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A melon with a dream...
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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everybody... I am wondering if you have or have known someone who has taken a Columbia 28 offshore? I just purchased mine (a '69) in September. Originally I was just planning to stick to Puget Sound and up the Inside Passage, but of late I am coming to the conclusion I would like to take it out. Likely from Seattle down to Mexico, Panama, and then into the Caribbean. I would like to hear from past or present owners about their experiences with this particular boat. If there is anything to watch out for regarding the boat, anything to address before heading out, any particular sail configuration that works well... I don't know, whatever you've got.
 

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KNOT KNOWN
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I have been off shore in a trip Columbia 26. We sailed south out of Key West into a lively gulf stream with a 15 knot wind opposing the stream, nice 10 to 15 foot swells. Took them on the beam in a full moon for about 8 hour out and back on shake down cruise. She handled fantastically. My own boat is 1965 Soverel 28 and she is very cummfy out there. Most of the production sail boats from the 60's hold their own in an offshore situation.....I find.
 

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A melon with a dream...
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208 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the reply! I think boats of this era tend to be pretty well built. I need to go through my rig, but apart from that the rest is pretty cosmetic. Guess I'll find out. ;)
 

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Hi , a dock neighbor of mine had a Columbia 28, years ago he and his wife did some short range cruising with it .Basically they took it 26 miles to Catalina Ca. and because at the time they didn't have much money they always anchored . Also they did the Newport to Ensanada race . But really I think you should treat cruising the boat like any other , inspect everything . Good luck ! Hey you will be going right by my front door , stop by for a beer .
 

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A melon with a dream...
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208 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
That is my thinking as well... go through everything so I know what's there even if I don't replace it. If I hadn't been on board with the guy I bought it from when I bought it I would swear it had been abandoned. Needed a deep cleaning and to sort through a bunch of crap that he left behind. I have been busy with work so I STILL get to do a lot of that.

I might just take you up on that beer! ;)
 

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What does your boat have in the way of a motor ? My friend had the gasoline Atomic . That motor gave him a lot of trouble . I'm not saying that's a bad motor, no not at all . my wife before I met her had a Catalina 30 with a Atomic , that motor was smooth and reliable . On the other hand I know of some people that have problems with them(like what engine does not have problems !) Good news you can still get any part you need, and down here there is a guy who sells rebuilt replacement motors . Also you talked about sail combos . For sure you need a working set (main & jib) with reef points . If you don't have roller furling , you can still reef the jib . Check it out in The Sailor's Sketch Book ,it shoes you how to do that plus some other stuff . Finally you need a down wind sail , Spinnaker for sure . but if you are not into that , at least get a drifter . I don't have a Spin just a drifter . So what I do is pole out my jib to the windy side and set the drifter to leeward side . I would tell you how fast I go with that set up , but some people accuse me of lying about it, haha .
 

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A melon with a dream...
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208 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
It came with the Atomic 4 in it, but it won't start. I had intended to put a diesel in it... which I have an Atomic 5411 and Hurth transmission that I will rebuild before I swap them. In the meantime I am planning to tinker around with the A4 to see if I can get it running and use it this spring/summer. Then I would have a running engine that I can sell.

I think I am set for main and jib (have roller furling), though I will likely look into getting a used set in case I blow something out. Haven't decided between drifter or spinnaker, but I need something for light wind. Been thinking about an Asymmetrical kit from sailrite. Thanks for the input... it will likely come down to cost, mostly. I need a storm jib that I can hank on over the furler too. Then I need a 30' dinghy to tow behind so I can haul all of this stuff with me! :eek:
 

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Crotchety Old Member
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910 Posts
It came with the Atomic 4 in it, but it won't start. I had intended to put a diesel in it... which I have an Atomic 5411 and Hurth transmission that I will rebuild before I swap them. In the meantime I am planning to tinker around with the A4 to see if I can get it running and use it this spring/summer. Then I would have a running engine that I can sell.

I think I am set for main and jib (have roller furling), though I will likely look into getting a used set in case I blow something out. Haven't decided between drifter or spinnaker, but I need something for light wind. Been thinking about an Asymmetrical kit from sailrite. Thanks for the input... it will likely come down to cost, mostly. I need a storm jib that I can hank on over the furler too. Then I need a 30' dinghy to tow behind so I can haul all of this stuff with me! :eek:
In re your thoughts on repowering; it you're going offshore, go with a diesel. Gas turns to varnish, but diesel will last a year or two before you need to worry about it.
 

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I have a 1975 Columbia/Coronado 28 in Gulfport, FL. It sails great, short-tacks into tight channels, sails off the anchor upwind, and handles the 3' gulf chop comfortably in 15 knots. I race in cruising class with spinnaker and do well with the base 225 PHRF, even though its fitted out for extended cruising. I keep thinking about getting a bigger boat to cruise the Caribbean, but the 28 is comfortable, ergonomic inside ( for me, 5'6") and the rig is easy to handle.. ie light sails, smal anchor, light chain. (relative to a 38' heavy). My only concerns are the big 3 : keel bolts, standing rigging, and rudder post (which towboat bent, but that's a rant for another day). The maintenance expenses are less than bigger boats too. Where's my windvane autopilot!
T
 

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Crotchety Old Member
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We looked at a 28 about six years back. At that time it was too little for what we wanted to do with it, so we didn't buy her. I remember that I liked her layout, and she had nice lines, so I assumed she would sail well.

You're right on your three big concerns, but I would add a fourth - the engine.
 

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Stick with the Atomic-4 - it will be running like a Swiss watch when many engines will be headed for the scrap yard. Keep in mind that there are places in the Bahamas where diesel is either not available, or if it is, very, very expensive. You can find gasoline anywhere in the world. I've had two A4s and never had a problem with either of them that I could not fix myself. Very easy engine to work on, kinda like the old car engines, points, plugs, condenser, distributor, rotor, carb - that's it! I rebuilt the carb in 20 minutes. It took longer for me to remove it than to rebuild it.

Pay attention to Aaron, he's been on the water most of his life and knows what he's talking about.

Gary :cool:
 

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To the original poster:

Do you happen to know where your boat was built? Since you're on the west coast, probably in California. The Columbia 29 was the first boat built for Columbia Yachts, and it was built in CA. Your Columbia 28 looks very similar to my Columbia 29. Same coach roof and port lights, but the 29 and 29 MkII (of the 60's) were full keel, one foot longer, with an 8' beam.

I have a word of caution for you... But keep in mind, my Columbia was built in Portsmouth, VA, and with a different build yard, you may not have this problem.

When I got my boat, it was in pathetic shape, and anyone else I think would have scrapped it. The bottoms of all the bulkheads were rotted, the plywood cabin sole was partially rotted, and the settees port and starboard were practically crumbling apart. The boat had taken on water for a long time.

I hauled the boat out and began removing rotted wood, and I was astonished how poorly crafted my boat was. The bulkheads were only tabbed in with one layer of three inch tape on either side, and the plywood literally sat two inches from the hull in most places. Nothing lined up properly, there was no glassed in support under the compression post... everywhere I looked, I said to myself "This is how they built it?? This is horrendous!!"

I gutted my entire boat. All bulkheads, cabin sole, settees, head, quarter berths, everything. I lowered my shoulder into the main cabin bulkhead and it popped right out. (I'm only 5'6" or 5'7", about 150 lbs, and in shape, but not particularly muscular.) The settees were in such bad shape, I just kicked them in and put the small pieces in a five gallon bucket to take to the dumpster. But after removing the settees and bulkheads, only one layer of three inch tape held them in. The entire boat was built that way. Quarter berths, engine compartment, everything. That is not strong enough for cruising. At all. I've heard of many CA built 29s having the bulkhead tabs pop loose in the short chop of the SF Bay.

I'm rebuilding my whole boat, and because I gutted it, I'm changing the layout, but I'm overbuilding everything. I suggest if you have these lofty plans, any changes you make should be overbuilt. I follow the theory "Nothing too strong ever broke." I'll be adding quite a bit of weight, but to me, that just adds stability and motion comfort. I'm careful to distribute the weight evenly and keep most of it below the waterline.

Anyways, the point I'm trying to make is, pay very close attention to how your bulkheads and other structure are tabbed in. Also, if you have a leaky deck, CHECK YOUR CHAINPLATES!! My deck leaks, and I suspected my glassed in chainplates (ugh) had filled with water. For kicks, at the bottom of the chainplates, I took my 4" grinder and ground through the fiberglass until I saw a couple sparks, and sure enough, water pissed out of all of them. Needless to say, I'm not using those chainplates. If your chainplates are bulkhead mounted, your boat is doing better than mine. If they're glassed into the hull, be sure they're not retaining water. Even if your deck doesn't leak, they could be full of water. You don't know what previous owners had repaired, and to what extent they made sure everything was right. For offshore and extended cruising, you need to know and everything should be overbuilt in my opinion. I carry two anchors big enough for a boat twice my size, my bulkheads are twice as thick as they were and are tabbed in three times with successfully wider layers of 1708 biaxial cloth, and I've glassed in new floor timbers, a new cabin sole, and a new support under the compression post. And I have a new compression post. After installing, I think an overweight circus elephant could sit atop my compression post on a unicycle and it wouldn't give way. If you'd like pictures just for the heck of it, or if you want to know what any certain part of my boat looks like to compare to yours, I'd be happy to exchange pictures and offer any sort of advice. I'm not an expert and don't claim to be, but I know my work is solid and true, and if I'm unsure, I read and overbuild to be safe.

Definitely check your tabbing and chainplates, and if you can, the structure under your compression post. PM me anytime you'd like to know anything or to get some pictures.
 
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