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Any opinions on RK Industries 1978 21 ft

Looking to buy my first sailboat and have pretty much decided on a swing keel as I plan to sail in the Rehoboth Bay and it has shallow areas and isn't too deep.I'm looking into a 1978 RK Industries 21 ft swing keel and would like opinions.Its only 1500,supposedly an older guy that just wants to get rid of it.No motor is included,sails are supposed to be in good condition,trailer looks good in pics and has new bearings ,wheels and rims.It has a pop top which concerns me for leaks.money isn't an issue so if there's better for the money I'd rather go that route
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post #2 of 6 Old 03-26-2015
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Re: Any opinions on RK Industries 1978 21 ft

Look around for a Catalina 22. Many thousands made, very popular and Catalina support, both from the factory and owners groups are second to none.

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post #3 of 6 Old 03-26-2015
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Re: Any opinions on RK Industries 1978 21 ft

A boat that size I think it really does not matter what kind it is, it is all about condition. It is not like the investment is so much (I know most around here are not made of money, but we are not talking mortgage) if you are not happy you can turn around and sell it for at least what you paid for it. Likely you will want to move up anyway, unless this really fills your future plans.
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post #4 of 6 Old 03-26-2015
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Re: Any opinions on RK Industries 1978 21 ft

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Originally Posted by miatapaul View Post
A boat that size I think it really does not matter what kind it is, it is all about condition. It is not like the investment is so much (I know most around here are not made of money, but we are not talking mortgage) if you are not happy you can turn around and sell it for at least what you paid for it. Likely you will want to move up anyway, unless this really fills your future plans.
Spoken like a person who hasn't tried to sell a 4ktsb lately.

Yeah its small money paid. Yeah everything else he said is correct (it's only money)... however, selling an older boat even at cut-throat prices, can sometimes take a while (measured in months if not years). There just isn't a huge market for small sailboats. Given how long I've seen boats listed on yachtworld and sailboatlistings, I'd say it's not a huge market for pretty much ANY sailboat.

With that the suggestion of a Catalina 22 is a good one, in that they are very popular and are generally easier to sell then some of the lesser known brand boats. And Catalinadirect is a great source of parts for anything Catalina/Capri.

But if you really LOVE the boat, and the condition is what you like... then get it. One's ultimate decision shouldn't JUST be about what the thing is worth when you want to rid yourself of it.

Be familiar with what it takes to rehab a swing keel (they nearly always need cable/pivot pin work). Also the trunk can sometimes have some minor crazing and worse damage.

Like all boats, look at chainplates, gudgeons, pintles, hatches, through-hulls, and thump the hull for soundness (thud is bad, thwack/tap sound is good). Look for rotting bulkheads. Look for osmotic blisters... Check the mast step (is it square, and flat?)... Pulpits, and stanchions, check for bends (if bent check the deck underneath for cracking or leaks). Check the bow eye (look inside the boat), last 3 boats I've bought had damage to the bow-eye (some monkey probably thought the boat could be lifted from the bow eye).

A trailer is involved, so look at the BACK of the tires (where most dry rot is prevalent)... jack up the wheels, spin them, listen for marble in a coffee can sound. Inspect the brakes (if it has them - pull a wheel)... check the actuator (again if it has brakes). Check the ball clasp. Inspect the safety chains. Test the lights. Check the trailer winch, and strap.

I could go on for days about this stuff.... NONE of it is a game changer, but put time/money/hours to each of those repair jobs, add it to the listing cost, and ask yourself if it was fixed/repaired is the boat "worth" that kind of cost to you.

My last 3 boats cost me about 20-40% more in repairs the first year I had them, and that didn't even include sails.

Which leads me to "sails." I LOVE these "sails are OK, or crisp" statements by sellers. Yeah but how OLD are they? Most times they are original! My present boat sold to me, had 18 sails with it. the NEWEST sail, was 2006. It was used for 2 seasons and stored inside. It's probably got about 2-3 more seasons for racing in it... The rest of the sails? 2 original sails (main and 110 were in decent shape, with little use), every laminate sail and there were 5, were FOLDED, and stored, and the lamination blew through on the folds. I DID however, have probably 5 spinnakers with nearly each being in decent and usable shape.

My point? PULL THE SAILS OUT!!! they are a HUGE expense (even cheap sails are pricey). Look for stretched (shrunk actually) boltrope on the main (means the sail has been overstretched/wet many times and then sat on a shelf a while to dry/shrink)... look for tears, pulled seams, batten pocket damage... these are all signs of "abused," sails. On a 22 foot boat, you are looking at about $700 for a cheap NEW mainsail. Probably same for a 125% genoa.

Also outboards are a huge sticking point for me... boat without motor? Ugh... you'll want at least a simple motor (2 stroke with integral tank)... those will run you about $300-$400 used, and will need some work usually to keep running right. New? Forgetabout it, more like $900.

So add up the headaches, put a dollar number, and number of hours on it, that will be required to get the boat/trailer/sails/motor, safe/functional, then you'll have a pretty good idea of what the boat really costs.

Congratulations I just made you a small boat inspector.
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Last edited by SHNOOL; 03-26-2015 at 10:45 AM.
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Re: Any opinions on RK Industries 1978 21 ft

Thanks for the input,its really appreciated.I'm trying to avoid a mistake as I already am needing to sell a past boat buying mistake now.I'm wanting a swing keel due to my close proximity to Rehoboth bay,yet I may also want to trailer to Md ,so I may look into something a bit bigger also.I had a feeling the swing keels would be a maintenance headache.I am handy so I figure I can learn.One question I do have is how long does it take to rig them and unrig them ?That's a big drawback for me as far as a trailered boat goes,but for now its my only option.
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post #6 of 6 Old 03-27-2015
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Re: Any opinions on RK Industries 1978 21 ft

Is this boat 21' or 20'? Cuz Coastal Recreation built three boats in those sizes. Balboa 21, Balboa 20, and RK20.

The (more common) RK20 is the same basic boat as the Balboa 20 and Ensenada 20. Hull designed by Lyle Hess. Note the distinctive hollow at the bow's waterline. Fairly heavy and beamy little boat, so they like a bit of wind. But also reassuring in a thunderstorm. High coamings and small cockpit, so a bit drier than some boats in this class.

Differences between 20' models lie in deck design, interior layout, and keel pivot point. I believe all had cast iron keels, and many have corrosion problems which may cause the keel to stick in the slot. $1500 is the standard price for an E20/RK20/Balboa20 in decent shape with useable sails on a road-worthy trailer. These are sturdy little boats that are very forgiving and excellent to learn on, tho nothing beats an unballasted dinghy for instant feedback. Not so forgiving, however. The mast sections are heavy on these boats and may require some scheme for winching it vertical.

None of these boats really sails well (or safely) with the swing keel up; all will draw about 4' with it down. But if you do run aground, it's nice to be able to raise the keel a little to get unstuck. For very shoal waters, you may be stuck with something like a Compac 16. Although I'd just buy a dinghy for that kind of place.

Buccaneer18, Grainnia
SJ21, Diarmuid
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