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Old 10-01-2012, 03:57 PM   #1
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Boat quality comparison

Would appreciate input on the comparison of quality for the following US boat manufactures. Mainship, Albin, Ranger. I am looking to purchase a used boat and am quality conscious. I realize of course that normally the higher the quality the higher the cost for similar items. Many thanks.
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Old 10-01-2012, 04:06 PM   #2
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If by Ranger you mean Ranger Tug, the people we've met who have them are very impressed with them. Likewise a friend who has taken them (not his own) on several long delivery trips from Seattle up to Desolation Sound and north has been extremely impressed with their quality and capabilities.

But..... they are amazingly expensive for their size in my opinion.
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Old 10-01-2012, 05:07 PM   #3
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Frequently I judge quality by the price Marin. Good quality products are almost never cheap. But you can't make a good quality boat w a chopper gun. Comparison is prolly the best tool. You can look at a cleat on a boat and think "that looks fine to me". But it may be mounted poorly, made out of minimal materials, much too small ect ect. In other words research and comparison needs to be done to separate the good, bad and excellent. One's standards can be a desirable or undesirable force looking for quality too. A fisherman would probably think all cleats on pleasure boats are cheap and not good enough at all whereas a yachtsman may think the fisherman's cleats are ugly galvanized things lacking grace or style and consider them poor quality and unacceptable. So much quality is real and much quality is perceived. Both are important to most people. I don't know any boats that have such a poor build quality that I wouldn't buy them. To me the shape of the hull is the most important element
of the quality of a boat is it's hull shape. You too must establish what's most important to you to to evaluate build quality. And anybody that knows specific information about build quality of a specific boat he would be very unlikely to post it here if it was negative as several to many members owning such boats would be insulted and feel quite strongly about it. If I thought for example that Tollycraft boats were 2nd rate (I don't) one person in particular would make considerable smoke and steam on your thread defending his baby. But ther'e would be several others that didn't respond and prolly 47 or so lurkers as well. So to consider what boats aren't built very well you may want to pay more attention to what boats aren't mentioned.
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Old 10-01-2012, 05:37 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by lemoinen View Post
Would appreciate input on the comparison of quality for the following US boat manufactures. Mainship, Albin, Ranger. I am looking to purchase a used boat and am quality conscious. I realize of course that normally the higher the quality the higher the cost for similar items. Many thanks.

Thats not really a question that you're likely to get a valid answer for.

You might rephrase your question to be something along the lines of

"Are there any major problems with XXX brand XXX model of boat"

Just a FYI both Albin and Mainship have a long history of boat building. They represent products that have withstood the test of time.

Ranger is a much newer builder but seems to have a very nice product.

What is more important is what you, the prospective buyer want in a boat as far as layout, size, features, etc...
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Old 10-01-2012, 06:05 PM   #5
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Talking

What size boat are you interested in and what is your budget? Ranger makes a 25' to 31' and started production in the early 90's?. We use to own a 1981 34' Mainship which was their smallest model that started production in 1978/79 (?). It's hard to compare different boats that were constructed over a 30+ year period in general terms. Boats are like cars, there were good years and better years of construction for different models. Let the search begin.

"edit" Mainship did/does make a 30' Pilot model. Mainship owners, help me out here.
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Old 10-01-2012, 06:16 PM   #6
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Frequently I judge quality by the price Marin. Good quality products are almost never cheap. But you can't make a good quality boat w a chopper gun. Comparison is prolly the best tool. You can look at a cleat on a boat and think "that looks fine to me". But it may be mounted poorly, made out of minimal materials, much too small ect ect. In other words research and comparison needs to be done to separate the good, bad and excellent. One's standards can be a desirable or undesirable force looking for quality too. A fisherman would probably think all cleats on pleasure boats are cheap and not good enough at all whereas a yachtsman may think the fisherman's cleats are ugly galvanized things lacking grace or style and consider them poor quality and unacceptable. So much quality is real and much quality is perceived. Both are important to most people. I don't know any boats that have such a poor build quality that I wouldn't buy them. To me the shape of the hull is the most important element
of the quality of a boat is it's hull shape. You too must establish what's most important to you to to evaluate build quality. And anybody that knows specific information about build quality of a specific boat he would be very unlikely to post it here if it was negative as several to many members owning such boats would be insulted and feel quite strongly about it. If I thought for example that Tollycraft boats were 2nd rate (I don't) one person in particular would make considerable smoke and steam on your thread defending his baby. But ther'e would be several others that didn't respond and prolly 47 or so lurkers as well. So to consider what boats aren't built very well you may want to pay more attention to what boats aren't mentioned.
Good move Eric! See bold in your quote above! LOL - Art

BTW: There are four (4) Tolly build-out items that I know of in my 1977 34' Tollycraft tri cabin model that could have been better addressed to enable them with even longer multi decade life spans. Each item was simply not correctly "design/developed" enough to readily withstand 35 + + years of hard weather in salt-air with fresh-water-wash downs thrown in. All four could have been originally built/put-in-place to last longer, but, it takes decades to have their "incorrectness" appear evident. These same items are also culprits on most other classic boat types. Each can be repaired so it does not again occur... at a cost of effort and/or some boat-dollars $$$$ for three of them... the fourth is inexpensive to fix, but can be timely, Currently I'm keeping close eye on two items that are the largest eventual offenders toward us keeping uninterrupted use of our boat. The other two are no big problem and fixable in progressive stages.

You are correct though; I adhere to what you say- - > "And anybody that knows specific information about build quality of a specific boat he would be very unlikely to post it here if it was negative as several to many members owning such boats would be insulted and feel quite strongly about it." That said: I'd be pleased to PM or phone chat with persons who may be interested in owning a Tolly and would like to learn more regarding its overall top quality construction as well as some repairable items to be aware of/lookout for!
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Old 10-01-2012, 06:50 PM   #7
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year range will account for a lot of manufacturer good/bad points.
mid to post 90's is almost always the better boat except for a few manufacturers
better glass, better techniques, no or limited wood in structural areas....
nicer fixtures, better wiring....etc..etc..
and that's why you pay substantially more in most cases....
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Old 10-01-2012, 07:56 PM   #8
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Frequently I judge quality by the price Marin. Good quality products are almost never cheap.
I agree. You generally get what you pay for with things like cars, boats, cameras, etc. There are several of the larger Ranger Tugs in our marina and one of them (brand new) was on the main dock out to our dock for several months. No question is was a well-made boat, at least from what we could see from the outside and looking into the cabin. But considering it was a 25 or 27 foot boat, the posted new-boat price was pretty amazing. As I recall it was well up in the $300,000 range. I may be off on that but the price was higher than I or my wife could ever have imagined a company charging for a boat like that.

Still a very good boat from everything we've been told by people with experience with them. But is it that much better than boats of comparable size? I would be very surprised if it is.

Unless the OP is interested only in the specific brands he mentioned in his initial post, another make that may be worth looking into is Nordic Tug. They've been building their boats in the PNW since the outset in the early 80s so there is generally a good selection of used ones to pick from. The most numerous sizes are the original 26 footer as well as the 32 and 34 footers.
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Old 10-02-2012, 06:22 AM   #9
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"I am looking to purchase a used boat and am quality conscious.

First you will need a specific definition of "quality".

A really good broker or a great surveyer will know which YEARS production hulls are to be avoided.

Boat builders go thru periods of expansion and contraction so a Brand may be very inconsistant over the years , as they swing from busy expanding to bankrupcy.

Price is a concern as a boat designed and built for Blue water passagemaking will be about 300% higher in price.

You only need this if the world is your desire , if its the Loop or Bahamas , the usual boat built for Lakes. Bays and Protected Waters will do fine. Offshore is expensive .

Reading books and surveys from some authors will be a big help in deciding .Here is one. Yacht Survey Online: David Pascoe, Marine Surveyor

www.yachtsurvey.com
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Old 10-02-2012, 09:41 AM   #10
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Reading books and surveys from some authors will be a big help in deciding .Here is one. [B
I have two of David Pascoes books, Surveying fiberglass power boats, and I forget the title, but it was something like a buyers guide to midsize power boats.

Both are very good books, highly recommended
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Old 10-03-2012, 01:31 AM   #11
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Thank you all for your comments. The forum is certainly quick and enjoyable way to add to one's boating knowledge. Much appreciated. Time to check the wallet and make a decision.
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Old 10-03-2012, 09:46 AM   #12
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First you will need a specific definition of "quality".
In manufacturing consistency is what determines quality.
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Old 10-03-2012, 09:52 AM   #13
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In manufacturing consistency is what determines quality.
Another thing that Pascoe points out in his books is that the length of a certian models production run dictates quality.

He indicates, correctly that all boats have bugs to work out and that boats with a long production run give manufacturers time to make the small improvements to a boat over time, making for a much better product.
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Old 10-03-2012, 10:06 AM   #14
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I'm not a "show car" kinda guy so I didn't even want the elegance and ritz of a Ranger. It is possible, even probable, that my attitude would be very different if I was a man of many more resources.
We recently had a dinghy visit to our dock from the owners of a $500,000 Ranger (maybe a 36'?). The owners wanted to share their enthusiasm for our little beater. When asked about heading south for the winter, the older couple replied they were still working. Great people with a great boat, just different ideas/life.
Our's is a generic 26' Ranger. When shopping, we could've bought four+ of our boats for the price of a comparable year and size Ranger.
Our Outer Reef was built for longer range cruising than the Ranger and from the old logs, has even been to Puerto Rico.

I believe that many various dynamics make up what one considers "quality" in a boat.

For what it's worth-

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Old 10-03-2012, 10:07 AM   #15
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Another thing that Pascoe points out in his books is that the length of a certian models production run dictates quality.

I'm not a big Pascoe fan so don't take this wrong. But how does he relate the two. A perfectly well built quality boat may have missed the market it was meant for. So after a three or four year run it may get the axe for a redo in the same boat but under a different model name. On the other hand some boats have hundreds of hulls out there and they are junk form number one through number 101.
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Old 10-03-2012, 10:53 AM   #16
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Case in point: the Kady Krogen Silhouette. They only made 12 of them and had to "eat" the last four and sell them at a discount.
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Old 10-03-2012, 11:07 AM   #17
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I'm not a big Pascoe fan so don't take this wrong. But how does he relate the two. A perfectly well built quality boat may have missed the market it was meant for. So after a three or four year run it may get the axe for a redo in the same boat but under a different model name. On the other hand some boats have hundreds of hulls out there and they are junk form number one through number 101.
OK, if they re-do the boat under a different model name for marketing, or if they make an upgrade to a model that equates to a model name change, that is really the same boat, just improved or renamed.

The logic is that a boat manufacturer comes up with a design, builds one or two as beta models, then puts the boat into production.

As the fleet grows, feedback comes from that fleet. That feedback fuels improvements to the boats design. As time goes on, the boats being manufactured incorporate these design improvements, making for a better boat.

I am a big fan of Pascoe. His commentary is not what production boat buyers sometimes want to hear, but I've never been able to fault his logic, or his technical accuracy.

BTW he is especially hard on what he calls "price point boats", IE Bayliner, Searay, Luhers, etc...

That said, he also sang the praises of the Bayliner 38/39 and 45/47' boats because of their long production runs making for a very good quality boat.
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Old 10-03-2012, 11:39 AM   #18
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I'm not saying David Pascoe is always correct - NO ONE IS! However, I will say that he sure is a great resource regarding hundreds of boat items, and, his commentaries, books, reports are fantastic tools for helping any new boating member with access for a learned introduction into our boating world. David Pascoe, with his research and experience has probably forgotten more than most boaters will ever learn. I rate him as a top level expert who learned his boat/boating knowledge via decades of hands-on efforts. Iíd like to know, is there anyone else who offers such ready access to similar volumes of printed boat-world experience, such as Pascoe?
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Old 10-04-2012, 05:48 AM   #19
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I’d like to know, is there anyone else who offers such ready access to similar volumes of printed boat-world experience, such as Pascoe

Dated now but the "Common Sense of Yacht Design" , By Herrishoff is a grand book for concepts in cruisers.

The problem as pointed out is far too many boat building decisions are based on marketing , not solving a need ,or providing a useful boat..

How many claimed or named "offshore" boats have we all been on with no hand holds , so an occupant could be tossed many feet before a hard landing?




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Old 10-04-2012, 01:00 PM   #20
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How about the Nova Sundeck that went out of production but was brought back due to consumer demand?
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