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'04 FLSTF 1550
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Discussion Starter #1
As part of my boat research process, I have taken a casual glance at the old Alden 44 Mk I's from around 1980 and aside from a Jack Horner review and Ferenc Mate's books, I can find little else about them on the internet.

Is there anyone out there who owns one, sailed one, or knows of an online resource I can look at so I can either add it to my short list or get it's lovely lines out of my head for good?? I hearsay that one or more may have circumnavigated...
 

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No direct experience with them. Only know them by reputation. Top quality build. Certainly suitable for bluewater cruising.
 

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'04 FLSTF 1550
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Discussion Starter #3
I appreciate your response!

It seems like the only time I hear these boats referenced is in a list of "top ten boats I would love to have" - but they aren't even in the list. The list starts out, "well, aside from Hinckley, Alden, Morris, and Shannon, here are my top ten..." But aside from the fact that a brand new one of these babies is a bajillion dollars, nobody ever says *why* they would want a Hinckaldemorrishannon, other than that they are beautiful as they wipe the drool with their shirtsleeve. What if you COULD own one, would you? If the late '70's and early '80's boats are creeping down in the reach of mere mortals like myself, why buy a 1982 blistered Valiant that somebody has ragged to pieces when I can get an 1978 Alden owned by some East Coast Senator who sailed it two weekends a year and stored it on the hard in his personal boat shed the rest of the time, with an army of paid servants to lavish it with oil and varnish and upgrades? I digress...

I guess what I am looking for is an honest discussion about some of these older high-end boats and their handling characteristics, common problems, idiosyncracies, etc. Maybe ONE website of somebody who owns one (I even found a Cape George 36 owner's website).

Final question: I often read that the best used boats to look for are 5-10 years old. Is a 25-30 year old boat, no matter who makes it, not as good an idea..? And if you say, Well you can get such and such boat made in the 90's that will work just fine for the same price, I will say, yeah, but it's not an ALDEN.


Lavish me with knowledge...
 

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The man who knows more about Alden 44's than anyone you'll find is Bill Seifert. He was production manager for Alden (and other companies), is a very experienced deepwater sailor, has written a very handy book on offshore sailing tricks of the trade, and has been maintaining Alden all 'round the world for many years.

He lives in Rhode Island, when not globetrotting. You might be able to track him down there and get an honest opinion.

A beautiful Alden 44, "Cariad", was next to me in the BVI for several years. Her owner was a surgeon, I believe, and the boat was taken to the Pacific Northwest.

Bill
S/V Born Free
 

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'04 FLSTF 1550
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Discussion Starter #5
I have read Bill's book and it's one of my favorite in my steadily growing library.

More generally, I guess at this point my post will undoubtedly overlap with the "age trump design" post. Seems to me that buying an older high end design would be about the same as a newer, not so high end (but still good) design. Probably cost the same and after 10 years if nothing has been done otherwise, they will probably both need new sails, rigging, electronics, etc, anyway.
 

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We recently did an analysis that is similar to the one you have discussed and opted to buy a much older but very well maintained "high-end" boat (a 30 year old S&S designed Swan). I could never have afforded a comparable boat of recent vintage. We have been very pleased with it but would only have done it if it was already in very good shape. THere is no limit to how much money you can spend restoring or updating a boat of that vintage, particularly if you are doing it to "Alden standards."
 

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mattypatty said:
What boat, exactly, did you end up with?
We bought a 1976 Swan 41. It had been redone by a boatyard owner in Maine (new electrical, winches and hardware, new teak decks and very nice varnish work). Handsome lines. We have been very pleased with her sailing characteristics. A great combination of reasonable speed and stiffness. It loves lots of wind. I now look forward to sailing, even in heavy winds. I don't know when we will have time for blue water cruising, but would love to try it on this boat. So far, only the sail down from Maine.

Drawbacks as compared with a more modern boat? Smaller cockpit. Smaller accommodations below. Less storage. Also, sails are in decent shape, but old. Also, most 41 foot boats have longer water lines now and thus higher hull speeds, although I don't know if they get up to them as easily. Overall, we are very happy.
 

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In 1987, I had a limited budget but wanted to go cruising - Aldens and Swans were out. I opted for the 'poor man's Swan' - a Tartan 41. It still stretched my budget but it was worth it. I ended up living aboard for 2 years and came to trust this boat in all conditions. Another moniker the Tartan 41 goes by is: "Racing Sherman Tank." She's not perfect, and the same list of constraints posted by CBinRI go for this boat. Even so, you may want to take a look.
 

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Sialia said:
In 1987, I had a limited budget but wanted to go cruising - Aldens and Swans were out. I opted for the 'poor man's Swan' - a Tartan 41. It still stretched my budget but it was worth it. I ended up living aboard for 2 years and came to trust this boat in all conditions. Another moniker the Tartan 41 goes by is: "Racing Sherman Tank." She's not perfect, and the same list of constraints posted by CBinRI go for this boat. Even so, you may want to take a look.
Same designers, I think (Sparkman & Stevens), as the Swan. Extremely well-constructed. Plus, no teak decks to deal with (which is a good thing). I have heard nothing but good things about the Tartan 41 and it also was on the list when the Swan came up. A very good suggestion.
 

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'04 FLSTF 1550
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Discussion Starter #12
Wow.

Just wow. Both those boats are absolutely beautiful (looked em up on boats.com).

So do you both find that the older high-end, high quality boats have stood the test of time? No regrets? Does the Swan reputation still hold up after all these years?

Great responses, by the way, this was just the kind of info I was looking for.
 

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mattypatty said:
Wow.

Just wow. Both those boats are absolutely beautiful (looked em up on boats.com).

So do you both find that the older high-end, high quality boats have stood the test of time? No regrets? Does the Swan reputation still hold up after all these years?

Great responses, by the way, this was just the kind of info I was looking for.
I can't claim that I have been on a lot of them but this boat has held up very well. No signs of water intrusion anywhere. It feels so solidly put together. Heavy, thick hull. I am told that Swan kept wood from the same batch of wood that they used on the interior of a particular boat on file in the event that it ever needed repairs or work in the future.

On the other hand, I am sure that they have made a lot of advances in yacht design. Also, an awful lot of thirty year old boats, no matter how well built, are very rough and to get them back into shape can be a huge and expensive project.
 

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'04 FLSTF 1550
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Discussion Starter #14
No doubt. But any boat will have issues and if we aren't paying for it up front in a new boat (depreciation) we are paying for it on the back end with upgrades and refits. In my mind, I'll be buying a used boat anyway and anything over 10 years old (even 5, depending on use/neglect) will need to soak up plenty of my sweat and dollars. I don't fear the time and money, I just want to be sure to get a solid design from a reputable mfg so I have a good foundation on which to build.
 

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As to the Swan reputation, I don't want to sound like an advocate. And frankly, I don't have a lot of experience on newer Swans. I do know that they are are, in general, very fast and very expensive and have a reputation for being very well-built. They tend to be very popular for racing. If you are interested, I would suggest some google searches on Swans and S&S designs. (S&S stopped designing for them in the late 70s but they continiued to use top-notch designers.) It sounds like you are approaching this in a reasonable manner. Good luck.
 
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