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Old 07-07-2010, 04:28   #16
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The original C-34 was intended as a middle of the class racer/cruiser. If handled well, she could march to the front of the fleet in her day, not so much now. In a modern fleet, she'd get killed.

She's a solid design, as to if she's good, that's a subjective estimation that I can't help you with.

Rough weather capabilities are more a function of skipper and crew skills/experiences then yacht attributes. She has a good capsize screen for a shoal 'board boat and what you'd expect from her stability curve. She's moderately well balanced, especially by modern standards.

Again fun is a term you'll have to define. My idea of fun is an all girl basketball team, a lemon meringue pie and a 40' catamaran trampoline.

Yes, she performs well. In her day she was a boat to respect if you raced against one. She'll be "mild mannered" by early IOR standards and a real sweetheart with her remnants of CCA hull form.

Weight kills performance. Even boats that sink uniformly suffer from excess weight. This boat has some "burden" so she'll fair better then many others.

By modern standards, she's a pig, slow, lacks maneuverability, can't "get up" and scoot. They built them like tanks with overly heavy laminates which is why they still survive, but it also limits their abilities.

I also have to deal with the shoals of Florida and 3' 6" is handy, but you'll still find the sand bars, so an engine is very important.

In all honesty, I wouldn't recommend this type of project to a novice. An $800 yacht is just as it sounds. You get what you pay for and well kept versions of this yacht will easily get ten times as much. $800 is about the price of the materials as scrap, so know what you're getting into.

I know of a few for sale (C-34's and MK II's) ranging from about 5K to 26K. To be honest, most would rather have the MK II. You can't give away a C-34, but a run down MK II will get 5 grand.
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Old 07-07-2010, 10:39   #17
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Thanks for the informative reply. I'm glad that she isn't extremely slow; not that it matters, I'd just rather get there a little sooner. A solid design, great, I don't want a death trap. So weight kills the performance, is it like the weight of a cruise-ready boat or the weight of an extra person that sets it off? I surely hope it's not that sensitive. I understand you not liking the project idea, but I'm not sure how much of a project it is; there are no pictures and it is a sale of desparation, so I'm looking more into it. If I see it as too much of a project, then I will walk away at that point.
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Old 07-07-2010, 13:38   #18
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I hope this works out. I have been on a Columbia 34, but I don't know which version. It was about 30 years old at the time and I agree with PAR's description of the sailing characteristics. But she was a good old boat that did everything fairly well, extra people and cruising gear will not affect her performance much, and in Good Condition she could easily take you to the Bahamas and well beyond.

My take: If the hull, deck (do NOT dismiss this), spar and standing rigging, and steering are basically sound, then the real issue is the Atomic 4. This is actually quite a powerful engine which, if properly maintained, can last a long time and move this boat very well. If you can get it running, you may have a winner. If the engine is junk, the boat is basically unmanageable and you can't really go anywhere unless you re-power it for $$$. Yeah, I know - the Pardeys would grab it, but well .......... it's a 12,000 lbs boat.
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Old 07-07-2010, 13:52   #19
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Thanks for the information. He described the hull and desk as solid. He said all standing rigging was fine and running rigging would need new lines. As for the Atomic 4, I have no idea what condition it is in. It is something I will look at, it's not running, but I don't know how far from it is. My dad has quite a bit of experience with engines, and hopefully enough to determine the state of the atomic 4.. As for which one you were on, there are a few easy things you can tell. The first thing is the cabin shape, as you can see in the diagrams on the previous page, if you remember was the cabin top flat until right before the cockpit? If so it was a bubble top. If you know the years, post 1970 is bubble top. And, another question, it is wheel steering, I prefer tiller, would it be hard to change it? If not that is something I would like to do.
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Old 07-07-2010, 14:08   #20
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I remember the boat was early 70s - maybe 73 - so I guess it was what you call a bubble top and had wheel steering. Most wheel steered boats have emergency tillers, so I wouldn't think that a conversion would be difficult.

Compared to our old Hunter 34, the Columbia was slow in light winds. But, that's true of most cruising boats including most much longer ones. In stronger winds and bigger seas, the Columbia liked to heel but she always felt like she was doing what she was designed to do.
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Old 07-07-2010, 14:23   #21
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Yeah, the bubble top was a completely different design. On the wheel steering subject, that's great. I feel in more control with a tiller and I like the feedback from the direct vibrations of water. I don't know if anybody else feels this way, but I do. And if it's the first boat for the family, I'd rather a safe boat. You know the saying with the turtle and the rabit
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Old 07-07-2010, 15:01   #22
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Patrick,

From all you describe, I'd say that everyone has tried to be very responsive but, perhaps, way too polite.

RUN, DO NOT WALK, AWAY from this boat, even if they offer you $800 to take it away.

  • The build quality of these boats was mediocre at best.
  • Your purchase price doesn't matter....it's what you'd have to spend to maintain the boat even to a very low standard.
  • Even if you had the bucks and chose to upgrade the vessel, you'd still have a boat which was worth virtually nothing.
  • There are lots of other boats around which are better built and could serve your needs better. You might have to save up a few more pennies, though :-)
Not trying to discourage you. To the contrary, you're young and your dream is a good one, but a misstep at this early stage could leave you in a very distressed state and turn you off sailing. That wouldn't be good.

Just my opinion, of course (50+ years of sailing). Here's a pic of my first sailboat...an 18-foot teak sloop in Indonesia. Sailing toward "Damar Besar" (big light) Island in the Java Sea. I was just 18.

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Old 07-07-2010, 15:21   #23
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Btrayfors,
Thanks for the reply, but what makes you think that it's terrible? I haven't given enough information to let anybody know if I should run or not, I haven't got that information myself. I am stubborn, so don't take it to offense, but I am curious to investigate, and until I see that it's terrible or so I'm not going to run away. Of course if I run away without looking it will be the deal of the century and if I look probably what you suggesting
Just my luck.
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Old 07-07-2010, 15:28   #24
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The absolute hardest thing for novice boatowners to understand is that to a great extent, THE PURCHASE PRICE DOESN'T MATTER.

Let me say that again: THE PURCHASE PRICE DOESN'T MATTER.

It's what comes next. And after that.

I gave you four perfectly good reasons to walk away from this boat.

What more do you need?

Stubborn is good.....to a degree. I'm stubborn myself.

There are THOUSANDS of boats on the market. Lots of good deals out there. It's a buyer's market. My advice is to keep looking, refine your wants and needs (what's this "family" business...you're only 13, right?), and sooner of later you'll find the right boat. At a good price.

There are bargains and there are bargains. "Too good to be true" generally is just that.

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Old 07-07-2010, 15:38   #25
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Thanks for you input, and I understand the purchase cost doesn't matter. And for family; I mean my parent's and sister. And l have heard otherwise of the build, I have heard they are solid. I may have heard wrong though. And for re-sell worth I don't care, this is going to be my learning sailboat, I won't invest much and I won't expect a return. Heck; I may even keep it until I can afford better and then just give it to a family with the same dream as me as a starter boat. I truly am stubborn so once again, don't take this into offense. And can you direct me to any other boats that I can afford that would better fit me?
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Old 07-07-2010, 15:55   #26
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G'Day Patrick,

First, let me say that I'm impressed with your maturity in approaching this issue, and with your level of knowledge... good onya!

But, like other respondants, I'm a bit concerned about the magnitude of the project you're contemplating compared to your earning power. You mentioned that you have saved up 1300 bucks in about 4 months... that's on the order of 300 bucks a month, and a damn good effort for one of your age. But, should you buy the boat, and pay for a survey (which will cost you some hundreds of dollars in itself), your nest egg will be pretty well shot. And, should the surveyor condem the boat as I suspect he would, you are set back a long way in your quest.

If you do buy her you will have a boat with no engine or running rigging, some distance from home. I would be astounded of there were not other, as yet undisclosed or known problems with the boat. Why? Well, even boats that are in basically good shape develop problems when left sitting around, and when they are 40+ years old and sorta derelict the opportunities for disaster are many.

Just to pick one area at random: with no engine you will have no means of generating electricity. Without electricity, you can't light up your running lights for sailing at night, and without an engine it is hard to be sure that yu will have reached an anchorage by nightfall (this is on your delivery trip back home).

Then, saying that you safely reach home, where will you keep her? Perhaps you have an area where you can leave her on a mooring, but if not, marina fees will surely eat up your 300 bucks a month. And how about insurance? Hull insurance won't be appropriate (or available), but liability insurance would be pretty important for the inexperienced operator of an iffy boat. If the marina or mooring isn't quite close by it becomes difficult for you and your Dad/Grampa to get there to do all the many many things required to just maintain her in the current shape, let alone make major improvements. And so it goes...

So Patrick, I think that I will join the others who advise you to not even waste your time and dreams on this Columbia. The advice to buy instead a trailer sailor like the Catalina 22 is excellent. I had one of these as my first "real" boat after a year of dinghy sailing. Sailed her for seven years in San Francisco Bay and the nearby Pacific coast, and even had a month's cruise in the Canadian Gulf Islands with wife and two kids aboard. Yu can learn heaps with such a boat, and do some fun coastal cruising too... and have her there in your yard to work on when you want to.

Whatever you decide, Ann and I wish you success!

Cheers,

Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II lying Manly, Qld, Oz
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Old 07-07-2010, 16:14   #27
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Originally Posted by Patrick S View Post
Thanks for you input, and I understand the purchase cost doesn't matter. And for family; I mean my parent's and sister. And l have heard otherwise of the build, I have heard they are solid. I may have heard wrong though. And for re-sell worth I don't care, this is going to be my learning sailboat, I won't invest much and I won't expect a return. Heck; I may even keep it until I can afford better and then just give it to a family with the same dream as me as a starter boat. I truly am stubborn so once again, don't take this into offense. And can you direct me to any other boats that I can afford that would better fit me?
Patrick, didn't you say you had a Laser? If you do and if you've sailed it a lot, I can say that you would learn far more about sailing on your Laser than you would on a C-34.

Or are you referring to some other kind of "learning"?
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Old 07-07-2010, 16:15   #28
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Thanks for the information.
First off, my knowledge
Thanks for the compliment; it's nice to know my work has payed off
I constantly read blogs, books and this forum and I find all to be great sources of information. I would like to be sailing and creating what I read, but for the time being this works.
Second, I haven't yet figured how much of a project it is going to be; the word has many definitions and I'm not sure what defines project for the seller
Third, (about the Catalina) There is one on Yachtworld in CT with the navy blue hull color for 1500.00 dollars
http://www.yachtworld.com/boats/1982.../United-States
What do you think of it? It says a little bit about some work needed; do you think it is costly in time/cash? Also, how much does a headsail cost? Brand new I have seen 500 dollars; but I don't need a new sail (yet). And I am a little hesitant about having such a small boat for two adults a sixteen year old and a thirteen year old, do you think it would be too tight? Also, with new(ish) sailers, would you sail this boat from Fort Myers to the Keys? And the trailer does open many new oppurtunities; thanks to the many of you who suggested it.
I will most likely run away from the Columbia, but in the case it doesn't look bad, I'll post pictures and then probably run away with your opinions
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Old 07-07-2010, 16:37   #29
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Hey Patrick, here's a little food for thought. I purchased a 27' boat in much the same condition for $1000 last year. The hull and deck were sound, the standing rigging was good, the sails were good, but the running rigging, engine and all interior wood had to be replaced.

While you'll want to rip out all of the rotten wood in the interior just to get rid of the mold smell, you will definitely have to replace any bulkheads that the chainplates of the standing rigging bolt through with marine grade plywood. Assuming you already have tools available, that will run you about $100 per 4'x8' sheet and then another $80 or so for brushes, epoxy, stain, urethane and whatnot to seal the wood once you've cut and sanded the new bulkheads.

I bought 200' of 1/2" line for halyards on ebay for around $80. I think you're going to need at least 400' to re-rig everything.

I already had an anchor, but I just bought 150' of anchor rode and 5' of chain with some stainless shackles on Monday. It cost me $200.

At that point, you could be sailing except that you can't get out of the marina without a motor.

Unfortunately a 34' is too big to just slap an outboard mount on the back because otherwise you could pick up a used mount and working outboard for about $350. It cost me $3500 to rebuild a diesel motor for my 27'. If the Atomic 4 runs with a little repair, you might be in business for less, but it's an expensive gamble.

If the boat is on the hard, calculate $500 to move it to the water.

If you need to do a bottom job, calculate at least $1500 for that.

Now you're finally in the water and while you have no lights, wiring, cushions or interior except for your load-bearing bulkheads, you CAN at least go sail during the day.

However, now you have marina fees. I have no idea how much these are in your area. I pay around $220 a month for a 27' boat. Yours would be higher because they charge you by the foot. Then you also have to have liability insurance to be in the marina. I don't have any idea how much that would be with a 13yo listed as an operator, but I'm going to guess it's high.

Now, once you add up all those costs, that's just the very best-case scenario of the expense of getting this thing into the water and moving. If you find you need to rebed deck fittings, replace sails, replace hardware. rewire navigation lights, add a radio, etc. the costs could easily double or triple.

If you keep saving money, I see lots of Catalina 25 sailboats for sale around Houston that are completely ready to sail for $2500 - $3500. I know that a 25 is nowhere near as exciting as a 34, but the maintenance and marina costs are going to be so much lower, and you'll actually have a useable interior.

I think you'll have a lot more fun and sailing time if you keep saving and go for a 22 - 25 boat that's ready to go versus buying this behemoth that you may not be able to repair for years.
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Old 07-07-2010, 19:22   #30
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I definately have tools available but I am not so sure about it with all the negative posts. And I am going to keep saving money even if I get a boat, I'm going to need to and I'd like to live aboard a small trimaran in college. The size of my first boat doesn't matter as long as it's 22-30 feet preferably but I'm considering everything because I'm not yet in a position to be choosing. As for the Catalina 25; is there a reason they are going for the average price of a 22? And should I save and wait another half a year or just hop on a 22 now? Also, opinions on the 22 would be nice. I think it would be appropriate to change the title to starter boat or something similar because the columbia is no longer the subject.
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