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Old 03-13-2016, 01:25 PM   #1
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City: Sitka, AK
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Magnetic North
Vessel Model: 1985 Californian 34
Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 102
thinking about making an offer

Hi everyone, I spent a couple days in Seattle looking for a boat and am hoping to get a few more questions answered before I make an offer on anything. I saw 3 Californian 34s, two of which I ruled out pretty quickly. The third I'm considering but there are several concerns I have. We will get a survey, sea trial, mechanical inspection before making anything official. My questions are the following:

1- What's the difference between a Europa and LRC? This one is a Europa. The V-berth seems a little cramped (even if I remove the top bunk), I don't know if they are all like that or if that is unique to a Europa model

2- Water damage from windows leaking- Is that a pretty easy fix? It didn't look too complicated but I've done enough DIY to know better than to assume anything is going to be easy, and I haven't done any on boats yet

3- Steel fuel tanks- I've read about the tanks rusting on some of these. The idea of steel tanks makes me a little nervous and sounds like an expensive fix (if necessary), is this a major concern?

4- The boat has been sitting without much or any maintenance for at least a year from what I've been told. In my mind that means a lot of things like seals and gaskets are just waiting be replaced. The engines are Perkins 6-354s with under 1200 hours.

The other boats I looked at were Bayliner 32s. My wife really likes the "newness" of the Bayliners and really does not want a major project. She's fine with the window repair if it doesn't turn in to a major disaster that keeps us from using the boat, and she's pretty adamant about new upholstery. I love the Californian, but have to admit she has some very good points. There are Bayliners out there with more recent motors with fewer hours and updated interiors for the same or less $$, so I'm trying to decide if the Californian will be worth it or not. The Californian didn't have a bowsprit and the swim step wasn't very long, so I think it will be under 36' which means I only wait 12-18 months for a permanent slip instead of 8 years. The Bayliners were all over 36' so I have that going for me.

This was the last boat I looked at and I was running late for my flight, so it was a very quick tour. Any feedback, ideas, suggestions, comments are greatly appreciated. Thank you!
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Old 03-13-2016, 02:15 PM   #2
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City: Satsuma FL
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Vessel Name: No Mo Trawla
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Originally Posted by robs523 View Post
1- What's the difference between a Europa and LRC?

Europa's are a style of boat with typically a single forward stateroom and a long salon. LRC's (Long Range Cruisers) are a design functionality and typically have lower HP engines that limits the boat to displacement speeds and they have extra large fuel tanks for extended distance cruising.

2- Water damage from windows leaking- Is that a pretty easy fix?

Maybe, maybe not. There are two parts to the puzzle here. The first is fixing the windows so they no longer leak. This could involve replacing the windows. Not an easy fix in most cases if window replacement is required. The second part of the puzzle is fixing the damage from the leak. That could or could not be complicated depending on how much damage was done. No easy answer to your question.

3- Steel fuel tanks- I've read about the tanks rusting on some of these. The idea of steel tanks makes me a little nervous and sounds like an expensive fix (if necessary), is this a major concern?

One should always be concerned about steel fuel tanks on a 30+ year old boat but then many steel fuel tanks will last another 30 or so years if the decks have been cared for properly and the fuel has not had water buildup. One issue is the fuel tanks are often hidden away so they are difficult to inspect. The sniff test for a strong odor of diesel fuel should be your initial clue but you should also express your concerns about the fuel tanks to your surveyor. Of course if he cant see them, he can't help you too much either.

4- The boat has been sitting without much or any maintenance for at least a year from what I've been told. In my mind that means a lot of things like seals and gaskets are just waiting be replaced. The engines are Perkins 6-354s with under 1200 hours.

Don't see the question here but Perkins 6.354's ALWAYS have seals and gaskets just waiting to be replaced. My boat sits on the hard for 7 months in heated winter storage every year and it sat for almost 19 months prior to our purchase without any special attention to gaskets and seals required. But still, they aren't called leaky Perky's for nothing.
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Old 03-13-2016, 06:39 PM   #3
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City: St. Marks, Florida
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One issue is the fuel tanks are often hidden away so they are difficult to inspect. The sniff test for a strong odor of diesel fuel should be your initial clue but you should also express your concerns about the fuel tanks to your surveyor
Yup. Don't have any experience with that particular make of boat, but do have some experience with leaking fuel tanks. As Donsan says, the easy check is to see if you smell diesel fuel in the bilge. If you do, that does not necessarily mean leaking fuel tanks, but it is a flag. Even if you cannot access the tanks easily, a strong light and keen eyes should be able to tell you what they look like. Rust means a good possibility of a leak.

I had a leaking tank on the sailboat for about 17 years (got worse as time wore on), and learned to live with it. But one of the selling points on the current trawler was that the tanks had been replaced.
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Old 03-14-2016, 09:28 PM   #4
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Probably best to talk to Capn Craig and Flywright since they own 34' Californians.

I have original steel tanks, 4 of them, and no leaks. Tank life all depends on keeping them dry on the outside and water out of the fuel inside. I have never used any additives in the fuel since I bought mine new in 1976.

The twin 6-354 Perkins is probably the most common engine in all the Californians. The boat is capable of planing speeds with the turbo charged engines. With the N/A 130 HP engines I'm not so sure what speeds would be attainable. My boat sits in the water through the winter, only starting them for 20 minutes once a month or so.

The Californians have solid fiberglass hulls, no core, and seldom have issues with blisters, especially in the cooler Seattle waters.
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Old 11-19-2016, 09:26 PM   #5
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I found thatctrawlers in Seattle are priced 10% higher than other West Coast locations. They are best suited for Puget Sound and NW cruising. They are notcwell suited to So Cal cruising since most folks like a fast fisher in those locations. There are few cruising destinations. Find a boat model you like and see if you can find one for sale in San Diego or Dana Pt area. You should be able to negotiate a better price. Then run it Puget Sound if that is your choice. One warning. WA will require proof you paid sales tax or they will assess it if boat is in WA more than 60 days. Oregon does not have sales tax. Maybe keep boat in Sidney on Vancouver Island. Great cruising area. You can avoid CA sales tax if you take offshore delivery / store in Ensenada and have work done for an extended period. Excellent work for reasonable prices. Much to think about and plan.
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Old 11-20-2016, 09:45 AM   #6
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Fuel tanks in an older boat are always a potential problem. I had to replace an Aluminum 100 gallon fuel tank less than 30 days after purchase in a 35 year old boat. Best to have a good reserve for all the what ifs.
You can also talk to your surveyor about pressure testing the tanks if you don't see or smell diesel fuel.
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