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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest > General Discussion (sailing related) > Sailboat Quality
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Topic Review (Newest First)
08-30-2012 01:15 PM
SloopJonB
Re: Sailboat Quality

Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
I am going to offer there are two very different categories of quality. The first is the quality of the hull, rigging and mechanical systems. The second is of the fit and finish.
Very true. We had a good example of that very thing in Canadian manufactured boats back in the golden age. C&C had a very high rep for quality of design and build and it was deserved. Hughes (NorthStar) had a somewhat lesser rep however their design quality (S&S) was at least as good as C&C. Also, S&S had a covenant with their designs that production builders had to meet certain build quality specs which were confirmed by visits from Rod Stephens hisself. To my mind there could hardly be a better guarantee of quality of construction.

However - the Hughes boats did not have the same "cosmetic" quality that C&C did - lots of laminate instead of wood, angled corners on bulkheads instead of rounded corners and so forth - areas where money could be saved without affecting the durability and seaworthiness of the boat, only the "perceived" quality.

There is an important distinction between substance and cosmetics and many people fail to understand or recognize it.
08-30-2012 08:56 AM
tommays
Re: Sailboat Quality

So here i sit on my 42 year old Cal 29 on which the refit issues were cause by compleat lack of care for 40 years

We fixed the boat and use it HARD in saltwater and having owned and sailed on much more "modern" boats there is really not much differance in sailing performance IF you do and apple to apple compare

IMHP none of the more costly boats work any better on a daysail/weekend basis they just cost a lot more money
08-30-2012 08:39 AM
SimonV
Re: Sailboat Quality

At the end of the day you will buy the boat that best suits you, your budget, and probably what will tip the balance, your heart.
08-30-2012 08:04 AM
Minnewaska
Re: Sailboat Quality

I am going to offer there are two very different categories of quality. The first is the quality of the hull, rigging and mechanical systems. The second is of the fit and finish.

Now, within each, there is quality for purpose. The quality of a coastal racer hull is going to be a different standard than for crossing an ocean.

Then of course, quality may not even be desirable, ironically. Bigger winches, stronger rigging, thicker teak decking and a more sturdy hull could make lake sailing a real drag.

In the end, most buyers are really looking for a hull that is best for their type of sailing and quality in fit and finish. Nothing wrong with that. JMHO
08-30-2012 02:57 AM
SloopJonB
Re: Sailboat Quality

Quote:
Originally Posted by rgscpat View Post
Uh, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but have we defined "Quality"?

It seems to me that manufacturers can choose to build to very different definitions of quality, depending upon the purpose of the boat. But quality may mean different things to different people. And quality may vary in different areas; while a top-end boat may generally have lots of quality design, construction, and finish across the board, it doesn't have to be that way.

First, there can be differences in how well the boat is designed for its particular purpose. If someone tries to use the boat for some other purpose, its particular quality may not be evident.

Then there's the quality, consistency, and carefulness of construction.

Then there are quality aspects such as durability and maintainability.

Then there are issues of quality of design, construction, durability, maintainability, and other quality aspects for different subsystems, such as power plant, wiring, etc. There are specialized issues such as ergonomic comfort, especially in places like the helm station, and whether different sizes and heights of people can be comfortable, safe, and secure on the boat.

A boat could be built like a tank -- but it could sail like a fat pig.
Or it could be splendidly built of the best materials on the planet -- but critical systems could be impossible to maintain or replace without tearing the boat apart.
It could be a sexy looker and sweet sailor, but have an exhaust or electrical system that's just waiting to kill someone.
A boat could have gloriously beautiful design and magnificent finish and be a work of art --- and be a total failure at its mission or fall apart because of some stupid oversight in construction or design.

It's almost impossible, even when selling to high-budget customers for a manufacturer to get everything right --- and that's probably only possible when targeting the boat to a narrowly defined niche market and mission. I would venture that it's utterly impossible to achieve ultimate quality for every customer and mission profile for a boat.

So, WHICH quality do you want with that burger?
I think that is the whole point of this thread.
08-30-2012 01:36 AM
CalebD
Re: Sailboat Quality

As you focus more narrowly the 'quality' of the initial boat means less and less as the boat gets older.
My 45 year old Tartan 27' was built like a Cadillac of it's day. 45 years later it is still a good boat but lots of things can (and do) go wrong in spite of good (or bad) design. Chain plates on most old boats are suspect no matter which 'brand'. Early designs for travelers were crappy to begin with and need updating as do many built in ice boxes.
You are lucky if a boat with a 45 year old engine still works. Our Atomic 4 does. It just needs burping and TLC more often then not.
For older boats the initial build quality matters so much less then the way a boat has been cared for and maintained.
It is kind of pointless to think that a twice holed and sunk Swann is worth more than a Catalina that has been really cared for.
How hard a boat has been raced is another consideration. Boats that are raced hard or sailed hard have less life left in them then one that just puttered around the harbor.
They all become VW Carmen Gia's after they have been water logged a few times. No Lexus can withstand the degradation of salt water for long, much less a Rolls Royce.

If you want a well built newer boat then you will have to look at the Hunters, Beneteaus, Catalinas (HuntaBentaLinas) and see what you can afford (unless you can afford to spend more).
08-30-2012 12:41 AM
SlowButSteady
Re: Sailboat Quality

Quote:
Originally Posted by davidpm View Post
I know about the gate valves and the plywood in the sump that causes the Catalina smile but where is the mild steel and which models have it?
Two examples off the top of my head are:
- Cal/Jensen boats (which were otherwise very well built) used a mild steel "beam" under the compression post in several models.
- Many builders used (and still use?) galvanized mild steel keel bolts to secure iron keels. That was necessitated by galvanic considerations. However, some didn't bother with the galvanized bolts and just used untreated bolts/washers/nuts (my old Victory 21 had this problem).
08-30-2012 12:30 AM
NCC320
Re: Sailboat Quality

Actually, the Catalinas, O'Days, and most of the other boats built in the 70-80's were pretty darn good. All of this fussing about their poor quality is 40+ years after they were new. And, despite the Catalina smile due to a wood spacer deterioating, these boats, all of them, are still serviceable, despite the fact that most of them have been abused and ignored from a maintenance standpoint, and when they did get maintenance, it was usually by amateurs who, in most cases, didn't really know what they were doing. Actually, to a large degree, the people still messing with these boats are, for the most part amateurs, who freely subsititute cheap, non-marine components, and based on my observations in nearby marinas, do in general a poor job (and, I understand that many are trying to get into the sport on a limited budget, so it's ok...just be sure when you criticize the boat manufacturer for poor quality, it's something they did).

Think about it. When these boats were 5, 10, 15 yrs. old, these quality issues were not present then ...no Catalina smile, no rotten bulkheads, or fallen liners, etc...., the boats were generally ok, and most of the issues have come about in later years. Now, a boat is a machine. Think about it, how many cars and trucks from the 1970's are running up and down the road today? Think about your house that was built in 1970. All of the appliances, furnaces, airconditioners, roofs, much of the wood, have been replaced. And your house has probably settled and there may be leaks and rotten wood from place to place. How many 1970 airliners are still in service, and would you want to ride on one? Think about the other hobby items...golf carts, motorcycles, campers, etc. from that time.....all gone to the junk yard. Farm tractors, construction equipment, desks, business machines....all gone to scrap. So maybe, just maybe, those old boats were not so bad after all. They're still hanging in there, ready to give you some fun, if you just stop trashing them and get about making repairs so you can go sailing.

And when you criticize the boat manufacturers on how they did things back then, keep in mind that, in boat building, as in everything else, techniques have been refined, there are new materials, and manufacturing methods are better today.

Further, I would suggest to you, that as one looks at older boats, you shouldn't focus on the brand so much. Select one that will fit your intended use...a boat that you think looks good (not what others necessarily think looks good or is proper), a coastal boat if you are going to be a coastal sailer, a blue water (old shoe, slug, but well built like a tank) if you are really going to attempt sailing off to the islands with $200 and a dream. When you pick the boat or boats that you like, then start looking at the quality angle. Because it's going to vary greatly from individual boat to boat within any brand due to the history and treatment that the particular boat has received, and that's likely to be more significant than brand to brand differences.

If you wear Rolex watches, fine, go for the high price, high build quality boats. If you wear Timex or Casio, look lower on the scale. Both watches tell correct time, just as both types of boats will do anything that you are likely to do. (But beware of trying to operate on a Rolex level with a Timex budget.....a lesser brand boat in good condition that you can go sailing now is a better deal than a old, high end, but beat up boat requiring lots of maintenance before you can use it.
08-30-2012 12:10 AM
rgscpat
Re: Sailboat Quality

Uh, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but have we defined "Quality"?

It seems to me that manufacturers can choose to build to very different definitions of quality, depending upon the purpose of the boat. But quality may mean different things to different people. And quality may vary in different areas; while a top-end boat may generally have lots of quality design, construction, and finish across the board, it doesn't have to be that way.

First, there can be differences in how well the boat is designed for its particular purpose. If someone tries to use the boat for some other purpose, its particular quality may not be evident.

Then there's the quality, consistency, and carefulness of construction.

Then there are quality aspects such as durability and maintainability.

Then there are issues of quality of design, construction, durability, maintainability, and other quality aspects for different subsystems, such as power plant, wiring, etc. There are specialized issues such as ergonomic comfort, especially in places like the helm station, and whether different sizes and heights of people can be comfortable, safe, and secure on the boat.

A boat could be built like a tank -- but it could sail like a fat pig.
Or it could be splendidly built of the best materials on the planet -- but critical systems could be impossible to maintain or replace without tearing the boat apart.
It could be a sexy looker and sweet sailor, but have an exhaust or electrical system that's just waiting to kill someone.
A boat could have gloriously beautiful design and magnificent finish and be a work of art --- and be a total failure at its mission or fall apart because of some stupid oversight in construction or design.

It's almost impossible, even when selling to high-budget customers for a manufacturer to get everything right --- and that's probably only possible when targeting the boat to a narrowly defined niche market and mission. I would venture that it's utterly impossible to achieve ultimate quality for every customer and mission profile for a boat.

So, WHICH quality do you want with that burger?
08-29-2012 11:15 PM
SloopJonB
Re: Sailboat Quality

Quote:
Originally Posted by davidpm View Post
I seriously doubt if you will find any substantial difference in quality between O'day and Catalina that would make any difference 30 to 40 years after the fact.

They were both inshore price point boats. If anything the Catalina no matter how old still has support.
I concur. Is a boat with teak faced plywood bulkheads higher quality than one with arborite faced plywood bulkheads? Not really - it may be a little more luxurious but luxury and quality are not the same thing.
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