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Old 01-07-2015, 08:17   #1
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Boats made in 1970's and 80'

We are going to purchase a boat 32-40ft we have several that are on our list. Which decade were better for boat making, from my perspective everything made in the 80's was shoddy, plus I understand after the oil embargo boats weren't made as well for a while....input PLEASE!


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Old 01-07-2015, 08:37   #2
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Re: Boats made in 1970's and 80'

2000-2010
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Old 01-07-2015, 09:09   #3
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Re: Boats made in 1970's and 80'

I went with a '77 model when I purchased my boat, and there were several similarly equipped and priced boats of the same make for sale that were built in the '80s. What I got was a hand laid up hull with no chopper gun used, solid 1.75" thick hull, which many here will claim to be overbuilt and excessively heavy, but I don't worry about hitting logs or containers etc... I believe the workmanship and pride in the job was far greater then, than now, I have no doubt in my mind that my vessel will still be there after the storm. On the down side, almost all of the systems in the vessel have to be redone, but I have a lot of experience in that department so it holds no terrors for me, most of what I have had to fight with is not the original equipment installed, it is the crap work the POs did in the interim. I am willing to put in the effort, time and money because I know I have a good foundation to build on. My criteria is different than most posters here. I demanded to have a heavy built boat of a builder that I am familiar with, whose designs are proven good sailing vessels and it had to be able to stand up to AK weather conditions as well as having the ability to sail anywhere in the world from AK, it had to be comfortable, and it had to have a fish hold preferably refrigerated. That is what I got, probably paid too much for it, but 20 years from now it will be still be going strong, and I'll hopefully be dead.
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Old 01-07-2015, 09:12   #4
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Re: Boats made in 1970's and 80'

What is your budget?

Late 70s to early 80s you'll probably will get you the most bang for your boating dollar. Today you can pick up a well kept 37-40ft O'day, Pearson, Mariner, C&C or some such for well under $40K, probably for well under $30K. Put another $20-30K into it, for a total of $50-60K, and you've got yourself a very good and strudy coastal or even offshore passagemaker for the next 10-20 years or so.

You'll never get a boat that size for under $100K with a 2000 or later model unless it's in garbage shape or had been chartered to death.
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Old 01-07-2015, 09:56   #5
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Re: Boats made in 1970's and 80'

The question is meaningless. Superb boats were made in both decades, as were some terrible ones.

My suggestion would be a Bristol 35.5. The build quality is excellent, the fibreglass layup the best in the business (try finding one with blisters!), and it's a fine design with great sea manners. Made from late 70s to late 80s.

I have the smaller version, the 31.1, which shares the same qualities, but I do think the extra 4 ft really improves the interior space.
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Old 01-07-2015, 10:09   #6
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Re: Boats made in 1970's and 80'

It's a big generality, but I'm thinking the 80's boats or late 70's are often better. Why?
- By then many boat makers had learned to not use chopper gun and poor quality plywood for decks and cabin construction.
- The Atomic 4 had been phased out for Diesels
-Fiberglass boat building learning curve.
- Wooden spars had been mostly abandoned (although many 70's didn't have them either)
- Designs became roomier, beamier, more comfortable inside and out.
- The oil crisis in early 70's ended up with some boats being lightly built, or with manufacturers experimenting with unproven layup techniques.
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Old 01-07-2015, 10:22   #7
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Re: Boats made in 1970's and 80'

Thanks for the input and extra info! We are going to looks at a 1980 Morgan Pilot House any thoughts on this one?


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Old 01-07-2015, 10:26   #8
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Re: Boats made in 1970's and 80'

Captain 58 we are with your thoughts on boats, we would like to eventually do water sailing">blue water sailing


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Old 01-07-2015, 10:29   #9
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Re: Boats made in 1970's and 80'

Even if I had the budget for a new 35-42ft boat, say $200-300K I'd still get late 70s-early 80s model for $20K-30K and invest another $75K-150K putting her back in pristine condition with all new electronics, etc. And would have enough $$ left for a significant cruising kitty.
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Old 01-07-2015, 10:33   #10
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Re: Boats made in 1970's and 80'

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Thanks for the input and extra info! We are going to looks at a 1980 Morgan Pilot House any thoughts on this one?


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Depends on your intended use of the boat. They're great for liveaboard, Caribbean shallow water cruising, long voyages, etc. Not so great for racing or speed in general. And they usually need some wind to get going. Otherwise, other than the usual 35-40 year old boat issues, they're pretty solid and foregiving.
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Old 01-07-2015, 10:39   #11
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Re: Boats made in 1970's and 80'

You just helped us make up our mind! Fingers crossed. Thank you


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Old 01-07-2015, 11:00   #12
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Re: Boats made in 1970's and 80'

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Originally Posted by Island Time O25 View Post
Even if I had the budget for a new 35-42ft boat, say $200-300K I'd still get late 70s-early 80s model for $20K-30K and invest another $75K-150K putting her back in pristine condition with all new electronics, etc. And would have enough $$ left for a significant cruising kitty.
I don't know about that idea. It's kind of what we did with a 70's boat. Almost everything needs repair, the whole boat. With a newer boat you get a little more breathing room. If you are truly willing to do a complete re-fit on a 70's boat, not just electronics but almost everything, then you might be right.
You really need to like your boat though, because you are probably gonna loose your $75-150K. The thing will probably be worth only what you paid for it in not too many years.
Oh, there is no such thing as a cruising sailboat in "pristine condition". Bristol maybe.
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Old 01-07-2015, 11:06   #13
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Re: Boats made in 1970's and 80'

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You just helped us make up our mind! Fingers crossed. Thank you


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10 years ago I almost bought a Morgan 33 OI as my first boat. It was just under 30 years old at the time. I had her professionally surveyed but a friend (who got me into sialing in the first place) croaked about Morgans "sailing like a pig" so I backed out of that deal. Little did I realize at the time that my sailing buddy was talking from a perspective of a club racer/adrenaline junkie not a cruiser or a liveaboard. Years later I did realize that this was my best opportunity to own a 33footer for under $15K, that's the price I haggled it down to from $20K asking price. The seller eventually sold her to some guy for probably close to the asking price and that guy I find out later was trying to flip her in FL (where they're in greater demand due to their shallow draft) for $30K. Don't know what he sold her for eventually but she was a solid boat and probably the best bang for the dollar even at $25K-30K.
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Old 01-07-2015, 11:16   #14
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Re: Boats made in 1970's and 80'

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I don't know about that idea. It's kind of what we did with a 70's boat. Almost everything needs repair, the whole boat. With a newer boat you get a little more breathing room. If you are truly willing to do a complete re-fit on a 70's boat, not just electronics but almost everything, then you might be right.
You really need to like your boat though, because you are probably gonna loose your $75-150K. The thing will probably be worth only what you paid for it in not too many years.
Oh, there is no such thing as a cruising sailboat in "pristine condition". Bristol maybe.
Yes, I would never do an extensive refit for the sake of "resale". On the other hand those who paid $200K-300K sailing out of new boat dealership are out of at least $50K from the get go. So as far as "not getting back what you put into it" IMO it's a wash between new boats and older refits. Now, since I don't have the funds for that extensive refit I don't worry about it and just do the repairs as they become needed. We all have to play the cards we're dealt.

What would keep me away from the new boats (at least in that $200-300K price range for 35-42ft) is the "quality" of the build. And I do use that term rather loosely. Having walked many a boat show with my marine pro buddies (one 45+ years of experience and the other 40+yrs and both naval engineers with MS degree) I will follow their advice and recommendations before those of any salesman or manufacturer's glossy mag.
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Old 02-07-2015, 08:19   #15
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Re: Boats made in 1970's and 80'

The problem with asking me that question is, I am a 1 trick pony, for me there is only one make of vessel, I am not conversant with other manufacturers and could not advise intelligently on them. I always liked the looks of the Valiants, and Swans. I have friends who sailed extensively on a Morgan O/I through the south pacific and back to AK in the late '70s, who own Swans now , and they went with and stayed with a Swan ever since. I can tell you that almost any boat of that vintage is going to need an extensive refit, the wiring is going to be the leading candidate for replacement, I've found that most of the insulation on the wiring in my vessel has broken down and requires renewal. Which is a chore, but it gets you to every nook and cranny in the vessel and there are no surprises left after that exercise.
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