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Brandon Davis 09-05-2018 12:55 AM

Fraser 50 pilothouse help
Hi. Im interested in buying a 1980 fraser 50 pilothouse listed on various sites right now. Id post a link but it wont let me.

I realize it needs some work. I would like some feedback and or input from more experienced sailors. I have looked quite a bit and I cannot seem to find ANY real information about these boats. The fact that I cant find anything about it is a bit frustrating. Trying to gauge the seaworthiness and displacement etc etc... Any input appreciated. Thank you :)

Jeff_H 09-05-2018 09:42 AM

Re: Fraser 50 pilothouse help
My understanding is that Frasers of any size are pretty rare and that most were sold as kits that were completed by their owners. The only one Fraser built boats that I think that I can remember seeing was extremely crudely finished, but looked to be a pretty solid boat. Here is some basic information on the Fraser 50/51/52. FRASER 51 sailboat specifications and details on

My sense is that the pilot house probably was an ad-lib by whoever completed the boat in question, since the stock design was a mid-cockpit layout that looked like this
(also the stats for the stock design are listed in this ad.)

There is a wreck of a home built Fraser 50/51/52 (listed as all three sizes within the ad) for sale up in Everett, Washington.
This one is a good example of what happens when a poor initial build quality fit out meets a poor maintenance owner. My sense is that it would take $100K or two to put that one back into decent and reliable condition. But it should give you a sense of what these boats look like.


tschmidty 09-05-2018 10:51 AM

Re: Fraser 50 pilothouse help
Oof, that is probably the one he is looking at since it has the pilothouse!

Brandon Davis 09-05-2018 01:47 PM

Re: Fraser 50 pilothouse help
Thank you for taking the time to respond. I had a hunch that these were kit built boats. That is the boat I was talking about. I really like the idea of a pilothouse. It being a kit build would explain why I couldnt find hardly anything about them online. Im not sure if it would be wise to gamble on an owner built boat, unless I could get it insanely cheap. Just from looking at the pictures though, I thought maybe it would be salvageable, but then again Its impossible to say without having seen it, and the fact that I dont know what I would be looking for either. Im thinking ill probably stay away from this one after all. Thanks for the input :)

Jeff_H 09-06-2018 07:31 PM

Re: Fraser 50 pilothouse help
Here is the deal, no matter how well built the hull and deck may have been, this is a very big boat and so everything will cost a lot of money simply because everything is bigger. When you look at the pictures and the listing (and the pictures may not reflect the reality of the boat for better or worse, and the listing may be incomplete) you see a boat that had a questionable build-out and a really poor maintenance. If the pictures tell the story, to put this boat into shape would be essentially building a kit boat from scratch, except that you have to tear out and dispose of a lot of bad stuff. Whatever is salvageable and reusable, will be offset by the sheer amount of labor and materials to remove, rebuild and reinstall it all again.

The pictures seem to show a boat with undersized winches, antiquated electronics, a beat to death (and maybe submerged) engine. The listing only describes a mainsail (in fair condition which on boat this size equals shot)

And this is a pretty mediocre and somewhat out-of-date design, so its value will always be limited by the limited market for obsolete designs this big. I would have to think that in perfect shape the boat is maybe worth $100K and maybe $150K in like new yacht finish condition.

But rebuilding a boat this size means a whole lot of money flowing, so much so that the boat as it sits almost has a negative value if you simply add up the big things on a boat this size it appears to need (and assuming you do a lot of the labor yourself) :
New sails $25K
Materials to paint and repair the deck and rebed hardware, replacing what is bad: 10K
Adding proper sized winches and deck hardware: 15-20K
Upholstery materials: 15K
Enough marine grade plywood and trim to do a half way decent interior: $10-$15K
Rebuilt engine and transmission : $15-20 K
New electrical system with panel, lighting, voltage regulators: $10-15K
New standing and running rigging: $15-20K
New plumbing: $2-3K
Storage for the years that it would take to do the job, something like $10-15K.

You can pretty quickly see why people would advise you to run the other way. If you were an army of skilled boatwrights and who had access to a great shop and discount buying power, if you could make your own sails, and had access to a really topnotch marine hardware salvage, or owned a 50 foot boat that was wrecked in a storm and could salvaged most of it, you might be able to begin to make sense out of this. But even then there are some great boats out there that could be bought ready to go for way less than putting this wreck into shape.

You might luck out on some of these items but to quote Dirty Harry, "How lucky do you feel?" For most experienced sailors, this is Russian Roulette with 5 rounds in the chambers or maybe Russian Roulette with semi-automatic pistol with rounds in the clip.



Brandon Davis 09-07-2018 03:34 PM

Re: Fraser 50 pilothouse help
That makes sense. Thats the kind of answer i was looking for pretty much. Just by looking at the pictures it seemed like maybe it would have been just "OK". I wouldnt have thought about the winch size. Is there a way to gauge how big of winches are required for a certain size boat? If it would cost me that much to refit and repair the boat, I might as well buy one thats ready to go right now and in newer better shape. I am pretty handy, and I usually do all my own repairs and I like the idea of going through everything so that I know the boat in and out. Even doing that though, it seems like this boat wouldnt be worth it.

I am trying to decide on buying a boat to repair and refit that is worthwhile, and one that is basically ready to go. There are so many boats out there its hard to know where to begin. Cost is obviously always a big factor. Any input on a decent sized monohull built for blue water traveling?

Thanks again for the responses

Jeff_H 09-07-2018 04:35 PM

Re: Fraser 50 pilothouse help
Normally winch sizes are listed in the listing for the boat. That did not happen on this boat. But in the pictures those look like Lewmar 48 self-tailing, two-speed winches. On a boat that size I might want powered winches but otherwise I would minimally want something like 60 self-tailing three-speed winches for the primaries. The 48's are probably adequate for secondaries.

I guess my question to you would be, if you are just learning about boats, why are you looking at a boat this big? Operating a big boat is not the same thing as handling a smaller boat. Boats like this take a lot of skill to operate safely and when things go wrong, someone is more likely to get maimed or worse. The lack of feel and sheer power of a boat like that makes it very hard to learn to sail, and also means that a small screw up can quickly become something much worse.


capta 09-07-2018 04:42 PM

Re: Fraser 50 pilothouse help
She looks to me as though she has been allowed to fill with fresh water while on the hard, or has been sunk at least once.
Remember, there's no guaranty at all that the pictures in a listing need be anything like recent. I've seen listings with ten-year-old pictures.
Like Jeff, I think this one is closer to demolishing that rebuilding.

Brandon Davis 09-07-2018 07:59 PM

Re: Fraser 50 pilothouse help
I wouldnt do anything I was not completely comfortable and able to do safely. Handling large machinery and equipment in small and dangerous or high traffic areas is not new to me, but I would not captain my own boat if I wasnt able to safely handle it. I started this thread because I almost preferred the idea of repairing and refit for a boat so I knew the ins and outs of it. Im less worried about being able to handle the boat than I am about the other stuff. Stuff like winch size, displacement amounts for certain types of sailing, opinions on materials, implications of different rigging styles etc etc. I realize a lot of this comes down to personal opinion for everyone. There is a lot to think about with just about every aspect of a boat, it would seem. I find it quite enjoyable to learn though :)

jephotog 09-08-2018 12:35 AM

Re: Fraser 50 pilothouse help

Originally Posted by Brandon Davis (Post 2051551180)
Stuff like winch size, displacement amounts for certain types of sailing, opinions on materials, implications of different rigging styles etc etc. I realize a lot of this comes down to personal opinion for everyone. There is a lot to think about with just about every aspect of a boat, it would seem. I find it quite enjoyable to learn though :)

If you have a big boat, you need a big engine (unless you go without) and if you have big sails you need big winches, if the winch is too small you won't be able to trim a loaded sail. Some things are not personal opinions.

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