I will be a little more blunt than Jack, the Columbia's built after 1970 should be condemned by the Coast Guard. They were built worse than cheaply plus the fact that they are UGLY. Rumor has it that Bill Tripp, the designer
, didn't have an accident
but killed himself over the embarassment of having his name associated with those boats.
Specifically, they have large unsupported expanses of flimsy fiberglass
. These large panels
flex/oil can at sea and eventually fracture. The bulkheads and other supporting members inside were either not glassed to the hull
or only lightly tabbed and will break loose under only moderate abuse. The huge windage of the ugly topsides makes them sail like maniacs at anchor
threatening all the other boats near them. The keel
supports are simply glassed in sheets
to which the keel
is bolted. Adequate for light use if water
does not intrude and rot
. If that happens, it's bye bye keel.
The sailing qualities are okay though I question there directional stability and ultimate controllability. I owned the smallest one of the lot and it was absolutely unsafe with winds over 20 knots as the rudder
would stall out and the boat uncontrollably round up. Don't know if that carried over to the bigger boats but the designs are essentially the same. There were three hulls, the 34, 39, and 43 that were produced in various configurations and numbered sizes under either the Columbia or Coronado name. They'd just slap a different deck
plan on whatever boat they were manufacturing.
I'd seriously look elsewhere than Columbia for a cruising boat for other than near harbor coastal sailing. They really aren't designed for more than calm water
There are Columbias that have made some long passages. Anybody can get lucky. Hell, think someone even crossed the Atlantic in a Bathtub. The problems come when the boat begins to fall apart in the middle of nowhere., btdt. It is not an experience that I'd knowingly go through again.
There are a number of boats out there that will fit your needsl. Assume you want a midcockpit boat in the mid 40' size. There is a Westsail 42 in Honolulu now in the $60's. It's rough but the basics are there and with a lot of elbow
grease and some money
, would make a good boat for a family
. There is also a Cal 46
in Kona that's been on the market forever, a rediculous offer might take it. Other boats to look at are Ted Brewer designs, the Kelly/Peterson 46 and a host of others. Be cautious of boats I call TT's (Taiwan Turkeys). There were a bunch of these Garden design ripoffs made by CT and other yards that are poor sailors and poorly constructed boats. The hulls are sound, but unless they've been totally rebuilt, they are a nightmare. One I sailed on was built with no caulking in in the deck
. Leaked like a sieve and eventually rotted out, the rigging
preceded the deck in it's demise.