Let's say a guy, a "friend" of mine, for conversation sake, was looking at a Columbia 8.7. We'll say, again to keep the story flowing, that he doesn't have a 'lot' of sailing experience, having spent about a year on a 22 footer and then 6 months on a Newport 27'. Our subject, sees himself spending most of the time toying around in the Gulf of Mexico, with the Keys in his sights within a year, and possibly a hop over to the near Bahamas shortly after that. Within a group of folks crossing the jet stream, of course.
If this particular story unfolded, what should I....ahem...."the guy" look for in these boats? I've....he's.....read there were a few different builders of this particular vessel, and in this case, the possible boat is a 1976 vintage. Anything inherrent? Interesting looking keel configuration on these boats, how does she sail with a novice at the helm? If I were to assume these were sandwiched decks, with balsa, would I be correct? Thanks in advance and I'll pass along this info to my buddy. heh, heh, heh.
Can you relay this to your "buddy"?
I can't speak to the 8.7 but I can say the 45 my dad had was built in 1975. He bought it in 1977. He had it until the day he died, almost 20 years later. I knew the boat very well. It was built like a tank.
My dad had almost no experience with sailboats. Yet that never stopped him from going where he wanted. You learn as you go. But there's nothing wrong from learning from those who know.
I installed a few things in the deck and yes, they were balsa cored. Nothing wrong with that. It's very common for decks.
There's an excellent book by Don Casey called Inspecting The Aging Sailboat
. You can get it on Amazon. Buy the book and take it with you when you look at the boat. If you do everything as described in the book, you will be doing a very thorough examination and it should give you a pretty good idea if this is the boat you want to buy.