Potential GB Woodie owner!!

Potential GB Woodie owner!!

Postby glein » Wed Aug 14, 2013 1:38 pm

We have looked at several used GB's and would love to talk to some current owners about their experiences owning a woodie. We live in the Seattle area and are former sailboat owners that are ready for a new experience. If you could offer some advice or point us in the right direction it would be greatly appreciated.. Thanks Gary and Christy
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Postby babybanks » Wed Aug 14, 2013 9:46 pm

I have a 1973 36 foot GB Sedan with twin 120 Lehmans. She is kept in a boat house. I bought her in 2010 from a couple in Port Orchard that also kept her housed in a boat house and had owned her for about 10 years. They bought her in San Diego and had her trucked up to the Northwest.


In 2011 I took her up to The Broughtons and cruised for 81 days. About 200 hours. In 2012 I took her as far north as Juneau, Alaska; and put 400 hours on her. This summer I took her up to Desolation Sound and put 100 hours on her.

We take good care of her and she has never given us any cause to worry. She looks good and people are often surprised she is wood. We've done some of the things you can read about in the Repair Section. Replacing Window Tracks was a biggie for me.

I'm happy to answer any specific questions you want answered....

N
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Postby John Caples » Thu Aug 15, 2013 10:08 am

Xanadu is my second GB woodie and I have owned her for 12 years. She will be on display at the Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival the weekend after Labor Day. Stop by and I would be happy to talk to you.

John Caples
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Postby grich737 » Thu Aug 15, 2013 10:21 pm

There has been much talk about owning a wood boat. Bob L is the expert. I have come to believe that a wood boat is not that much different than a glass one. There are plenty of glass boats that have wood problems as you can research this on the forum. What I have learned is that with any boat you need to keep up with it. That being said I love our wood boat and I don't think I would ever own a glass GB. A good friend of my has a 1906 65 ft sail boat all wood and also loves it. good luck in your search Greg
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Postby Marin Faure » Tue Aug 20, 2013 9:02 pm

From talking to a LOT of wood boat owners, from GBs to Alaksan 49s to classic Chris Crafts to 50-year old Richardson cabin cruisers, in our climate you are WAY, WAY better off if you can keep the boat in a boathouse or at least in covered moorage.

From what virtually all of them have told me, a wood boat, particularly a 40-plus year old one, that is kept outside in the weather up here will be a constant battle to keep up with, let alone ahead of.

While we have a 40 year old boat, it is from the first batch of fiberglass GB36s made. As it is, it has a rainforest of teak trim on the exterior and even though we go up to the boat almost every weekend year round, staying on it if the winds conspire to keep us from going out, we are barely keeping up with it. This is partly due to my job, which has me traveling a fair amount. And partly due to the weather, which other than the couple of summer months, tends to be damp if not actually raining and conspires against doing brightwork and painting outside.

But because we use the boat year round, we do not keep it in a boathouse, because who wants to stay on a boat in a boathouse when if the boat is outside we have a "free" view of the San Juan Islands, sunsets, the bay, etc.? :)

For this reason we would never own a wood GB, or any wood boat, as much as we like them. To me, wood boats are like turbochargers on engines--- they are truly wonderful things as long as they are somebody else's.
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Postby Richard Werner » Tue Aug 20, 2013 10:25 pm

Xanadu is a beautiful example of a well kept woodie.

Rich
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Postby Bob Lowe » Tue Aug 20, 2013 11:42 pm

For this reason we would never own a wood GB, or any wood boat, as much as we like them. To me, wood boats are like turbochargers on engines--- they are truly wonderful things as long as they are somebody else's.

I would be interested in learning what it is about a wood GB that is so different from a fiberglass GB that would prevent you from owning one.

What is it about a fiberglass GB that makes it superior in your mind?

Just curious, Marin. :)
Good luck,
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Postby grich737 » Wed Aug 21, 2013 10:38 pm

I too would like to know. There are plenty of fiberglass boats like the CHB that has all kinds of deck problems Bayliner is another one. I believe its the company building the boat. Look at the current projects on going that are being posted, at least with a wood boat, the skills can be learned to self repair if needed. I don't know how many people know how to spray gel coat but there are quite a few members painting there wood boats at the dock. Wood deck vs fiberglass wood decks, in both let the bungs leak and you have problems. All boats need maintained, wood vs fiberglass I just don't see the difference. I read an article sometime ago about boat builders. The change came because the labor/material cost in building a wood boat is 10 fold.
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Postby Tom Overs » Thu Aug 22, 2013 5:44 pm

I always try and tell people that the only reason for building boat with fibreglass has nothing to do with running out of trees..... It's to do with skill sets and fibreglass is cheaper to produce.

The look in their eyes is fun to watch..

That's said, as I'm one who spends about 50 hrs a winter doing maintenance I have to say I enjoy doing so, I sometimes envy those who just go home for the winter period and sit by a warm fire. Little ship however gets many a envious remark as apposed to the dull fibreglass lookalikes.

Wood boats need people who love them..... Fibreglass needs somebody who wants them..

That's not to say that some owners don't love their FG boats but in general woodies need the extra TLC to keep them A1, without that they will be a project that isn't welcome eventually.

Most boaters love to look at great wooden boats, not many want the time and effort in keeping them in tip top condition, just look at many FG boats that have peeling varnish.. Personally I really look forward to the winter period so I can do some work..... Not to say that the cruising isn't the main goal but I enjoy working on LS., as do many Woodie owners.

If you decide on a woodie, do it for the right reasons, if you want something you can walk away from for months at a time ...... Buy a caravan and charter a boat.

Tom. :P
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Postby Marin Faure » Fri Aug 23, 2013 1:45 am

Bob Lowe wrote:I would be interested in learning what it is about a wood GB that is so different from a fiberglass GB that would prevent you from owning one.

What is it about a fiberglass GB that makes it superior in your mind?

Just curious, Marin. :)


As boats, I don't think a glass GB is superior to a wood GB or vice versa. Our opinion about not ever owning a wood boat-- any wood boat-- in this climate is based solely on upkeep. I am not retired and won't be for some time. So other than vacations our time on our boat is limited to weekends. And weekends in our fickle weather simply don't provide enough time to do things like painting and brightwork properly, properly being eight to ten coats in the case of brightwork.

I might get two on, and then the weather sets in, we've got another commitments, I'm on travel, etc., and it might be a couple of months or more before the weather and our schedules line up again to do more work on that particular project. Or maybe the season runs out and the project sits all winter, by the end of which those two coats are starting to fail in places.

If I was retired and could spend a week or more at a time during our drier months working on the boat it would be another story. Or if the boat was in a boathouse. But as I explained earlier we don't want the boat in a boathouse because of the way we use it year round.

I actually really enjoy working on the teak trim and rails in our boat. I find it relaxing and the high-quality teak on our '73 boat is a joy to keep looking nice. So it's not for a lack of wanting to do the work that keeps jobs from getting done, it's a lack of time plus weather that has a habit of taking what time there is away.

But at least all that suffers on our boat is just the external trim. The flying bridge structure and cabin walls and hull need virtually no attention at all other than washing and waxing.

The lead broker at the Bellingham GB dealer who found our boat for us and who has since become a good friend put it best when we started talking to him in 1998 about getting a boat. At the time he owned GB32-7 and was in the middle of what started as a repower and turned into an almost total rebuild of the boat as problem after problem was uncovered. The boat had been an outside boat and the flying bridge, for example, proved to be riddled with dry rot and had to be totally replaced.

He said (I'm paraphrasing a bit) "If you leave an older fiberglass boat outside for a year and come back to it, it will be incredibly dirty but other than that it will be essentially unchanged. If you leave an older wood boat outside for a year and come back to it, it will be incredibly dirty and very possibly have some serious problems developing if rainwater got down inside the boat, one or more windows started to leak, and so on."

And from all the wood boat owners I've talked to over the last 15 years, their stories bear this out.

We have seen some lovely wood GBs over the years. Last year we saw an absolutely spectacular Alaskan 49 up in the Gulf Islands. That boat was so perfect I thought the wood hull had been replaced with a glass hull. And every one of these boats-- every one of them-- was boathouse kept. When I asked one of the owners of the Alaskan if it bugged them to go up year round and stay on a boat in a boathouse for the weekend they said absolutely. But there was no way-- and he emphasized the "no way" a couple of times-- they would ever have a boat like that if they couldn't keep it in a boathouse. It would simply be too much to keep up with in our climate.

This is the same thing I've heard from every other GB woody owner I've ever talked to. To say nothing of the classic Chris Craft owners and owners of all manner of other types of wood boats.

There was a fellow in our marina who lived on a classic, 40-something foot, wood Chris Craft cruiser for probably eleven years. It was outside, but because he lived on it he could keep after it year round. While it was not a showboat, it was always in very nice condition despite the best efforts of the weather.

Then about three years ago he moved off the boat and put it up for sale. He still lived in town so he came down when he could and did what maintenance he could in the time he had. But it was amazing to see how fast that boat deteriorated. The brightwork and paint started to go. Windows began to leak and damage the interior. The boat wasn't neglected, he just couldn't keep abreast of it like could when he lived on it.

The boat finally sold earlier this summer and the family that bought it face a monumental uphill job to get it back into shape.

I saw the previous owner just before the boat old. He was doing some task or another on the foredeck and I said something about how a boat can really get away from one in the weather. He shook his head and said, "I know. When I moved off I should have put it in a boathouse. Biggest mistake I've ever made, but it's just too expensive."

And that is why we will never own a wood boat.
Marin
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Last edited by Marin Faure on Fri Aug 23, 2013 2:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Marin Faure » Fri Aug 23, 2013 2:03 am

Tom Overs wrote:That's said, as I'm one who spends about 50 hrs a winter doing maintenance I have to say I enjoy doing so, I sometimes envy those who just go home for the winter period and sit by a warm fire. Little ship however gets many a envious remark as apposed to the dull fibreglass lookalikes.


Tom, if I recall correctly, Little Ship lives inside during the winter, doesn't she?
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Postby Tom Overs » Fri Aug 23, 2013 3:41 am

Correct Marin, Little Ship goes into a shed every winter so I can do all my tasks. As I have said before, I enjoy the work and look at it as part of the fun of owning a Woodie.

I did spend a couple of winters in the water but wasn't happy not being able to look after her and when spring came I wanted to be cruising not varnishing and painting.

This year, I dropped in the water ready to cruise at the first opportunity in early March. I arrived in my summer berth beginning of April. She will be afloat for another 5 weeks then its back into the shed. This year the shed will be in Scotland, some 250miles from home.

Just a point re Fglass and wood..... A couple of years ago I decided to paint the hull on little ship, at the same time a guy was starting to polish his hull on a similar sized boat. Little Ship was rubbed down and painted before he completed polishing his hull.

So many of the Fglass boats get left and never get a coat of polish, that's what they can do. Woodies can't be left as they will as stated deteriorate.

IMO keeping Fglass boat in tip top condition is just as much work as keeping a Woodie tip top, the difference is with Fglass you can walk away if you need too, and just polish it next year.

Tom.
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Born to cruise...........once forced to work!
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Postby Keith Morris » Fri Aug 23, 2013 10:47 am

However, when gelcoat starts to go south and get chalky because of neglect, it is very difficult to bring back, if you can do it at all. Pores open up and you have to end up painting the gelcoat if you want a glossy finish.

We sold our pristine 36 woody to a guy that did not have covered moorage, let alone a boat house. I shudder to think of what it looks like now after even one winter outside.
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