I bought my 1962 Columbia 29 Hull#66 late last fall for $1,500 (storage fees). I was really impressed with the quality of construction of the boat. The chain plates on mine at least are all tabbed in. The hulls on the MkI's were all hand laid glass and you can see the woven matte easily as there were no hull
liners on these boats originally. It's also nice to have a solid glass deck
although the little bit of flex they do give takes some getting used to, you never have to worry about de-lamination. It also makes it easy to tell where a leak is coming from if you develop one.
I got a chance to take it for one sail before I bought it as well. They do as others have said tend to heel early or are tender
, but they like to stay there after that (At least until about 18-20kts, then its time for some reefing). From what I've read it was part of the design to "stretch the waterline" in light airs ect". I've found that although the previous owner neglected the boat for 2 years and let it sit for 1 1/2 years uncovered I had only about a 1/2" of water
in the bilge
(that's without the bilge pump
working). Mine too was has the Atomic 4 it was rebuilt 3 years ago buy the original owner who sold it to the kid I bought it from. The interior
is a little tighter than the 1980's Cal 28
I was looking at but I think the quality of the boat more than makes up for it. They are listed on BlueWaterBoats.org as a blue water
boat, having numerous instances of people crossing the Atlantic and Pacific in them. The modified full keel
does give you pretty good performance to windward, you won't be beating any Farr 40's but hey.
As for any major structural deficiencies ect, I'm not aware of any across the board common problems. They were not
prone to blistering, as the epoxies and resins that caused that didn't start to take hold until the later 70's. They were known for the decks feeling a little flexy. This is because they are solid glass without a core
to thicken them up they loose some stiffness. I have on my boat as noted in the survey a few gelcoat
cracks on the fore deck
due to this however no leaks
. The common fix is to epoxy
some fiberglass stringers on the underside of the deck to stiffen it up. Or as a few old guys at the marina put it " It's been that way for 50 years I wouldn't worry to much about it.". The survey also pointed out that the wiring
in the engine
compartment could use some work, a few old wires hanging about. Also due to the gelcoat
being 50 years old it is common for it to get crazed (tiny cracks running in all directions). The cure for this is grind down the big ones don't worry about the rest and use and epoxy
primer to seal, then paint
With the Atomic 4 make sure your engine compartment blower is working correctly with duct work sucking the air from near the bottom of the bilge (where the fumes will sink), and that the duct work is in tact all the way to the vent fitting. Also it is scary to see how many older Atomic 4's are running around without sealed alternators.. This is not an option needs to be sealed. Make sure the mechanical fuel pump
has been replaced by an electric
(when the diaphragm
fails it dumps raw fuel
into the oil
pan very quickly).
I've heard of the mast
support/compression beam that runs under the cabin
top being damaged if you over tighten the stays. According to the source it is because it's a wooden beam and not meant to be loaded up twanging tight by the rigging. This was only one guy though.
I hope you enjoy your new boat, all in all they were a great design and you'll still see many of them around on the water and the web. Take a look at the Columbia Yacht Owners Association at Columbia Yacht Owners Association
although the site isn't maintained much these days it's chuck full of useful info and links. Enjoy and cheers!