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  #1  
Old 08-31-2010
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Is this SJ21 a good deal?

Quoted from the seller's ad: In short, its in good condition but I'd have to get a new mast or raise one thats too big for the boat.

"SanJuan 21 on Trailer - $1900

1975 San Juan 21 Mark 2 Trailer Sailer on Lil' Dude trailer includes Mercury 4 long shaft outboard.

Hull and cabin in VG condition, I have all records back to original owners off the assembly line. Only freshwater sailed.

Sails ( 2 main, 1 jib, 1 spinnaker) are included, reasonable condition, the newer main has some damage from a mouse, easily repaired. Total weight rigged = 2000 lbs.

THE REST OF THE STORY: The step-up lightweight mast was damaged under sail last year, and I finally located a replacement mast from a Catalina 22 of the same height, but 50% more weight and 60% larger caliper. SO: The standing rigging needs to be set up & tuned to the new ( un-bent) mast. This sale includes BOTH masts ( the rigging on both as well), all the interior cushions ( with newer vinyl covers in VG condition), porti-potti, 1 achor with rode, mounted newer stainless swim ladder ( see images), 3 dock fenders, mainsail sunbrella blue canvas cover ( VG condition). and sails in bags as listed. "


I'm new and just started looking for a boat, thanks for the help!
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  #2  
Old 08-31-2010
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NO. The boat isn't in reasonable condition. It has to have the standing rigging replaced or re-fitted to work with the new mast. The new mast will probably also require a new mast step and possibly changes made to the sail.

If you're looking to buy a boat that is sailable, then buy a different one. If you want a project boat that may become a time and money sink, then this might be a good choice for you.

Also, since the "new" mast is heavier, you're going to have a far more tender, tippy boat, since there is far more weight aloft.
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Old 08-31-2010
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hmm, a supplier quotes "MAST,ALL HARDWARE/ SPREADERS $1,375.00"
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Old 08-31-2010
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First reflex: Walk away. Or offer $1000 firm. The world is full of SJ21s in ready-to-sail condition for ~$2000. Two thousand to $2500 is the going rate, tho some ask much more or much less. They sell for $3k in minty condition with spanking-new sails and a new outboard.

The C22 mast is wrong for this boat in more ways than I can enumerate -- but the two most critical are weight (you really want to put that much excess mass up high, on a boat already known for tenderness? It might capsize!) and stiffness. Most SJ21s are retrofitted with backstay adjusters, which bend the mast ~6" to depower the main. You do not want to mess that geometry up. Oh, and the spreader rake is different on a C22 mast.

If you can get the boat for $1k and buy the factory rig for another $1400, that might be worthwhile. You don't want to know what truck freight would be on that mast, tho -- I'd guess $600 via common carrier.

So just in case you are still eager, here's some other things to look for on the SJ21 to make sure it's as pristine as claimed:

* Soft decks. Nearly all SJ21s have (or had at some time) wet balsa in their decks, ranging from "a few inches around the jib tracks" to "oh my God, the whole thing is saturated." Clark did not use adequate backing plates nor isolate or bed the hardware correctly, and few owners have attended religiously to rebedding. Look for any signs of brown stains, weepage, or crusty white stuff around the fasteners on the cabin roof. Walk on the deck, especially around the mast step, grab rails, and winches; it should exhibit no give at all. Recoring a deck is not the worst job in the world, but wet decks would further reduce the market value of this boat to near zero.

* Wet transom. Ditto on the balsa. The port 2/3rds of the transom is balsa cored and often soft around the rudder gudgeons and motor bracket (but not the backstay chainplate, which is not in the cored area.) The transom is, in its way, a worse recore job than the decks -- and a safety issue to boot.

* Swing keel. It's hard to tell if the keel or its pivot is in good shape. Look for signs of repair around the pivot bolt; it is bedded in brittle polyester resin, surrounded by plywood that is often wet due to leaking keel gasket screws. I tore mine apart last year and was appalled at the condition of both the plywood and the pivot assembly. If it HASN'T been repaired, assume it needs to be. (This is another common problem.)

* Rudder. The original kick-up assembly was garbage: heavy & badly-shaped. An aftermarket rudder assembly adds value, but many are not legal for 1-Design racing. Much blood was recently spilled over this issue within the class.

* Hardware. The original stuff was Ronstan -- not bad for its time, but many blocks and sheaves are past their sell-by dates. The jib blocks and keel-winch sheave deserve close scrutiny. Replacement of all essential blocks and cleats will ding you $600. I know this cuz I just did it.

* Shroud chainplates and bulkheads. Not really a problem on the Mk1, but Mk2s and Mk3s were prone to leaks and rot around the chainplates. Try to ascertain how well the chainplate bedding has been attended, and look for any sign of water intrusion where the bulkheads are tabbed to the deck & hull. That repair is a big deal and requires mad skills. The damaged mast sets off warning bells -- did a shroud pull loose?

That's it! It's a simple boat whose problems are well-documented. The SJ21 class, once moribund and poorly organized, seems to be waking from its stupor and trying to build fleets again. I hope you buy one and enjoy it as much as we love ours.

But remember: This is a $2000-2500 boat when its problems are few. As a new sailor buying your first boat, I really really urge you to shop around and find one that can be sailed as is and needs no urgent refitting. Sail a little, fix a little. Dat's my recipe for happiness.
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Last edited by bobmcgov; 08-31-2010 at 11:21 PM.
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Old 09-01-2010
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I agree, keep looking, I got mine for $1000 with trailer and in reasonable shape, still had to put about another $500 in for trailer tires and upgrades to rigging. Still rebedding hardware and fixing winches etc. Watch for deck softness and walk on by if you find a lot. Fun boat and pretty fast to boot. If you want something to camp in get a Catalina.


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Old 09-01-2010
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My decks and transom sound solid when subjected to the tap test and do not flex, but when I was rebedding handrails and sea hood tracks this spring I definitely had areas of water intrusion and rot, and when I mounted a new outboard bracket on the transom at the same time I found significant rot there.

If I could be absolutely certain that all the balsa in the boat was bone dry and every through-bolt had been re-bedded the day the original owner took delivery and at regular intervals afterward then I would buy a boat in the condition you describe and rebuild from there. Pretty unlikely, though.

I love my SJ21, for the record. I am incredibly happy with it as a choice for my own first boat. Just don't rush into a purchase. There are a lot of them around for sale. Where are you located?

Last edited by lydanynom; 09-01-2010 at 07:37 AM.
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Old 09-01-2010
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I agree with everyone else. $1900 should buy you a boat in sailable condition. SJ21s are nice boats but not worth putting any effort into when it comes to fixing.

I wouldnt even bid a grand on it.
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Old 09-01-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkCK View Post
SJ21s are nice boats but not worth putting any effort into when it comes to fixing.
I don't think I'd go that far. I've certainly put a lot of effort into mine.

As old as these boats are I don't think it is avoidable. You probably want to shop for something newer (and a lot more expensive) if you don't want to put a lot of work into keeping it up.
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Old 09-01-2010
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I have thrown a lot of money at my boat also. Its a boat that i already own though. Buying a boat that needs major work is a little different.
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Old 09-01-2010
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Thanks for the detailed advice everyone, especially Bob hehe.

lydanynom, I'm in North PDX area.

I'll keep looking around. Are there any other good sites to look other than cragslist?
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