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Old 07-05-2009, 07:59   #1
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First Gen Bristol Issues - Downside?

Do we have any Bristol gurus out there? What are the "cons" of the Bristols? I am hearing a few things about hull/deck joints and tank tabbing but nothing in detail. Does this concern 1st Gens, 2nd, or all? Any thoughts or comments really appreciated.
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Old 07-05-2009, 08:53   #2
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Ahoy Fishman TX,
We are also proud owners of a Bristol. being from NE, we heard most of the scuttlebutt about the Pearson cousins early on. Your boat was an early Bristol, after the Pearson company was sold to Grumman. You may find gelcoat issues, because the Arab Oil embargo caused the company to change the epoxy formula. Even our 1979 hull had blisters, so the problem was not corrected until much later.(if ever) Yes, you will find the hull/deck joint will leak, and can never be correctly fixed. But I don't think it will ever fail completely.
I don't know who designed the 34. The cousins lost Carl Alberg (who designed almost all of the early pretty Pearsons)when they refused to pay him royalties on his designs. My boat was a Ted Hood design, as was the 32. Halsey Herrschoff was responsible for the 29. Dieter Empacher penned all the "decimal series" boats.
All in all the Bristol is solid, and an outstanding sailer.
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Old 07-05-2009, 09:00   #3
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Thx!
Ours is also a Herrschoff (originally the 33.5). It's down in Clearwater,FL and we're prepping for a barefoot* crossing to Corpus Christi,TX for the refit, so we need all the info we can get on her before we get her surveyed. Unfortunately, it's the only option as transport is waaay too expensive. Also, if anyone in the Clearwater area knows a REASONABLE place to haul out, let me know. Everywhere I've been able to find (all of 2) costs $600+ just to haul her out! Freakin' highway robbery!

(*minimal gear)

Thx!
Fish
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Old 08-05-2009, 11:26   #4
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Bristol

Ahoy Fishman TX,
The issues of which I wrote before are the only cons I know. But beware the quality of the stainless steel rigging and fasteners, they may also be lower grade. Good Luck
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Old 08-05-2009, 15:41   #5
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I'm beginning to think we're the only Bristol owners here....
I found a couple of Bristol forums in yahoo, tho. Bristol Boat Owners and Bristol Yachts.

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/bristolboatowners

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BristolYachts

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Old 11-05-2009, 08:54   #6
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I'm beginning to think we're the only Bristol owners here....
I recently purchased a 1971 Bristol 35, so you can add one more to the list.
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Old 11-05-2009, 11:11   #7
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Originally Posted by Fishman_Tx View Post
Do we have any Bristol gurus out there? What are the "cons" of the Bristols? I am hearing a few things about hull/deck joints and tank tabbing but nothing in detail. Does this concern 1st Gens, 2nd, or all? Any thoughts or comments really appreciated.

I have owned my first generation Bristol 29 for over 20 years. You can find a lot of information here about older Bristols: Bristol 29 A restoration site for owners and admirers of Bristol Yachts

I have also started a forum about older Bristols and other plastic classics and you are most welcome to visit and join: Categories in Bristol29Forum

Fair winds,
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Old 12-05-2009, 09:25   #8
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Thanks guys!

David, your website has already been of GREAT assistance to us and will continue to be. I've gotten some great ideas from looking at your projects and refit.

We have a lot to do to get her ready to come home. Not much we can do about her condition overall except to make sure her thru-hulls, rudder, and rigging is solid and the engine runs without overheating before we take the big jump. I am a bit nervous about a crossing with minimal gear in such a cluttered patch of water, and the later in summer it gets the less I like it(Doldrums, hurricanes? yes a bit of an extremist..). I have yet to talk to anyone who's made the run across the gulf yet and I'm the greenhorn in this crew so this tends to add to my paranoia. My best bud is the one with the experiance and this is his 3rd boat, so I guess I might be a little more trusting?


So, anything else we need to call the surveyors attention to specifically as regards Bristols? (other than hull/deck joints and rigging?) We're doing the prep trip 1st week of June.....

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Old 12-05-2009, 09:59   #9
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If you have not yet settled on a surveyor, I would strongly suggest using Chan Chapman (http://chapmanmarinesurveyor.com/default.aspx). He is vastly experienced and has crossed oceans. I don't work for him or with him; just a good friend. but I value his opinion.

I'd worry about the rig:
If the rigging is original or close to original I would seriously consider some work there. If the boat has swagged terminals I would definitely magniflux them and consider new main shrouds and a new back stay and fore stay with stayLok terminals before crossing the Gulf. I would pull the main chainplates and inspect their condition and the condition of the bulkhead or knees they mount into. Also, if the boat has cast aluminum spreader sockets--tubular spreaders would mean she probably does, then I would definitely replace them (Rig-Rite Inc. - Masts, Booms, Spars, Rigging, and Hardware for Sailboats. has replacements) before doing the passage.

Obviously there is a lot of commercial traffic in the gulf. An AIS receiver would be very helpful.

I would assume there is a lot of crap in the bottom of the fuel tank. You should have no trouble finding a service that can clean your fuel and your tanks. Carefully inspect the fuel fill hose to your tank and make sure the clamps are strong and tight. Make sure you can blow thru the fuel tank vent. Same for the water tank. Seal the fill caps with tape or caulking before you make the trip as I'm sure the old fills are no longer water tight.

make sure the motor mounts are strong and tight.

Not sure if she has been repowered, but make sure the exhaust system does not leak carbon monoxide into the cabin when the engine is running. If you can smell exhaust in the cabin, then it is.

I would look closely at the packing gland hoses and clamps for the prop shaft and the rudder post. Also a close inspection of the steering gear, rudder stops, etc.

Make sure the water tank holds water. Bristol used stainless steel water tanks in many of their models and the older boats often have pin holes in the tanks and leak badly.

Inspect the old roller reefing gear and make sure it works. Be absolutely sure you can reef the boat properly. Look for signs of stress or cracks in the gooseneck.

If she has the old South Coast style winches, make they are not about to fall apart or partly seized.

I would get the compass swung. You can find that service in the Clearwater area.

Good luck. It should be a great trip
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Old 12-05-2009, 16:58   #10
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As far as we can tell she's all original. One owner(actually 2 but not counting 2nd as he only had it a month!). As for bieng repowered, I doubt it

Perkins 4-108M painted Westerbeke orange but don't think it's a Westerbeke....

Yeesh we got a lot of work! Know a good boat hauler?

Fish
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Old 12-05-2009, 19:57   #11
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Ah the infamous Perkins. The only engine that has been rated as 30 hp, 45 hp, 50 hp, depending on how big the boat it is installed in. Don't hope for more than 30 hp, which is plenty for your boat. The alternator bracket is inherently weak on that engine and fractures with great regularity. Have one built from stainless steel and you should forgo any future fractures.

I actually do have a great boat hauler. His name is Tom Wagner (BOAT TRANSPORTATION and BOAT HAULING - T.J. WAGNER TRUCKING- Boat Transportation and Boat Hauling Boat Trailer Boat Launching based in Florida-Mass ) He is based in the Tampa Bay area.
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Old 19-06-2009, 08:14   #12
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Back from Florida...

Nope, it's a Westerbeke 40 fer sure and what a mess!!!

Zincs all gone and guess where I found a ground and the next item to be eaten? The timing chain cover! Only pot-metal and was like thin swiss cheese. The oil would run out into the bilge and when enough was out, the engine would overheat causing warping of the head and Voila!, Oil in the fresh water, but no water in the oil. A large amount of JBWeld and a lot of Dawn later, she runs @ 165degF @ 1800 RPM. The water heater has a lot of corrosion also but doesn't leak) so thought to go ahead and replace it. Don't get me started about the last owners! Ran it even though overheated and put oil in the bilge!!

The original rigging is all crimp swaged but a few have been replaced with mechanical compression swages. Aftstay lower swage is split and 2 portside shroud lower swages are split. Haven't been up the mast yet to check the rest as She's going to be stepped and hauled anyway. Figure to just wait til then. Also, the deck is soft on the bow back to the deckhouse both port and starboard. A 'skin job' fer sure to replace the core. A couple more here and there around the cockpit. All the portlights need replacing, a new cutlass bearing, and she needs a paint job. But the chainplates are solid!

Overall though, She's a fine boat for her age and degree of neglect. The hull is solid and She's on the water, not under it.
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Old 19-06-2009, 08:30   #13
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Did you truck her to Texas or is she still in the Clearwater area?
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Old 19-06-2009, 08:47   #14
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Still in Madeira Beach. Looking to load her up in September unless Hurricane season dictates otherwise. Found a hauler from OUR area (believe it or not!) thats gonna transport her for $3k back to Rockport, Tx (not incl haul-out fees) and put her on the harddeck at their yard! What a deal! Come to find out they were in St. Pete twice the week we were there. Wondered how the guy knew the price off the top of his head.
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Old 21-06-2009, 18:47   #15
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Bristol Yachts

I have a Bristol 32, 1976. She is a great boat. I bought her from the original owner who took great care of her, as do I. Quite honestly, other than normal maintenance, she is a great s/v, only incurring routine maintenance Bristol's are built like tanks. I had a friend take the helm my first year, and between bridges he hit a dock head on at about 3 knots. Heard what sounded like fiberglass crunching for what seemed to be an eternity. After checking the bow and seeing no damage, went back to the dock via land and saw that my boat actually carved a V through 3 8x10's. Realized at that moment that this was the right boat to own.
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