Links for this page:

Repairing Timber boat
Repairing GRP Boats
Selling a boat tips

The MCA website & MGN 628 fishing vessel standards MCA website

SCMS FV authority SCMS

Mecal FV authority MECAL

Fishing Vessel page on this website HERE


Hillyard Owners Association site HERE

Hillyard Facebook pages HERE

Yachtsnet yacht class archive. Very informative list of yacht classes with photos & details HERE

Ever wanted more information on timber identification then look HERE

Rope Assemblies, a commercial supplier of various wire rope for commercial use including marine rigging both stainless & galvanised but with a large amount of useful information and stock.. Worth a visit and quote as usually a less expensive supplier than dedicated marine stockists HERE

Selling a Boat Tips

Selling privately or through a broker. If you live a long way from the boat then possibly a local broker would be easier but more costly. Do not overvalue the boat. Keeping a boat that is £3000 overpriced for another 18 months and then taking a much lower offer in the end is a very costly move.

Remember when you bought the boat and what attracted you to it, price, condition, location? what did you like & what did you not like. Think about putting those things right where possible.

The first view of the boat from a distance is enough for a buyer to decide whether they are going to like her or not and that is difficult to put right once it is in the buyer's unconscious

Once aboard make sure the boat is clean and tidy. All bedding stowed, all cooking completed & tidied away. Everything stowed away. all the berths fully accessible and all heavy gear such as dinghies & outboards temporarily off or out of the way so the buyer can see how much room you have.

Make sure the engine is clean & tidy & wash the bilges if they are oil covered beforehand. Check the oil & water levels in the engine and generally convince the buyer that your boat has been well cared for & maintained.

Empty lockers out of as much non essential personal stuff as possible. The buyer wants to see their stuff in the lockers, not yours.

Demonstrate all installed equipment.
They buyer will ask questions, have answers ready. How old is the rigging ....when was the last survey, how long have you had the boat.. why are you selling her.. When was the engine last serviced, when were any keelbolts checked...has she been epoxy coated whene & why. So many questions so have all the answers.

Some owners will get their vessel surveyed before trying to sell. Sometimes it is helpful, but only if the survey is very thorough and not just an attempt to have an input on what the surveyor reports upon, so most buyers will get their own survey although there are times when the report can be assigned to a new owner by the original surveyor if the buyer has enough faith in the report.

Most buyers will make an offer much less than the owner expects. No matter how low the offer, try not to take it personally. They have spent time & money to get to where they are, so there is every chance that to avoid the loss of this time and money they might increase their offer given that the boat is obviously good enough for them to consider buying. and make a starting offer. Look around and see what other boats are getting sold for, not necessarily for what they are asking.

Keep an eye on the local market and what boats are DEFINITELY selling. Priced too low, peolple think there might be a problem & get scared, too high & you get no enquiries . A bit of a tightrope walk.



Repairing a timber boat.

Timber can be extremely satisfying to work with but sometimes our own skills leave us less than satisfied.
If making new joinery the choice of design will be guided by the existing design unless going for a complete rebuild, so always design something that would appear to have been an original installation. That way you will retain the value of the vessel. You can use modern glues & methods but keep the visual the same. Use the same timber. The most used red/brown timbers in boat joinery are Teak, Mahogany (Sapele is nearly the same) Iroko Utile and occasionally afrormosia but this timber is no longer permitted to be sold. The Pale coloured timbers are Oak, and Ash. and some of the softwood, Larch, Spruce & Columbian pine A timber known as Idigbo is very pale, a hardwood & easy to work and can be used alongside oak or ash in some cases. It is very durable & quite light in weight. Ash will not survive externally for many years but has enormous resilience and strength when sound.
Structural components
Oak is often used for bent and steamed frames. Iroko is used for planking as is mahogany & teak. Teak is frighteningly expensive to use anywhere but can be used almost anywhere..
Iroko, Teak, Mahogany, Sapele, Larch sometimes Oak,sometimes Columbian Pine are the most common planking timbers. Idigbo is a bit underrated but will make good planking.
Beam shelves, carlins.
These will often be Columbian Pine, Larch or in some cases Iroko but heavy section Iroko is not easy to bend.
Centreline structure, Keels etc.
Many builders used Elm up until the mid 1960"s until Dutch Elm disease ravaged the forests. It was replaced with Iroko in nearly all cases. On some old vessels oak is used, but this reacts badly with ferrous bolts.
Only ever two types of timber, Columbian Pine, very durable & strong but heavier than the high quality & lighter Sitka Spruce. However it is not overly durable & not as strong
Marine Plywood
This is such a difficult area as there are so many grades and qualities. Some marine plywood is very low quality and no better than a cheap exterior grade. Both Marine plywood & exterior grade plywood have to use similar glues, the main difference being the structure & species of the unseen cores & the number of unseen voids. One important variant with both grades is the number of veneers. A plywood with thicker veneers but fewer is much less strong than a plywood with many more thin veneers. Many high quality exterior plywood sheets are better quality than low quality marine ply, The strongest plywood I have come across is birch plywood. exceptionally strong and available in several grades..

On timber boats there will be hundreds of fastenings. The main things to be concerned about are (1) corrosion (2) strength (3) mixing metals (4) suitability.
Below Corroded keelbolt Corrosion will mainly affect brass, mild steel (galvanised) and stainless steel although there are several grades of stainless and some are much better than others. The trouble with all stainless steel is that it is unpredictable underwater and some fastenings suffer from serious crevice corrosion caused by lack of oxygen in damp or wet timber. Bronze is occasionally replaced by stainless.. Sometimes this works. Sometimes not.
Copper is nearly always used for plank/frame fastenings. These are cooper nails square shank with copper roves (similar to an old copper halfpenny with a small centre hole) these are simply riveted over the nail end once fitted are almost permanent. Very rarely suffer from deterioration. One concern though, if a copper nail comes into contact with a ferrous bolt at any point then the timber suffers from electrochemical damage & the ferrous bolt corrodes much faster.
Bronze screws are often used for plank fastenings. These do not last forever and they do eventually corrode.
Brass will dezincify and eventually crumble so never use for critical fastenings.
Galvanised fastenings have a reasonable life depending where they are used but must never come into contact with copper or bronze. Aluminum will be slow reacting with galvanised fastenings but aluminium and stainless steel are an extremely bad combination as the aluminium will corrode very badly.
There are numerous adhesives available that were not available decades ago. The main structural glues are epoxy resin based glue, but the timber must be very dry to be successful, so some limitations here. Polyurethane Glue is a relatively modern glue but it has found a way into boat building as it is totally waterproof, very reliable on accurate joints and is much more tolerant with respect to timber dryness, in fact it performs better if the timber has a higher moisture content (not wet though). The long standing PVA external glues, the low price white woodworking glue (external grade) are cheap & strong but generally best for joinery but definitely not for underwater use..Resorcinol glue is a very reliable glue commonly used for mast making. It leaves a black line & is often used for plywood manufacture. It is very sensitive to environmental conditions when used, Temperature & humidity have to be controlled.
Cascamite type glues were once very polular in boatbuilding. Powder needs to be kept dry and if used precisely as instructions is very strong & waterproof.


Repairing GRP boats

Repairing GRP boats is fairly straightforward as the basic skill is much easier than the skill required with timber repairs. The skill with GRP comes at the final finish if repairing an external hull as getting an invisible finish both in colour and shape takes a considerable amount of experience. However, with the correct method of repair, the strength can be very high.
When repairing hull damage, firstly identify the reason for the damage, Impact or stress. Impact usually requires simply isolating the extent & making good with new laminates onto correctly prepared old laminate . Stress damage can be tricky as it is important to both repair strongly & prevent repeated failure. Generally a surveyor should be able to guide . Always use epoxy resins and generally glass cloth or woven cloth for structural repairs above & below the waterline as polyester resin does not have the same strength of attachment to cured GRP.
Some Do's & Dont's

  1. Polyester resin can have a variable amount of hardener added to suit the temperature conditions within degree but epoxy MUST have precisely the correct amount of hardener irrespective of temperatures.. If not enough it will not cure, if too much it remains too soft. In cold conditions use fast hardener, in hot conditions use slow hardener.
  2. Avoid laminating in damp conditions. Avoid laminating at the end of the afternoon in early spring & autumn.
  3. Never laminate over non prepared areas, always grind back an inch or two past the proposed area of repair.
  4. Try this ttip: once laminated & whilst still "pliable" use a thin plastic bag to cover the repair and you will be able to squeeze the laminate around in order to position it exactly. Leave the bag in position , it will simple release after curing. No mess..
  5. Always make sure the new laminates are fully wetted out & compressed. You should not be able to see any dry cloth mat (white) areas within the new repairs.
  6. Remember that large mixed quantities of resin left in containers or poured into large cavities will heat up as they cure. These temperatures can easily be high enough for the resin to smoke with this heat and potentially cause overheating & in the most serious of circumstances, cause a fire..
  7. Epoxy resin will not penetrate emulsion bound chop strand mat (CSM), this is for polyester resin, You must use powder bound CSM with epoxy resin. Most woven cloth will work with both polyester & epoxy.
    Restoring the finish
    before and after major hull repairsWeathered Gel Coat can be brought back to life in many cases by cutting & polishing. Polishing on its own will not generally achieve anything as all it does is add shine to a chalked finish, not restore the original gel coat colour.This can only be done by literally removing the top film of gel coat. In most cases the gel coat on a yacht should be at lease 3mm or more thickness so you can remove a few microns without any problems. (do a small test area first) This is achieved by either cutting compound on a polishing machine if the chalking is relatively light but for deeper chalking then consider using 1200 wet or dry paper on an orbital saner. You might be surprised. You have to finish off with cutting polish and final buffing but it could transform the gel coat.

Links to useful pages on this site
Yacht surveys
Yacht surveys timber & general info
Fishing vessel inspection for the MCA
Survey faults & photos
Shipwright info
More contact info
PDF Articles on all subjects
Links to useful sites.
Selling a boat tips
Repair Timber & GRP boats
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