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We've already posted in this forum our plans to be liveaboard cruisers in a few years with our daughters who will be 3 and 4 years old at the time. We currently live in Beaufort, SC and will be heading south with plans to cruise the Keys and the Bahamas and then ?

Anyway, we've gotten some fantastic boat recommendations from several people on here who appear to be knowledgeable and the information we've received is being processed and applied to our searches. Thanks everybody! However, we've come across a Gulfstar 37 FSBO right in the heart of our desired price range and wanted to know if anybody had anything positive or negative to say about these boats in terms of quality of construction, reputation for sailing, etc. From the listing we are viewing, there seem to be quite a few positives for our particular situation

- shallow draft (under 5 feet)
- 19500 lbs!
- well priced
- upgraded freshwater tanks (92 gallons)
- always been a freshwater boat

So, what say you about a 1977 37ft Gulfstar sloop?
 

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they are heavy boats and would be considered sluggish by today's standards. Narrow beam as compared to today's 37'

As mentioned, build quality is all over the place, as was the layup and quality of materials.

Tough to heat and cool as there is not much space to work with.

If it fits your needs, and surveys OK...then you have a candidate.

best of luck
 

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92 gallons of water for 4 people?
We feel we're quite conservative and our 115 gallons lasts about 2 weeks or so for 2 of us, 3 if we push it. Sure, some can make 100 gallons last 2 months but can you and your kids? Needing water every 5 to 7 days can get tedious.
Can you somehow set up a test at home to see how long you can make 100 gallons last?
 

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Not many boats under 40 ft have significantly more than 92 gallons. An exception is the CSY 37 with 150.

I agree water will be an issue unless they go down the watermaker route then it is powering the SOB.
 

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And many families have made sub 100 tankage work. But it is a hurdle that needs to be considered. A home test of seeing how far you can stretch 100 gallons would be instructive.
 

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People have been cruising the seas for years on far less water than 92 gallons, and that includes the days before watermakers. Dishes and showers are salt water, with a fresh water rinse. Cook with salt water or half and half, and use a pressure cooker. If you're in the tropics during the wet seasons, a tarp with a hose captures water. Add 10 gals for the two jerry jugs you'll want to carry on deck. If all else fails, drink the beer.
 

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You can certainly make 92G work. In reality, with that particular boat, you can strap on a 4+ gerry cans to increase 112 or better. Plus, with a watermaker, you can work through many of your water issues when in a place where you can make water. But that is the issue with the water maker: You have to be in a place where you can make it. For example, if you come down to the Keys like Marathon (Book Key Harbor) or Key West, I would not make water here. Now water is available, and some people do make water in this harbor, but I wouldn't. SO you may find yourself hauling water regardless.

With work and coservation, you should be able to get down to about 2.4 gallons/day/person. THat is about what we burn. With real conservation, we can cut that number in half (and have done that), but that gives you a good ballpark.

The things to look for in a boat are storage, storage, and storage. Especially with younger kids, many of their toys are bulky. You will also be carrying a lot of kids books which are fantastic and fun for them to entertain themselves on the long, boring days and nights. Think about how you will secure them in for storms (where they will sleep) and above all ventilation. When you com down here, it gets HOT and often the breezes are very light in the summer months. Kids seems especially susceptible to heat (my youngest breaks out in a rash).

Anyways, those are a few thoughts off the top of my head.

Brian
 

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If you're still shopping, I can offer a few notes.
We have completed our first year with a '79 Gulfstar 37. While not living aboard just yet, that is the goal. I have found her to sail quite well. Yes she's heavy but the long waterline lets her keep the speed up in all but the lightest air. Pointing suffers in light breezes too, of course. But in 15+ knots she is a locomotive. Pretty dry cockpit too.

Blistering is an issue. Our boat was barrier coated by a previous owner, but there are topside blisters from water trapped behind shrinkwrap. (She was on the hard for about 3 years.)
This boat was also repowered. That will probably be your biggest issue if the old Perkins is still in it. Access is challenging.
Rig age is the other big ticket item. I have replaced our forestay, as the old Hood furler was grinding an hourglass in the wire at the top of the foil. The fittings are all Sta-Lok which will make DIY replacement of the other stays possible.

Most of theses boats also leak around the ports and fixed windows at this age. The pretty interior teak veneer plywood de-laminates there and at the companionway.

There was no provision for a holding tank in the original plan. The Lectrasan was supposed to take care of everything... I have seen one owner who has a tank installed under the settee, sacrificing the drawer space. We have gone the composting toilet route.
I am replacing the seacocks that will remain as the originals are rubber cored ancestors of a ball valve, made by Groco, requiring a compression wingnut to be loosened and tightened to open or close the valve. And no spare parts that I know of.

The water tank upgrade is intriguing. Our original fiberglass tanks hold about 70 gallons, smell like resin, and will forever. We don't drink it and I will experiment with filters this season.

Any boat this age will accumulate a list of similar scope, unless the PO was an upgrade hoss. In which case the price will reflect the work load.

The point I guess I should be making is that we find the boat comfy and safe and fun to sail. They are priced below most of the better known brands, but I believe this model is one of the better designs from Gulfstar.
 

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Hi Awaywego We also have a 79 GS 37 for 10 yrs now! Love the boat! Check all deck areas around stanction bases etc. with a moisture meter. Note to get at the bases you will need to take down the head liner along the perimeter and either take out the galley cabinet or hole the ceiling panel to get at the boarding gate stanction base. Also check around front mooring cleats and the chain hole for the same. I have just gone thru and taken out 5 sections of core going in from underneath. Check especially around deck drains and water fuel fill. As with most mfgs of that time, they just drilled or cut holes, with out sealing core. So you know what happens! Any way for added water capacity you can put a bladder under the salon table, which puts it right over the existing tank. This would require a hole/lift out panel in the sole, or you could take out a section of the floor(verticle) at the end of the mast step panel. I have done a visual with a scope, and there is nothing there other than air from the top of the water tank to the under neath of the sole. The only thing you have to be concerned about is that when full the bladder does not make contact with the screws that hold down the table base. Rebedding the portals and fixed windows is easy breezy, just time consuming. If engine access is required more what is available in standard condition, you only have to unscrew sink caninet base and move out of the way. Our's did/does not have a blister prob., but then it is only in during summer months. The build quality does not vary much as it did before 78. The 37s have solid layup hulls, cored decks with a shoe box hull to deck joint that is glassed together from the inside the full perimeter. If you want to talk more about the boat you can send me a private!! Good Luck Mike
 

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People have been cruising the seas for years on far less water than 92 gallons ................
I know it wasn't the intent, but I like the sound of this thought. Let's see, three years with a bit more than thirty gallons a year? I know, .... I know, I took it the wrong way, but....
 

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I've had a '77 Gulfstar Aft Cockpit for 9 years and it is a terrific boat. She is much faster than people think and handles heavy weather like a champ. I don't have the blister issue to any extent with mine but thats not uncommon a problem with older boats anyways. Don't let that drive your decision. She has a ton of room below and is quite comfortable for a couple and a couple of kids. The wood work is very nice and the interior design allows for fairly free movement. The cockpit is very dry and you'll feel safe in this boat. I would imagine you'd get her for a good price and with a little TLC and maybe a few grand in improvements you'll have a winner. The draft is a real plus as well, you'll be able to go into those shallow waters of the Keys, etc quite well. Bottom line is get a reputable marine surveyor to check her out and make your decision from there.
 
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