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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Looking for people's thoughts on build quality between Ericson, Pearson, Sabre and Tartan. From reviews I've read, it appears that Sabre and Tartan are often considered a superior boat builder, while Ericson and Pearson were respectable and solid boat builders although perhaps a cut below the Sabre and Tartan. Thoughts? Maybe throw in Catalinas and Hunters too since they are popular boats.

Also, looking for comments on the specifics of "build quality" and how this matters on a practical level, as it seems that plenty of people are happy with their boats that are from the supposedly more average "build quality" boat builders.

GRR
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I don't know too much about the Ericson's.

Pearsons, at least the ones I've sailed on are very solid boats...I don't know if I'd put them a cut below Tartan Or Sabre....from a construction perspective..some may argue that they were a cut above....

I would place Catalinas and Hunters in a different category..but very popular and suitable boats for most of today's coastal sailors....in the end it comes down to what you are looking for from a boat

Intended use, sailing grounds, depth, accomodations, budget etc etc.
Your point about the Pearsons is a good one. What about the Catalinas and Hunters lands them in a different category?

The boat would be used mostly for daysailing and weekend cruising on Lake Erie, but would also like the versatility to take a longer cruise up to Georgian Bay or the North Channel, so I'm thinking some sort of shallow draft capability would be important. Budget is 35-45K, so mostly looking at 1980's vintage boats.

Appreciate your input.

GRR
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
there are many aspects to your question, that have been debated and worse. Are you comparing "older" boats of the same vintage...or new Tartan/Sabre to older Ericson and Pearson?

As a former Sabre owner, and current Hunter owner, I can give you quite a bit on both. Sabre is definitely a step up in quality, but would you see it day sailing or overniting? Is Sabre perfect, not by a long shot...my boat suffered from the mast step issue..it was a mid 80's boat, and you would think it would have been solved in subsequent years...wasn't.

New Tartans have had some build issues (you may have to look elsewhere for that debate, as the former owners flew hot and threatened a lot of folks) and the "newest" owners are building again, but the jury is out.

Are the same vintage boats the same, I would say that the Tartan and Sabre of the 80's were better built than the Ericson and Pearson, but they were all built heavy in that time of similar materials and quality.

You would need to let us know what your goals for the boat are to better answer. If you have questions on Sabre 38 or Hunter 42 or Beneteau 36CC, I can help you with real answers, as I have owned/own them.

All the best
You're right, a lot of different points of discussion. I'll clarify.

I'm looking for a boat to spend weekends on and daysail on Lake Erie with the versatility to go for a longer cruise up to Georgian Bay/North Channel. So, I'm looking for comfortable space/accomodations, stability to handle Lake Erie's quick temper, and I'm guessing shallow draft capability (a centerboard perhaps?) to have the versatility to explore North Channel. I'm guessing that most days on Lake Erie the shallow draft won't matter, but I don't want to be limited in where I can take her. A bit of speed wouldn't be so bad either. I'm looking mostly at 1980's-early 1990's vintage boats because budget is 35-45k, so I'm not really trying to compare newer Tartans and Sabres. Still waffling back and forth about boat length too, but I really don't want to buy and sell several boats, so I'm leaning toward getting a larger (i.e., 34-36, rather than 30-31) to start. Just did ASA 101,103, and 104 on a 43' boat, so that helped me feel that a 34 was manageable to start. I will also probably be single-handing it a fair bit.

I've been looking mostly in the 33-36 foot range including Tartan 34-2, Pearson 34, Sabre 34 and 36 and Ericson 35-III.

Thanks for your response.

GRR
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
kd3pc,

Thanks for your advice. It reinforces what I have read elsewhere. While a 38is probably a little bigger boat than I want at this point, I will definitely take a close look at the Sabre 34 and 36. My guess is that I can't go too wrong with any of these builders unless the particular boat I choose was not cared for. I'm still trying to grasp the concept of "build quality" and the differences between the various builders.

From the pictures I've seen, the Georgian Bay/North Channel area looks pristine. That will be a trip for future after many day sails and weekenders on Lake Erie for experience.

BTW, I was just out for a visit to the Cheseapeake Bay area on a boat shopping trip (Annapolis, Georgetown) and it is a beautiful area. I may be making a return trip in the near future for round 2 of boat shopping.

Thanks again,

GRR
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Try to find that 1% boat in a size you will be comfortable with.

Your budget should include anywhere between 10-20% for outfitting, repairs, upgrades, etc.

There are lots of great boats on the market in your price range, don't rush and find that boat that is just right for you. I don't think you would go wrong with any of the ones you're looking at if its been well cared for :)

Check out a Tartan 34C.
TChef,

Good points to consider. Just out of curiosity, why the T34C? Earlier in my search, I did like a number of the 34C's for their classic good looks. But then I got input from several places that the Atomic 4 engines likely need replacing and I'm not really interested in buying a new engine right away. I guess I also became enamored with the more spacious wide beams of the newer boats. I'm not looking for a houseboat with sails, but it is hard not to like the extra space. I really like the T37 by the way, but only found one that is close to my price range and it is still a stretch.

GRR
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Otherwise, frankly, look at the maintenance of the boat vs brand. Not that it has been mentioned, but after 20-30 yrs, you will find some badly built Hunters that will be better overall than a GREATLY built swan of that vintage.....assuming you look hard enough!

Reality is, ANY of the major producton built brands from that era will be good. Try to figure out boat style and type vs brand. Ericson has some race/cruisers, and some that were just plain cruisers! The latter would not be a first choice for me and how I sail. But I know of a fellow across puget sound that luvs his E30Cruiser! He wrote and had published a review int he most recent issue of Cruising World. He also writes for GOB too. I personally look for race/crusiers.

I would also not look too bad on A4's, they seem to be good motors for what they were designed and intended to do etc.

Marty
Marty,

Thanks. I think I'm getting some consensus that all of these buiders make a solid product and that the maintenance history and sailing characteristics for my particular needs will be more important. There are probably lemons and gems in the production line for any builder.

I'm with you...I think I would prefer a racer/cruiser.

GRR
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Find the boat that suits your pocketbook and tickles your fancy, then buy it. They're all good. BTW, Sabre 38's of mid 80's vintage in good conditions are about $40k higher than the budget listed. Not sure what a 34 would go for.
Sabreman,

Yep, 38's are above the range and probably a little more boat than I want at this point. Several 34's on the market within my price range, but all have the deeper draft from what I've seen so would have to wait for a Sabre 34.

Most importantly, I just want to find a well-cared for older boat that has no major build issues. Looks like I'll have plenty of solid choices.

Thanks,

GRR
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
GRR: As an Ericson owner call me biased... BUT as I have read Ericson was more an Oldsmobile in a Chevy market.... they were a little to high quality to compete price wise. Bruce King the designer was very well respected, a lot of attention to detail, just look at the interiors etc. Browse around at ericsonyachts.org ask questions, Martin King, (Bruce Kings son) is active there and knows all about design and build features. A 27 ,my boat, for a long time held the record between S.F. and Japan. They are beautiful high quality boats.
Mikel1,

Appreciate the input on Ericson and I will check out the owner's website. Now if I can just get a Pearson advocate to chime in we'll have come full circle on this thread. ;)

One of the things that turned me on to the 35-III was its reputation for having a bit of speed. I think the PHRF for New England for the shoal version of this boat is 132. Also, I read the comment of a previous 35-3 owner on another site saying that the boat is very fast for what it is. It would be nice to have a cruiser with some speed. And she is a good looking boat to boot.:D

I have a friend/colleague who had an old Ericson 27 a number of years ago. Only went out on it once and I don't remember a great deal about it. He was always fixing one thing or another on it, but I think that was a matter of it simply being an old boat. Nothing major that I can recall.

GRR
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
All the boats mentioned would be absolutely fine, and as others have said and said well, at 20-30 years old, maintenance by previous owners is the whole show. Pearson is easily on this list, and maybe a few C&C's and even J-boats should be as well.
Puddinlegs,

Thanks for the feedback. I don't know much about J-boats. I thought they were racers that sacrificed a lot of stability for speed. I will have to research them more. Thanks.

GRR
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
GRR, why shop in Annapolis?

A well-maintained, Great Lakes sailed, Catalina, Hunter, Beneteau, or Ericson or Sabre would be better value than an East Coast saltwater-sailed Sabre. The boats may the same age, but the lake boat will have half as much usage, no hurricane exposure, annual haul-outs, less UV damage, no saltwater exposure, and will be about the same price, or less.
bljones,

Initially, I was looking primarily at Tartan 34-2 and 33 and there were few of them in my price range for sale here in the Great Lakes believe it or not. More of the Tartan 34C, which has beautiful exterior lines, but a rather spartan interior. And I was not really considering those other builders at first, but after I got on board a 1985 Pearson 34 that I really liked (save for the deep draft), I started looking more broadly at other builders. Those concerns that you mentioned are very real and certainly it would be easier to get a boat closer to home. If I can find "the one" (if such a boat exists) in the Great Lakes, I'll be thrilled.

GRR
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
J's might very well fit your need. IIRC the 35 or 35c would make good cruisers. Even the 37/37c. The c at the end just means IIRC that they have a bit nicer interior. along with it is easier to find a shoal draft version. The C versions will be a bit more money. Good old boat about a year or so ago did an article on a 32 ie July/August 2010. I could probably scan that review. The other boat is a Jeanneau Arcadia. an attalia is simalar, but about 2' longer, and a different designer. Then a sunshine 36/38 is a longer version, same designer as teh Arcadia. Sailing mag also has many reviews of some older boats too.

CS from that era also have a nice boat too. A dock/yc mate bought a 36 merlin last summer. Nice boat, look up Dejonda on here, along with mitempo? sp? has a CS 30, also Castro designs like the Arcadia, and sunshine boats.

Marty
My horizons are expanding even further. You have given me a number of new boats to consider. I'll have to do some more research. Thanks Marty.
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
HERE is the Arcadia review. There are only about 20 in the states. The attalia which is considered a 32' boat is very similar as mentioned, but much more findable, as is the Sunshine. ALL three models have fin and CB versions. Sundream, Sun light are some newer versions of these. Older jeanneau's are worth taking a peak at.

Thanks for scanning this review. I did a quick scan of yachtworld and could not find any in my range. I did find some J-boats and CS. I think I like a more traditional looking boat rather than the sleek, more contemporary look of these boats.

For me if you look at a Beneteau, look at some of the first series versions. These are nice interior wise, but have some speed and are ment to be raced then cruised, or cruised very fast. Most unfortunately for you, will be deeper keels. I have not heard that shoal keels are needed as much on the GL's as they are on the east coast in salt water. I would not personally rule one out if you can. If frieghters are moving about on the lakes with 15-20' drafts, a 5-7' draft sailboat should not have issues! or to me, at least no more than a 3-5' draft one! But that is coming from someone that sails in 300-600+ feet of water here in Puget Sound, shoal draft boats are a liability to sell vs deep draft boats!

Yes, I have been considering how much the draft matters for where I will sail. Most of the time the shallow draft won't matter as I will be day sailing and weekending on Lake Erie, but I would like the versatility to take a longer cruise up to Georgian Bay/North Channel. I'm not sure, but I'm guessing a shallow draft would be needed in this case. If not, the shallow draft is not that important.

As mentioned by the fellow with the Pearson, they are good boats. I know another fellow that has had one for many years, and know who sold it to him. 20 yrs tween them and it is still moving. BUT< the recent owner mentioned yesterday he has an offer or is close to do so on a C310! I think that one will be a bit nicer for him and spouse since they are close to retiring!

Yes, I'm liking the Pearsons a good deal.

I would also suggest a boat if possible with in your budget newer than about 82, you will not have the pinched transoms from the late 70's IOR heyday. WHile upwind great boats, down wind, they can get tricky. That is a me personal opinion...not that it is worth much.

Marty
Help me out Marty..."a pinched transom?"
 

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Discussion Starter · #29 ·
Marty,

Well, I have managed to put my response into the quote of your last post. I'm still getting the hang of this site. I suppose I needed to hit the multi-quote button at the bottom to respond to different segments of your post individually?

GRR
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
It has been a great sailing boat, still outpointing and quicker than many newer boats. It is moderate displacement at 12,000 pounds, fin keel, skeg hung rudder.

I mention all of this because the late 70s and early 80s pearsons were built more heavily than the ericsons. I love the lines of the ericsons, and their trademark black mast, but I would rather be on my Pearson in an
Open Ocean blow.

Mike
Mike,

It sounds like you have had a great experience with your Pearson to say the least. Wonderful that your boat has been so durable.

I'm wondering what you think about the 1970's and early 80's Pearsons versus that Pearsons made closer to the time the company closed. I've considered looking at some of the late 1980's and early 1990's Pearson 31-2.

Thanks,

GRR
 

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Discussion Starter · #31 ·
Not sure about the shallow draft

Marty,

In case this point got lost as I managed to embed it in your quote from a previous post, I've been debating how important a shallow draft is for me. Most days it probably won't be important as I will daysail and weekend on Lake Erie. There are some islands near by for weekending, so it could be an issue there. I also want to have the versatility to take a longer cruise up to the Georgian Bay/North Channel and I'm thinking a shallow draft would likey be needed there.

GRR
 

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Discussion Starter · #38 ·
Buying from current versus past manufacturer.

Always consider the boats that are still in production. There is a reason why Hunter and Catalina are still being built today while some of the others are not. Also, you will get better customer service from a manufacturer that is still around today versus one that went out 20 years ago.
This is an interesting consideration and I've heard opinions on both sides. Marty makes the point that rarely does he need a part directly from Jenneau. And I wondered the same thing, how often would you need something directly from the builder. To my novice eye, it seems that the most important thing about the builder is that they develop a structurally sound boat (i.e., hull/deck/keel). Beyond this, much of the boat is not unique to the builder (i.e., engine).
 

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Discussion Starter · #39 ·
Sailboat Mania

GRR,
I think that you're beginning to experience what I was when we were looking for our latest boat. Even though we'd owned a Sabre 28 for 15 years, I was scanning the entire market and started thrashing. When there are too many choices, it's easy to become paralyzed with all the variations available. Finally, my wife (bless her) suggested that we stay with Sabre because we'd had so much luck with them (3 years on a Sabre 34 as crew racing, then the Sabre 28). After she said that, within a week I'd narrowed the search to 3 Sabres (2 34s and a 38). We looked at all three in a day and bought the 38.

The point is that all the boats that you mention are great. I'd recommend narrowing the search to the one that is most affordable and which strikes your eye, and then buy it. When you do, don't look back at any other boat, especially to compare prices. Sail the thing!

Good Luck,
Mark

PS. My wife's advice was so good that I put her name on the boat.
Mark,

This has been very true lately. Initially, the Tartans caught my eye and being from the Cleveland area the influence was there. I was interested almost exclusively in the Tartans. But then I got on board a few (34-2, 33) and I was not sure about the interior and it appeared difficult to find one in the condition I wanted that was in my price range. Granted, the interior is not the most important part of a sailboat, but it does matter for my purposes. Then I got on a mid 1980's Pearson 34 and liked the interior better. It felt more open so I decided to expand my search to other builders and this is how I arrived here. So yes I am thrashing around a bit (not only about builders, but length of boat, shallow versus deep draft, and on and on), but I must admit it has been an adventure so far and I'm enjoying it. And I appreciate hearing the opinions of sailors from around the country.

Thanks for your advice.

GRR
 

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Discussion Starter · #40 ·
My advice is to not let your wife or SO see a newer Catalina or Hunter if what you want is an older Sabre/Tartan/Ericson. My C36 has quite a bit more room than below deck than a 36' Sabre and probably more than the 38.

When I began my search for our current boat, I wanted a Saber 36 or 38, a Tartan 37 or an Ericson 38. I also looked at a couple of CS36's a traditional and a Merlin. Of these boats, the only one in our price range that was equipped with the things we knew we wanted was a really nice Ericson 38, but even it needed some significant work and we couldn't agree on price. All the other boats had both maintenance issues and lacked one or more of the things on our "Must have" list. As others have pointed out if you find a boat that's had above average maintenence that fills 90% of your desires its the boat to buy. Condition pretty much trumps builder when it come to older production boats. Thats what happened with our C36. It was in the best condition of any boat I found during my search, had all of the items on our "must have list" and since it was the Admiral's favorite its what we bought despite my desire for a boat with a better PHRF rating.

I've now got a case of twofootitis and would like a boat around 40-42 feet that rates under 100, with nice crusing accomodations, AC and a separate shower in the head for under $100k. In otherwords my perfect boat doesn't exist.
QUOTE]

Midlifesailor,

My girlfriend is absolutely no help in settling this matter. ;) We were looking around on the internet today and saw a very nice mid 1980's Ericson 35-3 and she said "that's it, that the one, call off the search". Mind you, two minutes earlier she was singing the praises of a Pearson 34 I would like to go see. You get the idea..."the seas" are very choppy here and I'm being tossed all over the place. :rolleyes:

The consensus is forming that maintenance history trumps builder with regard to the 1980's production boats and I'm good with this approach. Fortunately, I really like the looks of the Tartans, Sabres, Pearsons and Ericsons for the most part so if I can just find one that gets pulled out of the water looking brand new as someone mentioned, then I'll be in luck. I've even taken a gander at some Catalinas recently and may decide to go look at a few (No offense intended, I was just not drawn to them initially). Thanks for your input.

GRR
 

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Discussion Starter · #41 ·
I talked to the owner and went aboard an '87 34 MK11 that came into my yard to haul out on Saturday..it looked like a brand new boat... which is really what you want to see when you buy a 25 year old boat...How much did the PO love her...regardless of what model or manufacturer you choose....and then does it call to you..
I'm with you Tempest...this would be ideal. Find the fussiest 1980's production boat owner around and then make him/her an offer.:cool:
 
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