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Old 04-02-2018, 15:03   #1
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About the Fisher 34 pilothouse ketch

A friend is hot on the trail of a Fisher 34 pilothouse ketch he found in Britain, and has asked my opinion. I've never even been aboard one, but agree they might meet his conditions. I was only able to cite the usual concerns about older used boats (in this case including the British electrical difference -he is an American). Aside from the issues raised by the forgoing, his plan is to bring her to the US West Coast via the Panama canal before heading to the South Pacific. Since this will involve a big chunk of open water sailing as well as a major up hill segment, it seemed to me to consider the bona fides of the frequent claim that this model Fisher is a true bluewater boat, and so on. My internet research (no good reason why I did it rather than my friend, but I have less to do) raised some immediate concerns after viewing considerable material. He is an experienced sailor, and would be accompanied by two sailing knowledgeable mid-teen sons. All are in excellent health. My thought are 1/ despite many blue water references, I saw nothing to indicate long voyages actually taken. 2/ Moreover, none of the many , many photos I found, nor any commentary with one exception, depicted any sort of wind vane steering mechanism or auto pilot, at least one which I consider basic to a long range voyage. 3/ The big windows in the pilot house are a concern. Lots of other, but lesser, concerns In any event, all comments by those with actual knowledge would be appreciate. 4/ Virtually all of those I saw appear to use some form of roller furling, not just for the jib, but for the main and mizzen as well. As an unnecessary aside, given my current limits, the design might be wonderful for sailing in southern California. Hmmm. I plan to forward all relevant comments to him upon receipt.
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Old 04-02-2018, 16:05   #2
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Re: About the Fisher 34 pilothouse ketch

There was one for sale in my home harbor a couple of years back, up on the hard. The hull shape looked very seaworthy to me, although thrashing off a lee shore might be more entertainment than necessary. They are kinda tubby.

But what really struck me was the interior. Maybe it's a british thing, but that huge hull was wide open inside.
There was a galley and a head and so on, but you could fly from side to side at least twelve feet before you hit something. It was open fore and aft as well. I think there must have been a forepeak, but the space was enormous, and far, far too open for this hand hold conscious sailor.

I really wasn't all that interested anyway, and I'm sure it's just a style thing, but no thanks.

Really, it's just a personal prejudice. I'm sure they are well made, nice boats.
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Old 04-02-2018, 16:31   #3
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Re: About the Fisher 34 pilothouse ketch

Make sure you visit the FOG (Fisher Owners Group).

Here is a link to previous discussions about Fisher boats on CF.

https://cse.google.com/cse?cx=011403...her&gsc.page=1

I like the look of them, as I like pilothouse boats. My Favorite would be the 37 footer.
But, I prefer the Nauticat line of traditional motorsailors.

Another make your friend could consider while in the UK is the Colvic Watson pilothouse motorsailors, similar in styling to the Fisher design.

If you find detrimental info on seaworthiness, or accounts of long ocean crossing voyages or any mention of pilothouse window failures in storms or if you produce a summary of your research, please send me a copy. I would like to read your findings.
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Old 04-02-2018, 16:51   #4
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Re: About the Fisher 34 pilothouse ketch

Hi Steady, I'm also interested in sea keeping abilities of motor sailor pilot house boats. I have a 1980 Lancer 45 with large windows but seems like a trade off to stay warm and dry. Hopefully others with more experience than me will add to this.
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Old 04-02-2018, 16:55   #5
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Re: About the Fisher 34 pilothouse ketch

https://www.facebook.com/groups/motorsailers/
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Old 05-02-2018, 11:22   #6
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Re: About the Fisher 34 pilothouse ketch

[QUOTE=Diesel Bill;2570144]Hi Steady, I'm also interested in sea keeping abilities of motor sailor pilot house boats. I have a 1980 Lancer 45 with large windows but seems like a trade off to stay warm and dry. Hopefully others with more experience than me will add to this.[/QUOT

I am mostly a coastal cruiser (East Coast US from Virginia to Florida, back and forth many times over the past 10 years) and have had tons of water crash into the windows of my 36 foot Nauticat Motorsailer with no ill affects.
I have been knocked down (mast in water) with minimal water making it past the closed sliding pilothouse door.
I have heard of people making guards for the windows for open ocean voyages and have considered it myself, but the biggest problem would be where to store them were not in use.
I have a friend who sailed his 33' Nauticat across the pond to Ireland and on through the Caribbean and back to Florida many years ago with no problems even though he did hit a couple of pretty bad storms.
Before I bought my Nauticat I looked at a fisher 37 and would say that it is probably nearly, at least, as well build as the Nauticat.
MHO - for what it is worth.

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Old 05-02-2018, 11:29   #7
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Re: About the Fisher 34 pilothouse ketch

I looked at several Fisher 34s and 37s before I bought my Moody Carbineer. I thought they were very sturdily built and looked great. However, despite their excellent headroom, the accommodation is restricted. In the 34, the two sleeping areas are tight. The main saloon is very comfortable, but it feels very deep in the bowels of the boat and dark. I was surprised to read that Mainebristol found it wide open inside; maybe that was a one-off but all those I remember had sofas either side, and usually a table between them.
I remember one aspect which looked difficult to cure: in order to give those sitting on the wheelhouse seats a good view out (and/or to bring them up to the same level as anyone using the helmsman's seat) the seats are too high - I am pretty much a standard-size European male and my legs dangled like a toddlers'.
As to sailing: these need the engine and big tanks, but the 34 is reckoned to sail better than one might expect (and better than the 37). Excellent sails with as big a roach as possible would be very beneficial - in-mast furling would seriously deplete their sailing perfomance. However, it is fair to say that an owner would be seriously tempted to fit a sail management system which avoids any immediate necessity to go forward: the step up to the deck from the cockpit is a challenge for old knees and trying to tidy-up the main after dropping or reefing it would also be challenging (you would be quite high as the deck is quite high above the sea-level and so the motion could rather quickly get quite violent - a common issue for motor-sailers).
Fitting wind-powered self-steering should not be at all difficult - but my guess is that the engine gets used so much owners have enough electricity to use autopilots.
Ventilation is also a weak point for use in warmer climates than the UK - and with less room aft than boats which are not doubled-ended, there is little room for a generator or air-con.
I do think the windows would not be a serious problem: these are very well-made boats.
For cruising Scotland and any other such area with just one other person I would be happy to buy and sail one of these in comfort - but not for crossing oceans or sailing in warm places..
My tuppence....
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Old 05-02-2018, 11:36   #8
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Re: About the Fisher 34 pilothouse ketch

I looked at the Fisher PH34 after my deal on the Moody 42 fell thru. I was looking for a deck salon or PH. But even for a singlehander like me the storage space limitations where the real deal breaker.

As mentioned above the 37 is the real deal and I have friends who have one on my dock in Daytona Beach.
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Old 05-02-2018, 12:46   #9
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Re: About the Fisher 34 pilothouse ketch

I have a Fisher 37 and can say that I absolutely love it. There is plenty of space under the pilot house for generator, eberspacher and such like. As has been said this is a cold water boat. That is where the design makes most sense. Very solid. Great build quality. You’ll be out on the water when most others in high latitudes have gone home to warm up. The interior designs vary quite a bit so worth checking that it works for you.
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Old 05-02-2018, 13:05   #10
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pirate Re: About the Fisher 34 pilothouse ketch

I don't think I'd be worried about taking her across the Atlantic.. or up the US west coast.. these boats are designed to sail North of 50 and further.. in waters like the Southern Approaches, Irish and North sea.. she'll take it in her stride.
Here's a review from Classic Boat that may be of interest.. if you've not already seen it.. they are great boats.

Fisher 34 boat test - Classic Boat Magazine
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Old 05-02-2018, 13:37   #11
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Re: About the Fisher 34 pilothouse ketch

A friend of mine bought a Fisher 34 and I helped him bring it up from the Chesapeke to Lake Ontario. He lived on it full time and sailed it quite often in all manner of conditions.

It's a boat designed for North Sea conditions so handles all kinds of slop just fine; I wouldn't worry about whether it's tough enough to do the job or not... it is. As a sailor goes, it's pretty good for a heavy boat but it's nothing to write home about either. It is my understanding that the 34 is a better sailor than the 37 tho I don't have any "airtime" on the bigger one. The only real drawback that I saw with the 34 was when in confused seas with no sails up and the motor in neutral, the boat wallowed pretty bad. Any combination of sail and motor is pretty good but she doesn't like sitting there under bare poles.

The pilothouse is good comfort under bad conditions and in the one I was on, the side windows and roof top opened up for good ventilation. You may be worried about waves stoving in the big windows in the front of the pilothouse but the waves have to get there first. The bow is well-designed to push the waves apart and in an Atlantic blow with big waves, we barely shipped any water at all. As far as the interior of the boat goes, I didn't feel that it was too big or too small. In fact, if you include the pilothouse, there's a surprising amount of interior space in the 34.

My real design complaints:
How the grey water was handled: In an effort by Fisher to limit the number of through-hulls in the boat, the sinks discharge is directed to the aft bilge. When it's high enough, the pump comes on and pumps it out a through hull that's above the water line. In the end, there's always some soapy, oily water in the bilge and it is a pain to clean out; not as bad as a holding tank but not to far off of it either.

Going forward: To go forward from the cockpit requires navigating around the aft corners of the pilothouse. This is a very narrow passage and without the handrails on the rooftop, would be very unsafe. It's not too bad on a nice day but I wouldn't want to do it on a foul weather day, which is of course, the type of day that you'll most likely have to do just that. I saw this problem circumvented on another 34 where a sliding side door was installed on the helm side of the pilot house (kinda like a Nauticat).

The Pilothouse door to the cockpit: If the boat is rocking side to side and the pilothouse door is not locked open or closed, it can be a real knuckle buster... Ask me how I know. As it is solid hardwood, it's quite heavy and almost impossible to stop once it gets going. You have to make sure that it is absolutely secured at all times or someone will get hurt; count on it.

So that's about all I can contribute for you regarding the Fisher 34. All in all, I found it to be a good, dependable boat that will bring you home. And, when all hell breaks loose, that's pretty much all you'll want it to do.
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Old 05-02-2018, 14:07   #12
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Re: About the Fisher 34 pilothouse ketch

We don't see many of these in Ontario and I have only surveyed four Fishers. All four had serious hydrolysis in the bottom which was largely comprised of the cheapest fiberglass possible i.e. chopped glass. I could not determine if it was chopped mat or chopper gun .
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Old 05-02-2018, 14:27   #13
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pirate Re: About the Fisher 34 pilothouse ketch

Then maybe you should contact the owners and tell them they have a good case under the Trade Description Act for false representation..
Let us know how they get on..



CONSTRUCTION The hull is a heavy duty hand laid-up GRP moulding includes a clear gel coat underwater. The cast iron ballast is encapsulated in the GRP keel and glassed over with further laminates to form an integral part of the hull structure. The major transverse structural bulkheads of marine specification plywood are bonded to the hull. The deck is a heavy duty hand laid GRP moulding. Balsa stiffening is incorporated in all horizontal areas with plywood infills in way of the deck fittings. Heavily stressed areas are additionally reinforced with unidirectional glass reinforcement. The deck is bonded to the hull in accessible areas and bolted throughout the whole hull to deck joint. The bulkheads are laminated to the deck resulting in a strong and integrated unit. Heavy double skin GRP bulwarks, incorporating the hull to deck joint, are moulded as an integral part of the deck and capped with 25mm thick teak. A teak rubbing strake and teak bulwark cladding is fitted.

http://fisheryachts.com/wp-content/u...eet_screen.pdf
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Old 05-02-2018, 14:35   #14
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Re: About the Fisher 34 pilothouse ketch

One of the warmest boats I have ever sailed on.

2 personal gripes.

1/. Didnt like the forward cabin.
2/. Can roll like a barrel in heavy seas unless balanced properly. if in a hurricane, just lie down and let the boat do its thing...whilst you are puking your ring up.. The boat will survive and so will you.

I love them.
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Old 05-02-2018, 15:09   #15
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Re: About the Fisher 34 pilothouse ketch

Quote:
Originally Posted by boatman61 View Post
Then maybe you should contact the owners and tell them they have a good case under the Trade Description Act for false representation..
Let us know how they get on..



CONSTRUCTION The hull is a heavy duty hand laid-up GRP moulding includes a clear gel coat underwater. The cast iron ballast is encapsulated in the GRP keel and glassed over with further laminates to form an integral part of the hull structure. The major transverse structural bulkheads of marine specification plywood are bonded to the hull. The deck is a heavy duty hand laid GRP moulding. Balsa stiffening is incorporated in all horizontal areas with plywood infills in way of the deck fittings. Heavily stressed areas are additionally reinforced with unidirectional glass reinforcement. The deck is bonded to the hull in accessible areas and bolted throughout the whole hull to deck joint. The bulkheads are laminated to the deck resulting in a strong and integrated unit. Heavy double skin GRP bulwarks, incorporating the hull to deck joint, are moulded as an integral part of the deck and capped with 25mm thick teak. A teak rubbing strake and teak bulwark cladding is fitted.

http://fisheryachts.com/wp-content/u...eet_screen.pdf
I don't see anything there that says the hull is laid up with any specific type of glass. I also said I could not tell if it was chopped mat or chopper gun. Nothing in what you have posted precludes chopped mat in the bottom.
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