Build Quality? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 9 Old 04-09-2013 Thread Starter
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Build Quality?

Regarding mid-1980's 28-30' Catalinas, Ericsons, Newports, and Pearsons:

I am more interested in structural integrity than interior finish.

Assuming 30 years in a slip and coastal cruising in So. California resulting in approximately 12000 hours of sailing with average maintenance, which manufacturer would be least likely to manifest:

Hull Blisters
Subdeck delamination around chain plates and other rigging
Leaking hull-to-deck joints
Leaking portals and hatches
Excess wear or damage to steering and rudder chains/bearings
Keel/hull separation
Engine problems
Poor quality electrical wiring and connections
Plumbing problems
Delaminating interior and loose fixtures
etc., etc., etc.

In other words, is one of these inherrently a better built boat or were these 4 manufacturers essentially the same build quality during that time period?
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post #2 of 9 Old 04-09-2013
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Re: Build Quality?

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldFrog75 View Post
Regarding mid-1980's 28-30' Catalinas, Ericsons, Newports, and Pearsons:.....
Any or all these could be your winner or your loser... While there may be some essential differences in original quality, after 30 years its going to come down more to maintenance and upkeep, and the boat's history in the interim than anything....
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1984 Fast/Nicholson 345 "FastForward"

".. there is much you could do at sea with common sense.. and very little you could do without it.."
Capt G E Ericson (from "The Cruel Sea" by Nicholas Monsarrat)

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post #3 of 9 Old 04-09-2013
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Re: Build Quality?

Models built by those builders can all be good coastal cruisers. You should look at a variety of models. Particular models are known to have particular problems.

In fact, one of the advantages of buying a boat that was made in higher volume is you know what to look for when you do your inspection. Some builders were better at particular things than others and worse at particular things than others.

Take your time. Look at a wide variety of boats. Do your research before you inspect the boat and learn how to inspect an older boat before you step aboard.

Before I bought my current boat, I looked at two Tartans, a 27 and a 30, 3 C&Cs, a 27, a 29 and a 30, a Newport 28, and a Pearson 26, 28 and 30. I also considered Catalina 27 and 30, an Albin Ballad, a Pearson Flyer, and some other boats, but never inspected those particular boats for different reasons. I did a lot of research on all the different boats I was considering and learned a lot in the process. Every boat is a compromise. Ultimately, it will come down to knowing what is available, understanding the market, the features and condition of the particular boat, and your ability to negotiate a purchase with the owner.
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Re: Build Quality?

I'd say a direct answer to the original post is the Ericson had the best original build quality and will "age" best all things being equal. ( Things may vary here in the real world, batteries not included, local restrictions apply)
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Lightbulb Re: Build Quality?

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Originally Posted by mikel1 View Post
I'd say a direct answer to the original post is the Ericson had the best original build quality and will "age" best all things being equal. ( Things may vary here in the real world, batteries not included, local restrictions apply)
I would agree. OTOH most any production boat can be a great protected-water cruiser.
One thing that is more important than mere "age" are key construction engineering techniques -- like keel to hull attachment and hull to deck attachment.

As designs age, having the deck and hull glassed together with roving (Ericson) becomes a better idea with every decade.

While it's quite possible have a solid joining with a "coffee can" scheme, given the right adhesive and rivets, it will always be less robust and more leak-prone.

Besides the Ericson standard with roving joining the top and hull into one piece, look for a full-overlap on an inward flange on the hull side, like Niagara, Nonesuch, C&C, and our Olson.

As for the keel, if it's external, be especially wary of brokers or owners who try to laugh off a "smile" (sounds almost like fun when you call it that...) where the keel is pulling away from the hull.

Having said that, and given that we are talking about fiberglass boats, any frp boat can be made better and much stronger with sufficient infusions of cash, epoxy, and skill. If you find the perfect boat for your dreams, you can make it into your dream boat.
However, it's always better to start off with a good "foundation".


Happy Hunting and Fair Winds!

Loren
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post #6 of 9 Old 04-10-2013
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Re: Build Quality?

Yeah, but it all does come down to how they've been loved.

The worst shape mid-80s boat that I've looked at (when buying two boats) was an Ericson 25+. A compression post issue has the mast step sunken by a couple of inches and bulkheads askew. Had this been figured out when the issue started it probably would have been pretty easy to handle. Blisters were also a problem on this boat at some point in it's history, because a previous owner had spent a lot of money tearing everything off of the bottom and putting on a barrier coat.

My Pearson has much nicer finishes (both hidden fiberglass and all exposed surfaces) than my Catalina 25 did, but the Catalina 25 is just as dry if not drier. The Catalina has very rough internal fiberglass in areas that humans were clearly never meant to access again. Everything on the Pearson is nicely finished, meant to be accessible or not.

A lot of the Catalina original hardware was cheaper and we've replaced almost all of the blocks in the running rigging. The OEM equipment on the Pearson was a lot better, and the only thing that I've had to replace were the original clutches.

On haul outs this year the 1986 Pearson had one small blister on the rudder. The 1984 Catalina had one quarter sized blister (repaired) and a half dozen or so dime sized ones.

Actual wiring is similar on both, but the Pearson is a lot easier to service with pull strings through all hard to reach areas and no buried wires. Catalina buried the mast wires in the deck in a way that they can never be replaced.

I prefer how the chainplates are handled on my Pearson 28-2 to how they are handled on the Catalina or Ericson. They go directly to the hull (piercing the deck and going down through the cabin) instead of going to bulkheads.

This is a sample size of 3, which isn't enough to really mean anything.
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post #7 of 9 Old 04-10-2013 Thread Starter
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Re: Build Quality?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jameswilson29 View Post

Before I bought my current boat, I looked at two Tartans, a 27 and a 30, 3 C&Cs, a 27, a 29 and a 30, a Newport 28, and a Pearson 26, 28 and 30. I also considered Catalina 27 and 30, an Albin Ballad, a Pearson Flyer, and some other boats, but never inspected those particular boats for different reasons. I did a lot of research on all the different boats I was considering and learned a lot in the process. Every boat is a compromise. Ultimately, it will come down to knowing what is available, understanding the market, the features and condition of the particular boat, and your ability to negotiate a purchase with the owner.
What did you buy?
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post #8 of 9 Old 04-10-2013
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Re: Build Quality?

Boats are like wine - especially from that time frame.
Each one has a vintage and all of them age differently depending on use, how they cared for and how they are stored.

Lessons learned are opportunities earned.
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post #9 of 9 Old 04-10-2013
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Re: Build Quality?

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Originally Posted by OldFrog75 View Post
What did you buy?
A Pearson 28 - you can see photos on my profile and 31 different videos at my YouTube channel at James Wilson - YouTube
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