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tanksalot 05-28-2012 04:46 PM

Bristol 34 or........?
I've PM'd one of the moderators of this forum for boat recommendations, and have scheduled a survey of a Bristol 34 based on those recommendations.

Prior to totally committing on a boat that I haven't personally seen, I'm looking for other's opinions on boats that would be suitable for my wife and myself.

1. I'm 67 (almost), wife is 64.
2. We've had a '77 Ericson 27 for 6 years, improved it each year. Previous owner added 400(?) lbs. of lead to its' keel and it had some port-side damage (repaired), as well as a replacement mast. It's a little small, but we're used to it. I'm also concerned about its' sailing characteristics because of the repairs. It's "OK", but not great.
3. We both just retired, have a dock space and a whole summer ahead of us to sail.
4. My wife's not a sailor, is anxious, but has gotten increasingly comfortable onboard and LOVES our "floating summer home at the dock".
5. We'd like to spend the summer in LI sound, and hopefully go down the intercoastal come October.

I love the romance of sailing and cruising, love the warmth of interior teak and mahogany, and would like stability under sail, single-handed capability and would prefer an Atomic 4 (which I'm very familiar with). I can fix ANYTHING, but don't want to or have the time. My wife wants creature comforts.

I realize I could make a huge mistake here, and that's the reason for writing. With a comfort zone of under $30K, what boats would you look for if you were in my position?

Here's what we've seen and our perception:

(2) Pearson 323's....Well laid out, decent size, but for $16K - $19K I would sacrifice YEARS making it "nice". Our boat's numerous imperfections don't seem as problematic to me as those on other boats.
Ericson 30+ that was on ebay.....very, very nice teak interior, diesel smell (of course, since it had a diesel) but not significantly more room than we have now. Price was excellent (under $10K) but the time aspect of getting it in the water and the minimal increase in interior room caused me not to bid.
Catalina 31 (2005)....Although a lot more money, the deal-breaker for me was the lack of "warmth". Lots of plastic, great electronics, but (for me) a floating video game.
Island Packet 35 ($35K) Horrible teak, not in showing condition, no cushions installed and (I found out later) and not the best sailing vessel. Decent amount of room below.
Nonsuch 30 (wasn't for sale but viewable at a boat show)... Beautiful interior and craftsmanship, but somewhat pricey for one in very nice condition.
I hadn't realized until I started looking what a range of prices and conditions exist out in the marketplace. I'm starting to realize that looking for another sailboat could turn into a part-time/full time job if I let it. That's the reason for this post.

Sorry for the length of the post, but I thought the more you knew of my experience the better you could respond.

Thanks in advance!


jsaronson 05-28-2012 08:17 PM

Bristol 34 or........?
doesnt sound like any of the alternatives are right for you. i assume you want to enjoy your boat, not rebuild it. If you like the Bristol you might look at a Sabre or even a Cheoy Lea(k). You are right that the condition and equipment varies widely. Take your time until you find the right boat.

ehmanta 05-29-2012 08:48 AM

Re: Bristol 34 or........?
What is your sailing goal long term? Are you planning on coastal sailing mostly? You can use the search engine on Yachtworld, set your parameters (under 30K, size of boat, year, etc) and come up with a sizable list. Here's a nice 39 ft Gulfstar for under 30K:

View Boat Photos -

I have no connection to this boat, just thought it would work for you.

kwaltersmi 05-29-2012 11:00 AM

Re: Bristol 34 or........?

Originally Posted by tanksalot (Post 876730)
Island Packet 35 ($35K) Horrible teak, not in showing condition, no cushions installed and (I found out later) and not the best sailing vessel. Decent amount of room below.

That's an insanely cheap price for an IP35. She must have serious issues (way beyond horrible teak) or a price typo. If neither is true, let me know and I plop down my $35k today!

MarkSF 05-29-2012 01:09 PM

Re: Bristol 34 or........?
Well it sounds like the Bristol 34 might fit the bill. Why don't you go and see it? For me, it's all about the impression when you look at the boat, then the survey (hopefully) confirms that impression.

If you can stretch the budget, mid-80s Bristol 31.1s sell for about $40K and I've seen 35.5s in the 40 to 50K range.

I'd also suggest a 29.9 for about 30K but I'm not sure that'll give you the increase in space you want. Might be worth checking one out, though.

ehmanta 05-29-2012 01:15 PM

Re: Bristol 34 or........?
Later generation Bristols are heads and shoulders above the early Bristols as far as construction quality and interior trim, plus they have a tendency to be a bit more beamy which helps out in the elbow room department.

tanksalot 05-29-2012 03:06 PM

Re: Bristol 34 or........?

You bring up an interesting point. The boat is a 13-hour drive away one-way. It looks, online, like a very good deal. But......I've never seen a Bristol 34. There's also a very good condition Tartan 30 that's 5 hours away and would be enroute. We've seen a Tartan 30 and it looks like it offers what we're looking for. We could either have the survey done and THEN drive to see/pick up the Bristol 34, seeing the Tartan 30 on the way or see both boats first, taking 3-4 days for the experience.

It would be reasonable to see a Bristol 34 somewhere closer to see what they look like first. How would one find one?

I realize I sound somewhat naive, but that's why I'm here.

KwaltersMI: I'm reasonably sure of the price & size, but my memory is not the best. I looked at Yachtworld and it's not there. You can call Gene Colvin at Brewer's Yacht sales in Westbrook, CT if you want to pursue it.


jsaronson 05-29-2012 03:13 PM

Re: Bristol 34 or........?
Normally you make an offer contingent on a survey. No need to spend money if you can't agree on a price.
You could post a separate note on SailNet that you want to see a Bristol 34 closer to home. I'd also look in the Bristol Owner's forum to see if anyone knows where there might be one or can answer your questions. The difference between a 30 and 34 is HUGE in terms of cabin space (but so is the difference between the 27 and 30). However, for long distance cruising i would want the 34.

chuck53 05-29-2012 05:22 PM

Re: Bristol 34 or........?
You mentioned a fairly new Catalina 31, that I'm sure is way above your budget but the deal killer was a lack of interior wood.
I've got an older C-34 that would be at least somewhat closer to your budget and it has lots of interior wood. In fact, my boat after 25 years, the wood was looking awfully tired so I'm in the process of re-varnishing and so far, things are looking much better and it's not an unreasonable amount of work.

SkywalkerII 05-29-2012 05:25 PM

Re: Bristol 34 or........?
I don't want to put up a classified here but...

If you are interested, I know of a 1978 C&C 34, on Long Island Sound, has a new Atomic 4....

Very reasonably priced and ready to go.

Send me a message for details if you want.


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