Talk about an area of contention over the years...core materials are it. Cores, including foams and balsa wood, are good materials. It is the way they are installed that can make them an owner’s nightmare. Today, improvements in closed molding techniques, like resin infusion, have bettered the quality of core installation. In the hand-laid days, a good installation was like pinning the tail on the donkey. Builders were blindfolded because they couldn’t see the “downside” of the core. The vacuum infusion process has improved core installations, performance and longevity. Both balsa and foam cores can be well produced and last for years. In terms of performance, a cored or sandwich composite is better than a solid composite with respect to strength-to-weight ratio. Cored composites yield lighter, faster and more fuel-efficient boats.
Do not be afraid of buying a new boat made with core materials, but do your homework in selecting your brand and what is behind it. And, FYI, most of those windmill blades you see spinning on the distant peaks are built using vacuum infusion with cored composites.