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post #1 of 13 Old 06-03-2002 Thread Starter
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76 Grampian 28?

I just looked at a grampian 28. It is in good condition with a yanmar2gm20 engine,tiller with autohelm,most gages, but no head. Just an empty space. asking price is 10900. My question: Is it worth the price as is? I dont want to put in a portapotty. I would put in sink, shower,and toilet. Is this a major expence? Everything else on the boat seems to be in good order.
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post #2 of 13 Old 06-04-2002
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76 Grampian 28?

$10,900 seems like an awful lot of money for a 1976 Grampian 28 with no head. After all this is a 26 year old boat and one that was not very well regarded when she was new. early Grampians from the mid-1960''s were very nicely built but by the late 1960''s and early 1970''s Grampian had become a ''value oriented'' builder and was cutting corners that probably should not have been cut. I helped do a number of repairs to a Grampian of that era and these were not very good boats. The 28 was an effort to clean up their act and was a nice boat in many ways but still had a number of build quality issues and fairly or not, was seen as being tainted by Grampain''s earlier reputation for mediocre quality.

Beyond the generalities of the Grampian 28, you can expect to find some ''issues'' with any boat this age. Unless very well maintained and updated by a previous owner, you should expect to need to address some combination of the following items:
Sails, chainplates, mast step and associated suporting structure, standing and running rigging that are well beyond their useful lifespan,
an engine that is in need of rebuild or replacement,
worn out or out of date deck, and galley hardware,
worn out upholstery,
Out of date safety gear
electronics that are non operational, or in need of updating,
electrical and plumbing systems that need repairs, upgrades to modern standards or replacement. The electrical system on the Grampians in particular was pretty poorly done.
Blister (the late 1970''s begins the worst period for blister problems), fatigue, rudder, hull to deck joint or deck coring problems
Keel bolt replacement.
And perhaps a whole range of aesthetic issues.

As to your specfic question about upgrading the head with a sink and a shower, if I remember correctly Grampian 28''s have a very tight head compartment. They had a head with a sink that slid out when needed. Installing a new good quality head is not all that expensive, perhaps $200-500, a range that assumes that you only need a head and some hoses to assuming you need a holding tank, thru-hulls/seacocks, and associated pluming and you are doing the work yourself. I ma not sure about this but I sort of thing that the sink drained into the toilet if I remember correctly and because of its outboard position would need to have a check valve if you plumbed it directly into its own drain (nothing should plumb into the head discharge and you can''t plumb it into the head intake without a valving system. As to a shower, beyond the sheer tightness of the head compartment, is the issue of a sump. I don''t believe these boats have a sump. if I remember correctly, in order to gain a little more headroom you are actually walking in the bilge as you walk forward. Showers need a way to collect and discharge the grey water. On a small boat there is usually a sump that drains into the bilge (not the best way to go) or a more complicated sump with its own discharge pump which is a better set up in all ways. The sump with pump requires a bilge that is tall enough below the decks for the pump and so cuts 4 or 5 inches out of headroom. In the Grampian you would have to build this sump and the grate above it and either install, wire and plumb the sump pump and plumbing or try to plumb the water to a bilge which I don''t beleive would be very easy if I remember correctly how these boats were constructed. (Its been well over 20 years since I looked at one of these boats so you will need to study this out for yourself.)If you can drain to the bilge you can probably install a shower for $200 to $300 (glass a sump, build a grate, and add a pressure water system). If you have to do a sump and pump add a couple hundred more for the pump, switching, wiring, backflow preventer, and plumbing.

Good luck,
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post #3 of 13 Old 06-04-2002 Thread Starter
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76 Grampian 28?

Jeff,I appreciated your comments.I am glad that you spent the time to reply. In regards to ages of boats, when is a boat ready for the scrapyard? After 20 years? I can only afford a late 70''s to mid 80''s boat. If I am only going to get about five useful years out of one of these boats, its hardly worth considering. What are your thoughts?

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post #4 of 13 Old 06-05-2002
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76 Grampian 28?

I have a 1968 Grampian 26 that I bought 3 years ago and have sailed extensively since then. This boat had a completely new electrical system installed by the previous owner, as well as an Imron paint job, custom SS bow pulpit and teak anchor platform. The interior was stripped down to the bare plywoood, and I completely rebuilt it, using mahogany plywood and solid mahogany and fir.
I have made many upgrades both in the interior and on deck.

This is a solid, well-built boat. There are no deck leaks, no soft spots or delaminated areas, or blisters. The Grampian 26 is surprisingly fast under sail, and with it''s heavy ballast/displacement ratio, it is stiff and does not require reefing until it really blows. My wife and I, along with her teenage daughter, cruised on this boat for 4 months last winter. We had no boat-related problems.

As to age, and whether or not old boats like this "wear out", I recommend you read Don Casey''s book THIS OLD BOAT. Lots of info in there on refurbishing and on the sensiblility of buying an old boat.
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post #5 of 13 Old 08-13-2002
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76 Grampian 28?

Actually, as a structural engineer and in that era, the Grampians were actually quality component, well-made boats whose stodgy shaped allowed an uncommon amount of cabin space. They also have a nice amount of weight to them compared to others in it''s class so it affords them that extra bit of stability. Most boats in it''s class are scaled up smaller, so-so quality boats. You will notice the difference as you come across more and more boats. As far as a boat wearing out because of age? That''s a new one to me. These boats are fiberglas, not wood. Gelcoats however do go dull after a while and also get superficial crazing and cracking at high stress points, you will see this mostly in the mast area. Because of its following and cabin size, Grampians''s seem to have a high resale value. But look around, condition is key and watch out for boats that have been sitting forever outside.
Good luck!
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post #6 of 13 Old 08-15-2002
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76 Grampian 28?

I would not think that fiberglass has a life span per se. Neither concrete nor fiberglass truly breaks down or looses strength on their own. They require other causes. In the case of fiberglass loss of strength can result from one or more of the following,

-The surface resins will UV degrade.
-Prolonged saturation with water will effect the byproducts formed in the hardening process turning some into acids. These acids can break down the bond between the glass reinforcing and the resin. (Grampian used a lot of accellerators and in the one I owned and the ones I helped work on this results in micro crazing which concerns me structurally over time.)
-Fiberglass is prone to fatigue in areas repetitively loaded and unloaded at the point where it is repetitively deflected. High load concentration areas such as at bulkheads, hull/deck joints and keel joints are particularly prone.
-Salts suspended in water will move through some of the larger capillaries within the matrix. Salts have larger molecules than water. At some point these salts cannot move further and are deposited as the water keeps moving toward an area with lower moisture content. Once dried these salt turn into a crystalline form and exert great pressure on the adjacent matrix.
-Poor construction techniques with poorly handled cloth, poorly mixed or over accelerated resins, and poor resin to fiber ratios were very typical in early fiberglass boats. These weaker areas can be actually subjected to higher stresses that result from much heavier boats. Its not all that unusual to see small spider cracking and/or small fractures in early glass boats.
-Of course beyond the simple fiberglass degradation there is core deterioration, and the deterioration of such things as the plywood bulkheads and flats that form a part of the boat''s structure.

There are probably other forms of degradation that I have not thought of but I think that the real end of the life of a boat is going to be economic. In other words the cost to maintain and repair an old boat will get to be far beyond what it is worth in the marketplace. I would guess this was the end of more wooden boats than rot. I can give you a bit of an example from land structures. When I was doing my thesis in college, I came across a government statistic which if I remember it correctly suggested that in the years between 1948 and 1973 more houses had been built in America than in all of history before that time. In another study these houses were estimated to have a useful life span of 35 years or so. As an architect today I see a lot of thirty five year old houses that need new bathrooms, kitchens, heating systems, modern insulation, floor finishes, etc. But beyond the physical problems of these houses, tastes have changes so that today these houses in perfect shape still has proportionately small market value. With such a small market value it often does not make sense from a resale point of view to rebuild and these houses are therefore often sold for little more than land value. At some level, this drives me crazy, since we are tearing down perfectly solid structures that 35 years ago was perfectly adequate for the people who built it, but today does not meet the "modern" standards.

The same thing happens in boats. You may find a boat that has a perfectly sound hull. Perhaps it needs sails, standing and running rigging, a bit of galley updating, some minor electronics upgrades, a bit or rewiring, new plumbing, upholstery, a little deck core work, an engine rebuild, or for the big spender, replacement. Pretty soon you can buy a much newer boat with all relatively new gear for far less than you''d have in the old girl. Its not hard for an old boat to suddenly be worth more as salvage than as a boat. For example, a couple years ago a couple friends of mine were given a Rainbow in reasonable shape. She just needed sails and they wanted an auxiliary, but even buying everything used the boat was worth a lot less than the cost of the "new" parts. When they couldn''t afford the slip fees, the Rainbow was disposed of. She now graces a landfill and the cast iron keel was sold for scrap for more than they could sell the whole boat for.

Wooden boats represent the difference between a maintainable construction method versus a low maintenance. A wooden boat can be rebuilt for a nearly infinite period of time until it becomes a sailing equivalent of ''George Washington''s axe'' (as in "that''s George Washinton''s axe. It''s had a few new handles and a few new heads but that is still George Washington''s axe".) But fiberglass boats are much less rebuildable. You can replace many of the components but when the major structure reaches the end of its life there is nothing that can be done.

I think that you can find good solid boats from the 1960''s and 1970''s that were built by quaility builders and well maintained by prior owners. These are the best deals because that owner has spent the money to buy new and taken the hit on the limited market value of these boats. Grampians of the era you are considering were pretty junky and so would not necessarily fall in that category.

And finally if you buy an old fiberglass boat, paint the bilges white. It does nothing for the boat, but if you ever have to sell the boat, then someone may look in your bilge and say "Lets buy her because any man that would love a boat so much that he went through the trouble to paint the bilge white must have enjoyed this boat and taken great care of her no matter what her age."

Good Luck,
post #7 of 13 Old 06-25-2011
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I have owned a Grampian 28 for many years and have never run across the problems listed in other answers. The boat is nice and stiff and fast. Back in the 70's was a good 1/2 ton racer. The answer is maintenace.
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post #9 of 13 Old 07-25-2019
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Re: 76 Grampian 28?

Originally Posted by treb001 View Post
I have owned a Grampian 28 for many years and have never run across the problems listed in other answers. The boat is nice and stiff and fast. Back in the 70's was a good 1/2 ton racer. The answer is maintenace.
I am looking at a Grampian 28 myself built in 1977. Thank you for your input. What would you say is a good offer price for this boat in decent condition?
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post #10 of 13 Old 07-25-2019
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Re: 76 Grampian 28?

I know it can be frustrating waiting for an answer one needs pretty quickly, so I'll just point out that treb001 hasn't posted since 2012. They might be lurking silently but I wouldn't hold my breath.

Tom K

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Ambition is a poor excuse for not having enough sense to be lazy ~ Steven Wright
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