View Full Version : Is this a legitimate boat building technique?

10-19-2012, 12:05 PM
Hi, I'm new to this forum and to wooden boats - been sailing fiberglass boats for over 17 years but the wood is starting to draw me in. I'm looking at a few wooden boats and came a cross one that was built in 1987 and refitted in 2010. As part of the refit its hull was stripped, covered in plywood and then with epoxy. The broker assures me that this is a new construction system being adopted in boatyards in turkey and that is is very strong.

My concern with this boat is not the use of epoxy, which may be more convenient than paint but rather the use of plywood to cover the wooden planks before applying epoxy. Are the wooden planks caulked behind the plywood? Donít they dry out too much if not in contact with the water? How strong is the new shell of plywood & epoxy? How strong are the nails used to stick the plywood to the planks? Also if the planks start cracking behind the plywood, you have no way of knowing, do you?

For some reason I couldn't manage to add pictures so I'm including the links to them in photobucket instead:

Thanks and lookingforward to hearing from you :)

Paul Pless
10-19-2012, 12:12 PM
This is called cold molding an existing carvel hull. In effect the boat becomes a coldmolded boat after this is done. Sometimes the boat is sheathed in plywood then glassed, other times its done by sheathing the hull in veneers then glassed. As with most things boat related it can be done well or it can be done poorly. Its relatively controversial on this forum.

Google, 'Tim and Pauline Carr' and their cutter 'Curlew' for a very well done cold molded overlay that has lasted ~ 40 years now. . .

Ian McColgin
10-19-2012, 12:13 PM
I've not seen plywood put on that way but the boat's large enough that it seems to be working. Generally it's better to put on strips of dimensional wood, perhaps two layers opposing diagonals and a third fore and aft.

The real problem is visible in the second photo. It looks like much of the planking was not faired well and unless there are huge amount of goo not apparant in the picture there's a very high chance of voids behind the skin. That's very bad.

Given the work that's been done, this could be a very hard boat to survey. Without a reason to be sure there are no voids, I'd avoid her.

Bob Cleek
10-19-2012, 12:21 PM
Take it from a former yacht and ship broker... Generally speaking, the salesman ain't the most reliable authority on the disadvantages of what he's trying to sell you.

James McMullen
10-19-2012, 01:57 PM
If the boat was in good shape to begin with, it never would have had such a drastic attempt at "repair" made to it. Well found carvel boats are actually relatively easy to keep going with proper regular maintenance--this one probably got behind the curve. . . . .

My advice is to run away.

10-19-2012, 05:32 PM
Hi all,

Thanks for the advise. It pretty much confirms the need to be very cautious as to what such a job may conceal or the correctness as to how it was applied. However I must say that from what I can see from the photos (I have not visited her yet) the work carried out on this boat during her 2010 refit, seems to have been carried out in a careful manner and with attention to detail. I'm attaching some more pictures for your review. Having said that and going back to the original concerns, an area that worries me a bit would be at the joints where the plywood and epoxy meet the anchor plate on the bows. Being the bows they are under constant water pressure and a small separation could become aggravated very quickly.

Accepting that it would be a challenge to properly assess such a hull during a survey, are there any early indications that there may be voids and is it possible to rely on such a survey? Since this hull was re-done in 2010, would you think it possible that the boatyard who did the work gives a guarantee on the workmanship for a couple of decades?


Thanks again.

10-19-2012, 05:39 PM
Oh, one other thing ... she's custom built. Worrying?

Ian McColgin
10-19-2012, 06:55 PM
Nothing inherantly wrong with custom. Depends on the design and the builder.

Bob Adams
10-19-2012, 07:34 PM
This really gives me pause....if they covered this without further fairing, there are tons of voids. Why is she so unfair to start with?


10-20-2012, 08:14 AM
Thanks again. One last question - is it that thisforum is inherently against a cold moulding our may there be a situation where it may be considered? I have been informed by a British boat owner in turkey that gulets are increasingly using epoxy instead of paint.

10-20-2012, 08:44 AM
nothing wrong with cold molding when the boat was designed for that construction method. i think what concerns a lot of people when they see a boat like this is why did they abandon the original construction method (carvel, which is easily repaired) for a hybrid mix of methods (which can hide pockets of rot).

wizbang 13
10-20-2012, 08:59 AM
I see a lotta cheesy and amateurish, but expensive things in this boat.
slapping sheets of ply on is not exactly cold molding.
2 year old job, then for sale, very suspicious.
the boat looks originally strip planked, and an amateurish job at that too.
Laying the second layer of fake teak defcks over the first layer of fake teak decks is a clue.
and then there is the amateurish lookin junk on the transom and bow

10-20-2012, 12:38 PM
This was done trying to save a boat that was very poorly built in the first place. Good money after bad.......Hundreds of these largish sailing/motor vessels were built in Turkey by inexperienced/shody yards to cash in on a tax driven charter boat boom.....which died.....Thus all the boats came on the market at low prices.....There may be a good one or two, most are rubbish.

10-20-2012, 01:33 PM
Thanks for the helpful insights and frankness - much appreciated. Agree a lot of useless money seems to have been spent on her, just wondered if so much money was spent, why wasn't a good job done in the first place? But you're right why would they opt for such a drastic step if not to try and fix a previously prro job or serious lack of maintenance.

I was/am considering a gulet for a number of reasons. Primarily I'm considering a year-round live aboard so wanted something large that would replace some of the home comfort for me and my family - four in all. Gulets are much cheaper in comparison to other boats their size and typically they tend to be rather sturdy and safe. I appreciate that they do not have a long tradition as a type of boat but boat bulding in Turkey has been around for centuries, so I'm not sure that I would just write off the whole industry so easily. However yes there are a lot of badly built boats but that's why I'm seeking your experienced/knowledgeable views - :)

10-20-2012, 02:35 PM
why wasn't a good job done in the first place?

Because no one was willing to invest in training boatbuilders or decent materials, they were just cranking out big boats intended to make a few dollars in the charter trade.

Gulets are much cheaper in comparison to other boats their size

There are reasons for that. One is there are lots on the market with not many buyers around. Another is a reputation for very low quality builds. This infers high refit and maintenence costs. "The most expensive boat is the one going cheap". I have little against the designs in general, though with the lack of standards stability is probably questionable and fire standards need to be examined.

typically they tend to be rather sturdy and safe.

Or fat and high-sided......it depends on your point of view.....|:)

James McMullen
10-20-2012, 07:15 PM
Cold molding is awesome when it's done right. One of the strongest strength-to-weight ratios of any construction method for its cost. . .when done right.

When done right.

They aren't doing it right.