Soft Balsa Core

Hello All,

New to Flying Scot's here!

I am looking at a Flying Scot with a soft section in the aft deck. It is approximately 3 feet long by 1.5 feet wide. All other balsa is fine. The soft area is dry, and according to the owner it has remained the same size ever since the year that it happened. I am wondering how much this will affect the boat, and whether there is any danger (structurally) of just sailing the boat as-is.

The asking price is $4k, and the boat comes with two sets of sails (main and jib); one set was purchased only for racing and is nearly new. Also comes with spinnaker. Motor mount, Sailor's Tailor full cover, so-so quality non-galvanized trailer also included. Is this a fair price keeping in mind the presence of a soft balsa section?

Thanks in advance for the information!


To give an idea on price, the boat number and builder would be helpful. If it has soft balsa, the question I would ask is whether they fixed the place where the water got in. What happened to it. If the aft deck is soft, you will have to be extremely careful about walking on it. It is the glass-balsa-glass laminate sandwich that makes the boat strong and stiff.

How is the gelcoat finish? Has the boat been painted above the water line or on the deck?

Also, what gear/ rigging is included? Spinnaker, rigging and pole? Is the running rigging relatively up-to-date, and is it rigged for racing or "family rigged" for daysailing. If you don't care to race, this won't matter, but if you do want to race, upgrades can add up quickly. Does it have the bow float bag and transom port? Any other parts missing?

Are you within striking distance of Deep Creek? A boat with a need for repair is worth more in my opinion if you can take it to Harry to fix your balsa.

Phil Scheetz
FS 4086

Thanks for the reply! I do not know the boat number; we sailed her yesterday and I should have looked but didn't think to do so. I do know that she's nearly 30 years old and built by Douglas. The owner said that the water got in most likely through deck fittings, aided by their use of a cockpit cover. This was a few years ago and they now use a full cover; the area dried out and has not spread. Overall, it's a few feet long by around a foot and a half wide. Less than a third the width of the rear deck. All balsa in the hull underfoot, as well as the foredeck, seems very strong.

I don't believe the boat has ever been painted. There are a few small cracks here and there on the deck that have been sealed, and the owner said that she was planning to paint at some point but never got around to it. The most cracks obviously are in the soft area at the rear. Overall I would say the finish is pretty good for the age of the boat.

The boat comes with a set of sails for daysailing and a nearly new set made by Schurr for racing. Also a spinnaker w/ rigging and pole. Rigging looks good to me with the exception of the rope that attaches the boom vang to the cb trunk, but that is an easy and cheap fix.

No float bag or transom port, but my wife and I are not planning on turning into serious racers at the moment; we just wanted a boat large and stable enough to sail comfortably with our new child yet fast enough to have some excitement.

I am thinking that the rear deck is one of the least stressed parts of the entire hull, and if so we might get many years of fun out of this Scot without even worrying about it. Deep Creek is quite a haul- probably 12 hours.

We would love to buy this boat but I don't want to pay 4k and lose 2 grand if we need to sell a few years down the road. I can handle depreciation- you have to pay to play- but just want to make sure we're getting a fair price. The owner is very nice and has been very helpful and I have no reason to believe she would ask more than a fair price for the boat. What do you think?

The facts that the boat has never been painted and has a decent finish, that it is complete, and that the builder is Douglas, are all good signs.

Soft balsa can be removed and replaced, if it ever became a problem. You may want to call Harry at Flying Scot and ask his opinion on the soft balsa.

The new sails help. The "so-so" trailer doesn't. Do you need to trailer it far? If not far, or moored the trailer may not matter much to you.

If the 4K has any flexibility in it, you may have a good boat. Do you have a Scot fleet nearby where you can ask someone to look at the boat with you?

Figure the motor, new sails, spars and hardware are probably nearly the price you are paying and the boat, with soft balsa, is almost free. Go sailing and have fun. If you can get a Scot expert to look at it, even better.


Phil Scheetz
FS 4086