How old is TOO old for a fiberglass hull?
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How old is TOO old for a fiberglass hull?

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    Senior Member PonyFiveO's Avatar
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    Default How old is TOO old for a fiberglass hull?

    I understand that fiberglass never stops curing, and becomes brittle as it continues to cure. Most of the boats we came to love and own were built in the 70’s, which has given them nearly 40 years to “cure.” How old can a fiberglass boat get before it becomes a brittle disaster waiting to splinter into a million pieces as it hit the next wake? How much more time does one have stored inside than stored outside? Is there truth and examples of this or is it a myth?

    I have only read a couple of threads concerning the age of a boat being a factor in purchasing or modifying because of the possible brittle fiberglass issue.

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    Senior Member Hass828's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PonyFiveO View Post
    I understand that fiberglass never stops curing, and becomes brittle as it continues to cure. Most of the boats we came to love and own were built in the 70’s, which has given them nearly 40 years to “cure.” How old can a fiberglass boat get before it becomes a brittle disaster waiting to splinter into a million pieces as it hit the next wake? How much more time does one have stored inside than stored outside? Is there truth and examples of this or is it a myth?

    I have only read a couple of threads concerning the age of a boat being a factor in purchasing or modifying because of the possible brittle fiberglass issue.
    Kind of a loaded question, If your wanting and old 80's model taylor or apollo or some other thick heavy layup lake jet as long as the wood is good go for it, but if your looking at a light race hull thats had its azz beat for 30 years and your looking to run it in over a hundred, your living on borrowed time, it "will" eventually come apart and I wouldnt want to be in it when it does, just my .02 so take it for what you will.

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    Senior Member Mike D's Avatar
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    I think this is a great question, I have a friend on here that had an older south wind that split right behind the bulk head from hitting a roller, You have got to wonder how fatigued glass becomes after time,

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    Senior Member milkmoney's Avatar
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    so i have a 1976 eliminator jet, original gel and has been used very little and stored inside under a cover its whole life. and not one stress crack. this makes me think that it is still very strong..??

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hass828 View Post
    Kind of a loaded question, If your wanting and old 80's model taylor or apollo or some other thick heavy layup lake jet as long as the wood is good go for it, but if your looking at a light race hull thats had its azz beat for 30 years and your looking to run it in over a hundred, your living on borrowed time, it "will" eventually come apart and I wouldnt want to be in it when it does, just my .02 so take it for what you will.
    Not trying to start anything but do you know of a hull living on borrowed time that did come apart? (Southwind 18's excepted.)

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    Senior Member jetboatperformance's Avatar
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    Suspect alot has to do with the "how, who,when & where" , The Mid 90's cruiser I have at the glass shop right now for example is very "brittle" according to the folks doing the repairs, just an observation . I've seen several of one particular boat builders hulls split length wise in the strake directly below the drivers seat Tom

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    Senior Member Hass828's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hotrod56cars View Post
    Not trying to start anything but do you know of a hull living on borrowed time that did come apart? (Southwind 18's excepted.)
    Yea, I used to run a '81 youngblood that was very thin & light, ran very respectable up to around 115 - 117mph, but one weekend I had been doing a little racing and noticed a little water in the center keel section of the hull. Well when i put it on the trailer it looked like curtains of fiberglass that had come unlaminated from the center keel. Had the keel redone and run it for another couple years and sold it cheap just to get rid of it. If you thumped on the side of the boat it sounded like an old cardboard box, the fiberglass was dead. Ervan capps put the keel back together and stayed on my butt to find another hull till I did. He said it wasnt if it was going to come apart, but when.

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    Owner/Crew Chief 1/4 Miler's Avatar
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    Different layup schedules (glass, mat, resin(s), etc., and their order and method of application) used by different manufactures (and at different times) age differently in different envirnoments ..... just because a hull is an older one doesn't mean it's necessarily bad ..... that having been said, I don't mean to say that older hulls shouldn't be watched carefully for signs of fatigue ..... monitoring hull integrity is just part of boating safety.

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    Senior Member Delemorte's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hass828 View Post
    Yea, I used to run a '81 youngblood that was very thin & light, ran very respectable up to around 115 - 117mph, but one weekend I had been doing a little racing and noticed a little water in the center keel section of the hull. Well when i put it on the trailer it looked like curtains of fiberglass that had come unlaminated from the center keel. Had the keel redone and run it for another couple years and sold it cheap just to get rid of it. If you thumped on the side of the boat it sounded like an old cardboard box, the fiberglass was dead. Ervan capps put the keel back together and stayed on my butt to find another hull till I did. He said it wasnt if it was going to come apart, but when.

    So you sold a hull you knew was unsafe? Did you market it that way? If you didnt i would be carefull posting that kind of confession on a public forum.
    Quote Originally Posted by jetboatperformance View Post
    the ensueing fire would likely be extinguished by the sinking however

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    Senior Member Hass828's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Delemorte View Post
    So you sold a hull you knew was unsafe? Did you market it that way? If you didnt i would be carefull posting that kind of confession on a public forum.
    No, I pulled the hardware , pump engine and all and sold it cheap enough that the trailer should have been worth the price. Disabled it and sold it to a guy that just wanted the remaining hardware, then it changed hands again and I know the guy that has it and he's been dully warned not to run it .

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    Senior Member 74glencoe's Avatar
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    My boat is from 1974, and when I had it out on the water (before I opened up the floor to find water soaked floatation) it seemed to be great, real tight and But I cant find any stress cracks, or thin spots in the hull. I do have a buddy with a 1973 concord that seems like it is going to explode every time we cross a wake or a patch of rough water. My boat also has a much more pronounced vee, and his is pretty close to a flat bottom. I truly believe it has alot to do with the original construction and even more to do with how well the boat is taken care of.

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    Thanks for the reply Hass828.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 1/4 Miler View Post
    Different layup schedules (glass, mat, resin(s), etc., and their order and method of application) used by different manufactures (and at different times) age differently in different envirnoments ..... just because a hull is an older one doesn't mean it's necessarily bad ..... that having been said, I don't mean to say that older hulls shouldn't be watched carefully for signs of fatigue ..... monitoring hull integrity is just part of boating safety.
    Bingo! some older hulls are Rock Solid.

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    Senior Member Hass828's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hotrod56cars View Post
    Thanks for the reply Hass828.
    No problem, Everybody need to really keep an eye on these hulls & hardware.
    Any boat that regularly sees 85-90+, as the owner of such boat , I would take a flashlight and a creeper and look the bottom of the boat and the intake, loader , impellar , rideplate & the rest of the hardware, doesnt take just a couple of minutes and may save your life. Give these boats the respect that they deserve, there have been plenty people hurt or killed comeing out of a boat at 90mph.
    With that being said, I used to take everybody for 100+ mph rides at the beach all the time, especially when the topless girls would line up, but I have been witness to a couple bad accidents with ride along on board and aside from the liability, I wouldnt want to be responsible for hurting anyone.
    So with age comes wisdom, nowadays I'm a little harder to get a ride from.
    Last edited by Hass828; 08-31-2009 at 02:29 PM.

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