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  #1  
Old 05-22-2009
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Advice for a novice...

I have posted a version of this to a local fellow in the "seeking assistance in boat buying" thread, but I thought I'd go ahead and share this with the full group for input.

I have read many, many postings on this site and am about to do the exact opposite of what the consensus thinks is sensible. I am about to buy a "cheap" boat without a formal survey, because I don't want it get away. Talk me out of it?

Background: My small family and I live just outside Ithaca, and in the three years we've lived here I've been dying to get out on Cayuga Lake. I am by no means a skilled sailor. I crewed on some small boats around ten years ago, but have always wanted to get back into this stuff. I am 52, not all that athletic, and have limited time for more than routine maintenance. I don't have a ton of money to devote to this until and unless it becomes the all consuming passion for me like it is for many of you. I envision taking her out once or twice a week during the summer for a couple of hours and two or three overnights for the three of us. I am just under 6' tall. I have no ambition to race or blue water. I do have a nice slip not far from our home.

I am looking for an inexpensive but functional boat that I can run for a year to assess how much I like the sport now that I'm older, and how much my wife (total novice but very game) and kid (5 years old) take to sailing. What I want: Big enough for us to sleep in comfortably. Headroom in the cabin is a huge advantage. No major headaches for simple running as I describe.

I have found a 1975 Grampian 26 out of the water that looks very good. It's only been for sale a few days. Mast is down, but 9.9 Evinrude outboard looks good, as does the bottom and mahogany interior. Full 6'+ headroom in the cabin. Sails are original, but look pretty good as far as I can tell, and honest-seeming seller says they are fine. Chainplates are solid, deck has no spongey spots I can find.

Problems: Minor bend in rudder shaft. Still functional. Problems with the head, currently disconnected. Running lights have some issues, cabin lights are fine. Looks like most extras are there, limiting the $$ I will need to put out for that stuff.

Price: $3,000, including putting in the water.

I've done tons of research, and this seems like a great deal for a big enough, quite stable cruiser for the family to test out for a year. What should be my next steps? Get my head examined and wait for the next "great deal"?

Thanks, and sorry to be so long winded!

Chris Lyons
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Old 05-22-2009
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More info I forgot: It was sailed regularly until two years ago, when original owner passed away and current owner took it over, intending to do full restoration. Other projects took him away from sailing, so he just wants to move on.

Chris
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Old 05-22-2009
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I would say don't panic. While I'm not sure about prices outside of Northern Europe, you should be able to get other boats that size for that, especially with a bend rudder shaft - that's a lost rudder just waiting to happen. Whether or not the original sails have been used or not, they're not in good condition, and will detract from the experience, so you will have to buy new (or sligthly used) sails.
Just my 2 cents..
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Old 05-22-2009
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I don't know how the prices are compared to where I am, but around here (CT) many people seem to be desperate to get rid their boats. Perhaps you can talk them down a little, especially if other than the rudder problem, you like the boat? Maybe make them wait a little bit (unless there are other interested buyers).
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Old 05-22-2009
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Jump on it. That's a good price for a great boat.

Here's a link that you may find interesting - GRAMPIAN 26
The boat you are looking at is hull #899 - name is Albatross - was owned by Mike Stiles.

Ditch the old head and holding tank, and put in a fixed Thetford 365 MSD. You can use the existing pump out fittings, and existing air vent for this unit. You'll get about 63 flushes from the Thetford, versus 20 flushes max. from the old head and holding tank.
The rudder shaft is solid s/s, and I really doubt that will ever be a problem. Make sure though that you remove the rudder every year when you go on the hard. Take the rudder home and store it upside down in an area that doesn't freeze.
Removing the rudder is very simple, and you may wish to do this before launching so you can verify the unit is solid and doesn't need to be glassed around the edges etc. You must take every precaution not to get water into the rudder core.
Check the bulkheads carefully. I'm almost positive that there will be some rot in them where the chainplates are fastened. Replacing the bulkheads is an easy job, and you will probably just find the bulkheads between the head and v-berth need replacing.
Shoot me a note if I can be of any help. We have had our G-26 since 1999 and absolutely love her.

Last edited by jimq26; 05-22-2009 at 11:52 AM.
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Old 05-22-2009
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Great advice Jim, Thanks! That's exactly the boat, and Mike is the seller.

And thanks to the other folks who weighed in. I love that Grampian site and have spent quite some time pouring over it.
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Old 05-22-2009
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I'll make sure I figure out how the steel was bent and trace it back to see what other damage was caused...

Great advice, thanks.
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Old 05-22-2009
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Quote:
Problems: Minor bend in rudder shaft. Still functional
There is no such thing as a "minor" bend in a rudder shaft. The boat is not going to sail properly. It's akin to trying to drive a car with a bent axle.


It's likely that the current owner is selling the boat because he has found out how much it is going to cost to fix things. For $3K you can do a lot better.
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Old 05-27-2009
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I'm really surprised by the number of posts saying pass, pass, pass. I don't know where you guys are; but I'd sure like to see a few of those $3,000 boats lying around.

Now, I agree; NEVER buy a boat just because it's cheap. But also, don't ignore one just because it has few issues either. A sane look at all of the issues is in order.

I looked at this boat with Chris last night; and yes, it has a few issues. I certainly wouldn't be taking it to Portugal; but it's got a LOT of life left in it, IMHO.

The standing rigging is nearly pristine.

The bent rudder shaft is indeed a curious thing; but there does not appear to be any hull damage, damage to the rudder-shaft tube, or deck damage anywhere near the rudder post. Not even any crazing or damaged gel coat. I would almost guess that it was damaged out of the boat; because any activity that would bend a 1" SS shaft would almost HAVE to show some visible damage adjacent to it, wouldn't it?

My only real concern is the swing keel; and that is only because I know very little about how they function and how to really assess them. I'd feel a lot better if I could see the boat in the water and observe it's functionality.

All in all; I'm pretty sure that I wold buy this boat if circumstances were different.
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Old 06-16-2009
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Great advice Jim, Thanks! That's exactly the boat, and Mike is the seller.

And thanks to the other folks who weighed in. I love that Grampian site and have spent quite some time pouring over it.
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