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Join Date: May 2006
Location: On land unfortunately
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Sorry I missed your original post. I own a 80' Islander Bahama and it is truly a joy to sail. The age of the auto pilot won't be a big issue unless it starts to quit working. You'll experience very little weather helm on the boat.
They are quite easy to sail and my boat points nicely up to about 30 degrees to the wind.
The zippers on the headliner are all plastic but they still tend to stick. One place I would take a quick peek is in the bathroom just under the mast. I've seen several (including mine) that develop a dimple next to the mast. Despite my best efforts I've yet to discover what is causing this but even after giving in the "rubber mallet test" everything seems to be fine.
I would also take as close a look as I can at the chain plates for any signs of leakage. One of the maintenance issues I've dealt with is keeping them bedded.
The volvo motor does a good job but is a bit under powered. The previous owner put a three blade prop on and this has all but eliminated any prop walk on the boat and it handles great in tight spots. Be sure and take a long look all around the engine. One of the more difficult things I have to do on a regular basis is replace the impeller. Seems you have to hold your tongue just right to get the input and output lines for the water pump to stop leaking. They are just a compression fitting and there's nothing to screw down, you just have to align it just right.
My only other issue is that the boat is fairly tight and tends to have some mold problems when she's closed up. I installed a couple of 12 volt computer fans on the clam shell vents in the back and leave them on when I'm gone. I'm able to leave "fiasco" plugged in when I'm gone so running the battery down is not an issue. I think part of the problem may be that the ice box drains into the bilge so we make sure and scoop out all the ice before we leave each time. This has also translated into the drain hose becoming clogges at times. I try to remember to pour a little bleach down the ice box drain hole a couple of times a year and this seems to eliminate the problem. I also try to leave all the lockers open and take cushions off and open up any spaces while I'm gone as the hull tends to sweat at times BUT she seems to be laid up very well and to date I've had no blistering problems on the hull.
Hope you get to buy the boat. They are a heck of a good deal for the money. Even a well found Islander can go for $20,000 which can be a heck of a deal.