Tartan 33 or Pearson 323? - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 02-02-2011
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Tartan 33 or Pearson 323?

My wife and I live near the southern end of the Chesapeake and are looking at a first boat to enjoy during what we hope will be our upcoming not-quite-golden years. We are novices, but have a good friend (Hawaiian!) who's made a number of major passages and is willing to help us learn to sail. We're looking for a cruiser that is sturdy, forgiving, easily managed, with a capacity to grow with us should we become accomplished enough to sail along the East coast and, perhaps, over to the Bahamas. We're looking for comfort more than speed, but don't want to be passed by every teenager in a paddle boat.

We initially leaned toward Pearson 35s and Tartan 34Cs. My wife really doesn't want a lot of brightwork (and our local marina's 34 foot slips are a lot cheaper than the next size up), so we've looked at and liked the Tartan 33. We're going to look at another (this one freshwater) T33 this weekend, along with a Pearson 323, which is considerably cheaper.

Any thoughts on the relative merits of the T33 and 323? I'll update this after seeing the two boats this weekend. The T33 we've already seen is in very nice shape. The owner is asking 26K and seems comfortable at that price. The other two boats are being brokered. The T33 has an asking price of 22K, which I think could be brought down. The 323 is already at just 17K, with the broker admitting the owner has moved away and is "entertaining all offers." The first Tartan is in the water and the owner ran the Universal diesel for us. It sounded great. The other two are on the hard. The P323 has a Volvo. The T33 another Universal.

Any offer would, of course, be contingent on a full survey.

Being newbies, having a wealth of boat-specific knowledge available would be a plus. There are a lot of Tartan owners in the area, and we'd join the Tartan group. I'm guessing the Pearson would be nearly as well supported.

Thanks.

John
Boatless in Newport News, VA
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Old 02-02-2011
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How thoroughly have you looked at the two boats? Have you read and followed the Boat Inspection Trip Tips post I wrote, which is in the Boat Buying Forum as a sticky and also available on my blog. If not, they're probably a good place to start.

The post was written to help sailors eliminate boats that are not worth looking at further without having to resort to the cost of a survey.

Both are pretty decent boats. Just remember, the goal of boat buying is to get a good boat at a good price, not to get a boat cheaply. Boats that sell for far below their market price usually do so for good reason and are often more expensive in the long run than buying what Maine Sail calls a Two-Percenter boat.
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Old 02-02-2011
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I have owned a Tartan 33, shoal draft Fract rig, and its was a great sailing boat thats easy to handle. Even in 30 knots with a reef main and jib it felt stable and solid. Also its pretty fast in light air. When we bought ours the deck was soft and needed repair. Bottom was also an issue. However all boats that age may have these problems. Make sure when you walk on the deck its not spongy. My only issue with the boat was the head area....a little small. But thats a me thing.
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Old 02-02-2011
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Here's some good info on the Tartan 33. All things being equal, it would be my choice.

Tartan 33 Profile and Perspective
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I've printed out your inspection tips and will take them along.

I've been involved with classic cars long enough to know that one is generally better off buying the best you can afford, figuring that the PO probably sunk much more money into it than he's willing to admit to himself and won't be expecting to recover it. Of course, it also gives me pause when folks say they have $70K in recent receipts on a boat they're offering for 30. I don't show my wife those ads!

I don't suppose the two-pin moisture meter I bought on ebay for my firewood would work for checking decks/hulls? (Don't everyone wince at once.)

John
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary3675 View Post
Bottom was also an issue. However all boats that age may have these problems. Make sure when you walk on the deck its not spongy. My only issue with the boat was the head area....a little small. But thats a me thing.
I've walked the decks, bouncing up and down a bit, and it seems all the boats (maybe ten) I've been on felt pretty solid, so maybe I'm not doing it right (I ain't all that light). The T33 that I've seen seemed to have very solid decks. The owner admitted to some minor cosmetic blistering of the hull.

The head did look a bit tight, but it'll be one more reason to shed a few pounds!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bugbitten View Post
I've printed out your inspection tips and will take them along.

I've been involved with classic cars long enough to know that one is generally better off buying the best you can afford, figuring that the PO probably sunk much more money into it than he's willing to admit to himself and won't be expecting to recover it. Of course, it also gives me pause when folks say they have $70K in recent receipts on a boat they're offering for 30. I don't show my wife those ads!

I don't suppose the two-pin moisture meter I bought on ebay for my firewood would work for checking decks/hulls? (Don't everyone wince at once.)

John
Umm, no, most boat owners will hit you with something heavy if you start poking holes in their boat with a two-pin moisture meter... Maine Sail, who wrote the section on the moisture meter in my post, has a great article on using moisture meters that I've linked to in the post.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimsCAL View Post
Here's some good info on the Tartan 33. All things being equal, it would be my choice.

Tartan 33 Profile and Perspective
Thanks. I had read that article a couple of times. I also have the Practical Sailor's "Practical Boat Buying" volumes, and have about memorized those. They have the T33 in there, but unfortunately nothing on the P323. There are some P323-related sites that I've scoured, but I haven't found much from an independent source.

I have not yet been on the P323. Will do that Sunday. Based on what I've seen on the other Pearsons and Tartans I've looked at, I too would lean toward the Tartan. BUT if the boats were equally desirable, from a condition and utility standpoint, I'd be tempted to go with the 323 if it were several thousand dollars less. Unless, of course, the sages here warned me off it, which is why I'm asking.

I do feel an affinity with the Tartans, but then I did for the Cheoy Lee Clipper 36 I looked at, until I looked a little closer at those teak decks!

John
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Check out a Cape Dory 33 or 36 as alternatives. A lttle too much bright work perhaps. Beautful boats.
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The 36 is too big, and the 33 is going to be far slower IIRC...
Quote:
Originally Posted by omaho5 View Post
Check out a Cape Dory 33 or 36 as alternatives. A lttle too much bright work perhaps. Beautful boats.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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