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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
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Kind of a long story here but I feel it's worth telling, if nothing else than to help you not make the same mistakes I did.

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.
 

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Ya man, i hate to hear that. Hopefully you can get her going. That stringer shouldnt have any rot inside of it, so hopefully you or who ever does the fiberglass work for you can just grand back those bad spots and re-glass what is there. From your pictures it doesnt look like the hull is completely totaled, as long as the de-lamination is just in that area of the stringer. Certainly more work then it should be if you hadnt gotten hosed.

Maybe some of these other guys can provide some more insight on fixing this in more detail. I just bought a Super Skiff not to long ago and havent started fixing it up but plan to soon. So im curious on these issues and hope I dont run into anything like it.
 

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Did it look like the first pic when you bought it? Is the trailer actually new?
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Ya man, i hate to hear that. Hopefully you can get her going. That stringer shouldnt have any rot inside of it, so hopefully you or who ever does the fiberglass work for you can just grand back those bad spots and re-glass what is there. From your pictures it doesnt look like the hull is completely totaled, as long as the de-lamination is just in that area of the stringer. Certainly more work then it should be if you hadnt gotten hosed.

Maybe some of these other guys can provide some more insight on fixing this in more detail. I just bought a Super Skiff not to long ago and havent started fixing it up but plan to soon. So im curious on these issues and hope I dont run into anything like it.
Yes fortunately the laminate around the cracks is still very good quality. So (hopefully) it will just be a matter of repairing with a few layers of 1708 fiber. And then of course the floor will have to come out to rebuild the stringers, which I assume are foam cored. I did a thread a few years back of a pathfinder 15t rebuild I did, which was built similarly to this one. So hopefully the rebuild process will be pretty straightforward. Time consuming, but straightforward.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Did it look like the first pic when you bought it? Is the trailer actually new?
Yes the first 3 pics are exactly the condition it was in when I bought it. So it had those hairline cracks and like I said in the post they very much concerned me, I was just too damn excited and probably had it in my head I was coming home with that boat even if it was in three pieces :) The pics where you can see the holes in it were after I got it home the next day and did some sanding. And yes the trailer does indeed seem to be brand new
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Sue his BUTT!
Haha nah I'd never do anything like that.. I'm sure he's a nice guy.... to his buds. And I mean to be fair he was nice enough to me too.. even texted him the day after with the pics. Not like he was a dick at all. Just kind of rubs me the wrong way how he said he knew nothing about the cracks when apparently (according to the paint guy) he did
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for the positive replies guys. And yes the plan (at least right now) is to bite the bullet and restore her properly. Like one of you already said, she deserves it :) If I do end up doing a full restore I'll be sure to post a build thread on here
 

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Well, I may be crazy but I don’t think you were hosed that bad. IF you would have known, you may have turned the deal to hose the seller. However, what is that swing in price? I mean $5k for a boat that needs cosmetics and a motor (with a new trailer) seems to be a very good deal. ESP if you aren’t flipping it. $5k for a boat that needs a deeper dive? That won’t be known until you are done, but I wouldn’t beat yourself up on it. If you do the work well, you will hold even on the money invested. I mean a new single axle aluminum trailer is approaching $2k anyhow.

Looking forward to the rebuild. I’ve done it 1.5 times on a very popular Texas flats boat and after 15 years of ownership was out all told about $2k when I sold it last year. THAT was the trailer...
 

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At the end of the day you still have a classic Hull and what looks to be a decent trailer. Boat clearly looked like a “project” in the picture. Good lesson learned for everyone. Not saying what they did was right and who knows maybe it truly was an honest error on their part.

If it makes you feel any better just go on thehulltruth and read about all the failed builds (Jupiter) and deposit issues(Barker). Those people are out 250-700k!!! One thing I’ve learned is whether I bought new or used I’d get it surveyed.

Enjoy the boat. You’re out 1-2k after you add up boat as is plus trailer. Peas and carrots compared to buying new and losing 30% driving off lot ;)
 
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