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Old 21-05-2012, 13:39   #1
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pirate Here I go again. Question for the Sailboat Gurus

Our plans to buy a sailboat and cruise the Caribbean came alive again. We have 3 really good candidates:

A. 1979 34' Irwin Citation.
B. 1979 35' Columbia.
C. 1984 34' Hunter.

The 3 of them are in the same shape and price range. We only have 2 months to buy the boat and start our adventure.

Thanks in advance for your help.
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Old 21-05-2012, 13:59   #2
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Re: Here I go again. Question for the Sailboat Gurus

Quote:
The 3 of them are in the same shape and price range. We only have 2 months to buy the boat and start our adventure.
No three boats are in the same shape. You should consider the better one in any and all situations. Let someone else buy the ones in less good shape. After all these years the brand names mean nothing. Most boats this old are not in that great a shape. If one of them was in a little better shape you might be able to make it and spend less later on.

Placing a time deadline of two months to buy a cheap boat and make it ready to leave is a sure way to get stuck some place far away from home but no where near where you wanted to go where you don't know anybody. Toss the calendar before you do anything else. You'll leave when you are ready and mean to is the best rule for boating schedules.

Starting a Caribbean trip in July/August seems like not such a good idea either. Hurricane season would be coming peak and assure that you won't miss the peak or any of the worst storms possible.

Any of these boats will need attention to really make them good enough to be considered good and none of them are likely to be great. That means you pick your battles with eyes wide open or suffer greatly. You really need to learn any boat in familiar territory with access to places and resources you know not in some far away place. Build some confidence closer to home and make sure the boat is ready as you learn more about the boat and yourselves. Training is never a bad thing. Smarter sailors do it better!
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Old 21-05-2012, 14:15   #3
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Re: Here I go again. Question for the Sailboat Gurus

Yes. Everything that Paul said.

1. 99% of all boats will need many, many weeks of fixing to be really ready to go. 99.9% of boats 25-30 years old will need more weeks and more fixing.

2. An old boat can have a few problems, some not obvious that will cost more than the boat is work to fix, even if you get it free. Some of them: deck rot, really bad blisters(rare), serious structural problems like bulkhead or floor delaminated from the hull.

3. Pick the one with the best/newest sails, engine, rig.

4. It's hurricane season. Going to the Caribbean now is like rolling the dice. Watch the weather very, very closely and with a little luck to go with it you could get away with it. A little inattention or bad luck could ruin your whole day.
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Old 21-05-2012, 14:22   #4
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Re: Here I go again. Question for the Sailboat Gurus

I will follow your advice but We need to move to the boat in 2 months our lease is due, We dont want to rent again. We going to take your advice and stay close to the area, but We want to live in our home with sails.
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Old 21-05-2012, 16:57   #5
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Re: Here I go again. Question for the Sailboat Gurus

Might help to know where you are located, where you are buying the boat?
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Old 21-05-2012, 19:26   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VIPIRATE
Our plans to buy a sailboat and cruise the Caribbean came alive again. We have 3 really good candidates:

A. 1979 34' Irwin Citation.
B. 1979 35' Columbia.
C. 1984 34' Hunter.

The 3 of them are in the same shape and price range. We only have 2 months to buy the boat and start our adventure.

Thanks in advance for your help.
VIPIRATE
Go with the one with the best interior layout and space that suits you. Prime consideration is liveability and it is personal.

Second consideration is engine type. Given a choice I would go yanmar. However engine age and condition trumps engine type.

Third consideration is tankage, both water and fuel.

Fourth consideration is battery bay size. You will likely want more batteries if living on the hook and you don't want to have to stack them in the cockpit. This is coupled with ability to mount and locations for solar panels.

Fifth is rig and sails. Preferr the one with newer sails and rigging that has been replaced more recently.

Finally is extras - dinghy, spinnaker & pole, watermaker, electronics (even dated ones)

No problem moving aboard - be prepared to have your home in disarray for some months as you tweak her and fit her for passage making.
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Old 21-05-2012, 22:42   #7
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Re: Here I go again. Question for the Sailboat Gurus

A. 1979 34' Irwin Citation.- PHRF-165
IRWIN 34 CITATION sailboat specifications and details on sailboatdata.com


B. 1979 35' Columbia.(Actually it is a Columbia 10.7) PHRF-168
COLUMBIA 35 sailboat specifications and details on sailboatdata.com


C. 1984 34' Hunter. PHRF 138
HUNTER 34 sailboat specifications and details on sailboatdata.com

The all have pretty much the same draft and beam.
The Irwin and Columbia have pretty much the same PHRF rating and should be about as fast on daysails when similarly loaded. The Hunter should be significantly faster. Based on the EStarzinger formula on passage their daily runs should be similar, with the Columbia averaging about 5-10nm less per day than the Hunter and the Irwin 2-4nm less.
In very light winds the Hunter and Irwin should perform similarly based on apparent wetted surface area and sail area. The Columbia should be slower based on the apparently greater wetted surface area.
All have moderately wide side decks, actually the Columbia and Hunter are actually pretty wide but obstructed.
The Hunter has a B&R rig which takes some extra tuning and it has swept back spreaders that are more prone to chafing the main.
The Columbia has the lowest liner and the Irwin the highest, but all are fairly moderate.
The Columbia is built significantly more heavily built for it's length and beam and the Hunter is somewhat lighter than the Irwin.
The Irwin's dinette is very oddly shaped and may not be very usable as a double at anchor an probably not as a single underway. The settee opposite looks short but you should check out if it is long enough for your needs.
The Columbia should get about 6.5nm/gal and the other 2 about 8 using diesel engines and going 5kt.
The Irwin and Hunter have capsize screens at 2 or just over, the Columbia is moderately under 2. For bombing around the Caribbean they should all be fine.
The Irwin has an offcenter companionway. In rough going that would be a liability, I wouldn't worry about it as much in the Caribbean.

To me the interior of the Irwin would be a deal killer, it wouldn't work well on passage.

"Objectively" I would see the Hunter and Columbia being about equal the tradeoff being the Columbia being more durable and the Hunter being somewhat faster but requiring more maintenance because of the swept back spreaders and unusual rigging.

My personal preference would be the Columbia. In order to improve its speed I would be willing to install a longer boom and a bowsprit and replace the sails.
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Old 21-05-2012, 23:14   #8
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Re: Here I go again. Question for the Sailboat Gurus

The Columbia 35 you linked to was built only in 1975 -5 were built. It is a 34 Mk II with a skeg rudder.

The op is looking at a 1979 Columbia 35 which is probably this one COLUMBIA 10.7 sailboat specifications and details on sailboatdata.com

I think you just had the wrong link.
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Old 21-05-2012, 23:57   #9
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Re: Here I go again. Question for the Sailboat Gurus

Quote:
Originally Posted by mitiempo View Post
The Columbia 35 you linked to was built only in 1975 -5 were built. It is a 34 Mk II with a skeg rudder.

The op is looking at a 1979 Columbia 35 which is probably this one COLUMBIA 10.7 sailboat specifications and details on sailboatdata.com

I think you just had the wrong link.
Yep, had the wrong link, figured it out, did the analysis from the correct link but forgot to correct the link. You have the correct link.
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Old 22-05-2012, 08:22   #10
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Re: Here I go again. Question for the Sailboat Gurus

We want to thank you all for your time and interest to my post, all reply very helpfull. We are leaning towards the Hunter but have read about soft spots can anyone give us input on this?
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Old 22-05-2012, 08:31   #11
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Re: Here I go again. Question for the Sailboat Gurus

in 1994, i swore i would never ever again sail an irwin citation.
i would sail a columbia first.
i chose a formosa ketch because of what it is.
you need to find a boat you enjoy sailing and that you enjoy the looks of so you are happy with it. they do not resell well anymore, so turning it over sales wise is not an option. every brand of boat sails differently from the rest...
good luck with your schedule--is death to sail to a schedule. why do you place yourself on one?? loosen it up and shop wisely. look for the items you NEED for you on the boat you seek. and make sure you are happy with its performance.
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Old 22-05-2012, 08:41   #12
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Re: Here I go again. Question for the Sailboat Gurus

We are Sorry Skipmac, we are in Miami, Fl, after all the wise advise we will stay around until winter.
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Old 22-05-2012, 09:13   #13
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Re: Here I go again. Question for the Sailboat Gurus

The 1984 Hunter 34 was a popular boat with a side dinette layout and the cockpit is a bit small for hanging out at anchor. Sails great. One big issue I have heard about (and seen) is that the cross beam(from port to starboard) under the mast was untreated pine. These boats had a problem with water intrusion thru the mast wiring conduit at the base of the mast and this beam rotted away and is a big deal to replace. I think I remember that it also caused the wooden base under the mast support post to rot, too, though this is an easier fix. If the cabin top deck area under the mast is compressed and/or cracked, make sure your surveryor should looks hard at this area. This problem also causes saturated deck core in the mast area. The conduit fix was in later model boats and maybe the previous owner(s) did it on the one you are considering. There is a lot about this problem and what is involved to fix it in the forums at www.hunterowners.com.
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