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Old 30-08-2008, 21:40   #1
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Need an opinion on this boat asap!!!

1977 Ericson 39B sailboat for sale in California

Can provide more info if needed. its one of only 20 made but looks to be in fine shape. Are there any known problems with these or negatives to owning one, rarity, diffaculty getting help with them, seaworthiness? etc etc

I need some expert help here and want any and all info regarding these particular boats.

BTW this would be used for cruising the west coast , possibly longer term cruising to carribean, hawaii, etc etc if thats feesible.

PLEASE
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Old 30-08-2008, 23:51   #2
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Ericson 39-B

We owned, lived-aboard and cruised an Ericson 39-B for 5 years. All in all we give it a good recommendation. We were based in San Francisco Bay, and in addition to doing numerous short cruises in the Bay and along the California coast, we completed a year long cruise to Mexico (as far south as Zihuatanejo) and across to Hawaii and back.

This boat sailed very, very well. In particular she loved going upwind. While not capable of sailing quite as close to the wind as more modern designs, she did quite well and virtually never pounded. The design has a relatively tall rig, but her 50% ballast ratio holds it all together quite well. Keep in mind that the basic hull design was made for ocean racing way back in the day.The profile of the hull underway is a true beauty. You can thank Bruce King for that.

Sailing deep downwind in not her strong point. She has a bit of the squirreliness of other IOR designs, though not nearly as extreme as some. You just need to be extra careful not to raise too much sail area in those conditions. We definitely outsailed a surprising number of more modern boats that we would not have expected to. In fact, the Hylas 47 that we now own is not all that much faster than our old Ericson.

Our old 39-B is now being cruised by a new owner mostly single handed from SF Bay to it's new home in Australia. He is now 2/3 of the way there with no major problems having popped up. We also completed our voyage of around 6,500 miles with no big problems.

Compared to our Hylas she is built fairly lightly and exhibited a fair amount of creaking while underway in the ocean. That being said, we never felt she could not safely handle these standard tradewind passages. We had also modified her basic rig to include a removeable inner forestay, which was a big help during high wind conditions.

The layout of the boat is fantastic for both live-aboard and cruising conditions. Having the separate aft cabin works great fopr both storage and the times you desire to bring extra crew along for overnighters. A couple different options were available for how the aft cabin was dealt with. Our design left the main cabin quite open as you came below through the companion way. The design you are looking at had a wall immediately to your port as you descended the companion way stairs. This wall enlarged the aft cabin a bit to give space for an extra sink area. In our design we had a big hanging locker and more storage overall. The boat in general has an amazing amount of easily accessible storage for a 39' model of this vintage.

Our model also had the wheel located at the forward end of the cockpit, which we preferred. This gave better protection from the dodger to the helmsman and also easier access to the mainsheet. The cockpit is nice and deep, which gives a good sense of security underway.

While in San Diego we had a chance to meet with Lew, the owner of the boat in question. He is a super nice guy and has done a fantastic job in upgrading his boat. It is a real beauty. He made a number of very nice improvements to his boat. For instance, check out the ceiling inside the cabin! If your priorities are sailing performance and layout amenable to real cruising and passage making, I think you would be hard pressed to find a better value around. In this price range, we would give her a very strong recommendation. If you are interested in reading our accounts of cruising Pacifica (our E 39-B), go to http://www.sailpuravida.com/Cruise_News.htm .

Feel free to ask any other questions.

Cheers,
Greg
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Old 30-08-2008, 23:55   #3
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Wink Nice looking boat, but have you checked...

Nice looking boat, but have you thought about :-
1) Self steering
2) Davits/dinghy
3) Dodger/bimini
and all the other "essential" pieces of equipment?

It looks lovely in the pictures but you really need to :-
1) Look in the bilge
2) Check the wiring/electrics - they could be getting very old.
3) Check the engine/gearbox/fuel system/controls - They could also be getting very old. Are they common, are spare parts available, can they be rebuilt?
4) Check seacocks/thruhulls/hoses/clamps. What do they look like? How old are they?
5) Look for corrosion and cracking everywhere.

Have you located a good surveyor yet? After a really good critical look it is good to talk to a reliable surveyor to determine if full survey is indicated.

I did a quick search and found a 1988 39' Bruce Roberts and a 38 Catalina on Yachtworld in the same price range.
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Old 31-08-2008, 00:37   #4
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Greg I have read your site extensively and spoke to Lew many times through email the last 2 days. He actualy recommended speaking with you about the cost of doing all the outfitting.

Since you have experience with the exact same model could give me a decent guesstimate about the cost to get this up to speed in the cruising department.

also as mentioned in the post after yours what was the availability of help with work that might be needed on this boat i.e. support and parts.

Lew has been very helpful and I think we are going to make the trip to take a look at her next weekend but before I was going to try and contact you or your dog whichever answers the mails
and see what you could offer in the way of advice on this boat and getting her ready.

We have a prelim budget of around 20-25k for outfitting. would this be enough to get most of whats needed to cruise for this boat??

I really appreciate any and all advice from all concerning this matter.

thank you
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Old 31-08-2008, 11:02   #5
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Upgrading Ericson 39-B for cruising

I can't think of anything special about the E-39B that would be different from most any other boat in regards to getting her ready for cruising. Probably the two most important items you will need to add are reliable self-steering and a dodger. On our boat we used a Sailomat windvane with excellent results, and also used a cheap tillerpilot input for times when we had no wind or the existing wind was very flukey. It can not be stated strongly enough how important good self-steering is. The previous owner of our boat had installed a hard topped dodger which we were big fans of.

Our boat had a Perkins 4-108 engine, which I imagine Serendipity does as well. This is a good workhorse and has parts readily available. The only real issue we ever had was overheating. This was easily solved by pulling the heat exchanger and giving it an acid bath/pressure wash at the radiator store. It is a very deep black hole into the bilge below the engine, so don't drop any tools down there.

One concern any boat of this age will have is the condition of the tanks. We never had any problems with ours, but if they needed to be swapped out, it would be a big, big project.

The one specific item I can think of specific to an Ericson 39 is the steel crossbeam below the sole that runs athwart ships near the main bulkhead for the head. You can see it by removing the floor hatch at the mast and looking forward about 4 feet. You will want to make sure this is not rusted away too bad. If it has not already been done, you will want to get this primed and painted.

This boat sails very nicely. With a good set of sails you will be gliding along peacefully while many others feel the need to run their engines. This is an area worth putting some money into. We had a full batten main w/ 3 reefs, 135 genoa on roller furling, hank-on staysail with removeable inner forestay and running backs, and one each symmetrical and asymmetrical spinnakers.

We had no problems with the factory electrical wiring or plumbing. While original factory parts are for the most part no longer available, I really wouldn't be worried about that. I never once ran into a problem where that was an issue. If for some reason you needed to replace the rub rail, I believe there is a source for the original extrusion and rubber. The Ericson yacht owners web site is a very valuable resource.

There is no reason why 20 to 25K couldn't get you out cruising. The basics of what you need are nowhere near that expensive. After that it's just a matter of figuring out which "extras" have the highest priority for you.

Feel free to write back with any specific questions. The email link is on our site. I always love talking boats.

Cheers,
Greg
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Old 31-08-2008, 11:12   #6
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Here is a quick list of the upgrades we personally made to Pacifica for getting her to cruising mode.

1) Sailomat windvane
2) New 12 VDC refrigeration and rebuild of box with new insulation.
3) Enlarged battery bank to 400 amp hours.
4) New 100 amp alternator and 3 stage regulator.
5) Two 130 watt solar panels and MPPT regulator.
6) Towing generator for longer passages.
7) SSB/Ham radio and pactor modem.
8) Radar/Chartplotter.
9) Changing all lights to either LED or Alpenglow fluorescents.
10) Inverter wired to power all outlets in the boat.
11) Battery monitor.
12) Sails as mentioned above. Rigging for staysail.
13) Watermaker

These are the main things that come to mind. Certainly not all are required, but we appreciated having all of it.
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Old 02-09-2008, 13:22   #7
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The boat you are looking at is owned by a very knowledgeable guy.

My only concern is the offset companion way hatch. I do not like them because of the risk of down flooding. I consider them unsafe for open water. Sorry Lew.
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Old 02-09-2008, 14:21   #8
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Does anyone else consider this boat unsafe for ocean passages???

Or had any problems with this type of things on other models??


thank you
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Old 02-09-2008, 19:22   #9
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Here's another angle to consider on the point of supposed dangers about the offset hatch. If you found your self sailing in such horrendous conditions that there was an actual concern of the boat being laid down on her side to the extreme which would cause flooding through the companionway, you should certainly have already dogged the hatches in place. While some water would certainly make it's way past the cracks, it would not be a dangerous amount.

The far more typical method of flooding down below is to get pooped by a big wave from behind. In this case, the Ericson 39-B has a reasonable high bridgedeck to dramatically reduce the damage.

I don't think anyone would argue that this is an ideal boat to acquire for cruising around the Great Southern Capes, but for the type of cruising most of us do, we think she's a great choice for this budget range.

Greg
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