READY SET GO 1984 35’ MKlll


Junior Member
Boat Move

I am receiving an “84 35’ Mk III that has been on the hard for 3 years, located on Lake Champlain, I will be moving it to the Apostle Island area on Lake Superior as soon as school is out in June. I will have about 4-6 weeks to get the boat ready in NY and move it to WI. Lots of unknowns —- Lots of questions:

Love to hear from any 35’ MK 3 owners about known weaknesses I should be aware of to check/repair/monitor? before I set off.

-Steering hardware problems? rusted shive mounts?
-Common areas of rot holding the stays and shrouds?
-Electrical issues/failings.
-Universal Atomic Diesel Model 5432 issues.
-Anything not obvious that I should be aware of?

Love to hear from any with experience to share. (Any links or reference informative material info would be great.)

Thanks in advance for your help —- Jon


Junior Member
Thanks for your reply. I have had a bit of boating experience in the past but a reminder of what I have forgotten is helpful.

I am especially interested in information specific to an 1984 35’ Mk3,

Assuming it is factory original — What size packing for the stuffing box?

I have seen Threads/Blogs describing rusted steel shive mounts on some older Ericsson’s —- is this a likely problem for me?

Any problems unique to the Atomic Diesel installed at the factory? I plan to replace the impeller and any hoses that look tired but do they tend to have heat exchanger issues?

Any information specific to an 1984 35’ Mk3 would be very useful

Thanks in advance for the help.


Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
Any problems unique to the Atomic Diesel installed at the factory? I plan to replace the impeller and any hoses that look tired but do they tend to have heat exchanger issues?

Any information specific to an 1984 35’ Mk3 would be very useful
The stock OEM engine was probably a Universal M25 diesel, 3 cylinder, rated at 21 hp, with a Hurth model 50 transmission. I believe the parts manual can be d/l on line, altho I am not sure where.


Member II
Hi @Jonbabco,

Congratulations - the Ericson 35-3 is a great boat!

I purchased my 1987 35-3 last May in Shelburne, VT and delivered the boat from Lake Champlain to Maine, so I had a similar, somewhat shorter voyage. It took me three weeks to prepare myself and the boat, plan the route, and 13 days to make the 760nm journey (no night sailing). During my journey last June, I had to motor all the way down Lake Champlain, through the Champlain Canal, and then down the Hudson River, since the wind was out of the south. The mast was also down until Catskill, NY, since the bridges in the Champlain Canal are low and do not open. The first opportunity to really use the sails effectively was in New York Harbor. You will also have to motor through the Erie Canal with the mast down, so you should make sure that your engine is in excellent condition. Make sure that all of your instruments (engine and otherwise) work well and provide accurate data. You should also ensure that all belts, filters, alternator, impeller, heat exchanger, fuel lines, cutlass bearing, prop etc. are in great condition. If you did not do a mechanical survey during your purchase process, I would recommend you have one done before you leave. This is particularly important if the boat has been on the hard for the past three years. A full electrical audit would also be a good idea to see if there are any looming electrical issues. After 38 years, most boats have diverged widely from stock.

Boat-specific issues would probably be uncovered during a survey. If you did not do a survey during the purchase process, I would highly recommend having one done. The dorade vent box and anchor locker are common sources of wet decks and rot on an Ericson 35-3. At 38 years of age, any deck hardware is a potential source of water intrusion. Hopefully, you had the chance to do a sea trial to determine the condition of the running rigging, winches, and sails. It would also be a good idea to get a professional to inspect the standing rigging as you will likely be sailing quite a distance to get to western Lake Superior.

If the mast is not already down, label the wires at the terminal under the headliner near the mast so you can easily reconnect them correctly when you step your mast.

You will be going through many locks (12 in the Champlain Canal alone, 57 in the Erie Canal). I had never gone through locks before and it took about 4 locks to get the process down really well. Good, big fenders and a fender board will help protect the boat in the locks and rubber gloves will protect your hands from wall slime. We had two people and found the best approach was for each of us to have a boat hook with one person midships holding on to one of the lines dropping down from the top of the lock wall, pushing off fore or astern of the line as needed. The person at the helm can help maintain distance between the stern and the wall while shifting the boat into forward and reverse as needed to keep the boat parallel with the lock wall. We used the port wall of the lock so that prop walk would help pull in the stern in reverse and using the rudder in forward to help bring in the bow. If you have a third person, they can guard the bow. If this is your first time piloting a larger boat, you might want to practice landing in tighter quarters a bit as you may have company as you pass through the locks.

If you are going to be traveling at night, be sure that the boat is equipped for safe night sailing, including (red) lighting that does not ruin your night vision and perhaps AIS to avoid ships. You should also have a complete set of charts for the voyage on board in case you have electrical issues.

Four to six weeks may be optimistic to both prepare the boat and complete the journey as weather and conditions may not always cooperate. You should spend some time getting comfortable with the boat and learning about its systems.

All this being said, I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to Maine and was very impressed with the performance of the boat in a wide variety of sea and wind conditions. We routinely sailed at 7+ knots and hit 11.2 knots surfing in a following sea. It is a remarkably dry boat with only a couple instances of minor spray reaching the cockpit. You will certainly know the boat better by the end of the journey.

Good luck with your planning and preparation!
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Junior Member
Thanks for all the information and the Champlain canal video — I wish I had unlimited time — but —- 6 weeks to ready the boat and make the trip seems optimistic to me too and any significant problem would make it impossible.

I would love to hear some words of encouragement from some one who has made the trip through the canals and through the lakes, but baring some very positive feed back I think having the boat trucked to the eastern end of Georgian Bay and sailing from there seems much more do-able.

Regarding the condition of the boat —- It has been my brothers boat for the last 6+ years and well maintained until it was stored. I plan to replace all the typical wear items (impeller, belts etc) on the engine and the cutlass bearing and then have It checked by a mechanic before we depart.

Very helpful to know about the potential water leakage from the dorade vent box and anchor locker —- will definitely check that out too.

Thanks again for your help —- Jon