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Old 06-04-2014, 04:01 PM   #1
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Looking to buy a GS 43 MK II

Hi Gulfstar owners-

I am in the market for a 40-something foot trawler in general, but have recently put Gulfstar towards the top of my search list. I have some general questions for both current/past owners and anyone who as worked on Gulfstar boats from the 1970's, and specifically the 43 MK II. I've poked around this forum quite a bit, but didn't find much discussion on my main concern (leaky windows).

First, the things that are drawing me towards Gulfstar trawlers (and if you can't tell from the below, I lean towards minimizing my hours spent maintaining and maximizing my hours spent cruising!):
1. I like that the hulls seem to be solid FRP
2. I like that most decks seem to be FRP/nonskid, as opposed to teak on so many other 1970's trawlers
3. I like that, from what I can tell, the fuel tanks are FRP
4. Love that most powerplants seem to be single-engine Perkins diesels

Now, a few things on my "con" list:
5. The boat is not exactly a "looker", although she does have an endearing retro look to her. She certainly looks better than the modern "clorox bottle" boats.
6. Not a huge fan of "galley down", but can live with it
7. Have seen references in this forum to hull blistering
8. Have seen references in various places to shoddy workmanship/soft decks on some Gulfstar models
9. Tight spaces to maneuver in the engine room
10. Rounded hull-form tends to equal rolly motion in waves/chop

Now my questions to you all:
a. What has been your experience in practice with window leaks?
b. How is working in the engine room in practice? Ie., the space looks small to me, but what's it like in real life maneuvering around (I am 6'3" / 190 pounds)
c. How is the boat's handling (both tracking straight and steering around docks) in both calm and rough weather?
d. Is there anything else I should know as a prospective Gulfstar 43 MK II owner?

Thank you all so very much in advance, I will take to heart your opinions both positive and negative on the subjects above.

Best regards
-Kent (Apres Ski)
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Old 06-04-2014, 05:57 PM   #2
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Most of these boats are twin powered Perkins NA motors.
Just saying. I just bought a Gulfstar 36 MarkII I'm moving down from a pretty wide Mainship 40 sedan bridge. I think my wife and I will make the transition. I like the Gulfstar's layout and they are similar to the 43 Mark II.
In fact the 43' Mark II's seem to be easier to find than the 36 Gulfstar MarkII's.
I have no window leaks on the 36' Mark II. The trim around the windows is Aluminum not wood like many of the teak decked boats.
Bill
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Old 06-04-2014, 07:29 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Billylll View Post
Most of these boats are twin powered Perkins NA motors.
Ok, I guess I have my facts wrong. I've seen so many boat listings on Yachtworld over the past 3 weeks it's all becoming a blur. I must have seen that several current listings are single engine and I just unconsciously extrapolated. Thanks!
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Old 06-06-2014, 07:03 PM   #4
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Most are powered with twin Perkins 6.354M engines. These are great bullet proof engines in my opinion. I'm a big fan of the Gulfstar 43 MarkII's. I really haven't seen a single engine Gulfstar 43 yet, that doesn't mean they don't exist. Good luck in your search and keeps us informed if you decide to purchase one.
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Old 06-06-2014, 08:12 PM   #5
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Does anybody else sense a resurgence in these boats? I haven't heard anything in years about these, and now a flurry of purchases, refurbs etc. I'm not saying it is good or bad. Personally, I don't know much about them. Just an observation.
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Old 06-06-2014, 10:03 PM   #6
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Yes, my reason for picking a Gulfstar 36 MarkII were for a couple of reasons. I realized I made a huge mistake with my Mainship 40SB trying to make it into something it would never be.
I initially thought I would get a Marine Trader but after seeing the soft decks and the repairs required to remove the teak they suddenly didn't look like that good a bang for my buck.
I looked at various CHB's never found one between 32 and 36 that I liked.
I looked at Albins again I never found one that suited my needs on the East Coast. I really like the 34 LRC Californians but again I found none East of the Mississippi that were in good enough shape for the asking price. I would have liked to have gotten a Californian if I could have found one in the right condition for the price range I wanted to pay.
Speaking of smaller trailer boats I looked at Bayliner 2859's with the Alaskan rear enclosure I only found one with a diesel but I didn't want an outdrive and the maintenance that goes with an outdrive. The boat was also too small for my wife and I to do any extended cruising.
I wanted a 32 to 36 footer with twin small diesels, no V drives, an enclosed lower helm with excellent visibility. One I could cruise in the comfort of warmth in the winter or air conditioning in the summer. An upper helm was not a requirement. It came down to 2 Gulfstar 36 Mark II's. The boat is easy to work on, it had only minor blisters on the port rudder, low hour small horsepower Perkins (NA) diesels. The fuel and water tanks are FRP a huge plus in an older boat. I wanted a boat that had a real shower not a squat over the head type shower. As far as upgrades the sky's the limit and there's plenty of room in the ER for a house bank, an inverter/ charger, a watermaker, it had no teak decks, the hull was not cored and the window frames are Aluminum and there is a minimum of teak to deal with externally. For all of the above reasons I ended up with a Gulfstar 36 MarkII.
Price, these Gulfstars can be had for a fair price compared to other similar vessels. They were the only really true trawler not a semi displacement hull like the Mainship Mark I,II & III's. I also liked the aft stateroom and the large lockers in the Gulfstar. Mine is a work in progress but it should be for the most part finished before the 4th of July.
In addition I really like the lines of the vessel. This very well could be my last boat I like it that much.
Bill
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Old 06-08-2014, 10:47 PM   #7
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Sailor of Fortune, my suspicion of the resurgence you notice is that the GulfStar is not a "cult" boat like the Grand Banks or Nordic Tug, and thus the prices for these boats are reasonable. Plus, a GulfStar built in the mid 1970's is pushing 40 years old, so the depreciation has long since been rung out of them.

But, from what I can gather, the biggest problem with the boats was hull blistering. So, any GS that's still around has probably had the blistering fixed. Thus, although their reputation has kept the price low, they actually represent a pretty good price/value ratio at the moment.

Of course this is all just my opinion.

And BillyIII, thanks for your detailed response, I am glad you shared your thought processes as you began and then refined your search. It sounds a lot like mine - I discovered that Asian 1970's trawlers were in my price range, then learned about all the problems (leaking teak decks, fuel tank problems, etc.), and gradually worked my way around to the GulfStar trawlers. I suspect I will have more questions for you over the coming weeks/months - thanks in advance as I come up to speed!

Cheers
-Kent
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Old 06-09-2014, 07:48 AM   #8
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I have a 36 Mk1, but many of it's features are shared in the larger boats. I can get to the outboard side of each engine with a little patience and some wiggling. Once there, there is plenty of room to work. It's best to have a helper standing by for the tools you forget to take with you. Standing in the bilge to work on the inboard side of each engine is a pleasure. I like the FRP fuel and water tanks, and have not had any issues with them. I have a space forward of the starboard engine for the batteries. 6 6v golf cart batts for the house, 2 1000 amp starting batts for the engines. Lots of room there, and an access panel in the deck right above it for inspection/servicing. The down side is that we have a forward-starboard list when fully fueled. I plan to add ballast under the port berth to compensate.

We like the large stateroom with single berths. Much more comfortable for us than those so called "doubles". We bought new memory foam mattresses from Sam's club that are fantastic! Only about $125 each. The head is fine, with it's separate stand up shower. I removed the marine head and holding tank, and replaced it with an RV style gravity toilet that sits atop a 30 gallon tank. No through hulls, and totally simple. Uses about a pint of fresh water each flush, and has been bullet-proof so far.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I like that no other boat in our marina looks like ours. One quirk of our boat is that both transmissions turn counter-clockwise. I have not noticed any handling problems underway. We have significant prop walk to starboard when in reverse. I use it to my advantage when docking. It is what it is.

We bought our boat for a song after it sat for 3 years. It needed some work, but most of it was cosmetic upgrades, with some deck delamination on the fly bridge to fix. Nothing beyond the level of a good handy man with knowledge gleaned from forums like this one. I think many of the Gulfstars available are under-valued and a great bargain. The more repair skills you have or are willing to learn, the more boat you can get for your money.

Good luck in your quest!
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Old 06-09-2014, 08:52 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bilgewater View Post
I have a 36 Mk1, but many of it's features are shared in the larger boats... Good luck in your quest!
Bilgewater, thank you so much for your detailed response. All very useful tips and info. We are going to see our first GS in person on Wednesday, and can't wait!

Cheers
-Kent
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Old 06-09-2014, 09:26 AM   #10
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Bilgewater, like you I happen to agree about the looks of the Gulfstar. They are unique looking vessels and look nothing like any of the other trawlers on the market. I believe they have timeless styling be it the 36 or 43 Mark I or II models. The 36 gives you alot of boat for the money. Like you I am adding a house battery bank, pure sine wave inverter/ charger and some serious alternative charging solar and wind. I'm removing the front head and that will become a utility wash room a Splendid washer/ dryer combo unit will sit where the current head resides. I'm installing a split heat pump for cooling and heating the vessel. The AC and DC wiring will be upgraded and I'm adding a 2nd 30 amp power circuit and upgraded AC panel to accomidate the additional loads and circuits. A pair of DC breaker panels will compliment the inverter/ house battery bank.
For my head I have chosen the Raritan Marine Elegance it uses little in the way of fresh water.
I'll document the upgrades and post them here on the TF under Gulfstars.
Right now I'm getting the basic upgrades done to be able to safely move the boat from Maryland to the Jersey shore.
Kent, keep us updated as you look at various GS 43 Mark I or II's. The 43's seem to be easier to find than the 36 Mark I or II's.
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Old 06-09-2014, 10:09 AM   #11
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Here's some info from the Gulfstar Owners Association group on facebook. Mostly sail people there, but a few of us trawler types. Some good reference files for engines there as well.
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Old 06-13-2014, 01:58 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bilgewater View Post
I have a 36 Mk1, but many of it's features are shared in the larger boats. I can get to the outboard side of each engine with a little patience and some wiggling. Once there, there is plenty of room to work. It's best to have a helper standing by for the tools you forget to take with you. Standing in the bilge to work on the inboard side of each engine is a pleasure. I like the FRP fuel and water tanks, and have not had any issues with them. I have a space forward of the starboard engine for the batteries. 6 6v golf cart batts for the house, 2 1000 amp starting batts for the engines. Lots of room there, and an access panel in the deck right above it for inspection/servicing. The down side is that we have a forward-starboard list when fully fueled. I plan to add ballast under the port berth to compensate.

We like the large stateroom with single berths. Much more comfortable for us than those so called "doubles". We bought new memory foam mattresses from Sam's club that are fantastic! Only about $125 each. The head is fine, with it's separate stand up shower. I removed the marine head and holding tank, and replaced it with an RV style gravity toilet that sits atop a 30 gallon tank. No through hulls, and totally simple. Uses about a pint of fresh water each flush, and has been bullet-proof so far.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I like that no other boat in our marina looks like ours. One quirk of our boat is that both transmissions turn counter-clockwise. I have not noticed any handling problems underway. We have significant prop walk to starboard when in reverse. I use it to my advantage when docking. It is what it is.

We bought our boat for a song after it sat for 3 years. It needed some work, but most of it was cosmetic upgrades, with some deck delamination on the fly bridge to fix. Nothing beyond the level of a good handy man with knowledge gleaned from forums like this one. I think many of the Gulfstars available are under-valued and a great bargain. The more repair skills you have or are willing to learn, the more boat you can get for your money.

Good luck in your quest!
Where did you locate that battery bank? I'm curious.
Bill
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Old 06-13-2014, 04:31 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Apres Ski View Post
Ok, I guess I have my facts wrong. I've seen so many boat listings on Yachtworld over the past 3 weeks it's all becoming a blur. I must have seen that several current listings are single engine and I just unconsciously extrapolated. Thanks!
Have you found any potential Gulfstar 43 Marki or II's?
There are a few on Yachtworld that look good on the surface.
All are powered by 6-354's Perkins pairs I haven't found a single screw Gulfstar 43 Trawler yet, perhaps your thinking about the Motor Sailors?
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Old 06-16-2014, 02:48 PM   #14
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Have you found any potential Gulfstar 43 Marki or II's?
We are actually doing a survey tomorrow on a private sale GS 43 MK II. And I was completely wrong about the single screw, must have mixed it all up in my head. All GS 43's I have come across are twin screw, so that was my mistake.

Took her for a spin last weekend, she handles pretty well and is fun to drive. Nice layout below. The only downside I can see is the limited headroom - I'm 6'3" and I'm just going to have to get used to that. Otherwise, like you and the other posters on this thread have said, it's a lot of boat for the money.

Cross those fingers for the survey and next time I report back we might be owners!

-Kent
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Old 06-16-2014, 04:27 PM   #15
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Good luck on the survey. Yes I believe these boats give you a good bang for the selling prices lately. I'm pretty excited about my 36 Mark II. I wanted a smaller boat having just sold my Mainship. I can see where if you're 6'3" it might take some getting used to. My wife is 5'2" and I'm 5'10" so no headroom problems for us.

I was pretty sure most if not all 43 Mark I & II's were a pair of 6-354M's. I was actually quite happy when I found out I had the smaller Perkins 4-154m's instead of the 4-236M's.
Again good luck I hope we hear more about the 43 Mark II you are having surveyed.
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Old 06-16-2014, 05:15 PM   #16
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We looked at many GS during our search. One thing on the GS is that the company recommitted to quality in 1979 with the GS 44. You can really see the difference in quality between the MK's and the 44 MY. Too bad our budget could not come to grips with available GS 44's. They are beautiful boats with tons of space and stand up ER's. Full displacement hulls and I feel very sea worthy. I love the lines of the GS 44.
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Old 06-16-2014, 06:26 PM   #17
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The early GS were narrow boats. Newer designs can go to 15' beam giving a lot more interior room
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Old 06-16-2014, 06:51 PM   #18
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The early GS were narrow boats. Newer designs can go to 15' beam giving a lot more interior room
Pretty much like their counterpart sailboat line. I find going from a 40 plus by 13.6" full width salon in my Mainship to the smaller Gulfstar 36 Mark II an easy transition. The boat rolls a bit but not as bad as I thought it might be. I choose my weather and when I choose to boat, otherwise I stay put and we enjoy just being on the water.
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Old 06-16-2014, 07:48 PM   #19
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Bill - The battery bank is directly below the lower helm, forward of the starboard engine. There is 2.5' x 2.5' hatch in the floor that allows access for inspections and servicing. My battery charger and combiner are mounted on the bulkheads near there as well.
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Old 06-16-2014, 08:10 PM   #20
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Kent - We like the 43 and 44 Gulfstars very much. Unfortunately, they were out of our price range. A little extra room in all the right places!
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