Bell Black Gold life expectancy

-- Last Updated: Mar-06-10 12:25 AM EST --

Assuming a relatively well cared for, not bashed on rocks etc boat, what's the life expectancy of the layup? What are things to watch for in a used boat? I'm looking at a 1999 model (magic).

A 99?
Well, it could very well last for longer than you will. Pre 200(?) (CEW will help out) they were laid up with a clear gel. But it’s a very good laminate schedule, and short of introducing a stress that induces catastrophic mechanical failure, reasonable UV protection (proper storage), etc., the lifespan is not really of concern. We have people on these board who still paddle 30+ year old boats with polyester gel coats.

A '99 might be a really good buy.
There are suburban myths around about how Kevlar wicks water and delaminates (it doesn’t), or about how Kevlar is very UV sensitive (it isn’t). As Eric said, it should be easy for you to see if the boat has been hammered in places, but even repairs are fairly easy to judge as to their adequacy.

If you have time after you look at the boat, get back and ask about anything that raises questions in your mind.

Thanks all
That was my impression but wanted to check.

Forgot that corvettes are FG. Guess I put them out of my mind a long time ago.

Corvette FG was kinda crude in the
earliest years, but one assumes they have had to improve it.

Better Comparison
Might be Lotus. Lotus developed a process and held an infusion patent dating from 1972. Their lamination has always been state of the art, as contrasted to GM’s which still seems to rely on the chopper gun.

Now that really puts it out of reach :slight_smile:

Missed it.
Maybe next time :frowning:

Bummer. I can identify with that.
I’ve missed a few good opportunities in the last year.

data point
My black/gold Merlin II is a 1999. It’s always been my most-used boat…it’s got plenty of light scars from use, I’ve never babied it and it shows no real signs of wear that could affect it’s longevity.

My observation (supported by a couple of paddling buddies) is that Bell quality fell off over time - at least aesthetically; not sure about structurally, so you may well be better off with a 1999 than some newer Bells.

Bell Magic - Snagged it
Relisted last week for whatever reason. Picked it up Thursday night. Basically a nice boat in good condition. Washed it over the weekend. Looks good. Need to re-oil the wood and a bit of 303 and it’s ready to go.

(sellers pix)