Picked up a cool 2001 Dolphin Renegade project hull this past weekend, no motor. Has new Awlgrip on the bottom, deck and cockpit are prepped for gelcoat.
I asked the guy before I drove over to get it, "so nothing structural at all.. transom/stringers/deck all good?" He replied 'yep everything's perfect. Just has to be finished up.' (Or something along those lines).
Everything was not perfect. This hull is entirely compromised and cracked thru the woven laminate. Stringers are completely blown out. I've actually not ever seen anything like it, as far as an entire hull cracking through like this (see pics below).
I did notice the hairline cracks on the bottom of the boat when I went to his place to inspect it. Told him they really concerned me, especially given their location below the stringers. He said it was the first he'd seen of the cracks (an outright lie, see below) and was likely due to new awlgrip and incorrect bunk placement on the trailer (it's sitting on a brand new trailer). Said they were superficial and he wouldn't worry about them in the slightest. In fact, he literally said 'don't even bother sanding them.' I had full on tunnel vision and was super excited to get the boat (you all know how that goes), so for some reason I believed him.. even though I was very nearly on the verge of driving back to St. Pete empty handed.
Anyway, next day I decide to start sanding down one of the hairline cracks. When I got thru the Awlgrip and saw the crack went into the woven, my heart sank - the hull is compromised. Cracks go all the way thru to the inside of the boat. Like I said, never seen anything like this before (see pics) and I've rebuilt a couple skiffs from the ground up.
Stuck my head down into the inspection hole that's cut out and ran a light up into the bilge.. saw that the entire length of the stringers are blown out. I foolishly did not do this at his place when I bought the boat. I stuck my head under there but didn't notice anything out of the ordinary. And based on what he'd told me about everything and how solid the deck felt under my feet, I assumed all was OK.
I'm not one to call people out. I take full responsibility for all my mistakes and completely blame myself for overlooking the obvious signs of damage to this boat. That said, it didn't help that the guy outwardly lied about not knowing about the cracks. I got in touch with the guy who had done the Awlgrip, and he said when he sanded it down for prep they were there. He told me based on cost the owner (the guy who sold it to me) decided to paint over it and use the boat as is. Fair enough, but it was still an outward lie when he told me he'd never noticed the cracks before.
Long story short, I paid $5k and am now the proud owner of a compromised Dolphin Renegade hull. It's not that I'm even so much worried about the money.. it's just that I love these dolphins and have wanted one for a long time. Was excited and looking forward to finishing it up and fishing soon. I even already bought a 60hp Yamaha 4 stroke for it, again based off the guy telling me it was structurally sound.
I tried to ensure here that I didn't jump to any assumptions in terms of saying the guy outwardly tried to burn me on the sale. That said, everything I said in the post was accurate. I do believe the owner was not fully aware of the extent of damage to the boat, but if you outwardly lie about something like that perhaps you deserve to be called out a little bit. I'd expect this kind of stuff buying a used honda civic on Craigslist, not buying a Dolphin on Microskiff from a fellow fly fisherman.
Even the glass work on the deck where the owner (or whoever) had patched up the console hole was shit. Bare resin cracked when I stepped on it and water came out. They'd also cut about an inch into the middle stringer when cutting an inspection hole in the deck out, and I could see water sitting down in there in the stringer. He'd rinsed the boat and sprayed water over an open hole in a stringer.. Really?
Anyway, rant over. Sorry for the long post. At the end of the day I take full responsibility for my actions and for deciding to buy the boat against my better judgment. Fortunately I know a thing or two about this stuff and can rebuild it. Building solid 16' skiffs does not require an advanced degree in Naval architecture (unlike Hal Chittum would have you think). Do I want to spend the time, energy, patience, and money to rebuild it? Hell no. At the end of the day it's just the dishonesty and my own foolishness that burns my chops.