Structural Faults with Modern Yachts

TradewindSailor

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I have often wondered how well modern construction methods stand up to the normal wear and tear of sailing.

There are a lot of stories about 'Bendy Toys' and such like; but what is fact and what is fiction?

I'm interested to hear from anyone who has had personal experience of structural faults on boats of say less than 4 years old that are caused by normal wear and tear ..... i.e. not by heavy groundings. Rafting damage would be interesting too as this is very common in the Solent.

Some obvious faults come to mind:
Bulkheads moving
Soft decks
Poor rig tension
Damaged keel supporting grillages
Excessive creaking due to the inner hull moulding moving against the hull.
 

TradewindSailor

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I know about Centaurs ..... There's many boats out there with build problems.

I'm more concerned with modern build yachts 'cause it's virtually impossible to tell whether they're fit to cross an ocean when it's sitting at the boat show or in the brochure.

You pay a premium for a Halberg Rassy or an Oyster. The answer seems obvious ....... but how do the Beneteau's, Dufours, Bavaria's, etc hold up?
 

Birdseye

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[ QUOTE ]
I have to ask, why? Is this a new angle on "what boat do I buy?" Or is it just an academic exercise?

[/ QUOTE ]

I agree. Its a boring subject that has been done to death a hundred times. Personally I suspect that boats like cars are far better now than they were 20 years ago, and thats before you add in 20 years of abuse, missed maintenance, cheap additions, practised on the poor thing during that 20 years use. But thats my opinion - others think differently You pays your money and makes your choice.
 

CPD

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I crossed the atlantic in a bavaria 40ft. Every single hatch leaked. All the doors jammed at some stage. The flooring also moved making lifting boards to look at the bilges impossible. The in boom reefing also failed. On the back of that experience, I would never buy a bavaria for such trips. Very subjective, but thats my penniesworth. Hope it helps.
 

Norman_E

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Almost impossible to answer, partly because even from the same maker, some designs are better than others. As an example I bought my boat for Mediterranean coastal sailing, for which it is well suited. I would have bought something different if I had wanted to do a circumnavigation.

Last year however I met some people who have a big US built ketch which they plan to sail to the Caribean, and run a skippered charter business there. I commented that it looked well suited to the Atlantic crossing, to which they replied "So is yours". They had sailed the Atlantic in a Jeanneau 45.2 and found that it stood up to it very well, and told my somewhat nervous SWMBO that it is "a good safe boat". I suspect that there are boats from all the major manufacturers that are perfectly sound designs, and some that are less satisfactory.
 

Birdseye

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The one modern trend I do dislike is the use of inner mouldings rather than directly bonded bulkheads. Might be easy to manufacture but repair has to be far more difficult. In my case I suspect that there is some moisture trapped between inner and outer, rather like the way water used to get in between pressings in a car and rot it from the inside.

I wouldnt take a Mondeo on a trip across Europe to (say) Pakistan. Its not built for it, but that doesnt mean its a bad car. Instead I would chose a Jap 4 wd. In an entirely parallel way, I would not chose a Bav for trans Ocean work, and indeed I would not chose an HR for the southern ocean - neither are built and designed for that sort of work. So what - most boats are never used for more than coastal sailing.

For the vaste majority of sailors, an AWB is a very practical and economic way of doing what they want to do.
 
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[ QUOTE ]
The one modern trend I do dislike is the use of inner mouldings rather than directly bonded bulkheads. Might be easy to manufacture but repair has to be far more difficult. In my case I suspect that there is some moisture trapped between inner and outer

[/ QUOTE ]
I used one of those vacuum engine oil extractors to suck about 1 pint of water from inside the inner moulding bilge voids on my Bavaria last week. The small bore drip stick suction tube is ideal for feeding into the limber holes in the inner moulding.
 

Robin

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[ QUOTE ]
I crossed the atlantic in a bavaria 40ft. Every single hatch leaked. All the doors jammed at some stage. The flooring also moved making lifting boards to look at the bilges impossible. The in boom reefing also failed. On the back of that experience, I would never buy a bavaria for such trips. Very subjective, but thats my penniesworth. Hope it helps.

[/ QUOTE ]

Actually Bavaria don't make the hatches, they buy them from the same manufacturers as do all the other builders. Neither do Bavaria make in-boom reefing systems, again could just as easily apply to any boat.

For what it's worth a friend with a very nice and ultra expensive Bowman has replaced ALL the deck hatches and opening ports for the same reason that they ALL leaked. He has just had one of the S/S water tanks out to repair a leak from that too.

I don't have a Bavaria so no personal gripe other than to point out that the imagined superiority of some other makes is often less real in practice.
 

FullCircle

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Dont take a Mondeo - they arent sold in Pakistan.
Take a Ford Ikon (Booted Fiesta) instead. They are made just up the road in India, and are built for it. /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif
 

CPD

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Absolutely true Robin, my point is that there was good evidence that the hull was flexing to a point which was compromising the internals which cant be good. Bavarias are built to a price, and it showed, with both the hull and also the add-ons. Nothing particular against Bavarias, just wouldnt use them for ocean crossings, which having read it again, wasnt actually the original questions, as I guess ocean crossings give more than the "normal wear and tear" which the question was about. So there /forums/images/graemlins/laugh.gif
 
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Last year I had an opportunity to visually compare the keel support of my Bavaria Match 35 with another 10 year old 36 foot boat from a respected UK manufacturer that was popular in the 80’s and 90’s.

Under the trained eye of one of the most senior small boat surveyors in the UK, my yacht was lowered forcibly onto the keel a few times while the surveyor held a straight edge to the hull at the aft end of the keel. He was surprised that no hull deformation could be detected. Some hull flexing is the norm for many modern fin keel boats as a good portion of the total hull weight is transferred onto the keel.

This particular surveyor has an instinctive dislike of Bavaria’s and lets his Bavaria owning customers know this, so the compliment about my remarkably solid keel/hull reinforcement is noteworthy.

By contrast three weeks later I was antifouling my boat while next to me the yard was shoring up a just lifted 36 ft UK design. I was distracted by a strange sound similar to distant fire crackers, this was followed by an urgent shout from a yard hand to the crane driver, “up up she’s crackling”. I watched as the hull was lifted up a few inches while the keel remained in contact with the ground.

When the yard hands went off to look for additional props I walked about 10 ft ahead of the bow and was surprised that I would actually see the whole hull sag and wallow side to side over the top of the keel. I guess the strong cross winds were particularly testing because the keel was supporting enough weigh to keep it anchored to the ground whereas the hull, held in strops, moved in response to wind induced leverage from the mast.

Not sure what the moral of the story is apart from, always take a day off work when the marine leisure industry is doing anything to your boat.
 

TradewindSailor

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Thanks for that reply. This is exactly what I'm looking for ..... and other first hand experiences.

There are far to many unsubstatiated opinions out there that do nothing to get to the truth.

It sounds like your keel story is probably due to damage during a heavy grounding. I've good some good pictures of a Beneteau that was on the hard with obvious deformation of the hull in way of the keel. However .... this is hopefully not 'fare ware and tear' damage.

On the other hand ...... many modern keels on the cheaper boats have an almost vertical leading edge to the keel, rather that the more sloped ones of the Contessa's, Nic's, etc. This is bound to lead to much higher impact loads rather that allowing the boat to ride upon the sandbank or whatever got in the way.

Still ...... I'm really interested in structural problems sustained under normal operations ..... i.e. going through a gale is normal ..... but heavy grounding is not (or shouldn't be! /forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif)
 

TradewindSailor

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Birdseye wrote: "I agree. Its a boring subject that has been done to death a hundred times."

If your bored ..... you can go to another thread. This one interests me. /forums/images/graemlins/ooo.gif
 

fireball

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[ QUOTE ]
the imagined superiority of some other makes is often less real in practice.

[/ QUOTE ]

But not always - a more expensive boat may carry a lot of the weight in the badge, but do (some of them) use higher quality fittings. Your BenBavJen (and I've got the latter) is primarily made for coastal hopping with short open sea passages - it is not built (although it may well cope with) long ocean passages.

In the same way - you wouldn't take the Ford Fiesta on a Safari ... doesn't mean it isn't a good car (dunno not got one!).

Your HR/Najads of this world do appear to be better suited to the greater variables that can be thrown at you on an ocean crossing - but TWS was after first hand experiences and I don't have that...
 

michael_w

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Beware of overloading an old boat with modern non stretchy halyards and sails.

I exposed a latent defect in my Albin Ballad this way. The encapsulated steel under the mast step rusted and the glass spalled away. One stiff beat too many and the old girl gave up.

After an emergeny haul out in Weymouth as we were sinking. Amongst other things I found that the Mast dropped by 1", cracked down the centerline join of the hull, stress cracks running fore and aft along the encapsulated keel root. Bulkheads tore away from the hull. A real mess.

Insurers (Navigators) would not cough up despite there being a Court of Appeal test case on very similar lines. So, rather than throw good money after bad, I sold her as a repair project for £5000. She had about £7000 worth of sails, including an unused laminate mainsail.
 

Robin

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[ QUOTE ]
But not always - a more expensive boat may carry a lot of the weight in the badge, but do (some of them) use higher quality fittings. Your BenBavJen (and I've got the latter) is primarily made for coastal hopping with short open sea passages - it is not built (although it may well cope with) long ocean passages.


[/ QUOTE ]

I sail an older design Jeanneau from 1988, so not relevant to this poster's reference to recent designs nor is it in any way a coastal cruiser! I would happily take ours offshore in preference to all the designer label stuff with island beds and in-mast reefing! Our Jeanneau is very well built, Kevlar reinforced throughout and my neighbour with his HR looks very enviously at our Lewmar 52s (and 5 other big self tailers) and other deck gear which makes his look quite puny. On a X-Channel last year in their company (well in name) we left 20 minutes after them, sailed the whole way and arrived an hour ahead, despite them motorsailing the entire trip and complaining it was an uncomfortable sloppy sea. We had a full cooked meal on the way too whilst they had Mars bars, it being so choppy. They do have a bigger engine than us though, I think 70hp to our 44hp, says a lot does that as does the need for their bow thruster. They used their donk again all the way to St Peter Port whilst we sailed it all, upwind all the way and yet arrived just 20 minutes behind.

The ability to sail safely offshore isn't just covered by building heavyweight leviathans, it takes sensible design as well if the boat isn't going to wallow her way across oceans whilst having all the bright and airy living accomodation of a dungeon for when you arrive. Our Jeanneau was designed by Doug Peterson as a One Ton Cup boat under the then IOR rules and the original was a French Admiral's Cup team member. Similar models from Jeanneau, like the Sun Fizz at the time were designed to win long short handed races offshore like the OSTAR as well as go into full production as a cruiser racer. These boats SAIL and are very capable, ours has an AZAB 6th place too to her credit.

I'm not saying modern production boats are the bees knees, just that the myth of money paid doesn't equate to perfection either. There are lots of tales of problems amongst the expensive brands as there are with the cheaper ones, but then the latter are far more numerous as are their knockers ready to point a finger. I could list quite a few defects but would probably have too many friend's departing stage left if I did, folks do get sensitive about such things.
 

branko

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I have Bav40 for 6 years. During this 6 years have a lot of bad weather and everything functioning very well. Deck equipment is very good. No scratches around keel. All doors I can shut without problem, hatches and windows not leaking.
For that money you can not get better new boat.
By the way, a lot of Bavaria's successfully crossover Atlantic in last Transatlantic regatta.
 
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