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Catastrophic delamination on a new Bertram 63'...

Discussion in 'Bertram Yacht' started by Pascal, Jan 21, 2009.

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  1. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    Not sure what the exact story is behind these pictures, seems like it's a new 63 that experienced catastrophic delamination in Palm Beach.

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  2. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    continued...

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  3. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    last pic.

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  4. Fishtigua

    Fishtigua Senior Member

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    Pascal

    My first thought is it maybe one of two screw-ups.

    1. The first major lamination was not applied while the gelcoat lamination was still able to styrene bond. Left too long at too high a temp or that the first mix was too hot this will happen.

    2. Moisture. Some builders have real big problems with humidity. Was it Wellcraft that had clouds inside their large lamination hall in South Carolina? I read an article about it in Professional Boatbuilder years ago.

    Once moisture gets on the gelcoat lamination its almost game over.

    It will be interesting what the surveyor says. Please keep us informed Pascal.

    Fish

    Edit:- I've just noticed in one pic that the delamination went all the way to the foam core. That is one nasty,nasty situation to be in. Are you going to name the builder or is that with the lawyers?
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2009
  5. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    good idea... could you edit the title, i typed 67 but i think it's a 63... thks!

    btw, here are pictures of a 90s vintage Ferretti MY after hurricane Wilma in 2005. different failure obviously but there are signs of delamination on the Ferreti and with Bertram part of the Ferretti group, it's easy to jump to draw a parallel.

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  6. Manny

    Manny Senior Member

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    After ferretti acquired bertram and discontinued the 54', Bertram lost its touch IMO.....
  7. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    fishtigua

    it doesn't seem to be an issue with the gelcoat, it's really a problem with the outer skin delaminating from the core. Gel coat is very thin and brittle and woudn't flap like that, it will break.

    this is a Bertram 63, it's in the thread title...
  8. Fishtigua

    Fishtigua Senior Member

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    Sorry Pascal,

    When I say a gelcoat laminate I mean a first stage lammy.

    When you spray gelcoat into the mould ( up north, hopefully an Isothalic first coat to stop cracking in freezeing weather). After that has tacked up you then apply the first light weight glass, this is important to avoid print-through where you can see the roveing through the gelcoat, we've all seen it.

    After that the secondry laminate is added, however thick uni or bi directional is required for strength is required. After that the foam or balsa core is added to stiffness, followed by the bulkheads. These hold the shape for the deck to be added.

    Now all that should be bloody strong.

    Fish
  9. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    yeah i know, but the bond between gelcoat and the first layer of glass is not STRUCTURALLY critical... here it's clearly the bond between the outter layer and the core that failed.

    although, not to be picky, but you ommited the inner layers from your description :) i'd hate to see a hull with the core exposed inside :)
  10. Bamboo

    Bamboo Senior Member

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    What yard is the boat at? Were the pics just taken?
  11. Fishtigua

    Fishtigua Senior Member

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    Pascal, you are right. The core should be totally encapsulated. Why the hell did it break away? Weird.

    I hate to say it but a Friday afternoon lemon like the bad old days of Detroit springs to mind. Should he take it back to the factory and set fire to it in the lot like the guy with the Caddie did??

    Fish
  12. YachtForums

    YachtForums Publisher/Admin

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    I sea-trialed the new 540 Bert last month and subsequently declined to do a feature on the boat. The boat was fast, very fast! 42 knots to be exact. But, it was a very wet ride. It was evident that neither Bertram, nor the design bureau of Zuccon International had done their sub-surface homework. This boat needed spray rails, or at the very least, reversed chines.

    And there were other issues. The much noted Taylor-Made ‘wrap-around’ windows didn’t match the curvature of the superstructure. The edges actually poked-out. Worse, Bertram is using the using old-school method of smearing the gaps between the windows with silicone rubber. It’s only a matter of time and ultra-violet exposure before this material degrades and the windows become a liability, not just a leak, when a wave crashes over the bow.

    There were some other fit and finish issues, including irregularities, age-old appendage molds and some everyday, common sense things that would become long term headaches. So many in fact, that I told their marketing people that if Dick Bertram was alive today, heads would roll. Realizing my comments would sever any support, press releases or sea trial privileges in the future, I believe the liability of misleading our readers would be greater.

    That said, the boat was still impressively fast. Of course, if you put 1200hp MAN’s into anything that floats, you’re gonna fly. The interior was top notch with good joinery and finish, although it is not built by Bertram, it is sub-contracted. Mechanically, the boat had all the right equipment, but the machinery is only as good as its foundation. Without the security of the legendary Bertram lay-up underneath you, the ship’s systems are meaningless.

    Here are some pics from the sea trial...

    1. Seam is already beginning to degrade.
    2. Sloppy seam around windows.
    3. View from salon shows how wet the ride was.

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  13. Manny

    Manny Senior Member

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    that's just sad. there's simply no other way to put it.

    the discontinuation of the 54' that used to be the legend marked the downfall of bertram. Dont you see? they're trying to bring back the 54 to get back up, but their attempts at "modernizing" the boat with ideas that are actually 40 years old that dated back to the early hatteras boats is a very bad idea. didn't they think why the wraparound window idea was scrapped? because of the problems you listed above:leaking and the aftermath of a huge wavebreak.

    what ferretti really should have done was bring back the 54 how we used to know it, not remake it. why remake a boat that's already perfect? of course, interior updates, but everything else is flawless.

    the new 540 may be fast, but that means nothing if it doesn't uphold the bertram tradition(or what USED to be the bertram tradition) of a smooth, dry ride.
  14. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    I know the surveyor that surveyed this boat. He thinks as well as some other people involved with it, that they forgot to put hardener in the resin at that stage when they were laying the hull up.

    Needless to say I too think Bertram lost it. I ran a new 57' Back in '05. It was very wet also, fast (31 knots @ 1950rpms with 1300mans), it pounded in 3-5's. AND, all of the tabbing from all of the bulkheads to stringers broke loose within a few months of use (heaviest sea was 5' the boat was in). The factory said that too much hardener was added to the resin which made it brittle. The factory did such a wonderful job of keeping the owners boat for 4 months and extending his hull warranty for 1 additional year. Yup, 1 year. I told him to hire an attorney and make them buy it back.
  15. Loren Schweizer

    Loren Schweizer YF Associate Writer

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    Some history, both "recent" and ancient:
    Bertram laid up the first of five 72 Convertible hulls in 1989 with a vacuum-bagged balsa core laminate. At least two, built for a U.S. client and a Greek customer, suffered major delam issues.
    One is currently for sale, with the sales blurb proudly proclaiming that the entire balsa core in the hull has been replaced by Divinycell foam.

    A long, long time ago--in the early '70s(+ or - a few years)-- Bertram tried it's hand at fully-cored hulls with an experimental prototype 31. It joined the fleet of Company Boats, as they were called, which could be used by some employees as a kind of perk. That 31, which, IIRC, was soon known as "The Snake", became off-limits for such use as it was deemed unsafe.
  16. Fishtigua

    Fishtigua Senior Member

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    I think they should all be made of the ultimate carbon fibre.


    Wood.

    We can all fix it. You find it almost everywhere and its pretty. Infinately repairable, costs do not involve crude oil in production and it all takes craftsmen to do well.

    Who doesn't enjoy watching a real craftsman at work, so much skill learned over many years. Or do it yourself.

    Guess who grew up in wooden oriented boatyard?

    Fish
  17. CODOG

    CODOG Senior Member

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    Ah, the heady days of oak timbers and iroko planking. I used to love the smell of wood shavings in the morning. Hand made mahogany toolbox full of 50 year old tools stowed in the Great Shed, sneaking a warm half hour in the steam shed, hammering in a million six inch cut nails with a maul that weighed as much as my girlfriend. The ring of an adze, the shoosh of a block plane. No plywood anywhere except the pub bar.
    Ok, I'll stop now.
  18. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

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    "Ah, the heady days ..."

    Yeah, from the vantage point of time it all seems so idyllic. You notice that those with the fondest recollections are those who built the darn things, not those who owned and maintained them :)

    As one who was owned by and lived aboard a 1944 built wooden tug/yacht conversion for many years I can attest that while it simply oozed charm from every seam it also consumed either every dollar or every spare hour ... not to mention a great deal of lube oil and fuel to keep that old direct reversing engine well fed.

    Wouldn't trade the experience for anything. Wouldn't do it again on a bet.
  19. Seafarer

    Seafarer Senior Member

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    I did!

    Spent many of my young years around Seaport Marine in Mystic - where if there wasn't a customer's wooden boat being worked on, the yard owner was working on one (he even had the shop build a new Sea Sled from scratch for something to do). Our old Huckins was often the boat being worked on. ;)

    The hours not spent wandering that yard were spent idling away at Mystic Seaport.

    As much as I enjoy having fiberglass and kevlar, the romance (self-loathing?) of wooden boat ownership keeps calling out to me.
  20. Loren Schweizer

    Loren Schweizer YF Associate Writer

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    The mists of time are fogging your memories of creatures that most on these forums have never heard of: teredo worms [teredos are to wood what Bill Clinton was to Big Macs].
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