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Boat Buyer’s Cheat Sheet; What to Look for in a Boat

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Published on: 2012/10/25

From:  Boat Buyer’s Cheat Sheet | Boating Magazine.

 

You know what kind of boat you want and you have a budget in mind. The only thing you’re missing is the knowledge to differentiate between a pretender and a contender, the little clues that tell you if a builder has done the job right or taken the easy way out. So here it is — on the following pages you’ll find everything you need to know to make that salesman realize he’s not dealing with some hull-thumping wannabe.

Now is the best time to buy your next boat!

THE BOATING TECH TEAM

THE HULL

MAKING WAVES

Stand at the stern and look forward along the topsides. You’re checking for waves, ripples, pits, or other imperfections. Top-shelf fiberglass work is as smooth as a mirror. Also watch for flat spots on the sides and curves along the length of the chines that could mean the boat was removed from the mold before it cured. While you’re at the stern, eyeball the rubrail. It should be straight with only minor hints of the silicone that’s sealing it. Waviness indicates that the hull and deck didn’t fit together cleanly.

SQUARE AND FAIR

If, in construction, the hull and deck don’t line up, the hull can become twisted as the two parts are forced together. Even small differences can affect handling. To check, tape some string to the bow at the waterline and bring it back along one side of the boat to the edge of the transom. Do the same on the other side. The two lengths of string should be the same.

SEALED FOR LIFE

Traditionally, the best way to join the hull and deck is with bolts and then bonding from the inside with fiberglass. But technology marches on. Methacrylate adhesives, like Plexus, get the job done right also. The best places to look at how the joint was done are inside the anchor locker and engine compartment.

WOOD CAN BE GOOD

Wood stringers and frames have gotten a lot of bad press since the advent of fiberglass internal support structures. Wood can be acceptable if it’s pressure treated to resist rot and encapsulated in fiberglass. Crawl into the engine room and look for at least 2″ of overlapping glass cloth. You should see no “line bubbles,” which look like white streaks, in the corners. Fiberglass structures must meet the hull evenly and be faired into the hull with putty. Any blobs of putty and lumps of built-up fiberglass is a sign of poor mating or bonding.

 

Continued at:  Boat Buyer’s Cheat Sheet | Boating Magazine.



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