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40yr old fiberglass vs. 40 yr old aluminum

Discussion in 'Chris Craft Roamer Yacht' started by Ohana, Aug 31, 2013.

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  1. Ohana

    Ohana New Member

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    Would like to get reaction from Chris Craft owners here. In the larger Chris Craft yacht segment, which craft is more likely to continue to be around for another 20-30 yrs, a 1968 FG Commander 60' or a 1973 Alum Roamer 55'? Consider both having had equal high maintenance and care and lives on fresh water. Is the '68 going to have been overbuilt in fiberglass enough to keep going another 25 years? That would make it a 70 yr old fiberglass boat. Or is the '73 aluminum going to make it to the finish line in better shape, if properly cared for from a galvanic corrosion perspective?

    Mahalo
  2. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    I managed an old 1974 alloy Roamer. It spent her life in salt water. Just recently, some plates were replaced around the exhaust bags on her sides.
    Were on a '78 Bertram in salt water. Both hulls are near perfect and I will suspect in another 30 years both will still be around. I lean towards the plastic boats but others lean to alloy tubs. We will have to address some plywood in the bilges and suspect the alloy boats have the same problems.
    I'm also a old DD diesel fan. Were on a keeper but know 2-stroke support won't last that long. Re-powering vs purchasing a newer boat could be a consideration. Will any old boat be worth the cost of new hardware?
    If your thinking of a keeper for yourself, consider your ergonomics.
    I would recommend not looking at the materials that heavy, but what boat you can fit in and make the best use of in the years to come. The plastic boats may be easier for the DIYr to arrange the interior.

    There was another thread on YF about disposing , rebuilding & life span on old yachts that may be good reading.
  3. Ohana

    Ohana New Member

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    Definitely looking at it from a keeper standpoint. I try to be a 'buy the last one first' kind of guy so that all the blood sweat tears and treasure that goes into something stays around for awhile. 6'5" 250lbs, 2 kids & wife, need something with some room, big DIY'r, weighing which would be a better base to work from, 40 yr old aluminum or 40 yr old FG? Both candidate boats have DD, 8v71n on the 55' and 12v71n on the 60. Power plants between the 2 are comparable - so not really a decision point between these 2. Really trying to think ahead to structural issues, torque twist flex vibration - which hull is more likely to be in seaworthy condition 20 years from now with standard routine maintenance?
  4. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    I believe Both can survive. Still think plastic has a better low maintenance edge.

    There are some engineers & heavies out there who have not responded, yet.
    Patience...

    71s rule,

    ,Ralph
  5. ELS_Huntsville

    ELS_Huntsville New Member

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    40 yr old Aluminum vs Fiberglass

    We purchased our 1971 Chris Craft 58' Roamer Riviera (with aluminum hull) in the summer of 2011. Our surveyor measured the hull's thickness and found it to be perfect; he was surprised at how thick it was "like a tank!"

    We were guests onboard a 47 Sedan Sea Ray with a Fiberglas hull yesterday in a rafting out group. The wave slap against the hull was pronounced and loud. I have also ridden on some plastic boats (other than CC Commanders) and those I have been on bounces against the wave.

    We have rode out some big waves slapping against our hull while underway, and while tied up to a dock, big difference! The noise slap was negligible, and the ride through the waves was like the ride difference between a limo and a VW Beetle!

    So, IMO, if you want a solid, well put together, comfortable to ride boat, buy a classic Chris Craft, either an aluminum Roamer, or a Commander!
  6. Ohana

    Ohana New Member

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    Thanks for your comments, very insightful. Sent you a PM. Did your surveyor have the original plate thickness specs to compare? Where did he get them because I would like to get them for the '73 Roamer 55. I appreciate your comments on the more subjective qualities like wave sound and heavy seas ride. What is your fuel burn at various cruise speeds?
    Mahalo
  7. jhall767

    jhall767 Senior Member

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    They can tell by the thickness reported. It will be 3/8", 1/4", 3/16" or whatever but on a good sound hull all the measurements will be very close to each other.

    As for old aluminum hulls. Very easy to repair - if you are a welder and have access to a machine that is powerful enough to do the job. For 1/4" aluminum you are looking at 200+ amps welding power with a spool gun and a 12KW power supply (50 amps A/C). Also a place to do the job as most yards frown upon amateur welders learning on their property.

    Or you bring in a welder for repairs. Aluminum does fatigue so there may be repairs. If they can reach the affected area most repairs will be much cheaper than fiberglass.

    Biggest drawback to aluminum is keeping the paint on it.

    BTW I have a 1970 Striker (1/4 plate aluminum) so I have some firsthand experience in the ups and downs.
  8. Ohana

    Ohana New Member

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    Thanks JHall-
    The reason I am/was looking for original specs is a surveyor told me that an aluminum hull can only have so much 'wastage', loss of material, for some insurance companies who require ultrasounds on aluminum or steel hulls, thus needing to know the original plate thickness spec. 3/16" might be great unless it started off with 5/16" indicating 40% wastage and probable huge galvanic corrosion issues. I get your point about tolerances within close range of eachother, but would not want to be scared off of a perfectly good hull because of differences between builtup areas and stringer welds vs. mid-plate readings being off by 50%-100%. Do you think manufacturers - Chris Craft - would have that original plate thickness data available? Where have you seen the most common areas for fatigue, and what are the warning signs/visuals of a fatigued area?
  9. jhall767

    jhall767 Senior Member

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    The hull will not "waste" evenly. Not at all. IF there are areas of damage there will still be others with little or no damage. The ultrasound readings will be +- .005" for most of the hull and possibly less than half that where there is wasting. Any ultrasound surveyor with experience will be able to tell what the original thickness was. Also they will know when they are over welds and the like. If you have large amounts of wasting you are looking at a re-plating job on the hull. Can be done fairly quickly but you better have the right welder.

    As for stressed areas I don't know that boat well but look for anything that is out of alignment or bent from stress or impact. Also there may be corrosion from the inside if dirty bilge water (or cleaning products) were allowed to stagnate in there. If it looks like a crack it probably is a a crack.

    The main issues I've had to contend with on my boat are due to the hp being bumped up from 300 or so to 450. In later models they beefed up the ribs to account for this. I had to do some bracing on my own.
  10. doompatrol

    doompatrol Guest

    The Chris Craft Commander and Roamer hulls are, from what I've seen and heard, generally put together very well. The extra 5' in the Commander you're looking at should give you LOTS of additional space over the Roamer.

    You didn't mention the interiors, but I've seen lots of Commanders that have the "maintenance free" faux teak interior. Most of the Roamers I've been on have had beautiful wood interiors, but a 1974 60 footer I looked at was a 1970s time machine--green shag carpet on the walls and everything else covered in textured wallpaper. Which boat has the better interior?

    Even after 40 years in the water, the FRP hulls don't get blisters that are worth worrying about. I have personally seen one boat with delamination where the stern tube exits the hull, which would be quite a job to fix, but it wouldn't be anywhere near as bad as a peel and reglass if the boat had blister problems. While the gelcoat on the FRP boats is generally thick, it's gelcoat...which means annual polishing and waxing and waxing and waxing again to keep them shiny.

    Like jhall767 said, keeping paint on aluminum seems to be a challenge. There are modern products that claim to help out in that regard (e.g. Tefgel in every screw hole). Also, some of the Roamers had aluminum decks while others have teak. While teak decks are beautiful, the maintenance is significant and failure to maintain them can be extremely expensive when interior joinery rots apart from the leaks.

    Do you have links to or pix of the boats?

    DP
  11. bolsado

    bolsado Member

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    CC Roamer Plate Thickness

    I have seen the plate thickness on the roamers qouted a number of times, including threads is this forum, try the Aluminum one.

    Also on the sales brochures list it. You should be able to find pretty easily.
  12. bolsado

    bolsado Member

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    brouchure with plate thickness

    Here is image from brochure with al and steel plate thickness

    Attached Files:

  13. bolsado

    bolsado Member

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    Image Too Small

    Plate Thickness

    Hull Sides AL Type 5086 .160" Steel 12 ga.
    Hull Bottom AL Type 5086 .190" Steel 11 ga.
  14. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    I'm following this thread with great interest as well and would add a question and that is does the answer depend or change at all based on what waters the boat is being kept in?
  15. jhaaseth

    jhaaseth New Member

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    Polymers vs "real" aluminium

    FOr me-retired USCG Electricians Mate-and boarding officer, I have seen many a hull from the inverted position conducting safety inspections. Watch old polymers have a way of bubling when you can't see it (not everyone dock is clear waters. Make sure the CAPAC functions on the metal hulls, untrasonic testing is not cheap, but might be necessary for insurance reasons on a hull that old. I am cuttently in the market for a 55' Roamer, the one is saw, once again, VERY impressed with CC engineering

    be safe
  16. jflongwell

    jflongwell Member

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    FRP vs Aluminum hull

    I have seen several older CC's with FRP with extensive blistering. A former CC owner friend of mine had one with the same problem. Having a solid aluminum hull is a great feeling!
  17. homer1958

    homer1958 Member

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    Great thread!

    Though I have not posted here in over a year due to a few bantering crass "undesireables," I noticed some good comments and interesting comparisons between the Commanders and aluminum Roamers. I wish to share my experiences in this regard. BOTH ARE FABULOUS BOATS THAT SHOULD LAST FOREVER!...taken care of that is. Yes, Roamers can have some Awlgrip paint issues due to metals/electrical incompatibilities for the most part .. You MUST USE TEFGEL in screw holes.... it works! Old Commanders hardly blister either, I mean Chris really overbuilt those boats.... yes, better than Hatteras in the 60's and early 70's in terms of the glass thickness and longevity. I know of one 47 Commander not taken out of the water for 10 years and not one blister when it was pulled.. not one!

    Having a 38 Roamer, can tell you the thickness of the aluminum varies based on size, the bottoms being a gauge thicker than the sides as well. Chris used the best grade of marine aluminum with extra bauxite.... same grade Burgers used. Burger spent much more on fairing, but the aluminum was basically the same.... perhaps Burger a hair thicker.

    I am not a believer in Capoc Voodoo!! Disconnected mine years ago... it just ate batteries. Instead, sandblasted, did a three coat SeaHawk epoxy bottom, and three coats of Petitt paint especially made for Aluminum. Petitt makes a far superior paint to Trilux 2... PETTIT WORKS, both in fresh and salt.

    I then installed two heavy duty drive savers which isolated the shafts from the transmission and reduced vibration considerably... no electrical transfer now possible in concert with with a Charles 3.5 KVA isolation transformer.... electric current is now transferred via magnetic field,... reverse polarity impossible as is transfer of bad electrical current through faulty shore/boat grounds. REVERSE POLARITY DOES NOT MATTER with Charles Isolation transformer. Derryland makes the best Galvanic Isolator.

    I then hang a large zinc overboard.... 60 bucks from boatzincs.com "Bob".
    The hull was tested with and without the zinc. (Use magnesium for Fresh, aluminum for Brackish and Zinc for Salt....FACT)

    Below is a great link.. it shows you the meter you need and the allowable voltage. Without the Aluminum "Zinc" attached by wire grounded to the hull we were under-protected at .6.... once we attached the large Aluminum "Zinc".... we instantly went to a perfect .9 The chart below shows.. electric hooked-up or not hooked-up we were the same... .9 is considered PERFECT. You do need a Silver Chloride tip attached to the meter to measure the sensitivity.. this is available at West Marine. We also tested a 60 foot Roamer that was having serious problems with corrosion.... (Yup Capoc).... the solution there was 2 big zincs hanging overboard grounded to the hull.... and nothing else.

    IF YOUR HULL READS CORRECTLY and you have the meter to check, why do you need anything else? Keep it simple, use Isolation Transformer, Epoxy bottom, the right Pettitt paint and if you want to make it pure, add drive savers... but you will have to shorten you shaft by 1 inch to do that. Drive savers must be torqued right too at 35 pounds per bolt and them lock-tighted or 5200 the threads so they stay tight. The smoothness is notable in the cruise calmness as the vinyl absorbs some vibration.

    Pettit has a new product that is working fabulously (in brackish water anyway)... NO COPPER!! and it works!! Do not use Trilux, use Pettit.. waaaaay more effective.... Trilux is a pretty color and a big price and that's about it. NEVER use copper paint on Aluminum unless it is isolated curprous, but now (as of last year) all you need is the new Pettit environmentally safe ZERO copper paint! It really is working well... everyone is saying so at the marina.

    Read link below and I hope those reading found this all helpful

    HOMER

    http://www.frankshospitalworkshop.c...ke - Testing Corrosion Protection Systems.pdf
  18. Savasa

    Savasa Senior Member

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    Welcome back Homer. I missed your informative posts.
    Peter
  19. homer1958

    homer1958 Member

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    Thanks

    Well, there were and probably still are a few individuals who caused many people to leave, not just me... most know who they are, no need to mention. Several private emails were sent afterwards regarding those few. People were quite upset actually.

    Did you ever hire that fellow to Awlgrip your boat? That man is good and reasonable.
  20. jflongwell

    jflongwell Member

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    Homer, great to see you back here. I purchased my new boat from that area. Very nice down there. I looked around for any Roamers, but did not see any.

    As a metallurgist, I have seen many corrosion failures due to coupling of aluminum and copper. I always found it interesting when an engineer would express dismay when his component turned into white powder.

    Yes the CAPAC will devour batteries unless you are on shore power or under way. It will also burn them up if you leave the battery connected on shore power which is why I put a diode in the line to prevent current flow to the battery.

    Not sure what you mean by extra "bauxite". That is the mineral containing the aluminum oxide that smelters reduce with electricity to produce bauxite.

    Thanks for the link, I will certainly use it.