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Thread: Is a <$18,000 Ericson 38 a Financial Trap?

  1. #31
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    Here's a resource thread which shows the sidewall, teak, and port lights in a 1985 32-3, which would be the same.
    http://www.ericsonyachts.org/infoexc...324#post124324

  2. #32
    Principal Partner markvone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marinarius View Post
    I am curious about the deck construction surrounding the port lights that sometimes leak. Is the deck coring exposed around the edges of the hole? Or did they seal the edges? In other words, would the signs of leaking port lights indicate wet deck coring ?
    The near VERTICAL cabin sides where all my ports are located (opening and fixed) is solid glass ~ 1/2 inch thick. The horizontal surfaces, cabin top and side decks, are cored which is thicker. I suspect this area is not cored because a) it would be too thick for the typical port thickness/trim and b) it makes the cabintop-cabinside-side deck transition easier to layup and c) the vertical stiffness of a cored layup isn't needed since this is near vertical. Leaking ports will rot the interior teak veneer plywood NOT any deck core.

    I found replacing the entire 1/4 inch plywood veneer to be quite manageable and the only major cost (not counting all new ports) was the single sheet of teak veneer plywood. The only issues I had to deal with were bringing the sheet of plywood home on the roof (bought other plywood and 2x4s at the same time) and clamping the veneer to the cabinside while the epoxy cured. There are threads here at EY.o about clamping the veneer.

    Note the E36RH has an open interior with only the head aft bulkhead against the cabinside veneer.

    Mark
    Last edited by markvone; 08-17-2019 at 10:22 AM.
    Mark & Ronnie Vinette
    E36RH #21 GLIDE
    Annapolis, MD

  3. #33
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    Thanks for the quick and details replies!

  4. #34
    Contributing Member II Equanimity's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tin Kicker View Post
    Here's a resource thread which shows the sidewall, teak, and port lights in a 1985 32-3, which would be the same.
    http://www.ericsonyachts.org/infoexc...324#post124324
    This is great! Thanks Tin Kicker.
    Name: Mike B.
    Loc: Boston, Massachusetts

  5. #35
    Principal Partner bigd14's Avatar
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    Proceed carefully. The less you pay for a boat the more expensive it is. This looks like a lot of work. Surveyors miss stuff all the time. If you find a problem and start digging into it, another problem will reveal itself. Many boat systems and components are attached, or co-dependent, and must be dismantled to access others. You will spend lots of extra time and money doing "while I am in here" projects. Many of these projects require the boat be out of the water.

    Be realistic about how long things will take. Its often more than 3x longer than you estimate for the above-mentioned reasons (see my blog entries about replacing a strut). Sourcing materials is a huge part of the time spent. Running around trying to find just the right hose size and type, or getting a fastener that is a quarter inch too short can make a one hour job into a full day job (there is actually no such thing as a one hour job on a boat).

    If your goal is simply to spend time with your family sailing, find a boat that is in excellent shape. Even then there will be plenty of projects to keep you occupied and learning about all the systems, but you will be actually able to use it.

    There is something highly rewarding about fixing up an old boat. But you have to love the process of working on it. You have to be comfortable putting off the reward of actually using the boat for months or years. If you like working on boats as much as you like using them, and you have an agreeable family this might be right for you. It sounds like you enjoy this type of work, so my advice would be to get this boat, but also get another inexpensive boat that you can enjoy with your family in the meantime. You can then unload the interim boat when you have this Ericson fixed up to your satisfaction and you will not feel pressure to rush the job. It's what I wish I had done (twice).
    Last edited by bigd14; 08-17-2019 at 11:28 PM.
    1984 Ericson 30+
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  6. #36
    Contributing Member II Equanimity's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigd14 View Post
    Proceed carefully. The less you pay for a boat the more expensive it is. This looks like a lot of work. Surveyors miss stuff all the time. If you find a problem and start digging into it, another problem will reveal itself. Many boat systems and components are attached, or co-dependent, and must be dismantled to access others. You will spend lots of extra time and money doing "while I am in here" projects. Many of these projects require the boat be out of the water.

    Be realistic about how long things will take. Its often more than 3x longer than you estimate for the above-mentioned reasons (see my blog entries about replacing a strut). Sourcing materials is a huge part of the time spent. Running around trying to find just the right hose size and type, or getting a fastener that is a quarter inch too short can make a one hour job into a full day job (there is actually no such thing as a one hour job on a boat).
    I'm going to check out the $18K craft this week. I completely connect with what you're saying. The development of my work-estimate/pricing estimate spreadsheet is underway. I'll make sure to apply a "3x multiplier" to the big problems. Perhaps I'll make a blog post about this as it comes together more...

    Your comment on material sourcing is interesting. I would love to understand more about the challenges in finding parts. Is it difficult to find original ericson components?

    Love the advice about getting a second boat to play with. I cant forget to have fun!
    Name: Mike B.
    Loc: Boston, Massachusetts

  7. #37
    Advanced Beginner bgary's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Equanimity View Post
    Is it difficult to find original ericson components?
    No.... it's impossible. Ericson went out of business ~25 years ago. And many of the suppliers they used (masts, engines, etc.) are similarly in the dust-bin of history.

    That's not unique to Ericson... most of the boats of that era (Islander, Cal, Columbia, Ranger, etc) are in the same...uh... boat.

    The difference (IMO) is that these Ericson boats are worth the effort to fix, maintain and upgrade.... even when it is hard.

    $.02
    Bruce
    "Makana" (ex-Thelonious)
    1985 Ericson 32-III #604
    Makana blog: here

  8. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Equanimity View Post
    I'm going to check out the $18K craft this week. I completely connect with what you're saying. The development of my work-estimate/pricing estimate spreadsheet is underway. I'll make sure to apply a "3x multiplier" to the big problems. Perhaps I'll make a blog post about this as it comes together more...

    Your comment on material sourcing is interesting. I would love to understand more about the challenges in finding parts. Is it difficult to find original ericson components?

    Love the advice about getting a second boat to play with. I cant forget to have fun!
    Great comment on finding parts and it does become part of the game. Fortunately, most of it is pretty low tech fiberglass, interior woodwork, electrical, and metal which you can update or replace. It's just the time to do so and then figure out what will go in the place of what is coming out. Opening port lights as the previous example was a good one. The Lewmar Size 1 will fit if if trim the edges of the hole a little with a router or jig saw. But a lot is still in production or has direct replacements, such as the pumps and fixtures.

    And then there are all the things we now need or want which didn't exist in the 1980s. For example, see what new style anchors will fit the old roller, maybe add a little solar, replace the lights (interior and mast) with LEDs, add a few USB chargers, etc.

  9. #39
    Moderator Christian Williams's Avatar
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    Mike,

    As you walk around on the deck, feel for soft spots (not the anchor well lid). There shouldn't be any.

    Glance over the exterior hull for signs of traumatic collision. There shouldn't be any.

    Note the cosmetic condition of the mast. It should not appear horribly ugly, scratched, or peeling paint.

    With cell phone, take pix of

    nonskid (is it factory gelcoat, or a subsequent paint job)
    Any deck gelcoat that appears brownish/black rather than original light color off-white.
    All cabin "windows" (interior) and opening hatches.
    Pedestal
    bow hardware (close up on the big forestay chainplate fitting and its stem strap)
    The engine and its compartment
    the bilges
    The head (toilet)

    And anything else that strikes your eye. The members here are good at noticing issues and have encountered them all.

    How does the boat smell? Like rot? toilet? musty? diesel?

    We can assume replacement main and genoa ($6-7k total basic) and upholstery ($4-8K) are required.

    If the rest of the boat is average that's a starting point of 18K + say 14K=$32K.

    If you see something baaaad, the forum may be able to head off the cost of a surveyor.

    But I'll bet you don't.
    Last edited by Christian Williams; 08-19-2019 at 05:40 PM.
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  10. #40
    Contributing Member II Equanimity's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tin Kicker View Post
    Great comment on finding parts and it does become part of the game. Fortunately, most of it is pretty low tech fiberglass, interior woodwork, electrical, and metal which you can update or replace. It's just the time to do so and then figure out what will go in the place of what is coming out.
    Understood, love the example!

    Quote Originally Posted by Christian Williams View Post
    Mike,

    As you walk around on the deck, feel for soft spots (not the anchor well lid). There shouldn't be any.

    Glance over the exterior hull for signs of traumatic collision. There shouldn't be any.

    Note the cosmetic condition of the mast. It should not appear horribly ugly, scratched, or peeling paint.

    With cell phone, take pix of

    nonskid (is it factory gelcoat, or a subsequent paint job)
    Any deck gelcoat that appears brownish/black rather than original light color off-white.
    All cabin "windows" (interior) and opening hatches.
    Pedestal
    bow hardware (close up on the big forestay chainplate fitting and its stem strap)
    The engine and its compartment
    the bilges
    The head (toilet)

    And anything else that strikes your eye. The members here are good at noticing issues and have encountered them all.

    How does the boat smell? Like rot? toilet? musty? diesel?

    We can assume replacement main and genoa ($6-7k total basic) and upholstery ($4-8K) are required.

    If the rest of the boat is average that's a starting point of 18K + say 14K=$32K.

    If you see something baaaad, the forum may be able to head off the cost of a surveyor.

    But I'll bet you don't.
    I really appreciate the practical walk-through. I'm very grateful to be a part of this community. It seems to be the most knowledgeable group of sailors/handymen on the Internet! I'm learning so much and already applying it:

    This afternoon, I went to visit the above yacht world listing in person. After driving two hours to the marina, I finally was able to locate the three-year-on-the-hard, dormant E38 yacht, "Mel's Angel".

    As I ascended up the ladder to make my way to the cockpit, I begin to hear the faint sound of rock and roll coming from a radio below deck... I shout "helloooo!?" through the companionway with the assumption that nobody was there but me. The broker had told me only minutes earlier in a text that he had left the boat unlocked and for me to check it out on my own time today...

    A few seconds pass and I shout "hello!?" again, and suddenly an older gentleman with a scraggly white beard, oil stains running down his arms to his elbows, and blue paint on his shirt pops his head out of the stern half-berth with great disbelief and discomfort!

    "Who are you!?" he pounces. I reply "Are you the broker??" in confusion. He snaps "No! I'm the new owner, I bought this girl six weeks ago on eBay! A steal!" -- I go on and explain what I was doing there... He tells me that my broker had been out of his mind and that he had purchased the boat from its original owner.

    And so, we continued to talk for about an hour, and he proudly guided me through his new 38 foot project. Something he plans to launch this Friday! She was absolutely beautiful! All she needed was a new rudder to get her sailing again (~$2k), as the old one had warped due to sun exposure.

    I left in my car feeling somewhat discouraged and frustrated. I can say more about the broker, but I am restraining myself... I'm simply left wondering:

    Is it ever worth going through a broker for a used Ericson? In my experience (as stated above) they don't seem to pay much mind to the lower-end product they are selling, likely because there isn't much commission in the deals, verses selling a new boat, for example. Has anyone gone through a broker to make an Ericson purchase? What was your experience like?

    I don't feel like I wasted time. I got a great tour from a new friend! But what a crazy day!
    Last edited by Equanimity; 08-20-2019 at 09:09 PM.
    Name: Mike B.
    Loc: Boston, Massachusetts

  11. #41
    Senior Moderator Loren Beach's Avatar
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    Angry Darn!

    Sorry for the disappointment!
    That broker, at some point, is going to be getting acquainted with an attorney. Probably not yours, but one representing a less-forgiving person...
    You are out time and travel expense, and some "mental anguish" as well!

    Keep looking and keep your net spread widely. Something always turns up.

    (We had an offer refused on a clean E-32/200 a day or so before finding our Olson - same broker and he was an honest guy.)

    There is a great quote from the movie Platoon that addresses staying prepared.. but it's too crude to quote here...)


    edit: that brokerage ad is still up. Not a company to trust. At all.
    Last edited by Loren Beach; 08-20-2019 at 09:53 PM.
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  12. #42
    Advanced Beginner bgary's Avatar
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    Has anyone gone through a broker to make an Ericson purchase?
    i did. Probably wasn’t necessary, given the quality of the boat and the reputation of the seller, but given that I was unfamiliar with the process and, in my case, 1000 miles away from the boat, it made sense to have someone local who could shepherd me thru the details of the process, answer my (many) questions, handle the paperwork and coordinate things like survey and title transfer.

    $.02
    Bruce
    "Makana" (ex-Thelonious)
    1985 Ericson 32-III #604
    Makana blog: here

  13. #43
    Principal Partner GrandpaSteve's Avatar
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    I did, and the broker treated me as well as he would have if I were buying a $150,000 boat vs. a $30,000 boat. I was happy to have the broker to talk to as this was my first boat purchase. He explained to me that he wanted to make sure I considered him when it is time to buy my next boat (not that there will be a next boat).
    Last edited by GrandpaSteve; 08-21-2019 at 06:46 AM.
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  14. #44
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    Mike - Good thread, a a good learning experience so far. I chuckled at the outcome simply because it was well told.

    A question for you I haven't seen asked yet. You said something along the lines of wanting a boat of this size because your family wants certain comforts. I used to do airplanes as a hobby, and that world is littered with people who boat a six seat airplane with a huge honkin' engine(or two engines!) with visions of flying their family and friends on great adventures. Those people almost always ended up writing about having the time and expense of an aircraft that was never used as intended, or at least not enough to make it worth the financial output. They bought an airplane for the 10% part of usage, not the 90%.

    I wonder if you had considered this for your boat purchase. It is a huge leap up in boat sizes on time, effort, money, insurance, slip fee, system complexity between the major sizes. I have a Cape Dory 27, my old man has an Ericson 30+. We've been aboard the 32 foot version of each of our boats, and it's a big difference(to us).

    So, why a 38 and not a 32? Are you sure the family is really going to be onboard as much as they've suggested? Maybe yes, in which case, that's fantastic. But having to figure out how to singlehand a 38 footer vs a smaller boat vs spending the weekend tied to the dock is something to keep in mind.

    Chris
    1978 Cape Dory 27
    1983 Ericson 30+(my Dad's boat)

  15. #45
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    I'm going to jump in here because I did go up in size, wanting more room in the cabin. I sold a 33' CAL and purchased my E-380 (Pacific Seacraft version of the E38). My 33' was really easy to single hand. Moving up to the 38' Ericson, I find it is just as easy to manage the boat by myself, provided I have an autopilot. Autopilot is not a must, but definitely makes single handing much easier. The head sail is much larger than the CAL, but it is a 135% and rolling it in is not bad. I installed Barton Marine slab reefing on the boom. I have to go to the mast to reef, but I really like the system and I can reef quickly, especially with a stack pack, the sail just lays in there.

    I think you get familiar with a boat and the more you learn it of course the less intimidating it is. Easier things get.

    We are definitely liking the added cabin space, separate shower. And I like having just a little bit larger boat all around. The boat is still very easy to maneuver. I find I can back it into the slip as easily as I did the CAL.

    The larger boat seems to handle rougher conditions better. Plus the flared bow keeps the cockpit drier than did the CAL.

    The slip for our boat is the same slip cost, as the 33' and 38' fit the same slip at our marina. Takes 1 gallon of bottom paint.
    It does cost me 5 more feet of boat length when we get a transient slip, or get a haul out. Insurance I think doubled, but the Ericson is newer than our previous CAL, as well as larger and purchase price was higher, replacement cost higher.

    As for owning a 38' boat, I have no regrets moving up from the 33'.
    Leslie Newman
    E-380 #15 "Osprey"

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