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Ima90sJezus 10-13-2009 10:47 AM

Looked at a 1981 Hughes 31' This Weekend
Spent saturday morning looking at a 1981 Sparkman and Stephens designed 31' Hughes. This was the first sailboat I've looked at to purchase so I have nothing really to compare it with (purchase-wise).

Minor water damage in the cabin due to a chainplate leaking, forward hatch leaks as well. It has a Diesel and not the gas saildrive. The boat has been on the hard for 2 years and I don't think the Diesel has been fired up since. The owner lives out of state and the broker didn't want to bother the yard to see if it would fire up. No batteries installed in the boat, so I couldnt check any of the existing lights/electronics for operation. I say electronics, but it really had none installed. A VHF radio and thats about it. Rigging and the sails were in good shape.

The one thing that did catch my eye was the narrow cockpit and how far aft the helm is. Either sitting or standing behind the wheel my head hits the backstay. Being on other boats in the 28' to 33' never seemed to be a problem that I noticed. Is this just the way this boat is designed? Would like be annoying underway? It was in the yard!

Any opinions or thoughts on this Hughes would be greatly appreciated.


smackdaddy 10-13-2009 11:24 AM

65 Attachment(s)
Hey Ima - for me, I'd say if something bugged you on the first hour aboard (the helm/backstay issue) - that's a real sign. Just remember that it will never get better. Maybe you can learn to live with it - but I'd listen to my gut.

blt2ski 10-13-2009 12:15 PM

I'd be listenng to my gut on more than one the leak fixed? not that the backstay hitting your head is an issue, but it will not go away. Now if you are sitting off to the side most of the time, not an issue.

This does not sound like the boat for you. You seem to have found too many faults with this one. Now the same brand with "ONLY" lets say the back stay issue, no leakage issues. one that is sailing, motor works etc, The only thing you can find wrong is the color of the boot stripes........boot stripes are easy to change out from red to blue or black or pink with purple polka dots!


Faster 10-13-2009 01:01 PM

In today's market you can do better than that boat. I'm betting the price is attractive.... as you can see, for a reason.

I think construction is fairly robust from what I've heard, but I think they missed the boat on the cabin design, and the extreme pinched ends will always create challenges for the cockpit area. You also have to like the fairly severe tumblehone hull shape (some do, some don't)

I'd keep looking for now.

Tanley 10-13-2009 02:20 PM

w/ SmackDaddy on this one. We looked at a Sabre 28 where both the traveler and backstay would hit your head when either sitting or standing at the helm. Other than that , the rest of the boat was immaculate. Walked away because that one problem would always be there.

Ima90sJezus 10-16-2009 02:51 PM

Thank all..
Thank you for all your thoughts, I'm still undecided - The Seller is basically throwing it at me. This would be my first boat and maybe I'm just being too cautious.. I'm looking at a Coronado 35 this weekend, and from the looks of it it on here, that isn't a popular boat either.

I figure it doesn't hurt to look and at least I have the experience to put towards looking in the future.


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