Boats from the 80s
The other day my wife said that she wanted to buy me a boat for my birthday. Her idea was to take $50-75k out of savings and use it as a down payment on a new boat. I, however, am thinking about getting a solid used boat for $50-75k and not having any debt. Additionally, I feel that most all of the depreciation is out of the way.
The boat would be used simply for easy daysailing on Lake Michigan and nothing else. I crew on a racing boat and scratch that itch using someone else's money ;)
My thought was that if the boat were to be older, it should be a solid, well-built brand. But I have to make sure it is something that is still enjoyable in light wind. If it was to be newer (or new), than a production boat would suit the job well (Beneteau 31, Dufour 325, etc).
Unfortunately, I am not yet well-versed in older boats. My yachtworld searching has lead me to believe that for a boat with a length in the low-to-mid 30s and a price of $50-75k is going to end up being from the 1980s. I tend to prefer the more modern designs, and they seem to start showing up in the 80s.
I would be happy to read some recommendations as well as some feedback on the following boats (sorry no links - I'm too new). How well will these suit me?
1987 Elite 364
1985 S2 11.0
1983 Ericson 35 MKIII
1986 Express 35
1985 Wauquiez 35 Pretorian
I have 1988 O'day 302 and i'm very happy with it. I took it on a 9 day cruise last summer with two other friends an will again this summer. It will sleep 6, but on the 9 day trip 3 was quite comfortable. Has a head with shower, galley has a two burner stove with oven, hot and cold running water and holds 40 gallons of water. Bought it for under $30,000 with 9 1/2 foot inflatable Avon dinghy an outboard for dinghy.
Sailed her a couple of times in about 8 foot seas with no problem at all. It also has a winged keel and only draws 4 feet.
That's an interesting list of boats for comparison... What follows is just my opinion and thoughts.....
1987 Elite 364 - starting to get into the Euro look typical of French boats of that era. Larger aft cabins, some of the Elites (Kirie/Feeling) had a pilothouse look that took some getting used to, not unlike the early Beneteau Oceanus series
1985 S2 11.0 - a good design with good performance - if you like this one keep an eye out for a Sunstar 31 - a BC built near knock-off that may go for less.
1983 Ericson 35 MKIII - VERY nice cruising boat for couples and occasional guests. This era of Ericsons have a great interior, good cockpit ergonomics and a real nice "look". Friends have a 32 of the same series and love it.
1986 Express 35 - More racer-cruiser, Steve Killing did a nice job on this one, you need to like the rather angular look of the coachhouse. Probably the fastest boat on your list.
1985 Wauquiez 35 Pretorian - Good reputation, solid and probably on the heavier side compared to the rest. This boat may tend more toward the "Long J/Short E" measurements (skinny high-aspect mains and large headsails and kites) that can have some bad habits downwind in a breeze.
I'd think that any of these could satisfy your requirements, as could a few others equally well (C&Cs, CS, Tartan to name a few) With any or all of them you obviously need to get the surveys and inspections and make a decision with all the information you can gather.
You're "keep the debt down" approach makes a lot of sense!:) Good luck!
Wish I had your problems!
However Kirby, Mirage , X-Yacht.
"The other day my wife said that she wanted to buy me a boat for my birthday. "
Does she have a sister????????
That is a super sweet birthday gift!
I sailed out of Chicago Sailing in Belmont harbor for 10 years before relocating to northern Michigan. In addition to renting, CS offers a timeshare type of deal that may be worth considering. There are 2 other companies that do this as well, one is Pinnacle, and I can't recall the other. Pinnacle has nice boats, but I've heard scheduling is tough.
At CS, there are 4 Hunter 326's, one of which is fully loaded for exclusive use of the timeshare deal. It is almost ALWAYS on the dock! However, even if it's being used, you can still hop on the J30's, J22's, or J24.
Owning your own boat is great in a lot of ways, especially if you love to tinker (not like, Love). Also, you can put your own clothes, foulies, tools, etc. on board.
But owning costs way more than renting/timesharing. Insurance, drop in/haul out, storage, maintenance, etc. all adds up.
Since you say that you want to just daysail, this may be you bag. Then you could take the extra cash and bareboat in Door County, Traverse City, Apostle Islands, and/or North Channel!
We've all heard that "if it Floats, Flies, or F*cks; Rent." But, I love my wife and our boat! I just thought you should consider other options. Good luck!
Since cruising accomodations don't seem to be priority but light air performance is, I would look at racers or racer/cruisers from that era. Boats like C&Cs, J-Boats, etc. Since you are on the Great Lakes, I would take a look at the Tartan 10. Plenty available in your area, still actively raced, and you should be able to find a really nice one for less than your budget.
What about a used J 105? A little more exspensive but god are the fun to sail! and you can do short fun cruises on them.
We have taken some lessons from Chicago Sailing in the past few years and we have also rented the Hunter 326s from them. Part of the allure for owning our own is that we are not at all impressed with the way CS maintains their boats. In our opinion, they do the minimum possible to still be able to send their boats out on the water.
We've looked into the timeshare aspect as well, and with our work schedules we have trouble scheduling anything more than a day or two ahead of time, even though we do end up having most evenings free.
I by all means welcome alternative ideas, even if it sounds like I'm just shooting them down!
After some thought, I think I am going to start looking at the Ericson first. I see 5 or 6 of the MKIII on yachtworld and, well, wouldn't mind a few weekend trips to see parts of the country I have yet to visit :)
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