1988 F36 w/wet deck - considering making offer anyway

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1988 F36 w/wet deck - considering making offer anyway

Postby Novaturient » Mon Aug 08, 2016 3:48 pm

Hi Freedom owners!

My partner Chuck and I went to see a 1988 F36 sloop on Saturday. For the first time since we started looking for a blue water boat $60k or less, we've previewed a boat we really like and could see ourselves cruising in.

Our plan is to sail from the west coast across the Pacific for a long term South Pacific tour... maybe more if the boat, our health, and our budget are up to it. We have been searching fruitlessly (and disappointingly) for a 35-40 foot cutter or ketch with solid fiberglass hull, center cockpit, modified full encapsulate keel, skeg-hung rudder, and excellent engine access.

We recently picked up a copy of "Blue Water Sailing on a Budget" by Capt Jim Elfers, and the Freedom 36/38 is counted in as a top 20 blue water boat which can be found for $50k or less. So when we found one on Yachtworld in our area, we had to go check it out.

The F36 sloop with its aft cockpit, cored hull, spade rudder, fin keel, narrow engine access, and stand-alone CF mast is REALLY "out-of-the-box" thinking for us.

We had an unexpected reaction to this boat, even though she doesn't meet any of our most basic criteria other than size. We are very fond of her. We love her simplicity and the idea of no standing rigging!!! This is the first time we've had an "emotional reaction" to any boat we've seen. We might say we "have a feeling about her" -- which makes no sense to us logically because her features are so far departed from the criteria we'd previously decided on. We spent all day Sunday obsessively researching Freedom yachts and were comforted a lot by what we read on this forum. You guys really seem to love your Freedom boats! Also nice to see so many of them hitting blue water.

I do have a serious question though and I really need your help and insights! The broker told us that a recent survey found two moist delaminated spots on the deck, one of which is 8" from the mast partner. This defect may put the cost of the boat WELL under our purchase budget. (We plan on spending three years to refit and prep our boat for offshore and expect to put $40k - $50k into a refit.)

My most critical question is this: If we invested the time and money in repairing and recoring the deck, will it be "good as new" again or would the deck strength forever be compromised? My biggest concern is that the larger of the two moist spots was near the mast partner. Once repaired, will the deck be able to support offshore stresses placed on it by the mast?

Also, I've noted that the hull coring ends at 12" before the keel and that all factory through-hulls are installed in this area, so that no core material can get wet from leaky through-hulls. Is the same true for the mast partner area on the deck? Is it balsa-cored all the way to the mast partner, or did the builders leave a margin of solid fiberglass around it, as they did around the keel and deck-to-hull joint?

My last question was about keel bolts. Before we met the F36, we were very leery of bolted-on keels. The recent survey showed good sound keel boats with no signs of corrosion. I would love to hear from other Freedom owners about their keels and how sturdy (or not) they have been over the years.

Of course, if we do make an offer we will get our own survey done, including haul-out for hull and keel inspection. If there's delamination of the hull, we'll probably back out of the deal. That might be more work and cost than we are willing to invest.

Thank you all in advance for your helpful insights. Your time is very much appreciated.

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Re: 1988 F36 w/wet deck - considering making offer anyway

Postby CaptLen » Wed Aug 10, 2016 10:26 pm

I don't know about the deck core- the person to speak to would be Paul Dennis at Warren River Boatworks. He is more than "very" knowledgeable. Also very nice person. Mark Edwards (now a yacht broker) is likewise very knowledgeable but I don't know his contact info. Google Warren River Boat Works, Warren RI for Paul. The boats are great. I hope you can get one.
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Re: 1988 F36 w/wet deck - considering making offer anyway

Postby bad » Thu Aug 11, 2016 10:31 am

It was built by humans do it can be fixed by humans... Most I'd the glass layup is likely low tech so some new balsa core and biaxilal mat will go a long way. If the deck needs to be repainted, it's much nicer to work from the top. Cosmetically it is often easier to come in from the bottom. In any case, a good repair is likely better than original. Consider getting a repair estimate and making an offer accordingly.

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Re: 1988 F36 w/wet deck - considering making offer anyway

Postby lewharve » Thu Aug 11, 2016 9:39 pm

I think sail or cruising world had an article replacing balsa core
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Re: 1988 F36 w/wet deck - considering making offer anyway

Postby mike cunningham » Fri Aug 12, 2016 12:51 pm

And there are a ton of articles about core replacement via Google search.

I would be very suprised if the partners would be compromised by relatively minor core delam. I don't have any facts but freedom did a reasonable engineering job so I suspect partners are pretty solid. I would tap it out and see where the core starts. I would give that a shot on my 30 just to check it myself but she is not available to me right now.

With regard to cruising. The only complaint I would have about my 30 is the limited sail plan. You basically have the main and the camberspar. I think for cruising you would want to consider expanding your options. Some people here have done that and written about it here.

When my camberspar failed I was down to my storm jib. The camber spar, which is attached to the forestay with a bolted fitting, had to stay up on the bow for 36 hours while the weather cleared up. It was a huge PIA getting the thing off while underway with nuts and bolts and tools on a bouncy, wet, bow. Definitely need to improve on this.

My boat remains overpowered with jib and 3rd reef in anything over 30 kts. The 3rd reef takes down about 70 percent the main but you are starting from this huge sail. Although I have a trisail, I do not have a second track or gate track to allow me to raise it. this is something else I need to address and I think a cruiser might want to do that as well.

Bottom line is you will probably want to look carefully at sailplan options for cruising your freedom IMO.
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Re: 1988 F36 w/wet deck - considering making offer anyway

Postby F32Circle » Fri Aug 12, 2016 4:32 pm

Just for reference, Mark Edwards is at Cape Yachts in South Dartmouth, MA:
Phone 401-247-4035 or cell ph 774-526-0914
Mark was so knowledgeable and helpful to us in finding our F-32. He was a key guy at Freedom and TPI so really knows these boats.
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Re: 1988 F36 w/wet deck - considering making offer anyway

Postby Novaturient » Wed Aug 17, 2016 12:15 pm

Hello Everyone!

I want to thank you for taking the time to reply. Your comments were helpful.

We reached out Paul Dennis via email, and at his request, sent him a photo of the small area near the mast partner where core moisture was detected. Chuck spoke with Paul on the phone yesterday morning and the conversation was positive. Paul felt that the repair could be done as a DYI, that there would not be a need to pull the mast, and that the overall integrity of the deck would not be compromised.

I've heard it said that "sometimes, you don't choose the boat -- the boat chooses you." Although we were initially looking for something very different than a Freedom Yachts 36 sloop, there are so many things we like about her and you might say we are "moved." So, we have decided to make an offer!!! We feel that Intrepid will suit us, our budget, and our needs very well, and that she'd be a great fit for us as our first cruising vessel. Of course nothing is written in stone until the offer is accepted and the survey and sea trial are completed.

If the purchase goes through, we have some work ahead of us, but compared to some of the other vessels we've seen in our budget range, it's not terribly intimidating. As newbies at DYI boat repair and maintenance and offshore cruising, we will be visiting and posting on this forum frequently!

We are definitely going to look at sail options... possibly go with a new custom main with a square top and 3 reef points, with the first reef point being where a second would normally be, and the third reef point being where a 4th reef would be. (We want to be able to reduce plenty of sail area for strong winds.) We also want to add an electric windlass, upgrade ground tackle, install a composting head and swap out the holding tank for another fuel tank, install a water maker, solar panels, wind vane... the list goes on. 8-)

Thanks again for your responses! Please do feel free to add anything else you think might be helpful for us.

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Re: 1988 F36 w/wet deck - considering making offer anyway

Postby gamayun » Thu Aug 18, 2016 3:36 pm

Welcome to the Freedom world! You're buying a solid boat, but one that has probably not had many upgrades over the years. I've been working on mine since I bought her almost 4 years ago. But don't be frightened off because it would be much worse on any other boat in your price range!! Everyone who's been on my boat is amazed at how strong she is and how it has held up for 28 years compared to others. I suggest sailing your new boat for a while before jumping into the upgrades so you can best understand what you might want/need. Your initial list is good, but you might realize after some time with the boat that some things will take higher priority and others will become less important. For example, you already have a 32-gal fuel tank and the engine will burn about 1/2 gal per hour at around 5-6 knots. This is a lot of mileage especially when what you really want to do is sail, right? I assume you're talking about removing the extra holding tank in the bow and not the original 12-gal in the bulkhead? If it's the former, that's not a bad idea to take this out of the bow; but IMO I would not think that putting in an extra fuel tank would make it very sea-kindly, especially with all the weight of the anchor chain that's already there. It would be better to keep the bow higher.

All the best on your purchase! Don't forget to send pictures :)

s/v Kynntana
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