What's it really made of?

It's not always easy to figure out what a boat is made of. Aluminum is usually pretty obvious, as is traditional wood construction. But fibreglass is a different story- without cutting the hull open, there's no easy way to tell what's below that innermost layer of roving. Anyone who has read David Pascoe's article "Are they fiberglass boats anymore" is at least a little scared of the mysterious substances that take the place of proper hull structure in many production boats.

Engine access: Sterndrives

Crawling around an engine bay, trying to reach some deeply buried component with three flex fittings on a socket wrench, is nobody's idea of a good time.

Thankfully, at least a handful of production boat builders have recognized this, and offer reasonably good access to the critical bits of the sterndrive system's prime mover.  Still, it seems there will always be a few that insist you hire a double-jointed 8-year-old with the mechanical skills of a Formula One pit crew just to change a spark plug.


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