Wood Boat seams openning up after 38 years

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by Sweep, Feb 4, 2012.

  1. Sweep
    Joined: Feb 2012
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    Location: Mentor, Ohio

    Sweep New Member

    I have a modified Herreshoff 28 that my father built. The problem is the topside hull seams are opening up. The boat is 38 years old and this has never happened. If fact most people believe the hull is made out of fiberglass. I repaint the topsides every 5 years. The hull is stripped plank with mahogoney 7/8 thick, concave/convex, about 1 1/4 inch high, glued, nailed every 6 inches down thru the other planks with a 6 inch finish nail and then screwed into the frames . The boat is sailed on Lake Erie so it is stored in a garage from Oct to May every year. It has never been stored outside. Nothing has changed in the way we haul the boat. The only thing different is the very mild winter for Ohio. 30 - 45 degrees versus the normal 15-30 degrees.

    Any suggestion as to what is causing the problem?
  2. alan white
    Joined: Mar 2007
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    alan white Senior Member

    Some factor has changed even if you don't see it------ it could be that the hull has progressively gotten worse and you only now have begun to notice it.
    It may also have dried excessively, something that could have been avoided if the hull was parked over dirt (preferred) rather than asphalt As wood ages it gradually loses its elasticity. It becomes more necessary to concentrate on preventing excessive drying. The winter storage should be dark and damp. A bit of natural ventilation is good but too much can dry the hull out.
  3. troy2000
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    troy2000 Senior Member

    Maybe the wood's drying out more than usual because of the warmer winter temperatures?
  4. Pericles
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    Pericles Senior Member

  5. Sweep
    Joined: Feb 2012
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    Sweep New Member

    Reply from Sweep

    Thanks everyone. I was thinking along the same line of the garage being too dry. We have a humidifier going.

    The whole thing is very wierd. I have worked on this boat all 38 years and the hull has always been very sound. Even the bottom only requires minimum caulking. The bottom does not seem to be effected. Only the topsides. Its as if the seams are being pulled apart from the top.

    Thanks for the info.

    Rob Chimney
  6. hoytedow
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    hoytedow Carbon Based Life Form

    Is the hull properly supported?
  7. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    It sounds like a structural issue, not a planking interface issue. It's more common to see this sort of thing on other build types, such as carvel or lapstrake, but it can happen to traditionally built strip planked hull too.

    The usual suspects are frame relaxation/cracks/breakage and sheer clamp/shelf fastener looseness. Both of these issues, will permit the bilge turn to sag, as a result of the lose of frame assembly stiffness, either at the top of the "flange" (sheer clamp/shelf) or along the turn of the bilge (athwart frame work).

    Considering the hull shape of the H-28, the common areas for this to occur would be aft, just above the LWL and progressing forward and likely upward toward the bow, eventually fading out in the most forward, straight sections. Second areas to look would be the garboard seam, where some movement may be occurring as a result of the new hull shell strains.

    Lastly I'd disagree about the "we dinosaurs here" comment. Though I was born shortly after their catastrophic demise, I don't consider myself as self important as many over at WoodenBoat seem to promote now. There are a number of skilled members there, but it's become increasingly more difficult to tell who they might be, unless you know the posters at some level and what is coming from the "bilge" and what isn't. And God forbid you might disagree with the "regulars" over there, as castration or censorship is the usual approach any more.
  8. Landlubber
    Joined: Jun 2007
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    Landlubber Senior Member

    ....emmm yep I agree, they are too "precious" there for me too, only lasted a few weeks to realise that it was like a Jaguar Concourse show........
  9. whitepointer23

    whitepointer23 Previous Member

    i thought it was a big statement for pericles to make, assuming that because he doesn't know about the subject that none of the professionals on this forum would either.
    1 person likes this.
  10. tunnels

    tunnels Previous Member

    Its all to do with Globle warming and the rise in sea levels !! you are closer to the sun than before !! Makes a differance !!:confused:
  11. whitepointer23

    whitepointer23 Previous Member

    i once made the mistake on a jaguar forum of suggesting that a 350 chev was the best way to make a jag reliable, i reckon i would have been burned at the stake if they could find me.:)
    1 person likes this.
  12. waikikin
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    waikikin Senior Member

    Ha Ha!, they could never catch you ......................................:D
  13. Mr Efficiency
    Joined: Oct 2010
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    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    I have no idea why it waited 38 years to start opening up, but I can see the slack-jawed expression on the face of the OP when he first noticed it....
  14. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Having installed a small block Chevy in a mid 60's XKE, I can assure you, it is the only way to make this era Jag reliable and a lot more fun.

  15. jehardiman
    Joined: Aug 2004
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    jehardiman Senior Member

    Come on, it's lots of fun to tune a couple of SU sidedrafts...constantly.... and good old Lucas (Prince of Darkness) electrics...:rolleyes:
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