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Old 23-12-2008, 12:53   #16
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my two cents worth...since you say 'we' are going to live aboard and go cruising.

I'm gonna go out on a limb here and assume 'we' includes an Admiral somewhere. If it's you and your spaniel, forget I spoke.

Two things based on my assumption:

-- whatever boat YOU like, make sure the Admiral is on side. If she takes a scunner to the boat, you ain't going nowhere (as Saltwater Bob Dylan said in a similar circumstance).

-- and (my more substantive point) even if she really likes the big Columbia, is she big and strong enough to handle (for instance) the ground tackle?

In general, I think I agree with Kanani that bigger is better. But one of the interesting lessons we recently learned (the Admiral and moi) is that what is an easy task for someone who's six feet and 185pounds can be impossible for someone 5'6" and 120.

We chartered a 47-footer last winter. The Admiral couldn't see over the cabin top. Meant she couldn't help pick up a mooring. She had trouble reaching the reefing hook on the mast. The chain and ground tackle was .... well, 'nuff said.

We have therefore ruled out anything much bigger than about 35 feet.

Your mileage may vary, however.

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Old 23-12-2008, 12:58   #17
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If I hadn't run into some good fortune. I would probably be sailing either the Columbia43, or 50................i2f

The fortune wasn't an inheritance. I had no idea my business had grown to the value it was.
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Old 23-12-2008, 13:29   #18
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-- and (my more substantive point) even if she really likes the big Columbia, is she big and strong enough to handle (for instance) the ground tackle?

In general, I think I agree with Kanani that bigger is better. But one of the interesting lessons we recently learned (the Admiral and moi) is that what is an easy task for someone who's six feet and 185pounds can be impossible for someone 5'6" and 120.

We chartered a 47-footer last winter. The Admiral couldn't see over the cabin top. Meant she couldn't help pick up a mooring. She had trouble reaching the reefing hook on the mast. The chain and ground tackle was .... well, 'nuff said.

We have therefore ruled out anything much bigger than about 35 feet.

Your mileage may vary, however.

Connemara
I don't know about you but I did all of the anchor work (accept, of course, stepping on the button to raise the anchor ).

Reefing tends to be a consideration on a 35' boat, not so much on a 43' boat. My 16-year-old daughter (at the time), loved working the roller-furling headsail. I did any mainsail reefing. I didn't allow my better half on deck on our 36' boat, when the weather was iffy. On our Passport 45, reefing was less of an issue because we didn't reef the main until it got up over 22kts. When we did reef, the boat was so much more stable that my 5' 4", 130# wife could handle the task easily. It's a good thing too. My back went out on a passage from Cape Town SA to Annapolis MD (7,000 miles). My wife had to do everything for about a week. Had we been on the 36', I would have had her hove-too in foul weather, until I was able to get on deck.

The bottom line is, it takes a lot more strength to keep yourself on a heaving deck of a smaller boat than it does on a bigger boat. The bigger boat is a much more stable, safer platform to work with.
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Old 23-12-2008, 13:36   #19
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I'm with Kanani, go the biggie. But its 38 years old.
Mind you it does look in good condition. Anyone with the guts to have a photo inside the lazarette and keel with patches in the ad must be pretty confident of the boat.

Chicks dig BIG boats! and she will love the teak fiddles, the large saloon with good condition furnishings, and you will love that nav table! Its the cleanest engine room.

Just remember its age and really, really hunt out any problems. There will be some, of course, but if you can live with them it looks like a good world cruiser at a good price.

We have a 39 footer with 2 on board. We would love an extra foot ot 2 or 3.... It is a weird exponential thing: the difference between a 39ft and 43 ft is much more than 4 feet. Both in sailing and acommodation.


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Old 23-12-2008, 13:45   #20
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I'd go with the Union. Friends of mine had one. They are typical of the mid 80's taiwan boats. The old Columbias were good boats, but the unsupported 40 year old rudder (and everything else!) is an issue. Also, that boat looks like it may have been grounded hard enough to crack the hull (see the pic forward of the keel.) The union appears to be decent condition, however, most of those mid 80's taiwan teak decks have saturated the core on the deck. The surveyor you want up there is Riesner, Mcewen and Harris. You want Matt Harris. He knows everything about these boats, including watching them being built in Taiwan. By the time he's done, the owner may have to pay you to take it. :>) On the other hand, neither engine in either boat is on the A list of best engines.... I think. Norrmally Perkins is the best you can get short of a Cat. However, that series perkins I believe is the engine series that wasn't built by Perkins at all (volvo?) Are you sure you shouldnt keep looking? Being winter, you've got plenty of time up here!
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Old 23-12-2008, 14:18   #21
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I'd go with the Union. Friends of mine had one. They are typical of the mid 80's taiwan boats. The old Columbias were good boats, but the unsupported 40 year old rudder (and everything else!) is an issue. Also, that boat looks like it may have been grounded hard enough to crack the hull (see the pic forward of the keel.) The union appears to be decent condition, however, most of those mid 80's taiwan teak decks have saturated the core on the deck. The surveyor you want up there is Riesner, Mcewen and Harris. You want Matt Harris. He knows everything about these boats, including watching them being built in Taiwan. By the time he's done, the owner may have to pay you to take it. :>) On the other hand, neither engine in either boat is on the A list of best engines.... I think. Norrmally Perkins is the best you can get short of a Cat. However, that series perkins I believe is the engine series that wasn't built by Perkins at all (volvo?) Are you sure you shouldnt keep looking? Being winter, you've got plenty of time up here!
Yeah, we're still looking now that we've got some feedback on these boats.

We're actually waiting to buy until after the boat show and we've been looking for around a year now. We are in a limited budget (thank you economy), but we are determined to do this.

A boatyard owner friend of ours has said that we should offer half of the asking price. I personally don't want to offend a seller, so I may just let him do the dealing for us....
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Old 23-12-2008, 14:43   #22
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unions were built using the hull molds of the HC 33, 35, and 38. last not sure. we looked at one here in the n.e. early eighties boat lots of gear but had lots of owner neglect probs. would have bought but had crack in keel from freezing. watch out for fuel and water tanks made of black iron and prone to rot out. a btch to remove and replace, same as on HCs and as said prior watch out for the decks
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Old 23-12-2008, 14:55   #23
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You didn't say where you are. There are LOTS of boats out there for sale and more coming on the market all the time. Forget the Hunter, probably the Catalina too if you plan serious Offshore passages. The union is a good choice so keep it on your list. Start a new list. The Columbia is iffy because of the damage, age and although they are spacious there is no stowage for all of the things you will need on board for cruising.
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Old 23-12-2008, 14:58   #24
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A boatyard owner friend of ours has said that we should offer half of the asking price. I personally don't want to offend a seller, so I may just let him do the dealing for us....
The trick is not that you might offend someone but you might not know the real value of the boat. It's about doing your homework so that you do know what the boat is really worth. There really is no rule of thumb that says you always offer half. But you sure as heck might if you found some problems. You never negotiate to have the seller fix anything. You fix it yourself or hire it done so you can control the work. You should already know those costs because you did the home work.

Things that are obvious you don't come back later and start picking at the price over since anyone would have known it. That would be insulting. It should be assumed that all the obvious problems are reflected in the offer and that you want to purchase the boat subject to survey.

The key is showing you are a serious buyer. Sending someone else to do it for you only signals you didn't spend the time to learn about the boat or care enough to show up. I might not show up to meet your friend with a deal like that were it my boat. It just begs for a wasted effort.

When you show that you have invested time and effort into the purchase any smart seller will work with you. They will tell you everything and work out problems that might show up. Smart sellers list prices close to the sale price and they don't double the price because they know you'll only offer half. That only happens to boats that really are not for sale or foolish sellers. You can't negotiate with a foolish buyer or a foolish seller. The end result is the boat does not sell.

Check around and see what similar boats sell for. Look at other alternatives so that you can tell yourself that I can buy another boat for this price so why should I pay more for this boat. That is what the boat is worth. When you tell a seller take it or leave it it is because you know of a deal that would work at your offering price. Being smart is never insulting when you really know the value. A seller that at least thinks you have invested time will meet with you to talk. You don't have to be a surveyor but you do need to be able to do enough research to satisfy the idea that you really do want the boat.
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Old 23-12-2008, 15:03   #25
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You didn't say where you are. There are LOTS of boats out there for sale and more coming on the market all the time. Forget the Hunter, probably the Catalina too if you plan serious Offshore passages. The union is a good choice so keep it on your list. Start a new list. The Columbia is iffy because of the damage, age and although they are spacious there is no stowage for all of the things you will need on board for cruising.
We're up in Seattle. There sure are lots of boats out there. We just thought these might be the finalists, but alas... I suppose no.

Any suggestions for some boats that are for sale by the owner (not at a broker) are welcome.
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Old 23-12-2008, 15:13   #26
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The other half

I'm the other half of Sweet Surrender and we have seen quite a few steel sailboats on the market. What do people on this forum think of steel boats?

Thanks for all the great knowledge on this subject. This is great information.

gitarwmn
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Old 23-12-2008, 15:24   #27
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Offer at least 35% less. Maybe try at 50% to start. Offending an owner could be an issue, so just come up with logical reasons. For instance, If you decide on the Union, mention the wet deck core possibilities, tank possible problems etc.. By the way, Dont underestimate those issues for your own evaluation! All that teak to maintain, tank issues clogging engine filters etc etc. It all depends on how much you LIKE working on a boat. If you haven't done much boat work, you might entertain a boat with less exterior work etc. (by the way, there's a Columbia 38 FS in Seattle for $19k asking) Other possibilities: 1980 Downeaster pilothouse Long range cruising cutter for sale in Bremerton, WA: Cruiser (sail) - SailboatTraderOnline.com or Fuji 35 (no teak decks!) at New and Used Boats For Sale seattle, Above all, have fun, take your time and get the best you can to avoid headaches.
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Old 23-12-2008, 15:25   #28
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We're up in Seattle. There sure are lots of boats out there. We just thought these might be the finalists, but alas... I suppose no.

Any suggestions for some boats that are for sale by the owner (not at a broker) are welcome.
SweetSurrender,

Is there a reason that you are limiting your search to Seattle??

Where do you plan on cruising???

What are your mechanical abilities?? That has a lot to do with what boat you buy too. It also determines how much you need in your cruising budget.

The keel on that boat is solid cast iron (I believe). It is encapsulated in F/G, glassed & bolted to the hull.

I doubt that it damaged the hull but even if it did, it's just F/G. The repair can easily be made stronger than original. That wouldn't concern ME a lot but then again, I do all my own F/G work. I learned how to do it while cruising and I did a LOT of it.

When I purchased my Passport 45, it was insurance salvage. The hull was stoved in and 3 bulkheads were blown out. It took me 2 days to repair the outside of the hull and launch the boat. I spent the following year taking out the interior on the S/B side, tearing out the bulkheads and cabin sole, laying up 4 layers of woven-roving F/G on the inside of the hull, glassing in new bulkheads and reinstalling the interior. I ended up with a boat that was far stronger than new and saved about $100K on the final product. Not bad for a years work on my own boat, at my own time, while still holding down a full-time job.

That's a pretty extreme example but the point is, if you are mechanically inclined, you can save a lot of $ and learn a lot more about your own boat.

If you are not mechanically inclined at all, you may want to go with that Catalina 34. Then again, it depends on your budget.
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Old 23-12-2008, 15:30   #29
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Steel boats are certainly strong but have their own set of special potential problems and maintenance. Problem will be that you won't really find out till you make an offer, get it accepted and go to survey. If it looks good and has been well maintained you may be OK. You will need to find a surveyor that is very experienced in steel boats. One thing I might offer. Several said go for the bigger boat the Columbia. Think about that boat and every other you look at from this point on. Sit yourself down in the cabin and ask yourself where you will put everything you will need for long distance cruising and to maintain the boat as you go along. That Columbia and many other tempting boats will have space to throw dinner parties for ten and a dance floor in the cabin, but at the expense of stowage big time. Tanks will fill space under settees and space you would normally need for storage. You need to carry clothes, food, cooking utensils, personal items, linens, towels, books, spare parts and a whole lot more. This is quite different than weekend and occasion vacations on the boat. Sorry to spend so much time on this one point but it is important. As much space as you think you will need, double it. Many boats will not pass this simple test. Then think about seaworthiness, handling for a short crew and all of those other considerations.
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Old 23-12-2008, 15:40   #30
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SweetSurrender,

Is there a reason that you are limiting your search to Seattle??

Where do you plan on cruising???

What are your mechanical abilities?? That has a lot to do with what boat you buy too. It also determines how much you need in your cruising budget.

The keel on that boat is solid cast iron (I believe). It is encapsulated in F/G, glassed & bolted to the hull.

I doubt that it damaged the hull but even if it did, it's just F/G. The repair can easily be made stronger than original. That wouldn't concern ME a lot but then again, I do all my own F/G work. I learned how to do it while cruising and I did a LOT of it.

When I purchased my Passport 45, it was insurance salvage. The hull was stoved in and 3 bulkheads were blown out. It took me 2 days to repair the outside of the hull and launch the boat. I spent the following year taking out the interior on the S/B side, tearing out the bulkheads and cabin sole, laying up 4 layers of woven-roving F/G on the inside of the hull, glassing in new bulkheads and reinstalling the interior. I ended up with a boat that was far stronger than new and saved about $100K on the final product. Not bad for a years work on my own boat, at my own time, while still holding down a full-time job.

That's a pretty extreme example but the point is, if you are mechanically inclined, you can save a lot of $ and learn a lot more about your own boat.

If you are not mechanically inclined at all, you may want to go with that Catalina 34. Then again, it depends on your budget.

We've kept our search nearby as of late simply because we're not sure of what the rules are for buying in Canada and have been advised to avoid it. Is that not good advice? We've found lots of lovely boats in Canada, in better shape and better priced than anything in OR, CA, or WA.

As far as the rest of the West coast, with all honesty, we're just not finding any real beauties that would merit a fly/drive to California to see - they just aren't that much more impressive than what is around here. We are truly waiting for our diamond in the rough... but we would go elsewhere (but not the East Coast) to get it.

As for being mechanical, we are not boat mechanics nor are we unwilling to get our hands dirty. We're more than willing to learn from other salty dogs what to do in the case I don't know...which is why we've being doing our best to rub elbows with folks like yourself. We're not going to be checkbook cruisers and we've been debriefed multiple times about the monetary investment we are going to make by purchasing a used older boat. Hasn't everyone? (What I think when they say that now is - so how's your mortgage feeling on that huge house?)

Why do you say the Catalina 34 is a good choice if I'm not mechanical? Curious...
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