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If one wants to buy a wooden sail boat, even a rotten one as a fixer-upper, what are the hotspots to check to determine if the boat is suited to repair or suited for the scrapyard?

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I found this yachtsurvey.com/Wood.htm scroll down to "How to Survey A Wood Hull" –  Amine Aug 30 '12 at 16:23
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1 Answer 1

From the link @Amine posted, the following areas are key:

  • For the keel area check the joints between planks and frames visually, looking for gaps or any sign that the plank is not tight against the frame. Then use a screw driver to test the wood for softness on both plank and frame near the mating surface.
  • Try to slip the pry bar under the frame and pry gently. Does the frame move or rock slightly? If so, there is a fastener problem.

  • Further up from the keel look for signs of weepage.

  • Use a large screwdriver for testing the hardness of the inner planking, particularly in the deep bilge.

  • The chines are an area not only of high stress, but an area that is also prone to leakage.

  • Bottom Frames are often joined to side frames with knees that are through bolted. Looseness or corrosion on these bolts are a warning sign that all is not well.

  • The two most common areas for sprung planks to occur is the garboard and the forefoot area.

  • The intersect of bottom and side planking to the transom is yet another area where leakage and deterioration are prevalent.

The author has extensive experience in this area and his page is well worth a read as he goes into detail above and below decks.

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