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Old 06-03-2021, 15:32   #1
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What Islander/Wayfarer 29 upgrades for offshore?

I am going to look at an Islander/Wayfarer 29 this week. I have been researching these boats most of the day. I see that the portholes/portlights are a concern off shore as well as the low companion way opening, and bulkhead mounted chain plates. As the boat stands now, it needs a complete refit including new rigging. The boat was fresh water kept for most, if not all, of it's life. Are there any other useful upgrades that could benefit the boat? My intended use is part time live aboard, coastal cruising, island hopping down to the Caribbean. Atom Voyages has this boat in their list of boats under 32 feet for possible world cruising. I don't think I would do that. I would hold out for my dream boat.
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Old 06-03-2021, 23:17   #2
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Re: What Islander/Wayfarer 29 upgrades for offshore?

I had a McGlasson designed Columbia 24 many moons ago. Great little boat. The upgrades you mention sound good. They are pretty tough old boats and have a good rep. My 24 sailed well and did fine in rough stuff. My own preference would be to see a little deeper keel and more ballast, which of course can't be modified. For coastal sailing I think it should be great.
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Old 07-03-2021, 00:07   #3
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Re: What Islander/Wayfarer 29 upgrades for offshore?

a nice upgrade or at least something to look at could be cockpit drains. I went from a single I believe one inch to two properly crossed 2 inch with marelon 93 valves. did backing blocks out of 3/4 g10 and glassed it to the hull. never need to do another thru hull repair is the hope and no way to be damaged by water.



Being offshore and having your cockpit drain in under a minute would be very nice should you find yourself pooped.
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Old 07-03-2021, 06:17   #4
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Re: What Islander/Wayfarer 29 upgrades for offshore?

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I had a McGlasson designed Columbia 24 many moons ago. Great little boat. The upgrades you mention sound good. They are pretty tough old boats and have a good rep. My 24 sailed well and did fine in rough stuff. My own preference would be to see a little deeper keel and more ballast, which of course can't be modified. For coastal sailing I think it should be great.

Thanks. I'm not familiar with the Columbia line up. I'll have to do more research in case this deal falls through. I'm trying to stay around 30-33 ft. My ultimate dream boat is a Tayana 37 but they are usually more than I can afford or scooped up before I can get to them.


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a nice upgrade or at least something to look at could be cockpit drains. I went from a single I believe one inch to two properly crossed 2 inch with marelon 93 valves. did backing blocks out of 3/4 g10 and glassed it to the hull. never need to do another thru hull repair is the hope and no way to be damaged by water.



Being offshore and having your cockpit drain in under a minute would be very nice should you find yourself pooped.

I was under the impression that the Islander/Wayfarer had double drains at the back of the cockpit. Am I wrong? Maybe the ones I've seen online have been modified. Good idea though.
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Old 07-03-2021, 08:12   #5
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Re: What Islander/Wayfarer 29 upgrades for offshore?

Something a little bit bigger might make for more comfortable living aboard. Pearson 30's seem more readily available (about a thousand built) and have a reputation for being reasonably well built, as well as reasonably good sailers. They're also a bit newer, so might need fewer expensive refits. Most will have diesels already installed. They seem obtainable for less than $10k.
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Old 07-03-2021, 10:39   #6
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Re: What Islander/Wayfarer 29 upgrades for offshore?

You might enjoy reading "Seaworthy Offshore Sailboat: A Guide to Essential Features, Handling, and Gear" by John Vigor. I found it essential when beefing up my Pearson 323 for offshore sailing.

I also enjoyed Spurr's "Spurr's Boatbook: Upgrading the Cruising Sailboat" I found it helpful when upgrading my 323 Pearson and other boats.
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Old 07-03-2021, 11:03   #7
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Re: What Islander/Wayfarer 29 upgrades for offshore?

Further to Scubaseas reading list, the Cruising Club of America put together this after the Fastnet Race debacle: https://www.abebooks.com/97803930331...0393033112/plp
Steve Dashew's Circumnavigator's Handbook also has some good ideas.
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Old 07-03-2021, 11:19   #8
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Re: What Islander/Wayfarer 29 upgrades for offshore?

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Further to Scubaseas reading list, the Cruising Club of America put together this after the Fastnet Race debacle: https://www.abebooks.com/97803930331...0393033112/plp
Steve Dashew's Circumnavigator's Handbook also has some good ideas.
Agree 100% with this on both books.

What I enjoyed about Vigor's book is a ratings score system for boats and suggestions of how to lower that score. The lower the score the more seaworthy the boat. It quantifies boat characteristics, what you can change and why you would do so. It also can help rule out boats that are not good candidates for offshore work. For my Pearson 323 work included changing out the port lights to stainless New Found Metals ones, reducing the cockpit size by installing a flammables locker and some other work. While the 323 scored well enough to be "blue water" (just barely) as stock I did lower the score by about 20 points for some fairly simple modifications and glad I did so.
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Old 07-03-2021, 11:24   #9
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Re: What Islander/Wayfarer 29 upgrades for offshore?

How did a boat planned for coastal cruising and island hopping become the subject of offshore cockpit drains etc?
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Old 07-03-2021, 11:31   #10
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Re: What Islander/Wayfarer 29 upgrades for offshore?

OP:
A couple things; I assume it's quite inexpensive. For it's age and design it should be. One caution I would give is that it's a narrow beam, old school, design. Short waterline too. It will heel fast and may be a slow, wet ride.
With the short waterline and narrow beam, It will feel much smaller than many boats in the 28-30 ft size.
Just something to think about. In the end if you like it, you like it!
I know nothing about any detriment to bulkhead mounted chainplates. Seems to me that's a plus IF the bulkhead is secure and solid.

I agree that there may be other possible larger feeling boats that may be a few years newer out there. But we don't know your budget.
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Old 07-03-2021, 19:56   #11
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Re: What Islander/Wayfarer 29 upgrades for offshore?

Yeah we're getting a bit off topic here.



I've read or own the books mentioned.


I'm not planning to go offshore from SC direct to the Bahamas or further south. At least not at first. As I will be single handing with plenty of time on my hands, I plan to hop anchorages as much as possible to get down there, hugging the coast. Hopefully I'll only hit up moorings or marinas occasionally. I know I will need to do some over nighters. I'll chose my weather windows well.


As far as the boat, if it is as good as it looks in pics, and if I can negotiate the price down a little, I won't be hurt if I decided the boat isn't for me.
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Old 07-03-2021, 20:06   #12
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Re: What Islander/Wayfarer 29 upgrades for offshore?

Great you have read the books so will have an idea what to look for. I also singlehand. Some things I consider essential are a good dodger and a good auto pilot, preferably below deck and with a remote I can put around my neck. Roller furling head sail is another item I would consider essential if single handing.

I converted my boat over to single line reefing leading all lines to cockpit never regretted doing so. I only use it occasionally but when needed it's really nice to have. Try Island Nautical if there is no dodger there now. Auto pilot there are lots of choices these days. Ditto furlers if there isn't one on the boat.
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Old 07-03-2021, 21:43   #13
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Re: What Islander/Wayfarer 29 upgrades for offshore?

You might check out Cal 34s. Pretty roomy, good performance and for some reason folks (around here anyway) are letting them just sit and grow mold. There's also the Pearson Vanguards, though they aren't as roomy as a liveaboard. Worth a look though.
My Columbia 29 is a sweet little boat, but admittedly not as roomy. The flush deck version is a bit better in terms of room. I'm not so excited about the Columbias from the 70s. If you find the flush deck Islander 33 I think that could be a good choice too. Let us know what kinds of boats you are seeing in your area.
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