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Old 06-06-2014, 10:40   #1
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Watkins 27... Should I go for it?

Is anyone familiar with the performance of the Watkins 27? I've been sailing for 16 years... Is it worthy of my skill level? It is very nice and well-maintained for a great price. I plan on living aboard and coastal cruising.. eventually island hopping and possibly a little water sailing">blue water sailing (but not for a while). My other choice is a Tartan 27 - which I know is a superior craft - but it has a lot of maintenance to be done while the Watkins is practically turn-key. I'm really not sure I have the budget for what the Tartan needs right away, but it is sailable until I come up with the money to haul her out. So... If I buy the Tartan and do all that she needs done, will I be grateful in the long run to have chosen the more capable vessel... Or will the Watkins suit my needs just fine? In a way, I'd almost prefer the one which needs less maintenance at first so that I could start living aboard and give attention to the other areas of my life that need it. But I am also very handy, so if it's only a matter of some elbow grease to get the better boat, then perhaps I should just bite that bullet. My only real worry is that I don't know what other mysteries on the Tartan hull might arise, whereas the Watkins has recently been hauled and maintained.. Thoughts?
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Old 06-06-2014, 10:48   #2
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Re: Watkins 27... Should I go for it?

My recollection is the Watkins 27 is reasonably well built boat. Med to heavy displacement and not super fast so think the Tartan would be a bit faster.

But the Watkins is a very roomy boat and believe it will beat out the Tartan in that regard.

One big decider will be the engine. If the boat is overall good but the engine worn out then you're looking at some serious costs and down time to address that one.
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Old 06-06-2014, 11:07   #3
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Re: Watkins 27... Should I go for it?

Thanks skipmac! I'm not too concerned about speed.. But performance, yes. How does the Watkins handle in chop and weather? I know the Tartan is a winner in this regard, but is the Watkins competent enough? Is the weather helm overbearing? The engine and pretty much everything maintenance-wise is better on the Watkins...
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Old 06-06-2014, 11:09   #4
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Re: Watkins 27... Should I go for it?

Also, how does the Yanmar compare to the farryman(sp?)? I believe they're both 12hp, though the Watkins May be an 8...
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Old 06-06-2014, 11:12   #5
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Re: Watkins 27... Should I go for it?

That Watkins sounds very nice, and I would prefer it way over a T27. I looked into them many years ago and agree they are very well made. But you have to do some research on your own, beyond just this website and asking questions on other boating forums. Google is your friend, use it.

I'd almost prefer the one which needs less maintenance at first so that I could start living aboard and give attention to the other areas of my life that need it.

You answered your own question.

It's fine for coastal cruising. If, later as you said, you want to further, then by then you'll know the boat, your abilities and its abilities to do so and make the decision then, not now.

Good luck.
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Old 06-06-2014, 11:21   #6
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Re: Watkins 27... Should I go for it?

People seem to really like their Watkins. Not that the other isn't liked as well. Which has the Faryman? The Yanmar will be easier to get parts for likely... maybe more likely to need them though! haha
Is the Yanmar the little horizontal cylinder one? Y series? Not great engines.
another deciding factor possibly: is either engine raw water cooled (bad) as opposed to fresh water cooled?
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Old 06-06-2014, 11:21   #7
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Re: Watkins 27... Should I go for it?

Good advice, Stu. Thank you. I think I'm going to go for it.
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Old 06-06-2014, 11:38   #8
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Re: Watkins 27... Should I go for it?

The Watkins has the yanmar... Started right up. Not sure about cooling system, but I do know it's a single cylinder. I haven't seen the farryman on the Tartan start yet, but apparently it only needs freeze plugs.. Here's the main issues: Tartan has broken centerboard cable and who knows what other issues with the hull.. So I'll definitely be needing to haul it.. Meaning more $$, which I'm kinda in short supply of right now. Also, both main and jib are rigged onto furlers.. Not necessarily preferable in my opinion, but easier to single-hand than the Watkins, which requires hoisting both at the mast - no big deal. I would eventually run the lines back to cockpit, etc. the other issue is that I would need to sail the Watkins from Mobile Bay to New Orleans to get it home, but this would be a nice way to get to know the boat.. So no real problem there, either... Would still cost less than a haul-out (which has recently been done on the Watkins). I guess I'm leaning toward the Watkins. I've done much research on both boats thru google, etc.. This forum is actually the last place I've turned before deciding. I've heard enough positive about the Watkins that I think I'm just gonna do it. Thank you all for your input and please continue to keep it coming as I'm still gonna wait a few more days before deciding... Can only spend this money once!
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Old 06-06-2014, 11:57   #9
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Re: Watkins 27... Should I go for it?

Sounds good!
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Old 06-06-2014, 11:57   #10
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Re: Watkins 27... Should I go for it?

The $$ you spend on the haulout and figuring out what else is wrong with the Tartan would give you enough for a roller furling system for the jib on the Watkins. Maybe even a new jib to go with it! On a 27 foot boat you simply don't need a rf main unless you're seriously physically impaired.

Google the engine on the Tartan. I recall issues with it, besides getting parts for it.

The time you spend in the yard with the T you could be sailing the W home.

Mobile Bay to NO? C'mon, that's nothing but FUN!
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Old 06-06-2014, 12:01   #11
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Re: Watkins 27... Should I go for it?

Be aware that sometimes a "recent haulout and bottom paint" can sometimes mean it's a blister boat. I would ask the seller straight out if it's had blisters. I know it costs money but on either boat, even if you aren't surveying, I would want to haul the boat and inspect the bottom. Sometimes you can just hang in the slings for a half hour to give a good look... saves cost of blocking etc. Just sayin'... a bottom blister situation can be troublesome and costly!
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Old 08-06-2014, 13:39   #12
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Re: Watkins 27... Should I go for it?

I own and live aboard my Watkins 27 and can attest that it makes an excellent liveaboard. The 10' beam, standing headroom for my 6'2" frame and berths that I can stretch out in make it so.

I've never been aboard a T27 but just comparing the numbers between the two I'd guess, owing to it's drop centerboard, the T27 will point higher than the W27 and the rudder is better protected. I suspect that the W27 will ride better (though no boat this size could truly claim to be comfortable in rough seas) and stand up to her canvas better.
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Old 08-06-2014, 20:20   #13
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Watkins 27... Should I go for it?

We have a 35 year old Yanmar YSM-12 on our boat that we acquired 5 years ago. Drinking through 18 gallons of
dinosaur blood that came with it. Down to about a 3rd of a tank.
Have done nothing to it other than an oil change or two. Starts within seconds, obviously does not care about fuel quality. One application of Stabil 3 years ago.
Shakes the snot out of the boat through vibration at low revs. Great motor for us for as long as it wants to continue.
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Old 09-06-2014, 10:42   #14
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Re: Watkins 27... Should I go for it?

a quick comparison shows the Watkins to be a much bigger boat really. 10ft beam, 23.7 waterline.
The Tartan is only 8'-6" beam and 21.4 waterline.
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Old 10-06-2014, 22:03   #15
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Re: Watkins 27... Should I go for it?

I have owned two Watkins 27's over the years and presently own a Watkins 29'. They are well built boats with encased ballast, no keel bolts to worry about. Not fast sailers though easily single handed and a comfortable ride. The rig is strong and the wire size was oversized from the factory. If it's powered with the ysm8 motor it is dreadfully slow under power and will struggle in a good current, the good news is it sips fuel, a tank of fuel will go a long way. If the diesel bites the dust I would go with an elect start 15hp outboard mounted on a good bracket. I was aboard a 27' with that set up and it really moved the boat well, you can then get rid of the diesel and pick up some good storage space and also get rid of the 3 blade prop that creates a lot of drag.. The sails are very close in size to Catalina 27 sails so sails are readily available.
Things to look for..
Check the compression post, especially in the bilge. Soft fore deck, soft cockpit sole. Main bulkhead rot in the bilge. Rudder post support on the underside of the cockpit sole. On my last 27 one of the previous owners used 1-1/2" screws to mount the bilge pump base in the sump, this caused a leak into the encased keel which consists of a ballast of concrete and scrap steel, the water froze and cracked the fiberglass skin on the keel.
These boats are getting old and every production boat of this vintage will have similar issues. All in all they are pretty stout boats and will serve you well, they are very comfortable for their size and usually priced right, there is also a pretty active owners group.
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