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  #1  
Old 01-31-2012
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Grampian 23 vs ?

Hello again, it's me "the boat-less one". I am still looking for my first boat but I've changed my criteria a little. I was previously looking for something in the 27' to 28' range, ideally with a diesel. I started with a budget of $5k in mind, then thought why not go to $10k, or maybe $15k? No, $5k or less is where I want to be. I've got myself in check now

Most of our sailing will be no longer than a weekend; maybe a week once or twice a year. Also considering that 90% of the time it'll just be my wife and I, we can probably get by with something smaller. I think this is what some of the experts were telling me the first time I posted here, but I just wasn't listening.

I'm really seeing the appeal of a smaller boat with an outboard from a "lower cost of ownership" perspective, and I think that's where I want to be. Browsing through the "Mirco Cruiser" thread helped too.

I've recently been talking with someone that has a Grampian 23 for sale, asking price is $3500. They are selling it as they just don't use it enough, so it's coming with everything: charts, lifejackets, inflatable dingy, etc.
I can't find too much in the way of G23 reviews, so if anyone has experience I'd be happy to hear it.

The good:

- lots of extras
- from the pictures it looks to be in good shape
- has a proper head with holding tank (proper "private" head is a requirement from the boss)
- only 2 prior owners

The bad:

- probably will need bottom paint this year
- has an older Merc 9.9hp 2-stroke (although they say it runs well)
- no roller furling, although they can't be too expensive for a boat this size? Could I use the existing Genoa or would I need a special one as well?
- no stove

I have not seen this boat in person, but am viewing it this weekend. Below are some pics from a year and a half ago:

G23 Pics

The competition:

Checking other boat listings in this price range I see:

- Crown 23 for $3k with no motor - can't find much info on this unsure about the interior layout / head situation
- J/24 starting at ~$5k (there are several) - the interior looks a little two spartan for my liking
- Venture Newport 23 for $4.5k - I don't know what to make of this; I've read both good and bad reviews. Reading that they're rather tippy and don't sail that well concerns me though...
- San Juan 24 for $5.5k - comes with 2 almost new honda OBs (one for the dingy). From the few pics of SJ24 interiors I can find there is no private head
- Shark 24 for ~$4k - narrow beam; too cramped inside I think

And going slightly bigger there is:

- Columbia 26 mkII for $4.8k - on paper this has everything I'd want: roller furling, dingy with outboard, auto tiller, etc. I've seen it from the outside and it looks a little tired (the paint/gel coat that is), but that's probably not the end of the world.
I am however confused by Columbia 26s. On one hand I can find a lot of good reviews, but I've seen several poor reviews for Coronado 27s, which as I understand it are just Columbias with an extra foot tacked on. So I don't really know what to make of them.

So I guess to sum up, I'm seriously considering the G23, but perhaps I should look into this Columbia 26 a bit further too.

Anyway, thanks for reading!
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Old 01-31-2012
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Put this one on your list:
Northern 25 Sailboat for sale - British Columbia Sailboats For Sale - Kijiji British Columbia Canada.
Yeah, it's listed above your budget, but it never hurts to make an offer.
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Old 01-31-2012
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For the price and the condition and amenities in the Gram I think it looks like a nice boat. What kind of condition are the sails in? As far as a stove goes, we used a rail mount bbq to do everything for years and even now that I have a boat with a stove I still do most of my cooking on the bbq. The size of the boat, even without roller furling is very manageable.

Also it is a buyers market so figure you can knock em down under that asking price and that is just more money for you to modify how you please.
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Old 01-31-2012
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Hi Pointy, I've never owned a Gramp 23, but am the owner of a Grampian 34 (currently for sale: www.elysian.ca), and have been up close and personal with many other Gramp models. They are all tough, well built boats. Nothing fancy or prissy about them. Just solid and functional.

This being said, I would look for something slightly larger; in the 25-27 foot range. Standing head room, and enough space to stow a week's worth of clothes and food, mean the difference between camping with a boat, and living on a boat. It's not that you couldn't live with the small space (I bet you're campers/trippers, right?), but it will wear thin after a few days.

With your budget, and with today's market, there are boats in the 25-27 range available: Grampian 26, Northern 25, Mirage 26 ... lots more I'm sure.
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Old 01-31-2012
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The Grampian was a good quality boat. If it has no soft spots on the deck, then I would say its a good buy. Your "cons" are not big deals.

It will take less than a gallon to put on one coat of new bottom paint; less than two gallons if you need two coats. Assuming you will be using ablative multi-season paint (highly recommended), at about $150/gallon, its not a big cost. That stuff can be put right on top of any existing paint; no bottom job needed.

Roller furling for a boat that size will run about $500 for the unit/foil, and another couple of hundred maybe to modify your existing sail. Some units may require that you replace the headstay if the length of the existing stay can't be adjusted to accomodate the furling unit; you may need a new, shorter, stay installed. This is the single best upgrade for single or shorthanded sailing you can do.

Outboard engines on small sailboats are a crapshoot; if well-maintained, they can last for twenty years. Often, these types of engines get very light use. If I put 20 hours/season on my engine, that's a lot. I only use it to get in and out of the marina and out to the harbor. Two strokes have few moving parts to wear out and are more tolerant of mistakes and less than stellar maintenance than their four stroke cousins. You will find many people who consider the two stroke engine to be a plus in this purchase.

No stove? Buy a Coleman camp stove for fifty bucks.

Other boats in this price range that should be available: the Oday 23 and 25; the Catalina 22 and 25.
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Old 01-31-2012
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It sounds like either the Grampian or the Columbia suits your needs. Although there are a lot of boats out there in this buyers market that will suit your specifications.
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Old 01-31-2012
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Here's a YW search for PNW.. (Sail) Cruiser Boats For Sale

The Grampian has a decent rep, a Columbia 26 might be more comfortable and better selection. If you're not too tall you may have headroom under the cabin house.

The Northern 25 is a great suggestion, a Coronado 25 is another; too bad about the head requirement because a 26 Thunderbird might otherwise be the best sailing possibility for you and there are a lot of them around too.. good cockpit, lots of owner support and knowledge base.

I'm not sure I'd be too tempted by the 30 Buccaneer on the link... something scary there. The Catalina 27, Hunter 25 and Tanzer 7.5 are all decent boats for our area.
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Old 02-02-2012
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I feel like buying a boat is like rolling about 10 dice at once, with each die representing a part of the boat. There always seems to be one or two die that come up as 1's.
Maybe I'm just too picky, but I've been looking for a boat since October.


Quote:
Originally Posted by bljones View Post
Put this one on your list:
Northern 25 Sailboat for sale - British Columbia Sailboats For Sale - Kijiji British Columbia Canada.
Yeah, it's listed above your budget, but it never hurts to make an offer.
That boat has 6' 2" of headroom? Wow!
It's on the mainland so it's a ferry ride away for me, but not the end of the world. I am always looking for an excuse to go to Olive Garden (which we don't have on the island).

Quote:
Originally Posted by CapnBones View Post
... What kind of condition are the sails in? As far as a stove goes, we used a rail mount bbq to do everything for years and even now that I have a boat with a stove I still do most of my cooking on the bbq....
They tell me the sails are in good shape (100%, 150% and main), although the main has a 1/4" tear in it where some rigging snagged on it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeOReilly View Post
This being said, I would look for something slightly larger; in the 25-27 foot range. Standing head room, and enough space to stow a week's worth of clothes and food, mean the difference between camping with a boat, and living on a boat. It's not that you couldn't live with the small space (I bet you're campers/trippers, right?), but it will wear thin after a few days.
That may be good advice. I am 6' and I'm sure I'd get tired of crouching down all the time, although the pop-top might make it tolerable. Oddly enough we're not really campers; have tried camping in a tent a few times but I just don't find it that appealing. I spent a few years in the army so I think that spoiled camping for me

Quote:
Originally Posted by Faster View Post
Here's a YW search for PNW.. (Sail) Cruiser Boats For Sale

The Grampian has a decent rep, a Columbia 26 might be more comfortable and better selection. If you're not too tall you may have headroom under the cabin house.

The Northern 25 is a great suggestion, a Coronado 25 is another; too bad about the head requirement because a 26 Thunderbird might otherwise be the best sailing possibility for you and there are a lot of them around too.. good cockpit, lots of owner support and knowledge base.

I'm not sure I'd be too tempted by the 30 Buccaneer on the link... something scary there. The Catalina 27, Hunter 25 and Tanzer 7.5 are all decent boats for our area.
I have looked at the Tanzer 7.5 and came to the conclusion that it would need a substantial cash injection before I'd be happy with it.

You guys really have me thinking about something bigger now.

Here is the ad for the Columbia 26 for $4800

There is also a Coronado 27 at the club that I belong to for $5500

The Coronado has been freshly painted, however it has a diesel, and I'm not sure if I want to enter that world. I'd also question why he has an outboard mounted to the transom if it has a good running diesel.

The other thing is that Coronados don't have stellar reviews, which also makes me question the build quality of Columbias.

Also, how much stock should I put in the "Motion Comfort" rating of a boat?
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Old 02-02-2012
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Add the Grampian 26 to your list. Not going to win any beauty contests but has real standing headroom for over 6 footers. Port dinette is a squeeze for 4 but comfy for 2. Starboard galley is big enough to be useful and it has an enclosed head. Big cockpit and a cutout on the transom that makes the outboard a lot easier to use than most.

I chartered one for 4 of us one summer and we spent several days in the islands on it - served very well for such a small boat. If one became a keeper, it could be fixed up and customized to be a very nice little boat.
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Old 02-02-2012
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The Columbia 26 Mk II is not a re-hash of the Coronado 27.

The C26 Mk II has iron ballast (just as an FYI). I owned a Coronado 25 for 2 years as my first boat and there are C26 Mk II's all around me.

First- My little Coronado was built like a tank. I sailed it in 30 kts, and did overnight and beer can races in it. I took 9th out of 15 in the series as my first attempt as racing skipper. A Coronado's primary weakness is the hull/deck joint, which can be repaired.

The Columbias are also tough, and well-built and there is an active Yahoo forum for them, that you might want to check out.

Ok, so they're tough, but how well do they sail? Neither boat is a high performance machine. They don't sail super close to weather, but they're fairly stable. The underwater profile is very low-tech. The rigs are short, and they have short waterlines, so they aren't very quick. They have a low sail area to displacement ratio. These boats are mainly family weekender/short haul cruisers. If you can avoid buying the shoal draft version, you'll do better.

Neither boat can be easily trailered. Both boats will be less expensive to maintain than a 30-35 footer.

Overall, the two boats are very, very similar, and if you had to choose between the two (assuming similar condition and accessories), I'd go with the C26 Mk II because of the active forum and sailing association. You can get lots of help and ideas to make the boat nice, for less money. Even though I owned a Coronado and found it to be a tough little boat, I would still give an edge in quality to Columbia.

Hope that helps.
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