Touring Boats – The Ones that Didn’t Make the Cut

Starting in July we visited about a dozen boats, about 3/4 of those with Natalie along, gradually getting a better idea of what we were looking for.

The very first boat we visited was a 1978 Bristol 35.5 in Anacortes with Natalie’s friends Toriann and Mark along – we were on our way to a 5-day San Juans cruise on Seattle Sailing Club’s J/35c “Dolce Vita.” I kind of knew this boat wasn’t going to be in great shape but wanted to set a baseline. The boat was on the hard (this means it was on stands in a boatyard) and had lots of black mold/mildew inside on the hull walls. It also had some pretty ancient equipment – it felt like the 36-year-old boat it was, not like a boat that had been updated and refit. 7 months later this boat is still on the market, with a substantial price reduction (from 40k to 32.5k).

A very old autopilot control on the Bristol 35.5.

A very old autopilot control on the Bristol 35.5.

IMG_20140718_103106

A concerning crack in the paint on the rudder skeg - would have to hire a surveyor to tell whether this went through to structure.

A concerning crack in the paint on the rudder skeg – would have to hire a surveyor to tell whether this went through to structure.

Other boats visited:

  • Two Pacific Seacraft 34’s, a 1985 for $69k and a 1991 for $89k. These are well-built traditional cruisers, but they felt small inside, one had a teak deck (a money pit with no benefits), and they seemed pricey for what you got.
  • Two Tartan 37’s, a 1978 for 50k and a 1980 for 50k later reduced to 45k. The first one had jammer cleats – these are 1970’s rope clutches – they’re so old they’re worthy of being museum pieces. The second Tartan 37 had a rotted bulkhead.
    Rotted bulkhead in Tartan 37

    Rotted bulkhead in Tartan 37

    Jammer clutches

    Jammer clutches

  • 1986 Passport 37 for 119k. This is a beautiful boat on the interior – lots of well kept teak and storage space. The boat was loaded with all the bells and whistles of an offshore cruiser and had just finished two years in the south Pacific. But it was too expensive for my budget, and I didn’t think it worth nearly that price anyway – there were a few things that were less than ideal (teak side decks, a huge hard dodger that seriously blocked side deck access and took over the cockpit).

    Beautiful woodwork in the v-berth of the Passport 37

    Beautiful woodwork in the v-berth of the Passport 37

  • C&C 37 for 45k. This was actually pretty nice, although setup as more of a racer / coastal cruiser.
  • 1988 Ericson 34 for 47k. This boat is actually closer to 35’, and was in nice condition. It had no wood on deck which I liked, and would have good sailing performance. The specs are pretty similar to a Wauquiez Pretorien 35 actually. Interior sleeping accommodations were a tad on the small side. It wasn’t as cruiser ready as the C&C 38 Landfall we later looked at though, and the shallow anchor pan would be problematic.
The Ericson 34's anchor locker pan

The Ericson 34’s anchor locker pan

After looking at the Bristol 35.5, Pacific Seacraft 34’s, Tartan 37’s, and Passport 37, I started to realize these boats were a bit too traditional for my tastes. The Tartan 37 was the most modern probably, but the two located in Seattle were in bad shape – kind of project boats. Around this time I heard of the C&C 38 Landfall and started reading up on it – everything I heard was good and it sounded like a much better fit. More about that in an upcoming post…

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