Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
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Islander 33 1965 Yes or No
Here''s the way I look at this. First of all I was around when these boats were new. Compared to other inexpensive boats of that era; Cal, Columbia and Pearson for example, everything about the Islanders were seen as being cheaply done. Seen in context of that era, when engineering on early fiberglass boats was pretty crude and manufacturers had not yet learned to handle laminating materials to assure full strength out of the laminate, Islanders were seen as being the equivelent of any of the mass produced coastal cruiser of today say, Hunter or Catalina.
I raced on a 32 foot Islander of that era that was a brang new boat and the hardware was way under sized, stanchion bases were flexing the deck when you leaned on them, a bow chock pulled out of the deck in a raft up and was only screwed in (which was actually a more common practice back then). In the 1970''s I worked in boat yards and one of the repair jobs I did was where a bow cleat had pulled out of the deck, What we found was improperly wet out cloth. Repairs were comparatively easy because the headliner was vinyl glued in place but when we pulled it down we found major mildew problems in the foam and rot forming where the foam was glued to an unprotected plywood knee.
When you sailed these things they were noticeably more flexible than other boats of that era. That kind of repetative flexing accellerates faigue which can really take a toll on the strength of the fiberglass. By the time I worked on the repair job in the 1970''s there were clear signs of flexure in the hull around bulkheads and hardware mounting points. By the mid-1970''s Islanders had greatly improved in design and construction.
Now then as to your second question, No I am not convinced that you need a $100K yacht to do a circum-navigation and certainly if I were going around it would not be in a Hans Christian. That said, at almost any price range there are boats that better suited for distance cruising and braving the elements. The key here is to identify what you can afford financially and then figure out what is in that price range. If you start with something like an mid-1960''s Islander, you will have a lot more work to beef up potential problem areas than a slightly better constructed boat of that same era.
For example, a Pearson Triton, Alberg 30 or Tartan 27 of the same era would probably make a better choice than an Islander of the same period. The difference in dollars should be pretty small and in the long run if you can''t afford this small difference you probably can''t afford the cost of the trip around.