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Thread: GB32 Woodie Under Contract: Lots of Questions :)

  1. #1
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    Default GB32 Woodie Under Contract: Lots of Questions :)

    Well hello! We recently put a 1972 GB32 under contract and have tons of questions. I originally posted this in TrawlerForum and expected to get a 60/40 split of people telling me I was an idiot for considering a woodie. However I got a 95/05 split of people telling me I was an idiot, so im recalibrating and thinking I need to go straight to the source of experts in this forum to get more data points

    The boat was used as a SUP charter boat and McCovey Cove party barge for Giants games here in SF. Sadly the owner's charter business has been shut down during COVID and he is unloading the boat. We've offered $12k conditional on survey. I'm hopeful thats a reasonable price for the work we need to do. We plan on learning and doing as much of the work we can, but have started to identify people we can hire out specific jobs for reasonable rates.

    I will say I love the projects and bringing something like this back into pristine condition (within reason). Some people just want to get in and go. Thats not me. Its part of the pride of ownership and I know with my personality after 2yrs this will end up as one of the nicer GB32 woodies on the water. But, im also not a DIY hero who is a glutton for never ending punishment. I like to think im an idiot but not a moron . With a couple weeks of research I can usually find the smart way to do something to balance cost, effort and outcome. Thats half the fun for me.

    So I could use some guidance to get me oriented and up to speed on the project. Or, to tell me in your experience if this is a losing promotion and I should walk. I was looking for the GB Woody and GB forum but both look like they no longer work. Thats such a shame. Is this forum the next best resource today?

    Ok so here are the questions I would love some feedback on. If you think we're being naive, by all means, share your opinion. I like to go into these projects knowing all my blind spots.

    What I know:
    • Cosmetically its rough but it had a rebuild Ford Lehman 120 put in 2015 as well as the bottom inspected and repaired. Im waiting or the exact details on this from the yard. It had another bottom job and inspection 2 years ago. So im hopeful there are no structural issues but the survey will tell next week.
    • ​I cant see any visible rot and the bilge is dry.
    • While it looks like crap the guy used it daily as his business, so im hopeful he kept up on the maintenance and safety side of things.
    • The deckhouse, flybridge and all the brightwork needs to be stripped, sanded, repainted and revarnished. We have a team of 3 guys who will help us bang this heavy lifting over 1-2 weeks so we are back to a clean slate. That will make the project far less daunting. And at $30/hr this seems like money well spent to save months of DIY effort.
    • I heard the flybridges are prone to rot. Luckily this one seems solid. Im wondering if it was already replaced at some point.
    • The interior needs to be completely stripped, repainted and revarnished. We will do that ourselves.
    • The decks are so-so. They need to be bleached and the proud caulking trimmed. And then likely be recaulked as a longer term project.
    • The topsides aren't terrible. So that might be a job for next year. But all the bronze rub-rails need to to have pealing paint stripped off them.
    • All the stainless rails where painted black. I dont know why. They need to be stripped.
    • The port fuel tank is shot. We will need to cut it out and likely replaced with plastic tanks? But thats not an urgent job.
    • While I dont see any visible rot. I can see an area near the starboard transom that had been refilled and an area on near the base of the starboard windshield. They didnt do a great job so needs to be refaired.



    What I dont know:

    • The transmission has a leak. I "think" that can just be uncoupled and the seal replaced.
    • The transmission has a lot of surface rust. I believe its a Borg Warner velvet drive. Im hopeful we can just wire it clean and repaint. Any tips appreciated.
    • I can see some caulk jobs in the foredeck deckhouse joint and v-birth port light and can feel some moisture in the roof of the v-birth. That concerns me. Im assuming the windows and the trim where the deck house meets the deck likely needs to be pulled back, inspected and rebead. As soon as moisture gets in, is the wood likely shot and needs to be cut outt? Or can you save it if you fix it and dry it out fast enough?
    • How do I clean and rebuild the sliding windows? They have a lot of crud in the track and I couldnt move them.
    • Any tips on how you clean and rebead the 3 forward facing windows. Those look ok, no rot, but have years of gunk around the edges.
    • I know the transom is prone to issues. Anything to look for there in the structure. I have a surveyor who knows wood boats, particularly GBs coming in.
    • One of my biggest questions is the maintenance schedule, typical issues, and risk factors with wood hulls in general. Im getting a range of extremes from one salty dog telling me "its all pickled below the waterline from 40yrs of salt water so its stronger than fiberglass" to "your an idiot and wood boats are horror shows".


    Appreciate any tips to get me going in the right direction, or to get me off the tracks completely

    getlstd-property-photo.jpg
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: GB32 Woodie Under Contract: Lots of Questions :)

    I absolutely think you should buy a wooden boat, however I'm not sure you should buy *this* wooden boat. There is no way to know everything she needs without the survey but just in what you have listed already I expect there is easily $30k-$50k worth of work to be done, even if you do much of it yourself. And the survey will certainly turn up more.

    A few comments in no particular order:

    - The problem with the decks is not that the caulking is proud, it's that the teak has worn away. The teak decks on the wood GBs are a known problem area. Once water gets under the teak and into the plywood under layer the whole thing will quickly rot from underneath. The teak layer is not very thick to begin with and if it is worn to the point where the caulking is standing proud it's likely that you will need to replace the decks entirely.

    - The flying bridge is not the only rot-prone area. The pilothouse windows are also prone to leaking which leads to rot in the cabin sides. Another problem area is the the joint between the cabin sides and the deck. If you are seeing issues there in a visual inspection then it's likely that there is worse to be uncovered.

    - The condition of the engine and gearbox does not lead me to think that the owner "kept up on the maintenance and safety side of things". From your description this sounds like a boat that was maintained to the barest minimum standard, if that. Shortcuts were taken in many visible areas (paint on the stanchions and guard rails), the running gear is rusty, the windows are frozen shut, etc.

    There is a world of difference between a wooden boat that has been cared for properly, and one which has been neglected or mistreated. Buy the right boat to start and the maintenance is not that difficult. Keep the boat in covered moorage. Haul out and paint the bottom and topsides every few years. Keep the varnish in good condition. Take care of little things as they come up. That's about it. But if you a boat that needs work you will be chasing it forever. Wood GB32s are neither rare nor expensive. Save yourself a ton of money, effort, and hassle, and buy the best one you can find. And then find an experienced shipwright to work with for anything that the boat does need, but that's a topic for another post.
    - Chris

    Life is short. Go boating now!

  3. #3
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    Default Re: GB32 Woodie Under Contract: Lots of Questions :)

    You guys in Seattle with covered docks... Sheesh. The rest of the world lives in the weather.

    Anyway - now that I've given Mr. Stevens a hard time - welcome to the forum Bruce (guessing at your name...).

    As spoiled as he may be by covered docks, he makes excellent points. A survey by a competent surveyor (who knows wood boats) is absolutely key. His comment on the decks is most likely correct and I also note that most of your condition info is on mechanical or cosmetic stuff. That's a small part of a wood boat. "Bottom job" can mean a million different things - all the way from "It was repainted" to "all the planks & frames were replaced". That's 1.5K to 30K+.

    She may be a great boat, but please get a survey. It'll cost $500 or so - but 1) might save you 10x that on the purchase price & 2) will also - should you buy the boat - give you a good maintenance plan.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

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    Default Re: GB32 Woodie Under Contract: Lots of Questions :)

    Quote Originally Posted by Garret View Post
    You guys in Seattle with covered docks... Sheesh. The rest of the world lives in the weather.

    Anyway - now that I've given Mr. Stevens a hard time - welcome to the forum Bruce (guessing at your name...).

    As spoiled as he may be by covered docks, he makes excellent points. A survey by a competent surveyor (who knows wood boats) is absolutely key. His comment on the decks is most likely correct and I also note that most of your condition info is on mechanical or cosmetic stuff. That's a small part of a wood boat. "Bottom job" can mean a million different things - all the way from "It was repainted" to "all the planks & frames were replaced". That's 1.5K to 30K+.

    She may be a great boat, but please get a survey. It'll cost $500 or so - but 1) might save you 10x that on the purchase price & 2) will also - should you buy the boat - give you a good maintenance plan.
    Ha! Yes, well, we also keep our boats in the water year-round. None of this "laying up" business. But it's true that we are spoiled out here. Garret is right. Get the survey and then put together a realistic assessment of the cost and effort that this boat needs. And then double it. And then think about whether you would rather spend that time and money working on this boat or get one with fewer needs and go boating instead. You might be better off spending $45k on a really good boat than $12k on one that needs work.
    - Chris

    Life is short. Go boating now!

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    Default Re: GB32 Woodie Under Contract: Lots of Questions :)

    I believe he mentioned that he's getting it surveyed next week.
    That will be the starting point.
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.

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    Default Re: GB32 Woodie Under Contract: Lots of Questions :)

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Jones View Post
    I believe he mentioned that he's getting it surveyed next week.
    That will be the starting point.
    You're right Rich - I missed that. Good to hear!

    I particularly liked the "I like to think I'm an idiot but not a moron" line - I can relate.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

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    Default Re: GB32 Woodie Under Contract: Lots of Questions :)

    Chris and Garret are offering good advice. I also agree with getting the best survey you can from the most qualified person you can find. I basically went through a phone interview process of about 3-4 surveyors to find the most qualified person I could, and even at that I think I educated him more than he surveyed my boat so to speak (I was lucky in that I only needed a ‘suitability for insurance’ survey).
    Those Lehman Ford diesels are a bit outdated today, but they are as simple and reliable as they get.
    To me the biggest red flag I heard from you was the moisture below the foredeck. That can be major. There were of coarse lots of little things you mentioned too, but wait for that survey.
    As much as I do love teak decks, I have to say I would probably plan on eliminating them on a GB. At 40 to 50 years they are most likely a problem waiting to happen (maybe you are lucky and this one is an exception).
    If you do decide to go forward and you do take care of all the known issues so that you get her down to “routine annual maintenance” that doesn’t have to be a killer on a wooden boat. When people comment to me about “oh you must love to do nothing but work on your boat” I tell them that I don’t know that there is all that much difference in the time that I put in vs a well maintained glass boat. I spend a weekend prepping the hull for a fresh coat of paint and a weekend painting the hull. I see guys with comparable size glass boats spending a weekend cleaning and compound their glass hull, then a weekend waxing and detailing the hull. The time invested for annual maintenance does not have to be grossly different, the skill set on the other hand is very different. Pretty much anyone can stand on the backside of a big polishing pad. I use the annual maintenance time as the time to inspect every inch as I do the sanding and painting & varnishing to address little things before they happen so to speak. The biggest difference I see in maintenance between wood and glass is that maintenance on a glass boat can be deferred or even ignored for a period of time with little to no ill effects most of the time. You cannot defer the maintenance and upkeep on a well kept wooden boat.
    Let’s hear what the survey comes back with.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: GB32 Woodie Under Contract: Lots of Questions :)

    I read through the Trawler Forum thread and to be honest, I don't think they were far off in their advice. The difference is that we *like* wooden boat projects here. Ned, Garret and I have all taken on project boats. Ned's is completely done and beautiful but Ned has more experience and skill than all but a very few people here on the forum. Garret's is still in-progress over a period of years. He's been reticent with the details but she's a beautiful, historic boat and well worth whatever effort he puts into her. Mine... well, I cut one up after spending well into the six figures, and the other got done to a certain extent but went on to a new home when I realized that I wanted to go cruising more than I wanted to work on the boat right around the time that the perfect boat became available. All of which is to say that wooden boats are wonderful things. Wooden boat projects, on the other hand, can range from merely challenging to life-altering and financially ruinous.

    While you are waiting for your survey you might want to read a few restoration threads to see what you might be getting into. There haven't been that many GBs here but there is this one:

    http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...ks-42-Hull-259

    And then these are all worth reading I think (two of them are mine, for what that is worth)

    http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...ration-project

    http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...alled-me-Today

    http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...and-redemption

    http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...ot-Petrel-quot

    Best of luck whatever you decide, and I hope you share your progress here.
    - Chris

    Life is short. Go boating now!

  9. #9
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    Default Re: GB32 Woodie Under Contract: Lots of Questions :)

    Thanks so much all. Very good advice. Yes, I have a survey planned for later this week with a guy who is very knowledgeable in wood boats and GBs. I will report back on what he learns.

    I was going through the guys Facebook page and the boat was used nearly everyday for 7 years as his SUP charter business. And while it looks ratty what I dont understand is if a boat used everyday that looks ratty is better than a boat that looks great but is used a couple times a year? The broker tells me this is a plus: the guy ensured mechanical and safety were kept up because his business relied on it, but didnt really care what it looked like cosmetically. But for others the fact it looks ratty, has a bad tank and a leak in the transmission is a clear signal it wasnt maintained properly and he cut corners. What do you guys think?


    I also wanted to share some of my logic below. These were in response to some of the suggestions i got on trawelerforum. They weren't meant to be belligerent or take a "damn the torpedoes" attitude, I just wanted to challenge some of assumptions to see if my thinking held up. I went into this with some early recommendations that wood GBs were extremely well built and there was more a perception of all the issues on wood boats vs reality. But that perception may also be grounded in reality


    1 - one post suggested I buy a GB32 fiberglass boat listed for $56k. That boat has the same rot issues in the cabin house and flybridge, correct? Dont all GBs suffer the same thing? So wouldn't I have an extra $44k to make a pristine woodie? Are hull/structural issues that pervasive and expensive on woodies to justify spending $44k more?

    2 - another post said I could easily spend $30k on it. I dont disagree over the long haul. Im seeing GB32 woodies go for 20-50k on the west coast. So lets say I spend $30k, made it into a pristine GB32 and only get $30k for it after 5 years. So im out 12k. All boats are depreciating assets. If I bought a brand new Protector I'd lose a hell of a lot more than $12k over 5 years, right?

    3 - another post said I was looking at hundreds of hours of work. I agree. But lets break that down:

    - Sanding and scraping. Yea its not a fun job. Luckily it doesn't require a rocket science degree so can be hired out at $30/hr. Is a yard at $120/hr somehow 4x better at sanding? Ive got a budget of ~6 days for 3 guys to strip and sand the brightwork, cabin house, flybridge prime and repaint.

    - Paint and varnish. This is the easier, and rewarding part. Its all the work getting to this point thats sucks, right? For example, I know it costs $3k to hire out to get all the brightwork done. But most of that time is waiting for paint to dry. If you just pay 2-3 guys to scrape and sand over one day its like 24hrs of labor max, or $720. Then for me its only 1-2hrs per coat over the next week or two, right?

    - Mechanical. Not afraid. Will take some time to learn diesels but im going take a leap and say its far simpler and more comfortable to work on than a 911 engine. Ive gone through the engine room and the most daunting project looks like cutting the tanks out.

    - Interior cushions and canvas. one post said I could easily spend $4k on just the interior. I dont disagree. But I can also buy the fabric myself and bring it to a guy who knows a guy that does good work and charges 1/3 the marine shop idiot tax, right? Further, a $50k late 70s fiberglass GB will still have a dated interior...and Im gonna pay an extra $4k just in sales tax on that boat.

    - Rot fix above the water line. Yes, this certainly concerns me. But all fiberglass GBs suffer from the same issue so if im not comfortable with this risk and dont learn how to repair it, im much better off buying a Boston whaler, right? Ive been binging on YouTube videos and it doesn't look like brain surgery. Its scary digging holes in your boat, but so is pulling a transmission off a car the first time. The second time its just 16 bolts.

    - Rot and structural issues below the waterline. Yup, this scares me. This is moving into the unknown on costs, time, probabilities, etc. I dont have enough information here. Whats the maintenance schedule, risk factors, likely issues you run into, etc. All I know is there are yards in the delta that focus on wood boats and are more affordable. So this requires more digging and would be the primary go/no go line on the survey.

    - Lastly, one of my assumptions is I can stage these out to a project every quarter. Q1 is stripping back the cabin, flybridge and brightwork, Q1-Q2 is the interior, Q2 is the engine room, Q2-Q3 is priority 1 engine work, Q3-Q4 is re-caulking the decks, Q4-Q5 is the topsides, Q5-Q8is the ongoing mechanical and electrical upgrades. And then over 2 years you have a pristine boat you can be proud of.

    However, if its more likely im going to have 5 urgent projects all at the same time, yes, this feels like a losing battle I dont want to get into. So in your experience, where does it fall?



    Appreciate the guidance. Im trying to understand if I can end up with a fun knock-around boat for the kids that will also be a rewarding project for dad, or a sinking pirate ship.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: GB32 Woodie Under Contract: Lots of Questions :)

    Having had a much larger cousin to the 32 GB (I had an Alaskan - same year - same construction and same yard built it), I can give you some inside advice.

    First, make sure your surveyor really knows wood trawlers. They'll immediately know what to look for and might be able to give you a fatal flaw assessment within an hour of starting the survey. You can then terminate the survey, if needed, and [likely] pay a reduced survey fee and avoid the haul out.

    Second, the problems you've listed are not the real money problems, for the most part. They are just indicative of larger, more expensive problems lurking.

    For example, rotten black iron fuel tanks are common in that era. The best case is that the deck fill leaked and rotted out the tank right at the fill. The more unpleasant and common situation is that deck leaks rot out the plywood under the deck, the end of the deck beams, and possibly where the deck beams are attached to the frames. It will take wheelbarrows of money to fix it, even on a smallish boat. Even in the best case, sawing out black iron tanks with no clearance is extraordinarily unpleasant.

    Restoration of decks, deck beams, frames, and possibly the stem will require many, many multiples of the purchase price. Electrical isn't cheap and they didn't use tinned wire when they build that trawler. When you look at this objectively, things like rust on the gear, fixing leading raw water leaks, brightwork, and even replacing one or more fuel tanks are trivial items to what may be required.

    If restoring a boat like this is what you want to be your life's work over the next 5-10 years, and you have the cash (I'd start with $50k but plan on $75k+), then get the survey, swallow hard, and go for it. But the reality is that you won't be boating. You'll be restoring a boat. Been there, done that. Best of luck!

  11. #11
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    Default Re: GB32 Woodie Under Contract: Lots of Questions :)

    No way to really tell the effort needed in advance of the survey but a few thoughts on your plan:

    - Sanding and scraping are not unskilled labor. You can do a lot of damage with both, and good prep work is 90% of the work in getting a good finish. I would not hire an inexperienced person for paint prep. $120/hr is more than I would pay, but I would certainly expect to pay $50-$100/hr for a professional, or I would do it myself.

    - If you can have the varnish done for $3k by someone who knows what they are doing then you should absolutely take that deal. But I expect that estimate is less than half what you would actually pay for quality varnish work. A full paint and varnish job for the hull and cabin is going to be $20k-$50k by itself, depending on the quality of the finish. (You can spend far more than that for a really show quality job). And none of that cost is "waiting for paint to dry". Good finish work is time consuming and skilled labor. You can do it yourself for the cost of your own time but if the finish needs to be stripped back to bare wood then you should plan on spending a couple hundred hours to do it right. Your 1-2 hours for a coat of paint, for example, easily turns into 8+ hours per coat once you include sanding between coats.

    - An "idiot tax" for marine work is not really a thing. In my experience you get what you pay for in all things. You might save a bit of money if you shop around for upholstery work but I don't think you will find huge savings here unless, again, you do it yourself. $4k to completely reupholster a GB32 seems pretty reasonable to me.

    - Removing and replacing the tanks is a HUGE project. I don't know what is involved in doing this on a GB32 but I would be very wary of taking that on without a very good idea of what is involved. You could spend a couple hundred hours on that effort alone. Can it even be done with the engine in place? You may find that you need to pull the engine to get the new tanks in.

    - It may be possible to stage the work as you are planning, but I would not assume that you can do more than one project at once unless you are able to spend full time on it. And you should be prepared to throw the plan out the window at any moment when you find something you did not expect. And you will, absolutely, 100% guaranteed, find things you did not expect regardless of what the survey turns up.

    - If you enjoy the idea of spending a couple of years working on a boat then that's a good reason to take on the project. But it's almost impossible to save money by starting with a project boat, even doing most of the work yourself.

    I don't say any of these things to dissuade you. The other thing about wooden boat restoration is that it's all doable with a reasonable amount of skill that can mostly be learned as you go. But it takes an enormous amount of time so you should go into it with your eyes open.
    - Chris

    Life is short. Go boating now!

  12. #12
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    Default Re: GB32 Woodie Under Contract: Lots of Questions :)

    I can't help but believe you are focused too much on cosmetics. In that I include everything not connected to the hull.

    Before even thinking about anything, you need to know that the entire structure (above & below the waterline hull & frames, cabintop(s), deck, etc.) is all solid. Once you know that, you can move on to details like tanks, cushion, engines, & varnish.

    Note that I say this because I did that with my boat. Yes I got some good sailing out of her, but then I replaced/repaired/sistered 90+ frames, all the planks below the waterline, the rudder, and 5 of 7 keelbolts. Chis isn;t quite right about my being reticent to post about my boat's restoration - it's more that I'm too damn lazy to post a good thread the way so many do here.

    Not to scare you, but as a warning: I looked at all my keelbolts (a sailboat has long bolts holding the ballast to the keel & boat - on my boat they are 1.5" diameter & between 5 & 7 ft. long) and the tops all looked nice - all painted to match the hull. When I tore things apart to repair frames, I discovered some hidden ones (see below). Underneath the ones I could see, the bolts had necked down even worse than this one. No big deal, they only hold on 3 tons of ballast...

    OldKeelbolt.jpg

    BTW - that bolt is 3 1/2 ft. below the cabin sole & took a 12 lb. maul to get it out.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

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    Default

    On the he ran it every day as a business: take a look at businesses-any business. Most are cheaply decorated with just good enough infrastructure so that most of the lights work and the toilet flushes and things pass muster for the short time the distracted customer is in house. Good enough is good enough because they have business to attend to.

    Does not mean your PO operated that way, but it does not mean he did not. My point is running everyday is not necessarily indicative of anything.

    Kevin


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    Default Re: GB32 Woodie Under Contract: Lots of Questions :)

    The survey will tell the tale. Grand Banks built great boats. I've had a 36 and now have a 42.

    The hulls are usually in good shape even at this age. A surveyor will know to check the fastener condition.

    Fuel tanks are a big deal, but can also be cut up in place and replaced with a series of smaller tanks.

    The house, flybridge, and especially under the windows were all prone to rot. Sliding windows and the amount of rain we get from SF north don't mix well.

    Overall the more a boat is used the better, especially for the mechanical systems. You are looking at a boat at a dirt cheap price, but with a comprehensive survey you could be getting a good boat.

    And remember while there's a lot of really good experience in this forum, most of us are nuts enough to own, build, or repair wooden boats...so weigh that in what you read.

    Good luck!

    Chris
    1960 LeClerq 36' Commercial Salmon Troller F/V Alcor

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    Default Re: GB32 Woodie Under Contract: Lots of Questions :)

    Chris and others beat me to it with many comments, especially about stripping and prepping for varnish being much more skilled than "hire a couple of guys" if you want results that look like much of anything.
    As far as rot & structural repairs go, often times it is not so much the damage that is daunting, but understanding what needs to be disassembled in order to correctly repair that "little bit of rot".
    I think your assessment is not horribly off base as long as you can see and realize the volumes of what if's and if then's that are usually behind each of your presumptions.
    This is again where you listen to your surveyor , and given your apparent experience I might also recommend hiring a good shipwright for a day and meeting him at the boat with a copy of the survey to find out what would be involved to correct each of the surveyor's findings.

    Projects can grow for sure!





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    Default Re: GB32 Woodie Under Contract: Lots of Questions :)

    I love looking at Ned's boat....

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    Default Re: GB32 Woodie Under Contract: Lots of Questions :)

    Quote Originally Posted by willin woodworks View Post
    I love looking at Ned's boat....
    Thank you! (That was a real three year push for sure!)

    And those "Hmmmm, I didn't expect to have to do that too!" moments




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    Default Re: GB32 Woodie Under Contract: Lots of Questions :)

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris-on-the-Boat View Post
    The survey will tell the tale. Grand Banks built great boats. I've had a 36 and now have a 42.

    The hulls are usually in good shape even at this age. A surveyor will know to check the fastener condition.

    Fuel tanks are a big deal, but can also be cut up in place and replaced with a series of smaller tanks.

    The house, flybridge, and especially under the windows were all prone to rot. Sliding windows and the amount of rain we get from SF north don't mix well.

    Overall the more a boat is used the better, especially for the mechanical systems. You are looking at a boat at a dirt cheap price, but with a comprehensive survey you could be getting a good boat.

    And remember while there's a lot of really good experience in this forum, most of us are nuts enough to own, build, or repair wooden boats...so weigh that in what you read.

    Good luck!

    Chris

    Thanks Chris!! Survey on Thursday so lets see what we find. The surveyor is one of the best wood boat guys in the Bay Area and knows GB woodies. So it should be a good learning experience either way. I also took the advice of somebody on the forum. If he finds any major issues while still in the water we will kill it right there and save the money on the haul out.

    I spoke to the broker today about the forum feedback. He had a measured response. While sure he's a broker, he also has a 60 foot gorgeous wood boat and is part of the Bay Area wood boat society. His take was, lets let the surveyor do his job and give us definitive info one way or another. He personally believed the engine was strong, the hull was solid, the head worked, the boat was cheap enough it could be made into a fun little knock around boat for the bay.

    I will keep everyone posted how it turns out. Ive calibrated and now assuming the worst on the survey, but lets see.

    And @nedl - that boat is gorgeous.
    Last edited by thebruce; 12-01-2020 at 12:36 AM.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: GB32 Woodie Under Contract: Lots of Questions :)

    Fingers crossed on a good survey!

    Looking forward to hearing how you make out.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  20. #20
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    Default Re: GB32 Woodie Under Contract: Lots of Questions :)

    I spoke to the broker today about the forum feedback. He had a measured response. While sure he's a broker, he also has a 60 foot gorgeous wood boat and is part of the Bay Area wood boat society. His take was, lets let the surveyor do his job and give us definitive info one way or another. He personally believed the engine was strong, the hull was solid, the head worked, the boat was cheap enough it could be made into a fun little knock around boat for the bay.
    That actually sounds like a reasonable assessment to me. If the goal is to have a "fun little knock around boat for the bay" then you could do a lot worse than a cheap GB32 with a few needs as long as the hull is sound and there are no huge and pressing mechanical or systems problems. (And I'm sure the broker's response was "measured". If I were in his place I would be pretty annoyed at a bunch of armchair wooden boat experts knocking the boat sight unseen! All advice is worth what you pay for it in the end, right?)
    - Chris

    Life is short. Go boating now!

  21. #21
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    Default Re: GB32 Woodie Under Contract: Lots of Questions :)

    I think the comments on this thread have been measured and full of hard won experience.
    Looking at boats to buy, it is easy to be drawn in by the things you like about them without looking for the negative aspects.
    A mate of mine asked me to have a look at a yacht with him. He had been around boats enough to know, but wanted another opinion
    By the time I got there he had bought it already.
    He has had it 10 years at least now, but initially had to replace most of the ply deck and rebuild the single pot Yanmar.
    Part way through I said to him that it had a nicely trimmed interior and newish dodger.
    "That was why I bought It" was the response to much hilarity.
    It was cheapish, and he did all the work himself without too much effort so no real harm done really, but I may have been able to save him that work with a colder, less rose tinted eye.
    Another mate who doesn't know big boats, but no mug had a 1 hour look around with me to decide on a much more expensive proposition (but still good buying).
    There was another buyer waiting to look, no survey, take it or leave it.
    I shrugged and said it looks pretty good to me after an hour. 6 months later he is still happy, so there you go. Steel hull though!

  22. #22
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    Default Re: GB32 Woodie Under Contract: Lots of Questions :)

    Thebruce, rumor is that you bought the boat? I’m curious to hear what the survey reported, especially regarding any issues that need to be addressed for insurance purposes. I hope you will come back and give us an update. But good luck with your new boat in any case.
    - Chris

    Life is short. Go boating now!

  23. #23
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    Default Re: GB32 Woodie Under Contract: Lots of Questions :)

    Quote Originally Posted by cstevens View Post
    Thebruce, rumor is that you bought the boat? I’m curious to hear what the survey reported, especially regarding any issues that need to be addressed for insurance purposes. I hope you will come back and give us an update. But good luck with your new boat in any case.
    Ha! Not yet.

    But...the survey went far better than I was anticipating. I told the surveyor to prepare for the worst and had the yard on standby to cancel the haul out. But even though the boat looks like **** and is a big project...its in shockingly good structural and mechanical condition. The surveyor thought it was in remarkably good condition. He found no rot, planking, frames and butt blocks all in very good shape, flybridge rebuilt 10 years ago and no rot, bilge is dry, shaft log good, batteries and electrical good, safety items all in order, engine strong and the hull is in fantastic shape (but needs a new bottom job). They tried to pull 6 fasteners but ended up bending the screwdriver. They thought that was a very good sign. They also saw stainless fasteners that looked brand new so it seems they had been replaced in the past.

    The amazing thing is the project manager at KKMI has known and worked on the boat for 30 years. He said it was a great old boat and the hull and engine were the best parts of it. He also said the current owner used the **** out of, which he thought was a big plus and why it was in such good structural/mechanical condition. He was just sad to see the current owner had to sell it and had let it go cosmetically.I was able to get 10 years of records at KKMI.

    The bad parts were mostly known: transmission leak, bad port tank and identified a leak in the hose fitting on the "good" starboard tank, surface corrosion on the transmission and rudder quadrant, need to replace/rebed the deck/deckhouse half round, sand, scrape paint or varnish every inch of the boat, two broken windows, etc, etc. We also found surface corrosion on the transmission and steering quadrant. And there was the early signs of electrolysis on the prop as the anode had fallen off. They replaced and recommended sending to the prop shop to double check it.

    We also found somebody had refastened areas of the aft decks with bronze nails...that had everyone scratching their heads. The assessment was dont touch them. It would likely do more damage to try to remove them and since they aren't leaking and the deck caulking is in good shape they felt best course of action was just clean, bleach, trim some messy caulk jobs and put semco to give them a bit more protection.

    Re the tanks, they were replaced with aluminum at some point in the past and there is at least 1ft clearance above them. It looks like they can just be slid out the back lazaret without much hassle (because they must have come in that way before). KKMI project manager said I didnt need it. He felt you just remove the port tank and put a generator there. The surveyor recommended replacing both with plastic at some point. Doesn't look like an urgent project unless the leak at the fitting on the starboard tank turns into something more.


    Next step is engine survey and need to get insurance figured out. So not there yet, but a good step. I was also very impressed with the surveyor, broker and project manager at KKMI. All passionate about wood boats, all wood boat owners, had tons of knowledge and were happy to share. Thats a big plus when taking on a project like this.

    IMG_8306.jpgIMG_8328.jpgIMG_8321.jpgIMG_8293.jpg

  24. #24
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    Default Re: GB32 Woodie Under Contract: Lots of Questions :)

    Great news!

    All passionate about wood boats, all wood boat owners, had tons of knowledge and were happy to share. That's a big plus when taking on a project like this.
    "Big" doesn't begin to cover it - it's huge!
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  25. #25
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    Default Re: GB32 Woodie Under Contract: Lots of Questions :)

    Without wanting to sound overly optimistic, it seems you may have found the preverbal 'diamond in the rough'.

    There have been lots of teak decks fastened with bronze anchorfast nails. I have certainly seen them.

    Stainless mixed with bronze fastenings below the waterline may not be the best, but it is what it is.

    As for insurance, if this is not a big financial burden for you, you might consider looking at a "liability only" policy. That protects you and can be had for a fraction of the cost of a policy with full hull coverage (like less than $100 a year).

  26. #26
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    Default Re: GB32 Woodie Under Contract: Lots of Questions :)

    Sounds like the boat surveyed very well, all things considered - much better than I would have guessed from the initial description. Having a history with the yard is a huge plus as well. Those guys don't tend to get sentimental about old boats so if they know this one and think it's solid then that is worth as much as the survey. I don't think you can go too far wrong at the price. And I agree with Ned that you might look at a liability only policy. We had one on a previous boat through State Farm. It cost us around $50 a year and provided all the coverage required by the marina.
    - Chris

    Life is short. Go boating now!

  27. #27
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    Default Re: GB32 Woodie Under Contract: Lots of Questions :)

    I've been following this post with interest. I'm so glad you got such great survey results! Best wishes for the future.
    There is nothing quite as permanent as a good temporary repair.

  28. #28
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    Default Re: GB32 Woodie Under Contract: Lots of Questions :)

    Sounds really good, best of luck with her.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: GB32 Woodie Under Contract: Lots of Questions :)

    Thanks so much all.

    @nedl - yes I actually just learned from another GB owner that the woodies used bronze barbed nails and the fiberglass GBs used screws. Thats a relief. I thought it was a crappy DIY job. Anything recommended on the exposed heads there?

    And the surveyor and KKMI yard manager said the same about the mix of stainless and bronze fasteners, "its better if they didnt but its not a big deal since they all look good". I didnt fully understand the comment. Is there a reason to not use stainless?

    I think ive got the insurance sorted. I know the current owner is paying $2k a year but he had a large liability policy and the boat classified as charter. The broker said I would be looking at $1200-$1500, which is 2x what I had budgeted, but not that big a deal. The surveyor valued it at $38k. Im wondering if its better to just get liability for the first year, but then add comprehensive in the 2nd year after we have more money in it.

    @ctstevens - I totally agree on the yard history. KKMI is considered one of the best in SF and for all of them to know the boat and current owner so well was really positive. They were genuinely excited to know it was going to somehow who could bring it back. Even the lift operators and front desk staff knew the boat. Its often on TV in McCovey Cove during Giants games. The project manager called it a "57 Chevy of the Sea" that deserved to be cared for well. He said the prior owner didnt focus on cosmetics, but always did everything they recommended. I even found a 2018 survey he did for insurance where he handled all items listed.

    Ive got about $35-40k of records the owner spent on the boat over 10 years. The two big ticket items were $10k for repowering in 2015 and $10k for a refit when he bought it in 2010, which looked like it was mostly woodwork at a different yard in the delta. It included the new flybridge and possibly caulking and refastening. Hard to decipher the line items. Thats actually pretty reasonable over 10 years.

    As for the price, yea I think it gives us room to spend hiring out on the unfun job of scraping and prep so we can focus on the more satisfying ones. Another big plus is KKMI said they can easily mill whatever trim pieces I need.


    Im starting to work through staging projects and have a list of 117 items so far (im big on lists . My unknowns right now...

    1) Ive got the diesel surveyor coming over on monday to identify the best solution for the tanks, transmission leak and identify where/why the fitting is leaking on the starboard tank.

    2) KKMI can mill the half round on the house/deck joint. This is what the surveyor said I should do first. Any tips here: sealant, screw types, should I use the same screw holes or epoxy those and make new ones, anything used to seal the screw hole itself, etc?

    3) The surveyor said I should rebed the portlights but didnt feel it was a priority. He more just felt if you are painting you might as well do it first. Any tips here? Can you get the trim pieces off without destroying them, or should those all get replaced?



    I will start a new thread on the projects once/if we kick this off. Like all new projects there is a U shaped learning curve. Seems easy at first, then you get into the details and realize all the complexity. But if you get through that phase its starts to make sense again. I think I just passed the low water mark and have a glimmer of what the climb looks like

  30. #30
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    Default Re: GB32 Woodie Under Contract: Lots of Questions :)

    If I'm not mistaken, GB's are usually planked in teak. That could be one reason why this boat stood up to some abuse. Do you know if she is planked in teak?

    The mixed fasteners, especially the use of stainless ones, would bother me. I'd be inclined to consider replacing them the next time the boat is out of the water. It's not the mixed metal business that would bother me so much although that's not ideal, but the use of stainless in the first place. They're not generally used for planking in my experience. Crevice corrosion and all that.

    I'll be enjoying this thread and the developments along with the rest of you guys.
    One of the most enduring qualities of an old wooden boat is the smell it imparts to your clothing.

  31. #31
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    Default Re: GB32 Woodie Under Contract: Lots of Questions :)

    Listen to that Lew guy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lew Barrett View Post
    If I'm not mistaken, GB's are usually planked in teak. That could be one reason why this boat stood up to some abuse. Do you know if she is planked in teak?

    The mixed fasteners, especially the use of stainless ones, would bother me. I'd be inclined to consider replacing them the next time the boat is out of the water. It's not the mixed metal business that would bother me so much although that's not ideal, but the use of stainless in the first place. They're not generally used for planking in my experience. Crevice corrosion and all that.

    I'll be enjoying this thread and the developments along with the rest of you guys.

  32. #32
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    Default Re: GB32 Woodie Under Contract: Lots of Questions :)

    Hello there - I was reminded by someone the other day I had not posted any updates on this project in a while. I had been posting regular updates in the Grand Banks FB group but forgot to post in here. I wanted to update as many of you were very helpful when we started the project earlier this year.

    In short, the boat is looking and running great. Its always more work than you anticipate but luckily its coming out even better than we anticipated. Structurally and mechanically it was in great shape when we bought it, with a 2015 reman Ford Lehman, but cosmetically it looked like a frat house on monday morning. We stripped it all back and the more bad ideas we stripped back, the better it looked. Progress has slowed this summer just because we are out on it every weekend. it is a conversation topic every time we go out with people coming up to us compliment the boat or ask questions about it. Its built a bit of a following on Instagram too . https://www.instagram.com/sfbarbaryghost/


    Projects completed:

    - hull and superstructure stripped and repainted
    - exterior teak stripped of 20 years of paint and varnished
    - windows removed and rebed
    - new bootstripe
    - decks sanded and bleached.
    - stainless stripped of...black spray paint
    - bronze rubrail and hawseholes stripped of 20 years of paint
    - cabin stripped, sanded, painted and varnished.
    - 30 years of bad ideas were ripped out of the electrical system and new panels and wiring installed.
    - new transducer, 2 Garmin mfds installed, nmea2k network installed so everything is networked together. picked up an engine data digital converter and went all digital for gauges. it was cheaper and simpler than fixing the analog gauges. removed the engine guages on the flybridge all together and just installed a navpod up there.
    - v berth stripped and repainted
    - all new cushions and foam. we were getting crazy quotes (more than we paid for the boat so ended up cutting the foam ourselves, sourcing the sunbrella, and then just having somebody sew the cushions. hard job but cost 1/3rd.
    - new teak deck joint milled and rebed

    In progress and upcoming:

    - head stripped and repainted. (in progress)
    - window frames re-fared. I should have just replaced all the frames when I removed the windows the first time. live and learn
    - deck caulking, and replacing bungs
    - we have a few more electrical projects to finish
    - the flybridge steering cable needs some maintenance
    - new windlass and fridge compressor at some point
    - we will tackle painting the bilges at some point

    Costs:

    - We didnt pay much for the boat and have spent a reasonable amount to restore it, but certainly nothing stupid. It's been a rewarding project for a fraction of the cost of buying a newer fiberglass GB32.



    At this point we know every inch of it and its as good as a new GB (minus 50 years of character). Hopefully it will be cruising the SF bay for another 50 years. Thanks so much for all your help.


    IMG_0852.jpgIMG_0077.jpgIMG_2991.jpgIMG_2944 10.44.54 PM.jpgIMG_3002.jpg
    Last edited by thebruce; 09-13-2021 at 03:43 PM.

  33. #33
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    Default Re: GB32 Woodie Under Contract: Lots of Questions :)


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  35. #35
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    Default Re: GB32 Woodie Under Contract: Lots of Questions :)

    Lovely job - well done on both the purchase and the work that you’ve done.
    Larks

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    “It’s risky”, said experience.
    “It’s pointless”, said reason.
    “Give it a try”, whispered the heart.

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