Old Woodies Rule | PassageMaker

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Grand Banks 46 Alaskan boat

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by Robert Lane on 23rd, 2012

untold story the cruising is the that can found in older boats for modest decades ago, priced at than $150,000 have the to be for decades as long they continue receive the that has them going years.

PMM them affordable but there nothing secondrate quality-challenged here.These make wonderful yachts and liveaboards, and, time, we review va makes and of these affordable boats.

begin this series with look at classic wood Banks and built by Marine in late 1960s early 1970s.-BillP.

1965,WHEN THE GRAND BANKS INTO THE at Hong and 1973,American launched more 1,400 GB Alaskan yachts.

was meticulously built of by Asian The hulls planked with durable mahogany; frames were a tough hardwood. Finely-fitted richly-hued teak used generously the interior in hand cap rails.

three decades has changed Grand Banks, the material which yachts built. Today, rules with continuing in decorative role.

expert looking a crowded anchorage can tell the between a 1973 woodie a 1993 yacht. The has made major design since Ken drew the for the Grand Banks, 36-footer, in early 1960s.

company gave boats a more inches beam and in the 1980s. Yachts this millennium are glossier, and more but at they are different than first woodies nearly 35 ago.

Regardless age, Grand yachts are comfortable sea much in because of well-deserved reputation quality.

Today, base price a new is $350,000.Taxes commissioning easily push the to $400,000 more.A 42 famous tri-cabin-today a base of about Larger engines, heat and conditioning, and goodies and will kick final price close to

Here s woodies are A 32-footer the teak-and-mahogany today will between $40,000 $60,000 depending condition; when quit building baby yacht few years it was at $200,000.

wood 36 with two two heads, a modestsized will range $60,000 to superb specimens go for The 42 will be from $100,000 $125,000, depending age and

Boost those by 30 50 percent, cover work may be to make woodies near-perfect, they still affordable yachts $150,000 or

American Marine wood 48- 50-foot GBs, They are often on market and are priced the range $200,000/$250,000, well our arbitrary cap Those yachts, however, with the fleet of pilothouse cruisers, the best the market those looking a boat live aboard.

large saloons cockpits, galleys home-sized appliances, pilothouses with berths and and multiple and heads, big GBs Alaskans remain in demand despite their

When American switched to in 1973, perhaps could afford building for a of GBs for the (at 46, 53, and feet) Alaskans. the decision to concentrate the boat which American was best Grand Banks.

the reasons, Marine missed sure bet a big by dropping Alaskan line. picked up style, and Alexander and Fever, among now produce whose styling directly from Alaskans.

The is developing new pilothouse to be the Aleutian. has built model, pictures which may on the s website: Construction has been scheduled the 64- a yacht to cost to $2 because the Marine production in Malaysia Singapore are solid with for new and their line, the Bay.

For most us, it not be affordable boat. those with strict budget, who don want to that much income on boat, the GBs simply the lure the value) the old

Constantly rising for new enhances the of wood too. These yachts sell several times original cost, good ones continue to in value. those willing search diligently, are some buys out

Wait a Wood gets it cracks, rots, it paint and It takes skills to and paint wooden boat, if a is 30 old its is probably Wood boats smell of and mildew, diesel fuel has impregnated planks.


On the hand, advocates wood boats quieter and wood offers insulation. And, an argument the heart, say that is real, and living, muck from bottom of chemist s

True, too.

problems occur a boat been neglected, it has been painted bedded, because leaks have been fixed, its mechanical have not upgraded and because it been ignored.

t mean s a boat.

It take more to paint wood boat to clean polish fiberglass. once a boat has tightly clinging of paint, the hardware deck fittings been bedded, corrosion control been reestablished once the room has brought up snuff, most the problems can damage woodie have brought under

Ignore a yacht for year or and it begin to The gel gloss will colors will chalky, brightwork dry and and the room equipment suffer from lack of It takes lot of to keep fiberglass boat too.

Starting the top, on a GB is first found the plywood to build deckhouse. Water in around eventually causing in the side walls. brow of bridge and seats also common problem

Penetrating rain some rot. the bridge, crew unwittingly it. The boxes on older GBs not ventilated lack the grates found newer yachts. docklines and jackets tossed the seats storage are into corners hold moisture with no to escape, an added for decay.

the Pacific rain drips around poorly-sealed to create projects in side walls. California and owners wash their boats then quickly them-in the of protection the sun-with same ill

Cockpit lazarettes the Classics Europas harbor bugs that rot. Throw wet lines fenders and damp stuff decay will in the base of hatch cover, possibly in planking at transom corners.

owners have overly zealous deck cleaning, coarse sandpaper damaging chemicals often, the planking may worn. But was such wood in first place, chances are it still okay. Thiokol between the plank may gone or If so, may have into the s plywood

Moisture also decay in framing beneath saloon door 32s, in bulwarks on Alaskans, and the point decks change

While the deckhouse is the mahogany is virtually Seldom does surveyor find in underwater and when does appear, may be burn or around a fitting and true rot.

decays, too.

25 years, tanks could ready for On GBs, fuel tanks outboard of shaft logs salt water on the quickly causes (How easy is to Take a pop bottle, off the spot and the large down the Fold it the stuffing and quit about salt on the

Water leaking the deck plates is destructive to top of fuel tank.

The bonding likely is Limber chains are broken the limber plugged with

On some the oldies, chine block framing at chine, where or deadrise meets the of the may pull from planks which it screwed. This one of biggest ticket to fix, Bunker Hill, Los Angeles-area with years experience on boats.

However, adds, the block probably t need for boats cruise peaceful, waters.

Hill chine block can be and felt distortion along line where deadrise turns. inside, it be possible see that couple of planks have away from chine log.

Grand Banks have their engines. Normally, will be 120-hp Ford diesel, although Marine also John Deere Caterpillar engines.

after 30 a yacht may have than 6,000 of running on the That s much for block that run 20,000 with good and upgrades.

are available, it may some determined particularly for systems GB to the block it for marine

American Marine chose to a marine of the Motors Toro diesel, in and V8, turbocharged and aspirated models. was a engine that not well by the industry.

A company called Marine added exhaust manifolds turbochargers (on and began the engines marine use. they performed well, and out a of horsepower for the V6), the Daytona/Toro Flow today are

Parts are available. Period.

a decent comes along beat up, hour Fords Cats, or one of unfortunate Daytona a wise would negotiate price to level that permit installation new engines.

the engines it could time for general revamping the engine and for of the tanks. Big no doubt.)

anyone shopping a woodie to identify BEFORE writing check. The should be minimize the of the by buying boat that had generations loving care, which has brought back life in restoration.

To the best a buyer make some From a hours poking one can always determine a boat a loser, if it be okay. a GB that gut test, then must find surveyors of boats, and best engine before making final commitment. the boat purchased, there be a for talented electricians and

May is proper word. all old Banks yachts wrecks. Many been pampered lightly used.

is one.

s a built in One of last woodies.

27 years s had owners. Spent every night cover, out the rain s so in the Northwest.

Keeper owned by Hostvedt, of Washington, a naval shipyard who now a custom business. He her in house at Bremerton Yacht

A veteran Hostvedt bought GB nearly years ago being boatless a while.

was perfect, says. I owned a foot Monk 30 years I demanded and looked that.

I a lot junk, he of his search for small Grand

He saw newspaper ad the boat, thought it pricey at

But I over and and my fell out I saw He made low-ball offer $50,000, then bought it $60,000. That a little but I t pass the quality. the hull mechanical surveys good. The said the was one the best had seen.

by friends, took a to Bremerton see for

Keeper looks Finding her like stumbling a low and cherry Thunderbird convertible on blocks, cover, in air-conditioned barn in South

Her brightwork flawless. The smooth and is white the hull the famous Banks beige the deck The accent might have sea foam American Marine it generously those early too.

The teak is showing no of wear ill treatment. the fabrics vinyl are clean, and Her owners all been She has compass and depth sounder. there are holes in headliner through wiring once routed. The panel provided the factory instruments (above helm) is territory.

Hostvedt keep it way, carrying hand-held VHF and maybe, portable GPS, fishing trips cruises in Sound. He install a finder, to chances of a salmon.

galley is on the side, opposite helm station. face each aft. Forward the stateroom, Vberths, and small head shower.

The room is and odor The 120-hp Lehman diesel only 3,000 on it; time to modest use, not enough worry about Care is the engine a new system and exchanger.

A is small. will sleep but two best. The is a place to a balmy Taller crew need to to duck stepping through saloon door the cockpit when stepping to the stateroom.

But little boats not wimpy. routinely cruise Inland Passage the Pacific often reaching Alaska. Owners to be wise, to sea conditions might test boat s to fly.

the two us, my and I, is an boat, Hostvedt

Indeed. Keeper an 11 any 1/10 Her owners four gold for giving wise and care for many years.

a Keeper

found his in a That s good place start because owners of boats try sell them retaining a

Regional boating and niche like PassageMaker good sources,

Grand Banks should be They may taken a in trade brokers often where good are hidden, if they not been for sale. and their also should valuable assistance sorting the from the

Another place start is Internet. Many dealers have online and their brokerage on a page.

Yachtworld.com ads for of yachts. will search specific models Grand Banks size, geographic and cost. recent quick produced tips several-dozen wood The listings include photos, full description the vessel of course, name of selling brokerage.

are GB groups around world. They publish newsletters include notices yachts for PMM lists GB owners in each Call.

Build network. Talk owners of GBs and them of search, give your name, ask to it passed to still owners.

Be It may months to THE boat.

Shearer and Carr of Oregon, were in a on Seattle waterfront more a year while they about buying first boat.

nearby was 36-foot GB I said, we get boat it to be like that, remembers.

They to brokers read up buying boats. kept testing mutual reaction the Grand he says, we talked whether we to go Then we that a of sailors on to and that it for

And then couldn t one.

Finally, made an on a 1985 36-footer was listed $130,000. The didn t and they looking.

Eventually, came across Isle, a 1973 Classic The boat been sold, that deal They made offer of and bought

So we this boat, neither of had a how to it or to dock Maureen shared. are impulsive and once had decided wanted it, had to it.

It also apparent it a project a fixer-upper.

were ready, The money didn t on the boat went a rehab for the boat. With there is maintenance, he But that t bother we are

John and keep their in Seattle. a week make the drive from to spend days aboard Isle, working and learning to operate

John talks all kinds people for engine maintenance, repair, and among the He and never stop questions of repairmen, or boat owners. network has great, she

They have spending money,

The engine was a plagued by fuel. They about $10,000 new injectors, engine mounts, heat exchanger, and Racor

They bought electronics, including autopilot, depth and radios. replaced the added a and bigger and new as well a new stove, and electrical panel.

last year boat went a shed a paint some woodwork for replacement refurbishment of bronze through-hull The bill about $30,000.

plan to the exterior themselves, and has already most of interior teak.

at Grand for many apparently didn know that liked to together, so staterooms on 36 and usually had berths on side. Unsatisfactory.

what others done, John Maureen had shipwright enlarge starboard side Visit other and 42 and you see a of similar to the bed arrangement: beds on center line, athwartship, for

(GB folks t that however. The bunks left center of stateroom open access to stairway leading to a through the wall of cabin. That was considered emergency exit the aft

Designers now that cuddling more important a hatch back. Newer have island in the master stateroom. 2000 36 has no through the wall.)

John Maureen have a lot, not what fiberglass boat have cost. believe they still ahead.

know the We know was done, who did and that me feel John explained. we had $130,000 on fiberglass boat would have to live it the it was.

and Maureen budgeting boat They expect every three five years will need spend $5,000 $7,000 on and repair.


Jim is an and designer, owner of Blimp Co. Oregon, which does build He also refurbished a wood 36 Black Opal.

is his boat, and an investment less than he believes has a that is than most GBs on market today.

ve been just about possible with wood GB, told me. think my and design have allowed to get the details farther than owners. This been both and bad.

has replaced window frames decayed flybridge cleats. He repaired worn leaking decks, rusting fuel and added paint and

I ve installed modern replaced almost of the parts except windlass, and a hot furnace.

I also upgraded added lots small things, as a engine room folding mast my covered a shower fan, intermittent windshield wipers, AC and panels, new a new sink with fixtures, and drinking water.

new mattresses, canvas and on and

Restoration of Opal has four years he found boat in Beach, California. owner was and the had not used in years.

She was but had cabin rot deck leaks. course, we naive boat and totally what it eventually mean, recalls.

He on the in California six months then had trucked to for two years of Then they her to for even refurbishing.

Repairing teak decks perhaps the challenge.

American used teak thick, but bronze ring nails (not to attach teak to underlying plywood. the deck the wood were too to stay place. The were only deep, too to hold

While some recommended covering teak, Drew at Landfall in Seattle up with plan that

The solution: all of old caulk, the grooves a fairing and trim Recaulk. Remove plugs, using drill to the nail and a screw extractor pull the Countersink and nails with Plug all the holes.

it sounds a lot work, it Thiele says. cost about but the are better new and great.

One helpful word Thiele: One I ve very successfully the restoration to work the professionals hired. I been able save money doing some the grunt and I learned all details of systems they installed or on.

This me in better position maintain and these things my own the future. ve also the opportunity learn the from some craftsmen.

Thiele I ve gone farther this boat I started to do, have spent money than can sell for. And I ve got a boat for $150,000 that clearly better most of 1980s fiberglass I see sale.

With restoration complete, think the costs will competitive with glass GB, that the and systems identical on boats, and the biggest expenses. Time tell.

Don Do This

listen to Blake. He an experienced salesman on staff of Yachts Northwest Bellingham, Washington. has spent past two restoring a 32-foot GB #16 in 32 line).

early model easily identifiable. Marine was wire life instead of that year. the galley aft near saloon door. 1967, the had teak and the was moved for good.

advice to looking for boats: Buy quality.

Blake a basketcase $15,000. By time his is complete, will have in the

I ve the boat many customers I tell don t a project, a premium the best, says. In if a is not hands-on person doesn t the time skills, I them not buy a but that they do, sure they deep pockets.

who hire for restoration should manage project and control and authority over that is Costs may out of if there no owner

Wood Grand can be yachts, he Absolutely. But t be a hurry. you do one that buy it.

often people to wait think about and then else will it.

Pay thorough out-of-the-water Ask brokers friends to surveyors best for working wood boats. hire an surveyor to out the and other (Some surveyors both.)

Blake his project under cover. asked if moorage should considered mandatory wood yachts.

moorage is he answers. not mandatory.

boat that properly painted sealed can the weather, maintenance efforts costs will greater. Owners wood boats to be in caring them, he You can walk away it. You got to it painted.

s boat a list classic problems, extensive rot the port of the and the It came a Dayton diesel, which replaced with new John engine. (It $15,000.)

He has many custom including Corian a custom in the and deluxe

I bought knowing a was wrong, says. I that maybe d spend to $70,000, after a of work, would be nice 32. as the was dismantled work list particularly as rot was under the and on flybridge.

It really been though. My and clients been having following it.

will be lovely little

Number One of La Fortuna, a Alaskan, has a happy for Dan Ellen Roth their son

They bought five years in Los as a recognizing that had some but falling its styling accommodations.

(Author note: During extremely brief as a broker, I Dan and find the We went Los Angeles for sea and surveys, had a day cruising the Pacific on a sunny day.

worked hard their search a live judging carefully space they need by at many Their persistence patience was

They shipped boat from del Rey Seattle and aboard, even their son born. (They moved backed believing Christopher more space romp without parent hovering

Their Alaskan the first Its first when it documented in U.S. in was Arthur designer of 46 Alaskan. De Fever Grand Banks split after 46-footer was but Grand used his and plans it built 49, 53 55-foot models.)

Alaskans sell for about a little than Dan Ellen paid La Buona

Their boat kept in open moorage, now that live ashore, are thinking finding a space. She suffered some with rot, have been and was have been over the

The Alaskan a large with upholstered around the Step through large door a generous area, which into the Steps down to a stateroom with big bunks to a stateroom forward has a bed). There two heads.

pilothouse is a couple steps from saloon. It a settee watch berth, doors to side decks. wheel is and visibility good.

La Fortuna is warm and boat, something mom s She is a show and needs cosmetic attention. she is and in health, with pair of Ford Lehmans a diesel-fired system. She has Vosper stabilizers.

She is childproof, locks on netting over rails and plastic cover the toddler slipping through passthrough between pilothouse and There are for Christopher the helm in the

Although they ashore, Christopher, asks often they are cruising. And often do.

have had no problems, says. We put 1,500 on the in five we often long cruising leaving on and returning morning.

Five later we very happy our choice. took a of effort find it, we are happy with Buona Fortuna. can t selling and something different.

GB woodies definitely worth look if affordable factor part of search for next cruising

Reprinted with Copyright 2000 Dominion Enterprises www.passagemaker.com

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