• Water, Water Everywhere

  • Samuel Coleridge wrote Rime of the Ancient Mariner somewhere around 1797. Perhaps his most famous stanza came in Part 2 of the 7 part poem:

  • Water, Water, everywhere,
    Nor any drop to drink;
    Water, water, everywhere
    And all the boards did shrink.

  • I’d wager there isn’t one yachtsman who hasn’t recited those famous lines when at sea on a day when the sails are slack and no wind is forecast.

    Water is a miracle substance. Our body is 75% water; about forty-two liters in the average adult. Water covers roughly three-quarters of the earth’s surface but only 1% is fit to drink. 97% is salty and 2% is contained in glaciers and the polar ice caps. Health professionals tell us to drink at least six 8 oz. glasses per day. Some of us even put a wee dram in our evening cocktail. What would we do without it? We all love water, right?

    Well… maybe not everyone. Just ask the guy whose insurance surveyor has informed him that water has encroached into the core between the inner and outer layer of fiberglass on his favorite floating toy. Coleridge must have experienced something like that while observing his Albatross because he wrote in Part 3:

  • At first it seemed a little speck,
    And then it seemed a mist,
    It moved and moved, and took at last
    A certain shape, I wist.

  • That certain shape taken by water soaked balsa or other soft coring in your hull is called ‘mush’. Two risk factors increase your odds of hearing those dreaded words: “wet core”. They are: 1) your hull is over fifteen years old, and 2) it was built in the far-east. But we shouldn’t limit this discussion to just hulls. At Dutch Wharf we’ve treated vessels with severe moisture incursion in decks and in cabin superstructures as well.
    So… what steps do you take if you suspect a problem with your vessel?

    • Seek out a yard with experience in removing the outer layer of fiberglass, routing out the soft core, replacing it with a more permanent, closed cell material and replacing the outer layer with new glass that is finished to mirror-like perfection.
    • Ask for references from other customers who had similar problems.
    • Check the references and ask to see the finished product.
    • Contract with the selected yard to perform moisture tests using cored samples from your hull to determine the extent of damage. Arrange to be present during the testing, if possible.
    • Ask for a detailed estimate and time frame for repair.
    • (Note: This would also be a good time to consider repainting or to AWLGRIP the boat if it is looking oxidized.)
      Dutch Wharf has years of experience restoring older, water damaged fiberglass boats to like-new condition. Whether your surveyor has alerted you to a potential problem, or you simply want the comfort of knowing your older boat is still sound, call or drop by the yard. We’ll be happy to discuss your options and answer any questions you may have.
      Remember: Keep the water on the outside where it belongs.
      DUTCH WHARFYOUR BOAT’S SECOND HOME.