Over the past few years I have been asked for advice from some of my clients but also from boat owners who I have met in yards, clubs and bars concerning moisture content of hulls. Vessels should not be written off because they are ‘wet’ is what I tell them. I see sailing and motor yachts with higher than acceptable moisture content and I must say these are generally at least ten to fifteen years old but without any signs of osmotic blisters or wicking. In the minds of many a high moisture content rights off the boat as far as they are concerned. Not al all.
All those years ago when GRP was first used in boat production no one really new how strong it was, how long would it last and what do we do with it each year? Consequently the early production boats were built like battleships, heavy and over the top but, tough. Those boats are still around today. No one new that you should protect the hull from water, why should you, its GRP the new wonder material.
Since those days many lessons have been learnt and huge changes in how boats are made and advancements in what they are made of has meant that today the modern yacht, although more lightly built is as strong, and less likely to suffer from osmotic problems.
So, the lesson is that if you have an older boat, and I have, its more than likely built well and as long as its structurally sound, but has a wet bottom. Then in my experience the answer is to take her out of the water, remove the antifouling and let her dry out for a few months. In most cases this will bring the moisture content down to acceptable levels. At that point apply a coating of epoxy, theres lots to choose from so do some research.
A vessels that fifteen years old now should still be sailing, motoring and giving enjoyment to owners and crew in another thirty years time.
So another year in the life of a surveyor draws to an end. Its been a really busy year, despite Brexit which has caused some problems in the industry.
Happy Christmas and a Good Sailing New Year.