont know much about Sail boats, but I do know a bit about the roiling tumbleing Pacific Ocean and the Surf and what it did to the boat!
     
  4. mydauphin
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    mydauphin Senior Member

    I would epoxy it just to be safe... But I epoxy everything.
    I have seem many a wood fall apart in mid ocean.
    I think the old saying, "Leave a wood boat in water"

    I am sure someone will tell me otherwise, but at sea I sleep better in a none wood boat.
     
  5. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Don't epoxy the boat! Traditional boat construction (like this one) doesn't lend itself well to hard plastic coatings and fabric sheathings very well. In fact, you can do more harm then good. Epoxy as an adhesive is the only effective way to use it in traditional construction.
     
  6. mydauphin
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    mydauphin Senior Member

    Thank you PAR, I knew this but wanted it said as an option for the poor guy that just want a quickie boat. I had a boat as describe and surveyor told me forget it unless I want to replace every nail and screw on boat. I still bought anyway,and epoxied it in and out. Got 3 years out of it before it final resting place. The wood rotted under epoxy, but got my 3 years.
     
  7. peter radclyffe
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    peter radclyffe Senior Member

    what boat is it, who designed it
    what timber is it, was the builder a good builder, what are the fastenings, have you drawn some of them, have you her last survey, who did it, the timber may be alright if the boat was sound 7 years ago, and if the water has been kept out, there is a flying woodworm called tarli, in italian, as if we dont have enough to worry about, but the fastenings have to be random drawn, and all hoods and butts checked, test somehow the keelbolts,there may be electric drain stuffing the fastenings, in any case, all the paint has to come off the hull, bla bla
     
  8. keith66
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    keith66 Senior Member

    A wooden boat left out of the water for that length of time will be suffering from big time shrinkage everywhere. If she is planked with soft pine she will swell up quickly once put in the water if other timber like pitch pine or mahogany less fast. The big problem will be the centreline structure, Keel hog stem & deadwood plus floors & frames, big chunks of oak may shrink so bad that they will take months to return to their original size.
    A friend aquired an old carvel yacht some years ago she had been out of the water for 15 years & was bone dry, her heavy pitch pine planking was still swelling & pushing stopping out three years later, moral is whatever you do dont caulk it hard in fact it might be wise to just put a non setting mastic in & let her swell up first before recaulking.
    Also if swelling up with a hosepipe dont put too much water in ashore.
    Boats are built to keep the sea out unlike barrels & i remember a boat being filled up until she spewed her blocks & fell on them. Her whole bilge was busted in for about 16ft, I put half a new side in her so it wasnt so bad for me!
     
  9. RHP
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    RHP Senior Member

    Gents, many thanks the responses.

    The yacht is a 38' 13 ton Hillyard, built by David Hillyard of Littlehampton in 1972. Mahogany hull on oak frames with marine ply decks, Cascover sheathed – decks totally stripped and resheathed in 1994. Mahogany coachroof. Round bilge hull form, iron cast long keel. Centre cockpit with wheel steering.

    I attach a photo I was sent by the seller. Its obvious a full burn off and refasten will be necessary. Being mahogoney, she'll take up slowly but will be strong once back in shape.

    More than anything its a question of how much time you have and whether you can have easy access to the boat - this will be a long job.

    Also the cost. The boat is cheap but if you assume a rewire, rebuild the engine, new running and standing rigging, maybe the sails are worn out as well, plus refurbish the spars etc.. Its a considerable rebuild cost and you can without doubt buy a similar yacht/class from Hillyard at a fairer price.

    The romance of bringing a yacht back to life is compelling.... and once the hull is rebuilt it would be cruising on a budget. The jury is still out.
     

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  10. keith66
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    keith66 Senior Member

    Hey she don't look that bad, you can't see daylight through her! bet she would need a big pump though!
     
  11. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    She has a slight hog in her, though difficult to tell much else from this image.
     
  12. RHP
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    RHP Senior Member

    PAR you have good eyes, I havent spotted a hog and still cant see it ! Cabin superstructure has taken a whack though - mahogony doesnt 'smash' like that without severe provocation. Couple more pics:
     

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  13. RHP
    Joined: Nov 2005
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    RHP Senior Member

    For those of us who like happy ending to a desperated situation, what dedication to rebuilt a yacht single handed from a virtual right-off situation. Kudos by the ton. Start right at the bottom of the link and work your way up...

    Sakura, 13 ton wooden Hillyard https://www.facebook.com/pg/Sakura-13-ton-wooden-Hillyard-580317495453599/posts/?ref=page_internal

    Sakura was sailed to Spain, but in 2002 hauled out onto the hardstanding in Cadiz, due to major problems with her keel and garboards. Alas, there she sat for at least seven years, her wooden hull completely drying out. She was rescued and brought back to England on a low-loader by road by Ken McKelvie. Having tackled some major repairs, Ken realised he didn't have the funds to complete the project and so sold her, via eBay, to Andy Hurst. Andy also owns the Harrison Butler designed Cruinneag. Andy's since been working hard on both boats.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2018
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