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Looking for cruising boat
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,

I had decided upon an Ericson 29 as our first cruising boat, but unfortunately it got away from us as the sellers got greedy and accepted another offer the day before we were to hand over the cash. As there are not many of these around (I've only seen two for sale in the past year in BC), I've widened my search again. My preference is for a solid coastal cruiser, with the potential for offshore (with appropriate upgrades), and to start, cruising area will be the BC coast. With just two of us, I would like to keep size at 32' or less.

Two candidates have just come up:

1981 Hullmaster 27 in very nice shape, apparently rigged for offshore with heavier rigging, and built with extra ballast. Not a lot of info on this boat except what's on sailboatdata, and a few reviews and other for sale listings. About 40 made in the 70s, and then some more made in the 80s, not sure how many. Modified full keel with cutout and rudder on skeg. Ports changed over the years, and this one has solid looking bronze ports, and a Yanmar 2GM. Price around $14K CAD.

https://sailboatdata.com/sailboat/hullmaster-27

1966 Alberg 30 - hard to tell from photos, but I suspect it is a bit rough inside. Newer 2GM engine. Price somewhere below $10K CAD. This Alberg is probably not in the running based on age/condition, but I will consider one in better shape.

Curious about any thoughts on these choices. My preference is still an Ericson (I like their designs and build quality, especially the 29/32/35 of the 70s), but the Hullmaster piqued my interest with its solid build and modified full keel design. I am aware that it will be slower in light air (PHRF around 225 vs 195 for the E29) but it does carry more sail than the E29.

Thanks
 

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The Alberg sounds underpowered. 2GM is a 18HP motor, the boat was built with a 30HP gas. Probably suitable for fair weather and protected waters, it may not be enough to get you out of trouble in rough conditions.
 

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The 2GM is plenty of engine for an Alberg 30 or any boat of that size or displacement. The A4 was the go to engine of that era with one size fits all. They were the standard engine in everything from a Tartan 27 to a Morgan 35 and probably larger. Just because a boat came with a certain engine in boats of the '50s-'70s doesn't mean that it was the ideal engine just what was available. If you wanted an engine, you either got an A4 or a Perkins/Westerbeke 4-107.

The Hullmaster 27 looks like a good boat. Always liked Brewer's protecting the prop by putting it in a notch in the skeg. Separate rudder/keel boats are much more maneuverable in harbor than a full keel boat. The stick looks tall enough to give it decent light air performance which you really need in your windless summers.

Erickson built decent boats but they were just a run of the mill SoCal boat builder of that era. The did a little better job on the interior joinery but were basically a sail to Catalina and back boat. That and the fact that they got their start 'borrowing' the mold for Pearson's Alberg 35 never had them top of the list for me.
 

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The 2GM is plenty of engine for an Alberg 30 or any boat of that size or displacement. The A4 was the go to engine of that era with one size fits all. They were the standard engine in everything from a Tartan 27 to a Morgan 35 and probably larger. Just because a boat came with a certain engine in boats of the '50s-'70s doesn't mean that it was the ideal engine just what was available.
A brief survey of Alberg 30 listings suggest that many people would agree with you.

I base my opinion on experience with a 2GM in a boat just over half the displacement of the Alberg (although waterline and draft are similar) in more than a few nasty blows, and that of the boats of similar size and displacement to the Alberg 30 that I have expienced, almost all were running a 3 cylinder diesel. The exceptions being a couple that used 9ish HP outboards (which I wouldn't want to count on if things turned nasty).

The OP aspires to coastal and offshore sailing. In his situation, I would certianly examine the question: if that motor does not push the boat near hull speed at 70-80% RPM in average conditions, it may not be able to provide steerage or headway when wind and sea-state go bad. All other aspects of the Alberg 30s are superb, and the production year suggests it's built like a tank.
 

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The A-4 is only 18hp at the prop. There is a 2gm that is 13hp at the the prop and a 2GM20 which is 16hp at the prop. The 2gm20 should work well for the boat. The 2GM is a little small. These engines want to run at 80% of rated max rpm. Roughly 2800 rpm for cruising.
 

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Looking for cruising boat
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the replies on this.

I haven't seen the Alberg yet, and am waiting for more info before making the 2 hr drive. We viewed the Hullmaster 27 and a nice '81 Ericson 30+ yesterday, which made an interesting comparison. The Hullmaster is actually quite similar in measurements to an Ericson 27, but the absence of a quarter berth makes it seem smaller inside, with a large icebox/nav table taking the same space as the galley, so it feels quite hemmed in. The build quality of the Hullmaster looks excellent; it was a later build after Douglas closed down, and was custom spec'd for the original owner with nice bronze ports (similar to those I've seen on Alberg 37s). Foredeck and side decks have ample space, but cockpit is narrow, and with wheel almost dead centre, tight for more than 2 people. Boom is quite low - I'm 5'8" and it's about 2-3" lower than me when cinched down to the dodger. The owner said that he does have to watch his head on jibes if it is tightened down. Something about the angle of the coach roof and steps made getting inside feel more tricky than other similar size boats. It has a pressurized kerosene stove and heater. Engine is quite clean, and started from cold quite well, with minimal smoke. I was a bit surprised at the smallish locker space in the cockpit area; I expected more given there is no quarter berth and the hull shape, so not sure where the space went. We both really liked this boat, but the feeling of tightness might be a problem for extended cruising. The main was in very good shape, with an older spare, and the genoa looked fair to good, with some wear on the edges. At $14K CAD, there are a lot of boats to compete with in the 27' range, but few that are built this strong or with a modified full keel and skeg rudder. I did notice there is noticeable mass to the rudder in the Hullmaster when turning the wheel - there is very slight amount of play, and the momentum is more than I've felt on any other boat. The rudder is very thick and extends quite far at the bottom edge, but I wonder if it might also be waterlogged.

The Ericson 30+ obviously feels like the much larger boat, and it's one of the roomiest 30s (for its age) that I've been on. Even the pinched stern doesn't impact the excellent cockpit layout, and the salon is very spacious. A real chart table and large quarter berth are nice to have, and the aft and port cockpit lockers are huge. At $22K with new standing rigging and other upgrades, it's probably good value, but it didn't feel like the right boat for us. In looking at drawings, it seems the 30+ manages to fit in everything the 32-3 does, including LWL, with a truncated transom.

Aesthetically, both are very nice looking boats, although from some angles the IOR influences of the Ericson appear a bit strong for my taste, but mostly Bruce King has done a great job of making the wide beam and pinched stern look very good. The Hullmaster (couldn't they have found a better name?) has a nicely balanced, purposeful and stout look to it that I like also.

As far as the comments about Ericson's beginnings in the industry, I don't think that is a reflection on the boats they built, and their consistency in design and execution is something I have come to really appreciate. Many have made extended offshore passages, from the 27 and up, and reports indicate the Bruce King designs result in a very sea-kindly motion, which is something I am looking for. I expect the Brewer designed Hullmaster will also do well in this regard, but may not point as well with the extended and shallow keel; however this keel also has some advantages for getting into smaller anchorages, and pulling out in remote places without a lift.

I'll probably take a trip to see the Alberg this week, since I have not yet seen inside, and am curious about this aspect. Also, it is the first one I've seen with a diesel; all the others have A4s or an outboard.
 
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