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E35 III vs E38

miatapaul

New Member
I am looking at a couple of Ericson sailboats. I am wondering what the major differences are between the E38 (original version) and the E35 III besides the obvious three feet. They seem to be of similar layout, with the 35 obviously smaller all around but the boats seem to go for very similar prices. I am looking for a comfortable boat for a soon to be single guy to live aboard on in the north east for now and a future of some cruising down the coast, and possibly further on. I really would like to keep it small as possible for ease of single handing, so I see quite a bit of advantage to the 35 but there is the comfort of the space of the 38. I am wondering about the sailing ability of both, how do they compare? How would maintenance costs compare? I am looking at the stats between the two boats and they seem surprisingly close as far as displacement and other stats on sailboat calculator:

Displacement:
Ericson 35 MKIII 13000
Ericson 38 (80-83?) 14900

Sail Area:
Ericson 35 MKIII 598
Ericson 38 (80-83?) 709

Capsize Ratio:
Ericson 35 MKIII 1.93
Ericson 38 (80-83?) 1.95

Hull Speed:
Ericson 35 MKIII 7.13
Ericson 38 (80-83?) 7.4

Sail Area to Displacement:
Ericson 35 MKIII 17.31
Ericson 38 (80-83?) 18.73

Displacement to LWL:
Ericson 35 MKIII 255
Ericson 38 (80-83?) 234

LWL to Beam:
Ericson 35 MKIII 2.5
Ericson 38 (80-83?) 2.54

Motion Comfort:
Ericson 35 MKIII 25.77
Ericson 38 (80-83?) 25.56

Pounds/Inch:
Ericson 35 MKIII 1147
Ericson 38 (80-83?) 1308

Both have pretty good Sail Area to displacement and should be good even in light air. Seems at least on paper they should be very similar sailors. I have not stepped on either yet, but plan to after the holidays. (I am looking a couple of Cals as well) Would there be any issues of one over the other? They seem to have been designed around the same time so they likely have similar sailing and build qualities. I figure the 35 will have slightly lower maintenance costs (cheaper sails, likely lighter rigging and what not) will certainly have lower slip fees and lighter easier to handle sails. I am assuming they are likely both in similar shape and is most like going to be the biggest determining factor.
 
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Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Moderator
Blogs Author
Would there be any issues of one over the other?

Seems to me the overriding comparison would be what you have to replace/renew, boat for boat. In other words, compare costs to bring each to your standards. If one needs new sails and the other doesn't, that's more important that 3 feet in slip fees.



 

PDX

Member III
I'm not exactly sure what you're asking for that you haven't touched on already. They are essentially the same design, the 35 a reduced down version of the 38, with size difference consequences that you mention already. Are you asking if there is a particular manufacturing defect that one has that the other doesn't have? Be on the lookout that there are short and taller rigs available on each. Also, shoal and deep draft keels on each (I believe the shoal came standard on the original 38).
 

Alan Gomes

Sustaining Member
Both have pretty good Sail Area to displacement and should be good even in light air. Seems at least on paper they should be very similar sailors. I have not stepped on either yet, but plan to after the holidays. (I am looking a couple of Cals as well) Would there be any issues of one over the other? They seem to have been designed around the same time so they likely have similar sailing and build qualities. I figure the 35 will have slightly lower maintenance costs (cheaper sails, likely lighter rigging and what not) will certainly have lower slip fees and lighter easier to handle sails. I am assuming they are likely both in similar shape and is most like going to be the biggest determining factor.

There's one important consideration if you are considering the older Cals: Many of the older (Lapworth-designed) Cal models used a mild steel beam that runs athwartships, underneath he mast compression post, to support the compression of the deck stepped mast. These can and do rust out over time. It is beastly difficult to repair these as it means ripping out a bunch of boat's interior. (The beam itself is hidden inside a liner, which makes inspecting it exceedingly difficult.)

I'm not entirely sure of all the Cal models that used this method of supporting the mast, but in the size range you are talking about I can tell you that the 34, 36, and 40 did. (The Cal 29 did as well, but I take it that you are not looking at boats that small.) If you Google "mast compression beam Cal" you'll get some hits, some of which will show you the gruesome details of this repair. Not for the faint of heart.

If you found one with the compression beam in good shape, or one that a previous owner replaced properly, then the Cal boats are really excellent. I'm speaking here of the older Lapworth-designed Cals; I don't know anything about the later generation of the Cal line that retained the Cal name but were completely different designs by a different naval architect. The interiors on the older Cals were not as well appointed as the Ericsons, but they have wonderfully nice sailing characteristics.
 

Bill Ferguson

Junior Member
Been there, done both

I have owned Cal 29, 36, and 39, as well as Ericson 29 and now an Ericson 35-III. I've looked into the E-38 as well before purchasing the Cal 39. I could write for days on the relative merits of both lines, but if you want to send a private message I'll give you my cell # and will be glad to rattle on about all five models.


Bill Ferguson
E-35III 'Tenacious'
 

miatapaul

New Member
I'm not exactly sure what you're asking for that you haven't touched on already. They are essentially the same design, the 35 a reduced down version of the 38, with size difference consequences that you mention already. Are you asking if there is a particular manufacturing defect that one has that the other doesn't have? Be on the lookout that there are short and taller rigs available on each. Also, shoal and deep draft keels on each (I believe the shoal came standard on the original 38).

Yes, that is exactly what I was wondering, if in fact the 35III is just kind of a scaled down 38. Seems to be at least on paper. I just was wondering if one had any significant advantages over the other besides size (and size advantages can kind of go both ways). Just was thinking that there may be an opinion like one had at tendency to pound or something like that. Heck even there PHRF looks to be really close. Price seems to fall in line as well, at least till you get to the PSC built ones. I understand they are both newer and likely a bit better made but to bring three to four times as much? Does not seem to make sense at least for my purposes.

There's one important consideration if you are considering the older Cals: Many of the older (Lapworth-designed) Cal models used a mild steel beam that runs athwartships, underneath he mast compression post, to support the compression of the deck stepped mast. These can and do rust out over time. It is beastly difficult to repair these as it means ripping out a bunch of boat's interior. (The beam itself is hidden inside a liner, which makes inspecting it exceedingly difficult.)

I'm not entirely sure of all the Cal models that used this method of supporting the mast, but in the size range you are talking about I can tell you that the 34, 36, and 40 did. (The Cal 29 did as well, but I take it that you are not looking at boats that small.) If you Google "mast compression beam Cal" you'll get some hits, some of which will show you the gruesome details of this repair. Not for the faint of heart.

If you found one with the compression beam in good shape, or one that a previous owner replaced properly, then the Cal boats are really excellent. I'm speaking here of the older Lapworth-designed Cals; I don't know anything about the later generation of the Cal line that retained the Cal name but were completely different designs by a different naval architect. The interiors on the older Cals were not as well appointed as the Ericsons, but they have wonderfully nice sailing characteristics.

Yes, I will be borrowing a snake camera to try to poke back under the liner to view as much of the beam as possible. While the repair looks to be rough for the right boat at the right price I would be willing to attempt it but it would have to be a right price. The Cals do seem to have a bit more utilitarian interior but both the Ericsons and Cals look to be built quite a bit more tough than the average production boat. And both seem to really be made to sail, not just sit at the dock. I don't want a dock queen, I want to sail as often as possible, even if just for a few hours at a time. I like the Lapworth designed Cals much better than the Hunt designed ones. I am a sucker for traditional lines.

I am not apposed to having to do some work, but don't want a complete project unless the entry price is ridiculously low and it is a special boat.
 
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Bonnie O. McD

New Member
Been there, done both

I have owned Cal 29, 36, and 39, as well as Ericson 29 and now an Ericson 35-III. I've looked into the E-38 as well before purchasing the Cal 39. I could write for days on the relative merits of both lines, but if you want to send a private message I'll give you my cell # and will be glad to rattle on about all five models.


Bill Ferguson
E-35III 'Tenacious'
Hi Bill,
I am reading your old post as my husband and and I are considering an Ericson 38-200 vs Cal 39. We will mostly be sailing on San Francisco Bay. I am fond of the Ericsson’s interior. Cal 39s are a bit older and cheaper. Any input to our decision stew would be helpful.
B
 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Moderator
Blogs Author
Welcome aboard the forum, Bonnie.

Bill has not been around the forum since 2015, and we don't show an email address for him.

But this thread will still draw opinions. My opinion is that with older boats, the degree of renovation trumps everything else. Although there's a good sense of accomplishment in bringing an old specimen back to life, the less of it required, the better. It isn't so much the money, it's the effort and supervision required. Boat age, and more importantly the era of manufacture (boatbuilders learn from mistakes), can be critical.

If you publish here the public broker listings of the boats you're considering, educated opinions will surely flow.
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
Close to me in our moorage is a late 80's E-38-200, and a Cal 43 from about ten years older. The Cal is solid enough but does not have the same engineering for the crucial hull-to-deck joint. The owner has been dealing with cabin leaks for years, and that may simply be him not wanting to pull off the fittings and teak parts and do a proper re-bed. The hull shape is less efficient than the better known Cal 40, IMHO.
While roomy enough inside, the interior of the Ericson seems a lot more specious and useful to me.
Full disclosure - I have done a multi day coastal delivery on the the big Ericson, and the motion in a seaway is quiet and smooth. Loved it. :)

As Christian points out tho, condition is a big deal, so if you have a link to share please do so. There are a lot of owners here and none of them have ever been known for being 'cheerleaders' for their boats, but rather being objective and not afraid to tell a newbie to pass on a given Ericson if they have doubts about it.

I am presently in the final stages of a full re-fit, and now know quite a bit about how EY built their 80's boats. No bad news in particular, but I do have insight in the why and how of re-bedding fittings to bring a middle aged boat up to 'new'.

Every builder tries to find a slogan or mantra to enthuse their chosen owner group, and at one time EY said that an "Ericson is Forever" and several members of this group have owned and used theirs for 30 to 40 years. (Having bought ours in '94, we are newbies....)

Aside: one of our members, Seth, used to work for Ericson in the early 80's running part of the factory racing program, and once mentioned here that he thought the Cal 39-2 was a good all around sailing design, as well. Note that this was about general sailing and not about construction.
I would agree with your summation in reply 7.

Happy shopping!
:)
 

Keith Parcells

Sustaining Member
Bonnie,

To add to Loren‘s spot on comments about hull to deck engineering features, 80’s Ericsons have what the factory called a TAFG, short for tri-axial force grid. It imparts rigidity to the hull preventing or at least diminishing hull “oil canning” and excessive flex or deformation in adverse contions. The factory seemed to market that heavily. It was in all the brochures back in the day. Most of us owners (I think) feel it was and is a good feature which makes these boats more solid. The TAFG is all hidden beneath the salon sole. You can see some of it when you pull up the floor access panel to look at the bilge.
 

Bonnie O. McD

New Member
Thank you, Keith and Loren.
Jim has a question:
During the hall and hang he noticed a horizontal crack near the front of the keel on the side about 6 inches down from the hull. It was about 8 inches long and was a lighter color ( inside the crack) from the bottom paint. It looked like a surface crack; not deep. The surveyor said “Don’t worry about it, not important.” He was not able to check all of the keel bolts, claiming that the cabin sole would have to be removed to do so. Comments appreciated.
Escrow closes in 5 days.
Seattle Yachts, ‘Cetus’ Alameda.
We are giving a look at a Cal 39 1983 MkII listed in Latitude38 and berthed in San Francisco as a back up. Thank you!
 

Geoff W.

Makes Up For It With Enthusiasm
Blogs Author
@Bonnie, hard to diagnose properly without a picture but the "keel smile" is a common issue on Ericsons from the 80s (and a lot of other "classic plastic" boats of the time). I recently had my keel crack fixed and re-bedded, which is not a cheap job to have the yard do.

It'll be a lighter color because it's either differently colored bottom paint, barrier coat, or the fiberglass underneath.

If it is truly a surface crack then there's no issue, an easy sand/fair/fix job.

If it's a crack that exposes the keel bolts, that is a potentially bigger issue -- the thing that makes people nervous is that sea water trapped in that keel seam can corrode the keel bolts, leading to the keel falling off the boat. It'd be catastrophic if it ever happened, but it has never happened on an Ericson, and happens very infrequently even on other more poorly made boats. Some folks on this forum have dropped their keel to find the bolts in no bad condition - some have found some concerning corrosion and gone through the laborious process of repairing that somehow.

An interim fix to completely dropping the keel is to just torque down on the keel bolts. The issue is that the very forward keel bolt in the TAFG Ericsons is very hard to get to. You do not need to remove the sole to inspect the keel bolts. There should be an access hole under the forwardmost port side settee. When repairing the keel seam, my yard had to cut the access hole bigger as the angle required to access the keel bolt made it impossible to get enough torque to remove it.

If the boat presented well otherwise, I wouldn't take this as a reason to walk away from the boat. I'd perhaps try to use it to get a concession on the asking price.
 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Moderator
Blogs Author
Most of the keel bolts are visible in the bilges--although that doesn't reveal much.

The crack may have been hull-keel joint, where fairing is standard. Surveyors get a good look at that, and given the report I'd not worry about it.

TAGF no drains.JPG
 
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