Considering a 35-3

alozon

Junior Member
Relatively new sailor considering first "big" boat purchase. I've been sailing with my dad my entire life but only recently got in to racing about 5 years ago and owned a Compac 23 for the last 3 years. My primary wants/needs center around cruising and sailing single/short hand. However, I also would like to be able to race my boat and value performance, too.

I'm hoping to get some sage advice on the 35-3. Specifically one with a winged keel. Shown below is a link to the one I'm considering. Any and all thoughts / advice is greatly appreciated!

 

alozon

Junior Member
After reading my post again I feel like I should clarify that I was not racing the Compac before someone questions my sanity. We race a S2 7.9
 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Moderator
Blogs Author
That looks like a fine specimen, although a winged keel is not usually considered a selling point these days. Sort of a fad that didn't quite catch on, but probably works fine.

You might ask what engine model that is. (update: Apparently an M40, 4 cylinders not three as many E35s had. )
 
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Sean Engle

Your Friendly Administrator
Administrator
Founder
Cannot speak to the winged keel as mine was a straight delta - but loved the 35-3 and still do. They're large enough to take a group on, large enough to 3-4 spend the night on and yet small enough to one person to manhandle at the dock or shorthand sail on your own.

I'm not a racer - however I know that my boat used to routinely pass people on Commencement Bay in Tacoma with just her genoa rolled out - passing those around me who had everything up. The 35-3 is a really nice mix of a number of qualities - and well built also. Of course, some might say I'm a little biased....

Get a survey of the boat. Hopefully your boat has been in freshwater all it's life and properly maintained.

Also, since you're new to boat buying (and I just suggested this to someone else), get a hold of Don Casey's book series on old sailboats - buying and restoring. He does a good high-level view of the process and major issues - then you can get into the heavier more detailed stuff once you're acquainted.

//sse
 

alozon

Junior Member
Thanks for the quick responses! I've been looking for a boat for awhile now and keep coming back to the 35-3 for the exact reasons you stated, Sean. I tend to be fairly impatient and I don't want to miss my chance to buy the boat that meets all my requirements. I already had to suffer through last summer with only a small powerboat to sate my boating needs.

I'd imagine it will be hard / impossible to get a survey done in the middle of winter....any thoughts on that? I was going to go take a look at it next week, and as long as it is above freezing I have access to a moisture meter and a couple very knowledgeable friends and family who are well versed in buying and restoring boats.

I've already read a few of the "things to look out for" threads on this forum but I might as well ask again since there is a link of the specific boat provided above for reference / inspection. Anything of concern in the photos? What would be the first thing you checked?
 

debonAir

Member III
35-3 is a great boat. I often wish I had a shorter keel on mine, but in reality, the wing keel will give you a few degrees less point. You won't go slower, you'll just not make the windward mark as fast. But that's only half the race and overall it will really depend on if you get a fair rating vs. your competition. It would be frustrating to have to race against a deep keel 35-3 and watch it slowly walk away from you upwind, but if your competition is mixed that might not be a problem. I race on a J105 and raced an S2 7.9 for years as well. I couldn't get a boat that didn't handle well and the 35-3 rates 123 PHRF which is a pretty fast 35' boat overall, but not race-boat fast. Coming from the S2 you'll be happy. Often the lower-rated (faster) boats always win the evening races just because they get higher average wind speeds over the course as the wind dies, so if your fleet is mostly 27-30' boats the 35-3 will be a winner on weeknights but maybe not on weekends. Of course if you're in Chesapeake the wing keel could be a distinct advantage.
 

Sean Engle

Your Friendly Administrator
Administrator
Founder
Thanks for the quick responses! I've been looking for a boat for awhile now and keep coming back to the 35-3 for the exact reasons you stated, Sean. I tend to be fairly impatient and I don't want to miss my chance to buy the boat that meets all my requirements. I already had to suffer through last summer with only a small powerboat to sate my boating needs.

I'd imagine it will be hard / impossible to get a survey done in the middle of winter....any thoughts on that? I was going to go take a look at it next week, and as long as it is above freezing I have access to a moisture meter and a couple very knowledgeable friends and family who are well versed in buying and restoring boats.

I've already read a few of the "things to look out for" threads on this forum but I might as well ask again since there is a link of the specific boat provided above for reference / inspection. Anything of concern in the photos? What would be the first thing you checked?
Yeah, I know - I grew up in Cleveland (Chagrin Falls, actually) - so I know about the weather. That means while it's freezing there now, it will likely be 50° there this time next week. Issue is you need to have someone review the boat fully unless you have $35k burning a hole in your pocket. If you have family/friends who are well versed, that's great - proceed with caution.

When I had my boat surveyed it picked up lots of small things and missed a couple of things so you never fully know until you own it. At least you have the advantage of the boat being out of the water now so you can look at the hull without the expense of hauling out, etc. On the other hand, the boat has has months to dry out also - so if your rudder has water in it for example, you may not know until next spring when she goes back in, gets wet, etc..

Any other Mid West/East Coast people (those of you who haul out every year) seeing this please chime in ....

//sse
 

goldenstate

Member II
Blogs Author
I recently bought an Ericson and I have come to realize that the maintenance challenges of all of these era boats are very similar. The construction methods and parts, etc. have lots in common across different Ericson models.

So if you look posts on other 3X-3 series boats of various lengths (as in 32-38s from the mid/late 80's)on this site, you will find a lot of relevant background on what to expect. Hatch leaks, electrical quibbles, what breaks, what doesn't. The mast boot will leak, the hatches will be crazed. Your rudder post deck fitting may be loose. The cushions are turning to dust and the sound insulation inside your engine compartment is a sneeze away from disintegration. The OEM battery charger is problematic.

Otherwise, if you can find someone close by who knows Ericson boats, and can convince them to do a walk-through with you, you may get some good feedback. A well kept '88 still probably looks nice, but there are likely a whole bunch of systems and parts that are at the end of their useful life and have been treated in an "It isn't broke so don't fix it." normal human approach.

Expect to spend time and money, even on a nice boat that had been cared for. It's 32 years old.

At least, that's what I'm finding on my '90.

.02,
 

Sean Engle

Your Friendly Administrator
Administrator
Founder
Hey Andrew -

Let us know what what you decide to do on this - would be interested to hear how this works out.

Generally speaking, boats kept in fresh water climates do better, and Ericsons typically have very good genes for their vintage, so you could have located a good boat - just difficult to say without seeing it in the flesh...

//sse
 

fool

Member III
Look for "trailer harness" wiring from the engine panel to the engine, commonly found in Ericson's and Catalina's.
If you find one...https://ericsonyachts.org/ie/threads/universal-diesel-wiring-modifications-how-to.12178/
Check for soft soles in the cabin, especially in the head. The teak and holly is known to delaminate, also common to Ericson's, and might feel a bit soft.

Sean's recommendation of Don Casey's book is a good one. Your local library might have a copy to peruse before you and your associates visit the vessel.

The heavy cable to the radar unit over the nav table is a bit odd, but not a deal killer, just a sign of aging electronics. (Use the Garmin to back up iNavX on an iPad.) I can't see any coolant in the overflow, so a fluid level check all around would be wise. Origo 3000 burner runs on alcohol, but so does the crew when we're at anchor... I have no clue what to do with a microwave/electric oven on a boat. Dish stowage? No princess stove/oven probably means the standard propane install/sniffer/solenoid/and tanks have been removed. I can't live without mine, but other's don't seem to mind and a point to be negotiated around. Bring ice, no refrigeration.

Armstrong windlass, so you'll be pulling up the anchor and chain by hand. If you pattern from the hatch boards and send it to "I love lucite" aka Craig's Plastics in LA they'll make a really nice one piece see through hatch at a fairly modest price. They can make new hatch "glass" if the hatches are crazed and you're up for a project. The furling line seems to be dragging on the bottom of the drum, a chafe point which could result in excitement when you least need or expect it.

Autohelm not functioning, another sign of aging electronics. Ditch it and replace with a wheel unit, the below decks ram won't be compatible with current electronics. Hmmm... has a "furumo VHS"*... an updated Furuno VHF would be more useful... Check all those fancy gauges to make sure they function.

Folding props need service from time to time, this one will too. I'm not a fresh water sailor and am sketchy about the white chalky stuff on the prop shaft.

I don't see the upper lifeline, probably because it isn't there. Not difficult to install in either stainless or dynema, add it to your honey-do list, you'll miss sailing for part or most of that weekend.

I'd really like to see the condition of the sails, boom and gooseneck connection. Can't see the clutches for the reefing lines in the cockpit, they may be on the mast/boom. I'd also like the see the condition of the outhaul as that hardware can be a bit tricky to replace. Doable, other owner's have, but tricky by all appearances.

Nice boat. You'll love the 35-3.

*(Furumo VHS is printed in the listing, nothing against Furuno or the quality of their products.)
 
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Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
That Furuno VHF looks like the one installed in the late 80's on our boat. I replaced it a couple of seasons ago, only reason being that a new radio came with AIS and is networked.
That was a "commercial" model radio, and our local electronics shop told me to keep it as long as I wanted to. When they would do their no-charge frequency check and transmit check on it every fall it passed every time.

Sorry I do not have any other useful (?) trivia to contribute....
:)
 

Tom Metzger

Sustaining Partner
Look for "trailer harness" wiring from the engine panel to the engine, commonly found in Ericson's and Catalina's.
If you find one...https://ericsonyachts.org/ie/threads/universal-diesel-wiring-modifications-how-to.12178/
I wouldn't expect a problem with the trailer connections on a fresh water boat.

Actually, I've never figured out why people would put a perfectly good boat in salty water. :cool:
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
I wouldn't expect a problem with the trailer connections on a fresh water boat.

Actually, I've never figured out why people would put a perfectly good boat in salty water. :cool:
I agree, that having corrosion in those old 'trailer plugs' on a boat with all or most of its use in fresh water might seem less likely, but just before I made the final decision to replace the original M25XP, I did find that very problem. Verified by the experience of having voltage drops and also with reading the temp. of each part of the harness with my "remote laser indicator".
As for fresh water in general... yup, it's less harmful. (a guy I know here once bought a used C&C-35-3 from the Great Lakes and had it trucked here just to get a "younger" boat in terms of UV and no salt exposure. The gel coat was indeed impressively newer-looking. Then he had to fix a ton of cracks around all the fixed ports due to the poor layup by C&C. :( )
He still loves his boat, tho, even tho its observed handling DW in big air will make you really appreciate your Bruce King design!
 

alozon

Junior Member
Thanks for all the great info, everyone! I'm going to go take a look at it this Sunday hopefully. I'll certainly keep you posted and if I do buy it, I'll be sending pictures and staying actively involved in these forums. Maybe I'll start a blog about our adventures in Lake Erie :)
 

MarineCityBrian

Apprentice Tinkerer
I'd argue the price is a bit high (but I got mine for free, so....), but both the larger 4-cylinder Diesel and Winter Covers are definite pluses. Motoring up the Detroit River that 4-cylinder will come in handy, and the 2-blade Max-Prop can be custom pitched for the engine (which if set up properly it already should be). As someone already mentioned, be sure to have it surveyed.

Things to look for (that I've noticed on our 35-3, which is also on the Great Lakes [Lake St. Clair]):
-Wet core around the mast deck plate, or a loose mast deck plate
-Wet core around the forward Dorade box
-Wet core just aft of the Anchor Locker (where they drilled the latch directly into the coring...)
-Leaks in the pressure water system
-Functioning instruments
-Easily operated thru-hulls
-Indications of leaks or water damage (from rainwater) in the cabin
-Soft cabin sole
-Secure pedestal/"clunks" when wheel is turned lock-to-lock
-Evidence of proper winterization (pink RV anti-freeze in all water lines, head, etc)
-Intact engine mounts
-Clean-looking and properly filled engine fluids
-Feel that MaxProp for any binding, or looseness or play in the blade bearings.

I'm personally a little leery of that wing-keel. It is a 1988 (newer than my boat) but I was never aware of it being available with one, only the shoal draft. You may want to find out if that was a factory option or a later addition.

We love ours for most of the reasons already mentioned: Fast, fairly easy to sail, easy to take plenty of people out on a daysail and can sleep a family of 4 in completely separate berths (purportedly sleeps up to 7, but we've yet to try this...I don't believe the quarter-berth would be comfortable for a couple, but the V-berth certainly is as well as the settee berth - I'd argue "6, comfortably; two pairs of whom are very friendly with one another"). The separate V-berth cabin is also nice (door can close off the rest of the cabin from the V-berth).

While looking this winter, I couldn't more strongly recommend a sea trial (which obviously won't be possible). Perhaps make the sale contingent upon a shake-down sail when the weather warms.

Keep us posted on how things go.
 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Moderator
Blogs Author
Can anyone confirm this engine model? It's listed as "Universal 32 HP 4 Cylinder (Original up-grade)"

uni.JPG

The 5432/M40 looks like this:

IMG_5433.JPG
 

alozon

Junior Member
IF I make an offer, it will certainly be contingent on a survey / shakedown cruise when it is splashed in the spring. Or at least a predetermined amount of my offer be set aside in an escrow for any potential issues identified during the shakedown cruise in the spring. Based on some of the information I've been able to gather, I would probably offer closer to $26k for it. Sails 10-12 years old, no kite or pole, original rigging, never any core work done to the deck so I'd imagine there is definitely some wet spots, autohelm inoperable, instruments very dated........

What would you offer for it?
 

trickdhat

Member III
Blogs Author
For comparison, we recently purchased a 1984 35-3. It had the engine replaced with a 2006 Yanmar 3ym20 a newer head sail, main sail age is uncertain, but it looks and sails ok. The electrical panels were replaced recently, a new stainless water tank was installed as well as a hot water heater, and a new windless. On the negative side, the boat sat for 3 years with a leaking anchor locker, minor leaks from the port, a leaking stuffing box, and a battery charger that has been charging at 16 volts and killing batteries. The deck sounded out OK, but I'm sure there are some issues in there. There are blisters, and I'm fairly convinced the keel bolts are weeping. The electronics were replaced in 2007, so not ancient, but old enough to be a bit buggy (radar, autopilot, and wind were not working at the survey, but the autopilot and Radar started working on the sail back to our home marina).

Most of the issues we knew about before the survey, but the keel bolts are a new find after the purchase process. The boat was originally listed for a little over $30k (I don't remember the actual price because I wasn't looking at the time). When the owner lowered it to $19k, I contacted the broker and asked for some more details and a chance to take a look. The boat looked good from the outside with an Awl gripped hull and rig. I told the broker I was interested and if I didn't make an offer, someone would soon. He said he's shown the boat 2 -3 times per week for 6 months, but hasn't received an offer. I told the broker I didn't want to offend the seller, but if I was going to make an offer it would be closer to $12k. He said they are willing to review any offer, but they would really like to get at least 10 after his $3k comission, so we offered $13.5 and they agreed. After seeing the stuffing box leak, we requested to have it fixed, they countered with $500 off and I was able to adjust it in 30 minutes after buying the correct size wrenches and soaking it with BP Blaster.

Was $13k a good deal? It's probably just about right considering the amount of work ahead, but it gives us a larger boat we can sail now and fix up along the way. A contributing factor may have been the owner's health and the marina it was in requires the year to be paid in full on January 1, we submitted our offer towards the end of December. This boat looks a little better off than ours, not sure what that's worth, but I hope this offers one more point of comparison. Good luck with the process!
 
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