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Old 04-14-2006
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Seafarer Sailboat

My spouse and I looked at a 37'3" (I'm told) Seafarer Sailboat today. It appears to be in good shape, however the current owner has been unable to sail it for 3 years due to health problems. I've been searching on the internet, and it looks like photos of the Seafarer 38. I do not know the age. A mechanic at the marina says that it is a good boat, but needs TLC, specifically cleaned, teak wood sanded and oiled, and the bottom painted. We were told it could be sold for $35,000 by the marina (and they have had several inquiries) and we have the opportunity to acquire it for around $15,000 from a family member who would very much like for it to stay in the family. We are novices and would appreciate any advice.
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Old 04-14-2006
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I would take the mechanic's word with a grain of salt. It would definitely be worth getting a survey done of the boat. If there is nothing else wrong with it, the TLC that you put into it will be repaid many times over.

By novices, do you mean novices at sailing, at boat ownership, at restoring/maintaining boats?

Do you have any plans to go cruising or on any longer-duration sailing voyages? If all you want is to daysail, the boat is probably a bit large for that. If you do have plans to either go cruising or live-aboard, then the boat might make more sense.

From your description, I am assuming that this boat is owned/was owned by a relative of yours—is it possible for you to share the boat with other family members, as a jointly owned boat possibly?

Last edited by sailingdog; 04-14-2006 at 10:06 AM.
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Old 04-14-2006
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Try to find a yacht broker that will give you report on boats of similar make and vintage that have sold recently. You will then know if the boat is a good buy. It is OH SO EASY to end up with more money invested in a boat than you can ever get out of it. There are exceptions but that is the general rule. If you are not able/capable/knowledgeable to do or to oversee any of the needed repairs/upgrades the investment skyrockets.
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Old 04-14-2006
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Thank you, both. I believe my husband is itching to take the plunge, and I am willing to give it a try. We'll look for someone reputable to check it over...on dock and on the lake. Happy sailing!
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Old 04-15-2006
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where are you located

The boat was made here in huntington new york.
i remember being in the fcatory.
are you near by?
if so there are many local seafarer experts.
fair winds,
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Old 04-15-2006
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I am quite familiar with the Seafarer line of sailboats. You did not stipulate what year the boat is, and Seafarer built several different boats around this length. I am guessing that this is one of their later boats.

For the most part, the later Seafarers were of mediocre build quality, and were so-so designs. One in good condition would make a reasonable coastal cruiser but given the build quality of these boats, it would take a lot to keep one in good shape and it would take a lot to bring one back that had been let go.

You have a lot of homework to do. You need to try to find out the age of the sails, rigging and engine. Combined these three items are worth as much as the whole boat.

If you really want to buy this boat, negotiate a price and get the boat under contract. Then you need to hire a qualified NAMS or SAMS certified marine surveyor to survey the boat. I would suggest that you visit the NAMS website A good marine surveyor will go through the boat with a fine tooth comb and provide you with a real assessment of the boat's condition. A surveyor will also be able to give you a rough sense of what a boat in the condition of the boat in question is worth. Having a boat of this age surveyed is not an option. You can't get insurance without a survey. You want a purchase survey (more detailed) and not an insurance survey.

My sense is that an early 1980's era Seafarer 38 in half way decent shape, without a lot of upgrades would be sell for somewhere around $20,000. Putting one that has been neglected into up-to-date condition, could easily cost that much again.

Then there is the issue of whether this is the right boat for a beginner. In my mind, if you don't have a lot of sailing experience, this is too large a boat to learn to sail on. Learning to sail well on larger boats is next to impossible. Lastly it sounds like you will be sailing on a lake and these boats are not very good light air boats, and most smaller lakes have predominantly light and flukey winds. In other words this may be a boat that is ill suited to the venue.

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I've found out a little more info. It was built in 1973. Current owner had it in great shape until health problems three years ago, including new sails, lines and (sorry I don't know the terminology) the canvass coverings for sails and the wooden steering wheel. It was repainted 5 years ago, and the interior cushions have been recovered. The only problem has been the diesel engine overheating, which the original owner also had. The marina mechanic has worked on it, but this year the owner had a more experienced mechanic work on it and says it appears that the water cooling intake appears to have never been opened. This was within the last week or so, so I'm not sure if it has been taken out to see if that truly fixed the problem. It was purchased from the Chesapeake Bay area in 1996 for $42xxx. We are in the Lake of the Ozarks area in Missouri.
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Old 04-09-2009
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Smile Seafarer info


I saw your post ad would like to add that my husband and I sailed and lived aboard a Seafarer 34 for 16 years (with our parrot, Marley). We did some extensive cruising and island hopping ending up living in the Keys for a few years. We now live in Charlestn, SC. It was a mark 2 model McCurdy & Rhodes hull. She was a 1974 model and a great sailor, sea kindly and all around pleasure to sail.

We are now looking to get a 38 seafarer as well. We found an older model that we will have to do some work on, but we both know a great deal about boats. We hated selling our 34' but we bought a home in the Charleston area and hubby had heart surgery. After a year, he is ready to go cruising again, so we are actively looking for another larger boat.

Captjo (Joni)
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Old 10-09-2009
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Hey! I just bought a Seafarer '34 in the Chesapeake

It's also a '74.

Do you have a copy of the manual?

Love the boat,
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Old 10-09-2009
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Here is a link to some Seaferer info. It is not updated frequently, but has info on most models / years:

Seafarer Research Center

JeffH - I have read your posts over the last couple years, and have enjoyed your knowlegable input. I am on my 2nd Seafarer (had a 1983 23" and now a 1978 30'). I have had my current boat for 3 years, and have only been sailing for 4 years. It was definitely in need of TLC, and then some, but no more that any other 30 year old boat, that had not been properly maintained.

Re: build quality, I do agree that some things on the Seafarer were not of the highest quality, namely the cheap, dated "faux" wood panelling that came on many models.

However, although is is certainly a production boat, built to sell at an attractive price point, at that time, I do feel that the solid hull, skeg-hung rudder, encapsulated (lead, not iron/steel) keel, and rigging did make for a solid boat for the money (coastal cruiser, not offshore specific).

I have read some previous posts about concerns / preferences for bolted on keels, over encapuslated keels. I am quite certain, after a few seasons of sanding bottom paint off the hull and keel, and seeing no evidence of cracks in hull / keel, etc, that my keel will not just fall off some day, unless it has been purposefully driven into the rocks, over and over. Of course, one can argue that there could be unseen damage, from possible previous groundings in it's 30 years in the water, but I doubt that there is enough damage to cause a catastrophic failure, without some warning signs. We are not talking about deep draft, very thin race keels here.

Of course, like any 30 year old boat, there are things to look out for. I had a crack in the rudder to skeg gudgeon, (that looked like it had been repaired / welded before). I had a new, larger one machined, that I am sure will last for years to come. I also found a 1/2 broken chain link in the steering chain, that woudl have resulted in a loss of steering. (there is an emergency ruuder ,although it is too short to be very effective, due to the wheel being in the way).
I am not a fan of the interior liner, but I believe that similar liners are common on many production boats.
As long as it has been well maintained, I would have as much confidence in a Seafarer, as many other production boats.

You certainly may feel that I am defending the boats, only because I own one, However, after owning two of them, and doing major work on my current one, I do feel that I know it pretty well.

I have had a few very experienced sailors out with me as well, who felt that the boat sailed well, despite it's old sails. It is a bit squirly in a following sea, off the stern quarter, but nothing I can't live with. I have not sailed enough other, similar sized boats to say how much better they would perform in this type of seas.

When you mentioned the build quality, what are the specific issues that you have noticed with them, and how do those issue compare with similar aged hunter, catalinas, C&Cs, etc?
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