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Old 07-22-2002
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Island Trader / vs Gulfstar Feedback requested

There are a lot of really good 40 or so foot boats in the $60K to 70K range. Each have strengths and weaknesses that put a boat that large in your price range. When you ask about these boats without describing what you want to do with the boat, it is hard to get a meaningful answer.

For some reason you are attracted to boats that are mediocre to poorly constructed and in the case of the Island Trader do not sail well but which offer large but unusual layouts and accomodations.

Island Traders really had an extremely poor reputation in the industry. During the period that my Mother and Stepfather were in the boat builing industry, (they had two lines of Taiwanese built boats) the Oriental boat building community was a pretty tight knit group and so it was easy to get a sense of what each manufacturer was doing right and wrong. Amoungst that group, Island Traders were considered to be one of the boats that were so poorly built that other Oriental builders felt that Island Traders gave other Oriental built boats thier bad reputations. So if you are looking for a boat that will be comfortable to live on, but which will require a larger than usual amount of maintenance skills and costs, and which you really do not plan to sail much, then the Island Traders might work for you. That said you might actually do better buying a motor yacht or trawler as a power boat will offer more room and a little more speed under power.

The Gulfstars are harder to classify. Gulfstars were built in a variety of qualities and in a variety of styles. Of the two companies, the Gulfstars are generally better constructed but more simply finished. When you talk about roughly 40 footers in the $60K to 70K range you have a number of Gulfstars to choose from which include the 40, 40 Sailmaster, 41, 43, 43 mkII, and the 44. Almost all of these were constructed for a variety of uses. Many Gulfstars started life in the charter trade. The Gulfstars for that venue that I have seen, had interiors that included a lot of painted or varnished plywood, and lots of formica. In the 1980''s I lent a little assistance to my stepfather who was doing repairs and alterations to Gulfstars on Florida''s west coast. Generally the build quality was not very good. Rotten bulkheads hidden behind formica facings, and failed tabbing were pretty common on these boats. Gulfstar seemed to offer a higher quality interior constuction for thier boats being sold to private owners.

In terms of sailing ability, the 40 sailmaster and 43 are considered good sailing boats with reasonable seakindliness. The 44 motorsailor was pretty clunky as sailboats go and were known for a rolly motion. The 41 was a reasonable design but quite heavy for a 41 footer. (Weight in and of itself does nothing good for a boat but it can sure hurt performance and ease of handling.)

Without knowing what you want to do with these boats it is hard to advise you in more detail.

Jeff
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