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brob76 12-01-2009 05:00 PM

Which Boat to Buy
Hi All,

I'm relatively new to sailing and new to the forum so please forgive me if my question seems obtuse. I know this type of question has been asked many times in many ambiguous ways so I'll try to be as specific as possible.

I've been restoring and sailing a Pearson 26 for the last few years and I think I'm ready to move up now. I would like to attempt an ocean crossing in the next few years and possibly a circumnavigation eventually so I'd like to find a solid, versatile and seaworthy boat in the 28'-32' range. I really want versatility; something I can cross and ocean with or take out for a leisurely day sail. Budget is flexible (realistically in the ~$20K to $25K range) but I would rather find something inexpensive that needs a bit of refitting. I would ideally like to find something in the $10K and spend the rest of the budget making it my own.

This is my short list (order intended):
Pearson Triton
Alberg 30
Allied Seawind II
Southern Cross 31
Pearson Vanguard

I've researched each of these quite a bit and I'm leaning toward the Triton or Alberg 30 for their simplicity, seaworthiness and low initial investment. The Seawind and Southern Cross also look very attractive due to their larger accommodations but also carry a higher price tag. I'm really looking for personal anecdotes/experiences with each of these boats with regards to comfort on an extended cruise such as an ocean crossing, "bang for the buck" etc. Also wondering if the extra 2' LOA of the Alberg 30 makes enough of a difference in comfort to spend the extra $$ compared to the Triton.

Thanks for your help in advance....Cheers!


smackdaddy 12-01-2009 05:06 PM

78 Attachment(s)
Hey brob - since you've been around here a while you may have already seen it - but here's a pretty good starting place: The Salt's Corner Table

It's a thread with some of the best info to some of the most asked questions around here (including yours). And you can see who some of the go-to guys are.


mcyr 12-02-2009 06:20 AM

Where are you located?

If you have $20k to spend, you can find a nice nice Vanguard, i.e., without soft decks, with a diesel, good sails, etc. Check out the Vanguard mailing list on yahoo. Boats are listed there occasionally but you can always ask if anyone is looking to sell and I know you'll get some responses.

I have owned a masthead Triton for several years. Great boat and one of the only 28' boats you'd want to circumnavigate in (so its said). But just because its got a lot of fiberglass in the hull doesn't mean its built for the middle of the ocean. I wouldn't take my boat seriously offshore without major beefing up of the chainplates, bulkhead tabs and probably some rigging upgrades The triton is kinda small for a 28' due to short waterline and narrow beam. I assume you've checked out the Atom website?

brob76 12-02-2009 01:33 PM

Thanks for the response.

I'm in the New York Metro area. I do really like the Vanguard but every one I've seen for sale seems to be the dinette version which is a waste of cabin space IMO. Would rather have the standard settee to starboard and a smaller galley aft. The Atom site is what first interested me in the Triton. If I were to buy a Triton, I would follow James' advice on upgrades (chainplates, bulkheads etc) before venturing offshore. I would definitely go for a Vanguard if I could find a non-dinette version in serviceable condition.

Architeuthis 12-02-2009 02:08 PM

Having sold an Alberg 30 a few years ago I can tell you they can be had for well under $10G with excellent condition hulls. That generation of boats seem pretty rugged and as you know easy to fix the minor problems.

And you know they are very seaworthy for small boat. Of course larger is generally better out in the ocean that is not the case when working on them with a limited budget!

I'm do not really know the P26 you currently have but is that not a fast little fin keeler? The Alberg will seem really slow and sluggish. Have you been inside one?

I doubt it has al that much better acomodations and if you are getting another boat I would suggest a big step up in that department as well. There are boats out there in your budget that would be as seaworthy and have better accomodations. The more time I spent on a boat the more I like the accomodations. The less time I spend the more I like the sailing so it depends.

If on the other hand tough as nails is important as is the budget the Alberg30 is hard to beat. Lots of support on the internet was well. I also like the fact that an outboard fits nice in that aft locker. That could be the turning point right there if the budget says no to the inboard repairs.

I would also suggest shopping for the great buys that are out there. Just a couple months ago I saw a nice old full keel boat about 35' that sold for over $50G just a few years ago with a price of $30G on it. I mention it because when I asked about it, my Dad may be interested, the salesman was quick to suggest any offer might be accepted as the boat had to be sold or would be given away. I hinted at $10G and he seemed to say that deal could be done.

I'd say keep shopping and jump on one of those deals. Even if you do not like the boat, clean it up and resell it. I kinda wish I could do that.

brob76 12-02-2009 10:29 PM

Yes, the P26 is a fairly quick fin keeler. I'm perfectly willing to give up speed for safety and offshore capabilities. I only feel comfortable very close to shore in the P26. With the fairly flat bottom, you really feel it with the seas start kickin' up. I'm starting to think the Triton and Alberg 30 might be a bit tight down below for my needs. I do like the Vanguard and the Alberg 35 though. I found an Alberg 35 locally that's supposedly in pretty good shape....haven't seen it yet other than a few pics. They want $12K for it. Link is below. Does anyone have offshore experience in this boat and does it sound like a good buy provided the deck is solid and all the other major stuff is serviceable?

1962 Pearson Alberg 35 For Sale In Southold, New York -

Thanks for all your help,


mitiempo 12-02-2009 11:17 PM

While i have no experience with the Alberg 35 I think it's a viable choice - quite new diesel too. A lot of people seem to prefer the Alberg 37 for offshore but Alberg boats are all well designed and I actually like the looks of the 35 more. Your original list looks well thought out. The trend today is a larger boat with all the toys but times change and the oceans really haven't. If you read books about circumnavigations done 30 or 40 years ago (in the era the Alberg was built) a large number were done in boats under 35' or even 30' overall. As a matter of fact a sailor from the marina I'm in ( Paul Lim from Victoria B.C.) is currently in Chile preparing to round Cape Horn singlehanded. His boat is a Spencer 35 (same as Hal Roth's Whisper), pretty similar to an Alberg 35 in almost every way. I just compared them on Sail Calculator Pro v3.53 - 2000+ boats and they are virtually identical except tha Alberg weighs in a bit heavier.
Whatever you buy in your price range is going to need a bit of work. But in the end you get a boat you know very well and you can also pay as you go.
Here's a few links that might come in handy. Northern Yacht Restoration | Tim Lackey:* One Man, One Boat at a Time is Tim Lackey's commercial site. He restores plastic classics, most often the Triton, but most of what he does is applicable to any boat. Everything he does to a boat (and he does a lot) is very well documented in words and good pics. His other site is The Plastic Classic Forum • Index page where virtually everybody posting has or is rebuilding a boat to some extent and it's a great place to ask questions or bounce ideas around and get advice on how to do somethung. Tim posts often here as well.
I'm doing this as well to a 1977 CS27, upgrading and getting ready for offshore in a year or two. Hope this helps.

brob76 12-03-2009 05:44 PM

Yeah, I can do without all the toys. I work with technology for a living and sailing is my escape from all the problematic gadgets. I prefer simplicity. People were crossing oceans long before we had sat phones. Besides a hand-held GPS and SSB receiver, the only other thing I might consider is radar. Would be much more comfortable going to sleep at night knowing I wasn't close to being pummeled by a freighter.

I prefer to buy something that needs some work. It helps you to get to know the boat. I'm the techie type so I like to know what's going on under the hood so to speak. Thanks for pointing me to Tim Lackey's site. Looked at the forum and there seems to be tons of useful info.

I talked to the guy about the Alberg 35 today and he said the diesel has less than 500 hours which seems pretty good to me. He said there were a few soft spots on the deck and that the working jib was shot. All other sails were "OK". Don't feel like spending the rest of the winter re-coring the deck but a few soft spots shouldn't be a big deal. Does 12K sound steep? I'm thinking of offering 8K depending on how everything else looks.



mitiempo 12-03-2009 06:05 PM

There are 7 Alberg 35 on Yachtworld currently, a self described project at 15k, one at 20k with the famous Atomic 4, and 4 from 27k to 30k. And one very well equipped that looks great but is 38k. So I think the price is realistic and you should offer less, you can always increase if he says no. Good luck.

brob76 12-03-2009 10:52 PM

That A35 list for $38K is a beautiful boat...wish I could afford it :).

I think $12K seems like a pretty fair starting point for this boat depending on condition. I'll let you know after I take a look.

Thanks for your help,


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