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#568728 - 08/08/17 10:29 PM Stress cracks?  
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swopo82 Offline
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So we're in the market for a new boat and I've been searching for what feels like forever to find what we're looking for and in our price range. Thought we found one....until I did a thorough inspection.

This will be my 3rd boat so I've been around them for a while and both of my previous were old boats so I was accustomed to some high moisture readings in certain places. We're been looking at late 90's 32ft boats on various makes vs the early 90s or late 80's that I previously had.

Found a boat on the surface, but I took my moisture meter down and did a thorough inspection and sea trial tonight with the owner. Had readings of high moisture a various places all throughout the boat on the transom, stringers, and the two or three bulkheads I could get to. One part of the transom would read 10 or 15% and another area would peg the meter. Seemed like the port stern drive area had high readings where as the starboard side did not. Stringers had various places they pegged the meter, then other areas were fine. Bulkhead in the engine compartment had the same. Went up and found an access hatch in the cabin floor and found more of the same; stringers up high read dry...down low pegged the meter. Framing across under the cabin.....dry up top; pegged meter down low. This isn't going the way I had hoped.

Then I noticed these hairline cracks in the engine compartment that went across what I believe is a strake when viewed from the inside. The hairlines ran perpendicular to the length of the strake. Anyone seen something like this before? Stress crack due to something moving/flexing?

[img]https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1QVClEnG5PFWHU1a2NIR0JqQzQ/view?usp=sharing[/img]
[img]https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1QVClEnG5PFN3JNUk9FbHBBRVU/view?usp=sharing[/img]

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#568729 - 08/08/17 11:03 PM Re: Stress cracks? [Re: swopo82]  
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Jack T Offline
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I have had three boats, 14 feet, 17 feet, and now a 22 footer. I only had stress cracks on the 14 footer, and they were all on the deck. Even with that little experience, I think I can say that a 30 footer with stress cracks below the water line can mean trouble. Molecules of water have ways to get into the smallest of holes. Put a little pressure on the water and those holes (30-footers put a lot of pressure below waterline) and there can be lots of water in there, which you have confirmed.

Can you explain to me how the moisture meter works? I have seen them for building construction and they all require making tiny holes to basically measure the resistance of where the probes are. How does yours work without poking holes in the surfaces being measured?


Have a great day of boating
2012 Monterey 224 FS,
300 HP Volvo Penta with catalytic converters

#568732 - 08/09/17 04:33 AM Re: Stress cracks? [Re: swopo82]  
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tpenfield Offline
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The pics do not show the stress cracks too well, so it is hard to tell (hey that rhymes smile )

those areas look like small ribs/stringers rather than strakes ? Sort of hard to tell. If they are ribs, then the stress cracks could be from water getting in and 'expanding' the wood core. If they are strakes, then it could be from lifting the boat underneath in that area, without adequate support elsewhere.

Anyway, I think the point is mute, based on the areas of high moisture that you found in the bulkhead and the stringers. Water will tend to sit low in the structure and as you noticed, higher in the structure will be drier.

I've 'been there, done that' on my Formula 330 . . . Where the main bulkhead was a bit wet, but it turned out to be an issue with water collecting in the foam under the fuel tank. I had to rip the whole boat apart and replace 2 bulkheads and part of the mid-cabin, then re-install the fuel tank. Took about 6 months to 'repair' the boat (I have a thread on iBoats about it).

I assume that you will not be pursuing this boat any further, based on what you have found in the structure. Curious minds do want to know the brand/model

Last edited by tpenfield; 08/09/17 04:53 AM.

Regards, Ted

Formula 330SS

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#568733 - 08/09/17 04:38 AM Re: Stress cracks? [Re: Jack T]  
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tpenfield Offline
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Originally Posted by Jack T
I have had three boats, 14 feet, 17 feet, and now a 22 footer. I only had stress cracks on the 14 footer, and they were all on the deck. Even with that little experience, I think I can say that a 30 footer with stress cracks below the water line can mean trouble. Molecules of water have ways to get into the smallest of holes. Put a little pressure on the water and those holes (30-footers put a lot of pressure below waterline) and there can be lots of water in there, which you have confirmed.

Can you explain to me how the moisture meter works? I have seen them for building construction and they all require making tiny holes to basically measure the resistance of where the probes are. How does yours work without poking holes in the surfaces being measured?


assuming it is the marine-type moisture meter, it 'estimates' the moisture content of the core material (wood) by testing the conductivity of the fiberglass surface. You see, fiberglass will contain some of the moisture from the core material behind it. So if the core material is really wet, then the fiberglass will be more 'wet' and register higher conductivity on the meter. these meters run about $400.

The contact probe meters are about $40 and use direct contact with the core material (wood) to do the same sort of thing, as you mentioned.

Last edited by tpenfield; 08/09/17 04:45 AM.

Regards, Ted

Formula 330SS

My Boat Web Sites
#568734 - 08/09/17 05:40 AM Re: Stress cracks? [Re: swopo82]  
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swopo82 Offline
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I used an Electrophysics CT33. I think it's what a surveyor used that I had several years ago. Boat was a Chris-Craft 320 Express Cruiser. Loved the boat otherwise. Great layout....very unique center helm position...but I think I liked that. Took a short ride and it seemed to ride and handle very well. Oh well....I think I'm going to pass on this one.

#568735 - 08/09/17 05:41 AM Re: Stress cracks? [Re: swopo82]  
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swopo82 Offline
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#568736 - 08/09/17 05:55 AM Re: Stress cracks? [Re: swopo82]  
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tpenfield Offline
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tpenfield  Offline
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A lot of surveyors use the "Tramex Skipper Plus". but any meter is better than no meter. smile

Sorry that things did not work out, but you are better off not having to deal with structural issues. Did you share your findings with the owner? wonder if he is going to do anything about it?

BTW - I got myself a FLIR One Infrared camera, which is also pretty useful in inspecting boats for hidden issues.

Last edited by tpenfield; 08/09/17 05:57 AM.

Regards, Ted

Formula 330SS

My Boat Web Sites
#568738 - 08/09/17 07:51 AM Re: Stress cracks? [Re: swopo82]  
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captkevin Online content
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Better to find out now before a purchase then after the fact. The right boat is out there.


2004 Rinker 232
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#568739 - 08/09/17 08:29 AM Re: Stress cracks? [Re: swopo82]  
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WaterWing Offline
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I could be wrong but seeing stress cracks in the engine compartment seems normal. I say this because in that area, the manufactures don't usually prepare the gelcoat like they do on the outside. I think mine was just painted (which was stupid because it's pealing). There's a lot of vibration going on in that area and if the attention given to the laying of gelcoat in that area wasn't top notch, you'd see this type of crack. This doesn't warrant a concern for me. Just my opinion. But let us know if you find the perfect boat.


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#568741 - 08/09/17 11:20 AM Re: Stress cracks? [Re: swopo82]  
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captkevin Online content
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It could be worth while to have a professional take a look at the cracks & determine if they are a concern or not.


2004 Rinker 232
2010 Dodge Ram Crew Cab Laramie 4x4
#568743 - 08/09/17 12:30 PM Re: Stress cracks? [Re: captkevin]  
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tpenfield Offline
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Originally Posted by captkevin
It could be worth while to have a professional take a look at the cracks & determine if they are a concern or not.


It seems that the water (moisture levels) found in the structure is the deal breaker, so not worth going any further. If the stress cracks were the only issue, then, I would agree.


Regards, Ted

Formula 330SS

My Boat Web Sites
#568744 - 08/09/17 01:03 PM Re: Stress cracks? [Re: swopo82]  
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captkevin Online content
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Makes sense.


2004 Rinker 232
2010 Dodge Ram Crew Cab Laramie 4x4

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