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Old 05-02-2021, 22:13   #1
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Join Date: Feb 2021
Location: Sacramento River Delta
Boat: Islander, Bahama, 24
Posts: 1
Bristol 24 vs Wayfarer Islander 24?

I'm hoping for some input from the knowledgeable folks here. I have been sailing off a trailer with a Montgomery 15 for a while, but would like to start building experience with a larger boat. My main interest is in cruising/gunkholing with a bit more comfort than the M15 can provide. Initially in protected waters (SF Bay and Delta), but working towards some coastal cruising in the long run. I am looking at a couple of options, a 1967 Islander Bahama 24 and 1967 Bristol 24.

I have looked over the Islander pretty carefully in person. The deck hardware and running rigging is spartan, minimalist and simple, but the basics are there. I think the winches and other hardware on deck are original, but everything works (winches click through each pawl cleanly, etc), boom had a little surface corrosion, mast looked fine from what I could tell. The deck is solid and the boat in general feels like a tank. I couldn't find any evidence of water intrusion (after a week of heavy rain). There is slight bowing of the mast step visible in the cabin, the pulpit is slightly bent, through hulls have been upgraded or capped but not glassed over. Overall I got the impression that the boat had been carefully kept and looked after (it was with the original owner until 2015) but is old. It comes with 3 mains and 3 jibs, and while none of the sails are new, all have a little crispness left in them. I haven't been able to inspect the bottom, but it hasn't been out of the water in several years and is almost certainly due for painting. The current owner brushes it down religiously and has a diver clear it yearly.

I haven't been able to take a look at the Bristol in person, but apparently it has a shallow bilge (so probably concrete + lead or iron ballast) and lead pigs under the sole. I have read some concerning things about the ballast and bulk head for some model years, and 1967 seems to be the cross over point between Sailstar and Bristol so is particularly uncertain. Apparently the Bristol has undergone quite a few upgrades/repairs including new stays, boom, and running rigging, as well as some work to lead everything back to the cockpit and take care of soggy regions of deck caused by leaking stanchions. It also needs the bottom painted, but is reported to be in good condition and cleaned regularly.

Based on SailboatData, I believe that the Islander would be faster, and reasonably capable (like a smaller Albin Vega) while the Bristol 24 is essentially a less expensive Flicka 20.

Any thoughts/rants/insight/suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

Assuming roughly the same price, does anyone have strong opinions about which would be a better boat?
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Old 05-02-2021, 22:38   #2
Don C L's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Channel Islands, CA
Boat: 1962 Columbia 29 MK 1 #37
Posts: 13,556
Images: 66
Re: Bristol 24 vs Wayfarer Islander 24?

I had a Columbia 24 years ago which is the close cousin to the Islander 24.I really enjoyed it. Nothing to complain about. I took her out in lots of different conditions and she did well, really a capable little boat. The outboard engine well with a cutout in the transom to raise the engine worked out well for me. I think you are right that the Islander should be a little faster, but I have no rants about either boat. I don't know the Bristol up close but both have reputations for being solid little boats. The Bristol may have a bit more room and may be stiffer.
Welcome aboard by the way!
1962 Columbia 29 MKI #37
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