Ericson 38-200 -- What to Look For?

freediver

Junior Member
We are going to look at a 38-200 for sale. Cosmetically, it looks great but the asking price seems on the high side. It has a new engine, trans, and folding prop (big plusses) and new racing instruments (nice) but is lacking some essentials, IMHO (working autopilot, working radar, chartplotter) and needs a new set of sails. I don't expect to find the perfect boat (if one were ever made) set up with my perfect list of equipment. And I know that I can look at a lot of specifics that are good value add-ons (new drivetrain) and also negative value detractors (essential but easily added--if expensive--equipment) to come up with my own personal value of the boat.

But what else, specific to Ericsons and/or this model, should I be looking at? What "hidden" but routine problems are there? Are chain plates an issue? Blister issues on a 1986 model? Keel slippage/cracks? Other factory or design defects I should be aware of. I am not aware of any known major problems with E 38-200s. But I defer to the owners of these boats for advice.

What say ye?
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
IF it had an AP, plotter, or radar, they would only add value if under a decade in age, and preferably newer than that. Technology moves petty fast. That said, they may work without problem for another decade.

Sails can be older, and wear and stretch will determine when they need replacing.

An engine/trans/instrument panel in a boat of that size can easily cost $20K to replace so that is a significant part of the value.
Is there any record of the age of the standing rig?

The 80's Ericson's have forged "U bolts" on the deck that pass the rigging load thru to the interior structure. Those big SS bolts need to have close inspection for stress cracks - and while rarely, sometimes they do need replacing.

At around 3 decades, all boats including Ericson's, should have all of the deck fitings re-bedded. We are just finishing that project on our '88 model. If hired out, the labor is expensive, but it's not very technical work and most any interested owner can do this.
 

nquigley

Sustaining Member
You didn't provide the listing, but, just based on what you've described, I'd have to guess the asking price is about $60K - maybe more if she's in overall good condition on deck and down below. As Loren said, the new engine, tranny and folding prop are high-$ items. They probably represent at least 1/3 of the real value of the boat today. Loren's also right about the electronics you'd like but are missing - it lets you decide what makes and models you want, and add them as need and $ are available. Those are things you can definitely install yourself.
 

freediver

Junior Member
IF it had an AP, plotter, or radar, they would only add value if under a decade in age, and preferably newer than that. Technology moves petty fast. That said, they may work without problem for another decade.

Sails can be older, and wear and stretch will determine when they need replacing.

An engine/trans/instrument panel in a boat of that size can easily cost $20K to replace so that is a significant part of the value.
Is there any record of the age of the standing rig?

The 80's Ericson's have forged "U bolts" on the deck that pass the rigging load thru to the interior structure. Those big SS bolts need to have close inspection for stress cracks - and while rarely, sometimes they do need replacing.

At around 3 decades, all boats including Ericson's, should have all of the deck fitings re-bedded. We are just finishing that project on our '88 model. If hired out, the labor is expensive, but it's not very technical work and most any interested owner can do this.
Thanks for your comments and suggestions. Standing rigging is claimed to have been replaced in 2014. A good rig inspection (something we would have done pre-purchase) should be able to verify this.
 

freediver

Junior Member
You didn't provide the listing, but, just based on what you've described, I'd have to guess the asking price is about $60K - maybe more if she's in overall good condition on deck and down below. As Loren said, the new engine, tranny and folding prop are high-$ items. They probably represent at least 1/3 of the real value of the boat today. Loren's also right about the electronics you'd like but are missing - it lets you decide what makes and models you want, and add them as need and $ are available. Those are things you can definitely install yourself.
Asking is over $70k. The lack of some electrics doesn't bother me but I want to single-hand this boat and an autopilot will be essential. Which always brings up the wheel pilot (cheaper/easier) vs. underdeck AP debate. While the boat seems to be a bit big for a wheel pilot, Christian Williams (no doubt lurking somewhere on this forum if he isn't out sailing Thelonius II) seems to be doing fine on his day sails with one. I know he used a vane for his Transpacs but, lately, I see him punching buttons on a Raymarine wheel pilot. BTW, everybody should buy his books. Lots of fun and well-written. Sorry for the off-topic plug but we should support fellow Ericson afficionados.
 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
Chartplotter--$500-1,000
Wheel pilot--$1200
Radar--do you really need it?

The 38s have no known defects such as keel issues, blisters, design flaws. Most have wear and tear of the sort a marine surveyor routinely identifies.

An asking price of $70K does not seem high to me for a boat that's been maintained, and the seller is probably expecting to get $65K.

If the sails are shot even that is unrealistic. If you provide the listing members can be more specific as to pros and cons.
 

freediver

Junior Member
Chartplotter--$500-1,000
Wheel pilot--$1200
Radar--do you really need it?

The 38s have no known defects such as keel issues, blisters, design flaws. Most have wear and tear of the sort a marine surveyor routinely identifies.

An asking price of $70K does not seem high to me for a boat that's been maintained, and the seller is probably expecting to get $65K.

If the sails are shot even that is unrealistic. If you provide the listing members can be more specific as to pros and cons.
The listing: https://www.yachtworld.com/boats/1986/ericson-200-3751752/

Going to look at it this weekend.

Radar? Well, we get some fog from time-to-time coming back from a week at Santa Cruz Island and we have to cross two busy commercial lanes in the process. Radar might help my blood pressure. I'd probably get AIS-B, too.

Do you like the wheel pilot? Ever have problems with following seas? Those who don't like them seem to complain about wheel pilots failing when wind is abaft the beam.
 

Dave G.

1984 EY30+ Ludington, MI
Looks like a nice one in the photos & lots of recent high $ fixes already done. Sails will be costly though so keep that in mind when negotiating.
 

nquigley

Sustaining Member
She looks to be in really good overall condition! Very nice dodger too (that would cost you ~$3K to get made professionally).
The claimed $40K spent in recent upgrades is probably pretty accurate: those things didn't bring it back to as-new condition, but the asking price seems reasonable to me - I see they've already reduced it this month by 2K. We don't know how keen they are to offload it, but I'd guess (with a good survey report) that it might go for just a shade under $70K (?), but not much less than that. There seems to be a strong market at the moment for boats in this size and price range. Good Luck with your inspection on the weekend - exciting!
 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
Looks good in pictures, gear list is above average, and the Beta is huge. But of course you gotta be there.

[Amended: In sum, this looks like a $70K boat to me.}

I seem to be the local advocate for Raymarine wheel pilots, which I've put to the test in recent years. They handle the 38 very well up to the first reef, and for any motoring work. Sail trim for a neutral helm is key, and poorly trimmed sails are the main cause of complaint. Here are links to demonstration videos. My first sail trial (second video) shows the issues of inexperience - sails incorrectly set.


 
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driftless

Member II
If it's at all helpful - I purchased a 1989 38-200, freshwater only boat, 2 years ago for 60% of what they're asking.

Of major things you've mentioned we do have the "catalina smile" with some cosmetic separation at the hull/keel join. The keel was supposedly dropped and re-bedded several years before we purchased. There aren't signs of water weeping out. I plan to grind, glass, and fair it prior to new bottom paint this spring, as recommended by our survey. He was unconcerned about structural integrity and chalked it up to the new 5200 bond flexing.

Mine has the original engine and 2 blade prop. I'm upgrading all of the instruments and electronics. The radar in this listing is similar to the one I replaced on our boat.

Ours came with an almost new foam luff furling jib, but our main is due for replacement.

I see an Autohelm 3000 in the listing. We have the same wheel pilot and it has worked well for us, especially once I found out I could pour water on it to stop the squeaking. But we're so far just day sailors that really like hand steering and haven't had to rely on it in a pinch or shorthanded. It mostly drives when we motor.

We had the standing rigging replaced this winter, as ours was original.

I've replaced hatch and portlight lenses (and I differ from Christian in that I thought this was a pretty cheap fix, except the time required), and above waterline through hulls. Re bedded some but not all deck hardware- the handrails, pump out receptacle and one stanchion base needed it, others as convenience has allowed. I'm in process of replacing all of the head hoses.

I'd be happy to share our survey, the used-boat price listings we got from our broker, and anything else that would be of help.

Looks like a really nice boat to me, but I think the price is a bit high. I am sure I'd change my tune in a heartbeat if our diesel needs replacement soon.

It's fascinating to me to see the difference between this layout and ours, for two 38-200s three years apart. Ours has a recessed companionway with engine underneath. The electrical panels are also very different. Not sure if this listings is a replacement?
 

kiwisailor

Member III
Blogs Author
I also have the keel smile, it's no big deal and when I walk around the yacht club many other boats have keel smiles as well. Based on my expereicne look very closely at the backing plates for the thruhulls and seacocks. Ercison used wood (teak?) but over the years they can start to rot away. Look for leaking around these backing plates.
 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
So there is a 38-200 without the extra small portlight that I have been telling everybody was one profile identification? And a companionway that is not recessed?

Or are the sailing pix (in link) of a forward-head model....being a close sistership? That sounds more likely.

38-200 Capture.JPG
 

freediver

Junior Member
The layout in the link does not seem to match the pictures of the boat. The pictures show an aft-head boat with the engine under the sink instead of the companionway. I have read about some owners who have had problems with the sink leaking onto the engine. My dad was a plumber (as was I for a while) so I am pretty sure I can resolve any such problems.
 

Dave G.

1984 EY30+ Ludington, MI
The sailing pics do look more like a 381 than a 38-200, strange. According to sailboatdata.com the 2 models overlap for a year or 2 so maybe it was a Friday after lunch ?
 
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