Standing rigging, other advice, for a 30+ in the Bay Area

Epenn

Junior Member
Hey!

This is my first post here! I bought a 1985 Ericson 30+ about a year ago. It's my first boat. I absolutely love owning and sailing it.

I had the boat hauled out and surveyed as a condition of sale, but unfortunately it seems that the survey was actually not very accurate on a number of counts. He gave the standing rig a "good condition" rating. However I had the rigging inspected by KKMI and was told that though the rigging does not show any obvious signs of wear, it is clearly more than 15 years old and should be replaced.

KKMI has failed to give me an estimate on changing the rigging despite several requests. Easome rigging, also in Richmond, gave me an estimate in a timely and professional manner. Their estimate is $2k materials + $3k labor, which seems (very) high to me. I'm hoping for any recommendations you might have for riggers and any sense you have of how much this should cost. The boat is in Emeryville.

I'm also interested in any advice you might have about the boating world, as I've been very frustrated. Everyone I deal with runs their business as if they don't even want any customers. They are unresponsive, unprofessional, unreliable, and living in 1990 technology-wise. Accomplished professionals give me conflicting information about basic issues (like the standing rigging, or the engine). Are the best practices really so debatable, or is it just that half of these people are trying to screw me? I had the engine professionally gone over, and ended up with a $4k bill, the bottom professionally painted (plus a few other small issues) for another $4k, and now the rigging. I paid about $15k for the boat on the understanding that it was in "good condition" overall, but now it seems like it needed that much work put into it immediately. Am I doing something wrong? Can I expect it to need a lot less over the next few years? It feels like I should have found a $30k boat and a better surveyor instead.

Thanks,
Evan
 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Moderator
Blogs Author
Bear with it, the trouble with boats is that most decisions are judgement calls. The pros, as elsewhere in life, usually recommend what they are comfortable with, meaning "new." Doesn't mean we have to do it.

I'd say most old sailboats have 15-year-old rigging and the owners have never given it a second thought. (They don't even know it's worth a second thought). A rigger looks closely, and he would see immediate issues such as cracked fittings or weakened wires. You apparently don't have that. Unless heading off around the world, your rigging is probably adequate, even in 30 knots.

On the other hand, the rigging estimate for a complete change sounds about what others have reported.

Stick with the forum. Ask about anything. You can judge by the replies what the majority opinion is, and come to your own.

A 4K bill for the engine means major, very major, work. What was done?
 

Epenn

Junior Member
Thanks for your reply! Seems like sound advice. I love owning my boat and I'm really hoping to make use of this forum to become more savvy about it.

I used the engine reliably for a few months, though only for getting in and out of the marina. Not knowing too much about engines, I decided to get it assessed and have the fluids and filters changed.

The first person who looked at it noticed that there was oil coming out of the exhaust (this was intermittent, but there were big globs). He also noted 'white smoke' and some issues with the temperature. He quickly concluded a new engine was needed. He also said that the engine hours indicated that it was nearing the end of its life (1800 hours for an universal m18 from '85), which I've since heard is not correct. This person, though recommended, seems to have been scamming me.

I got a second opinion from someone who came highly recommended. He found that the oil was due to the oil being overfilled and that the white smoke was actually steam from a cooling system issue. The mixing elbow was fully clogged. Besides a new elbow, it also needed a new heat exchanger, which was severely rusted and otherwise decayed. He changed a lot of hoses, fluids, filters, and a circulation pump. He also dealt with a lot of smaller issues like ancient stuck bolts and even repainted the engine.

Again, I wonder if it's an example of someone trying to make a few bucks. That being said, even my untrained eye could see that the engine was in need of some care and I think this person did a lot of good work on it. The exhaust is now completely clean of any kind of steam, smoke, or oil. The water used to exit only through a small valve separate from the exhaust (which I assumed was normal), but it now comes out the exhaust itself.
 

woolamaloo

Member III
Evan,

Welcome! I replaced my then 34-year-old standing rigging for my 30+ in April of 2019 and was billed $3,500 by a local rigger. (Cleveland, Ohio) Of course, that might be a reasonable price difference between Ohio and SF Bay.

I could have done it a quite a bit cheaper using riggingonly.com. But I decided that if I don’t use the local guy occasionally, he won’t be there when I really need him. And, of all the vendors around boating that I’ve dealt with, he was the one guy who has consistently done what he said he was going to do. As you’ve already found that’s uncommon in boating no matter where you are in the country.

I paid $22K for my Ericson 30+ and it really was in good shape. Somehow, I’ve still managed to spend another $12K on repairs and upgrades over the past 8 years. And I still couldn’t be happier to have this boat.

All these decisions are pretty subjective. Good luck.
 

Dave G.

1984 EY30+ Ludington, MI
A local rigger here in Michigan quoted me $3,800 for standing rig on the very same model and I thought that was high. Of course I am in a small town in Michigan which is a lot smaller market but I would shop around and get at least a 2 more quotes. As Christian said it doesn't sound like they found anything critical which is a good thing so it should be fine, just have it checked out annually and carry on. I also am curious what engine work was done that cost $4k and a $4k bottom job for a 30' boat seems way high. Then again I tend to be frugal, sometimes to a fault, and end up doing things myself.
 

goldenstate

Sustaining Member
Blogs Author
Hi Evan,

I have worked with KKMI and found them to be busy but totally honest and professional. I think they are 'the best' boatyard in the SF Bay, which is nice, but it means that they deal with lots of $500K to $gazillions boats and it's possible that we owners of experienced yachts may rank lower in priority.

I paid nearly $5k just for materials for the standing rigging replacement I did with "high tech" Colligo Rigging parts and Dyneema lines. I think $5K (parts and labor) to replace your standing rigging with cable does not sound unreasonable in SF.

Here's my first year of barfing money: https://ericsonyachts.org/ie/ubs/first-year-costs.831/

The other question you might want to answer is the urgency of replacement. "If it's 15 years old it needs to be replaced" is one of those rules that professional-guys-advising-boat-owners follow. They're not wrong.

But what is your use case? What would happen if there is a 1% chance you lose a shroud in heavy wind and your mast folds up and you are screwed? If you are somewhere off of Fort Mason, you call Boat US, they tow you in and it's a long day and a pain in the rear, but no one gets hurt. If you are 1,000 miles off Rosarito Mexico and the same thing happens, a long day turns into a long week possibly. You really wouldn't want that.

If you are messing around in the bay, maybe you can wait a season or five and then replace the rigging when it makes sense to you.

Someone on this site recently said of his own boat, "Everything works, but everything needs to be replaced." This is the best-case truth about nearly every 30-40 year old sailboat.

-Tom
 

Epenn

Junior Member
A local rigger here in Michigan quoted me $3,800 for standing rig on the very same model and I thought that was high. Of course I am in a small town in Michigan which is a lot smaller market but I would shop around and get at least a 2 more quotes. As Christian said it doesn't sound like they found anything critical which is a good thing so it should be fine, just have it checked out annually and carry on. I also am curious what engine work was done that cost $4k and a $4k bottom job for a 30' boat seems way high. Then again I tend to be frugal, sometimes to a fault, and end up doing things myself.
I told the engine story above. The bottom job price was actually $3k and the rest was various other things I had them take care of, including the rigging inspection, a new thru-hull, and some electrical work.
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
Here is a current thread on rigging, to give some perspective.
 

Epenn

Junior Member
Hi Evan,

I have worked with KKMI and found them to be busy but totally honest and professional. I think they are 'the best' boatyard in the SF Bay, which is nice, but it means that they deal with lots of $500K to $gazillions boats and it's possible that we owners of experienced yachts may rank lower in priority.

I paid nearly $5k just for materials for the standing rigging replacement I did with "high tech" Colligo Rigging parts and Dyneema lines. I think $5K (parts and labor) to replace your standing rigging with cable does not sound unreasonable in SF.

Here's my first year of barfing money: https://ericsonyachts.org/ie/ubs/first-year-costs.831/

The other question you might want to answer is the urgency of replacement. "If it's 15 years old it needs to be replaced" is one of those rules that professional-guys-advising-boat-owners follow. They're not wrong.

But what is your use case? What would happen if there is a 1% chance you lose a shroud in heavy wind and your mast folds up and you are screwed? If you are somewhere off of Fort Mason, you call Boat US, they tow you in and it's a long day and a pain in the rear, but no one gets hurt. If you are 1,000 miles off Rosarito Mexico and the same thing happens, a long day turns into a long week possibly. You really wouldn't want that.

If you are messing around in the bay, maybe you can wait a season or five and then replace the rigging when it makes sense to you.

Someone on this site recently said of his own boat, "Everything works, but everything needs to be replaced." This is the best-case truth about nearly every 30-40 year old sailboat.

-Tom
Thank you! This is exactly the perspective I was hoping to get. I absolutely love having my boat, and I don't mind spending the money if that is what it takes. I worry that I'm buying things that are unnecessary or overpriced. It's also tough not knowing what to expect. From what I'm hearing here, it seems like I'm not actually outside the norm of what this hobby costs. Thanks again for the advice. Let me know if you want to have a drink or a sail sometime in the bay.

Also, did you find the instrument upgrade to be worth it? Did you install a radar?
 

Frank Langer

1984 Ericson 30+, Nanaimo, BC
Hi,
Yes, one does need to be careful in the boating world! We have owned our 1984 E30+ for 15 years and love this boat, and even though it was in really good shape, it still takes care and money. I have studiously learned to do as much work as possible myself--changing impellor, pumps, hoses, filters, oil, tranny fluid, pencil zincs, electrical work, cleaning the hull, etc. as it's just too expensive and not reliable to have someone else do all that. But it is good to ask around for a good rigger, mechanic, and diver for when you need them, and develop a bit of a relationship with them so they know you when you need them. Also, always get a second estimate for expensive jobs, and watch them as they work so you learn and also do some quality control. I once had a "marine electrician" do some electrical work that was beyond my skill level, only to find after he left that when I pulled on the connection, it came undone--totally shoddy work, that I had to completely redo! A lesson learned!
But a good day sailing makes it easier to forget how expensive this passion can be!
Frank
 

Kenneth K

Contributing Partner
Blogs Author
Contractor's code?? I've never had a contractor tell me outright, "Yeah, I really just don't want to work on your boat," even though I've sensed that's where some were coming from. Instead, it usually goes one of two ways:

They say, "Hey, you really ought to call Joe, down the road, he's good at that." I consider this to be good advice (assuming Joe really is good at whatever, and that he is available).

Or, before speaking, the guy says to himself--"I don't want to lay on my side with a headlamp, dropping my tools and scratching my knuckles for four hours in this guy's quarterberth to change a couple of hoses for $500 bucks." So, he tells you, "I'll do it for $1200." That's a lose-lose proposition. Even though he takes the job, he acts like he's doing you a favor because he didn't want to do it in the first place. And, even if he does a good job, you overpaid.

I've been there before.
 

Double Tap

Member II
I wanted to upgrade my electronics & decided to farm it out to the local pro shop and two months later, I’m still waiting. Unfortunately for us/most modest people, there are a lot people in this hobby/lifestyle that don’t know the difference between a pickle and a pecker and will gladly pay for whatever is recommended. And the boat yard technicians know this. And in turn, that puts us on the back burner.
The best advice I can give is to acclimate yourself with your boat & boating neighbors. There’s a lot free resources out there and willing to help.
Oh, I’ll be replacing my instruments myself.
 

HerbertFriedman

Member III
Evan, in 2018, I had my standing rigging on my 87 E34 changed at KKMI and went through a similar exercise. The rigging had been changed (also by KKMI in 2005) by the previous owner so I only had 13 years on the old rigging. But my hydraulic backstay adjuster had failed and either I needed to have that rebuilt (~$800 plus other labor) or have that removed and either a new back stay installed or another piece of wire (with appropriate connectors). I really dont use the hydraulic back stay so the cheapest option was a new backstay. But KKMI really wanted the mast pulled so there was going to be labor involved in any case. Bob Hennessey, with whom I have deal with for many years suggested that he could test the rigging (probably just a visual inspection, probably not a dye penetrant test which is the best) and if OK, just replace the backstay. But then, with a twinkle in his eye, seeing my advanced age, he said, if you really want to sleep at night 13 years of close enough to 15 years (and some insurance are now suggesting changing the standing rigging after 12 years), ....... You see how this is going.

In any case, Barrett, their main rigging expert, did the job, adding a removeable splice in the back stay so that I could re install the hydraulic backstay ( which I had rebuilt since a new one is several $K, and would help sell the boat later on). Bob's original estimate was $3-4K taking into account their yearly sail of 40% all rigging materials (but their prices are probably higher to start with). Total bill was $9K but that included rebuilding the hydraulic backstay, new running rigging, some new mast rewiring, painting the spreaders, some new mast lights, sheave cleanup, etc. Yeah, its ouch time but my "admiral" is slightly less worried, and it is probably the last time I will need that kind of work.

Make sure to ask for Barrett, he was super.
 

HerbertFriedman

Member III
Evan, one more recommendation. I had some minor engine work done by Hans List at List Marine is Sausalito, Changed all the filters, adjusted the valves, tuned up the 2300 hour diesel, cleaned out the heat exchanger, about $1K. But super easy to work with, highly recommended. Later on, I sensed that my water mixing elbow was clogged. Hans said that removing the hoses was a bear, just remove 2 bolts and take the whole flange off, bring it to him and he would change the elbow. Later I found a web offering for that elbow substantially less than Hans estimated, he said no problem, buy it, bring me the parts. Super cheap, when was the last time a car mechanic offered to install parts that you bought?
 

Epenn

Junior Member
Evan, one more recommendation. I had some minor engine work done by Hans List at List Marine is Sausalito, Changed all the filters, adjusted the valves, tuned up the 2300 hour diesel, cleaned out the heat exchanger, about $1K. But super easy to work with, highly recommended. Later on, I sensed that my water mixing elbow was clogged. Hans said that removing the hoses was a bear, just remove 2 bolts and take the whole flange off, bring it to him and he would change the elbow. Later I found a web offering for that elbow substantially less than Hans estimated, he said no problem, buy it, bring me the parts. Super cheap, when was the last time a car mechanic offered to install parts that you bought?
List sounds great. Wish I'd known about him! Perhaps for my next service I'll try him. I went with Mashbir, whom a few different people recommended. I think I got good service from him, but it was (very) expensive and as I was saying about many experiences in the boat world, it was not a masterpiece of customer service, that is, no website, hard to get on the phone, only takes checks, only paper invoices, not good communication about costs, etc.
 

goldenstate

Sustaining Member
Blogs Author
Also, did you find the instrument upgrade to be worth it? Did you install a radar?
Instrument upgrade: Yes, worth it for me.

Radar: No, I don't think it would be necessary for what I am trying to accomplish. I did several blog posts on my design and installation. I would encourage you think about the 'needs assessment' part. If you're day sailing in the Bay (like I am 99% of the time) you don't really "need" any electronics. I hope to make an offshore trip sometime, which was my motivation for the upgrade.

 

Sailingfun

Member III
Radar is not necessary at bay area.
Only real good instrument is a wind indicator (B&G triton 2) and small chartplotter.
Only really cheap rigger around bay area is Douglas at San Rafael Harbor. Stop spending money at KK or Svendson or Hansen.
 

Gaviate

Member II
Well it seems that I've just read thousands and thousands of reasons (3k,5k,9k...) why I'm happy to be able to do some things myself:)
Having said that, Evan, Welcome! Here you will find the absolute best deal ever in the boating world....sound advice and words of experience!!
Cheers!
 

mjsouleman

Sustaining Member
Moderator
Welcome Evan,
you will get the best advice from the Ericson members on this site. You will also be encouraged to learn and do what you can on your own and the members here will help you every step of the way. As for rigging, I hire a rigger as I don't have that talent just yet. As for the boat bottom, I tackled that myself. It's all sweat equity and confidence.

So, Welcome again, and enjoy your journey.

Mark "Souleman" Soule
 

Sean Engle

Your Friendly Administrator
Administrator
Founder
Hey!

This is my first post here! I bought a 1985 Ericson 30+ about a year ago. It's my first boat. I absolutely love owning and sailing it.

I had the boat hauled out and surveyed as a condition of sale, but unfortunately it seems that the survey was actually not very accurate on a number of counts. He gave the standing rig a "good condition" rating. However I had the rigging inspected by KKMI and was told that though the rigging does not show any obvious signs of wear, it is clearly more than 15 years old and should be replaced.

KKMI has failed to give me an estimate on changing the rigging despite several requests. Easome rigging, also in Richmond, gave me an estimate in a timely and professional manner. Their estimate is $2k materials + $3k labor, which seems (very) high to me. I'm hoping for any recommendations you might have for riggers and any sense you have of how much this should cost. The boat is in Emeryville.

...
Rigging questions? In the Bay Area??

I'm surprised to see that our own @Guy Stevens has not replied to this thread yet! :egrin:
 
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