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Is it possible the Atomic 4 was a refit?
Despite it's supporters, that would be an extraordinarily odd choice, especially after it was discontinued.

Frankly, I think there is no way to defend a gasoline engine on a boat, over a diesel. Vapor ignition, carbon monoxide, cost to maintain, etc. It's on my never list. I'm not saying all boats that already have one should be avoided, but I'd never convert to one.
 

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General advice, not specific to this boat:
  • If your boat budget is a few thousand dollars or less, the best bang for your sailing dollar is a sailing club. There are plenty of sailing clubs in the Annapolis area. As your previous thread indicates you don't have any friends that sail, this is a good way to make sailing friends. From there get involved in the local racing community and crew. I know plenty of great sailors who don't have their own boats.
  • The real bargains in the used boat market aren't the cheap boats. They are the well-maintained older boats whose age and size puts a ceiling on how much they can sell for. Ideally, you want identify that price range and set your boat budget accordingly. Then do a search for your boat, and find that well-loved, well-cared for vessel.
  • Every other year, I get a new slip neighbor who bought a sub-30 ft 70s or 80s era project boat. He and a friend or a relative or a son will cast off the lines, head out for a couple of hours, and come back with some new harrowing tale of something that broke or stopped working while they were out. They will be regulars in the marina, working diligently on the boat every weekend. Then after a year, they sell the boat and disappear. Can you blame them? I can't. I love my boat but if all I did was work on it and seldom sail it I would get rid of it too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
Since you all went down this rabbit hole, it was not an Atomic 4, it was Universal, i misquoted, was thinking of another boat.
 
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That kind of changes things IMO.

A universal diesel is a pretty different deal from a gas inboard.

If you look at the brochure above from 1987, even back then it was nearly a $5000 upgrade on a $15000 boat.
 

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So you after all this feedback, I have to agree there are too many question marks here for this to be smart, and I am not rich enough to be stupid (or more importantly my wife thinks I am not ). I am just going to have to assume that I can find something in the 24 to 26 ft range to learn on in the spring, and hopefully i will have saved up a few more pennies to get a survey. However, my desire to be on the bay, learn to work on boats this winter, and understand more about sailing stands, so if any of you guys on the Chessie need help doing work over the winter, hit me up. If you can put up with a lot of stupid question ( and i think you have some idea how stupid ).
Perfectly happy to field your questions. Pictures will help as well.

The only deal breaker for me would have been the Atomic 4. Not because it's a bad engine, but because it's much more of a challenge than a diesel.

On a 30 year old boat, you will have all of the problems you described. Wear and tear, questionable repairs by the previous owner. Lots of mystery leaks... And if you are looking at $2k, you are going to put in A LOT of time and effort keeping her up. That is not to say it's not worth doing or won't be rewarding, but just know that the boat teaches you at her own pace.

Assuming you accept that you will have lots of repair and maintenance to do in any case, I would submit this as a list of deal breakers on an old boat:
-Damage to the hull exceeding dockrash.
-Squishy deck.
-Questionable standing rigging (broken strands, excessively rusty or cracked swages or chain plates)
-Rotten bulkheads are a major structural issue. (look for evidence of water intrusion below deck penetrations around the chain plates. Look to see if it's rotten, tap on it, poke it with a screwdriver)
-Not a common brand diesel engine: not only do you want a reliable engine, you want to be able to get parts.
-Not able to personally observe the engine running. (everything ran when it was parked...)
-If a deck stepped mast: deck depression around the mast foot. Inspect the structure all the way down to the bilge, something has given way.
-Badly corroded keel bolts

It really depends on how you want to spend your time: sailing vs. maintaining/repairing. The difference between a $2k boat and a $8K boat in the same size range is the sailing time /maintenance time ratio. Over the long term, they will likely cost about the same.

Best of luck!
 

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I don’t want this to come off critically, rather potentially helpful. I wonder if the misunderstanding on the engine translates to the other maintenance and repair matters. The representation that a cored deck was repaired with silicon in the core, was a huge red flag to me. I hate to start the OPs review over again, but maybe it’s worth paying someone to go take a look at it to get the assessment straight.
 

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I don't want this to come off critically, rather potentially helpful. I wonder if the misunderstanding on the engine translates to the other maintenance and repair matters. The representation that a cored deck was repaired with silicon in the core, was a huge red flag to me. I hate to start the OPs review over again, but maybe it's worth paying someone to go take a look at it to get the assessment straight.
OP has already decided to walk away from that boat. A wise decision I think.

Sent from my SM-G960W using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
Perfectly happy to field your questions. Pictures will help as well.

The only deal breaker for me would have been the Atomic 4. Not because it's a bad engine, but because it's much more of a challenge than a diesel.

On a 30 year old boat, you will have all of the problems you described. Wear and tear, questionable repairs by the previous owner. Lots of mystery leaks... And if you are looking at $2k, you are going to put in A LOT of time and effort keeping her up. That is not to say it's not worth doing or won't be rewarding, but just know that the boat teaches you at her own pace.

Assuming you accept that you will have lots of repair and maintenance to do in any case, I would submit this as a list of deal breakers on an old boat:
-Damage to the hull exceeding dockrash.
-Squishy deck.
-Questionable standing rigging (broken strands, excessively rusty or cracked swages or chain plates)
-Rotten bulkheads are a major structural issue. (look for evidence of water intrusion below deck penetrations around the chain plates. Look to see if it's rotten, tap on it, poke it with a screwdriver)
-Not a common brand diesel engine: not only do you want a reliable engine, you want to be able to get parts.
-Not able to personally observe the engine running. (everything ran when it was parked...)
-If a deck stepped mast: deck depression around the mast foot. Inspect the structure all the way down to the bilge, something has given way.
-Badly corroded keel bolts

It really depends on how you want to spend your time: sailing vs. maintaining/repairing. The difference between a $2k boat and a $8K boat in the same size range is the sailing time /maintenance time ratio. Over the long term, they will likely cost about the same.

Best of luck!
Thanks again, and yes I was expecting damage, I have the Don Casey book on inspecting aging boats, I mean I know that is probably not enough, but anything short of hull damage was never a deal breaker for me. I may not get this boat, but i do want to do work on the boat I get, it is right that people say learning experience etc. My thought is get a cheap boat that takes work so I know what I am looking for and what to do when I do get THE boat. All that aside, I see the wisdom of not getting a boat I can work on but not sail. Also of not biting off more than I can chew with engines or fiberglass repair, which are the two things I am actually pretty concerned about doing. I guess the question is will I get the learner boat for 2k or 6k. And if i get it for 2k and i paying another 2k to get it cut up at the end.
 

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Discussion Starter · #31 ·
From all indications, it was a good decision. I'm only wondering, if something as straight forward as the motor was misunderstood, whether the overall indication of this boat was equally flawed.
I don't think he had a good handle on sailing but he says his dad is a crabber, so taht could go either way, well here 1985 Catalina 25

you will notice the deck damage is not seen in pics, but you can make it out from the interior... I probably shouldn't post this, i am gonna get a whole nother round of "how green I am"
 

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I don't think he had a good handle on sailing but he says his dad is a crabber, so taht could go either way, well here 1985 Catalina 25

you will notice the deck damage is not seen in pics, but you can make it out from the interior... I probably shouldn't post this, i am gonna get a whole nother round of "how green I am"
Nope, everyone was once or twice.
 

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...Also of not biting off more than I can chew with engines or fiberglass repair, which are the two things I am actually pretty concerned about doing. I guess the question is will I get the learner boat for 2k or 6k. And if i get it for 2k and i paying another 2k to get it cut up at the end.
Sounds like you'll do just fine.

Don't shy away from the fiberglass work. As with anything, you learn as you do, and it's really not that hard to pick up. YouTube is your friend. Regarding the engine; if you see it run well before you buy, you can sort the rest out. Diesels are not terribly complicated.

I bought my 1976 North Star 26 in 2014. She had been on the hard for a decade. $1,500 included the cradle trailer that I later sold for $800. Last spring I replaced the bulkheads. Learned all about structural fiberglass, and removed any lingering doubt as to why yard labor is so expensive. In many ways now she's better than new.
 

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Discussion Starter · #34 ·
So for all you who might still care, he did list it as an Atomic 4, and then i looked it up and Atomics were gas ( I didn't know) but eh whole time he was talking about diesel, and it smelled pretty dieselly, and since he was running out of attached tank, i wondered if that explains the whole tank issue, i am thinking a tank for regular gas might not work so well with a diesel engine.
 

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So for all you who might still care, he did list it as an Atomic 4, and then i looked it up and Atomics were gas ( I didn't know) but eh whole time he was talking about diesel, and it smelled pretty dieselly, and since he was running out of attached tank, i wondered if that explains the whole tank issue, i am thinking a tank for regular gas might not work so well with a diesel engine.
I believe both the Univ diesel Atomic 4s carried the Universal name. Don't know if the companies were related but there is often confusion in them from a clueless owner.
 

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Perfectly happy to field your questions. Pictures will help as well.

The only deal breaker for me would have been the Atomic 4. Not because it's a bad engine, but because it's much more of a challenge than a diesel.

On a 30 year old boat, you will have all of the problems you described. Wear and tear, questionable repairs by the previous owner. Lots of mystery leaks... And if you are looking at $2k, you are going to put in A LOT of time and effort keeping her up. That is not to say it's not worth doing or won't be rewarding, but just know that the boat teaches you at her own pace.

Assuming you accept that you will have lots of repair and maintenance to do in any case, I would submit this as a list of deal breakers on an old boat:
-Damage to the hull exceeding dockrash.
-Squishy deck.
-Questionable standing rigging (broken strands, excessively rusty or cracked swages or chain plates)
-Rotten bulkheads are a major structural issue. (look for evidence of water intrusion below deck penetrations around the chain plates. Look to see if it's rotten, tap on it, poke it with a screwdriver)
-Not a common brand diesel engine: not only do you want a reliable engine, you want to be able to get parts.
-Not able to personally observe the engine running. (everything ran when it was parked...)
-If a deck stepped mast: deck depression around the mast foot. Inspect the structure all the way down to the bilge, something has given way.
-Badly corroded keel bolts

It really depends on how you want to spend your time: sailing vs. maintaining/repairing. The difference between a $2k boat and a $8K boat in the same size range is the sailing time /maintenance time ratio. Over the long term, they will likely cost about the same.

Best of luck!
Good list, and I would add inspecting the keel joint, buying a solid boat (aka well build and maintainable), and perhaps purchasing a boat that will have a adequate resale value. Don't buy the snake oil, find a good inspector (aka check references and ask for copies of previous buyer's reports [should 20-85 pages not a few]) and having replaced parts or all of two cabin tops, I agree with the previous comment about the deck fix with silicone as being gibberish.

There are many good books (e.g., Nigel Calder, Don Casey, Beth Leonard, Brian Toss, Charlie Wing, Practical Sailer, etc.) available on maintenance, repair, buying, and inspection of sailboat that are well worth purchasing prior to creating a list of what you are looking for (boat requirements) and what boats meet some or all of those requirements.

Also, the Atomic-4 is a solid engine, here is a great article on Atomic-4 engines: The Atomic 4 Engine: Smooth, worth another look - Good Old Boat) . Yes it's gas, but so are outboards, lawn mowers and cars [until they all go electric]. Most motor boats are gas engine and like them, their must be caution on fueling and proper maintenance of the gas tank, fuel lines, and gas filters.
 
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