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  #1  
Old 03-21-2009
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Vagabond 47

A friend and former shipmate is considering buying a Vagabond 47 ketch of early 1980s vintage. I have been asked for advice on this boat and know nothing about the design or builder. Any comments on the boat or the builder by knowledgeable folks here would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 03-21-2009
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OK.. this is hardly expert opinion, but I used to sail on a friend's Vagabond 47 (a cutter) out of Marina Del Rey in the mid-late 80s.

1) I spent some time looking at the wiring, and it seemed to be well done.

2) I didn't like the hydraulic steering. It had lots of slop and no "feel"

Good Luck!

David
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Old 03-21-2009
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two trouble spots
water tanks are galvanized and develop leaks, 10k to replace
bowsprit rots out
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Old 03-22-2009
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BillyR,

I'm gonna go out on a limb and make a couple of assumptions.

Our boat's a 1985 Vagabond 39, so I'll share with you the major things I've discovered over the winter as I've been doing a major refit -- a project that will take far longer than I initially anticipated (even after adding an additional 1/3 to my time estimate.) Some of my headaches are related to PO "upgrades," after-market add-ons, and "out of sight, out of mind" negligence so take that into account.

The builder of our boat was Bluewater Yacht Builders in Taiwan. Hull ID should start with BYB.

The hull construction is solid FRP (polyester.) Now dealing with prevalent blistering between the mat and first layer of roving (a PO barrier coated, but likely over a wet hull.) Full keel with encapsulated ballast. Very sturdy. Through-hulls and seacocks are bronze. Backing plates for the seacocks are plywood covered with one layer of glass, but I've got several that needed replacement due to delamination. They were not impregnated with resin before they were bedded to the interior of the hull and then glassed over (before they were drilled for the TH's.)

Deck-hull joint is through bolted. I've found no separations or leakage. Bulwarks are very sturdy, and are topped with a wide teak caprail.

Teak decks came standard, although most of ours were removed previously. We've founds several areas of existing leakage, as well as prior repairs. Something to check closely.

Standing rigging is hefty, but not 316 stainless. Bobstay in stainless rod, attached to the hull right above the waterline. Chainplates run down through the teap caprails, through-bolted to the hull, and are internal. They are NOT easily accessible for inspection. Getting to them will require removal of cabinetry. A clear negative. Our spars are Isomat; not exactly easy to get spares. RigRite seems to be the only game in town. Deck stepped mast with a stainless compression post.

Interior fitting has been a pleasant surprise, but seems pretty comparable to it's Taiwanese cousins (Tayana/Young Sun/Ta Shing/Passport/etc.) The teak ceilings are not veneer, but real battens laminated to plywood bulkheads. Ditto for the teak/holly sole. Very rich, warm and inviting.

Headliners are molded FRP, held up by teak trim. Very convenient to drop a panel and access wiring/deck fittings.

Tankage is a good news/bad news story. Potable water and black water are monel (Yea!) Fuel tanks (dual port and starboard) are black iron sheathed in FRP (Doh!...) All tanks have decent inspections plates installed, but tank level sensors are not standard.

Wiring is is not as bad as it could be. Copper stranded, but not tinned. Connectors are vanilla crimped terminals -- heat-shrink connectors are are all post production. Decent breaker panels and wiring runs.

Through-deck penetrations were not potted. We've been adressing these as we re-bed hardware.

Standard winches were Barient -- no longer in business. No a major issue, but something to consider. Easy to clean and service, but spares are not really easy to lay your hands on. I'm told Lewmar pawls will fit, but luckily I've not had to test that.

Our engine is a Perkins 4.108M. Moves us quite well with a reasonable fuel consumption rate.

Lot's more info if you want it -- I'm happy to share. PM with questions.
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Old 03-22-2009
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PorFin,

Thanks much, great help here, I'm sure. I should have added in the OP that the boat sustained a lightening strike but was cleared of structural problems with a subsequent (probably insurance) survey. Your info, plus the knowledge of the lightening strike indicates that the next survey has to pay particularily close attention to the chain plates and thru-hulls. The seller replaced the standing rig a year or so ago, so that's probably not an issue provided they replaced the original wire with new wire of comparable diameters.

Thanks again and I may be back to you with a PM.
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Old 03-22-2009
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I knew a guy who was a professional captain for a mostly absent Vagabond 47 owner in SoCal. As part of his gig, he got to use the boat at his leisure and he got to live on it unless the owner flew in for a vacation. I was interested in one at the time, and he said just two things:

1. GREAT liveaboard (He was single...)
2. I'm sure he was exaggerating, but sailing performance was basically limited to this "wind window" - the boat need 12-15 to get it moving, and it had to be reefed at 20.

I do know of another couple that live on and sail their 47 out of Ft. Lauderdale. Like many 47 owners, they love it. And they don't complain about any performance issues, as they know it's not meant to be a racer by any means. The boat definitely has one of the nicer aft cabins out there...

But, they do need to be on the lookout for the typical '70s/'80s Taiwan boat builder issues.
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Old 03-22-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moonfish View Post
But, they do need to be on the lookout for the typical '70s/'80s Taiwan boat builder issues.
Thanks, Moonfish. Could you -- or anyone else -- elaborate on the 70-80
Taiwan issues. Being an steel boat guy, I'm totally ignorant.

Last edited by billyruffn; 03-22-2009 at 10:36 PM.
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Old 03-24-2009
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A quick list of potential problems not necessarliy age related, but more commonly associated with construction techniques/materials:

Leaking ports/windows, leaking teak decks, leaking teak cabin trunks, black iron fuel/water tanks, electrical wiring.

Then add in all the age related issues common to any 30 year old sailboat (rigging/sails, chainplates, thru-hulls, hull-to-deck joint, plumbing) and there are plenty of items which require close inspection/survey. Still, a Vagabond 47 at an average asking price means you get a lot of boat for the money... And a pretty one at that!
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