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Old 08-29-2012
NCC320 NCC320 is offline
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Re: Sailboat Quality

Actually, the Catalinas, O'Days, and most of the other boats built in the 70-80's were pretty darn good. All of this fussing about their poor quality is 40+ years after they were new. And, despite the Catalina smile due to a wood spacer deterioating, these boats, all of them, are still serviceable, despite the fact that most of them have been abused and ignored from a maintenance standpoint, and when they did get maintenance, it was usually by amateurs who, in most cases, didn't really know what they were doing. Actually, to a large degree, the people still messing with these boats are, for the most part amateurs, who freely subsititute cheap, non-marine components, and based on my observations in nearby marinas, do in general a poor job (and, I understand that many are trying to get into the sport on a limited budget, so it's ok...just be sure when you criticize the boat manufacturer for poor quality, it's something they did).

Think about it. When these boats were 5, 10, 15 yrs. old, these quality issues were not present then ...no Catalina smile, no rotten bulkheads, or fallen liners, etc...., the boats were generally ok, and most of the issues have come about in later years. Now, a boat is a machine. Think about it, how many cars and trucks from the 1970's are running up and down the road today? Think about your house that was built in 1970. All of the appliances, furnaces, airconditioners, roofs, much of the wood, have been replaced. And your house has probably settled and there may be leaks and rotten wood from place to place. How many 1970 airliners are still in service, and would you want to ride on one? Think about the other hobby items...golf carts, motorcycles, campers, etc. from that time.....all gone to the junk yard. Farm tractors, construction equipment, desks, business machines....all gone to scrap. So maybe, just maybe, those old boats were not so bad after all. They're still hanging in there, ready to give you some fun, if you just stop trashing them and get about making repairs so you can go sailing.

And when you criticize the boat manufacturers on how they did things back then, keep in mind that, in boat building, as in everything else, techniques have been refined, there are new materials, and manufacturing methods are better today.

Further, I would suggest to you, that as one looks at older boats, you shouldn't focus on the brand so much. Select one that will fit your intended use...a boat that you think looks good (not what others necessarily think looks good or is proper), a coastal boat if you are going to be a coastal sailer, a blue water (old shoe, slug, but well built like a tank) if you are really going to attempt sailing off to the islands with $200 and a dream. When you pick the boat or boats that you like, then start looking at the quality angle. Because it's going to vary greatly from individual boat to boat within any brand due to the history and treatment that the particular boat has received, and that's likely to be more significant than brand to brand differences.

If you wear Rolex watches, fine, go for the high price, high build quality boats. If you wear Timex or Casio, look lower on the scale. Both watches tell correct time, just as both types of boats will do anything that you are likely to do. (But beware of trying to operate on a Rolex level with a Timex budget.....a lesser brand boat in good condition that you can go sailing now is a better deal than a old, high end, but beat up boat requiring lots of maintenance before you can use it.

Last edited by NCC320; 08-30-2012 at 12:11 AM.
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