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

Leslie Newman

Member III
We replaced all of the original foam in the cabin cushions this summer in our 1994 E-380 (the Pacific Seacraft version of the E-38). It cost a bit over $1000. We removed the foam from the casings and the foam company cut everything to fit.
The fabric was still good, but I had to replace some zippers and I re-stitched all of the seams since the covers were off.

If the boat has a sound hull and not too much water coming in from above you can slowly bring it back.

Most things you can do yourself. Probably almost all things with the internet at your fingertips for knowledge.

You can find other sources for some items to save money. Use RV sellers for sink components and such. If something has BOAT on the packaging the price is higher.

I am so happy with our Ericson. It sails fast and very, very sea kindly. I beat a Beneteau 423 in a head to head race. This past weekend I caught up with and passed a Beneteau 36. I radioed the skipper to alert him, in case he wasn't aware, that we were racing. He looked back and said he would wave as we went by. He commented on the fact that unlike me, he wasn't towing an inflatable. It was slowing me down a bit, but I still passed him easy. He commented on the beauty of the boat.
 

fool

Member III
Have a look for Don Casey's book Inspecting the Aging Sailboat.

https://www.amazon.com/Inspecting-Sailboat-International-Marine-Library/dp/0071445455

That might give you a bit of a leg up on your spreadsheet. While your at it you might also consider his Complete Illustrated Sailboat Maintenance book which has the above included in the content, and in lay terms explains what to do with your findings.

https://www.amazon.com/Caseys-Complete-Illustrated-Sailboat-Maintenance/dp/0071462848/ref=pd_lpo_sbs_14_img_0?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=BTY564PW4SQPQV1668XQ

We know what we know, we know what we don't know, and we don't know what we don't know, or words to that effect...

Max
 

Equanimity

Member II
While your at it you might also consider his Complete Illustrated Sailboat Maintenance book which has the above included in the content, and in lay terms explains what to do with your findings.

https://www.amazon.com/Caseys-Complete-Illustrated-Sailboat-Maintenance/dp/0071462848/ref=pd_lpo_sbs_14_img_0?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=BTY564PW4SQPQV1668XQ

We know what we know, we know what we don't know, and we don't know what we don't know, or words to that effect...

Max
Purchased! Should get here in two days with Prime. Just what I'm looking for! Thanks

Love the advice on how to get things for less. The spreadsheet has officially been created!
 

frick

Member III
Rick's rule for boat repair

Congrats and E 38 is a great boat,

So here is my rule.... Fix every to make your boat sea worthy FIRST.

Go sailing, and on days that are not great for sailing. Fix something.

On late fall I referred almost everything on deck of my 1971 E 29.
The next year... I referred every portlight.


best fixes I have made.

The Atomic 4 died... Preloaded with a Yanmar. Trouble free for 17 years.

Rick
 

gabriel

Member III
Hi Forum,

My name is Mike, and I’m new to the Ericson world. I have my eye on a local 1981 E38 that’s being offered for less than $18,000. I’m unsure of the structural integrity at this time, but am going to take a look at the vessel next week.

I was was hoping to get your take on whether or not, in your experience, you felt this boat is worth looking at in the first place, or not. In your experience, are offers like these usually “too good to be true?” Should I anticipate extensive hull damage? My gut is telling me that this specific boat may, quite possibly, be too difficult to salvage.

Truth be told, my knowledge is quite limited when it comes to surveying boats or this size. I do plan to overhaul whatever vessel I ultimately decide to invest in, just want to make sure I’m not getting myself in too deep from the get-go.

Thanks for for your responses!
Restoring a yacht this size is a huge effort but it can be done slowly while you enjoy the boat. If you have the time and money I say go for it! I would offer 13 though =)
 

Geoff W.

Makes Up For It With Enthusiasm
Blogs Author
I think he just purchased the books from Amazon :) If Jeff Bezos was into sailboat deliveries, there are a few on the east coast I would've looked harder at..
 

Marinarius

Junior Member
The Ericson 38 linked below might be less of a financial trap since it has much newer sails, a newer engine and is priced lower. (note the difference between the Yachtworld price and the craigslist price)

https://capecod.craigslist.org/boa/d/rumson-38-ericson-sailboat/6958174465.html

https://www.yachtworld.com/boats/1984/ericson-38-3242287/?refSource=standard listing

I too am considering an Ericson 38 (200). 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 ?
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
Potential Port light problems

The Ericson 38 linked below might be less of a financial trap since it has much newer sails, a newer engine and is priced lower. (note the difference between the Yachtworld price and the craigslist price)

https://capecod.craigslist.org/boa/d/rumson-38-ericson-sailboat/6958174465.html

https://www.yachtworld.com/boats/1984/ericson-38-3242287/?refSource=standard listing

I too am considering an Ericson 38 (200). 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 ?
Maybe I am mis-reading the question, but note that the cabin ports are mounted thru frp which is bonded to teak-faced plywood inside. There is no (end grain balsa) deck coring there because this is not the deck.
If leaks are ignored the teak veneer surface gets stained and can be cleaned up and refinished. If ignored longer there will be some rot right around the edges of the opening.
So, while this can be a cosmetic problem for the inside of the cabin, it would have nothing to do with deck coring.
To fix the cabin side, inside, it is sometimes necessary to fill the damaged part with epoxy and then lay on a new layer of teak veneer... and then properly re-bed the port.
 

markvone

Sustaining Member
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
 
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bigd14

Sustaining Member
Blogs Author
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).
 
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Equanimity

Member II
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!
 

bgary

Advanced Beginner
Blogs Author
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
 

Tin Kicker

Member III
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.
 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Moderator
Blogs Author
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.
 
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Equanimity

Member II
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!

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!
 
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