What is a Cracked Bulkhead?
By: Andrew Holland
One potential issue that may arise in a survey is called a cracked bulkhead. When this happens there is some confusion as to what this means for buyers and sellers alike, so our clients often ask this featured “Question of the Week.”
A bulkhead is a layer inserted into the hulls of a catamaran in order to prevent the hulls from cracking or compressing and are added after the hulls are molded to increase stability. Regardless of the material or build quality, all hulls are subjected to the forces of water working against them.
Waves and water under sail apply pressure to the hulls that may eventually cause cracking and require a bulkhead to be repaired so if the topic arises in survey, pay attention to the details a surveyor has to say. This is often a costly repair job because the veneer of the hulls must be removed, the bulkheads need to be re-laminated, and sometimes the ends of the hulls have to be re-banded.
However, a cracked bulkhead does not mean that the boat’s condition is too disastrous to sail or defines the boat as having a structural problem. It only means that over time this particular bulkhead has been under enough stress to be in need of repair, and that is cause for a conversation post-survey.
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