This thread reinvorgated my interest in what I had done a sloppy job on. I talked to a fellow who specializes in Gulfstars this morning and what he said made sense in terms of the responses here. There are two different tracks here that are important to keep distinct: design and construction
In the early 1970's Gulfstar
was inexperienced and was producing beamy motorsailor type designs. These include osirissail'
s 53-footer which doubled as a trawler
put in a larger engine
. These do not have the greatest performance or offshore
motion. They are island boats or coastal cruisers with roomy accommodations. These opinions dovetail with this thead's comments.
Around 1978, Gulfstar made a change towards high performance sailboats. There were still some beamy motorsailor designs like the 47 Sailmaster, but in general, the company moved towards designs like the 50, 44, and 60 Gulfstars.
In the early 1980's, Gulfstar switched again towards displacement
motoryachts. Then, they switched to true motoryachts which he considered the 54 Sailcruiser to be the last evolution and maybe the best boat Gulfstar ever produced. This makes sense with sybaris
In the early 1970's, Gulfstar construction was lower quality than later on. This lower quality production is independent of the designs. It is not that all Gulfstar motorsailors are poor quality. It just so happens that all the early production boats were motorsailors, and during this era, the company was inexperienced.
When I say lower quality, I can illustrate this by certain techniques. In general the dividing line is somewhere around 1978. Before 1978, the interiors were mostly formica - inexpensive and functional. After then, the interiors were teak
verneer and used a patented process to camber edges. The dark teak
joinery work is as good or better than any manufacturer out there especially in the late 1980's. Also before 1978 approximately, they used iron ballast and afterwords lead ballast both encapsulated. Lead ballast is one of the fundamental ways to improve performance by using a denser material to lower center of gravity. All the Gulfstar 44's, most the 50's, and all the 47's have lead ballast. I am sure there are many other examples of changes in technique, but these are two I have.
But despite the increase in quality as Gulfstar became more experienced, they were still hit hard by blister problems throughout. The oil
embargo caused all manufacturers in this era to try innovative ways to save resin. The chopper gun probably affected them too. And this was before the wide use of blister preventing vinylester resins. If there is one thing that even later Gulfstars can be affected by, that is blister problems. They call this the blister pox of the 1980's. I think it is critical to ask about the blister history
and last time a bottom job has been done on a Gulfstar irrespective of the era.
Hope these insights help. I am tracking down a Nautical Quarterly Article from the late 1980's/early 1990's that is supposed to have great information about Vincent Lazzara. If anybody has a copy, I would be interested in seeing it. Otherwise if I find a copy, I will scan it up and post a link here. I guess that might be copyright