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Old 18-06-2008, 07:33   #1
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Columbia 34 Mark II

hello, i am posting my first 'thread' and am seeking some advice. my girlfriend and i are loking to purchase a sailboat to live and cruise on. we have been looking and found a columbia 34 mark 2. i know it is about 180 degrees from the alden yawl i was originally going to purchase, but does appear to have a lot of room and i kind of like the flush decks. i cannot find much on the internet about sailng characteristics, etc. i know this boat won't be a great performance boat, but is it worth buying. i mean, does it sail well at all. i have read of one guy who circumnavigated in one, but initially i was surprised at how thin the glass was on the hull and have read comments on it's propensity for 'oil-canning'. if anyone can give me some insight or advice i would greatly appreciate it
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Old 18-06-2008, 09:21   #2
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Welcome...

Am not familiar with the vessel, but you may find this link useful… second article down…

See: http://www.latitude38.com/changes/Changes09-00.html
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Old 18-06-2008, 12:24   #3
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The 34 as indicated in the Lat. 38 article may not be the strongest boat built, but should handle most normal cruising duties. If you plan to go around the world, you might want to strenthen the hull a little. They make great liveaboards due to the room below.
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Old 18-06-2008, 12:30   #4
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Yuck!!! These boats were built cheaply, a lot of corners cut and their prices reflect this. The slab sided hulls oil can. Don't know about the 34 but it's smaller sibling, the 26, was a terrible handling boat. Rudder would stall out in gusts and do uncontrolled 180s. Sailed with the genoa, only, much of the time in Hawaii's gusty winds because the handling was so unpredictable with the main up. Yes thay are condominiums down below but how much of that space is usable for storage?? If you are looking at boats from that era, try the Pearsons, Tartans, Bristols, etc. They may not be as voluminous inside but are better built boats that handle decently.

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Old 18-06-2008, 14:08   #5
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I owned a Columbia 26 for eight years and found my experiences with it much the opposite of Peter's. I was very happy with its heavy weather handling and build quality. Never experienced a rudder stall or 180. Columbia made several versions of the 26 - an older full-keel one designed by Bill Crealock, a middle-aged one with deep fin keel designed by Bill Tripp, and a newer shoal keel trailerable designed by in-house team. I had the Tripp model.

Mark
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Old 18-06-2008, 14:53   #6
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I also owned a Columbia 26 Mk II (the Tripp design) and my experience was very similar to Mark's and not like Peter's at all. It was a very good boat. I also briefly owned a 34 Mark II (also a Tripp design) but it was too much of a fixer upper for my capabilities so I sold it before ever sailing it. Note - the problems with the 34 were due to PO not maintaining it well and installing a lot of strange systems. But that owner did sail the boat offshore a lot in Newport - Bermuda races, so that's a testimonial to the boat's build integrity and sailing ability.

Columbia's of that era were built fairly solid IMO and the Tripp designs are terrific if you like the flush deck. My only criticisms (without reading the lat. 38 article) are that the interior finish is only average and the flush deck concept means high windage, with the benefit being added volume below. The slide-out nav. table is a nifty feature.

The 34 is a good sailing boat, contrary to what you heard, captmhm. What's the asking price? Is she in good shape?

Here's a link to the Columbia Owner's site... lots of good info.

Columbia Yacht Owners Association

There is also a very active Columbia mailing list. Obviously there are a lot of happy owners.
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Old 19-06-2008, 08:20   #7
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columbia 34

First of all, thanks for the input/replies. this is the first time i have ever used a forum of any sorts and am glad i am getting feedback. the boat is in very good condition, considering her age. there is a 40hp inline diesel that i was told is a universal, that just had a rebuild and that is very clean. there is a new 16k btu air conditioner and 12v refrigeration that looks fairly new( couldn't get to the compressor to see what manufacturer) without moving fenders etc). there is also some sort of whell pilot, but the broker didn't know where removable part of it was. i like the fact that there hasn't been a lot of stuff added. many times when i look at boats that are 'loaded' the installations have much to be desired, and often times the equipment is oudated, though it seems to raise the price, not the value. the asking price is $19,900 and thought the interior is a bit plain, i can already see a few ways to 'dress' her up inside. i read about someone filling the void between liner and hull with a foam, has anyone done this, it sounds lie a good idea. it doesn't look as thought there is much plumbing/electrical in the void between, so.... anyway, i run a private sportfishing boa for a family here in palm beach. the benefit of that is the yard where we do the work will give me free storage, reduced haulout rate use of facilities etc etc in exchange for a bottom job or something. over the years we have become pretty proficient at refitting repairing boats and I wasn't bothered in the least by what i saw cosmetically. she may need a paint job or a good compounding, and the interior, if cleaned, could be liveable in a day or two. as i previously stated i am concerned about how the boat handles. i don't plan on doing any racing and would probably spend the majority of my time in the bahamas, the carribean and the east coast, but certainly planned no circumnavigation in this vessel. sorry to be so long winded and thanks again for your replies, i welcome anymore advice input anyone has to offer
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Old 19-06-2008, 08:29   #8
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thanks again for your help. i read somewhere in my internet searches that the added windage of the flush decks is really not much more than the cabin sides on different boats. while it kinda makes sense, there is a lot more hull involved in the equation. other than adding some fiberglassed frames or some stringers/longitudinals, what would be the best way to strengthen/beef-up the hull. and if you had to choose which would you do.
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Old 19-06-2008, 09:00   #9
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Is this the boat, in Tampa?

1971 Columbia 34 Mark II Boat For Sale=

This boat looks very clean and well cared for. Several hatches have been added amidships and I would carefully check to make sure the deck is solid with no water penetration. Make sure the autopilot works. If it's one that has an exposed belt, you will probably want to upgrade it, the cost for an updated one with no exposed belt would be $1k or more for a Raymarine S1, plus installation, which you should be able to do yourself.

Bill Tripp designed sailboats that sail well, including the 34. The draft, at 5.5 feet is Ok for the Bahamas, but you'd need to navigate carefully in a lot of places there... most prefer 5 feet or less in the Bahamas.

Why not take her out for a daysail to satisfy yourself re. handling?

You should be able to negotiate the price down. Don Casey has a book out about "Inspecting the Aging Sailboat" or something like that. Get yourself a copy, read it carefully and then spend a day or so going back through the boat, as thoroughly as you can. Make a list of the deficiencies you see and then make the best deal you can, subject to survey. If you come to agreement on price, find a reputable surveyor and hire him or her, and make sure the surveyor does a good job, particularly on the engine. Hire a surveyor who has excellent personal recommendations.... there are some who are pretty worthless and will miss a lot of problems (based on my personal experience).

The alcohol stove probably should be replaced with propane if you're going to cruise a lot. Make sure the surveyor looks at the sails and advises you how much life they have left.
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Old 19-06-2008, 18:19   #10
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thanks for your advice. i actualy captain a big sportfishing boat that draws 6' and have run all over the bahamas( i'm the one that slows down for sailors and can appreciate the need for shoal draft. i did a pretty good 'going thru' on my first time aboard and have set up a sea trial/survey next week, if the guy accepts my offer. obviously, it is the boat in tampa, are you from the area or did you see the boat online. i'll keep you posted and welcome any more advice/feedback that y'all have to offer, take it easy
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Old 19-06-2008, 19:01   #11
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A friend of mine has a 34... nice boat for what it is, although I find it a little small for my needs, He's had it for a number of years and love the way it sails..
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Old 19-06-2008, 19:13   #12
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No I'm not in Tampa, I saw the boat online and connected it to you by the asking price.

If you've already connected with a surveyor, don't make an offer until after you get some actual sale price data that your surveyor should be able to provide. A good surveyor could be very helpful in coming up with an appropriate offer and later on in negotiating a final price after the survey.

I suspect $20k is near the top end of the price range in the USA, but this boat looks very clean, so it might not be too high.

Be sure you get a good surveyor. They can make a big, big difference.

To give you an idea of the low end, I paid $8k for one that needed a lot of work, including rebuilding part of the cabin sole, some glass work topside, repainting of the deck and redoing the electrical system. Probably at least $5-6k to get it ready to go, not including my labor on the electrical. My guess is most of these boats sell in the mid-teens here in the US, more overseas.

Good luck. Looks like a great boat for you.

See you in The Bahamas!
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Old 19-06-2008, 19:46   #13
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I worked as a rigger for a Columbia dealer in 1972 and as a mast builder at the Costa Mesa Columbia/Coronado factory in 1973. I saw the hulls and decks being laid up. I wouldn't own one.

There are plenty of well built used sailboats. Take your time and find a good one.

Norm
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Old 19-06-2008, 20:30   #14
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why do you say that norm, crappy materials/resin, bad worksmanship? i'm interested. i did think that the hull section forward seemed a bit flexible when i first 'crawled around the boat and thought most boats from that time period were laid up a little thicker, but i ain't no boat builder. elaborate if you don't mind
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Old 19-06-2008, 21:32   #15
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Too little roving and glass in the layup. Excessive use of the chopper gun to make the layup thicker. It may not be as big a problem in the 26, but it sure was in the 34's, 39's, and the notorious 45's.

No pride of workmanship in any of the workers or supervisors I came in contact with. I didn't meet another person involved in building the boats who actually sailed or knew anything about boats. The 14 guys in the glass shop shared a 2 bedroom apt and drove home to Mexico every weekend. Nothing against those guys, they were just trying to feed their families, but they only had those miserable jobs because they'd work cheap and not complain about the fumes.

I worked at Sparcraft before Columbia and the difference was striking. At Sparcraft; design, materials, and craftsmanship were emphasized. We built state-of-the-art masts and some better production boat rigs like the the Ericson 39.

At Columbia, the attitude was like that of the US auto industry at the time. I was admonished for building sticks too fast and with too much attention to detail... "You're making the other guys look bad and they don't like that..."

Really, don't be seduced by big interior space and a cheap price. it's the oldest trick in the low-end boat business.

Norm
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