A new fun trend out there is the classic boat culture is finding cheap fun fiberglass classic boats to run and have fun with. We are in this camp as well. But one of the myths about this is that somehow its cheaper to restore a fiberglass boat than a Woody Boat. Here is our thought process, and of course you are free to shoot holes in it if you like.
1.No bottom needs to be replaced on a fiberglass boat so its cheaper. Well, its never that simple. many of these old glass boats has stress fractures in them, and the wood build into the hull is usually shot.. From being wet and encased in fiberglass over the years. This can be costly, and in many cases needs professional assistance. Boston Whalers are a wreck with the duel hull thing and a foam that basecly rotted away. Pin holes in bottoms can wreak havoc on a Whaler. This by the way is a very expensive repair. I would rather put a new bottom on a 17 runabout than tearing apart a whaler bottom and redoing it. There are countless cases of guys dumping a crap load into there classic whalers.
2. No Varnish. Yup, but you have gel coat, and most need re gel coating or painting. And there are fractures in fiberglass and soft spots. And fiberglass also needs maintenance. Not a huge money saver here either.
3. Parts – Nope, in fact if you have a shot fiberglass hull, you are screwed and need to find a complete new hull. No new this or that. Sure you can patch stuff. But it still all adds up in cost. Wood can be shaped, sanded and all sorts of stuff. Need a air scoop of a whatever year glass boat? Its just as hard to find if not harder since each year was different in some cases. Chrome is chrome, so no savings here either.
4. Engine? Nope, Engines are engines, and in fact some of the fiberglass boats had more exotic engines or out drives. So in may cases it can cost more to do your fiberglass classic engine right.
5. Interiors? Nope, vinyl is vinyl, and time to do the job is the same. Some of the vinyl materials are impossible to find, just like Woody Boats.
We think you get the point. The only real difference of a woody Boat and Fiberglass boat from a cost of restoration is subjective and by a boat by boat case. We know that in some cases, $80,000 and up has been spent on restoring fiberglass boats. So if you are thinking that a Woody Boat is to expensive to take on, a classic plastic may not be the solution, buying a one thats been restored and saving the cost that the other guy spent is the most cost effective way to go. Unless you are like us and enjoy the journey.