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Old 27-01-2021, 08:26   #1
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Trying to decide between two boats

My wife and I have sailed a bit, mostly in the ICW and the SF Bay. We really enjoy it and recently moved aboard a sailboat but she's really a dock queen and not really set up for cruising. As beautiful as she is, we've decided to sell her and look at boats that are closer to ready for full time sailing. We have been looking for about 6 months and we recently saw two boats in our price range that we really like. They are both mid 70s boats and have both been updated and cared for but both need some work.

First one is an Ericson 39. We have a good friend who has extensively sailed one, about 60,000 km, and loved it. We found one with was refit for offshore sailing, including doubling the size of the chainplates, adding an extra bulkhead, and creating a watertight hatch in the forepeak chain locker. The owner wanted to sail the northern passage but got diagnosed with Parkinsons and is selling the boat.

The second boat is an Alberg 37. She looks very well taken care of and things look like they were updated before they could create an problems. New tanks, sails, some seacocks, stranding rigging, bottom paint, transmission, exhaust elbow, etc. All over the last 5 years (standing rigging is 2 years old. Sails, bimini canvas and bottom paint 1 year old. Batteries and charger replaced for the sell a couple weeks ago)

They are similarly priced and would need an approximately the same amount of refitting. Solar, genset, reefer, etc.

We want to start the survey process but we're trying to figure which is a better fit. The Alberg is slower but more seakind (comfort Ratio: 39.8), and absolutely beautiful. The Ericson is a little less expensive, really beefed up and faster which is nice, but she's kind of ugly inside. (Comfort ratio: 35.41)
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Old 27-01-2021, 08:45   #2
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Re: Trying to decide between two boats

The Alberg 37 looks pretty, the Ericson 39 a bit less so. If you find the Ericson also kind of ugly inside then I would be inclined to in any case not go for the Ericson. I think most would agree that you've got to be able to look at your own boat with a degree of pride, and ugliness kind of detracts from that.


Having said that, the Alberg is probably a lot less roomy then the Ericson so that might not be ideal either.
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Old 27-01-2021, 09:21   #3
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Re: Trying to decide between two boats

There is no objective difference. Just opinions. Given that is what you seek, I’ll add mine - forget the nameplate and make an analytical judgment based on intended use, condition of sails, electronics, engine and storage capacities. The rest is simply emotional.
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Old 27-01-2021, 09:49   #4
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Re: Trying to decide between two boats

I would go with the flush deck and internal lead ballast, but that’s just me. Were I in your shoes I would decide what use the boat was intended for and decide which boat best fulfilled my requirements. The current state of the hull, rig, and all the systems (electrical, mechanical, etc) would dictate my move forward. Electronics, engines, sails, plumbing, deck core integrity, rig, chainplates, etc., can easily add up to TENS of thousands of dollars in repairs, refurbishment, and replacement.
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Old 27-01-2021, 10:35   #5
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Re: Trying to decide between two boats

If you are going to spend a lot of time aboard, I think you'll find that a little more elbow room can make a big difference in comfortable living.



The comfort ratio doesn't tell you much unless the differences are huge (ie, I wouldn't probably choose to cruise on one of the Beneateau Firsts with comfort ratios below 20). I very much doubt you could tell the difference between 39 and 35.
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Old 27-01-2021, 10:36   #6
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Re: Trying to decide between two boats

Wow, they both sound like amazing boats and are both very well built and designed, you almost can't go wrong with either.

I would get surveys on both, spend some quality alone time on both, and allow one to present itself and speak to you as the better choice in the balance (aesthetics, speed, etc). Every boat has their own personality and vibe, and it's wonderful when you find a good fit, like finding your soul mate.

Which one makes you happy to be on and promises to take care of you offshore?

(I talk with my boat and express my gratitude for how well she takes care of me when offshore and things get hairy, and I swear my boat speaks back to me- weird, but comforting and nice)

This is the most pivotal, important, fun, and sometimes frustrating part of buying a boat, a decision that has long term consequences and is worth taking your time to do.
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Old 27-01-2021, 10:44   #7
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Re: Trying to decide between two boats

Quote:
Originally Posted by DMCantor View Post
If you are going to spend a lot of time aboard, I think you'll find that a little more elbow room can make a big difference in comfortable living.



The comfort ratio doesn't tell you much unless the differences are huge (ie, I wouldn't probably choose to cruise on one of the Beneateau Firsts with comfort ratios below 20). I very much doubt you could tell the difference between 39 and 35.
I on the other hand would always take the First series because it is a sailboat. The others are fine boats but I'm in the faster motion camp and not inclined to buy into the seakindly belief as it is so objective.
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Old 27-01-2021, 11:40   #8
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Re: Trying to decide between two boats

Where are you going and why would either of those boats "that need work" be more suitable than your Cascade HS ?
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Old 27-01-2021, 11:41   #9
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Re: Trying to decide between two boats

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hillbillybuddha View Post
My wife and I have sailed a bit, mostly in the ICW and the SF Bay. We really enjoy it and recently moved aboard a sailboat but she's really a dock queen and not really set up for cruising. As beautiful as she is, we've decided to sell her and look at boats that are closer to ready for full time sailing. We have been looking for about 6 months and we recently saw two boats in our price range that we really like. They are both mid 70s boats and have both been updated and cared for but both need some work.

First one is an Ericson 39. We have a good friend who has extensively sailed one, about 60,000 km, and loved it. We found one with was refit for offshore sailing, including doubling the size of the chainplates, adding an extra bulkhead, and creating a watertight hatch in the forepeak chain locker. The owner wanted to sail the northern passage but got diagnosed with Parkinsons and is selling the boat.

The second boat is an Alberg 37. She looks very well taken care of and things look like they were updated before they could create an problems. New tanks, sails, some seacocks, stranding rigging, bottom paint, transmission, exhaust elbow, etc. All over the last 5 years (standing rigging is 2 years old. Sails, bimini canvas and bottom paint 1 year old. Batteries and charger replaced for the sell a couple weeks ago)

They are similarly priced and would need an approximately the same amount of refitting. Solar, genset, reefer, etc.

We want to start the survey process but we're trying to figure which is a better fit. The Alberg is slower but more seakind (comfort Ratio: 39.8), and absolutely beautiful. The Ericson is a little less expensive, really beefed up and faster which is nice, but she's kind of ugly inside. (Comfort ratio: 35.41)
Given your options, I'd look at upgrading the boat you already have. The Cascade should be able to handle anything offshore and you know what you've got - so no guesswork. Since you're in the Delta, I'll assume you already have A/C as the humidity there in the summer is off the hook. In the end this decision will come down to what SHMBO wants.
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Old 27-01-2021, 11:43   #10
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Re: Trying to decide between two boats

I liveaboard a full keel 1981 classic. While I was on the hard a couple of months ago, I met a young couple who were putting on some last touches converting a fin keel 1970’s racer into their cruiser. They were splashed first.
We had swapped some tools, and in returning one, I had an opportunity to visit with them, tied to the end dock.
Their fin keel was jerky, rapid motion and distinctly unpleasant to me tied at dock.
I’d pay attention to motion evaluations.
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Old 27-01-2021, 11:48   #11
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Re: Trying to decide between two boats

Before buying either, I recommend chartering a boat for comparison. Old boats come with a list of problems that newer boats have addressed. New boats (post 2000) sail way better, are way roomier, easier to handle, more stable, etc. When you look for a car, do you want a 68 VW bug, or test drive a new Civic?
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Old 27-01-2021, 12:06   #12
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Re: Trying to decide between two boats

Quote:
Originally Posted by S/V Illusion View Post
There is no objective difference. Just opinions. Given that is what you seek, I’ll add mine - forget the nameplate and make an analytical judgment based on intended use, condition of sails, electronics, engine and storage capacities. The rest is simply emotional.
Makes sense.
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Old 27-01-2021, 12:08   #13
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Re: Trying to decide between two boats

"New boats (post 2000) sail way better, are way roomier, easier to handle, more stable, etc. "

Sail way better - in moderate winds
are way roomier - theres a seaworthiness price to pay for that
easier to handle - until it gets rough
more stable - including upside down
etc...
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Old 27-01-2021, 12:13   #14
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Re: Trying to decide between two boats

the flush deck will be dark inside. both boats are 40 or 50 years old. check to see if they can be insured. find a marina you like. also recommend your charter a newer boat first.
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Old 27-01-2021, 13:01   #15
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Re: Trying to decide between two boats

I owned an early 70's Pearson 30. It was an excellent boat in all measurable ways, but so, so ugly below. The plastic wood was complimented with cheap formica and 2x4 lumber repairs. And the dated plaid cushions completed the terrible decor.

It had good anchors, bow roller, furler, autohelm on the tiller, big winches, dodger, and even a well installed chartplotter in the cockpit. Did I mention a newer volvo 18hp diesel? It was a sailors delight. And I delighted in sailing it.

However, due to the aforementioned ugliness, no one wanted to sail with me. Not even my own family. So I sailed alone for a while, then when that got too lonely, I sold the boat. I have been looking for a "prettier" boat ever since.

So, get the Alberg. The Alberg is a well known, great boat that will take you anywhere. It has a skinny beam and pinched stern...so very little room below for a 37. But its pretty. And lots more room than an Alberg 30. Every boat is a compromise, especially with budget constraints.
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