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Author Topic:   waterlogged foam core
simonmeridew posted 12-31-2000 07:20 AM ET (US)   Profile for simonmeridew   Send Email to simonmeridew  
Is there anything different in the foam core used in the older whalers vs. newer (1980's or so) vessels? I've heard it said that the older foam material allowed the hull to absorb water and become waterlogged and therefore quite heavy, maybe 1000 lbs more than it should weigh. I'm looking to buy a 17' Montauk and want to know what to look for. Thanks
bigz posted 12-31-2000 11:09 AM ET (US)     Profile for bigz    
The Montauk's used as today closed cell foam --- very early Whalers used Styrofoam --- which really could absorb water like a sponge when exposed --- yet the closed cell can also become saturated --- unless the hull has been damaged or the thru hull drains rotted out you probably shouldn't be overly concerned ---

One other area where water can cause havoc is the transom (plywood) if the scuppers are corroded there could be a chance of penetration into the plywood core which will eventually cause it to water log rotting out --- Z
PS you might want to look at this post which relates to your question ---

whalernut posted 12-31-2000 12:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for whalernut  Send Email to whalernut     
Tom, I thought Whaler always used closed cell foam, anyway, would you know if my 73` `16 Currituck has the styrofoam or the closed cell foam? Thanks. Regards-Jack Graner.
DIVE 1 posted 12-31-2000 01:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for DIVE 1    
The easiest way to determine if the hull has a wet core is to use a moisture meter. Find someone with a meter that is used to useing it on cored hulls(balsa,foam,etc). Run the meter over the entire outer hull skin and then the interior. Pay close attention to low lying areas, the transom, and areas around any through hull fittings.
bigz posted 12-31-2000 02:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for bigz    
Jack as far as I know it was only used on the original 13's back in the very beginning and then they went to urethane foam with in the first year or so of production.

When you check their advertising in the 70's and currentl stuff they are very good at saying nothing about the physical characteristics or type of foam only that it high density and structually stable -- in fact no where do they state the foam "can't" absorb water.

For all I know they very well could be using foam similar to the poly that Dow uses to make their dock floatation billets which I have seen some that are like new and used for 10 plus years other than the blue color is now gone!

Dive 1 your 100% correct and I will almost guarantee you will discover moisture in about 9 out of 10 older Whaler hulls to varying degrees!

That said, in again 9 out of 10 cases it probably is nothing to be overly concerned unless of course it is being caused by the obvious as stated before or damage which was repaired and undetectable. A high moisture reading from a good quality detector will pin point these readily.

One note even stress cracks or one time blow/impact cracks (like dropping a gas tank or anchor) which have penetrated the gel coat can allow moist into the laminate and core so pay careful attention to these if present. They should be repaired and taken into account when negotiating for the boat.

Simmon, didn't mention on your question of a 1000lbs or more water logging --- well if you got a 1000lbs of water or roughly 200 gallons of water in a hull you'll certainly know it just by weighting the boat and deducting out the add ons including the trailer! I'm not sure on the core capacity but doubt it could hold that much given the use of closed cell foam even if saturated. Z

simonmeridew posted 12-31-2000 03:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for simonmeridew  Send Email to simonmeridew     
Thank you for your informative replies. When I originally posed the question I wasn't sure whether this whole subject was a "dirty word" in Whaler circles, having just heard it as a rumor, nothing more. I was hoping no one would take offense at the question.
I had heard that any hole that was drilled in the fiberglass, such as for rod holders, the running lights, snaps for canvas, the railing screws, not to mention the now infamous bronze thru-the-hull fittings, were places that water, both rain/spray, and sea water, could enter the hull; I never thought of spider cracks and other what appear to be minor dings etc could be portals of entry for water. From reading the excellent thread which you people provided me, regarding the vacuum removal of water and water vapor, unless we were talking about many gallons of water which I was afraid might affect the balence/planing/stability of the boat, I wouldn't mind a few quarts of water in there. But if it somehow caused some sort of chemical breakdown of the early foam, this would be a serious matter, which would not be rectified by removing the water.
Again thanks for all advice on this matter. I become a better and more informed potential whaler buyer with every post I read.
bigz posted 12-31-2000 04:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for bigz    
Simon well on the sundry items easy to solve just use a counter sink and pilot bit so the gel doesn't crack with a dab of 3M 4200 under the fitting before screwing it down but in general screws aren't any major source for water problems as long as there tight.

The infamous thru hulls were actually the original brass tubing mentioned --- I sure wish they had used the heavy bronze :)

Actually chemically epoxy will melt down the foam when it is exposed to uncured stuff so on repairs in replacing foam sections one must either use foam like the poly types unaffected or cover the sytrofoam with say even wax paper before glassing in with saturated mat --- otherwise not sure what else chemically might cause interior deterioration of the existing foam core area ---

Chuckle -- on this forum everything is talked about whether some want to hear it or not --- may get disagreements but so far no one has been shot for expressing their opinions or views ---

Best of luck in your Montauk search --- Tom

andygere posted 01-04-2001 02:11 AM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
Here's a tip for permanent, easy repair of old screw holes. Go to your local surf shop (there is one in your town, right?) and get a tube of UV cure ding repair resin (as in surfboard dings). It has chopped fiberglass strands in it, and has the consitency of cold toothpaste. Clean with acetone, dab it in, let the sun shine and it is set and sandable in 15-20 minutes. I began using this stuff to make quick repairs in my surfboards, and found them to be as strong as traditional polyester resin repairs. It works great for repairing enlarged screw holes and can be redrilled so you can avoid oversizing the screws. I think it's a much better alternative to 3M 5200, and gelcoat can be applied on top to restore the factory look. Just leave a bit of a depression on the top 1/16" of the hole, and use a countersink but to clean up the ragged edges first. If alas, there is no surfshop nearby, you can get some here:
jimh posted 04-15-2004 07:56 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
[I have opened this old thread to append this advisory]

The stated opinion of WEST Systems, forumulators of the premier marine epoxy, is that their product does not melt foam. Rather, the styrene present in polyester resins does melt foam.

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