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Old 02-12-2006, 15:44
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robbie robbie is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2004
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Boat Show - New boat?

With the Boat show comming up. I was reading this article on buying a new boat at a show and what you should do to help buy the right boat for your money.

Walking up to the boat of interest, stand at the corner of the stern (transom), get as close as you can to the boat and look down the side of the hull. If the hull was left in the mold long enough to cure properly, it will be as smooth as glass.
However, if the hull has bulges, waves and dips in it, the boat was taken out of the mold too soon.
Premium boat manufacturers have a cure time of at least seven (7) days or more. Other companies, sadly, will produce two (2) or three (3) hulls from one mold during that same seven day time period. Hence, the improperly cured hull will have wiggles and waves in it.
Now, from that very same spot at the transom, look down the rub rail. It should be straight or very close to it. If it looks more like a series of "S" curves, that's another sign of "shoddy" construction and workmanship.
Ask- because you are sure to have gained a sales rep's attention by now - what type of resin was used in the hull construction (See "Is Your Fiberglass Boat Really Made of Fiberglass?"). Polyester resin is the least costly for the manufacturer, but is the most porous and absorbs the most water. (That's right, fiberglass absorbs water!) Vinylester resin, however, is much more resistant to water absorption. As a result then, if your boat is going to spend most of its time in the water, Vinylester resin would be a much better choice. Note: Epoxy resin is expensive and is the best choice for bonding parts together.
Next, ask how the hull and deck are bonded together. In my opinion, a good adhesive along with thru bolting is the best system to use.
Run your hand over the waterline stripe ("boot top"). If you can feel it, the manufacturer applied tape after the boat was completed. If you can't feel anything, the stripe was put into the gelcoat while the hull was being manufactured. The latter scenario is a lot more time consuming and expensive for the manufacturer, but is a good indicator of quality workmanship.
Ask if any wood was used in the engine stringers or transom. If indeed wood was used, was it pressure treated before it was encapsulated in fiberglass?
While you're still at the stern of the boat, take a look at the swim ladder. If the swim ladder doesn't have at least three (3) steps (and 4 are even better), it is close to useless.
Next, work your way about two-thirds (⅔) of the way forward along the hull. Extend your left arm and place your left hand with palm down, against the hull. Then, with the side of your right fist, give the hull a good "thump". If you can feel the "thump" with your left hand, it's a sign of a less than solid hull.
Check the hardware: cleats, windshield and port-hole frames, etc. Good manufacturers will use stainless steel and/or chrome-plated bronze. The "cheapies" will use chrome-plated zinc or, even worse, plastic. Check to see that the cleats and safety rails are thru bolted and have good backing plates.
Now, check the thru hull fittings. The premium boats will have cast bronze fittings. The less-than-stellar boats will use plastic. Do the thru hull fittings, that are below the waterline, have sea cocks (shut-off valves) installed on them? Are all the hoses double clamped?
Does the boat have a bilge pump installed? If the boat is 25 feet long or longer, there should be at least two (2) bilge pumps one (1) at the lowest spot in the bilge and one (1) in the stern.
By the way, when you are done doing all of my tests, the sales rep is either going to love you or hate you!

Perhaps we should try this a few times and see how long before different sales persons take to come over to us Not long I suppose.
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A lot of money is tainted: 'Taint yours, and 'taint mine.
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Rob (Salamis)
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