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Very disappointing survey - thoughts?

flightlead404

New Member
Well it turns out I may not be joining the ranks of the Morganeers after all. Very disappointing survey yesterday. Apart from the total cluster f*** and general idiot rodeo at Telemar Bay Marina trying to haul out:

  • There's a section of roving in the bilge ahead of the keel totally delaminated from one side to the other. Not sure what, but my guess is from an impact although no evidence from the keel of damage. This is a concern but not my biggest
  • Engine leaks like a sieve and has not seen maintenance (including oil/filter change) in 5 years. Apart from the entire exhaust system blowing smoke, including from exhaust ports and hoses, the front, rear, oil pan seals are leaking, and looks like water pump could use a rebuild. All things I could do myself but a giant pain. Again, probably not a deal killer I'm good with engines and not intimidated by them although diesel is new to me.
  • Cutlass bearing and possibly shaft log toast. Loads of play in the bearing and looks like log maybe too. It looks like rudder needs to be dropped to do this repair, is that correct? How is the log constructed/glassed in at the aft end? I'm told this is about $3,500, sound right?
  • Biggest issue. Despite a peel and fresh bottom 3 years ago, loads of pox! Lots of small blisters all over, and some of them appear quite deep, down to the glass for sure. They weep clear not brown, but still a major problem. Possibly when they did the bottom before the hull was not allowed to dry properly.
Sigh. Looks like I may be back to square 1.
 

pmf44

Member
Well....could be worse! If a Morgan 38 is what you really want, you have two options of course. Ask for a drastic reduction in price...(which we do not know but can guess) or move on to another Morgan 38...or another boat. Of course you know this, so do you have a specific question? I am sure you dont wish to identify this boat, nor do we know the asking price, but I would guess that it is a 1978 with its original Perkins. The engine issues are in some respects normal and to be expected, and you have the option of course to rebuild or replace (Could possibly be 2-8k to rebuild depending on labor versus 18-25 to replace) . The big concern there is what appears to be engine neglect...which may mean other things have also been neglected. As for the glass in the keel---that requires further analysis or photos. As for the bottom problems, my guess--it's just a hunch is that it was soda blasted and not taken down to laminates before it was recoated. You say it was peeled, but was it really peeled or just blasted? Prop, bearing, shaft can be done without removing the rudder and can easily be done at a fixed price by a mechanic.....although it might be advisable to move rudder if it appears to have any problems. I would be equally concerned about wiring, systems, thru-hulls, and as always---SAILS and RIGGING and SPARS. We might be able to be more helpful if we got more information or photos--but without identifying the boat of course. So....if you really want to own one of the finest and best proven designs in a serious cruising sailboat-- just estimate all the costs and time and go for it and negotiate the hell out of it because every other buyer will figure it out too. There are two things to balance. One is the romantic and aesthetic. The other is the practical and the financial. But in the final analysis--it's a boat...and life is short...and the Morgan 38 is an excellent boat.
 
to replace the cutlass bearing the prop shaft needs to come out. drop the rudder or pull the engine. You may want to continue looking. Is this the complete survey?
 
I would need to know more about all of those issues before making a call. Also, what are your expectations/requirements? If you want a boat to sail away, then for sure that boat isn't it. If you are looking for a bargain with things you can fix, maybe it isn't so bad, if the price is right.

There was a recall on early boats for tabbing issues in areas around the mast and the aft bulkhead for the head. The delaminated roving might be related to that, either the inadequate tabbing from the factory, or the fix wasn't applied right. If that is the case, it should be fixable and isn't indicative of other damage. But, you would need further investigation to know.

Many engines that age will be in poor condition. If you don't want to plan a rebuild or replacement, it might be best to look at boats that have already been repowered.

Cutlass is a 2 day job for you and a friend. A fair amount of work but not difficult. 3 days if you plan to do other work that is convenient at that time. Parts are less than $100. If the shaft log is indeed damaged that is a bigger problem, but what indication is there that it is damaged?

A peel and proper bottom is a big deal, but the cost to do it should be able to be estimated and taken off the price.

That said, there are usually several 382/3/4 for sale and any given time. The first time I looked at one, it was in really bad shape and not the boat for me. But I got a good enough look at it to know that I wanted a Morgan, and it was not at all hard to find one in good shape.
 

flightlead404

New Member
So my first post was a bit of a venting after a frustrating day lol

I'm not wed to this particular boat, nor am I wed to a Morgan per se, although I like the boat. If I'm back to square one there are Cal's, C&C's, at least 5 other Morgans, and a couple of Endeavours at least that fit the bill. I'm staying away from the Hunters and the like at the moment. I'm specifically looking for a boat I can spend the majority of 2021 on, since I'm fully remote for at least another year. I was planning on 2-3 years of sailing and maybe 50/50 or 75/25 living/cruising while I work, and if I like the "cruising lifestyle" sell the Morgan and drop 3-400k on something that can take me around the world, and if not, well my risk is limited to my resale loss on a 30-40k boat. To that end I'm not interested in taking on a project, I want to be in the water and sailing right away. However, I'm perfectly willing and capable of doing things like upgrading the electrical/solar, some engine work etc while operating the boat. In fact, I enjoy that sort of thing.

I don't want to buy a boat that I need to wait 2 months for a complete new bottom on.

This vessel in particular is a 1984 384. Its got a lot of things going for it. Full new Garmin package including big plotter, radar, all the whizz bang stuff, brand new suit of very nice sails, mostly new running rigging, rig and spars are original but in good shape. No leaks, finish is good. Reefer inop but I knew that going in and planned to reconfigure it. Hull and deck are sound, no soft spots. One little creak on the deck walking on the starboard side right over the forward bulkhead, no moisture issues. New bimini, dodger, brightwork needs work but its not toast.

The engine work is all pretty doable. I don't think it needs a rebuild but it needs head gasket, front and rear seals, pan seal, pumps rebuilt, injectors rebuilt. Once the cloud of smoke and fuel had cleared on the first cold start (engine had not run in months minumum) it ran fine just dripping oil all over and loads of exhaust leaks. Work but manageable.

Cutlass bearing, bigger job for me, but probably doable.

Its just the bottom. I have zero experience. Broker is telling me one thing, the two(!) survey pros are telling me something else. I hear "all boats have blisters" and I hear "this was poorly done and needs to be redone this is into the glass".

I would say that there were maybe 15-20 general areas with overall dozens of dime sized blisters that can be opened with a finger nail. In some the "finish layer" whatever that is has gone in a dime size area a glass is clearly visible.
 

caveman

New Member
FWIW - Regarding blisters: I was in a similar boat (pun intended). I pulled the trigger on what I think is a steal on a project boat last summer without a survey. It is a 50+ yo 1969 Morgan 38. Bottom was pretty shaggy so I wasn't sure what I would find after haul out and scrape. Boy, was I surprised. Blisters galore! Some I thought rather large! I was all prepared to have the boat yard repair them (the only place in the area with a haul out and he is partial to shiny fishing boats, not sailboats... and it was going to be expensive). It was discouraging. They were going to take a couple weeks, and a well-known sailboat expert in the area said to do it right, you need to open them up for months and let them completely dry. I decided to hire a surveyor and see what I had (couldn't do sea trial... already hauled and work in progress/thru hull work).

To my surprise my surveyor (very good, knowledgeable, with excellent reputation...I brought him in from 3 hours away) said "blisters won't sink your boat". Of course I understood he was talking about the ones I had. I am sure at some point a blister becomes something bigger and then a major problem. He said, "paint the bottom and go sailing". He also meant "after you fix some of these other major things".

Without looking at it it is tough to tell, but I could send you pics of what mine looked like :D It was horrified. His advice was to fix the other stuff, paint the bottom, go enjoy it and worry about it at next haul out. Maybe a few months on the hard somewhere else where I work on some other major projects (not place around here).

This is just anecdotal info. I had blisters everywhere and several blisters that were bigger than fist sized, glass visible.
 
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caveman

New Member
Realize also, that you can use that as a bargaining point. I hear all the time that list price and actual selling price can differ quite a bit.

Bottom paint should take maybe a week. Do the shaft work at that time.
 
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pmf44

Member
I am not sure if there is a specific set of questions here or a specific set of comments or responses that can directly assist. We dont have photos, don't know your specific circumstances, goals, budget, skills etc. Almost all glass boats are likely to eventually have blisters and then need a bottom job. So every boat and boater has a different situation. The guy who designed trees and wood did so to eventually turn to compost, and the guy who designed fiberglass did so to do the same--only much slower. No matter what you do, someone else may choose a different path and if you look toward an eventual resale, it will certainly have an impact--again, no mater what you choose. No matter how much money you put out, an older sailboat will almost almost have a "ceiling" as to the resale value. Repairing blisters in a piecemeal may may be the best route, but for real and long term solution, scraping or peeling and new barrier coats aka "a bottom job" may be necessary. For some boats and some sailors, soda blasting and repair of the biggest blisters may be enough--then repaint and seal. Not so for every boat. In such cases, why not get a local fiberglass repair specialist to give you an opinion and an estimate? Even a lengthy dry-out period on land may not be enough. If water got in, then tried to get out again and then was dried out...what's to stop it from happening again...and again--and in more places? Old boats get older every day...just like sailors. There are many treatments and therapies. As for old diesels, if a boater is going to do "head gasket, front and rear seals, pan seal, pumps rebuilt, injectors rebuilt. Once the cloud of smoke and fuel had cleared on the first cold start (engine had not run in months minimum) it ran fine just dripping oil all over and loads of exhaust leaks. Work but manageable...." and the cutlass bearing--you are pretty much close to a rebuild already, so why not go all the way and go for pistons, rods etc and do that complete rebuild....?..Or walk away....?
 

flightlead404

New Member
Thanks for the input. I passed on that boat and started from ground zero and have ended up going in an entirely different direction. Squeezed between extremely limited inventory and the speed at which good boats get snatched up. Like 3 days on listing, had 3 different boats I saw sell in a matter of hours between when I saw and when I called to offer. Seems like only the junk or way overpriced (or more often both) boats are sitting long enough. Two I looked at were bought my someone sight unseen off the ad.

I stumbled across a boat that was completely outside my parameters while I was looking at a Hunter 386 and now have a contract on an '02 Hunter 420 Passage. Significantly larger and more expensive that I had planned but gorgeous, loaded with extras, and ready to go.
 

terry_thatcher

Terence Thatcher
Is it true that the Hunter 420 only has 13 gallons of diesel? Not adequate for a cruising boat. Also has very swept back spreaders. Also a negative for serious cruising. But if you like her for other reasons, it is your call.
 

flightlead404

New Member
Is it true that the Hunter 420 only has 13 gallons of diesel? Not adequate for a cruising boat. Also has very swept back spreaders. Also a negative for serious cruising. But if you like her for other reasons, it is your call.
There seems to be some conflicting information flying around. salboatdata and wikipedia for example say 13G. However Hunter says 60G which is more like it. I wonder if someone saw 60G and thought it read 60L then converted that to gallons.

Depends on what you mean by cruising. This is for US East Coast coastal cruising and Bahamas next year. Its intended to be a "try the lifestyle" boat. If I like the lifestyle, I'll sell it in 2-3 years and get something at 3x the $ that is blue water/long range capable. which is why purchasing something I wouldn't take a bath on was important.
 

terry_thatcher

Terence Thatcher
You seem to have thought it through. Good luck on your purchase. The fuel capacity on SailboatData says 13 gallons for the Hunter 420 and 60 gallons for the Hunter 42 Passage with wing keel.
 

flightlead404

New Member
You seem to have thought it through. Good luck on your purchase. The fuel capacity on SailboatData says 13 gallons for the Hunter 420 and 60 gallons for the Hunter 42 Passage with wing keel.
Thanks

Its a 420 Passage with shoal draft. I have the Hunter brochure, which says 60gal.

I see ads for the boat that say both 60 and 50 gal.

I guess there's only one way to find out.

"Passage" is a bit of a misnomer however, there's certainly no suitable berth for sleeping "on passage" :)
 
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