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Old 09-04-2013, 17:16   #16
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Re: Build quality?

I would suggest checking with the owner communities. I know there is a good one for Catalinas. Back in the day I thought of Pearsons and Ericsons as about the same, with Catalinas a notch down, and I don't know where Newports fell.
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Old 09-04-2013, 17:23   #17
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Re: Build quality?

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldFrog75 View Post
or are these 4 boats essentially the same build quality?
I would say yes. But I don't have first hand knowledge, just what I learned from research a few years ago when looking for my first boat.

In the end pick a budget and then go looking for a good condition boat that that budget allows, whatever it may be.
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Old 09-04-2013, 17:31   #18
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Re: Build quality?

Frog this is not a easy question to answer.

Hull blisters.. 30 years? epoxy bottom job?? after 30 years i can tell you that all the brands you mention can get blisters problems . All depend if previous owners cacht the problem in time and do a serious preventive job. aka Epoxy.

Delamination around chainplates? same , all this vintage boats have core decks , let me know if im wrong, some builders make the perimeter around chainplates slots solid glass, others core all the way, a surveyor and moisture meter plus hammer can tell you the real conditions.

Leaking hull to deck joints? Butyl tape is used for some builders and others use the white virus 5200, i prefer butyl tape, and deck hull joint well thru bolted all the way, others builders glass the joint from inside making a complete and strong watertight joint, all depend if previous owners solve any leak in this area.

Leaking port holes and hatches, is a matter of maintenance , in any kind of boat no matter the year or era.

Rudder bearings and rudder post plus heel plates, same , expect in a well cared 30 year boat to have this isues solved, if not, is a maintenance isue, bearings wear at the same rate of speed here or there, some builders of that era use bronze as bushings and last longer, now the deal is Delrin, a white plastic stuff..

No idea really about electrical systems, a 30 year old boat need to get the electrical system upgraded and change it, i do 5 years agoo in my boat, wire by wire and breaker by breaker.

Plumbing? if you found old blake or Wilcox valves and plumbing stuff and if is in good condition, congratulations, if not,,expect many things , from plastic to Marelon or bronze aka Apollo or groco or worst , Brass stuff!!
Test and survey every plumbing fitting no matter the material previous to purchase a boat.

Interior.. not sure if Ericson or Pearson use liners, i thing Ericson use it, and Pearson glass bulkhead straight to the hull, here if you found pan liners, check if doors open and close properly, check for anormal cracks, or liners loose from hull, a good way to test if a 30 years boat is well made it after all this years is to check if all the cabinets and doors are closing and open and not get stuck in some point.

My 2 cents for Pearson, there is a triton here in the boatyard doing cosmetic work and the boat is solid and well build it....
Good luck...
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Old 09-04-2013, 23:59   #19
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Re: Build quality?

Just from experience seeing a Newport 27 with a gazillion blisters would indicate to me that it would be number 4 on the list. Having owned a Catalina and sailed on a Pearson I'd say they were pretty close but the Pearson definitely has a bit better finish quality. I've never been aboard and Ericson but they have a good rep.
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Old 10-04-2013, 04:14   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OldFrog75 View Post
Many thanks to all who have responded. I knew this would not be an easy question to get an answer to.

I really am more interested in structural integrity than interior finish.

Maybe if I rephrase the question: Assuming 30 years in a slip and coastal cruising in So. California including approximately 12000 hours of sailing with average maintenance, which manufacturer, Catalina, Ericson, Newport, or Pearson would be least likely to manifest:

Hull Blisters
Subdeck delamination around chain plates and other rigging
Leaking hull-to-deck joints
Leaking portals
Excess wear or damage to steering and rudder chains/bearings
Poor quality electrical wiring and connections
Poor plumbing
Delaminating interior and loose fixtures
etc., etc., etc.

or are these 4 boats essentially the same build quality?
Last year I was in a similar situation and decided to look for what I thought were "premium" brands. I bought a boat that had sound core systems, engine, standing rigging, hull, and sails.

To your specific questions.... While every boat CAN get blisters, the better brands are less prone to being heavily blistered. After 30 years, unless the boat was very well taken care of, there will be some deck delamination, the degree of it is what makes the price. I had some around the chain plates and genoa track. The portlights on my boat were fine, but the $&%!PO never secured them correctly so there is some water damage. Also if they are the plastic Beckson portlights, it is possible to buy parts. this is much cheaper that replacement.

As far as wear.... you are buying a 30 year old boat, there is going to be some wear. If the boat is for sale, some may need replacing. I have found the factory wiring to be fine since the manufacturer was competent. But when you buy a 30 y/o boat, you buy the repairs of every PO since she left the factory. One of the POs of my boat loved using lamp wire for the things he installed. After some quality time below decks, all that is now gone. Likewise the quality of the plumbing is a result of the brand and the POs of the boat. In all of the "premium" brands I looked at I never saw loose interiors, fixtures or delaminated bulkheads.

Of the four brands cited, I have only looked at the Pearson 365 and no other models. I liked the boat but could not find a vessel that was not really beat-up. I ended up buying a Tartan.

Bill
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Old 10-04-2013, 06:14   #21
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Re: Build quality?

I also look at the materials the manufacturers start with:
Size and make of hardware (furlers, cleats, blocks, turnbuckles, etc...)
Thickness of hull
Fit and finish of interior
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Old 10-04-2013, 07:36   #22
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Re: Build quality?

Hull Blisters
Subdeck delamination around chain plates and other rigging
Leaking hull-to-deck joints
Leaking portals
Excess wear or damage to steering and rudder chains/bearings
Poor quality electrical wiring and connections
Poor plumbing
Delaminating interior and loose fixtures
etc., etc., etc.

Regarding your list, the 1986 Newport 28 that I have owned for 14 years has never had a blister, no delamination that I have ever found, no hull to deck joint leaks, one salon port did leak, so I rebeded all of them, no wheel steering issues at all, no plumbing problems and no interior delaminating or fixture problems. Wiring to mast lights(except radio) is laminated into the fiberglass, and is common to fail. Ran new wires to base of mast, problem solved. Rudder bearings are fine, but did have to repack rudder stuffing box once, though it only leaked when motoring. Gel coat has held up well under Florida sun. Maybe I got lucky, but this boat has been easy to maintain. Only major issue was an shorted engine glow plug that melted the diesel engine panel wiring, but that was not related to the boat build quality. I really like having a real toe railing to protect the topsides when docking goes haywire. I would rate them is this order: Ericson, Pearson, Catalina & Newport pretty equal, but have to agree with Don in that their condition today is the most important factor.
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Old 10-04-2013, 07:51   #23
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Re: Build quality?

by mid 80s ericson WAS pearson.
catalinas and newports are not that similar.
the differences were mainly obvious in 1970s. by 1980s pretty much all were similar, but the higher quality was till maintained by the pearson mfg co, from what i have seen personally.
as i own a 35 ft ericson, and i know catalinas and pearsons, i would do the pearson mfg before i went for catalina and i would not buy a newport, only due to the problems my neighbor had with his newport. so i am bigoted..lol i cruise a formosa.
anything can be made better. anything can be made worse.
depends on its history, as all are now old.
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Old 10-04-2013, 08:36   #24
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Re: Build quality?

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldFrog75 View Post
Many thanks to all who have responded. I knew this would not be an easy question to get an answer to.

Maybe it's more that you're not hearing the answer.

With real estate, it's location location location.

With boats, it's condition, condition, condition.

While most all boats of a certain age may appear to be in the same condition, they most likely are not. Upkeep on boats is a huge factor in an older boat. People who actually maintain a boat will add years to the longevity of the systems on it. People who rebed the chainplates are actually extending the structural integrity of their boat. Boats go south very quickly if not properly maintained.

The prevailing opinion here would be that on an older boat of the four brands you mentioned, the condition would be more important than the name on the side.
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