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  #1  
Old 02-01-2010
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1977 Tartan 30

I just got back from looking at a clean 1977 Tartan 30. I liked the boat on an emotional level. The mast and rigging looked in very good shape, the rudder was solid, the interior just barely cleared my head (when I took my shoes off I didn't have to bend my neck). Initially I thought I wanted a wheel for the romance of it but reading Roth and about self steering it seems a tiller might be simpler, more reliable and easier to self steer with.

Two things that struck me as possible cons on this boat:
1) Gasoline Atomic 4. Have read that Diesel is safe and Gas is not. I intend to go cruising in whatever boat I buy.

2) No transom ladder - if I ever get knocked off and am pulling in my lifeline it might be hard to get back aboard - I will be singlehanding most of the time.

Otherwise it looked pretty good.

Can anyone comment on the Tartan 30? How safe for bluewater? How bad is having a gas inboard? Any common problems on these boats I should ask the surveyor about if I pull the trigger on this?

I was looking at a Hunter 36 for a similar price with no engine but this might be "the one"

I only want to do one survey if I can help it. All words of wisdom greatly appreciated.
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Old 02-01-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmacfarquhar View Post
....
Two things that struck me as possible cons on this boat:
1) Gasoline Atomic 4. Have read that Diesel is safe and Gas is not. I intend to go cruising in whatever boat I buy.

2) No transom ladder - if I ever get knocked off and am pulling in my lifeline it might be hard to get back aboard - I will be singlehanding most of the time.
....
The T30 is a classy classic racer/cruiser, you can't go wrong with that model if it's what your budget will provide. And there are still lots of A4s around and in use, not a show-stopper, if that's what the budget permits.

As to the stern ladder..not to worry about no laddder...if you go overboard you will not be able to get to one, assuming you actually devised a quick-release solution to enable deploying it from the water.
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Old 02-01-2010
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I have a 78 Tartan 30 and its a good boat. The safety of the A-4 should not give you pause; just be careful about gas below. Make sure the tank does not leak, mine had been repaired when I bought it and is now fine. I understand that that is a problem with these. Have a mechanic go over the engine; it is old and may be tired. Get the Moyer marine manual if you buy the boat. Get a CO detector, CO is a greater risk than fire.

The PO added wheel steering... I wouldn't have, but a wheel is easier for guests. Only sailors have steered with a tiller...

SailingFool is absolutely right about the stern ladder. It is not a safety feature if you sail alone. Jacklines harness and strong leads will keep you aboard the boat, a ladder will only help if there is someone aboard to stop the boat and let it down, and only if you are awake and strong. A stern ladder is easy to install on this boat, however, so it shouldn't be a dealbreaker
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Old 02-01-2010
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To what extent is it stupidity to sleep in an enclosed cabin containing a gasoline system? Especially a 33 year old gas engine thats probably on its last legs. Somehow I am uncomfortable living in a cabin full of gasoline. I suppose a repower could be done to diesel at considerable cost. I could just run the atomic 4 until it dies and worry about it later. How common are fires from gas inboards?

I take it there may be a silence because no one has lived to tell the tale...
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Old 02-01-2010
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Fordo - how do you make sure the tank does not leak?
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Old 02-01-2010
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Let's put the risk in perspective.

Do you ever drive on the freeway? You are in a vehicle constructed of combustible materials which emit poisonous fumes when burned, carrying 10-20 gallons of highly volatile fuel sloshing around in a tank held in place by metal straps exposed to salt crusted roads, surrounded by hundreds of other drivers in similar conveyances, all travelling at 65-75 mph... and you lived to tell the tale.

The best defense against fire is to ensure that you are on top of your maintenance. Make sure your hoses and lines are in good shape, your extinguisher(s) are charged and well -located, you have adequate exhaust blowers, and you know how to maintain your boat.
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Old 02-01-2010
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I'm not sure if some of the same issues could come up on the T30 you are looking at. My T27 is 10 years older then yours at 1977.
With the T27 issues come up with the chain plates as they were glassed into knee walls and the wood core can/will rot. Also, cored decks can become soft or spongy.
Our A4 is 10 years older then the one you are interested in and still running well. Maintenance on the engine is pretty easy and there is a great support group at: Moyer Marine Atomic 4 Community - Powered by vBulletin
Sure, gasoline is more volatile then diesel but just using common sense and your nose helps. Run the engine compartment blower and sniff for fumes before you crank it. Diesel exhaust does not smell any better then gas and gasoline is a tad cheaper at the moment.
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Old 02-01-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmacfarquhar View Post
To what extent is it stupidity to sleep in an enclosed cabin containing a gasoline system? Especially a 33 year old gas engine thats probably on its last legs. Somehow I am uncomfortable living in a cabin full of gasoline. I suppose a repower could be done to diesel at considerable cost. I could just run the atomic 4 until it dies and worry about it later. How common are fires from gas inboards?

I take it there may be a silence because no one has lived to tell the tale...
I think you are over thinking the dangers involved here. Your tank is probably under your cockpit or at least behind a bulkhead in the after part of the boat.
If you smell gas you need to shut off the main fuel valve. We do this every time we leave the boat. It's really about common sense and using your nose.
I don't sleep on my boat as often as I would like but when I do I always have some ventilation (hatch boards removed, open ports and/or hatch). You would not want to sleep in a sealed cabin of a boat that had a diesel system either.
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Old 02-01-2010
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I just went through this same thing a couple of months ago. I ended up getting the Tartan. Mine is a 76. I haven't put it in the water yet, so I can't comment much on your questions though.
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Old 02-01-2010
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If the cabin is full of gasoline that would be a problem. But as long as it is in the tank it is not a problem. Most powerboats under 30 feet or so are gasoline powered and people sleep on them all the time as well as many sailboats. You certainly want ventilation when sleeping but don't need more than you would want without the engine. Before small diesels were common virtually all sailboats had either an A4 or Graymarine gas engine. Even the explosions that do occur usually happen during refueling and are the result of the proper procedures not being taken - blower on for the proper time before restarting probably being the main one. As long as the fuel system is in good shape there shouldn't be a problem. A stern boarding ladder can be installed easily but I agree best not to fall off while sailing.
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