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Old 03-08-2010
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Are their any model years that stand out

I've heard that some older pre-1980 boats were particularly well built and designed.

Any truth to that?
Any Examples?

What I'm getting at is that I'm watching the local lists for a steal and I don't what to miss a diamond in the rough because of ignorance of a particular model.

I know for example that the Pearson Triton 28 is considered a cult classic.
What is so special about the Triton and what others would be considered classic?
Not classic plastic as in old but classic plastic as in a particularly good design and quality?

Last edited by davidpm; 03-08-2010 at 09:45 PM.
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Old 03-09-2010
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While the Tritom is a cult classic it isn't from lack of problems. It's a good looking and good sailing boat as well as being the first popular fiberglass production cruising sailboat. But it is plagued by the same problems all older boats are - soft decks, chainplates, mast compression post and others. A large number of members of The Plastic Classic Forum • Index page are rebuilding Tritons or already have done so. Tim Lackey at Northern Yacht Restoration | Tim Lackey:* One Man, One Boat at a Time specializes in Triton restorations as well.
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Last edited by mitiempo; 03-09-2010 at 12:06 AM. Reason: correct
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Old 03-09-2010
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Almost thought your post was a troll, but given your example of a Triton, I'm leaning toward good faith. There were a number of very well built boats made before the 1980's, and as the previous post mentioned, it's more about how they have or haven't been maintained that can make or break 'a deal'. The diamonds are diamonds, and yes, you might get lucky, but if it's 'a deal', chances are you'll get exactly what you pay for. Let's see, off the top of my head, here's what's on the list:

Rangers (23,26,28,29,33), Yankee (26,30), San Juan (24, 28, 29) Pearson (Triton as mentioned, 30, really a number of different ones here) Morgan (there's a well sailed 27 here locally that does well under phrf, and again, a number of others like the 38, etc...) Irwin, Tartan, C&C (anything from 24 to 61) Swan (36-65... the ones in good condition will still be pretty expensive. There probably weren't any boats of any era that were better built. For example, the original 44 sold for about $48,000 in 1974. A good one will sell for around $160 - $230k) Hinckley ( pilot 35, B-40... again, good examples will still be expensive. . And let's not forget one of the ultimate plastic classics, the Cal 40 (20, 25, 34, etc... still many sailing. The Cal 40's still have had a one design fleet for PacCup, and TransPac in recent years) The j-24, love'm or hate'm, dates from 1977, sooo....) There are many others not mentioned for lack of time, but a look around many marina's, and you'll find a number of well cared for boats built before 1980. Just remember, a build date is just a date. It's all about how a boat's been cared for over the years.

Last edited by puddinlegs; 03-15-2010 at 12:35 PM.
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Old 03-09-2010
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Be aware AFAIK, there were tritons built on both coasts. IIRC, the ones on the west coast were a bit heavier and had a solid fiberglass deck, the ones on the east coast had a cored deck.
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Old 03-09-2010
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I would argue that there were very few well built boats before the 1980's but the reasons for saying this will vary by year.

The earliest production boats suffer from a variety of isses. Some are structural. The resins and reinforcing cloths on the earliest fiberglass boats was quite brittle and fatigue prone compared to modern resin and fabrics. This came from the way that the resins were formulated, the way the fiberglass fibers were made, and the way that the fabrics were stored and handled. But also, most of these these early boats lacked internal framing resulting in large amounts of flexure and this flexure leads to fatigue which weakens the laminate further.

But even the systems on these boats, were not constructed in accordance with good practice as we currently describe them in modern boat building standards such as ABYC, DL or CE.

1970's through early 1980's era boats suffered from problems that were the result of an overall lightening of the construction of the boats without the full implimentation of the engineering that is standard today. The scantlings on these boats had been reduced, but modern axial fabrics and fabric handling techniques were not in common use. Also the resin reformulation that came out of the fuel crisis resulted in the worst period for blisters and delamination. Beyond that, even some good manufacturers were using chopped glass instead of mat between roving layers. Again, systems of that era do not comply with modern standards of construction.

By the late 1980's many of these issues had been addressed, but there were other issues with the larger production number yards that I would consider questionable but at least the engineering and systems designs had greatly improved.

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Old 03-10-2010
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While I'll agree that modern construction is better, there are too many boats of the vintage discussed still being sailed to dismiss them as a group. Sure, some manufactures had issues during the gas crisis, no doubt. But many didn't. General maintenance information on specific models is widely available. It's up to the buyer to do the research. Done well, you'll find a great boat.
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Old 03-15-2010
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It is convenient to say that modern construction is better until we start to define what better means. Does better describe keels falling off some of the later designs , or the reasons why a Transpac52 recently broke its bow off and sank as a result of de stressing because oflosing its head stay in moderate/light air?

On the contrary , boats built in the 70's are still sailing plenty
There are only a few that were under built and we all know which those are.
One can argue inferior construction, resins, cloth, etc , however most of those boats made up for that in hull thickness, and are still very structurally sound
Most of them are good sailing boats which were designed as good overall upwind and downwind, and reflect design criteria before newer sailors got hooked on downwind speed .

The need for downwind speed means lightening the boat by first lowering
displacement. This direction has produced more flimsy boats which tend to break sooner They don't have a strong fatigue data base because of low production numbers so therefore statistical analysis is inconclusive, but should be viewed with scrutiny

Older boats which had high production numbers have statistics which support
life expectancy numbers, and now after 30 years , we can see the results

The upwind twitchy and unmannerly handling of many downwind (designed) newer boats is a story in its self, as is the irritation of being thrown about and general noise, especially down below.
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Old 03-15-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kevlarpirate View Post

The need for downwind speed means lightening the boat by first lowering
displacement. This direction has produced more flimsy boats which tend to break sooner They don't have a strong fatigue data base because of low production numbers so therefore statistical analysis is inconclusive, but should be viewed with scrutiny.

Of course, there's the track record of the first generation of ULDB's and nearly so's built in Santa Cruz from the mid 70's through the late 80's: Moore, Santa Cruz, Olson, Express. All light, very well built, and with tremendous track records.
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Yes, but those boats are not that new and therefore have a good
data base and track record.
I sail a SC50 now and then and was impressed with the construction and especially the number of ribs. Handling great . Grand Illusion hit a whale at 12 knots , twisted the keel 20 degrees tip to root and the hull sustained
no damage.


We all have our preferences, My general comments were meant to
say that no one boat does all things "better" maybe just one or two things. A sports car cannot do what a jeep can do , etc.

more to the point, most boats out of the 70's were built when builders had some fear of offshore conditions
and plenty tough.........contrary to some biased opinions here
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Old 03-15-2010
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Its a pretty sure bet that a 2010 boat will not meet current standards in 2050

I can tell you one thing for sure plywood core sucks BIG TIME now matter who used it
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