Your most frequently asked questions… answered.

Editor’s notes (2019)

The FAQ and discussion below has been mildly edited to eliminate typos, make it clearer who the authors are and which boats they themselves have (by hull number and boat name if known). Wherever possible alternative (i.e. current) references to products & suppliers are provided.

The bulk of this FAQ was originally generated as a Q&A in the period 2005 – 2015. In this period Lester Helmus acted as a clearing house for questions and responses, but some respondents would also write direct to each other, hence some of the overlapping answers you see in the FAQ. In places there are 2019 and subsequent comments, drawing either on my own experiences, or from other Corbin 39 owners and sources, including our Corbin 39 Group on Facebook. More comments are most welcome and this FAQ will inevitably grow.

We have attempted to contact all contributors to the 2015 version of the FAQ. All responses have been most supportive, thank you. If you are a contributor who has yet to respond please contact us.

As will be apparent there are multiple viewpoints on some topics. Sometimes, but not always, this can be traced to differences in arrangement between the boats of the various authors. Some of the topics raised are not so much a Q&A, as simply being a statement of why a particular owner thought something was a good idea, which of course it may not have been at all. Make your own mind up.

If you have further comments or suggestions on any of these questions, or wish to pose new questions, or describe various issues you have faced and/or overcome, then please contact us either via the Facebook Group or via the Website.

[Remark as of November 2019: Quite a lot of the links to drawings & photos are not yet reinstated due to workload. However I also know quite a few of the relevant images have gone astray. You may find the relevant photos in the individual boat’s entry. Please email us if you have any of the missing photos, drawings, etc.]


a. I talked with Tops’n’ Quality in Marysville Michigan and they said they have supplied many of the stainless pulpits for Corbin. I know of no vendor for the fuel tanks, I would imagine getting the tanks built will be an easy thing to do. Gene Whitney (#069, Joint Effort) b. The tanks, as far as I know, were fabricated in Montreal–don’t know the supplier– if anyone has a set of blueprints, the dimensions of all tanks are noted for local fabrication–I do have a set for the Corbin39-3es (ES = Edition Special, the mk2)– the latest version, aft cockpit. as for the pulpits: Tops-In-Quality Marysville, MI 48040 last phone # 313-364-7150 Doug Archibald (#158, Chaos !) c. As the Corbin factory sold the majority of boats for owner finishing they probably only had one off orders for tanks and pulpits. Probably one of the biggest orders for pulpits was mine, for members of the Toronto Boat Builders Co-Op, 7 boat sets, in Sept 1980. They were made to my specification, including all deck measurements, by Tops In Quality, now in Port Huron, MI. Tel: 313 982 1900. The photos on my website give an idea of the appearance. starboardbow.jpg The bow pulpit has a 10″ drop at the front for easier access. The mast pulpits (granny bars) have a curved top in plan view (other designers have used a straight back rest). I also have the hull profile to accommodate boarding ladder standoffs, located at about 20″ forward of the stern. However, we didn’t go with this but later designed a 3 part folding ladder to go at the lifeline gate, near the forward end of the wheelhouse. All stanchions are 30″ high. Tops In Quality may have dimensions on file. Photo of 2 satisfied customers attached. pulpits.jpg Regarding tanks, the same comment re Corbin factory applies. Many boats would have different tank requirements. Our stainless fuel and water tanks were made by Klacko Mfg, Oakville, Ontario. They are still in the same business and made tanks for other owners. tel: 905 825 0015. They are pricey, but perhaps not so bad for U.S. customers. Hope this helps, Regards, David Salter (s/v #050, Opportunity) d. I bought all my pulpits from Marine Exchange Corp. in Peabody, Ma. They are still in business. At the time the father was building a Corbin and had a good source for the stainless work. Now the sons run the business and may be able to help. Bill Schwartz (s/v #090, Moonshadow) e. Marine Exchange was run by Kevin Montague and family. After it went out of business Kevin started up North East Rigging Systems. His contact in Needham, MA, is (781) 559 8416,Kevinmontague He also has a website now. I have used his company for several high cost purchases (e.g. Profurl, Electric Windlass) as well as many lesser items and he is very competitive and also knowledgeable. As noted, his father had a Corbin 39. Kevin is a rigger but also good for most other boat equipment. Regards, David Salter (s/v #050, Opportunity)

Up until now we have not had refrigeration on the boat and just used ice blocks, quite effective for a trip of 4-5 days. Eileen has persuaded me to get a quote for refrigeration and we have visited the booths of Glacier Bay (the Cadillac brand) and C-Frost at past boat shows. I sent sketches to both companies and Glacier Bay replied with a quote the same day. The price, including our 15% sales taxes, comes out similar to a small car – well at least a dinghy plus outboard. Glacier Bay, which claims the highest efficiency, says we will need to run the engine for 2 hours a day and produce 60 Ah. I guess the acceptance rate of the cold plates is the limiting factor as we have a 120 Ah alternator. David Salter (#050, Opportunity).

a. Hope all is well with you. We are progressing well with the refit of #135, Necessity and look forward to heading out for the Med next year. A year ago we installed a Frigoboatwww.frigoboat.com/ K50 with a BD50 Danfoss compressor and a keel cooler. While we have not used it in the tropics as yet, all indications are that it will prove quite satisfactory. We looked at a number of systems and chose this one for the energy efficiency and the fact that there was no heat generated inside the boat. We also looked at the Isotherm but were concerned that the thru hull cooler would not generate adequate heat dissipation when the boat was still at anchor. The drawback to a cold plate is the requirement for regular engine operation at a specific speed. On a passage from BVI to Florida some years ago, the Sea Frost system required over 2 hours a day run time on the engine at about 1800RPM. It wouldn’t have been so bad except that we were moving faster than the 1800 RPM engine speed would have driven us and engaging the prop would have actually slowed us down. I have attached an article from Cruising World which I found helpful, old.cruisingworld.com/ B. Hall

b. Having read what you propose, I respectfully submit the following for your consideration: I would stay away from ” Cold Plate ” mainly due to engine running required and the fact that you end up freezing and unfreezing your food, that may not be a good thing. We have installed-4 yrs. ago a Novacool Evaporator / Condenser type unit, air cooled, with the compressor located in the large engine room area. We had a two-compartment ice box so the first compartment is a freezer (that’s where we located the evaporator) and the second compartment acts like a fridge. We installed a small 12 VDC fan to move cold air from the first to the second compartment. I can’t say enough about this system and I did the whole thing myself in 1/2 day. Our current draw is about 6 Amps and there has never been a problem with the batteries. Whole thing can be bought for approx. 850.00 CDN, on sale right now. I would further suggest that you contact Peter @ HMP Marine here in Toronto, 416 762 3821 or www.hollandmarine.com . I have had an ongoing relationship with Peter for years, I respect his knowledge above anything, even though he can be somewhat ” unconventional ” sometimes. Hope this will assist you, Frank Bryant, #186, Visitant.

c. About the most I can do to help you is to say that the most important thing you can do is to be sure you have the most effective insulation, top and all sides, most important is the top where most heat leakage occurs. On my boat (#069, Joint Effort), I have a freezer and refrigeration. The freezer unit is a Sea-Frost custom designed by them. I have been very pleased by the unit’s operation. Once it is down to the desired temperature it does not cycle on and off very often. It is a small freezer, maybe 2-1/2 cubic feet but serves us well. I would order from them again. The compressor is very compact and quiet and vents into the living compartment. I have no issues with this. The refrigeration unit is an Adler Barbour Cold Machine. This is the second one in there for the twenty or so years of using the boat. The fact I am using it again must say something for the unit. I replaced it because it needed a new temperature control switch inside the box. You can buy the switch, and I actually did, then changed my mind and bought a whole new unit while thinking about what the company said. They told me the unit should last about twenty years and I had 19 on it. The refrigerator is on the large side and I need to keep the temperature about halfway down or things begin to freeze in there. My logic is; this is on the lower end of the price scale and it has been most satisfactory in its operation, I could have bought the high-end stuff but the results would have been the same. I have had good support from the companies involved. The power for those units is pretty effective too. I have a KISS wind Generator, when it is spinning good (6-10 amps.), I will need to run my engine about every three days or so but I am not power stingy as I use the boat for North Channel use mostly and will spend a day or so in a harbor to restock the boat and I use the boats batteries for many things. I even have an inverter on board and will use the microwave on occasion. I do have a battery monitoring system on board and keep a close eye on battery condition. There are 745 amp hours available and I have a 125-amp alternator. Hope this helps a bit! A lot of options are out there GENE WHITNEY (#069, Joint Effort).

d. I’m a liveaboard and use ice exclusively (free ice most of the time). I winter over in Philadelphia so the ambient temps tend to be on the cold side. I usually get about 4-5 days before I need to replace. The ice maintains the box at about 33-34 degrees F (0.5 – 1 degrees C). During the summer months I resupply a little more often. One thing I have noticed with using ice is that items like milk and lettuce stay fresher longer than in a home refrigerator. I’ve been investigating different ice box conversion systems and air conditioning units. I’ve been leaning towards the Glacier Bay system for two reasons: 1) energy requirements and 2) the fact that you can run an air conditioning unit using the same compressor as the fridge. This would be used only dockside so power would not be a problem. I would save space (always a premium) and have less plumbing and electrical to deal with. The only drawbacks I’ve run into with this is sizing the cold plate, I keep coming up with the need for 2 plates and the price of the system – $4300 to 4700. But I believe this is the way to go. Let me know how you make out. Bill Costello (s/v #095, Coochi), Phila.

e. I have a Glacier Bay system in Impresa (fridge, freezer & AC). I have the Whisper Jet model which I believe has been supplanted by a smaller and possibly more efficient model. My review is:
Noise/Vibration: reasonable but not silent. The sound does not awaken me and the vibration is minor.You need to follow the recommendations for mounting the compressor.

Run Time: Close to the predicted value for the fridge. The freezer runs longer than expected but I am still working to optimize the superheat.

Box: I bought the super insulation panels (tops & hatches, sides, bottoms) from Glacier Bay. They claim an R of 30 for a 1″ thickness. Although expensive, I am convinced that these are worth the money. I gained lots of extra space and they hold the cold very well. Also, the inside is very easy to clean.

Air Conditioning: Not really worth it. The unit does cool things down but at the expense of long run times. The newer freestanding AC units are more efficient: shorter run times and faster cool down. Impresa is in the Chesapeake. If we were in a really warm area like Florida, I would strongly suggest a different AC system. I installed the system myself and found it tedious but not overwhelming. If you have reasonable mechanical skills and can do a decent job of sweating copper tubing, I wouldn’t shy away from the job. In addition, the newer unit is more integrated (fewer solder joints) than my system.

The bottom line: Skip the Glacier Bay AC. Definitely use the super insulation panels for the box (or a competitive system that is unquestionably as good). The Glacier Bay compressor/holding plates seem to be of first quality but they are pricey. If I were to do it over, I would buy the box components and see if I could find a good quality compressor/plates system for less money. Good luck. Lou Lieto (#193, Impresa).

f. David, there’s a company that deals with marine refrigeration right near you in Picton, Ontario. His name is Marv and he knows more about the subject than anyone I know. He has a company called E-Z Kold. You can contact him and see his line of products on his website www.e-zkold.com . Good luck. Jack Verheyden (#127, Kathrian).

g. In regards to David Salter’s question about refrigeration: We bought a 12volt holding plate unit from EZ-Kold in Kingston Ontario. They made the holding plate into a box (custom sized) and we use the inside for a freezer and the outside for a fridge. It works fantastic. We bought the air cooled unit and put the compressor (comes with 12 feet of copper pipe) next to our fuel tank, behind the settee in the pilot house, mostly to be out of the way. We’ve used this system from Nova Scotia to Trinidad with perfect success. I know everyone says you need water cooled and such, but we’ve never had a situation where we didn’t have ice in the fridge or more than 25 ah per day draw. (and I watch diligently since we’re strictly solar charged) I have 6 inches of insulation all around the fridge except the bottom (where heat may “rise” into the fridge, or cold may sink out of it) where we have 9 inches of insulation. No, the unit does not make any noticeable heat in the pilot house. We also have some 3″ ducting from the compressor compartment, 4 feet to the lazerette (I suppose that helps eh?). There’s also an opening at the bottom of the compartment to the bilge to suck fresh air to the compressor. The best part is that this unit cost us less than $1600 Canadian Brand new and custom made to our specs!! (2003) All for now, we’re preparing for our trans-Atlantic and will be leaving from Beaufort NC in May.

Add: Just to confirm for you that our fridge is indeed a “holding plate” with eutectic fluid (antifreeze) in it, not an evaporator plate like a home style fridge. It runs about 2.5 hrs every 24 hrs plus or minus 2 hrs (22-26 hrs between running times). Cheers. Paul Melanson on #058, Quintana.

h. Lester, Thanks very much for forwarding all this correspondence re refrigeration. After getting a recommendation from Jack Verheyden, #127, Kathrian, I visited E-Z Kold, only about an hour away, including a short ferry ride to Prince Edward County. I spoke with Marvin Nye, the CEO (maybe the only employee??) and saw his shop. I have now ordered a system. It has 2 plates, one for the freezer and one for the fridge, plus the air-cooled compressor. As Paul said, the price is very reasonable, currently $1449 US. See www.e-zkold.com/conversion.htm#ek12cpa2 This is the “conversion kit” for an ice box and all plates can be customized for this price. It is nice to read Paul’s confirmation of the performance of the system and his energy consumption. We are anticipating higher energy demand and will let you know how it works out in due course. We have decided to make the originally planned big “freezer”, 5.9 cu ft, into the fridge. The smaller unit above, 1.75 cu ft, will be the freezer. A minor drawback is that the freezer will be the one with 4″ insulation and the fridge has 6″. The sizes are a lot more realistic this way. Regards, David Salter (#050, Opportunity).

Perhaps someone could suggest any thoughts on material to replace the teak plywood inside the pilot house….I was thinking of using a white covered plywood (?melamine) rather than the teak and then reusing the teak trim. Does anyone have any experience with this, and what kind of material did they use. Thanks. Bill Swales (#042, Blondie Too)

a. In response to this email, I have used an excellent material for this which is a thin (1/8”) fiberglass sheet material. It has a bumpy textured finish. It is very durable and glues on with construction adhesive or contact cement. It is commonly used to line commercial or restaurant kitchen areas. It is really easy to keep clean, does not absorb moisture and will last forever…costs about $50.00 per sheet. It is available from plastics, Plexi-glass suppliers in a variety of colors and has trim pieces that are used to join, create inside and outside corners, etc. It is awesome for lining the shower in the head also. It can be cut very easily with a mini grinder with a thin cutting disc. I use a laminate trimmer with a carbide tipped flush trim cutter with a top bearing. Just clamp a straight edge along your cut line and the bearing from your trimmer will run along the straight edge. The dust from cutting is fairly hazardous to breathe, so wear a good respirator. Handle the dust as you would fiberglass insulation….will make you itch if not careful. Take care, Mike & Cathy Cashin (#045 Sea Dream).

b. This is a very good idea. I did the galley on my previous boat and after 15 years it still looked new. It required very low maintenance and did not need any special “boat glue”, just the regular contact cement. I know now that they have different kinds of contact cement; I used the original one. It stinks badly while you use it, but it held all these years. A light color lining will make the space look bigger, also. One more thing. Do not use the already made board with melamine covering. It is made with pressed wood and will go bad in a year or two. Glue the melamine (formica) on top of the existing wood, if it still sound, or replace the existing wood with marine plywood that you will cover with formica. Good luck with your project. Valois Nadeau (#096, Gulliver).

a. Draw a layout to scale. Here is #050, Opportunity’s (although not to scale) per below . I am attaching the only sketch/schematic I have of our specific interior. It is different from all others and I made this by photographing a large drawing. Unfortunately, the lines aren’t very dark and it is NOT to scale! The aft head is SMALL but it is possible to stand up if you are my height, 5′ 9″, aft of the toilet and in front of the sink. We wash while sitting on the toilet lid. We made the space under the companionway top step by making the steps fairly steep and, effectively, extending the bridge deck. The sole is directly on the hull, with a fairly small, flat floor. We step down from the port side aft cabin. There is also a hanging locker in the aft cabin, against the hull and a shelf in front of it. Headroom here is just adequate and the cockpit intrudes in. We have two small ports (5 x 12″, I believe) into the cockpit well, one from the head and one from the aft cabin itself. I can’t give dimensions now as we have lots of deep snow between the back door and the boat. The centreline divider for the aft cabin is angled and includes one of the bolts for the rudder stuffing box (under the berth)! David Salter (s/v #050, Opportunity)

b. Make scale models, per below I went one (or two) better than layout plans! The original Corbin brochure showed cross sections at all the stations of the plan view so I enlarged these with a magnajector (diascope?) and made a model of the boat using cardboard “planking” between stations at a scale of about 1″ to 1′. We still have this! We planned the layout roughly using this. Then we made bulkheads out of corrugated cardboard to try the “feel” of the arrangement in the bare hull. In retrospect, after living in the boat, it would have been nice to adjust things by an inch or two! Lester, I have brought the model in from the garage and dusted it off, but 20+ years of neglect shows! Photo 1 shows the open model – I believe I only ever made a deck for the aft area, as seen in Photo 2. The cardboard has obviously had moisture damage at some time and I ran out of adhesive tape today in trying to repair it. The scale is 1″ to 1′. The stations (1/4″ ply frames in this case) are at 3.25″ spacing and the cardboard planking is stapled to them. You can see the raised wheelhouse sole in the open model and the yellow tab is to support the bottom of the companionway steps. The chainplates marked on the hull don’t show up. We used this model to calculate the number of 4×8 sheets of 3/4″ ply for the bulkheads at 30, for example, and it came out perfectly, with a few small pieces left for furniture. Most of the furniture was made with 1/2″ ply. Regards, David Salter (s/v #050, Opportunity)

The question was posed regarding the layout of #189, Tangaroa V. The full set of responses is included here firstly because of the very clear and evidence-based response at the end from Marius Corbin that is both a ‘yes, it is OK’, and gives insight into the structural design of the Corbin 39. Secondly it is interesting to compare that with some of the other responses, and to reflect on that when reading through and assessing the validity of some other opinions expressed elsewhere on other subjects.

a. Nice woodworking but a bit scary on the structural engineering, I’d say. Jack

b. Hi, we agree that these photos indicate a lack of deck support. Looks beautiful but waves on windows could be extra dangerous for this boat. Rod Kerry (#092, Vision Quest)

c. Are you saying that without more rigidity the hull might flex, allowing the windows to pop out? Maybe the pilothouse windows also? Skippers, A few days ago I sent you an email regarding a Corbin that was built without the main bulkhead under the pilothouse windows. I was concerned about structural integrity. Thus far, I have received only three responses. I feel it is incumbent upon us as the Corbin 39 Owners’ Group to comment on this departure from the original design plans. Is the present owner in danger of a serious accident? What about the person who buys this boat some time in the future? Please send your replies directly to me and I will post all of them on our Q and A page. I would like to hear from Marius Corbin and Collin Harty, especially. Lester

d. I find the photos of the open plan Corbin rather intriguing. The layout has definite similarities to the Nonsuch 30….also the Niagara 35 Encore Edition. …Jeremy

e. I would think the structural integrity of the deck would depend on where this person placed all the bulkheads. The cabin roof would sit on this particular bulkhead and I have not personally seen another Corbin where this main bulkhead was not there. I would be interested in hearing what Marius Corbin has to say since this was his design. Thanks, Christine Lawton.

f. While the boat may look very nice on the inside (as well as outside), there is no way i would ever raise a sail. The apparent absence of the structural bulkhead between the pilothouse and main saloon is a serious issue. i would suspect that stress transferred from the rigging (even just at dock or anchor with wakes and wind loads) will cause the deck to flex because of the missing bulkhead. Doug Archibald (s/v #158, Chaos !!) [The upper and intermediate chain plates are opposite the mast which is located at the aft head bulkhead. Therefore, the deck should not flex. Lester]

g. I’m surprised at the lack of comments / responses as there are many very knowledgeable owners here. Not being a naval architect or structurally inclined for that matter, I elected to decline a formal comment, but having had another look at the pics., I did not see the mast support ??? or is it keel stepped ?? anyway, without the bulkhead under the P.H., I would be reluctant to go ” off shore ” but for coastal cruising…..??.. I’m not qualified to comment. It looks like a very nice boat otherwise, Frank Bryant (s/v #186, Visitant) [Tangaroa has a substantial compression post under the mast which goes down to the hull. Lester]

h. Thanks for including me in this email and for posting #189, Tangaroa’s photos on your Corbin site. As our harbour-master, I appreciate your questioning and validating of this very uncommon Corbin design. This boat was designed and built in the second half of 1988 in Corbin’s yard and was also completely equipped in their yard including auto pilot, generator, air conditioning, etc. It had in mast furling, electric windlass,.etc. I have all the original drawings and documentation from Corbin including some comments by Mr. M. Corbin to the attention of the original owner. The interior was designed for a couple to live aboard in complete comfort with a very large living area and only one closed cabin, (forward) . Two heads are installed, one amidship on the port side and the other aft also on the port side . The whole volume under the cockpit is the engine room where the generator with its own diesel tank, water maker, main engine, (Perkins 60 HP), water pump are installed. Access to all those equipment is very good through cockpit deck that becomes a large hatch.The first owners took Tangaroa V down the Pacific Islands for a year or so and came back to Canada afterward. My intentions are to make Tangaroa V and its crew of two seaworthy for bluewater cruising. We expect to retire in about three year and start cruising wherever the winds take us. Best regards, Guy Viger (#189, Tangaroa V)

i. I have considerable boating experience but no professional qualifications. From the photos…I see a pair of semi bulkheads each side under the sill at the leading edge of the pilothouse where it joins the deck. These I assume are installed to the hull and below the floors as Corbin would have done. As the Corbin is cored and overbuilt this should be adequate support in this area, although I would add a couple of nicely finished posts from floor to deck head each side of the ladder joined to a shallow cross beam. The C & C’s of old used a system like that to open up the interior. I am concerned that the large area of the deck above the main cabin has no semi bulkheads or beams. I feel that in time this might lead to some deck flexing. The mast loads are carried to the keel by a compression post which is not visible The bulkhead (in the photo) in that area looks substantial. The cabinet work and upholstery are beautifully finished. The sofas and cabinets opposite are probably integrally glassed to the hull providing adequate support. Without more detail, especially measurements from the sill /leading edge of the pilothouse to the mast area support/bulkhead/compression post it is difficult to guess how much deck is unsupported. It appears that the main cabin forward bulkhead has been moved aft, locating it in the area of the mast? I believe I read in the original builders ads that one of these boats had been rigged and sailed with no interior at all except for a compression post ! It will be interesting to hear what the professionals have to say ! I am reminded of my Navy days sailing a 40 foot open wood gaff rigged cutter with just thwarts for side compression loads and stringers to prevent hogging and sagging. If all the cabinet work in Tangaroa is well glassed in to support the hull shape, then the deck just becomes a cover to keep out the weather. It is substantially constructed….has good camber…..but it does need reasonable support…..how much structural strength the deck adds to the whole boat is open to question ! Anyhow that’s my ten cents worth…and TangaroaV is one of the nicest Corbins I have seen ! Regards, Jeremy

j. The photos show a very nicely finished boat, both exterior and interior. As you note, the layout is very unusual. The instructions I received from Marius Corbin regarding the bulkheads was that there were 6 structural bulkheads and that they should be located not greater than + or – one foot from where the Dufour design showed them. I would think that the absence of a bulkhead where the front of the wheelhouse meets the deck cutout would result in a significant weakness. In Photo1 I can’t see any reinforcing such as a deck beam and there is no vertical pillar either. Regards, David Salter

k. I’ll have to fall back onto the sage wisdom of the anonymous broker who said “Corbins are like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get until you bite into one.” [This is true of every boat. Lester] It is simply impossible to say whether the interior layout of Tangaroa V has compromised her structural integrity by looking at the photos posted. It would take a much closer inspection of the boat to know. With structural PVC foams, knitted glass and/or carbon fibre, epoxy resins and substantially engineered structural knees, the technology exists to stiffen the hell out of a design like this. I would also note from the photos you posted that there seems to be a major bulkhead inline with the mast and major rigging loads. You would have to know more about the specifications of the sail plan, pull the headliner, delve deep into the lockers, and talk directly to the builder about his laminate schedules to know it this boat was engineered to take the necessary loads. There are a number of very high-end raised saloon and pilothouse boats on the market today that have opted for this very same open layout. It is possible to do, put impossible to know if it was done right solely by looking at these photos. Best regards, Collin Harty

l. Guy, Does Tangaroa have a compression post to the floor (not the sole) which supports the mast? (Answer: Yes, a 6″ diameter steel post) If yes, is there a bulkhead from the post to the hull, which braces this post? (Answer: Yes) Lester

m. As I mentioned to you, Tangaroa V has been cruised extensively in the South Pacific during more than one year. She is now almost 17 years old. There are no stress indication, (cracking, ….etc), anywhere on deck or below desk. I have attached more photographs that show the structural bulkheads on both the port and starboard side. As you can see they do not cover the whole area and thus allow the open view concept. This design conveys a tremendous feeling of space and volume that I have only seen in much bigger boats and is a great invitation to live aboard for extended periods of time. See Tangaroa Pics, Guy Viger.

n. Regarding the present layout, perhaps a structural header that spans from stbd to port hull ribs can carry the loads anticipated on an ocean crossing? I think it would be super if Marius Corbin could weigh-in on any kind of reductions in the bulkheads. [See A48n, below] I’m not speaking about total removal, but opening up the wall area on the port side just beyond the galley or the settee for example. Thank you kindly on your efforts in establishing the website. Tim O’Neil (#138, Whaleback- homeport Boston)

o. The Corbin was designed to be an ocean-going vessel. The plan provided for numerous bulkheads to give the boat the interior support for strength. This vessel looks to be missing 3 bulkheads that our boat has in the salon and pilothouse. I believe that this compromises the structure and could lead to possible problems such as hull flexing such as you describe. The deck is not getting the proper support and I cannot see a mast compression post in the salon. [It is in the aft inboard corner of the head compartment bulkhead. Lester] I personally would find this dangerous. Rod

p. Tangaroa, was one of the last layouts I designed and was factory built. Not to worry about the integrity of the design as far as strength is concerned. All the bulkheads are there and the boat is plenty strong. You seemed concerned about the one at the pilothouse. It is there, like all our bulkheads, laminated on both sides in the hull and in the deck. The part that seems to be missing, is the dash that unites the bulkhead to the windshield of the pilothouse. That part has never been structural and the bulkhead never went as high as the overhead of the pilothouse. That boat [Tangaroa V] is a 39′ like all the others. Tangaroa felt a lot bigger inside than the others, because of the openness of the design and two of that version [Demontigny] were built. I must confess that this is the layout I prefer for myself, maybe because it is the latest of all the layouts. Have a great day. Marius Corbin

q. Guy, 1. I know what the bolt heads are; they are rivet-like fasteners holding the pilothouse down onto the deck. On my Corbin, bolts were used and the nuts on the inside are covered by 1/2″ foam and 1/16″ vinyl sheeting. Also, your pilothouse appears to have a lid which is riveted on. It appears a separate mold was made in order to accommodate the two large hatches and the dorade holes in the roof. 2. The longest unsupported span, fore and aft, is 7′ on my Corbin. On most Corbins, it is about 10′. But on your boat, it is about 16′, from the companionway to the mast compression post. I think this is too long and a potential hazard in a heavy sea with a knockdown. 3. If I were you, before taking off around the world, I would consult a competent naval architect to look into this question. I recommend John Letcher, a PhD from Cal Tech, experienced singlehander, author of the first comprehensive study of self-steering techniques, designer of sailboats, and now a designer of boats and ships using computer techniques. He is located in Boothbay, Maine. 4. In order to be a bluewater boat, I think that TangaroaV needs a substantial beam athwartship where the forward end of the pilothouse sits on the deck. A SS truss about 6″ high would do the job and would fit into the open appearance of the interior. This beam could be tied to the existing wooden knees outboard and supported by two posts (lattice truss or poles) resting on the inboard ends of the two existing partial bulkheads, one in front of the helm and one between the back-to-back settees. That’s my two cents worth. Lester Helmus

r. Guy, Here are some further thoughts on this question One is redeeming, the other is less so. 1. In the severest of wind and sea conditions, Tangaroa should remain intact; the worst that might happen is loosened windshields, delaminated plywood, and/or delaminated fiberglass, all due to flexing of the unsupported main deck in the area of the windshields. Therefore, I conclude the Tangaroa open layout design is structurally safe. 2. When you go to stock up on victuals for that round-the-world cruise you are going to wish for the storage shelves and drawers that the main dashboard/bulkhead can provide. My #010, Insouciance has an additional bulkhead with shelves, drawers, and icebox-turned-storage box which is at the forward edge of the galley. This bulkhead plus a post lend added support to the deck which is needed for a keel-stepped mast. Good luck, Lester.

s. Our Corbin 39 hull #144, “Cormorant” was built by Don Ney in consultation with Marius Corbin. There is no bulkhead under the pilot house windows as in the factory models. This boat has been around the world one and half times and is still structurally sound. The inside steering station is mounted on a shoulder- high console (same level as deck) and is about 2.5 feet aft of the base of the forward pilot house windows (sort of a cathedral ceiling for the galley and main salon which really opens up the living space.) Don Ney told me that Marius Corbin toured the boat after he (Don) finished it and said “Why didn’t I think of that!” All the best, Harry and Jane Hungate, cruising in New Zealand in #144, Cormorant.

I’m going to be looking at an older Corbin 39 that has soft spots in the cabin sole. I’d like to know how the boat was built to determine how serious the damage is. Could you please tell me, if in your opinion, if soft spots in the cabin sole are structural problems related to rotted thwarts (knees) or a cosmetic problem? I was “told” the boat was a factory boat, but the owner is dead and his widow may not really know. If the boat has structural problems I probably won’t buy it, if all I have to do is replace some flooring, I’ll try to buy it. Thanks & Sincerely, Tom Hally.

a. I don’t know how the factory-built boats dealt with the cabin sole. In my boat the supports, or floors, are like vertical mini bulkheads made from 2 layers of 3/4″ mahogany ply that were bonded [together] with epoxy and then covered with fibreglass. Then a piece of solid mahogany, about 3″x3″, was attached to the top to span the hull. I made most of my cabin sole consist of removeable panels so that the bilge and hull could be inspected. This is particularly important in the event of external hull damage. If you are keen on buying the boat I suggest you ask the owner if you can cut out a section of the sole. This is fairly drastic but I can’t think of another way to resolve the question. You should be able to advise the owner that other potential customers will have similar concerns. The cutout panel should obviously be in a position that would allow it to be used as a future keel access hatch [and for storage]. Regards, David Salter (#050, Opportunity).

b. Don’t know what to make of this ! Certainly it’s nothing structural, just an underfloor issue. maybe ?? the plywood got soft somehow … ? or maybe it was too thin in the first place ? My sole is on 3/4 plywood. Sorry I could not contribute much. Cheers, Frank B. (#186, Visitant).

c. Recommend that he take a look below the floor boards to see if there is an obvious reason for the soft spots. If he is still interested in the boat after that then a surveyor can help him determine whether this is a big or little issue. Stephen L. (#187, Toboggan).

d. Our 1984 Corbin #153 also has soft spots and one place where you can see the sole was replaced. Getting a closer look, it seems to just be some sole lamination deterioration and not structural (a future project I’m sure). In one spot it looks like some penetrating epoxy was used with limited success and some discoloration. Gene & Patti S., (#158, Swell Dish).

e. Many people say their boat is factory built but it is not always the case. The flooring is built with 3/4″ mahogany plywood, covered with 1/4″ teak and holly floor. It could be that one of these two parts has separated or is rotten. I would doubt very much it is structural. There are openings in the floor that will allow you to check for rot from under the floor. Have a wonderful day. Marius Corbin.

f. It’s going to be difficult to tell what the issue is and how extensive it is without taking a good look. Then there’s the question of differences in how each boat was built. When we purchased our Corbin, we had the sole factory-installed. In this case, the knees and stringers below the sole were well encased in fiberglass but the sole itself was just raw marine plywood without any sealant applied to the underside, allowing for the potential for rot. We didn’t have issues during our time owning her, but who knows now. Chris Reynolds, Formerly (#083, Tamalmar).

g. If factory finished, the supporting floors should be of substantially thick solid mahogany beams and thick marine mahogany plywood bulkheads. Because most of the boats were sold in various kit plans it is impossible for me to answer your question. However, if the joinery inside looks professionally done then the boat was probably factory finished. If the boat was kit finished only a careful inspection of the supporting flooring (the supporters of the sole) will tell if the problem is structural or cosmetic. The entire interior of my boat was finished by the previous owner and is still very solid despite the intrusion of fresh water on at least two occasions when the hull up to the salon sole was immersed in fresh water. Your problem is probably cosmetic. Inspect the flooring. Also, smell for rot. Lester H. (#010, Insouciance).

h. Attached are two pictures (I thought that I had more) of my boat under construction at the factory in 1984. The first picture shows the forward bulkhead in the main salon. Looking closely, you will see just aft of the main bulkhead, a stringer glassed to the hull; there will be one glassed to the starboard side also. Salon Sole Support Stringer Fwd There is also a bilge bulkhead glassed into place a few feet behind the main bulkhead. The second picture shows the underlayment plywood (appx 3/4″ marine grade) sole resting on the above-mentioned stringer and bilge bulkheads and glassed into place with tabs on the outboard edges. Salon Sole Plywood The underlayment plywood sole was secured to the bilge bulkheads, I believe, with Morebond and screwed down with SS screws. There would be another bilge bulkhead between the two tanks seen in the picture. All of this created a solid floor, covered with an appx 1/4″ teak and holly plywood which was secured with Morebond. I would suspect that water, perhaps from a leaking tank, may have somehow collected onto the plywood underlayment between the top covering teak and holly and the underlayment. This, over time, would cause punkiness and softness. Just a wild guess. Doug Archibald S/V #158, CHAOS !! (ex) [Ed. Note: The two pictures show a very solid substructure that not only supports the cabin sole but makes the hull more solid and rigid.]

i. I have hull #025 and have been installing new sole for awhile now. Thing is on my Corbin the sole is not structural but can add support to the overall stiffness. I would inspect the soft spots to see if it is in the stringers or supports. More than likely the sole is the issue. I am using an African rosewood that can be submerged in water for long periods without ill affect with only teak oil applied. Even if it were a small amount of rot due to poor sole installation it would not scare me from the purchase. These Corbin’s are literal tanks of the oceans and if water intrusion is caught early and repaired properly the boat has many more oceans to cross…….Fair winds, Keith Boettger (#025, Agape).

Where have [others] installed AC units and dealt with the routing of air flow etc? I’m looking to put in a unit on my Corbin and would like to know the experiences of others who have gone before me. Thanks, Tom Knight, (#157, Fabled Past).

a. Tom–I had a Cruisair 2-part system with reverse cycle installed in my Corbin 6-7 years ago. It was a nightmare [to install] to say the least, but once in, it has been flawless with absolutely no maintenance, except for replacing the seawater pump a few times. My boat is the “Edition Speciale” aft cockpit- I believe that yours is the same, judging by the year. If the system I have is of interest to you, I will be happy to send pictures of the installation, parts required, and the duct routing. Doug Archibald, (s/v #158, CHAOS !!).

b. Tom, I own Perpetua, previously known as #078, Half Normal Saline. She has a water source heat pump located in the hanging locker opposite the head, just forward of the main cabin. Ducts are routed to the foc’sle and to the main cabin. I live in Oregon, so have had need of the heat, but little need of the A/C. The system works great, although the pilot house does not stay as comfortable as the main cabin. Good luck, Bill Gifford, (#078, Perpetua).

c. In #154, Sunshine the AC unit is under the sink in the galley. It is tucked over to port out of the way and it is a 16,500 btu unit. All vents and hoses run on the port side. Digital photos are available if you need them. David Williams (#154, Sunshine).

d. Tom, My A/C is located behind the forward head mirror, with the piping running along the port hull. All I have is three ports, one in the v-berth, galley & pilothouse. I may add one to the main cabin over the table because this seems to be a hot spot. All in all being slipped in Florida and doing a majority of my cruising in the Caribbean, it is fairly adequate. Hope this helps…Regards, Keith Boettger, (#025, Agape).

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