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Thread: grp opinions

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2002

    Default grp opinions

    I have a classic of 1935 vintage which I am trying to restore. The dilema for me is that the hull is sound but moth eaten and tatty on the exterior below the waterline.
    I have never tackled caulking before and I am not confident of my efforts with this project. My thoughts are to give her a grp sheath to add strength but mainly to seal the hull. Most that I have talked to seem to reject the idea, but most people that know about wooden boats are the purist type and wouldn't dream of such a thing. Most of there arguments against don't seem to be that credible, more that they just don't like it, what I really need is some impartial advice on sheathing. The pro's and con's and any specific requirements for application.
    I do know that there are some yards that build new hulls in this way so it can't be all that bad.
    Can you help!

    weekend gypsy on tour

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2001

    Default Re: grp opinions

    Don't do it, unless the whole hull can be completely dried out you will end up manufacturing a container for generating rot. It is fine with new construction which can be fully sealed inside and out before going in the water. Even then if the hull gets punctured the core cound become saturated in a very short time. Stick to traditional methods but not necessary traditional materials. For example the first time I relaunched a 1898 carvel Alfred Mylne one rater after a long rebuild I filled the 5mm gaps between the yellow pine planking with sicaflex (wrong spelling) . This way the hull remained afloat, but I still needed to use the bilge pump all day for the first day then less each day until after a week it stopped taking water. I then dried it out against the harbour wall and removed the excess at the seams then antifouled the hull. After that she (never it) was a dry boat for the rest of the season. One small point which made it easier was the the hull was designed to have no caulking but relied on the wood swelling to take up the gaps.
    It would be a very short term solution to try and sheath your wooden hull.

  3. #3

    Default Re: grp opinions

    I would not even consider it! I know it appears to be a lot of work to re-caulk etc. but take advice on the method and get on with it. If you go for a sheathing method you will turn your 1935 classic into nothing more than just another old wooden boat rotting away. The sheath will act just like a compost bin! Look after your boat I doubt if they will ever make any more like it.

    Best of luck with it.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2002

    Default Re: grp opinions

    Caulking is easy and fun. Don't even think about GRP sheathing; you will just destroy what might be a reasonably nice boat.

    I do know what I am talking about; I once owned a boat which had been treated in the manner you propose. The GRP fell off in sheets after a couple of years, and the damage done by it was extensive. I know another nice little teak cutter that was destroyed by being treated in this way in the 1970's; shame, she was a nice little thing.

    The only new boats built this way are either plywood like the Golden Hinds or cold moulded. You do not have a hull of that type; you have a carvel hull which will move more than the sheathing and the sheathing will detach, REGARDLESS of how it is glued on in the first place.

    And consider; are you sure that none of the frames and fastenings will ever need attention again?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Poole Dorset

    Default Re: grp opinions

    whilst looking for a project boat a year or so ago, i saw a few "treated" boats, they never sold. and are still in the yard gathering dirt, and costing coins. they look 'orrible, stink, go rotten...but at least they float! listen to all the advice..don't.

    best wishes, steve.

    ps, ask in the pub, there is almost always a contact who will put you in touch with someone who can give good advice.

  6. #6

    Default DON\'T DO IT!

    I have a boat just a year newer than yours. I knew nothing about caulking, and generally she was pretty good, but there were one or two points that needed re-doing. Find a good yard, the one I'm living at on the Lynher (off the Tamar) is full of knowledgeable blokes, all of whom are willing to help for an occasional beer! Just remember that you can't do all the jobs at once, plan a schedule for doing the work, and then double all your estimates of the time it's going to take! My hull is now nicely caulked and puttied, and just waiting for a new top coat of paint this year. Take your time and enjoy the fact that you're just the latest custodian of a piece of our heritage, (which you will ruin if you sheathe it, turning it into a mobile compost bin as stated elsewhere here!)

    Good luck, and if you're near Plymouth at all give me a shout.



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