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Author Topic:   Part 2: Chain Saw Whaler
jimh posted 04-26-2002 07:06 AM ET (US)   Profile for jimh   Send Email to jimh  
[This thread starts in another message. Jump to the beginning if you want to read from the start.
Dr T posted 02-07-2002 08:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for Dr T  Send Email to Dr T     

So it's not the heat, it's the humidity?

(Sorry, couldn't resist that opening)

If you could maintain the approximate times of your measurements and the relative humidity, we may be able to come up with an approximation the the drying rate.

This MAY help in determining how best to dry a sodden hull.

From another thread, pressurizing the hull seems to help. The key element will be how to best help the water wick from the foam to a place it can be purged.

lhg posted 02-07-2002 10:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Tom - First of all, congratualtions on starting another 100 post thread!

Regarding the Whaler section in the reference section, that is DEFINITELY urethane closed cell foam, and it does not soak up any water.
It is a yellow-brownish color, typical of all urethane foam. I don't know the year of the hull.

But thanks to you, we are really getting somewhere on this foam issue. Summarizing, we now know that the earlier boats were made with this white "rigid light plastic foam", which was not evidently closed cell, and as shown, can suck up water like a sponge if the hull is breeched, or fittings go bad. Then, quietly, BW switched to the closed cell, non absorbant foam used in the later models and up to this day.

So the question is when? Thanks to my catalog collection, I think I can now solve the mystery. (All capitals are by me, for emphasis)

In the 1976 catalog, there is a color picture of the first 13' Whaler, mentioned to be a 1974, cut in thirds. You can clearly see that it still has the WHITE foam, even though it is a tan hull. In this catalog, there is NO mention of urethane foam. Same for the 1977 & 1978 catalogs, only talk of the same "rigid" foam hull interiors.

Then, BINGO, the 1979 catalog says the following, describing the construction of the hulls:

"Using techniques that have been learned through years of development, Boston Whaler's technicians introduce a UNICELLULAR POLYURETHANE FOAM into this cavity, where it is held under pressure while it expands into every opening and crevice."

"The beverage coolers and fish wells are formed right into the URETHANE FOAM filled hull, ....."

It should be noted, that this was also the time the first V-series (2nd generation) Outrages were introduced, the 20 & 22. Perhaps they had to solve this foam problem in order to build these newer shaped Whalers.
I believe the urethane foam also increased hull bouyancy over the white foam.

The following catologs, 1980-1982, use this same wording. I do not have the '83-'85 catalogs, but my 1986 catalog now adds the following:

"POLYURETHANE FOAM is injected under pressure to fuse with tough outer layers of gelcoat-smooth fiberglass, forming the unique one-piece Boston Whaler foam-core hull. The foam is CLOSED-CELL, which means it CAN'T ABSORB WATER."

So, if the catalogs are to be believed, we now have it. The Company obviously made a very quiet transition into closed cell foam with the 1979 model year. They probably didn't want to alarm prior customers, but they must have known there were problems with the white plastic foam if the hull or it's fittings let water in.

For buyers and owners of Classic Whalers, I think this is exceedingly important information. If your boat is 1978 or older, you have white foam which can be a current or future problem, depending on the history of the hull. If your boat is 1979 or newer, you have a closed cell boat, and probably have no worries if the hull is original, and previously well maintained. You might get some moisture around a bad thru-hull, but nothing of serious consequence.

All of a sudden, a 1979 or newer hull can be a lot more valuable. But I sold a 1971 boat in 1988, with the white foam, and it was absolutely dry, never having been in an accident, left moored, or with bad through-hulls. I guess it makes the history a lot more important. A pre-1979 "beater" (like Tom has) could be a bad project boat, a later one probably a good project boat.

I hope this is valuable information to all.

Tom W Clark posted 02-07-2002 10:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     
The foam core is down to 2 oz. Yes, I said 2 oz., from 14.5 oz. It may still be loosing water, I'll check again in the morning.

I don't think the time this sample has spent in the toaster oven is going to help us. The core has been separated into four separate pieces which provides a bit more surface area to air than any old Whaler is going to have regardless of how hot the toaster oven you put it into is.

This is what would trouble me if I had a soggy hull: How do you get the foam to lose water to dry air if the thing is wrapped in a fiberglass skin?

Read Frank Bell's story about his 1964 in Cetacea, page 23 and you will both see a beautiful boat and learn that he put his boat in an oven to dry it out. But reading his account I now wonder if he really got all the moisture out or not. He obviously had better access to these facilities than most of us have and still, would it have been enough for a really soggy hull?

In a perfect world I would think taking a soggy boat to the desert and standing it on end in some old barn for a year or more might be the best approach unless we can figure a way to "power" the water out with pressure or vacuum.

Tom W Clark posted 02-07-2002 11:04 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     

Great sleuthing. While it may not be conclusive, I suspect you are correct. But there are still a few points that trouble me.

You make the point about the foam in CSW and other older hulls as being white while the foam in the Lauderdale Marina chopped Whaler is brown as was the foam in my 1983 Outrage 18 and other newer hulls. But look at the photo of the chopped whaler in the reference section right above the Lauderdale Marina boat photo. This picture is from a 1999 catalog and to my eyes the foam looks white. Is it the angle? The photo? My eyes? or is the foam, in fact, white? What does that mean?

You say you think the newer foam provided greater hull buoyancy. Why? Do the specifications suggest this? The only way this could happen is if the foam itself were lighter in weight. I can tell you the white foam in CSW is VERY light. See my post above. Hard to imagine the polyurethane foam being any lighter.

Your quotes from the catalogs are interesting too. They use the terms "introduce" and "injected under pressure" to describe how the expanding foam is placed in the hulls, not poured as I had imagined it. Perhaps that's just marketing guys and copy editors getting carried away or perhaps it refers to the expanding foam essentially injecting itself into all the nooks and crannies in the hull after it's poured in.

jimh posted 02-07-2002 11:54 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Here is another data point on the foam:

In my 1976 Whaler 15 the sprue hole is uncapped and the foam is clearly brownish.

It looks just like this 1989 hull pictured here:

In 1976 the 15-foot hull debuted with a totally new design, including the "smirk" bow. I think it was also the first appearance of the "smirk" on the 16/17 foot hull (but model year 1977).

Maybe there was more to the redesign than just the hull lines?

lhg posted 02-07-2002 11:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Tom - Regarding that picture JimH has in the reference section, that picture is in the 1994 catalog also, and the foam is actually a light tan/yellow color. They also show a section through a Rage and indicate it is closed cell foam, obviously. It does look like a lighter color than that used in the 79's and later, so it could be the foam was changed again, although is still the urethane closed cell variety. There is a recent section though a 16 Dauntless that also shows yellowish foam.

I think I am mistaken on the urethane foam providing more bouyancy than the "white rigid Plastic foam" of pre 1979. I checked the swamped capacity of the 1977 21 Outrage and it showed 3700#, and the same is shown for the now-urethane filled 1979 21 Outrage.

Regarding construction method, I certainly am no expert here, but I believe the liquid foam is INJECTED (not poured any longer) into the hull cavity, and then the foam expands under INTENSE PRESSURE to fill the void. I do know that they have a huge clamping system to restrain the inner and outer shells while the foam is expanding.

I tend to agree with you, Tom, that a badly water filled hull, 1978 or earlier, can never be dried out, and probably (help) is worthless! Your experiment may inadvertantly be sounding the death knell for hundreds of old, poorly cared for Whalers. I guess it would be up to the owner to determine how many hundred pounds of contained water he is willing to live with. I would think that short of weighing a hull on a scale, just pulling the plug and seeing how much water comes in may be an excellent indicator of how much reserve bouyancy has been lost (displaced by increased weight of water).
These boats are certainly not as safe as one would assume, and could result in loss of life to an unsuspecting person who expects it to float.

How's a great way to determine if an older hull is "dry". Find one that has spent it's entire life on a trailer, and in a garage or storage facility, and definitely without bottom paint! Bottom paint could be your first indicator of trouble.

But I don't think owners of the "white foam" boats should be discouraged. The boats could be as dry as a bone. If they float high and normal, they most likely are. But they should take more care in making sure water cannot seep in.

lhg posted 02-08-2002 12:12 AM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Boy, this is getting interesting. We're all sitting at our computers tonight!

Based on Jim's message, we now can move the urethane foam date up to 1975. As Jim says, this makes some sense since this was the introduction year of the new 15. I have another theory.

Maybe the new urethane came on line new model by new model, beginning with the 15. In the phote of the "cut" 1974 13 footer, the foam is definitely the white variety, so 1975 could be the year it was first used, but maybe not in all models, because earlier molds had to be changed for the new process. Didn't the Classic 13 go though another slight interior mold change in the late 70's? I'll bet that's when it got new foam.
By 1979, maybe all models were now converted, so the advertizing could show it. Since the new Montauk hull came out in 1976, I'll bet the 17's had the urethane, and the 16's the older white foam.

It could also be that in the effort of keeping this major change quiet, they didn't announce it until 1979, even though it had been in use since 1975.

We're getting REAL close to resolution of this big BW secret.

One final missing link is what kind of foam was used in the various years, 1973-1979 of the 21 Outrage/Revenge. Anybody know? Were all models made with the new urethane foam, or all with the white foam, or some combination of both.

Tom W Clark posted 02-08-2002 12:17 AM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     

Does the foam at your sprue hole have the clear coating on it that I have seen on others? You have described the foam as being exposed here. But you're right about the color, it's not white. What do you make of that lhg?

I think we need to start collecting foam samples from the different model years in the 1970's, especially 1978 and 1979. Who will offer up a tiny bit of foam?

I am reminded of a comment one of my high school instructors, Mike Falk, made in the late 1970's. Mr. Falk was one of those people who had had a huge number of jobs in his life. Everything from photographer to stock car racer to police rescue/recovery diver. It was while working in the latter capacity that he learned about what he told us.

He was making a point about not believing everything you hear or read and he said: "..they say Boston Whalers will not sink. Well let me tell you: they will sink. I have seen them on the bottom of the lake!" I always wondered about that comment.

lhg posted 02-08-2002 12:58 AM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
OK, here is what we now can determine, with reasonable accuracy.

First use of the "new" tan polyurethane closed cell foam: (based on the assumption that it's use coincided with hull design changes)

13' 1977, when interior mold was changed to
add the bow step pads.

15' - 1975, when hull was first introduced.

16' - (blue or tan) Never had it.

17' - 1976, when first introduced

21 Outrage, rib sided(1971 & 1972) - I'm betting never had it. Need help here.

21 Outrage/Revenge, smooth sided, 1973-1979 - Could be either white or urethane. Need help here, but I'd guess this is possible first use of the urethane closed cell.

19 Outrage/Revenge, 1974-1977 - I'm betting on urethane. Need help here.

All subsequent models, 1978 and later - urethane. 1979 Catalog states all Whalers
contain urethane foam.

it definitely seems like there was a period when both types of foam were being used, as the transition was being made.

SuburbanBoy posted 02-08-2002 01:02 AM ET (US)     Profile for SuburbanBoy  Send Email to SuburbanBoy     
Did BW ever offer "lifetime" warranties with their hulls? If so, there may be an issue.


lhg posted 02-08-2002 01:24 AM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
No, only 10 years, but that's an interesting point. During this transition, the warranties on the older "white foam" hulls were still in effect, which might explain why the changeover was kept secret, and not advertized. BW has never admitted, at least not in those days, that a white foam filled hull could waterlog under severe abuse. What a warranty nightmare that could have created. By the time they started using the "closed cell, non-water absorbing" terminology in their advertizing, in 1986, all prior white foam filled hulls were off warranty. How ingenious. This picture is coming together!
RMS posted 02-08-2002 10:23 AM ET (US)     Profile for RMS  Send Email to RMS     
Tom had earlier written "But it's also interesting to note the foam on CSW works with the "apple" analogy in more than it's texture and sound. Where the foam has been exposed to the elements it has turned brown just as an apple will if you cut it in half and leave it exposed to the air for any amount of time. Perhaps this is just white foam becoming soiled, but perhaps there is some else going on here. We'll find out."

Isn't it possible the Lauderdale Marina Whaler foam has developed it's color due to exposure to the elements? Also JimH's 15' Whaler's sprue? Fascinating reading in any event. The truth is out there!

27Walk posted 02-08-2002 11:16 AM ET (US)     Profile for 27Walk  Send Email to 27Walk     
Hi everyone, been reading the forum for quite awhile and decided to post. This is a different example but may work with Whalers as well.

I know everyone is going to say, here we go again, but hear me out. A freind of a freind was given a water logged Carolina Skiff flat boat bay boat. For those who aren't familiar with them, the have a honeycomb shaped foam core throughout the bottom. Anyway, he dried it out by palcing it in a shed/carport and put buckets of some sort filled with silica or desecant, sp?, powder like comes in camera or binocular cases. I was told that he got it cheap from some Chemical plant in bulk. Anyway, he placed it in the boat and cover the boat with plastic and sealed/taped the plastice to the sides. They said it was better than weight watchers!

Know my thoughts are that a large quantity of either of the substances above or the Damp Rid stuff, sold at boat stores to keep the humidity down in cabin boats, would possibly do the same for these old Whalers provided that the moisture had a path out off the hull. Vacuum pressure would surely help by lowering the boiling point and freeing up the water molecules.

Could get very expensive though!

Tom W Clark posted 02-08-2002 11:44 AM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     
Whoa! Before we call Oliver Stone in, let's review what we really do know and what we are speculating about.

The foam in CSW is white. The foam in the Lauderdale Marina boat is not. RMS, it's not just soiled, I have seen the same color foam in my own 1983 boat and in other newer boats. The foam in jimh's 1976 15 appears to be non-white. Maybe the foam in jimh's boat is white but appears not to be because of the clear sealer on top of it.

I really do not think some models would get one type of foam and a second model another type. This is illogical. It makes no sense from a manufacturer's point of view. There is no way a slight change on a hull's shape is going to require or prelude the use of one type of expanding foam over another. I think we can discount this supposition.

If there has been a change in the type of foam used then it occurred at one time. It should be easy enough to verify if we can get some foam samples from Whalers built during the 1970’s. Let’s wait and confirm this foam change over date.

We are also assuming that CSW is not unique in any way, that it is representative of Whalers built in 1970 and earlier. It Is possible that this is a false assumption but at present I see no evidence of this.

We assume that 1979 and later Whalers had (poly)urethane foam and that all subsequent Whalers up to the present do as well. This seems reasonable based on the quotes from the catalogs listed above.

Are we assuming that the white foam in CSW is NOT (poly)urethane foam? Is (poly)urethane foam necessarily closed cell? Might there be an open celled variety? What is the difference between polyurethane and urethane or are they synonymous? (Chemists among you please comment)

Arch Autenreith posted 02-08-2002 11:55 AM ET (US)     Profile for Arch Autenreith  Send Email to Arch Autenreith     

It wasn't clear to me. Are you saying your '83 and newer are or are not white? Mine's an '84 and is definitely white. I have pictures to document.

I hate to be a party pooper but this thread is already taking up to 15 seconds to load. And I'll bet this will go beyond 300 - 400 posts. Is it possible or reasonable to split this up?


JFM posted 02-08-2002 12:39 PM ET (US)     Profile for JFM  Send Email to JFM     
Could there even be a new foam in the new 13' Sport. The listed weight of a 1998 Anniversary 13 and a 13' GLS are both 360 lbs.. My 2000 catalog lists the 13' GLS @ 550 lbs. and 13' Sport @ 580lbs.. While in both catalogs the weight of the Montauk is the same @ 950 lbs. Also, the 1998 weight of an 11 is 210 lbs. and the 2000 model is 300 lbs.. I think it's time for Chuck to "weigh in" with some answers. Regards, Jay
NEVER SCARED posted 02-08-2002 12:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for NEVER SCARED    
Howdy folks!

My 1987 catalog states "the foam is closed cell, so water entry is of no concern". Im wondering what color/type is the foam in the "searay" whalers? If we can confirm that it hasnt changed for the last 20+ years, then they must be confident that it does not absorb water! Im also wondering if the polyurethane foam HAD to be injected due to different physical properties than the white foam?

Never scared

LarrySherman posted 02-08-2002 01:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for LarrySherman  Send Email to LarrySherman     
This is the place to go for our Foam answers:

It would seem to me that BW must have had to re-tool each line in order to introduce the new foam into the mfg process, perhaps as a result of greater expansive forces incurred using the newer foam ovet the old.

To keep expenses in-line, they logically would have done this over time...

I will be glad to send you some foam from my Outrage 25. It's supposedly the the first one built, in 1981.

lhg posted 02-08-2002 03:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
I'm still agreeing with Larry Sherman on how the new foam might have come into use. And I am also convinced that there was a change made, the catalogs even agree to this, by changing terminology from "white rigid PLASTIC foam" to "Urethane foam". As Tom has shown, the old white foam definitely was not closed cell urethane. The stuff Clark Roberts had in a jar was. Wonder what year that was from?

Since I am the one who took the picture of the Lauderdale Marina cut Whaler, I can tell you that foam does not hold water, and up close does not even look like the foam of Tom's sample. It probably has darkened a little from exposure to the sun, losing it's more yellow color. There are several places where foam is exposed in my Outrages, at the gas tank vent and at the factory rear sump bilge pump through-hull. This foam looks the same as the foam in the Lauderdale Marina boat, although lighter in color, since it has not been exposed to the sun.

Another item of interest. Remember the guy in Hawaii with the Navy surplus Guardian, with the bow blown off. Remember all the exposed foam, non waterlogged, and brownish in color? That is the also the urethane foam, and since it was a 22 Guardian, was a post-1979 boat.

Tom W Clark posted 02-08-2002 04:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     
OK Larry and Larry, you guys might have a point. I shouldn't discount that theory all together. If the process of using the new foam was different than the old foam then the molds might have to be different and that could affect which models get what.

I know from the use of polyurethane expanding foam (and other expanding foams) in my trade that this stuff can exert a tremendous amount of pressure. If the old foam did not, then perhaps you are correct and a new system of keeping the two skins clamped together had to be devised.

I am reminded of the comment in the buried Whalers thread about the old hulls having tubes in them to act as tell tales of when the hull was full. Maybe this is part of the old technique. Remember the foam was poured, not injected, into the hulls then.

By the way, I may have found a remnant of these tubes in the core I cut from CSW. There appears to have been some sort of a fabric "hose" running down the middle of the hull affixed to the underside of the inner hulls skin. It is partially collapsed and full of foam. Anybody seen one of these?

LarrySherman posted 02-08-2002 04:35 PM ET (US)     Profile for LarrySherman  Send Email to LarrySherman     
I'll bet those tube allowed for the escape of the gas the foam creates while expanding. they proably blew apart a few hulls while coming up with the process!

I saw some neat stuff on tv about this with my friend Norm Abram, who was re-modeling a house using 4x8 particle board panels bonded together with, you guesed it, foam. They too used a hydraulic press.

Thanks for this Tom, this is the single most important thing we have attacked on this forum. In the future, you might be known as the "Third Founder of Whaler," for the work you are doing here.

triblet posted 02-08-2002 04:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
I have a '96ish Searay whaler. Foam is brown,
including what I hogged out of the transom to
install an epoxy hockey puck for the swim

However, the color of the foam may just be a
function of who BW was buying it from that


Tom W Clark posted 02-08-2002 11:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     
Chuck makes a very good point. Different brands of foam may well have slightly different colors. I would assume though, that a polyurethane foam has whatever color it has because of its chemistry. Because of this wouldn't it be logical to assume that other polyurethane foams would have the same general tone?

I know Whaler has changed vendors of the foam they use. Remember the early 18 footers that suffered the puckering problem? I was told by Terry McCartney of Jacobsen's Boats & Motors here in Seattle that the puckering was caused by foam that shrank sucking the slab sides in with it. The other parts of the hull held their form because of the compound shapes but the sides were flat and would not resist any contraction of the foam.

This raises an interesting question. If these 18 hulls were distorted by the foam then why weren't the similarly shaped 20', 22' & 25' hulls affected the same way? Was there something about the mold for the 18's that required a different foam to be used in their construction?

p.s., the foam core is still in the oven and its weight is now down to 1.375 oz!

LarrySherman posted 02-08-2002 11:52 PM ET (US)     Profile for LarrySherman  Send Email to LarrySherman     
Check the bottom of the oven for ash!
Tom W Clark posted 02-08-2002 11:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     
Nope. No ash. The dimensions of the core are exactly the same as when I started: 3 13/16 " diameter by 3" tall. The color remains the same apart from not looking wet. This is VERY light weight foam.
SuburbanBoy posted 02-09-2002 12:41 AM ET (US)     Profile for SuburbanBoy  Send Email to SuburbanBoy     
I remember reading something about 3-dimensional dies and Whaler. There was a die produced for both halves of the hull. This would prevent the hulls from splitting when the urethane expanded as it set. If they had to make a die for top and bottom, it would be a large investment. It would probably require a very large 5-axis milling machine. This type of machining is very expensive. A very big capital investment. Probably one that they roll in over time. Perhaps model by model. One thing is for sure, they are snickering over at BW. I am quite sure that many people employed there today could shed bright light on this topic. With the great attention to detail and their honest effort to improve boating safety, I have to believe that they (him) originally were clueless. Once the waterlogging was discovered, I suspect they worked hard to eliminate this problem.


Tom W Clark posted 02-09-2002 10:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     
The foam core is still losing water. It is now less than 1.25 oz. If this is where it bottoms out then the foam was 92% water when it was in the hull!

I took a sample from a 1990 (built in June of 1989) Whaler today. It is a 25 Outrage with Whaler Drive. I took foam samples from both the hull and the Whaler Drive. The foam is white, except where it was exposed where it is brownish from being soiled. It does not seem to hold water as the Whaler Drive had standing water in it and the sample I took from underneath the water held no water apart from surface moisture.

I do not think color alone is going to tell us much.

JM325iX posted 02-10-2002 02:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for JM325iX  Send Email to JM325iX     
I too have a '69 Whaler, with an excessive weight problem...I've weighed the bare hull, at 665 pounds, and yes it has had a hull repair or two. I guess I'll sell it or give it away and find a newer one rather than restoring this one.
JM325iX posted 02-10-2002 02:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for JM325iX  Send Email to JM325iX     
BTW my '69 Whaler is a 13' also.
Tom W Clark posted 02-11-2002 12:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     
Weight of the foam core has bottomed out at 1.1 oz. Its physical dimensions do seem to have shrunk a tad bit. I measure it now at 3 3/4" x 2 7/8". Does this suggest that a waterlogged Whaler must necessarily swell a bit?

JM325iX, if you're going to dump your project boat, let me know. Perhaps this could be the hull we use for our long term tests.

Here are the best five threads talking about wet foam that I have found: Note: Clark Roberts "foam in water" test here. What year hull did the foam come from Clark?

A lot of contradictory information and misinformation here. Pay attention to the ideas of a vacuum pump. Bigz seems to have had good success with it. Perhaps I should be thinking of trying this on CSW.

jmp posted 02-12-2002 07:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for jmp  Send Email to jmp     
One experiment you might want to try that would help those of us considering the vacuum pump de-watering process.

Drill a small hole away from any other hull opening. Connect a vacuum pump record the indicated amount of vacuum. Allow to run until water stops exiting the boat. Core the section under test and see how much moisture was removed.

2nd test
Same as above except drill another hole 12 inches away from the hole you are applying vacuum. Take a couple of core samples between holes and check moisture content.

This would sure help those of us who have relied on the vacuum process certify that it works.

bdb posted 02-13-2002 07:51 AM ET (US)     Profile for bdb  Send Email to bdb     
Ummh Tom,

Did the owner of that 25 know you cored-out the foam samples?

Harpoon Harry, waitin' 'till dark

OutrageMan posted 02-13-2002 11:52 AM ET (US)     Profile for OutrageMan  Send Email to OutrageMan     
Here are some pictures I posted a while back of a Montauk that had an unfortunate game of tag with another boat traveling at a high rate of speed.

They show a lot of exposed foam. It is yellowish in color. These pictures were taken within a few days of the impact, so I do not believe that the enviroment had much to do with the coloration.


Tom W Clark posted 02-13-2002 12:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     

I'm sure the owner didn't mind me hole sawing a core out of his boat. It looked to be pretty neglected and shabby with big ol' red letters on the side saying "Whale Lip" or "Whale Lure" or something like that....

Actually I took two tiny chunks of foam from exposed areas of a pretty rough boat. See Market Place forum for a description of this boat.

Outrage Man,

That foam in that boat is clearly not white, yet lighter than other foams I have seen. I suspect there are lots of different foams out there in Whalers. What year was the boat in the photos?

newboater posted 02-13-2002 12:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for newboater  Send Email to newboater     
I offer up a vacuume pump to the experiment if you want it, and will return it when you are done.

It isn't a refrigeration quality one, but it will draw down to around 25-28 inches of mecury. It was originally made for medical use. It is typical of something someone would buy to do such a project.

Let me know if you are interested in it.

Dave S.

OutrageMan posted 02-13-2002 02:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for OutrageMan  Send Email to OutrageMan     
The 17 was - I believe - a 1985. An interesting note is that boat was delivered new at the same time and same dealership that my father took delivery of his 1st Montauk.


lhg posted 02-13-2002 08:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Gee, Tom - "Whale Lure"? Don't scare me like that. I'm sure glad the boat is hidden about 3500 miles away from you and your mad hole cutting saw!
pcogs posted 02-14-2002 05:32 PM ET (US)     Profile for pcogs  Send Email to pcogs     
Somebody should call 3M, you know- "We don't make the products you buy, we make the pruducts you buy better."
I bet they could shed some light on the subject and maybe even offer up some advice to BW.
Or maybe send it off to MIT to as a project for some enterprising engineer soon to be, that has the full resources of MIT at his disposal.
hauptjm posted 02-15-2002 11:00 AM ET (US)     Profile for hauptjm    
Since it seems some sort of vacuum would be necessary to evacuate the water from a soaked hull(I agree), then let's try this: Vacuum Bagging. It's a standard in the building process of hulls nowadays, so the equipment is available. The question is, would this process displace the water? I would hate to think that there would be an abandonement of pre-79 whalers for these fears.

SuburbanBoy posted 02-19-2002 04:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for SuburbanBoy  Send Email to SuburbanBoy     
Is the material analysis of the foam available? Is the sample still loosing weight? Tom, are you still working the old hull? Or has it passed on to the hull resting area at the local dump?


Tom W Clark posted 02-19-2002 05:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     
The foam analysis may be done by the end of this week. I will post results as soon as I have them. I submitted two samples from CSW and three other samples from two other Whalers, one a 1988 Sport 13 and the other a 1990 Outrage 25 WD.

The foam core sample I have did indeed bottom out at 1.1 oz after starting out at 14.5 oz, indicating the foam was 92% water by weight!

CSW will remain in my driveway until I get the vacuum pump from Dave S. and try some water evacuation experiments with it. After that I am going to cut it up and hopefully get a good photographic record of the event. Long term tests will have to await another, less soggy hull.

hauptjm posted 02-21-2002 10:25 AM ET (US)     Profile for hauptjm    

I've attached an article that may assist you with regard to the vacuum process. Although, it's geared to the building systems employed to create high efficiencies in layup and composite ratios, it does have good information you may be able to apply. Keep us posted.

Tom W Clark posted 02-21-2002 11:39 AM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     

That's a great article, thank you, but I don't think it's going to help us here for two reasons.

1) I have no way of effectively creating a bag around this hull as it sits on the trailer.

2) Vacuum bagging works of the principle of compression, that is it assumes your shape can be squeezed to remove voids in the laminates. What we have with CSW is slightly different. The shape of the hull is the shape of the hull. It is not going to shrink by a factor of 9. Crushing the foam to squeeze the water out of it is not what we're trying to do anyway. We are trying to get the water out while leaving the foam's cellular structure intact. Based on my sample, much of this hull's foam is something like 92% water at this point. No way vacuum bagging is going to squeeze that hull to 1/9th it's current size.

hauptjm posted 02-21-2002 03:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for hauptjm    

You're correct that it wouldn't work in the conventional sense. What I guess I was thinking, was if through some type of vacuum set-up we could create a "straw in the cup" principle.

I am by no means qualified to address the science behind something like this, but hope that something could be created. If it were created, I think there are some older Whalers that could benefit from the technology.

My methodology for inventing things/ways to solve problems always starts at the "large level", then I have to filter them down from there. Usually I throw things at the folks who are smarter than I in this regard (yourself included), and hope something sticks.

We've got a fair amount of brain power avilable in this forum, that I'm convinced it can be accomplished. Good luck with the project. I hope you don't mind if I chime in with "ideas" from time to time.

lhg posted 02-21-2002 08:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Tom - I would tend to agree that this waterlogged hull can't be saved as a boat. I doubt if it can be sucked dry.

But when you cut it up, there still might be some thing to do with the pieces. If you slice it into, say, 4" wide cross sections, then several experiments could be possible.

1. does a wet foam hull loose it's structural strength, or glass to foam bond.

2. the cross section slices could be left to dry out, which I think they will. It would be interesting to see if they shrink, etc, and suck in the glass hull sides. Condition of the bond while wet, and then dry, would be of interest.

3. a dry "slice" could be used as a test for rebonding separated glass to the foam core. The West method of drilling a grid of holes and injecting epoxy could be tested, as well as Whaler's own method of repair.

GAwhale posted 02-21-2002 09:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for GAwhale  Send Email to GAwhale     
Tom - It is not neccessary to bag the entire boat, rather use the surface baggging technique as the article suggests.

At my company the Composite Shop has an autoclathe (sp?). About two years ago they came out with a Composite Team to do more on-aircraft repairs.

They put dumb-dumb around the repair and then lay a sheet of plastic over. A tiny hole is cut somewhere in the middle and a vacuum pump connected. It is powered by shop air.

The last time I saw them in action they had a control box and heater blanket which went over the repair. The heat could be monitered and adjusted at different locations.

Primary flight controls must usually come off and be reweighed and rebalanced. Everything in aviation is a PITA.

Tom W Clark posted 02-21-2002 09:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     

I appreciate your input. I think you and I are thinking the same thing. If you look back through this thread you will see some links I posted to prior discussions on wet foam and removal of water by suction. A few guys here have done this. I plan to do the same when I receive that pump from Dave S.


I was never under any illusion about the viability of this hull. I should really post some photos of it so you guys can see what I'm talking about.

The reason I'm going to try and suck water out of it is to determine the efficacy of this technique, both in terms of how long does it take, how much water comes out, and what percentage remains.

I can answer some of your questions right now based on the core sample I took. Contrary to what I previously posted, I do not think the foam shrank much, if at all. I remeasured it again and I am thinking there may be some measurement error on my part. But even if it did loose 1/16" of its diameter it's still a very small difference.

I can also attest to the fact that there is NO loss of foam-to-glass bond. The foam is solid, if saturated. Even when it's 92% water by weight, it is still solid.

Tom W Clark posted 02-27-2002 09:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     
Here's an update:

Dave Smith (newboater) was kind enough to loan me the use of his small medical grade vacuum pump. I now have it set up with a very rudimentary series of connections, and it has been running now for about an hour.

Let me describe how I set this rig up:

I should preface this by saying that to the greatest extent possible I tried to use stuff from around the house. The few things I bought were inexpensive and available to almost anyone reading this.

The pump is small and portable. There is an inlet and an outlet, both of which use 1/4" NPT fittings. I needed a container that would be air tight against a vacuum. I used a one gallon clear plastic container with a clamp lid that I got for Christmas. It came from Costco and was full of pistachio nuts. I suspect a few of you received this very item yourselves.

I took some brass fuel (hose) barbs that I had and tapped them into the lid. I also bought a $7 vacuum gauge so I could monitor the strength of the vacuum. This I tapped into the lid as well. I bought a 25' x 1/2" garden hose for $3.98 and cut the female end off. This cut end I slip onto one of the barbs in the lid. I had previously soldered a short length of brass tubing into this barb to direct the water coming into the container to the bottom and keep it away from the outlet and thus the pump.

I threaded a barb into the inlet side of the pump and ran a 3/8" clear plastic hose from there to the outlet barb on the container.

The male end of the garden hose I simply screwed onto one of the suction cups from my "ear muffs" engine flusher.

With the pump turned on I need only apply this suction cup to any smooth surface and it will stay quite nicely.

I drilled a 1 1/2” hole in the hull near the keel at the low point at the bow. I’ve stuck the suction cup on and It is sucking now.

I am not too thrilled with the results. There does appear to be a consistent drip but not the flow I had hoped for.

To see some photos I’ve taken look here: sucker.html

The photo of the hull looks odd because this hull has had a very course layer of glass cloth and resin applied. In order to get the suction cup to form a seal I felt it was necessary to sand it down to a smooth surface. Anybody else repeating this experiment would not have to do this.

For the most part, the water in the container is from my testing of the set up and not water from the hull. You can see that the pump is pulling 22.5 in. Hg

I had tried drilling a hole inside the splash well on the flat bottom there. The hull has been sitting in a stern low attitude for some time and I thought gravity might be of help here. I did not get much water from that location. In both locations where I drilled the holes, the foam was, once again, totally soggy but firm like a juicy apple and well attached to the glass skin.

I am now thinking the foam holds water quite tenaciously. Remember, I estimate this hull holds perhaps 80 gallons of water. At this rate it will take months to get it drained. I’ll report again tomorrow after the pump has been running for some time.

larimore posted 02-28-2002 08:01 AM ET (US)     Profile for larimore  Send Email to larimore     
What makes everyone so sure the post 1978 Whaler foam does not absorb water over time?
I can testify that, at the least, some minor absorbtion has occurred in my 1989. I just don't know how deep, and I don't intend to start cutting.
I think I'll core a small piece of the filler foam from around the gas tank, thru the access port. Its been exposed to a lot of water and the top portions do have water penetration.
Chesapeake posted 02-28-2002 11:22 AM ET (US)     Profile for Chesapeake  Send Email to Chesapeake     
Tom: Seeing your contraption reminded me of something. Hospital ERs, ICUs, Operating Rooms and Recovery rooms all use suction. The suction is a central system that is generally built into the walls. So what?

In general, all hospitals use disposable suction cannisters. They cost the hospital about $1 ea. They look like your contraption: a hard plastic vessel with a removable, but airtight lid that has two ports, one to connect your suction to the vacuum and the other to connect suction tubing to the patient... er, boat.

So this might be an easy fix if your spouse or neighbor works in a hospital. I will see if I can get my hands on some.

Having said all of this, the amount of water you appear to be getting from the hull is kind of disappointing. I wonder how this compares to the volume extracted by other folks who discussed vacuum removal in previous threads? Any idea?


triblet posted 02-28-2002 12:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
Tom: Are you sure the vacuum pump hasn't just
sucked the hose flat? This would keep it from
sucking any water.

Vacuum hose has a wire stiffener, IIRC.

You can get plumbing fittings with host threads
(choice of gender) on one side, and 1/2 or 3/4
NPT on the other side. That would avoid
destroying a garden hose. Price would be about
the same as your barb.


Tom W Clark posted 02-28-2002 12:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     

The reason why we suspect post 1978 foam won't absorb water is because this is when Whaler explicitly states that polyurethane is the type of foam used in their hulls. By the mid 1980's Whaler states emphatically that the foam will not absorb water. They never did this in the 1960's and 1970's,

As far as your boat is concerned I suspect you are seeing water in the fuel tank cavity, not the hull. The foam you see under the access hatch is merely the foam they pack the fuel tank in, NOT the foam inside the hull.

I think we will all agree that any Whaler can get water in the hull. I know the wood backing can absorb it and any separation or void will have the potential to get water in it if there is a path for the water to follow.


That's a good idea about the disposable suction canisters. See what you can come up with.

I've read the threads listed earlier. JimU seems to be the first guy to have come up with this idea. bigz used it to extract water from one of his 27's. In bigz's case he states that he removed perhaps three quarts of water. In JimU's case he was working on an area of delamination, not trying to dry an entire hull.

In both their cases they were sucking water that was in the hull around the foam, not just water from the foam itself and certainly not 80 gallons worth.

Tom W Clark posted 02-28-2002 12:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     

No the hose is not sucked flat. The combination of the small diameter and the stiff plastics of this cheap hose allow it to stay open quite nicely.

Yes, I looked at all the choices of brass fittings. Given what I had on hand this was the least expensive way to go. However, if we were to develop a system to be used by others then I agree using hose fittings on both ends would be nice.

Actually, if this method of water extraction works, then a little one gallon container will be woefully insufficient if the plan is to leave it running for days on end.

Other alternatives for the tank include a fuel tank (permanent installation type preferred) These come with two or three 3/8" NPT holes in them already and would have a lot more volume. Yesterday I got an old 12 gallon Tempo model BW-12 (made for the Montauk) tank to experiment with, but alas, it was rusted through on the bottom. But it would have made a great receptacle. The other readily available and convenient (apart from size) container that I can think of is an old water heater tank.

So long as the water heater has not rusted through, it would work well because it has a large capacity, already has a hose bib near the bottom to serve as the inlet, and has two NPT threads on top which can be bushed/capped into whatever size fitting you want.

newboater posted 02-28-2002 01:16 PM ET (US)     Profile for newboater  Send Email to newboater     

I'm glad you've got the pump working. I wouldn't have bothered with the vacuum canister, but it is a nice visual aid.

I have a couple of comments. First it wouldn't surprise me if it took weeks with the pump running to get much moisture out. Second comment is I would use hose clamps on the nipples and pipe dope on all the pipe threads to try to increase the vacuum levels.

Lastly I might have tried threading a nipple into the boat to try to get a real good seal on the boat. You could add some axle grease on your suction cup it might help as well.

I'm afraid what happens is some air path gets made from the vacuum inlet on the bottom of the hull to some hole somewhere else and the only flow of air is confined to this small path.

Time will tell, and thanks for doing this.

Dave S.

russellbailey posted 02-28-2002 01:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for russellbailey  Send Email to russellbailey     
Cool pictures. I suspect the comment by newboater about the air path could be right. One other idea.

You're pulling a lot of vacuum - -22.5" Hg. Have you considered you may be pulling a lot of water through in the gas phase due to the low pressure? If so, it would not be caught in the container unless you kept it cold enough to condense.

Tom W Clark posted 02-28-2002 01:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     

The vacuum canister is necessary because I want to be able to measure how much water comes out and also to monitor the strength of the vacuum. I had also presumed that pumping water through the pump itself would be bad for it, but I take from your comment that this is not a concern?

I was going to put hose clamps on everything but I was shifting and plugging/unplugging things yesterday so it was much easier to do with out. I will add them to satisfy your curiosity. However, I do not think they will add much.

When I first got the pump I plugged the inlet with the vacuum gauge and turned it on. 25 inches of mercury is the best it would do so I think it's doing pretty well at 22.5” Hg.

The "earmuff" suction cup is lubricated with water only and it's not going anywhere. Grease might be good insurance though. I do not think a nipple threaded into the hull would do any better, in fact, I suspect it would do worse. The Whaler skin is quite thin and I 'd have to install a garboard drain fitting with screws and sealant and thread a nipple/fitting into that. I'm trying to create a system that could be easily replicated at most households with minimal expense and be moved around easily.

As to how long it's going to take, I'd suspect at least a few weeks if not several months. Do you think the pump will take a 24/7 routine? I need to find some way to muffle it as it is a bit noisy.

The fact that it is maintaining a 22.5" Hg vacuum on the hull suggests there is not a simple path to some other hole in the hull but rather is pulling through the foam. This hull has many, many hole in it. Most of the floor inside is delaminated with numerous large holes. The gunwale is bashed in and has so many screw/rivet holes from all the rub rails that it's perforated like a colander.

Clearly there is ample opportunity for atmospheric pressure to be applied to the foam at points away from the suction cut. The 4" hole from the core sample is only a couple of feet away and is visible in the second photo in the lower left hand corner. But there remains no direct passage for air to leak by the foam and "short circuit" the suction.

Having said that, I do think the suction is going to have to be applied to several other holes in order to get a good distribution of “sucking fields”.

newboater posted 02-28-2002 05:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for newboater  Send Email to newboater     

I wouldn’t worry about running the pump 24/7. If it dies, it dies.

As for the collecting tank, I would not have suspected you were going to be pulling large amounts of water through the pump, small amounts/drops/drips would probably pass through with out slugging it.

To make it quieter I've done some things like stuff a paper towel (loosely) into the outlet port. Better yet would be to "pipe" the outlet outside the area. Most of the noise is acoustic in nature and due to the rapid pressure difference at the outlet valves. Hooking up 6-10' of garden hose to the outlet and coiling it in a few turns may be all that is necessary.

Your points are all well taken about the attachment methods, the holes and the present amount of vacuum.

I don't think we are pulling out water in the vapor state. You are operating at 22.5 InHg, or about 6 PSIA. Lets assume the water is at 70F, the boiling point for water at 70F is .36 PSIA, or 29.2InHg. We're not going to be boiling water at 22.5InHg until we get the water up to around 170F.

We're not going to get the pressure much lower with this pump even if you went around and plugged all the holes in the boat. The best we can hope for is to "suck" some of the water out of the cells.

Thanks for all the work,

Dave S.

DIVE 1 posted 02-28-2002 06:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for DIVE 1    
I do not think that you are going to get a lot of water with the vacuum pump. The suction is going to take the path of least resistance. You may get water from the suction path, but 2" away you will still have saturated foam. You also have a lot of holes in the boat so you cannot account for the location that is drawing air in. Maybe a smoke test would determine the suction hole.

You may want to try a test with some calcium chloride. Find a hole on the bottom of the hull. Put some calcium chloride in a plastic bag and tape it around the hole making an airtight seal. Poke a small hole in the bottom of the bag and attach a small piece of tubing to the bag for a drain hose. Run the drain hose down into a sealed container. Just for fun, use another calcium chloride setup, but tape the bag to a solid part of the hull.

I think you can have a lot of fun with your experiments(we did), but you already know how to dry out the hull(hope you have a big toaster oven). Park boat and trailer on blacktop. Make a black plastic bag to enclose the entire rig including the bottom. Cut some holes in strategic places of the plastic for condensation to escape and wait several years.

Tom W Clark posted 03-01-2002 03:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     
A few notes:

I put hose clamps on all the barbed fittings and grease on the suction cup. The threads had already been Teflon taped when I installed them initially. The clamps made no difference whatsoever. Because of the vacuum, I suspect they're rather self-sealing.

The pump has been running for a straight 24 hours now. It has pulled half a gallon of water out. The inlet tube in the vacuum canister is below the surface of the water now so I can see the amount of air being sucked from the hull. It bubbles quite nicely. This is air from the hull not from leakage in the system so it may be that the suction has established a path to somewhere else on the hull and is not going to get any more water. I will let it run another 24 hours and we will see if this is the case. It will give us an idea of just how far the suction can "reach".

I should note that the pump is pulling 20" Hg now, down from 22.5" Hg. I suspect this is from water being drained out of the foam along whatever path the suction is getting air from. But the fact that it is still pulling 20" Hg tells me it is not getting this air easily. I wonder if there is 20" Hg at the vacuum pump doesn't this mean there is that much vacuum all along the path to air in the foam? Wouldn't that suggest there is still a force at work inside the foam which would tend to draw water? We'll see.

DIVE 1, Where would one get calcium chloride (what is it's common name or form)? What is it supposed to do? Will I be left with an E.P.A. Super Fund site when I'm done?

Chesapeake posted 03-01-2002 05:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chesapeake  Send Email to Chesapeake     
Tom: Not to worry about the SuperFund. Next year, members can chip into the Chain Saw Whaler legal defense fund instead of a gift for jimh.

Tom, this is really fascinating. Getting a half gallon out in a day doesn't seem too bad. I am tempted to say "only 160 days till...". Am confused about one thing and maybe BigZ or JimU can add something here, what would happen if the hull was actually pretty tight and you didn't have many holes, like I hope most non-CSW boats don't? How much less pressure might it take to suck out water? Alternatively, could you get enough pressure over time to actually compress the hull? I am not talking an implosion, but that is kind of the idea... or is the glass just too darn strong.

Finally, if you didn't have other holes to compromise the vacuum, what would happen to the pressure at the regulator? Would it get greater over time or simply reach its maximum and then not exert any additional vacuum pressure. You can see I am not a physicist...

Stopping at the hospital on Sunday to see if I can get some cannisters.

Thanks, Tom. This is really interesting.

Dr T posted 03-02-2002 01:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for Dr T  Send Email to Dr T     
Calcium cloride is commonly found in limestone.

It is what makes hard water hard.

NWflyfisher posted 03-02-2002 08:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for NWflyfisher    
Calcium Chloride in its dry state extracts water from the atmosphere. Its also used on roads in northern climates as it melts ice at something like minus 25-degrees F.
Tom W Clark posted 03-02-2002 11:16 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     
OK, I now know what calcium chloride does, now where does one get it? What form does it come in? What do you do with it when you're done with it?


I'm not sure how tight a non perforated Whaler really is. Your instincts are correct though, if you are sucking on a sealed vessel (no pun intended) and it is itself rigid and noncollapsible, then the vacuum isn't going to remove much water since water is essentially incompressible. I imagine you need atmospheric pressure to enter the hull and "push" the water out. Any of you physicists care to comment?

Today after another 24 hours of continuous pumping (sucking?) another quart has been removed from the hull bringing the total water removed to 3 quarts. The vacuum remains strong at 20” Hg.

DIVE 1 posted 03-02-2002 11:46 PM ET (US)     Profile for DIVE 1    
I usually get calcium chloride from the local marinas. It looks like crushed rock salt. When you are finished with it you throw it away. A lot of the marinas use it to help dry balsa cored boats prior to patching repairs. We tried an experiment with oil and calcium chloride. Taking a piece of a fiberglass hull that was shaped like a bowl(chine and transom corner), we ground the inside with a 24-grit disc making it very rough. After cleaning we rubbed 2-cycle oil in the bottom of the bowl. We then added acetone to cover the oil and quickly covered the top of the bowl with saran wrap and taped the edges airtight. On the bottom of the bowl we made the calcium chloride tent and let it set for several days. The oil was drawn through the fiberglass and gelcoat by the calcium chloride. This experiment was tried to determine if we could remove oil that was impregnated into fiberglass so that a decent repair could be accomplished. How do you effectively repair the bottom of a conventional fiberglass hull(non-cored hull) that has had engine oil absorbed into the fiberglass? If the oil is not removed the patch will not adhere very well to the original fiberglass.
Tom W Clark posted 03-03-2002 12:01 AM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     
For those who are curious, here’s the Material Safety Data Sheet for calcium chloride:


Just how much calcium chloride would one need to absorb 80 gallons of water?!

DIVE 1 posted 03-04-2002 10:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for DIVE 1    
I am not sure how much calcium chloride is needed for 80 gallons of water. I do know that when we feel we have a lot of water in the core we change our method slightly. We fill small cheesecloth bags with calcium chloride and hang on the side of the hull. Then make the airtent around the cheesecloth bag allowing an air gap between the cloth and plastic covering. Use the tube in the bottom of the plastic bag with the container below. The moisture is drawn to the calcium chloride and then drips down to the plastic airtent. Every day kneed the bag of calcium chloride(careful not to rip the plastic). The calcium chloride will turn into a hard rock very quickly and does not work as well. Kneeding the bag breaks the rock back into crystals. When your airtent quits yielding water-the area is dry or the calcium chloride needs to be replaced.
2 cautions: Keep your calcium chloride in an airtight container and always wear a dust mask.
Dick posted 03-05-2002 11:16 AM ET (US)     Profile for Dick  Send Email to Dick     

Sounds to me that Dri-Z-Air crystals would work as well.


Tom W Clark posted 03-05-2002 02:04 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     
Dri-Z-Air pellets would work as well because calcium chloride is exactly what they are. In fact all the anti-humidity products you see at West Marine are all calcium chloride. Depending on which brand you buy you will pay anywhere from $1.83 per pound to $5.04 per pound at West Marine.

I now realize that I am familiar with calcium chloride. I use it as an accelerator for concrete. Though now being superseded by non-corrosive admixes, calcium chloride is readily available from any concrete supplier. I called my local batch plant, Salmon Bay Sand & Gravel here in Seattle and they sell a 50# sack of calcium chloride pellets for $19.00 or 38˘ per pound.

On another note, I removed the suction cup from CSW yesterday after having it suck for a total of 72 hours. I removed 3.5 quarts of water. At the end of this trial the vacuum had dropped off to about 17" Hg.

The water in the canister is fresh water without any odor or bad taste. It is slightly cloudy with only a tiny bit of sediment laying on the bottom. I see no evidence of any organic (or should I say biological) matter at all.

Reaching into the hole I can still feel moisture in the foam.

Notes on my apparatus: The garden hose did eventually partially collapse but not enough to restrict the low flow of air and water. It bubbled away to the end quite nicely. The clear plastic hose to from the canister to the pump also collapsed near the pump because it was softened by the heat generated by the pump. However, it did not seem to interfere with the air flow to any significant degree. The vacuum remained strong.

I have commenced another "suck" at the hole I previously drilled in the stern. We'll see how it compares to the first trial.

hauptjm posted 03-05-2002 04:32 PM ET (US)     Profile for hauptjm    
O.k., another simplistic idea!

I was intrigued at the notion of a boat not in the condition of CSW, but rather a "whole" boat. Understanding that the vacuum won't work without a "hole" to draw air, it makes sense that a vacuum may not have hardly any effect.

Picture this system: a hole is drilled at the southern most point on the boat. This is where the vacuum is attached. At a point furthest from this, another hole is let into the boat. Now, to it we provide a force of air. Essentially, providing a ram of force on one end, pushing the contained water towards the vacuum on the other end. Since the vacuum appears to "suck" the water through the material, it only makes sense that it could be "pushed" through the material as well.

Just an idea!

clanton posted 03-05-2002 04:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for clanton    
I dropped a cell phone in an outboard test tank of clear water, phone was full of water, I took the battery out, put the phone in plastic bag, taped bag to vacumn cleaner hose, set bag in front of hot exhaust air from vacumn cleaner for heat and let her rip.Phone still working.
Dr T posted 03-06-2002 05:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for Dr T  Send Email to Dr T     

"Bad taste"????

You are taking this way too seriously.

After a few moments reflection (and remembering some other little jobs), I think that there will be a limit to how much water that you can get "per session".

The reason is that the vac will such the water out of a specific area to the point that all water is removed and air is coming through the dry area. Since the air is much less viscous than water, it will tend to flow through the evaculated area and keep the water from migrating back in. If you turn the vac off, water will then migrate back into the dry area where you can have another go at removing it with the vac.

Think of it as a "popsicle" effect. As the popsicle warms, you will have a matrix of ice surrounding the sweet liquid. If you suck the sweet stuff out, then you have the matrix of ice left, until some of the sweet stuff wicks in from the rest of the popsicle. I have tried this experimentally, and watched my daughters do the same. Given the texture of the foam that you have described, I suspect that it acts like the ice matrix in the popsicle.

Tom W Clark posted 03-10-2002 11:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     
Well, I have received the analysis of the foam samples from DCPeters who handled the arrangements. Thank you, David, for this report. The analysis was done by J. Shearer Consulting of Ballston Lake, NY.

We did not get the results we were expecting. No “smoking gun” has been found. But that’s science; you never know unless you ask.

I will quote here the text portion of the report. It refers to graphics and photographs (photomicrographs) not included here for obvious reasons.

Foam samples 1 and 2 from CSW were taken from the 4” core I cut out of the hull. One of the samples was removed from near the bottom of the hull while the other was taken from the very center of the hull (though no more than 2”-3” away) and, presumably, more insulated from impact and perhaps temperature the hull was subjected to. I am not exactly sure which is which, but it may help explain the differences between them.

Note: I have edited this text to clarify, for the FORUM reader who has been following this thread, which foam sample is being discussed and from which boat it came from. Other than this, the report is reproduced verbatim (excluding any typos on my part.)

This report describes the FTIR analysis of five foam samples removed from Boston Whaler boat hulls.

Spectra were acquired with an Analect Instruments D-20 Fourier transform infrared spectrophotometer equipped with an Analect Instruments infrared microscope and narrow-band MCT detector. All spectra are 4 wavenumber resolution, and will be retained on disk for a period of 6 months for comparison with any further work you may request on these or similar samples.

Spectra and photomicrographs are referred to by figure numbers, and are located after the text portion of this report.

Results and Discussion

Three portions of each sample were removed with a scalpel, transferred to a diamond anvil cell, and trimmed for examination. Spectra are presented as follows:

• Figure 1: Sample 1: from 13’ Whaler manufactured 1988 (Drisney’s)

• Figure 2: Sample 2: from Whaler Drive 1990, 25’ Outrage

• Figure 3: Sample 3: from hull of 1990, 25’ Outrage

• Figure 4: Sample 4: from hull of 1970 13’ Sport (Chain Saw Whaler) 1

• Figure 5: Sample 5: from hull of 1970 13’ Sport (Chain Saw Whaler) 2

The samples are all of the same type, although small variations from spectrum to spectrum may indicate slight differences in the amount of salt, carbonate, or blowing agent. These foams are very similar to the reference spectrum of polyurethane-TDI,3, which is a polycondensation of toluylendiisocyante and 1,3-propanediol. A reference spectrum of this polyurethane is shown in Figure 6 for comparison.

Sections were also cut from each and placed on glass slides for examination under a stereo-zoom microscope. Photomicrographs of the samples are shown as follows:

• Figure 7: from 13’ Whaler manufactured 1988 (Drisney’s)

• Figure 8: from Whaler Drive 1990, 25’ Outrage

• Figure 9: from hull of 1990, 25’ Outrage

• Figure 10: from hull of 1970 13’ Sport (Chain Saw Whaler) 1

• Figure 11: from hull of 1970 13’ Sport (Chain Saw Whaler) 2

• Figure 11a: from hull of 1970 13’ Sport (Chain Saw Whaler) 2; incident illumination.

The foam from the 1988 13’ Whaler appears to have cells averaging 100 to 300µm. It was less rigid than the other samples and harder to cut (although this may be due to the sample being crushed in shipment.)

The foam samples from the 25’ Outrage were fairly rigid and cut easily with the scalpel. They gave the impression of having slightly larger cells than the other foams. Looking at the photomicropraphs, the Whaler Drive sample appeared to average from 100 to 300µm (similar to the 1988 sample,) while the hull sample seemed to range from 200 to 500µm.

The foams from the 1970 13’ Sport were fairly rigid and cut easily with the scalpel. They gave the impression of having smaller cells, similar to those in the foam from the 1988 13’ Whaler. Looking at the photomicrographs, the first sample appears to vary from 50 to 200 µm, while the second sample measures more like 100 to 300µm (same as the 1988 sample.)

My impression after examining these foams is that I would expect that all of them would eventually soak up water, unless they were protected by an external sealant. After reading about the method used in constructing the Whaler hulls, I suspect that the foam is intended as a structural element as much as a flotation device.

While this is closed cell foam (see Figure 11a) some of the cell membranes either break on formation (particularly larger cells,) or will fracture with time under stress. One of the major stress factors would be slight water penetration followed by freeze/thaw cycles encountered in winter. Note that the progression of such damage is not likely to be a simple, linear process; it would probably proceed exponentially, as damage spreads from one cell to three or more adjacent cells with each cycle. This hypothesis could be tested by comparing water logging in hulls which never encounter freezing weather (as in semi-tropical climate) with hulls used and stored in northern climates.

All this comes as a surprise. The essence of the report is that all the foam samples are pretty much the same. They are all closed cell polyurethane foam!

DCPeters told me in his email:”There must be more to this. I will call a foam/polymer expert I know at GE.” I think we all would like to know what’s going on here.

The impression I come away from this report with is that the condition of the foam has much more to do with its use (or abuse) patterns than its date of manufacture. It reinforces the notion that it is best to not let a hull get water into it in the first place.

At any rate I do not think we have gotten to the bottom of all this quite yet.

Dr T posted 03-11-2002 04:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for Dr T  Send Email to Dr T     
Thanks for the update. It is interesting that the two areas mentioned for breakdown are the freeze-thaw cycle and a possible history of abuse. Certainly CSW qualifies on both counts.

It would probably be possible to construct an experiment to replicate the freeze-thaw piece.

You would need a piece of foam, water, and a plastic bottle. It is necessary to create some conditions for Bernoulli's law to act in context. Put foam in bottle and fill to top with water. Cap top tightly. Then freeze. The plastic bottle will tend to expand with the water as it freezes and so would be a proxy for the fiberglass hull. The as the water expands upon freezing, the pressure from the water will tend to crush the microcells and so provide a place for the water to be absorbed by the now-damaged foam. If the plastic bottle is not sealed (or capped tightly) the water will simply expand without exerting the same crushing effect on the foam.


P.S. By the way, the "popcicle effect" I described above is an interesting manifestation of the Second Law of Thermodynamics, that is, systems tend to disorder without the input of energy. The application of the suction provides the energy to produce an ordered state that will allow air to flow through the foam. When the suction is removed, water will then diffuse and so reach a more disordered state. In another thread, Jimh said he didn't want the forum to read like a paper on thermodynamics, so I stuck this comment way down here at the bottom of this post rather than in the earlier one.

larimore posted 03-15-2002 12:02 AM ET (US)     Profile for larimore  Send Email to larimore     
All this research is impressive - And now I'm all that more concerned about the life expectancy of my hull. Has anyone approached Whaler for their explanation? Its in Whaler's best interest to put an end to this foam/water paranoia.
larimore posted 03-15-2002 12:11 AM ET (US)     Profile for larimore  Send Email to larimore     
I sent Whaler the following and will keep all informed of any response:

Dear Sir,

I hope that you can restore my confidence in the Whaler product.

The following information on a Whaler forum has caused me to lose confidence in the Whaler product.
I can no longer recommend Whaler until I receive a convincing explanation for the water absorption described in the attached postings.

Thank You

Dr T posted 03-15-2002 10:37 AM ET (US)     Profile for Dr T  Send Email to Dr T     
The nice thing about ContinuousWave is that you have a broad range of experiences. If the sample is large enough, pathologies will begin to surface. I think the foam thing is one of these. While a number of forum members have observed it, I think that the overall percentage is rather small. Furthermore, we have no idea of the damage history of the hulls manifesting the foam-that-acts-like-a-sponge phenomenon. In science, you study the extreme so that you can better understand the normal.

CSW is one of the most extreme pathological examples around. The hull was abused--badly. If you take a close look at the history of the hull in the thread, it was subjected to conditions that would have made any other boat sink. The fact that Tom was able to put a motor on the boat, launch it, and take a turn around the bay speaks volumes.

If anything, I am reassured that if CSW was able to do that, then my little 13 will still have a safe and reliable hull for years to come.

For me, CSW has been an interesting diversion to examine some principles of several of the physical sciences in a new context. I find that when I do that, I get some insight that may help me in my real job. It also serves to remind me of one the nice things about being trained as a research mathematician: You know the language for all of the sciences, so you can examine similarities among them that specialists may not see.

I admit it: On some things I am only a dilettante. However, that allows me to appreciate the real experts more.

At the end of the day, I feel safer and more secure in my little 13 that any of the other boats I have owned, and most that I have been on. If I get another boat, it will probably be another whaler--about 3 or 4 feet longer.


Drisney posted 03-15-2002 01:32 PM ET (US)     Profile for Drisney  Send Email to Drisney     
DrT, science has proven time and again a continuing cycle of desire to increase ones' boat length....skip the three to four foot increase.... buy a 24-25 footer now! Dave
mermaid posted 03-15-2002 11:32 PM ET (US)     Profile for mermaid  Send Email to mermaid     
I can tell you this. the foam can definately hold water. We have a 73 19' outrage and the foam is totally saturated like a sponge and we're trying to figure out what to do with it now. I could remove the foam, extract the water and calculate how much water a certain volume of foam can hold if anyone is interested. This boat has a TON of water in it. Major pain in the rear!
NEVER SCARED posted 03-17-2002 05:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for NEVER SCARED    
Why do you feel there is water in the hull? Is there any structural damage?
mermaid posted 03-17-2002 06:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for mermaid  Send Email to mermaid     
Hi Never Scared. We drilled holes in the hull because it was dripping and dripping from the drain hole in back.
John W posted 03-22-2002 04:17 PM ET (US)     Profile for John W  Send Email to John W     
Tom and/or DCPeters:

Absolutely fascinating post. Tom in your post you said that DCPeters would speak to someone at GE regarding the water absorption in closed cell foam...has that conversation occurred?

I was skeptical that closed cell polyurethane foam would absorb water at all, despite lots of complaints I've heard of "wet foam" in the foam floatation in older Mako's, Aquasports & the like. Obviously you've proven that it can.

The big question is, will all urethane foam absorb water if exposed to it? If not, what conditions make the cells break down? Many of the stories I've heard of "wet foam" adding weight to older Mako's here in Florida involve boats that have never dealt with freeze cycles, and do not involve damaged boats like CSW. "Wet foam" seems to be more common on conventional boats like Mako's than on Boston Whalers, perhaps because the foam floatation in conventional boats is more likely to be exposed to bilge water, while an undamaged whaler's foam does not come into direct contact with water. There are lots of old boats down here whose scuppers are now under water due to weight gain, either from water in the fiberglass glass laminate or more likely in the added floatation foam. "Closed cell foam" is beginning to sound like a myth.

Tom W Clark posted 03-25-2002 01:53 AM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     
Dr T,

I think your "Popsicle effect" would hold true for a wet Whaler, but the question is: how long will it take to really accomplish any significant water removal?

John W,

I have not heard from DCPeters, so I don't have anything new to contribute on that front.

Dr T is makes a good point about CSW having a lifetime of abuse which resulted in holes and damage to the hull which has obviously allowed water to come into contact with the foam. The boat has spent all it's life (presumably) at Lake Tahoe where winter time freezing temperatures are routine.

Though I really do not know for sure, it is seems to me that 30 years of freeze/thaw combined with some wet and crushed foam to start with would result in a soggy Whaler if the foam itself is susceptible to having its cells break down. The test results and Mr. Shearer's comments suggest this, though this evidence is far from conclusive.

We do know that many other Whaler owners have reported wet foam in spite of the so-called non absorbing character of polyurethane foam.

I was surprised as Hell about the foam from CSW being no different than the foam from newer boats. I have calculated that CSW is at about 45% of its ultimate water holding capacity. By this I mean 100% of capacity would be where every last cell of foam held water. Did all the ruptured cells in CSW get that way by freezing? Would a Whaler in a non freezing climate not have this problem? Has anybody noticed if there is a predominance of reports of wet foam coming from the northern states instead of the southern states?

The other question in my mind is: even if you could totally dry out a soggy Whaler, would you really be able to protect it in the future? If a Whaler is waterlogged as the result of the cell walls breaking down, wouldn’t that mean the foam would be much more likely to reabsorb water at a much faster rate if water had the chance to come into contact with it? If it took 30 years for CSW to get to its current state and we were able to dry it out now, how long would it take to reabsorb water and how easily would it happen? Would a restored (and dried out) Whaler not be a candidate for mooring in the water? It makes one wonder.

Chris J posted 03-26-2002 11:15 AM ET (US)     Profile for Chris J  Send Email to Chris J     
Why not take a large core sample from CSW and dry it in an oven, then intentionally soak it and see what happens? That would tell you about the practicality of drying out an old hull.

My guess is that once the foam has broken down enough to absorb water one time it will absorb it very easily forever after.

weaverf posted 03-26-2002 11:50 AM ET (US)     Profile for weaverf  Send Email to weaverf     
I can tell you from my experience that the foam does absorb water. I have a very old 17 which I have had to rebuild. The wood under the floor was so wet and rotted from the water in the foam it was soft. The foam (from any part of the boat)would squish when pressure was applied. I tried drying but the foam afer many months still retained water. As I had very little in the boat and I am not so hung up on having an original whaler I decided to pull all of the foam and reglass the botton with more glass and put in stringers from front to back and a new floor. It is the only way I could get a usable boat, cheap, to fish out of. After going through the process I think the water, other than adding weight is not much of an issue. The boat has so much bouyancy that as long as the bottom is not seriously comprimised it will still be usable. Also as hard as it was to remove the wet foam I cannot see much of anything seriously damaging the hull. I was surprised at the lack of glass and the hull being totally sprayed chopped mat, but I guess with the sandwich design they can have the glass thinner. With my wood being soft I could not mount anything to the floor and one thing led to another and after months of work the floor down to the hull was out. Lots and lots of hours but when done my only cost is the fiberglass and resin used and compared to the new prices that is a deal. I would think the newer boats have design and material changes to take care of old problems.
Tom W Clark posted 03-28-2002 12:39 AM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     
Chris J,

If you've read this thread then you know I have done exactly that, and soak it up it will.


I think you are right about a wet Whaler still being strong and useful, but only up to a point. I ran CSW in the ocean down in Santa Cruz and it was an absolute log. No way it would have ever been useful in any real sense with the amount of water it has in it. It wasn't its strength but pure performance zapping weight!

It is interesting to hear you describe soft, wet foam. The wet foam in CSW is just like other's have described their wet foam, it is firm like a juicy apple but not soft in any way.

As an aside, I just received this photo from Terry Dunagin, Director of Marketing @ Boston Whaler. He said he received it from a customer in France. boatwithguy.jpg While this little 9' Whaler has seen better days I suspect the foam itself is not very wet. Perhaps because it lives in a Mediterranean climate?

weaverf posted 03-28-2002 09:25 AM ET (US)     Profile for weaverf  Send Email to weaverf     
You are right. The wood under the floor was soft. The foam was just as you said like a firm apple that squishes when compressed.
Dr T posted 03-28-2002 11:39 AM ET (US)     Profile for Dr T  Send Email to Dr T     

How long you ask?

Short answer

Don't know.

Long Technical answer

First, consider the physics. The diffusion of water back into is governed by a stochastic diffusion process that will include the heat equation as one of its principle components. This process will be driven by a (probably) no linear second order partial differential equation that will depend on a bunch of things:

The cellular structure of the foam.
The porosity of the foam.
The temperature.
The type of water (salt or fresh).
The relative humidity.
The air pressure.
The shape of the containment vessel.

This equation would get real complicated real fast. As your experiment has shown, heat (the temperature) plays a very large role. It will tend to accellerate the rate at which the water remain in the hull will be diffused back into the void left when the vac. evacuated the water.

The structure of the PDE and the associated diffusion process would be the subject of a nice little paper in theoretical materials science. However, I suspect you could also find the problem addressed in the hydrology literature.

So, the long answer to your eloquent question is: I don't know.

Do we have a geophysicist on board?


larimore posted 04-02-2002 08:44 AM ET (US)     Profile for larimore  Send Email to larimore     
Whaler never responded to my inquiries about the water/foam -
Convinces me that the foam absorbs water.
Keep those holes sealed.
Forget about sucking the water out.
And face the music, all things grow old and die...
DCPeters posted 04-02-2002 01:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for DCPeters  Send Email to DCPeters     
Sorry, I have been away for over a month, and only now catching up on work enough to deal with hobby topics.

I'll make come calls on the physical natures of these foams over the next few days.

I think the spectroscopy shows that the samples are the same chemistries (certainly to the ~1% levels). But physically they may have different densities or characteristics. I'd have to guess that the intrinsic viscosity and surface tension of the liquid along with the amount of fluid injected into a fixed volume would impact the "burst bubble factor" in the foam, even initially.

Anyways, hope to have more to tell later, and I'll try to figure how to put the whole report and graphics up on a web page for others to see the photomicrographs.

But for me, the next several weeks are tough. The snow is gone, and I still have no boat!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Gettin frantic...

Chris J posted 04-03-2002 11:13 AM ET (US)     Profile for Chris J  Send Email to Chris J     
Tom, I did read the thread but in bits and pieces as it developed and must have missed the part where you re-soaked the foam.

Are there any plans to synopsize your findings and put them somewhere for permanent storage? This topic is way to interesting and important to let it get buried under all the other posts.

jimh posted 04-03-2002 01:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The notion to summarize the contents of this thread as a REFERENCE article occured to me about 188 posts ago, and Tom and I have had some correspondence on this topic. At some point that will happen, I am sure. The exact time table has not been set.


tabasco posted 04-03-2002 04:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for tabasco  Send Email to tabasco     

Presently with 190 post nearing the 200 mark is this the most amount of posts on one topic ever?

If not, which topic that beat it?

DrZ posted 04-04-2002 10:33 AM ET (US)     Profile for DrZ  Send Email to DrZ     
I think all these post can be summarized in larimore's excellent post on 03-15-2001
I sent Whaler the following and will keep all informed of any response:
Dear Sir,

I hope that you can restore my confidence in the Whaler product.

The following information on a Whaler forum has caused me to lose confidence in the Whaler product.
I can no longer recommend Whaler until I receive a convincing explanation for the water absorption described in the attached postings.

Why has Whaler not responded? Maybe everyone in this forum should e mail Whaler for a response.

Chris J posted 04-04-2002 10:54 AM ET (US)     Profile for Chris J  Send Email to Chris J     
jimh, let me know if you would like some help editing. I am a tech writer by trade and will be happy to give you a hand.

Everyone who has had a hand in the research deserves a big thanks from the Whaler community and from others who own boats where foam is a structural component. I've referred many people on other forums who have had related concerns to this thread. This information just isn't available anywhere else, and there are lots of myths and misconceptions on this subject.

BTW, I'm not inclined to ride Whaler too hard on it. They are probably just as surprised at some of these findings as everyone else.

Salmon Tub posted 04-04-2002 04:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for Salmon Tub  Send Email to Salmon Tub     
This is actually the first time I have read this string. Made it to mid February before I made this post. First off, Tom W's comment on 1/11/01 about trauma doing damage to the foam has me driving my boat like an ole' granny now. But seriously, in response to the whole foam issue, I think that the reason why the picture of the thirteen cut into thirds with the "white" looking foam has been touched-up so that the color of the foam looks a little more fresh - everyones reaction to the yellow color has been called - soiled, weathered, exposed... that is probably exactly what some marketing guru told them when making the catalog - remember marketers, not engineers make those pretty catalogs, so big deal, they changed the look of the foam a little.
Now, as far as the old white foam, remember your history, the ship that carried the Bomb in WWII - the Indianapolis - same thing, back then the life jackets had that white foam which did absorb water after a few days. It wasn't counted on keeping you afloat for a month, rather for a few hours or a bit more until you were rescued. Same here, when most other boats of the day would go down like a rock, yes it was incredible that Fisher made a boat that would not sink, at least immediately. Remember, back then, most boats - skiffs were not designed to last decades, find me a wood boat that saw regular use, from that era that has not rotted through.
Salmon Tub posted 04-04-2002 07:51 PM ET (US)     Profile for Salmon Tub  Send Email to Salmon Tub     
Now that I have finished the thread, it seems that maybe there were no changes in the foam. When I spoke to Whaler rep., they said it changed in late 70's. Is it possible that whoever had that hull may have sustained damage to the bottom of the hull, torn it out, pulled out original foam. re-foamed with Polyurethane foam, did a horibble job of it, hence the layer(s), did a half hearted patch job over the bottom, and said 'good enough'? After reading this thread, it is quite possible that many people may get discouraged in the quality of these boats, new and old. I for one, don't really care because of all the boats I have seen out there, you would think that if this problem was chronic, you would see that older hulls would sit deeper in the water. I always keep my eye on all the whalers out there, and they all have the same freeboard for their respective size.
We had an old 1969 runabout. We kept it under a tent like cover. One year didn't pull plug and cover ripped. Boat had 3" of water over floor. Engine got water into oil pan. I/O was pickled, dried, water was drained, dried. Since then the boat was about 800 lbs. heavier and sat noticably lower in the water. It had foam blocks under the floor. It didn't take long for them to soak up water - a few weeks. If a waterlogged 13 held 600+ lbs of water then a 17 would hold how much? say 900 lbs? That is the equivalent of 6 adults. Take a montauk, mark the waterline, place six adults into it, and do the same. It will most likely sit at least 3-4 inches lower. It is funny how people are upset that a boat that is 30 years old can be waterlogged and decide that it was constructed improperly, despite the fact that it still floats, and it still structurally sound. How many cars last that long. Considering that hull for hull these are probably the most abused hulls in the world, I say it is not bad. For each one of us that waxes our hull, rubs it down and hell, probably kisses it good night for that matter, do you know how many hulls there are out there that are like that one in Italy? Even that picture of Tom W. jumping that wave, do that to a brand new bayliner, wellcraft, most other hull, how many of those do you think it will take before it shows signs of damage? Now the way I see it is simple, if the foam used in whalers soaks up water, then so does the foam in every other boat out there. Heck, it is the same foam. The bottom line is, when it comes to floatation, if your whaler isn't sitting with the waterline 2 inches from the top of the gunnel, then, when you get swamped you probably won't sink, so bail it out, if you flip it, you won't roll it back over by yourself anyway, so wait for help, but most likely it ain't going to go down like a rock. Most boats are total losses when rolled, and major damage is sustained when they are swamped, we are still better off with whalers.
Tom W Clark posted 04-09-2002 10:52 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     
Salmon Tub,

A few comments: The white color of the foam is indeed the true color of the foam in those boats, but some Whalers have the brown foam instead. I suspect it just the particular "brand" of foam they were using at any given point in time that accounts for the different color. It most certainly is not kapok.

I do not have any reason to believe CSW has had its foam replaced. What I've pulled out of it is what went into it originally and it is white.

As I have posted in the "Wavey Fiberglass" thread , the foam used in Whalers has always been polyurethane foam. The exact formulation of the foam has obviously changed through the years (witness the different colors) as well as the controls used in installing it, but I do not now believe there is some sort of distinct change from absorbing foam to non-absorbing foam at a specific date in the past. I would like to think this is so but the evidence seems to suggest that newer boats may well be capable of absorbing water too.

As far as trauma to the foam contributing to its capacity to absorb water, I imagine it has more to do with running into docks and actually crushing the cellular structure of the foam rather that simply running the boat in a chop as it was meant to.

On another note, I have had some correspondence with Jim Potdevin (jimp) about his Squall (see: ) His little Whaler weights 484 lbs. instead of the 125 lbs. that it is supposed to. Just like CSW, his hull weight roughly four times its original spec. weight! Is some sort of upper limit of what a Whaler hull can absorb being established here?

Salmon Tub posted 04-10-2002 01:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for Salmon Tub  Send Email to Salmon Tub     
Tom W., in reading this string, I believe it was mentioned that BW used to pour in the foam, and subsequently started to inject under pressure (or something of that nature) the foam. If the chemistry of old and new foam is identicle, or at least similar enough as per the tests conducted by I DCPeters, I believe, then I pose the following question. If this foam is also chemically similar to the stuff you can buy at Home Depot, then, when I have experimented with the HD stuff, I noticed, that if you shoot out a ball of that foam, it will skin over and form a watertight surface. I have used that foam when I made a Duck Stool (to sit on in the marsh while hunting). I filled 1 inch square aluminum channels, then cut, drilled and assembled. I never bothered to protect the exposed ends from the water, as I assumed that the foam was watertight. Some of the ends had exposed foam that had skinned over and formed a semi-mushroom looking cap. Other pieces that had the end cut off after the foaming, had the rough poreous texture of the foam exposed. After five years or so of use, being under water for 5 or more hours, three days a week, for three months out of the year, I have not experienced any water absorbtion. The foam does have a relatively good adhession to the aluminum, in other words, the foam did not skin up around the aluminum. It can be removed with a ram rod, but will not readily pop out as if from a mold. Also, I believe it was LHG who quoted that the catalogs mention a different process and/or foam that is water tight, and something to the effect of the foaming process. I also remember distinctly at the time of the purchase of my hull, that the process was that they lay up the glass, and pour in the foam while the glass is still wet, thus resulting in a 1 piece unibond construction as I recall it was called. So finally, my question is this, if the foam is the same, perhaps the construction method is different, maybe they used to lay up both of the shells, let them dry, put them together, and filled with foam, giving a good adhesion between foam and glass, but no perfect. And now, or since the late 70's, they were able to do the same process while the glass had not fully cured yet, making a better bond between glass and foam. This would ultimately still give the same result, but at a much slower pace. I believe that it is true, that when water gets into one of the foam cells, temperature differences will cause the water to expand and burst the cell, hot weather as much as cold weather, but, as for areas such as the screw holes in the deck, the old method of foaming may have more readily allowed the water to penetrate between the hull and foam, say through one of the screw holes that hold the cooler chokes, leading to a larger surface area of water to foam contact, and accelerating the process to that degree. I was always curious though, if they do indeed foam up while the glass is still wet, how do they do it so that gravity does not force whichever mold is on top to release the hull that is formed in it, and collapse? Has anyone here taken the tour and seen the process?
Tom W Clark posted 04-10-2002 02:23 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     
Salmon Tub,

The foaming process is essentially the same as it always has been in so much as the foam is poured, not injected, into the hulls before the glass of the hulls is fully cured. This is, and always has been, the process. It is described in even the earliest catalogs.

The confusion may result from the choice of words used in some sales literature about the foam being injected under pressure and the molds being especially strong to withstand this. What this really refers to is the pressure of the liquid foam expanding in the hulls.

What you remember LHG reporting is the description of the "plastic" foam in the catalogs in the 1970's and our theorizing that this may be a telltale of a change from some other sort of foam to a polyurethane foam. We now know this is not the case. All whalers have polyurethane foam and it is poured into the hull.

Looking through the old Whaler catalogs it is becoming clear that the process is far from a simple one and this is probably why Whaler has always been so guarded in describing it. They have spent decades perfecting the process and are not going to necessarily reveal all the fine details of how it is done.

I think it is safe to assume that through the years the details and control of the foaming process has changed in an effort to overcome different problems that have surfaced and that this is as important as the foam itself.

newboater posted 04-10-2002 04:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for newboater  Send Email to newboater     

What is the status of CSW? Last I remember reading you were moving the pump to the transom area. Has the pump been running full time and how much water have you gotten out?

Dave S.

jimh posted 04-26-2002 07:24 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
This thread continues in Part Three
jimh posted 02-25-2004 11:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
[Fixed broken links]
Benjay posted 12-04-2006 09:42 AM ET (US)     Profile for Benjay  Send Email to Benjay     
This may be of intetest. I own a 1986 22 Outrage with a whaler drive.There was a beckson plate installed on the Whaler drive to access a backing plate for a ladder. I wanted to remove the ladder and when I opened the plate I noticed about 2" of water sitting on top of the foam that was scooped out to install the nuts for the ladder. After soaking this water up I left it to dry. The foam did not seem to be saturated. Now here is the interesting part. The foam was pure white ? not the brownish color you say was used for this vintage. Would a differnt type of foam be used for the Whaler drive ?

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