Possible structural issues...33' Chris Craft Coho (pix)

Discussion in 'Wooden Boat Building and Restoration' started by F14CRAZY, Dec 31, 2011.

  1. F14CRAZY
    Joined: Jul 2011
    Posts: 46
    Likes: 1, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 16
    Location: Kentwood, MI

    F14CRAZY Junior Member

    Last October I picked up this, a 1971 Chris Craft Catalina Coho Sedan. Comprised of a Commander-style fiberglass hull with fiberglass boxed stringers and wood above the gunwales. I bought it knowing it was going to need quite a bit of work especially to its wood.

    [​IMG]

    First thing I've noticed is this crack along one of the chines about 2/3's of the way forward on the starboard side.

    [​IMG]

    Then there's this small section in the hull about halfway between the keel and the outermost chine (sorry if I'm not using the best terms). I don't think this is that bad. Don't know how it happened but its fairly small. It goes into the glass strands but I don't think fixing this will be a big deal after doing stringers in my Bayliner. I figured that these two small issues may be part of a larger issue.

    [​IMG]

    Anyway, theres been quite a bit of rain leaking into the salon due to the joint between the side decks and the vertical side of the cabin not being caulked. This has made some sections of the sole rot along with the supporting woo underneath the side decks. There's some visible sagging in them. In recent history someone has stuck some PT 2x6 up there in a vain effort to resupport the decks. This is all fairly accessible so I intend to rip out the bad wood and cobblejob.

    The cabin sole is not supported past the outer stringers and is not tabbed to the hull. I figure that with the rot it has simple settled. Under the junk you can see that here in the rear

    [​IMG]

    The problem is that I decided to "step back" and "take in the whole picture". It appears to me that the sole remains flat in the center as it sits on top of the center stringers but dips downward as it extends towards the sides of the hull. This has got me worried that the hull is suffering from some major deformation issues. I didn't suspect this could happen though due to the design of the box stringers and hull (the Commander forum guys portray the image of these early Chris Craft fiberglass boats as being indestructible and immune from the effects of neglect). I don't believe these really have bulkheads and that the hull is supposed to be "self supporting".

    Note that for some reason I didn't take notice of the sole bridging between the inner and outer stringers. I should have done this...

    I noticed this issue because the galley cabinets/counter on the port along with the cabinets and counter that house the fridge on the starboard side are definitely sloped downwards to the sides of the hull. I've been thinking that this is just because of the rotten sole but figured I need to ask people with more knowledge than I have.

    [​IMG]

    Sorry this image is sideways (rotate it clockwise 90 degrees). The bulkhead is the walkway to the forward cabin and the other vertical edge is the lower helm station. You can see they definitely don't match.

    [​IMG]

    You can see the tube that runs to the flybridge is not sitting properly on top of the lower helm. This surface is also noticeably sloped downwards to the side.

    [​IMG]

    The boat appears to be pretty close to level as its blocked now and the location where it was picked up from. But notice the rust stains in the shower base...when standing in the shower you can definitely tell that its sloped down to the outside (port).

    [​IMG]

    This has me pretty worried. I'm not sure what this is called in wooden boat terms but plywood is part of the cabinets on the starboard side but runs up and serves as a support for the flybridge.

    [​IMG]

    Here's this view if it helps

    [​IMG]

    NOTE: this is a shot from another Coho I googled just to better explain where this is...the wood in question is right behind the microwave on the starboard. I'm not certain how this wood is attached to anything but I was under the impression that it's tabbed to the sides of the hull.

    What is the problem? Is it as bad as it might be? I still think it's because of the sole being rotten, and with it not because supported between the outer stringers and the hull (a good distance), and with it not touching the hull of being tabbed to it, it has simply succumbed to gravity and the weight of the cabinets or whatever on it. With the cabinets removed I can replace the sole, fix the flybridge supports and side deck supports, put the cabinets back, and everything will be square again.

    Or is it something really bad, like the hull getting deformed after years of being supported on its keel rather than the chines (*shrug* but I heard Constellations don't like being supported that way) and the hull is a lot cause and I should strip it and send it to the dump.
     
  2. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
    Posts: 19,133
    Likes: 473, Points: 93, Legacy Rep: 3967
    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    As I suggested in your other thread about this old gal, it's generally easier just to replace the majority of the wooden elements in her, then attempt patchwork and repairs. It's a time and effect type of thing and having done a few of these, I can assure you, the least costly way, (time and materials) is to start with a level playing field, yank everything out, save what you can and just replace what requires too much work to rebuild.

    As a rule a boat this size is way past the novice back yard builder in terms of skill sets, tools, experience, etc. This isn't to say you can't do it, just that you'd be a big exception to what's considered average.

    Most of the problems novices face is condition assessments. So, you do one thing, then something else crops up, so you fix that, then something else, and you're chasing your tail in no time. This is why a pro just strips the thing down and starts with a level playing field, so that everything that goes back into the hull, is where it should be and no guess work as to what is causing what.

    As to what you should do, well this is a difficult thing to answer. Previously, I mentioned removal of the cabin super structure, possibly the deck and soles too. Given your latest photos, it's obvious the boat needs to be nearly or completely gutted to get at the causes of her issues.
     
  3. seven up
    Joined: May 2006
    Posts: 34
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: USA

    seven up Junior Member

    If my life depended on it I'd propose the hull had a foot or two of water in it and froze. Then envision a foot of wet snow over a couple of inches of ice covering everything.
     
  4. F14CRAZY
    Joined: Jul 2011
    Posts: 46
    Likes: 1, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 16
    Location: Kentwood, MI

    F14CRAZY Junior Member

    Thanks again for your post PAR. It seems I have to do what I'm doing and gut the thing, or get pretty close to it. I figured I should ask and make sure that something way, way bad was going on.
     
  5. BPL
    Joined: Dec 2011
    Posts: 217
    Likes: 15, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 209
    Location: Home base USA

    BPL Senior Member

    There is no small project when it comes to an old boat F14Crazy. Remember while you're itching and pouring sanding dust out of your shoes, a million people stuck in offices dream of getting to spend their days working on a boat :D
     

  6. F14CRAZY
    Joined: Jul 2011
    Posts: 46
    Likes: 1, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 16
    Location: Kentwood, MI

    F14CRAZY Junior Member

    haha...if the time and money I spent working on this project in my head while I'm at work was real I would have had this done months ago :D
     
Loading...
Forum posts represent the experience, opinion, and view of individual users. Boat Design Net does not necessarily endorse nor share the view of each individual post.
When making potentially dangerous or financial decisions, always employ and consult appropriate professionals. Your circumstances or experience may be different.