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Tenacious Pragmatist
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Thanks for reading. My partner and I have been shopping a long time for a seaworthy offshore cruiser to take around the world on a shoestring budget. I'm thinking of buying a bargain double ender but for the first time in my search the designer and maker are unknown. Forgive the length, but I'm pasting the bulk of an email from the current owner so you can hear the information in context, in his voice as it were. He apparently used to work with boats.

"Here is some more info on the boat.

The boat was custom built in Berkley by a Master Boat Builder in 1967. Length 34', beam 11', draft 5', Net weight 8 tons. Not sure who the architect was but the boat has beautiful lines and is very well built. The current layout can sleep 4.

It was nearly completely restored during the 90's at South Bay Boat Yard in Chula Vista. The boat sat unattended for many years in the boat yard on dry land and was never finished or launched. I bought the boat, made her sea worthy, replaced all the thru-hull fittings and valves, then sailed her to Mission Bay. At the time I was working as a boat builder/repairman at Knight and Carver Yacht center in Mission Bay. I hauled the boat out again at Knight and Carver and for several months completely re-glassed the bottom of the boat from the waterline down with several layers of fiberglass and West Systems epoxy resin. Then I faired the hull above the waterline and painted it with LP.

The 18 hp China diesel engine is a good motor that came from a running sail boat that I salvaged. I salvaged the entire boat including the power plant with all the hardware, filter systems, electrical, pumps, and controls. Plus all the rigging so I have boxes of extra parts.

The shaft log is in place from the original motor. I built and fiber glassed in a heavy duty cradle for the engine to sit on. I also built 3 new fiberglass fuel tanks that fit the shape and contour of the hull creating a rear berth under the cockpit. These are new and have not been plumbed in yet.

A couple years ago I replaced all the standing rigging and added 5 new Meisner Winches. There is an extra set of standing rigging cables that are still good. All cables are swedged on the ends.

The mast and boom are glassed over spruce. The keel (¾ length of boat) is iron, and when I bought the boat it had just had a set of monel keel bolts installed. The rudder shaft and housing are stainless steel.

There are 2-3 sets of sails including maroon colored Tanbark storm sails. Some other dingy sales also.

Electrical includes Marine battery charger, Battery switch, Marine radio with antenna, Running lights with nice brass housings, several new interior 12 volt cabin lights. The boat needs to be wired for 12 volt as there is currently no wiring. There is some 115 volt wiring and appliances. Including a water heater, TV/VCR combo, refrigerator, microwave oven.

The galley has a "Galley Maid" three burner propane stove with oven. There is also a double sink in the galley. When hooked up to shore water there is both hot and cold running water in the galley sink. The head has a manual marine toilet and a second sink. The brass thu-hull with valve for the head is installed. The hoses and tri-valve for the toilet are there but they need to be installed,

Other then the engine, some plumbing, and electrical need to be installed. Some interior cabinetry needs to be finished, mostly cabinet doors, counters, and mount the galley stove, and main salon table. Minor rigging work like cleaning things. The decks, house and hull are all solid but the topsides need some refinishing work, cabin exterior and decks need to be painted for cosmetics.

It would probably take a day or two to get here ready to sail. If you intended to go any distance or sail at night, you would also need to install some of the electrical, buy a marine battery or two, run some wiring and mount the running lights. The hardware all comes (batteries not included :)) with the boat to do it.

I want to be clear, there has been a lot of time and money that have been put into this boat, however it is still a project boat...."

We also talked with him on the phone and I think he said the previous owner was a lawyer who put money in it over the years but never finished, never took it out of the yard. I can dig up some more info later (notes from the phone conversation) if it'd be helpful.

The name on the hull is Tuki, which is not documented with the USCG, and I can't find access to the California registration database online (the boat's in San Diego). We're up in the bay, so we can't just pop over to take a look at it--like a survey, this is expensive and hard to coordinate for us so if we travel we want it to be for the boat we'll buy.

What do you think?

Here are some pictures.

Thank you!
 

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I would be hesitant to take that across San Francicso Bay. I would never in my wildest dreams think of buying her.

a) The hull is not likely to be seaworthy. Applying fibreglass to one side of a hull is a bad idea. Looking at the general state of the boat, I doubt that it was done properly.

b) The spars should never have been glassed.

c) You will not be able to find parts for that engine anywhere.

d) The boat cannot be repaired in the water. It needs to get hauled out, dried out, the fibreglass needs to be stripped off the hull, rotted and weakened timbers (and there will be many on this boat) need to be removed and replacements steamed, bent and fitted. None of the things the seller mentions (range/wiring/hoses/fittings) are worth anything.

e) I can guarantee you that it will cost you well in excess of 100K to make this boat safe for offshore work. You will never be able to sell it for more than 50K when you are done (assuming it is still in one piece).

It would not be possible to get insurance for this boat. No marina will let you into their facility without insurance.

Don't get seduced by a low price. In boats - as in other things - you get what you pay for. Even in this market, well-priced, well-maintained boats are selling quickly. Knowledgable sailors buy them because they know it is cheaper to do so than it is to fix one up yourself.

Save some more money. You need 100K.

Good Luck ! :)
 

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Telstar 28
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Is this a wooden boat or a fiberglass one. If it is a wooden boat, I would recommend you look at a different boat. Wooden boats require a lot of TLC and constant maintenance to remain seaworthy and in good condition.
 

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Sailormann said it best... here's the short version... RUN.

At any price this project is false economy and potentially fatally dangerous. I suggest you keep looking.
 

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Splashed
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Having owned a few wooden boats, and currently involved in restoring another (NOT MINE!!), that boat scares the crap out of me. You can be pretty sure that if just ONE piece of wood has just a little rot in it, it WILL have spread, and a wooden boat that has been sitting neglected for long periods WILL have rot.. Do as Faster tells you, RUN, and never look back.
P.S: I love wooden boats, and we're a number of people trying to save our heritage, but that is not the job of a single person!
 

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Splashed
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If you need something that size, you should be able to get something in GRP that requires way less maintenance, and if it has been neglected, shrugs it off way better. Also for less than the 100k mentioned? (Sorry, I don't know much about US prices)..
 

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STARBOARD!!
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This was posted a week ago:

kidshelley said:
I'm doing the same thing. With only recent sailing experience and one year til casting off, I'm cramming full-time, learning all I can about everything. Determination can offset many obstacles; good luck!
WOAH!!! If you went to Strictly Sail Pacific; I hope you took LOTS of notes and realized that there is much, much more to sailing and going offshore than just "putting your mind to it". First and foremost are your skills as a sailor; and from the looks of it you need a FEW YEARS not a few months to get ready. In addition there is learning about all of the equipment, finding the RIGHT boat, outfitting the boat and getting comfortable sailing a boat singlehanded in heavy nearshore conditions before even thinking of going on a coastal cruise let alone crossing oceans. PLEASE take my advice and slow down a bit; maybe do some crewing on boats that are traveling on coastal trips or maybe to Hawaii before going out there on your own.
 

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I've never heard of glassing the spars.....

"It will take a day or two to get her ready to sail"

Is he kidding?

I'd walk away.
 

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Tenacious Pragmatist
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thank you everybody. I appreciate your thoughtful input. I believe this is glass over wood, sailingdog, and I agree with you and JomsViking about wood. This is not representative of the boats I've been looking at--I don't want a wooden boat--but Cap'n. Fatty's voice is fresh in my mind and I wanted to make sure I wasn't disregarding a potentially good opportunity in the rough.

My partner and I did take full advantage and copious notes of the seminars at Strictly Sail, but I was actually a little disappointed by the lack of new information. To be fair, I think I'd already read most of the speakers' books. I enjoyed their personal accounts, however, and gleaned many valuable details. KeelHaulin, please rest assured that my somewhat flip and oversimplified comment in another thread was only meant to be encouraging, a friendly affirmation that this could be done. I am not naive about the rigorous demands of venturing offshore, I am familiar with the equipment involved and continuing to refine my knowledge as everyone does, and working on sailing skills by sailing on others' boats every chance I get. As for the boat, I've already found dozens of suitable boats, often outfitted for a trip that the owner had to cancel or cut short. Unfortunately I can't afford easily identified cruise-ready offshore boats; at my price point I need to split hairs between quality and cost. Thank you for your good thoughts--it's obvious this is a community of caring individuals and I'm glad to be in such experienced and thoughtful company. :)
 

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STARBOARD!!
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I think you need to put aside the "cost" part and concentrate on getting to a short list of boat brands that you would find suitable for your needs. Do some searching on yachtworld and narrow the field down. Just look at boats don't look at the prices. When you find some boat types that you are interested in post back to the buying a boat forum or this thread and ask about suitability. You will get responses as to which ones to keep on your list and which ones to dump for various reasons. You should be able to get it down to 4-6 boat brands; and from there you can start looking for a boat in your price range and with the market down for boats you might find one that is ready to go for a do-able price.
 

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Telstar 28
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BTW, I'd also recommend you read the Boat Inspection Trip Tips thread I started, as it will help you determine whether boats you look at are even worth going forward on, saving you the price of a survey for boats that aren't worth looking at further.

I would pass on this boat, as boats that have been modified in this manner are usually trouble.
 

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Farr 11.6 (Farr 38)
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I am not sure why everyone says 'Run'. The OP has not said how this boat was built. In the late 1960's there were building techniques (for example strip planking with a rot resistant wood like redwood or western red cedar) that would produce a boat that was totally suited to glassing over with glass and epoxy as the current owner has done. Glassing spruce spars makes them hard to survey, but if done with care produces a vewry solid, albeit heavy spar. The monel keel bolts suggest that a lot of care and expense has been invested in this boat and from what I can see the design seems reasonably well suited to offshore voyaging.

Yes, it is a project boat, but off hand it is one that appears to be a pretty wholesome design and probably a better candidate for a circumnavigation than one of the fiberglass CCA era boats that is likely to be the only other alternative near this price range.

Respectfully,
Jeff
 

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If what Jeff has stated is true. Keep one thing in mind. A day, or 2 will turn into a year, or 2. Do you want a project, or do you want to sail? If you want a project you may have found a jewel. If you want to sail? Then I would look further.....IMHO.......i2f
 

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STARBOARD!!
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Yes, it is a project boat, but off hand it is one that appears to be a pretty wholesome design and probably a better candidate for a circumnavigation than one of the fiberglass CCA era boats that is likely to be the only other alternative near this price range.
I don't understand. Two pages of people have said it's a no-brainer to run, not walk on that boat yet you think it's a good idea to buy it and circumnav? What boats are you referring to when you say fiberglass CCA era boat? I hate to burst your bubble Jeff; but many of the fiberglass CCA era boats were built to wood hull standards (in thickness and scantlings) which make them "brick shiithouse" strong by comparison to hulls built before and after them.
 

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You guys know that the Captn Ron movie was fiction and not a documentary, right? If you have your heart set on this boat good luck. You will not be the first person here to go against conventional wisdom. Keep us posted. Too often, we hear a lot of big talk up front but in a couple of months when the new owner realizes he has a bottomless pit, he walks and we never know the end of the story. Promise us that you won’t do the same. Needless to say that is one funky boat. Are you planning on keeping the wine racks? So the boat is in SD and you went to Strictly Sail – Does that mean you will be moving the boat up to SF? And if so when? I’d be more than happy to welcome you to the Bay and take your picture as you cross under the Gate.
 

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Splashed
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Jeff,
I said RUN! based on previous experience with a number of wooden boats, and based on the gut-feeling i got from the pictures and description. Your reply is a bit more positive, but also based on your interpretation of the same set of data. I have the highest respect for your knowledge and experience (although I do no always agree), and learned a lot from it.
I would still say that IF (and the data does not tell us directly) it has been sitting, and rot has started somewhere, even strip planked will have suffered? (But it will have spread less, and be easier to repair).


I am not sure why everyone says 'Run'. The OP has not said how this boat was built. In the late 1960's there were building techniques (for example strip planking with a rot resistant wood like redwood or western red cedar) that would produce a boat that was totally suited to glassing over with glass and epoxy as the current owner has done. Glassing spruce spars makes them hard to survey, but if done with care produces a vewry solid, albeit heavy spar. The monel keel bolts suggest that a lot of care and expense has been invested in this boat and from what I can see the design seems reasonably well suited to offshore voyaging.

Yes, it is a project boat, but off hand it is one that appears to be a pretty wholesome design and probably a better candidate for a circumnavigation than one of the fiberglass CCA era boats that is likely to be the only other alternative near this price range.

Respectfully,
Jeff
 

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STARBOARD!!
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Unless the wood hull were NEW construction (which it is not) I would not trust it for extended offshore voyaging. The Pardees sail a wood hull but it was built recently (not in the 50's or 60's). I doubt that Monel keel bolts were installed; it would be cost-prohibitive to do that on a boat with such low market value to begin with. I just don't see in those pictures the level of care that you should be looking for in a wood hull. There are some beautiful wood hull boats here on SF Bay and if a boat is properly maintained it -could- be suitable to take offshore; but the boats are so expensive to bring to that level of restoration that most choose to sail them on SF Bay and not beat them up sailing in heavy offshore conditions.
 

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None of the pictures show the salient points like the floors or bilges that might support (or undermine) the suggestion of whether to put on one's track shoes or not. The floating wine cellar aspect would make me cautious. I also noted that stern tang that attaches to the backstay does not seem to be lined up parallel to the backstay. Lots of things besides strip planking were going on in Berkley in the '60's.
 

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Farr 11.6 (Farr 38)
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The main point in my comments above was that looking at the hull form of the boat in question, the boat looks like a seakindly boat that by design was intended for offshore use. What can be seen in the photos is a boat that appears to have been built to a high standard of workmanship using high quality materials.

But also more to the point, this OP starts out saying that they want to take the boat around the world and therefore, it would seem to make sense to start with an offshore design. It is difficult to find inexpensive boats that have hulls and rigs suitable for offshore work. Most inexpensive boats out there are older fiberglass racer- cruisers whose designs were not as suitable for offshore work, even if they can be adapted for the purpose.

I understand that my comments fly in the face of this court of common wisdom. Perhaps it is because I come at this from a differing set of experiences than some of the earlier posters. I am not sure how many of you have owned old wooden boats, but I have owned three in my lifetime, one of which that I owned in the 1970's on into the 80's that had a 40 year old cedar hull that had been glassed over by a previous owner. That boat was in my family for 11 years. The owners that followed us cruised the Carribean as far south as South America. A younger couple bought the boat, refitted her and went off cruising as well. The last I heard, roughly 5 years ago, that boat, which is now 70 years old, is still out there sailing.

A well built and reasonably well maintained wooden boat can be maintained in good shape nearly forever. Obviously, it takes more work than a fiberglass boat, but if the OP plans to circumnavigate on a shoe string than they will need to learn to do all kinds of maintenance chores, and once you learn how to do it, I have found working with wood is often easier than working with fiberglass.

I should note that some of the comments above come off as a little unfamiliar with traditional boat building techniques. For example, while it is hard to tell how the slatted shelves were constructed, and its true that they may in fact be total junk or simply as someone noted 'wine storage', there was a long tradition of building slatted clothing shelves on distance cruisers as a way of preventing mildew from forming, and also as a way of storing can goods so that the cans would not roll around and beat themselves up.

Which comes back to my central point, the original post and link did not explain enough about the boat to automatically say 'Run' to me. It is possible that this boat may be quite suitable for the O.P.'s needs. I am not saying 'buy the boat', all that I am saying is that I would not run the other way before doing a little more homework. The sky may not be falling, but then again it may be sturdily hung right where it should be; the O.P. won't know without doing more homework, and that is what I was suggesting.

Respectfully,
Jeff
 
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