Ericsons, Islanders, Cals in the 28-32 ft. Range?
I'm moving up from a Ranger 23 to a larger boat so I can get my wife and two small kids into sailing. Right now I see an Ericson 32 for sale in my area, plus an Islander Bahama 30, and a Cal 29 that I'm going to go check out. There is also a Ranger 29 I may look at.
This would be a SF Bay boat, with some coastal trips. Family crusing, plus some beer can racing.
Any testimonials on these designs? I'd like to spend less than $20K.
The Ericson had some blistering that the owner took car of a few years ago. Should I expect to find blisters on these boats? How do you tell a serious blister, or that would suggest a structural deficiency?
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Boat for SF
I have owned two Ericsons and two Catalinas. Ericsons are nice boats, but I would never again get a boat from a manufacturer that was not in business. Get a Catalina! They are California boats, there are lots of them, and they still make them...and that is no small deal. You can get parts for even older models from the factory, and there is a large aftermarket also. You can't get more boat for your money than a Cat 30.
I don't think buying an out of production boat is that much of a problem. In the last 20 + years all my boats have been from OOBs. One consideration would have to be the engine. Some Ericsons came with Palmers which will be a parts problem and I would avoid those boats. Diesels are nicer than gas engines, but I would buy a well cared for boat with an Atomic 4 over a poorly cared for boat with diesel.
My last boat was a 1972 Ericson 32-2. It was a great learning boat for us. Things to look for:
1. Check the compression post under the mast, some boats have been compressed so much they cause this area to sag.
2. Watch for deck delamination. If the deck has had leaks the deck will be weak. This also can happen to the sole.
3. I think they all came from the factory with a Atomic 4 gas engine. While they can be good engines mine had a water leak that rotted out the engine mounts. The engine mounts were steel fiberglassed into the hull. In 1994 mine were almost rusted through when I replace the A-4 with a diesel.
4. If it has the original fuel tank have it checked for corrosion, mine rusted through and started leaking.
5. If it has wheel stearing look at the stearing block frames, mine on the starboard side rusted through and broke while under way.
6. mine was full of blisters when I purchased it. I had it repaired at the prior owners expense. Since then the only blisters I had were paint blisters.
7. The boat is very tender, espect it to heal to a lot and in light wind, the boat sails on its jib, you might not need anything more than a 110%, I had a 135% in Los Angeles and had reef it often while going to Catalina.
Over the time I had the boat the following major upgrades were done. I replaced all the sails and added roller furling, LP'd the boat, replaced the A-4 with a Beta Marine Diesel, replaced the fuel tank, replaced the standing and running rigging
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