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Old 03-01-2006, 10:03   #1
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Columbia 8.7

Does anyone own a Columbia 8.7 from the 1978-80s era? Is it a good solid boat suitable for living on and cruising large bodies of water (like in the caribbean)? Big enough for a couple to live on?
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Old 03-01-2006, 10:50   #2
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I have sailed on these boats fairly extensivley when they were new. They were built by three different manufacturers as one after the other went bankrupt. Frankly, the build quality was not great and the sailing ability was dismal. I found these boats to have a very uncomfortable motion and so would not want to do any distance voyaging on one. Tankage and storage was also very light for a couple planning to go cruising.

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Old 03-01-2006, 15:41   #3
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I owned, lived aboard and sailed an 8.7 up and down the East Coast for a couple of years. I would not recommend them for long distance cruising. But not for their sailing characteristics. I actually found the boat to sail fairly well and I was single handing. But the fuel and water tankage is way to small. There is not a lot of storage space and you will want that. I had no issues with the construction of mine but there are many, many other boats out there that will better suit your needs if you plan to do any long distance sailing. Just research, research, research and see what you come up with. Good luck, Chuck
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Old 03-01-2006, 22:56   #4
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Herreschof H28?
I've no experience but was looking at one of these for cruising and had some pretty good feeback. We decided to go a bit bigger in the end so didn't pursue it. Main issue seems to be headroom.
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Old 05-01-2006, 13:48   #5
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I realize that the columbia 8.7 does not have the storage capacity of a heavier boat, and that it isn't the ideal live aboard cruiser, but is it not better than other boats in the same price range? I am not planning on going offshore or doing any really long distance passages, and I am also not planning on spending a year or too waiting until the perfect boat surfaces. The other constraint I have is limited selection due to the region I am in. With these constraints in mind are there other boats similar in price range and availability that have more storage and better performance? It seems like everyone is always talking about Cal sailboats, is this a better cruiser? I am leaving next fall for certain, and whatever is available is going to work.
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Old 07-01-2006, 21:39   #6
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I like the 8.7 -- what a wide stern!! You really have to love or hate it. I never sailed on them, but several have done extensive travels Last month there was one for only 13k which just returned from accross the pond. You can't beat the price. (someone I know wants to sell me an 8.3, which is essentially the same boat only smaller) In terms of space they are huge for that size boat, and it is designed by Payne a competent designer. Compared to larger boats, it isn't the perfect boat.... Looking at it you would think it's a dog, but people talk of impressive sailing performance when doing passages. Also it is designed to be symetric fore and aft (with the wine glass doing that) with excellent course keeping in following seas. All rigging over-beefed, and a very thick mast suitable for a 34 footer. Weakness: rudder post (small area to hold rudder), and the dreaded atomic 4. If you could find one with a diesel and decent refit, I would buy it.

Other options -- not many if you take space into consideration. the 8.7 is the best compromise between price, design, construction, proven performance in blue water, and storage. I would also seriously look at Tartan 30 (Olin Stephens design) -- very competitive sailer, lots of space, (also with atomic 4, but many have been repowered), and an incredible layout with 3 sides access to the motor by turning over a seat in the main cabin. I would probably pick the Tartan over the Columbia. I can think of better boats which are smaller (Marieholm 26 -- also try the Marieholm 30!!!), but none with so much space for cruising.
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Old 11-01-2006, 16:39   #7
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Hammerfelt :

With all due respect, your are right, you obviously have never sailed on one of these turkeys. They were miserable on all points of sail. They were a dog to sail especially in lighter air or when things kicked up. I don't know why you think that they were designed to track well down wind, but my experience was just the opposite. In any kind of waves at all they would veer off trying to lunge from a broach to a death roll if you did not steer them carefully (just like the IOR hull forms that these boats were actually based on). The so called wine glass sections only appeared above the water line. Below the waterline these boats had a hard turn of the bilge that lead to an extremely corky motion.

I don't know why you think that these boats are a good compromise between price and build quality. When the tooling for these boats was sold to Hughes, the boats were completely re-engineered so if you get a mid-80's boat your statement may be have some truth, but the early Columbia boats were just plain shabby and now these boats are approaching 30 years old. I would not touch one of the early ones on a dare, and even though the later boats were a little better built, frankly there are so many better boats for the dollar that I would just keep looking.

Jeff
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Old 11-01-2006, 20:22   #8
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Jeff,

Alright I stand corrected. As I said, I was basing my comments from what I heard/read about these boats, but I may have been reading the brochure at some point, and the claims are often inflated. In my defense I also still say that those boats look really slow when you look at them. Not the sleekest. I didn't mean to offend your expertise. However I did read about people making passages in these boats, so they are obviously out there. (Still thinking about building the Didi 34 though...).

Cheers,
Eugene
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Old 12-01-2006, 17:13   #9
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JEFF H, The older Columbia's and the 8.7 which was built by Hughes are not the same animal. I lived aboard one for two years and sailed it extensively both inshore and offshore and found it to be a great sailing boat and had none of the issues you seem to describe. And that is from two years of experience. I am a licensed captain with over 30 years of sailing experience from dinghy's to 60 foot monohulls and catamarans. So I can tell if a boat sails well or not. It is not one of the best i have sailed nor is it close to the worse. I found it to be a fun boat. But fun to some I suppose can be misery to others. But to flat out call this boat a turkey is not fair, but we are all entitled to our opinions.
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Old 12-01-2006, 18:24   #10
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Hi Chuck.

So the Columbia is no good, Hughes if good, and how about Aura? When did that happen? After the Hughes? Are those better or worse than Hughes?

Also the thread continues here:

http://cruisersforum.com/showthread....&threadid=2984

Jeff's unequivocal opinion raised some questions for me, and I would be curious about your take on that as well, if you read that thread.

Thanks,
Eugene
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Old 12-01-2006, 18:36   #11
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Chuck, the columbia you owned and sailed on was an 8.7, correct? what year was it made?
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Old 12-01-2006, 19:36   #12
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Didi 34

Hammerfelt. That is something that crosses my mind a lot as well.
We have wood in BC. I have often thought getting some old used Douglas Fir would come in handy for building a boat. I could spend up to five years building if need be. I have a Tanzer 8.5 which is probably a lot better than the Columbia 8.7 being discussed. On some of these boats you just have to sail on them to get a feel for them. A Catalina 27 has been around the world. My boat is quite a bit more powerful and handles rough weather much better. I had a Catalina 27 owner on board on a windy day and he was quite amazed how two boats good be so similar on the one hand ( overall length ) but be so different when sailing.
I agree with Jeff and so do many designers. The fact that a certain boat has sailed accross an ocean, does not prove it is capable of sailing accross the same ocean in nasty weather.
I would rather take my boat than most of the others in this size range. But I like the lighter longer boats.
When do we start building. I can be ready as soon as we sell the farm.
Michael
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Old 12-01-2006, 19:40   #13
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Tigerlily, It was a Hughes Columbia 8.7 1980 and is still being sailed on the Chesapeake. It had a wheel steering but most are tiller.
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Old 12-01-2006, 19:52   #14
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Chuck, is the 1978 columbia 8.7 less of a boat in your opinion?
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Old 12-01-2006, 21:13   #15
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The older Columbia's were very problematic although there are many still sailing and we have just returned from eight months in the western Caribbean where we have seen quite a few. There were many changes in the Hughes line and many improvements. My advise to you is to get a thorough survey prior to purchase and do a sea trial to help determine whether this is the boat for you.
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