Looking at Ericsons in Bay area

K2MSmith

Member II
Hello All, Thank you for adding me to the group as a new member.

I'm in early stages of researching a boat purchase (for myself !). I would say I am a moderately experienced coastal sailor that has sailed since my teens (in the VI) and sporadically throughout my life as a member of various sailing clubs (mostly Catalina, C&C, Beneteau boats in 27-40 foot range.) I currently sail a relatively new Beneteau 38.1 that I share with a club. I sail mostly single-handed.

I don't know much about Ericson Yachts other than they have a great reputation and a friend of my who has a Crealock 37 recommended them years ago. I initially started my search for a classic "Bluewater" boat thinking I might go offshore (to Hawaii and beyond). I am not 100% sure when I will do that, but I think realistically my sailing will be mostly coastal cruising (maybe first in Bay area for a while and then I will sail down to Channel Islands.

I am looking for some suggestions on where I should start and which model of Ericson to look at.

Here is a basic "list" of requirements:

1) Must be setup to single-hand (or relatively straightforward to set it up myself - location of winches halyards etc.).
2) Need a windlass (I used to pull up anchors on 35 foot boats. Not doing that anymore).
3) I want a boat that will be safe in sea conditions. Rough conditions not uncommon in the channel.
4) In SoCal the wind is mostly pretty light (except after storms and when they are offshore). So that might be contrary to my interest in heavier boats.
5) My wife easily gets seasick (I put this down because there are some occasions where I can get her out with me and when she is well, we have a lot of fun).
6) Will need an autopilot (and later perhaps vane steering as well). Boat must be adaptable if it doesn't have one.
7) Not a big fan of in-mast furling, but will want a roller furling on headsail(s).
8) Performance - I've gotten used to a beneteau 38.1 (but I can't afford one - they are too new for prices to come down). So not sure if I will have to lower expectations on performance.
9) I may not need a 38 foot boat if it's just me sailing alone 50% of the time.. Just a thought.
10) Budget - I am not sure how much I will have to spend, but I am thinking 40-80K. I want to have money left over for some refit work.
11) I worry about a boat that might have structural damage (hull, water rot, blistering. bulkhead damage etc.). I want to avoid that, but willing to replace "easier" things.

That is my short list :).
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
Lots of choices. Boats are often "sized" by displacement and waterline length. The boats from EY have better construction techniques than most of the lower-mid range boats.
I have enjoyed a day sail on your bay in another Olson 34 (built by Ericson) and loved the trip under the Golden Gate and back. And, several sisterships from your area have raced to HI.
For the added weight of windlasses and lots of cruising amenities, you might want to also consider the E-38 series and the E-35-3 and the 80's E-34.
You will love the performance of any of these choices. Let us know when you have questions about specific models.
 
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K2MSmith

Member II
Lots of choices. Boats are often "sized" by displacement and waterline length. The boats from EY have better construction techniques than most of the lower-mid range boats.
I have enjoyed day sail on your bay in another Olson 34 (built by Ericson) and loved the trip under the Golden Gate and back. And, several sisterships from your area have raced to HI.
For the added weight of windlasses and lots of cruising amenities, you might want to also consider the E-38 series and the E-35-3 and the 80's E-34.
You will love the performance of any of these choices. Let us know when you have questions about specific models.
Thanks for your quick response !
Ah yes, that's a good point. I tend to use boat length, but displacement/waterline is going to relate more to the volume/size of the boat.

I am looking at this list:


The E-35-3 and E-34 look like they were manufactured until the early 90's. So I'll look around to see what the market is. The list shows that the E-38 was manufactured by Pacific Seacraft in the 90's. That looks interesting. PS has a great reputation in terms of manufacturing. I am not sure if that adds value to the price or not (or how many of them are out there.).
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
Regarding the E-38, Introduced sometime (late?) in '79, the hull was ahead of its time. The interior layout and associated deck tooling changed some when the aft cabin model (E-38-200) was built in the mid 80's and onwards, and that particular layout was continued by PSC.
AFAIK, the last Ericson built boats were in 1990.
I have crewed on the E-38-200, moored near me, and if geography were not a factor would be interested in your response to a sail on that model and then on my O-34 on a 20 kt day.....
Ah well, look around your area, and you might even troll for a ride from an owner logging in here. :egrin:
Sometimes dinner and a libation can help make a new sailing friend........
 

K2MSmith

Member II
Thank you that offer . I used to go up to Portland quite frequently when I worked in consulting in the area :) - but I am more or less retired from that business and I teach at a local university - so I am not in Portland that much, but I liked my travels there.
 
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Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Moderator
Blogs Author
The windlass will probably be an aftermarket installation on an Ericson. Otherwise they fulfill all the needs on your list.

How big is big enough? I made the same long cruise on a Ericson 32-III and an Ericson 381. You can compare the boats in these videos:

E32-III:

E381:
 

K2MSmith

Member II
Thank you for those references. Excellent work ! I've actually seen these videos before.

On your E32-III return trip, there is a segment around 25:30 where you just have a storm jib up (or a small amount of jib unfurled) - I think I'd want a bigger boat for that :). Cameras usually make seas look smaller but those conditions look pretty big. I don;t have that much sailing experience in those conditions so looks a little scary.

I have been spoiled a bit by a Hunter 40 and now a Beneteau 38.1, but I think for me maybe bigger boat isn't necessarily better as I sail mostly by myself. There is the cost factor with slip fees and everything else being more expensive. At the dock, there is more boat to walk around. On the other hand, I have a two daughters and now a granddaughter that I will be interested in sailing with, At those times a larger boat is going to be appreciated. I see there are a few examples around, so I will probably talk to some brokers to have them show me a 32/35/38 to see the difference if there are boats on the market.
 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Moderator
Blogs Author
The 38 is much "smaller" than the Beneteau/Hunter in terms of volume. It was designed as a sailboat.

My impressions: The 32-III is more fun to sail, and the 38 is a bit less puppy-on-a-leash in a seaway.
 

dhill

Junior Member
The 38 is much "smaller" than the Beneteau/Hunter in terms of volume. It was designed as a sailboat.

My impressions: The 32-III is more fun to sail, and the 38 is a bit less puppy-on-a-leash in a seaway.
I would be very interested in hearing more detail about what makes the 32-III more fun to sail than the 38, particularly with your extensive experience in both boats in a variety of conditions. Is there a big difference in stability in a seaway between the 32 and the 38?
 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Moderator
Blogs Author
Yes, there's the difference you might expect in a seaway from a bigger, heavier boat. What I mean about "fun" is that the 32-3 feels more nimble, lighter, quicker to respond. When you step aboard a 32-3, it rocks under your weight. Step aboard the 38, not really. The 38 feels more like an old guy boat. Both are marvelous sailors offshore. Naturally, utterly subjective. I think like a singlehander.

OK, the fact is the 381 shines more for dinner aboard or overnight cruising, there's more room on deck and in the cabin, the motion is subdued (but then, any Catalina beats Ericson at that stuff). I like both boats very much, and continue to believe the smallest that does the job is the best.
 

K2MSmith

Member II
I have an appointment to see a 38 tomorrow in the Bay area..Should be interesting as I've never been aboard one. I'm used to a Beneteau 38.1 which is very "beamy" so this boat will probably feel smaller - but that is OK the Beneteau is really too big for me.
 

K2MSmith

Member II
Yes, there's the difference you might expect in a seaway from a bigger, heavier boat. What I mean about "fun" is that the 32-3 feels more nimble, lighter, quicker to respond. When you step aboard a 32-3, it rocks under your weight. Step aboard the 38, not really. The 38 feels more like an old guy boat. Both are marvelous sailors offshore. Naturally, utterly subjective. I think like a singlehander.

OK, the fact is the 381 shines more for dinner aboard or overnight cruising, there's more room on deck and in the cabin, the motion is subdued (but then, any Catalina beats Ericson at that stuff). I like both boats very much, and continue to believe the smallest that does the job is the best.
What about foredeck space and stability when going forward in rougher seas ? Does the 32-3 still feel secure ?
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
I do not have the thousands of sea miles that others have, but I have done a delivery up the WA coast on a well-maintained E-38-200, and a delivery down that coast on an E-32-3. Both were overnight with watch standing. While there is a slight difference in motion just due to waterline and displacement, both boats have one key attribute for the ocean: That's a 'soft landing' when nosing into big seas. The midship and bow sections design of the hull is really well thought out.
We had lumpy seas at the mouth of the Straits and also (well duh) just north of the Columbia River channel entrance.
One difference, for spending time aboard, is certainly the volume difference inside.
For sleeping accommodation, check out a thread here with true berth sizes.

I am about 6''2" and really can stretch out in the forepeak of the 38, and also in the aft bunk. The space is equivalent to the large berth sizes in my Olson, and that's saying something. :) The other consideration for spending any time aboard is storage, and this does -generally- go up with displacement. The 38, for instance, has a lot more locker and drawer options than my smaller boat.

The interior of the 32 is just as livable, but for us taller people more room to nap is a good thing. Or, at my age I just appreciate naps more than I used to!
Working the deck seems as easy on either boat, but then when doing a delivery we are mostly motoring, so there is seldom any time to practice setting or dousing a chute.

Regards,
Loren
 
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Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Moderator
Blogs Author
foredeck space and stability when going forward in rougher seas

I think no boat is comfortable in rougher seas, so only gross comparisons have value. A Cal 20 in a gale is much different from a Swann 40, but if both come through OK the stories at the bar are quite similar. A 50-Lagoon catamaran will make you just as seasick, although the motion is quite different. The phrase "you go in what you have" seems to me profound. Mental adjustments are made. The million-dollar Hinckley seems horribly awfully miserable, and you don;t even notice being dry. The price tag promised more. The leaky old tub, sailed to save your life, becomes a deliverance and a seat of ridiculous pride. When it's rough it's rough, and what you hope is nothing breaks and the gale ends, which most of them do. I think often of the origins. Robin Knox-Johnson's Suhaili, winner of the '68 Golden Globe, was a 32-footer. He complained less than Chichester did about Gypsy Moth IV, a custom 54-footer, which raised expectations and then failed to deliver.

Bigger is better if you;re rich but the difference is often Mercedes vs Ford--and a paid captain. We who take it all on ourselves are served best by the appropriate portion. 38 or 32? Here is something interesting: I had to remind my friends I had a new boat. The Ericson interiors are much the same drawing rooms of glowing teak, and few of them could tell the difference unless notified. So, big enough is big enough. How big that is varies with use, expectation and maybe just the inevitable impulse to move up.

This of course is just my take on things.I think in the end I prefer the 38, but it feels disloyal and in fact a mere construct and justification of the present.
 
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K2MSmith

Member II
Although I have some experience sailing boats up to a Hunter 40 , none of those boats were mine - I either chartered them or they were part of a club fleet. Boat ownership and all the responsibilities that go along with it is a new experience for me . I’m really a beginner . So , part of me is thinking that I should start smaller . Maybe “earn my stripes” on a smaller boat and use it as a platform to learn how to do some of the maintenance I may be able to do myself . If I start with a larger boat , there isn’t a place to go from there if I ever wanted to move up.

One of the most fun boats I ever sailed was a Capri 30 as part of a racing class I took at the Ventura park and rev many years ago. I thought that boat was -big- at the time . We had 5 or 6 people on it plus the skipper / instructor.
 
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K2MSmith

Member II
Looked at a 32 today in the Bay Area . It didn’t seem too small to me. I liked the lines on the boat and the interior. This one would need a lot of work and I wanted to start with a boat that is already in good condition that I can upgrade . So it wasn’t the right boat for me . At least I am now more familiar with the model . Mission accomplished, but will be keeping an eye out .
 

K2MSmith

Member II
Hi K2MSmith, what boat did you look at? 32-2, 32-3,32-200?
It was a 32-200. First time I have seen an E32 and really liked it so this visit confirms that I'd like explore the 32 more.. It was interesting to compare it to a 38 which I looked at an hour later just up the road.
btw, I an intrigued with idea of doing an electric conversion, so that might be something down the road I'll research (your signiature line says "electric inboard").
 

Geoff W.

Makes Up For It With Enthusiasm
Definitely keep in mind there's a relatively big design change between the 70s 32's and the 80's - 90's 32's. That is the 32-3 and 32-200. Almost a foot more beam, longer, more modern.

Multiple times I've pulled up to folks familiar with Ericsons in the Ballard Locks or other frequented areas, even other Ericson owners, and am asked "Is that the 35? or 38?" and everyone is surprised when I say it's a 32.

Christian's point is a salient one - while my girlfriend and I have recently discussed whether or not we need a watermaker and other items to go to Hawaii, this guy did it on a Ranger 23:

You can see in the first few minutes that his forward hatch is held shut by lines cleated off on the interior furniture. He made it, too (spoiler alert!) I sent it to my GF and said if this guy made it, we'll make it.
 
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