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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Buying advice - O'Day 30

Hello,

First, I want to apologize if this has been answered before in some way but I searched for a while and cold not find anything on this...
So here we go.
I am looking at buying my first boat. I have sailed most of life on a variety of boats but never owned one.
This boat is to be used on the East coast of Florida for day sailing and light cruising to the keys and maybe eventually to the Bahamas if appropriate.
Two adults and 3 younger boys (5, 7, 9).
So... Now that I have bored you to death with my pedigree, the real question comes regarding this 1978 O'Day 30 I'm looking at.
Asking $8500.
New mast, boom, standing and running rigging, mostly new sails, spinaker, etc.
Atomic 4 (original I believe), starts and runs smoothly.
Shoal Draft (3 1/2. I am told the swing keel/centerboard part was sealed up years ago).
I will of course have a survey done.
The boat needs a cleaning and bottom pain for sure.
Interior is clean and basic but old. Could use a major freshening-up, at least all the cushions and side upholstery.
Stove was removed years ago.
Nav equipment is simple/non-existent.
No Depth Sounder, just a compass and VHF.
Looks like a newer water pump and head macerator.
Any advice/concern on this deal?
I don't want to bother with the survey if everyone tells me to run away from this :)
I don't know anything about O'Days.
I feel like it's a decent price, considering the new rigging, mast, etc. as long as the haul-out and survey is good.
I do wish it had a diesel (any idea what an eventual diesel replacement would cost?).
Any comment and advice is greatly appreciated.
Thank you!
 

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O'day made a pretty good coastal cruiser. The 30 would be good for a week or two at sea. I have a O'day 302 and take a 9 day cruise every summer with two friends, one year we stayed on the boat for the entire trip with no problems.
You will have to set the boat up for trips longer then a week end but it can be done. You will need nav equipment.
Good luck and have fun.
 

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Hello,

The O'day line of boats were decent, well made, typical production type boats. Not much different than Catalina, Newport, S2, C&C and the like.

The price is good. As long as there survey shows no serious damage, the boat would be fine for your use. It won't be the best boat for going upwind, but it should give you many years of good service.

Good luck,
Barry
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the quick replies.
Any idea what an eventual conversion to a diesel would cost, installed?
 

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A new appropriately sized diesel will run you as much as you're paying for the boat.....give or take, and depending on what happens with the economy. Yeah.......OUCH! Maybe you'll find a deal for $6500, but I wouldn't think anything less for a new setup. Used? A pull from a wreck? You might get lucky for considerably less. All is not lost with the A4. It has quite the legacy following and improvements have been developed through the years to make them even more reliable. I just read a quote on another thread for an A4 drop-in diesel replacement for a Pearson 10M....$12K. That A4 is looking pretty good right about now, huh?
 

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go O'Day!! Nice sailing boat with a better than average layout below (good storage space, etc.) Make sure you get a mechanical survey/compression check on the A4. It's a great, reliable engine if it's in good shape. Good luck!
 

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I wouldn't hesitate for a moment to buy O'Day (again). The 30 looks like an ideal cruising/weekender type boat. Check the chainplates & hull deck joint.
 

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My family owned a 1980 O'Day 28 for a bunch of years (we bought it new though). As others mentioned, they are about the same quality as other basic production boats of the era. For your intended use (daysailing and weekends), there's no reason it can't be a good boat. While I personally prefer a diesel, but my understanding is that Atomic 4s are reliable if properly maintained. There are online companies that offer parts for A4s, so that should help. Our O'Day 28 had an OMC saildrive, gas engine as well. We never had problems, but our boat was new at the time.

The centerboard would have been nice to have when working your way upwind. However, there are plenty of boats that track all right without the boards--I don't have personal experience with the O'Day 30 on that issue.

You already mentioned getting survey, which is definitely paramount, even in this price range. As a result of the survey, you may be able to negotiate even more off the price, but most important (in my opinion), you'll know more about the condition of the boat. Knowing what you're getting into will help you witht he decision. Check for moisture in the deck (standard procedure on survey, but can be a problem on O'Days from that era).

Others are right that the diesel engine replacement would cost as much as the boat, if not more.

If you want to know more about the O'Day 30, there's a review of the boat at Practical Sailor. You have to pay for the review, but it might be worth it.
Hope this helps!
-J
 

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One thought is if you could find a similar boat with more updates. To sail with family you are going to want a stove, nav equipment, sounder and updated interior (old upolstry can smell as bad as it looks). A reliable motor takes on more importance with kids on board. If you add up the cost of all this you might be better off paying more for a more complete boat and even get the diesel you want. With the economy what it is there may well be a greater supply of good used boats to choose from, particularly in the 30 foot range. Remember that updates like those above will not increase the value of the boat to match what you put into it, so why not find a boat where somebody else has made the initial investment?
 

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Just curious, why would you want a diesel to replace a perfectly good Atomic A4?? It is a very expensive upgrade that will not be recouped if you sell the boat. An Atomic A4 is a simple and relatively bullet-proof engine.

As for the swing keel/centerboard being sealed up...that's a minus in my book. The centerboard helps with the boat pointing in deeper waters and helps prevent leeway. Without it, you've got a boat that is shoal draft, but doesn't point very high or well, and tends to sideslip far more than she should.

Would highly recommend you read the Boat Inspection Trip Tips thread I posted a while back. It should help you figure out if this boat is worth proceeding further with.
 

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The boat was designed as a keel/centerboarder for a reason. The reason was to accommodate a shoal draft while still allowing decent upwind performance. Removing the use of the centerboard makes it a lousy upwind performer... and that can be trouble if you're in a lee shore situation. Also, maintenance on a centerboard isn't all that much. I'd be curious to know how the centerboard trunk was sealed up and why.
 

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The boat was designed as a keel/centerboarder for a reason. The reason was to accommodate a shoal draft while still allowing decent upwind performance. Removing the use of the centerboard makes it a lousy upwind performer... and that can be trouble if you're in a lee shore situation. Also, maintenance on a centerboard isn't all that much. I'd be curious to know how the centerboard trunk was sealed up and why.
I tend to agree with you on this point, sailingdog. I personally would not purchase a centerboard boat that had the board sealed up. I've heard of it working all right on some boats, and I sailed a Pearson 36 once that had the board sealed up and we still did pretty well to windward. I'm guessing the O'Day could really use that board though.
 

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did you compare how you did to windward with a pearson 36 that had a working centerboard??? :) I'm guessing you didn't... and you'd probably be surprised by what a difference it does make.
I tend to agree with you on this point, sailingdog. I personally would not purchase a centerboard boat that had the board sealed up. I've heard of it working all right on some boats, and I sailed a Pearson 36 once that had the board sealed up and we still did pretty well to windward. I'm guessing the O'Day could really use that board though.
 

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did you compare how you did to windward with a pearson 36 that had a working centerboard??? :) I'm guessing you didn't... and you'd probably be surprised by what a difference it does make.
No we didn't compare, and I would have preferred to have the centerboard, so I completely agree with your point. I probably was not very clear in my posts that I would also be very concerned about the CB not being usable. And since I've not sailed an O'Day 30, I'd guess it would have a major negative impact not to have it. I was only pointing out that some boats seems to do all right without it, but certainly not suggesting it's not a big deal. I agree that it is.

As for the Pearson 36, we made more leeway than I would prefer, though we did beat the pants off of a larger boat (whose skipper was trying) upwind, but that boat was a different make/model, so it's not a fair comparison (I'd prefer to believe that I'm an exceptional sailor, but oh well) :D . I just meant that I was able to get where I wanted to go without the board, even upwind. Still, I'd still prefer to have the centerboard operational, and would recommend the same to others--especially when there are SO MANY other boats out there (including O'Day 30s) that are fully functional.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I looked at the boat again today and I'm more and more attracted to it.
The interior/cosmetic doesn't seem like a big project. My significant other said she can't wait to make new cushion, etc. (time will tell :laugher )
I appreciate everyone's comment and advice on the Atomic 4.
The center board situation is certainly a concern. I plan on going for a sail in the next few days to see how bad (or good) it points without the CB.
I guess I'm attracted to the new rigging, spar, sails for that kind of price.
 

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I"ve an 82 O-30 with the fin keel. 4'11" draft. 16 hp universal diesel. I love the boat more each year! And I'm going on my 3rd year with her too!

If you contact Rudy at D & R marine I think he has a new centerboard keel for your boat.

good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I can't tell you how much I appreciate everyone's comments and advice.
I made an offer on the boat, subject to satisfactory survey and it was accepted.
The survey is scheduled for Wednesday.
Then hopefully we'll close the deal and I will leave the boat on blocks and have the bottom paint done.
The yard gave me a quote of $900 for the sanding and epoxy bottom paint.
Any comments on that?

Also, as far as the instruments, I had first written the boat didn't have a depth sounder but it actually has a new Hummingbird fishfinder waiting to be installed and the gentleman was waiting to see where the buyer would want it placed before putting it in.
So... my question now is what do you think of putting in a GPS/Depth Sounder unit instead. This way I would only have one unit out there instead of two separate ones.
Of course I need to keep the cost down. I found a Lowrance M68C S/Map Fishfinder Chartplotter for $399. Any thoughts?
 

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Info

The yard gave me a quote of $900 for the sanding and epoxy bottom paint.
Any comments on that?
Yes. It's not possible to sand, epoxy coat, and apply antifouling paint for $900. The cost of the epoxy barrier coat and antifouling paint will be close to $400 alone. You should find out exactly what the yard will do for $900. Perhaps all they will do is a quick sand and then apply antifouling paint. That may be OK, but without seeing the current bottom there is no way to know if that is a good idea or not.

I found a Lowrance M68C S/Map Fishfinder Chartplotter for $399. Any thoughts?
I had that unit in my Newport. It was an excellent unit and I really liked it. My only complaint is that the screen is small (3.5"). On my O'day I moved up to a 5" screen which is easier to see. The bigger units cost significantly more money ($600+) so if the 3.5" display works for you, it's a great unit.

Good luck,
Barry
 

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I'd keep the two units separate. First, if the single unit fails, you're out two navigation instruments—the GPS and the depthsounder. Second, the screen on the smaller units really can't accommodate both the GPS chart plotting function and the the fishfinding function at the same time.
 
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