Wood or Plastic?

peterg

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We are toying with the idea of buying something like a 30 year old Storebro 34 Baltic to keep on the Thames and have found that around this time (1970/1) they stopped building them with wooden hulls (mahogany on oak) and made them in GRP instead (seems to be the same shape etc.)

Does anyone have a comment about the pros and cons of 30 year old Wooden vs GRP hulls - we know the wood may need more maintenance over time but is it a case of 'at least they've been building wooden boats for hundreds of years but GRP is a new thing' or are they about the same.

I must admit an unexplainable personal preference to the wooden hulls even though the exterior seems to be painted white (apart from the transom which was varnished above the water line) on the three examples I have seen.

Also, does anyone have personal experience of this model (ie. is it a good boat?) and is it suitable for the Thames? (twin 106hp Volvo non-turbo diesels on shafts)
 

Chris_d

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Wooden hulls do have a special charm, we've had several in our family over the years before finaly opting for plastic, all that sanding gets to you in the end.
Any 30 year old boat will have problems, whether its GRP or wood, so get a survey
preferably from surveyor who knows Storebro's, try Paul Hadley Sales at Northney marina in Chichester harbour, he imports them and sells many 34's.
All wooden boats seem to take water from somewhere and you are always chasing
some rot, my advice would be to go for a GRP one if you can, although it pains me to say it, you'll be better off in the long run.
Otherwise the 34 is very suitable for the Thames, especialy with non-turbo diesels,
just make friends with a good wooden boat specialist and enjoy!
 
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The comment I always remember on the subject was: "you have to be either very rich or very retired to own a wooden boat..."
 

stuartw

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About 5 years ago, my wife & I fell in love with a Storebro 34 (1970) It was on the Thames. The wood, the royal blue carpets, in fact the whole ambience was perfect, so we made an offer & had it surveyed. I was there during this survey. All was going well, till the surveyor buried his prodding device up to the hilt into the transom- above the waterline. The boat had not been used for some 3 yrs, and admittently had been somewhat neglected, I asked the surveryor to carry on, just with the hull. The ply, underneath the teak decking had de-laminated- again rainwater ingress. The underwater section of the hull had probly some 1 to 2 tons of water in it, but was still sound(ish).
The surveyor advised us it was worth only silly money- but would need lots of TLC and money to restore it. We offered silly money- but was rejected.
Now the moral of this story, is I now do not regret that happening. It did cost us some £300 to find that out, but saved us a lot of heartache & money. Although I am a big big wood fan ( my family has been in it for 4 generations), I much prefer GRP and have good wood decor - I think, a good compromise.
By the way, if you have one particular one in mind, what's the name?
 

peterg

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thanks for info Stuart - we have no particular boat in mind at the moment though there is a nice one (grp hulled) at Darthaven with hydraulic passerelle and lots of other nice bits but we have to sort out the money side first!

whatever we get will be thoroughly surveyed as with any boat we buy but especially one this old
 
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