Well, after arguably the most aggravating and frustrating 5 months, I am finally about to get my 18.5 MA repaired. For those of you who don't know the story, you may want to review this thread.
There are a lot of good learnings in there that I'd rather you get by reading, vs. repeating, my mistakes.
For those who don't want to ready 4 pages, here's the cliff notes version of what's going to be addressed here:
1) I bought this boat sight unseen in November of 2016. The boat was nearly pristine and had clearly been babied it's entire life. Hardly a scratch on her, upgraded poling platform, great engine, and (arguably now) a very good deal. I had a few guys from the forum check it out, didn't get a survey, and when she arrived here, she was everything I had hoped.
2) Almost to the day, one year later, I discovered a new crack in the hull on the port side chine when running down a small leak. This eventually revealed a much more serious problem - I had a delaminated stringer. By all accounts, this is a manufacturing defect that caused the stringer not to fully bond to the hull. It was exactly because the boat had been babied all of its life and hardly used that the issue remained hidden. I take the boat out 2-3 times a week, and the stinger separated more and more over time until the hull began to fail. Thankfully, I caught it relatively quickly. Unfortunately, insurance doesn't cover manufacturing defects, and Maverick isn't going to take responsibility for an issue they caused 17 years ago, so I'm on my own.
3) Getting someone to take this on has proven MUCH harder than I had ever dreamed. The first guy only wanted to fix it when he thought the insurance company would pay. He jacked the price up and then stopped calling me back when the claim was declined. I had 2 other shops simply refuse to take it on. The next shop wanted 20-25K to address it, and would only do it if I did a full cap-off restoration. The tank (poly) and wiring are in excellent condition, and I don't have 20-25K, so that wasn't an option. I was about to bite the bullet and drive her down to Bob at Inshore Marine Specialties to get his opinion, but with 5 kids and a crazy work schedule, that trip was proving impossible. Bob has been great throughout this process giving advice and guidance on what to consider when addressing this.
4) Spence/NagJuice has been pushing me to check out a guy 2 hrs north of here who he's been following on the Hull Truth. It's taken me 5 months to finally reach out to the guy, but he's got the experience and ability to do the job right. Some of you have seen his build threads on The Hull Truth, where he guts old SeaCrafts and restores them.
So, here's the plan:
1) We don't have any reason to believe that the issue is broader than the port side stringer, but we don't want to leave anything to chance. Popping the entire cap off of a boat is not a small matter and frankly, we don't have enough reason to believe it is necessary at this point. The plan currently is to cut the cap off just aft of the cockpit, cutting across the narrowest sections where the gunnel meets the back deck, then across and mid-way up the rear wall of the cockpit. He will have to cut around the splashwell because the cap is likely puttied impossibly to the transom there. Doing this will allow him to remove the rear portion of the cap and have full access to the entire stern.
2) He will check out the starboard stringer to see if there are any issues there, and then confirm that the issue on the port stringer is isolated to the rear, port quadrant. If you are a praying type, say a prayer for me that it doesn't extend any further forward.
3) He will then cut out the stringer, fix the crack in the hull from the inside, then repair the stringer. If there are any issues with the starboard stringer, he'll obviously address that as well.
4) From there, it will be a matter of replacing the rear section of the cap, glassing/reinforcing, and repairing.
If this boat were in less pristine condition, a full restoration would make sense, but the fact is, the boat looks new, the wiring is in great shape, and all of the various builders/repair shops have agreed that the tank has many many years left in it.
Work won't start on the boat for a month or so, but I wanted to put this out there to get any reactions to the plan. While I plan to keep the boat for a very very long time, I am having it fixed with the idea that the repair should be done in a way that only increases the confidence in the boat's structural integrity.
The shop will be taking a ton of pics to document the repair from start to finish, which I will post here as I get them.
Stay tuned, and feel free to PM me with any thoughts -