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Bristol 38.8 (1986), Tartan 40 (1987)

Looking at these two sailboats......opinions?
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Re: Bristol 38.8 (1986), Tartan 40 (1987)

Two pretty similar boats by two premium builders. Tartan does have some options regarding the keel - deep, shoal, keel/CB - so depending on planned use and sailing area, that my be a consideration. I would say it all comes down to condition and equipment.

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Re: Bristol 38.8 (1986), Tartan 40 (1987)

Tartan has a Yanmar and the Bristol has a Universal......I have been told stay away from Universal.....opinion?
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Re: Bristol 38.8 (1986), Tartan 40 (1987)

at the age they are at.. not really a matter which engine. both are very reliable but you do want try and determine the hours on the engines. Who will do the maintenance?

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Re: Bristol 38.8 (1986), Tartan 40 (1987)

Eh. The only engines that I think are superior are the Betas, and that's because they've thought out the access issues. Otherwise it's all about which boat you like better, feel is a better value and find in better condition.

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Re: Bristol 38.8 (1986), Tartan 40 (1987)

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Eh. The only engines that I think are superior are the Betas, and that's because they've thought out the access issues. Otherwise it's all about which boat you like better, feel is a better value and find in better condition.
Kubota based also

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Re: Bristol 38.8 (1986), Tartan 40 (1987)

Yes. They are basically a Universal with a different color paint and better access to routine maintenance systems (IMO). Currently the only engine I'd repower with if I needed to.

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Re: Bristol 38.8 (1986), Tartan 40 (1987)

With both those engines, it comes down to how they have been looked after. I would not be afraid of higher hours, indeed I would take regular and prolonged use as a good thing. My 1984 Universal has nearly 4,000 hours, and is going strong. On the other hand, I've seen dead engines at 1,000 hours if they have been neglected.

The problem with all engines of that age, apart from wear, can be parts availability. Some of the marinization parts are getting hard to find for the Universals, exhaust manifolds for example. On the other hand, anything that's a Kubota part can be had for far cheaper than Yanmar parts, from tractor supply places. Just got a starter motor for $80. Try that with a Yanmar.

Jim is right, the 38.8 only comes in keel/centerboard.

My experience of Bristols of this vintage is of absolutely bombproof build quality.

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Re: Bristol 38.8 (1986), Tartan 40 (1987)

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Originally Posted by seaner97 View Post
Yes. They are basically a Universal with a different color paint and better access to routine maintenance systems (IMO). Currently the only engine I'd repower with if I needed to.
The big problem on my Universal is access to the oil filter, of all things. However, this can be fixed by converting to a remote filter.

Every time it's oil change time I see pictures of the equivalent Beta and consider a re-power! I guess a remote filter conversion would be less drastic.

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Re: Bristol 38.8 (1986), Tartan 40 (1987)

Similar boats, as others have said. If all things were equal (and they never are) I would go with Bristol. IMO it's a better design and better build quality. But in real life it will boil down to condition, equipment, and boat layout (in that order).

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