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Old 07-05-2016, 09:44 AM   #1
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Question 1977 T.D. Vinette North Shore?

Hi Folks,

Long time lurker, first time poster.

We have been enjoying our 20' Wellcraft cuddy for some time and now that the crankcase looks like it's filled with chocolate milk () it looks like it's time to upgrade. Currently we keep our boat in the Chicago River and spend plenty of time cruising down the river and often make trips out into Lake Michigan. We've really enjoyed taking short trips and spending weekends in our little boat and have dreams of longer cruises.

We'd like to venture around the Great Loop and possibly do some coastal cruising on the Caribbean coast. Maybe an eventual West Coast journey up to Alaska. We've ventured around the world at high-speed for a while now, now it's time to see it at 8 kts. Mostly it will be 2 humans (and a dog and cat for extended cruises) with 2 friends or family mbrs occasionally coming along for the ride. This is on the small end of what looks comfortable for our journeys and we've often heard "get the smallest you can without being uncomfortable". FWIW, I'd also like to throw a few rod holders on the rails so I can troll for Salmon/Steelhead in the big pond and along our journey.

I've been looking around at a lot of boats and building a short list. One of them is a 1977 North Shore 35 by TD Vinette in Escanaba, MI. She has a 130 hp Perkins 6.354. You can see the rest of the details here: 1977 T.D. Vinette North Shore Power Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com. I've never maintained a steel hull but its durability sounds nice in a river where it's not unusual to find anything from a tree to a chair just below the surface. And the drunken idiots in the lock can bounce their Rinkers off my boat all day long without issue.

I've seen a few threads mentioning the larger Vinettes but if anyone has any input on this smaller build I would greatly appreciate it. I'd also appreciate any input about this boat and my plans to use it. We'll obviously need a survey and to splash her for a sea trial but I'm also curious if anyone can predict how she'll hold up in 2-4 waves in the Lake. Some of the other boats on the list include the Prairie 29, Cape Dory 30, Californian 35 LRC and Albin Family Cruiser.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 07-05-2016, 11:13 AM   #2
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If you go see her, post your remarks. I recently asked thoughts of a steel hull and used her as the example. It's too early in my boat ownership desires though to pull any triggers, but I equate her with a gypsy wagon!
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Old 07-05-2016, 02:57 PM   #3
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A friend has a 36 Vinnette....Great Lakes only boat. No issues with interior rust. None. No salt water and the boat is on the hard for eight months.

His is older than the one in the listing....big 4 cylinder Cummins scoots it right along at 8 knots, although it's pushing a lot of water at that speed. I've driven the boat several times...nice ride. I think his has chain/cable steering, which likewise does OK. Solid boats. I wouldn't be afraid of it at all....and it's practically free, for cryin' out loud.

Here's a shot of the 36.

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Old 07-05-2016, 08:38 PM   #4
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I am not concerned about the hull, expected behavior underway, or her suitability for most of your missions.

I am concerned about her overall need for refit and/or maintenance; the accelerated rusting away that will occur once you get her salty; and the potential difficulty of resale. The engine space is particularly concerning - in every photo.

Some nice features include the covered side/aft decks, room on the upper deck for a tender, and the sedan layout.

I would only want her for a very attractive price, then I would refit her to a very basic level before heading out. You may have other ideas and those ideas might be better for your situation. In your OP, you listed some other boats that are more attractive to me than this one. You must be doing your homework because those boats all fit the mission you describe.

I find it interesting that she is listed with Curtis Stokes (nothing against them) and not one of the Northern Michigan brokers. Alpena and Northern MI are nice this time of year, enjoy the trip if you go see her.

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Old 07-05-2016, 10:52 PM   #5
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Thanks for all the replies, everyone has been quite constructive and helpful so far. Keep them coming. You're a lot friendlier than some of those OTHER forums ;-)
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Old 07-06-2016, 01:30 PM   #6
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Old Mr. Vinnette, the founder, passed away a few years back, but his son(s?) still run the yard. Bet they can give you the build details on that boat....or at least the 34 model line. I like the boats a lot....not toys like some others on your list. Here's a shot of a 36 underway on far northern Lake Michigan. Nice day, but I know for a fact that this boat has been out in some very nasty weather.

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Old 07-20-2016, 08:00 PM   #7
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Hi, any news on seeing this boat?
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Old 10-23-2016, 06:50 PM   #8
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By the time I was ready to go see her, she was sold! It may have been a blessing because we just signed a contract on a '79 Vinette 37' that is a beauty. You could eat off the floor of the engine room. Survey soon and then I'll post some pics!
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