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post #16 of Old 01-28-2013
Learning the HARD way...
eherlihy's Avatar
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Re: Are Boats Built in the 70's Just Too Tired

You have to ask yourself how you are really planning to use the boat. Be realistic and honest when you answer.

My dream was to buy the quintessential 35-40' "blue water sailor" and explore world. I love harbor-hopping, and find it a thrill to go somewhere that I've never been before. I looked at several 80's vintage CS 36Ts, Passport 39 and 40, and a couple of Tartans.

While my dream still lives, I eventually came to realize that it wasn't gonna' come true; the admiral loves sailing, but not getting out of sight of land. I would like to take the admiral with me, and I can't comfortably dock or pick up a mooring on anything larger than 30'. I am also linguistically limited to a subset of English, so coming ashore in Croatia could be a problem... Finally, my financial wherewithal was limited (unless those lottery tickets ever pay off). I had to establish a "boat budget." I initially planned to spend ~70% on the purchase of the best vessel that I could find. I thought that I would spend 20% on refitting, and have the extra 10% "just in case".

The boat that I settled on, an '87 O'day 35, is a coastal cruiser. She was clean (no extraneous holes cut in her for Loran, Radar, refrigeration, or to mount instruments on the cockpit bulkheads - a pet peeve of mine), and in good shape when I bought her. The core in the cockpit floor, a weak point in many vessels, had been replaced with 5/8" aluminum plate, the keel bolts had been replaced, and the keel rebedded (look through some of my older posts if you are interested). Fortunately, this boat was closer to 50% of my "planned" budget. With the maintenance and re-fitting that I have done in the two seasons that I have owned her, I believe that I have spent about 120% of the plan, and I have done all of my own work (engine, electrical, plumbing, fiberglass), except for the new Bimini and Dodger.

Her hull will probably outlast me, if I keep her from running into things, so I have no concerns about her being "too tired." However the interior systems (electronics, charging, plumbing, head & holding, engine and driveline) are in constant need of maintenance and upgrading.

In retrospect, I am VERY glad that I did not buy that bluewater boat.

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USCG Licensed OUPV Captain, ASA 101/103/104/105/106/118 Instructor - Also certified in Marine Electrical Systems

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Last edited by eherlihy; 01-28-2013 at 10:09 AM. Reason: Punctuation....
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