Piginwater

Upgrade from Merit 22 to S2 7.9, worth it?

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I'm upgrading my Merit 22. Either to another, much better equipped Merit 22, or to an S2 7.9.

I don't race, I semi-trailer sail, sometimes leaving it at the marina for a month or two. There's usually 2 of us on the boat, and sometimes 2 guests. I'd like to be able to take 3 guests, for a total of 5, but the cockpit on the Merit feels pretty cramped with 5. I'm not sure if the 7.9's cockpit is any bigger.

Is the 7.9 worth the upgrade? Is it even an upgrade? I've always heard they're amazing trailer sailers, but will I not notice it unless I'm racing?

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Yes, the 7.9 is awesome on all fronts.

You'll notice it when you can almost stand in the cabin.  

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I second Cal20’s vote on the 7.9. A good friend owned both a 7.9 and a Merit 25 at the same time, and we raced both of them. I would take the 7.9 for comfort in all cases. The 7.9 was a reasonable cruiser as well, and very happy in all conditions, including severe weather.

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7.9 is a pretty decent all rounder, and if you decide to race it its got a favorable rating. One at our club goes to Fla every winter and they live on it for a month

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7.9  Great boat.  Have a lot of miles on one.  

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Ours 7.9 is #471. Sailing on the bays of the Gulf coast has shown her to be a fine cruiser with a very good turn of speed. Our Santana 20 ( which we sail at our home on Caney Creek Lake in North Louisiana ) is a fine, fun boat to sail. However when we move up to our 7.9, it is a whole new experience. Really like the S2 for all she has to offer. 

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The Merit 22 I'm looking at has a lot of upgrades, seems like it's been very well taken care of, newer sails, etc.

The 7.9 is more money than the Merit, and looks rougher. I'm asking for a bunch of pictures before I drive 3 hours each way to go look at what my gut says is just buying a project. 

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there should be enough 7.9's around in OK shape to not buy a project. Please trust me, unless you have a heated indoor building, and staff , buy a ready to sail boat.

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20 minutes ago, crankcall said:

there should be enough 7.9's around in OK shape to not buy a project. Please trust me, unless you have a heated indoor building, and staff , buy a ready to sail boat.

What he said

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54 minutes ago, Santana20AE said:

What he said

What they said.

We mostly race our 7.9, and figure 1/3 of the value is the hull, 1/3 the sails, and 1/3 the trailer - maybe 5k each - but that's a couple of sets of Doyle Boston sails and a really nice tandem axle trailer. 

If you're not racing or trailering much, your numbers will be different. One thing to check is the mast step at the deck.

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If you look at the 7.9 check the hull well, they are balsa core below the waterline, I have replaced the core in a couple, expensive job.

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Thanks for the advice.

I'm pretty much going with my gut on this one. I have enough projects in my life, I don't want another one. The seller is not very good at answering my questions, and it just looks like a disaster.

S2s, especially the 7.9s, are really hard to find out here on the west coast though. But I just don't feel right about this one.

https://seattle.craigslist.org/kit/boa/d/sailboat-s2/6736010893.html

I did a little digging around and found the original listing from when it was in Alaska, which has more pictures.

https://www.sailboatlistings.com/view/37097

It's filthy, (he claims he's cleaned it up since those pictures), and the hacked in woodburning stove seems like an insurance problem, if not a leak problem. I'm not sure why it has TWO outboard mounting brackets, and what on earth is that white spot by the mast step on the craigslist ad? It looks like a repair to me, a bad one. 

Also having the outboard thrown in there on it's side, exposed to the rain coming in under the cowl, just shows that he's not too enthusiastic about taking care of anything on it.

I'm open to second opinions though.

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even if you spent 5k to ship one cross country from the east, that's probably less than you'd spend in a couple weeks at the "boat repair guy"

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8 hours ago, Piginwater said:

Thanks for the advice.

I'm pretty much going with my gut on this one. I have enough projects in my life, I don't want another one. The seller is not very good at answering my questions, and it just looks like a disaster.

S2s, especially the 7.9s, are really hard to find out here on the west coast though. But I just don't feel right about this one.

https://seattle.craigslist.org/kit/boa/d/sailboat-s2/6736010893.html

I did a little digging around and found the original listing from when it was in Alaska, which has more pictures.

https://www.sailboatlistings.com/view/37097

It's filthy, (he claims he's cleaned it up since those pictures), and the hacked in woodburning stove seems like an insurance problem, if not a leak problem. I'm not sure why it has TWO outboard mounting brackets, and what on earth is that white spot by the mast step on the craigslist ad? It looks like a repair to me, a bad one. 

Also having the outboard thrown in there on it's side, exposed to the rain coming in under the cowl, just shows that he's not too enthusiastic about taking care of anything on it.

I'm open to second opinions though.

The white spot aft of the mast is the cover over the center board trunk. That, at least, is as it should be.

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8 hours ago, Piginwater said:

Thanks for the advice.

I'm pretty much going with my gut on this one. I have enough projects in my life, I don't want another one. The seller is not very good at answering my questions, and it just looks like a disaster.

S2s, especially the 7.9s, are really hard to find out here on the west coast though. But I just don't feel right about this one.

https://seattle.craigslist.org/kit/boa/d/sailboat-s2/6736010893.html

I did a little digging around and found the original listing from when it was in Alaska, which has more pictures.

https://www.sailboatlistings.com/view/37097

It's filthy, (he claims he's cleaned it up since those pictures), and the hacked in woodburning stove seems like an insurance problem, if not a leak problem. I'm not sure why it has TWO outboard mounting brackets, and what on earth is that white spot by the mast step on the craigslist ad? It looks like a repair to me, a bad one. 

Also having the outboard thrown in there on it's side, exposed to the rain coming in under the cowl, just shows that he's not too enthusiastic about taking care of anything on it.

I'm open to second opinions though.

 

"It's filthy!!" is not a good reason to reject a boat. It's not even a good reason to reject going to look at a boat, which is really the only way to tell.

By just one picture, that stove installation doesn't look good, but it doesn't look horrible or obviously stupid, either. Could be. How is the flue pass-thru done? There actually are fittings for this, and they work well...... home-made attempts rarely do. It looks like they put a heat shield on, which is something. I can easily see how having a charcoal furnace in a small boat like that could be great, especially in a damp cool climate (much less Alaska). I'd want proper stowage for the fuel though.

How far of a drive is this boat? The 7.9 is a great boat. The trailer is the most worrying thing I see in the ad photos, and it's not that bad. Go look! CHeck it out thoroughly and since you've already decided you want a 7.9, make up a work list to put -this- boat into the condition you'd want. If nothing else, it's a good exercise

FB- Doug

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I would be worried about burning my nether regions since it looks like you will be sharing the head with the wood stove. On the plus side the mirror is still intact in the FSOR (forward sexual observation room) so named because we could not figure a non sexual reason for having a mirror that can only be used when you're on your hands and knees. 

I concur with others that the 7.9 is a great boat but this one looks like it has a long road back to being in usable shape. The carpet they used for the headliner looks original and probably smells like a cat lady's house by now. We pulled that out and painted pretty early on in owning our 7.9 as it was hard to keep from mildew in a humid environment. 

Good Luck

 

p.s. also being parked next to a mac 26 may have exposed it to some cooties

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The problem I've always had with seeing something really dirty when it's for sale, is that when someone is trying to sell something they try to make it look it's best. If they don't even try to make it look nice on sale day, it shows that they don't care at all about maintenance, and who knows what else.

That's good to know about the centerboard cover at least.

Maybe I'm being too hard on the boat and seller. It's a little more than a 6 hour round trip for me to go look at it.

3 hours ago, DarthSailor said:

p.s. also being parked next to a mac 26 may have exposed it to some cooties

A Mac 26? Is that what that is? I just dismissed it as some sort of power-ish boat.

As for the stove... I don't think I'd be able to get insurance on it. And having the head taken out is a much bigger deal, as most of my guests are women, and they ALL seem to need to use the bathroom long before we get to shore.

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1 hour ago, Piginwater said:

The problem I've always had with seeing something really dirty when it's for sale, is that when someone is trying to sell something they try to make it look it's best. If they don't even try to make it look nice on sale day, it shows that they don't care at all about maintenance, and who knows what else.

That's good to know about the centerboard cover at least.

Maybe I'm being too hard on the boat and seller. It's a little more than a 6 hour round trip for me to go look at it.

A Mac 26? Is that what that is? I just dismissed it as some sort of power-ish boat.

As for the stove... I don't think I'd be able to get insurance on it. And having the head taken out is a much bigger deal, as most of my guests are women, and they ALL seem to need to use the bathroom long before we get to shore.

If you definitely want a 7.9, it might be worth a look. The original head is just a porta potti in that space, no plumbing, so no big deal. I don't see any show stoppers in the photos, but it obviously needs a lot of elbow grease and is certain to have some gotchas and project creep. We bought ours to cruise because it's trailer-able, very well built, sails beautifully, and has a big comfortable cockpit and v berth. Got it in mint condition from a retired NASA engineer. Of course we've raced the piss out of it for five years and haven't cruised it yet.

Here is what I see in the ads: Trailer, hull, spars ok. Deck hardware original, maybe/probably ok for cruising. Running rigging needs to be replaced. I would plan on a new outboard, but the boat sails so amazingly well it's not a critical item. Rip out the stove.

At $5k, the sails could make or break the deal. 

All depends on how bad you want a 7.9

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2 minutes ago, mookiesurfs said:

If you definitely want a 7.9, it might be worth a look. The original head is just a porta potti in that space, no plumbing, so no big deal. I don't see any show stoppers in the photos, but it obviously needs a lot of elbow grease and is certain to have some gotchas and project creep. We bought ours to cruise because it's trailer-able, very well built, sails beautifully, and has a big comfortable cockpit and v berth. Got it in mint condition from a retired NASA engineer. Of course we've raced the piss out of it for five years and haven't cruised it yet.

Here is what I see in the ads: Trailer, hull, spars ok. Deck hardware original, maybe/probably ok for cruising. Running rigging needs to be replaced. I would plan on a new outboard, but the boat sails so amazingly well it's not a critical item. Rip out the stove.

At $5k, the sails could make or break the deal. 

All depends on how bad you want a 7.9

How big is your cockpit? Can you fit 5 in it? Would you be able to measure it? I could mention to all female guests in the future that "mookiesurfs" was the one that let you sit there.

I got a reply from him.

It comes with a main, 2 jibs and a genoa. He says they've been stored inside and are good.

He also says that the second motor mount was for a spare motor. Sounds like they didn't trust the evinrude.

I was thinking of offering him $4,000 for it, I suppose I could do the glass work to fill in the hole for the stove, maybe the stove is worth something on Ebay.

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2 hours ago, Piginwater said:

., as most of my guests are women, and they ALL seem to need to use the bathroom long before we get to shore.

teach them the aquadump, portapottis fill up fast

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2 minutes ago, Piginwater said:

How big is your cockpit? Can you fit 5 in it? Would you be able to measure it? I could mention to all female guests in the future that "mookiesurfs" was the one that let you sit there.

I got a reply from him.

It comes with a main, 2 jibs and a genoa. He says they've been stored inside and are good.

He also says that the second motor mount was for a spare motor. Sounds like they didn't trust the evinrude.

I was thinking of offering him $4,000 for it, I suppose I could do the glass work to fill in the hole for the stove, maybe the stove is worth something on Ebay.

So you've been to see it, in person?

If you really really hate the stove, it may not be worth taking for free. Needs a head, needs sails and rigging, needs the 2d motor mount taken off and a reliable motor purchased.

Wait, the sails? You're taking the word of a guy who couldn't be bothered cleaning it up to sell, and needs two motor mounts? I friggin hate small outboard motors, they are truly the curse of Satan, and -I- can keep one working reliably..... partly thru the motivation of having had to paddle home too many times.

You already know it needs a heck of a lot of work, and is sitting on a rusty beater of a trailer. Unless you really can't afford anything better, pass. A nice one is going to run closer to $10k, but your time & heartache is worth a lot..... well really that's your own call to make, but it sounds like the way to go.

FB- Doug

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17 hours ago, Piginwater said:

Thanks for the advice.

I'm pretty much going with my gut on this one. I have enough projects in my life, I don't want another one. The seller is not very good at answering my questions, and it just looks like a disaster.

S2s, especially the 7.9s, are really hard to find out here on the west coast though. But I just don't feel right about this one.

https://seattle.craigslist.org/kit/boa/d/sailboat-s2/6736010893.html

I did a little digging around and found the original listing from when it was in Alaska, which has more pictures.

https://www.sailboatlistings.com/view/37097

It's filthy, (he claims he's cleaned it up since those pictures), and the hacked in woodburning stove seems like an insurance problem, if not a leak problem. I'm not sure why it has TWO outboard mounting brackets, and what on earth is that white spot by the mast step on the craigslist ad? It looks like a repair to me, a bad one. 

Also having the outboard thrown in there on it's side, exposed to the rain coming in under the cowl, just shows that he's not too enthusiastic about taking care of anything on it.

I'm open to second opinions though.

That's not a white thing - it's a rectangular piece of HDPE that covers half of the centerboard cavity.

Here are some other problems I see after having repaired a couple of them (and owned one for more than a decade).  The interior picture of the port chainplate shows significant water / mold marking on the carpet.  That means that you've got a water problem in the deck there.  In addition, it means that the same can be said on the right side of the boat and that's a problem.  The top of the bulkhead plywood was not sealed from the manufacturer, and it's likely the plywood (the back wall of the bathroom) has completely rotted and is unsafe to sail without being replaced.  This isn't a horrible expensive fix - it's a couple boat bux for the teak plywood.  It's a bit of work to put it in.  But I"d be just as worried about the deck on both sides of the boat.

If the mast has been stored like in the pictures, you will probably need new spreaders.  They're not horribly expensive, but water gets in them and freezes and splits and deforms them when they are stored tip down.  

They have the mast sitting on the bow tang.  That's just..... sheesh..

If you ever wanted to race that thing though - it's not worth it.  There's easily another 7-10k in equipment needed to make it competitive.

I have a pristine one for sale in Michigan for $15k though.... =).

 

 

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15 minutes ago, Steam Flyer said:

So you've been to see it, in person?

If you really really hate the stove, it may not be worth taking for free. Needs a head, needs sails and rigging, needs the 2d motor mount taken off and a reliable motor purchased.

Wait, the sails? You're taking the word of a guy who couldn't be bothered cleaning it up to sell, and needs two motor mounts? I friggin hate small outboard motors, they are truly the curse of Satan, and -I- can keep one working reliably..... partly thru the motivation of having had to paddle home too many times.

You already know it needs a heck of a lot of work, and is sitting on a rusty beater of a trailer. Unless you really can't afford anything better, pass. A nice one is going to run closer to $10k, but your time & heartache is worth a lot..... well really that's your own call to make, but it sounds like the way to go.

FB- Doug

No, I mean I was thinking after an inspection, that I could possibly offer $4,000. I can't see offering more than that based on just what I see in the pictures, anything else would probably just make me walk away. I'm not real excited about a 6+ hour trip to go look at this thing based on the pictures.

I'm still sitting on the side of just upgrading my Merit, and waiting for a better 7.9, even if I have to make a future trip to get it.

Cash is a big deal to me, and I'd rather not throw it away on a money pit. I mean more of one than any other boat is.

 

8 minutes ago, Grrr... said:

That's not a white thing - it's a rectangular piece of HDPE that covers half of the centerboard cavity.

Here are some other problems I see after having repaired a couple of them (and owned one for more than a decade).  The interior picture of the port chainplate shows significant water / mold marking on the carpet.  That means that you've got a water problem in the deck there.  In addition, it means that the same can be said on the right side of the boat and that's a problem.  The top of the bulkhead plywood was not sealed from the manufacturer, and it's likely the plywood (the back wall of the bathroom) has completely rotted and is unsafe to sale without being replaced.

If the mast has been stored like in the pictures, you will probably need new spreaders.  They're not horribly expensive, but water gets in them and freezes and splits and deforms them when they are stored tip down.  

They have the mast sitting on the bow tang.  I can't tell if it's where the mainsail slot starts or not.  That's just wrong.

 

 

Thanks for pointing those out. Plus that ad from Alaska is about 5 years old. I'd imagine things have gotten worse since then.

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Cash is kind of a big deal to me, too. However, one extremely relevant point about boats is that the skill to fix them up, once they've fallen victim to entropy and stupidity, is a high level of skill even if it's not one that is highly rewarded in the labor market. The reason for this is that fixing up boats will almost always absorb more cost than you'll ever get back from a sale.

A 6 hour drive just to take a look is daunting, I didn't realize it was that far. I've taken long boat-looking trips myself, but been able to work in a family visit and a nice outing; and you -must- approach it with the attitude that you will probably not make an offer. Otherwise stuff follows you home.

It's a bummer to look at what's on the market, sometimes.

FB- Doug

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If the boat was in Michigan, I would buy it.  There is knowledge here on these boats and you have the Boston boys to get you up to speed.  Eric S was a colleague in his later life and there was never a better person.  I'd be very proud to own a boat with his name.   

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Just now, Steam Flyer said:

Cash is kind of a big deal to me, too. However, one extremely relevant point about boats is that the skill to fix them up, once they've fallen victim to entropy and stupidity, is a high level of skill even if it's not one that is highly rewarded in the labor market. The reason for this is that fixing up boats will almost always absorb more cost than you'll ever get back from a sale.

A 6 hour drive just to take a look is daunting, I didn't realize it was that far. I've taken long boat-looking trips myself, but been able to work in a family visit and a nice outing; and you -must- approach it with the attitude that you will probably not make an offer. Otherwise stuff follows you home.

It's a bummer to look at what's on the market, sometimes.

FB- Doug

That's pretty much my thinking.

I've bought and sold a lot of stuff over the years, and I've tried to approach it with two things in mind:

Nearly everything the seller says could be a lie, even if not malicious

Make up my mind what I'm willing to pay at MOST, before I even go.

This Merit 22 upgrade on the other hand, the guy has been helping me with advice on parts for my boat for months, has been genuinely helpful, may possibly deliver it, and has given me 50~ pictures of the thing. It has a LOT of stuff my boat doesn't have. Like, a working traveler for one thing. I'll still go look at it before agreeing to it, but my gut is happier.

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Just for comparison, here's some the things the Merit 22 has that mine doesn't

  • Nice trailer with actual trailer brakes (single axle, mine isn't required to have them, I want them)
  • Much better sails
  • Mid cockpit traveler
  • companionway winches
  • clutches
  • Lines leading aft
  • better jib/genoa/spinnaker car system
  • interior cushions recently covered. (one of mine was recovered upside down, and I'm not a fan of any of mine)
  • All the electrical works correctly
  • newish outboard with charging system
  • Better outboard mount
  • tongue extension on the trailer (not necessary, but I like it)
  • better mast hauling and raising setup
  • Working instruments, Depth sounder, knotmeter
  • Lazyjacks
  • Swim platform

All of that is stuff I can do on my boat. Even the cheap stuff takes a lot of time though. I'd rather buy something that someone else has already done the work on. 

 

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And when all is saiid and done, it's still a Merit 22.  I'm the worst, the last sails I've had include sleds and high performance multihulls.  My best bang for a buck, Catalina 30.  Prep the bottom and a few new sails and you will not lose a race.  

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1 hour ago, Piginwater said:

That's pretty much my thinking.

I've bought and sold a lot of stuff over the years, and I've tried to approach it with two things in mind:

Nearly everything the seller says could be a lie, even if not malicious

Make up my mind what I'm willing to pay at MOST, before I even go.

This Merit 22 upgrade on the other hand, the guy has been helping me with advice on parts for my boat for months, has been genuinely helpful, may possibly deliver it, and has given me 50~ pictures of the thing. It has a LOT of stuff my boat doesn't have. Like, a working traveler for one thing. I'll still go look at it before agreeing to it, but my gut is happier.

You sound far too rational to even buy a boat in the first place

;)

OTOH I'm not crazy about the Merit 22 as a boat. Did you follow the thread on SA'er Tempest when he was boat-shopping for similar?

http://forums.sailinganarchy.com/index.php?/topic/181707-went-to-look-at-a-catalina-22/

He ended up with an Ericson 23 which is quite a nice little boat, is rebuilding it fairly extensively.

FB- Doug

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Having actually owned a 7.9 I can vouch as many others here already have that is a nice, well built boat that would well suit your stated needs.  That said as you have surmised the one listed looks less than pristine/project boat, etc.  I think your assessment of if it looks pretty bad visually it is probably a pretty good clue as to what type of care it has had.  My personal bias too is when owners make "enhancements" to the boat such as adding a wood stove.  If a person lived in Alaska then they should purchase a boat suitable for that purpose but again I tend to be a bit of a purist in that respect.

The other Merit 22 sounds nicer than yours but as others have mentioned the 7.9 would be a nice step up lengthwise/build quality/performance, etc.  That said everyone operates on a budget and if a nice 7.9 is not in your budget (read 10-15kish) plus the drive to where most are located (East of the Mississippi) then perhaps the nicer Merit 22 makes more sense. If you want a boat you might be happy with for a longer period of time though, my suggestion would be to save for the 7.9 and purchase it down the road.  My only other caveat is that the tow vehicle needed for the 7.9 is going to be much bigger than for the merit 22 capacity wise.  All up with a galvanized trailer 6k tow capacity for the 7.9 would not be excessive. 

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Lots of good advice above - and a lot more if you read around the 7.9 class page.  (I have hull number 445) 

Seriously, read it carefully. 

In general, I'd say that a ready-to-sail/race boat at  $15 to 20 K (with good trailer and sails) 

is a WAAAAAAAyY better deal than a $ 5K boat with issues. 

You don't believe me now, but someday you will, and for a long time (Cue Bogie) 

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Find someone close to the boat to visit and kick the tires, so to speak. Not a full survey mind you, but 30 minutes with tapping with a small hammer or moisture meter can provide valuable intel on these issues  

Wet core around shrouds and deck / track fittings, mast step & transom (especially with 2 motor mounts) could be issues. 

Also check the bulkhead in the head (pull chainplate and assess condition of bulkhead) someone else commented on moldy smell in the interior carpet being a bad sign. 

In in spite of all the doom & gloom, the 7.9 is a great but aging boat. I’ve raced em since the mid 80’s. Currenty on hull #413. 

Remember, we are talking about a boat that is 30-35 years old. There are still good ones out there, but many are wet and tired. 

Remember, YMMV

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3 hours ago, AJ Oliver said:

Lots of good advice above - and a lot more if you read around the 7.9 class page.  (I have hull number 445) 

Seriously, read it carefully. 

In general, I'd say that a ready-to-sail/race boat at  $15 to 20 K (with good trailer and sails) 

is a WAAAAAAAyY better deal than a $ 5K boat with issues. 

You don't believe me now, but someday you will, and for a long time (Cue Bogie) 

I'm really appreciating the advice. 

I already know that cheap is often more expensive than otherwise. I've been there, done that. 

I'm looking for a good deal, not a "good deal" that's just a project.

7 hours ago, @last said:

Having actually owned a 7.9 I can vouch as many others here already have that is a nice, well built boat that would well suit your stated needs.  That said as you have surmised the one listed looks less than pristine/project boat, etc.  I think your assessment of if it looks pretty bad visually it is probably a pretty good clue as to what type of care it has had.  My personal bias too is when owners make "enhancements" to the boat such as adding a wood stove.  If a person lived in Alaska then they should purchase a boat suitable for that purpose but again I tend to be a bit of a purist in that respect.

The other Merit 22 sounds nicer than yours but as others have mentioned the 7.9 would be a nice step up lengthwise/build quality/performance, etc.  That said everyone operates on a budget and if a nice 7.9 is not in your budget (read 10-15kish) plus the drive to where most are located (East of the Mississippi) then perhaps the nicer Merit 22 makes more sense. If you want a boat you might be happy with for a longer period of time though, my suggestion would be to save for the 7.9 and purchase it down the road.  My only other caveat is that the tow vehicle needed for the 7.9 is going to be much bigger than for the merit 22 capacity wise.  All up with a galvanized trailer 6k tow capacity for the 7.9 would not be excessive. 

Towing capacity is one thing I'm not too concerned about. I've got an older 70s 3/4 ton Ford with a 460, I've pulled heavy loads before. And I pay for it in 10MPG, load or no load.

I should explain what my desired use for the boat is.

  • Easily trailered and rigged with 2 people
  • No racing
  • Fast and fun, daysailer-ish, entertaining guests, with possible weekend camping
  • Nimble enough that it will teach me when I'm making mistakes, but stable enough not to punish me too harshly.

I'm determined to stay trailerable until I decide to go big enough to do some serious cruising. I like being able to pull it out in the winter, do any touch up that I need to, and be able to move it up back and forth from the Puget Sound to the Columbia.

I really think the 7.9 would fit those really well, I like the increase in size, but I just don't think this is the one for me.

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So on a funny note, I showed this thread to my girl. First thing she said was:

"oh those guys are so nice! It's great that they're so helpful!"

I muttered something under my breath about how looks can be deceiving. Right now she thinks you're all little angels.

I hadn't shown her the S2 yet. The second thing she said when she saw it was:

"Oh how CUTE!!! IT HAS A STOVE! SO COZY!!!!"

And here I thought a head, even just a portapotti head as long as it had a curtain, would be a winner.

It didn't change my mind, but it did make me laugh. No one give her any ideas about me stuffing a stove in our Merit.

 

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You need to go look at the boat to see for yourself. Make a trip out of it and see some new sights. And lots of boats have heaters like that and they are insured.

 

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I was looking at the 7.9s when I bought my Ericson 23.  To be honest, I wish I had bought the 7.9 as the 23' is a little cramped.  One of the things that initially turned me off of the 7.9 was people saying there was a significant difference in mast weight so trying to hoist it yourself may not be doable.  I can get the mast up on my 23 by myself but it's a little sketchy.  Not too bad if I go slow but not as stable as I would like.

The other thing is that if I had a 25' I'd probably be more likely to go on longer trips as the inside would be more comfortable for riding out fowl weather.

The last reason I didn't buy a 7.9 was price.  Most of the 7.9s I found were $10k.... some were even $10k not including the trailer which was supremely irritating.

I haven't personally been in a 7.9 but they look great and, if I could do it all over again, I'd wait it out and try to find a deal on a 7.9.  That said, I'd stay away from the 7.9 Grand Slam as they are balsa cored (yuck).

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4 minutes ago, Tempest said:

I was looking at the 7.9s when I bought my Ericson 23.  To be honest, I wish I had bought the 7.9 as the 23' is a little cramped.  One of the things that initially turned me off of the 7.9 was people saying there was a significant difference in mast weight so trying to hoist it yourself may not be doable.  I can get the mast up on my 23 by myself but it's a little sketchy.  Not too bad if I go slow but not as stable as I would like.

The other thing is that if I had a 25' I'd probably be more likely to go on longer trips as the inside would be more comfortable for riding out fowl weather.

The last reason I didn't buy a 7.9 was price.  Most of the 7.9s I found were $10k.... some were even $10k not including the trailer which was supremely irritating.

I haven't personally been in a 7.9 but they look great and, if I could do it all over again, I'd wait it out and try to find a deal on a 7.9.  That said, I'd stay away from the 7.9 Grand Slam as they are balsa cored (yuck).

I had been perusing your thread the other day, you went through a lot of work!

I had initially wanted to wait for a 7.9 before I ever bought my current boat. Then I realized that if I waited for something in my price range, not a project, and on roughly the western half of the country, I'd be waiting years. And years. So I bought my little Merit 22 and I've really had a blast on it with the girl.

I just found the cockpit measurement on the 7.9 class page. 8 feet. Eight. Feet!! I'm at 6'5" right now on my Merit. An extra foot and a half of room would be bliss for guests. I get REALLY sick of banging knees with the tiller. And I'd love the extra room below.

What year did they stop putting balsa core in them?

I'll probably trade up to the better Merit, then wait a year or two for a better 7.9 to come along, add a little more cash to the boat piggy bank, and start looking again.

The girl might possibly want to do a road trip this weekend to go look at that 7.9 though. We'll see.

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4 hours ago, Piginwater said:

I had been perusing your thread the other day, you went through a lot of work!

I had initially wanted to wait for a 7.9 before I ever bought my current boat. Then I realized that if I waited for something in my price range, not a project, and on roughly the western half of the country, I'd be waiting years. And years. So I bought my little Merit 22 and I've really had a blast on it with the girl.

I just found the cockpit measurement on the 7.9 class page. 8 feet. Eight. Feet!! I'm at 6'5" right now on my Merit. An extra foot and a half of room would be bliss for guests. I get REALLY sick of banging knees with the tiller. And I'd love the extra room below.

What year did they stop putting balsa core in them?

I'll probably trade up to the better Merit, then wait a year or two for a better 7.9 to come along, add a little more cash to the boat piggy bank, and start looking again.

The girl might possibly want to do a road trip this weekend to go look at that 7.9 though. We'll see.

They never stopped putting balsa core in the 7.9's.  I'm not sure why that would turn people off to the boat though.  It's a pretty common practice accross the sailing industry.  J-24's, J-35's, etc.

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Solid advice above.

I put the mast up myself, easily. You need to rig a gin pole, halyards to bridles on the rail, and then crank it up with a winch. Not hard, but rigging from scratch and unrigging by yourself for a daysail is doable but a lot of work. Figure less than an hour to rig with someone helping who has done it before, and two hours to do it by yourself. Same to unrig.

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1 hour ago, mookiesurfs said:

Solid advice above.

I put the mast up myself, easily. You need to rig a gin pole, halyards to bridles on the rail, and then crank it up with a winch. Not hard, but rigging from scratch and unrigging by yourself for a daysail is doable but a lot of work. Figure less than an hour to rig with someone helping who has done it before, and two hours to do it by yourself. Same to unrig.

That's about what it takes me right now, with the girl but no gin pole. 

I do it the same as my Hobie 16, I rig a line to the end of the halyard, throw that to her, have her stand at the front of the truck and pull to stabilize while I walk the mast up. Then I have her hold tension on while I hook up the forestay.

I'm sure with the bigger and taller mast on a 7.9 I'd have to rig a gin pole.

We really liked the marina over dry sailing this summer, but I still like the flexibility of a trailer.

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The 7.9 is quite comfortable for two people on a cruise, and the cockpit is plenty big enough for four.  

If you just want to day sail and cruise, you might look around for one with roller furling. 

Areas of wet core to look for include chain plates, cockpit winches, stanchions near cockpit, mast step, transom (again, see class page for more on this) 

These can add up fast if you cannot do it yourself -  $ 3 K for mast step, and at least $ 700 per sq foot elsewhere. 

The VERY good news is that there is no interior liner, and you can do most of it from the inside. 

Great boat to sail - so much fun to blast by much bigger boats. 

Stepping and unstepping the mast every time you sail I don't think is workable. 

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I own a 7.9 and really love the boat. It does everything really well including cruising for two plus our golden retriever.

I have seen the ad for the Alaska boat and I would run, not walk away. It has looked as it does for literally years.  I'd bet serious money there's lots of soggy balsa coring and with Alaska's freeze and thaw cycles there will be some serious issues. S2 also built a 6.9 and 6.7.  Both dagger board boats.  One, the 6.9 has some cruising amenities while the 6.7 more of a day sailor with a huge cockpit. The 6.7 rates 195 in PHRF which is good for a 22 foot boat. Somewhat faster than your Merit 22.  A well maintained S2 is a rock solid boat. Availability might be an issue for you.  Good luck !!  

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A few more thoughts.  The mast is easily raised when the system posted on the class website is utilized.  It involves purchasing a few items (turnbuckles, carabiners, etc), not terribly expensive, I think I bought what I needed from home depot for less than $100.  The actual raising can be done by one person using the primary winch and the spin pole going forward acting as a lever arm to raise the mast.  Block and tackle at end of spin pole can be provided by main sheet but it needs to be extra long.  From memory I think the normal main sheet is around 60 ft and I think I had to make it to around 100ft to accommodate the extra distance needed from end of spin pole to head stay fitting area when spin pole was in "up" position and mast was in down position.  There is a half round shoe on the base of the mast and that makes the raising itself go fairly easily.  It does help to have at least two people, preferably three to move the mast into place, pin the shoe, etc.  Although the mast is moderately long the mast section is not excessive so the overall weight is not too bad. Do take your time when doing this, the first go round I did this I was rushing a bit and discovered that the deck organizer makes a nice knife able to cut through the cover of the main halyard that is being used to support the mast while raising (forgot to lead halyard through mast base block first before leading it to organizer-luckily was able to get it down before more mayhem ensued and learned lesson not to rush).

With respect to cockpit size it is nice and long.  A few caveats though, the seats are not super wide, the backrests are not super high and the cockpit seats are broken up a bit by the main traveler which is roughly mid cockpit.  I am 6'1" though and it is plenty long.  On the plus side too by being mid cockpit the main sheet is in easy reach of the helmsman.  

The class experts can chime in here but I think somewhere between 300 and 400ish series boat the change was made to vinylester resin, an improvement for blistering.

The separate private head is a huge plus, on the flip side it can be a little challenging to get into the V berth due to the dagger board trunk being in the way.  There is a nicely engineered drop leaf table that fits into the V berth when not in use, main cabin when in use.  A factory option was a cabinet above the galley area for extra storage, a nice plus but pretty rare as most boats were ordered without.  The boat was very nicely engineered, not surprising given who penned the lines.  Things like there is about a 15 degree cant to the deck in the cockpit area such then when the boat is healed over and you are sitting on those decks, they are now level.

With respect to the well used boat you are looking at I agree with others that I would pass on it for purchase.  That said, this is likely the closest 7.9 you will ever be to  geographically, so could make sense to take a look just to see what a 7.9 looks like in person.  I had something similar, there was a boat I was interested in that geographically could typically be found 1400 miles (one way) away from me.  Luckily one came up for sale about 3 hrs (one way) away from me about 2 years ago.  So I went to look and although I did not end up buying that particular boat, I did like it well enough to pursue a nicer/much newer version that was 1400 miles away and purchased.

Long story short, they are great boats and I doubt you would be disappointed if you decided to get one whether it be now or later.  I know I owned mine for 7 years and always thought it a great boat both then and now.

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12 hours ago, Grrr... said:

They never stopped putting balsa core in the 7.9's.  I'm not sure why that would turn people off to the boat though.  It's a pretty common practice accross the sailing industry.  J-24's, J-35's, etc. 

 

Balsa core is great stuff. The problem comes in when either there is some damage or perhaps a piece of hardware is screwed into it, and then water starts getting in. Another scenario is that maintenance falls behind. Fittings are not rebedded, etc etc. Then there is improper or sloppy building, which where you want an S2 not a J.

It's true that over a long time, it's almost guaranteed that somehow, some way (or several ways), water gets in and the core starts turning to mush. The good thing about balsa core, the mush spreads slower than other types of cores.

I would bet on almost ANY ~30 year old boat, the core is either redone or needs to be. It's not a deal killer. Just factor in the pain in the ass into the price.

FB- Doug

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31 minutes ago, Steam Flyer said:

 

Balsa core is great stuff. The problem comes in when either there is some damage or perhaps a piece of hardware is screwed into it, and then water starts getting in. Another scenario is that maintenance falls behind. Fittings are not rebedded, etc etc. Then there is improper or sloppy building, which where you want an S2 not a J.

It's true that over a long time, it's almost guaranteed that somehow, some way (or several ways), water gets in and the core starts turning to mush. The good thing about balsa core, the mush spreads slower than other types of cores.

I would bet on almost ANY ~30 year old boat, the core is either redone or needs to be. It's not a deal killer. Just factor in the pain in the ass into the price.

FB- Doug

Absolutely.  We all wish that the manufacturers took the time to dip each small block of balsa into epoxy before laying it in, so that any leak would only ruin a very small piece of the deck.  But we have to face facts that it isn't the way that it is done.

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21 hours ago, mookiesurfs said:

Solid advice above.

I put the mast up myself, easily. You need to rig a gin pole, halyards to bridles on the rail, and then crank it up with a winch. Not hard, but rigging from scratch and unrigging by yourself for a daysail is doable but a lot of work. Figure less than an hour to rig with someone helping who has done it before, and two hours to do it by yourself. Same to unrig.

A gin pole makes stepping the S2’s mast easier than stepping ( and running ) the mast on our Santana 20. The swept back spreaders are the key. 

Still stepping masts and rigging a boat as complicated as the S2or the Santana 20 is a task that takes time and effort. For best results, finding a location where you can store your boat fully rigged is a Godsend. 

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14 hours ago, Grrr... said:

Absolutely.  We all wish that the manufacturers took the time to dip each small block of balsa into epoxy before laying it in, so that any leak would only ruin a very small piece of the deck.  But we have to face facts that it isn't the way that it is done.

That'd be nice but the end grain and the ease of good bond is the real plus. Many foam cores just unzip once they start getting wet, most especially in a freeze/thaw cycle. And non-end-grain wood just wicks moisture thru the whole structure.

The problems with builders are either improper layup in the first place..... happens, although boats regarded as well-built have fewer problems like this. Nothing's perfect, and if it was, we couldn't afford it! Or when they just run core all thru the deck (or whatever other structure) then mount hardware by just drilling & bolting it.

Cored structures are awesome. It's really difficult and much more expensive to get the same strength and rigidity for the same weight in any other kind of structure. It's faults are IMHO just in the nature of being a boat. It's made out to be much more of a bugaboo than is worth (again IMHO).

Now mast raising/lowering..... there's an issue, by golly!

FB- Doug

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2 hours ago, Steam Flyer said:

Cored structures are awesome. It's really difficult and much more expensive to get the same strength and rigidity for the same weight in any other kind of structure. It's faults are IMHO just in the nature of being a boat. It's made out to be much more of a bugaboo than is worth (again IMHO).

Now mast raising/lowering..... there's an issue, by golly!

FB- Doug

I've read both sides of the core issue extensively over the years, with some people absolutely refusing to buy any boat that isn't solid layup, then finding out their boat is cored. 

In the end I came to the conclusion of basically what you said. Core built boats are fine, as long as they're done properly, and any holes are properly sealed.

Teak decks on the other hand... (cue can opener sound)

Last year we trailer sailed only. It was fun, we really enjoyed it, but the girl works a stressful job and was starting to really dread going out and spending hours setting up and taking down the mast each time we went. We only went if it was an all day affair, and not as relaxing as she hoped.

This year we got ourselves a slip for most of the summer. She loved it. She often wanted to stop by the marina just to take a nap on the boat. I've already reserved a slip again for next year.

But being able to bring the boat home, not pay the slip fee for 6 months out of the year, and most importantly have the boat at my shop, is awesome. Being able to do things like make new drop boards, a new tiller, re-wire the boat, without having to drive 45 minutes EACH way, is worth the hassle of the mast to me.

This spring I made new drop boards. Then found out there was some inconsistencies in the drop board slot. I had to hand fit each one, it took me 8 tries. I was so glad I didn't have to drive back and forth to do it.

Eventually I want to go up to a 30+ footer. I'll have to face the maintenance inconvenience when it comes, but for now I'm stubbornly sticking to a trailerable boat as long as possible.

 

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So, what boat is similar to a 7.9 that can be found on the west coast USA?

Trailerable, fast fun, big cockpit, and under $10,000

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O'day 22 ? in a phrf race to get beat, the rest of the fleet has to finish before you leave the dock.

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6 hours ago, Piginwater said:

So, what boat is similar to a 7.9 that can be found on the west coast USA?

Trailerable, fast fun, big cockpit, and under $10,000

B-25 perhaps?  Although not produced in nearly the same numbers as the 7.9.

https://www.yachtworld.com/boats/1989/b-boats-b-25-3477491/?refSource=standard%20listing

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I have an S2 7.9 in California.  I absolutely love the boat. For what I do, which is singlehand and doublehand a lot, it's perfect. It's  pretty fast...fast enough with a 165 PHRF rating. It's dead simple..not a million lines to tweak. To get it going well is not terribly difficult. To win one design races is hard, or so I hear as a lot of good sailors have been racing these things for decades and know them inside out.  I can stretch out in the cockpit and lay flat on my back and I'm 6'2"

  I will say that no normal sized human being is ever going to use that toilet. I can't imagine folding myself into the thing...and close the door? HAHA!  Not happening. A small women might be able to use if you replaced the door with a curtain.

There are S2 7.9's out here, just not a lot of them. I see them come up for sale on CL in the PNW every few months. Puget Sound, even Idaho has a significant number of boats. I only know of three on SF Bay.

 

Yeah, sure I suffer from two-foot-itis. But honestly, bang for the buck, on a boat which is reasonably comfortable and I don't have to be a rockstar to get going... this boat is wonderful for what I do, which is day-race, spend weekends out, and generally fart around on San Francisco Bay.

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Yeah - kinda the point here is that there just aren't that many boats comparable to the 7.9.  Interior space, raceable, tralierable, cruisable.  Small enough to handle easily single handed, large enough to actually sail with people on board.

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5 hours ago, Grrr... said:

Yeah - kinda the point here is that there just aren't that many boats comparable to the 7.9.  Interior space, raceable, tralierable, cruisable.  Small enough to handle easily single handed, large enough to actually sail with people on board.

That's the sad fact I've been coming up against. 

Either my budget needs to go way way up, my list of "needs" needs to come way down, or I have to be willing travel for a 7.9, or perhaps a 6.7/6.9

I had forgotten to look in Idaho though, I've seen at least one there in the last year.

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Be realistic - it's gonna cost you $ 6K per year 

that is sailing 

And if you are not careful, it can be more than that. 

And other boats will cost the same or more. 

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12 hours ago, Piginwater said:

That's the sad fact I've been coming up against. 

Either my budget needs to go way way up, my list of "needs" needs to come way down, or I have to be willing travel for a 7.9, or perhaps a 6.7/6.9

I had forgotten to look in Idaho though, I've seen at least one there in the last year.

There's a bunch of other boats, don't get the idea that the S2 is some kind of Holy Grail

It's one of the best, and not difficult to find (that may be an ironic statement, but it's true). Most of the boats that are faster will not be as comfy, and most of the boats that are easier to find because they were built in mass quantities (Hunter, Catalina) will nowhere near as fast nor as comfy.

The 6.9 is a nice boat too. The B-25 is a good suggestion, or the Tripp 26. These two have a tub cockpit, not the bench seats (which I personally like). Or you might want to look at a more modern sports boat.

FB- Doug

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Olson 25 is something to consider. Hovers right around the $10k price, can be found cheaper. Well built boats. Good performance. It has a tabernacle mast. Two decently strong people can raise/lower. There are easy solutions for a gin pole that makes it possible for one person to raise/lower. I think the downside for you is it has a fixed keel. Single point hoist for easy crane launching, ramp launching a bit more of a challenge. 

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5 hours ago, Steam Flyer said:

There's a bunch of other boats, don't get the idea that the S2 is some kind of Holy Grail

It's one of the best, and not difficult to find (that may be an ironic statement, but it's true). Most of the boats that are faster will not be as comfy, and most of the boats that are easier to find because they were built in mass quantities (Hunter, Catalina) will nowhere near as fast nor as comfy.

The 6.9 is a nice boat too. The B-25 is a good suggestion, or the Tripp 26. These two have a tub cockpit, not the bench seats (which I personally like). Or you might want to look at a more modern sports boat.

FB- Doug

 

3 hours ago, Mr Moab said:

Olson 25 is something to consider. Hovers right around the $10k price, can be found cheaper. Well built boats. Good performance. It has a tabernacle mast. Two decently strong people can raise/lower. There are easy solutions for a gin pole that makes it possible for one person to raise/lower. I think the downside for you is it has a fixed keel. Single point hoist for easy crane launching, ramp launching a bit more of a challenge. 

I really dig the Olson 25. It looks like a blast, I like the cabin and cockpit layout. Except 2 things: Fixed keel and the cockpit looks the same size or smaller than my boat.

B-25 does have a lifting keel, looks like fun, but like Doug said, it's not exactly a "comfort" cockpit. The girl loves going out, and a big part of that is the comfort and ability to take guests with us. It seems like the 7.9 does what it does extraordinarily well for the price. It's quite the struggle to keep fast and fun balanced with comfort, easy trailering, and overnighting, while still having room to pleasure sail with guests.

B-25, Tripp 26, Wavelength 24, some of the Precisions, I'm not desperate for another boat right now, I'll just keep my eyes open, and think if maybe there's a few things on my must have list I can't give up in order to open up my options.

As to spending 6K a year on maintenance... Not yet. I've been sailing off and on for decades (far more off than on) and this year was the most expensive ever at $2,500. I've always sailed old dinghies and a Hobie 16. I don't race so that helps keep the expenses down a lot. As I get into keel boats and into the marina and off the trailer, it's going to get more expensive, I realize that.

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16 minutes ago, Piginwater said:

 

I really dig the Olson 25. It looks like a blast, I like the cabin and cockpit layout. Except 2 things: Fixed keel and the cockpit looks the same size or smaller than my boat.

B-25 does have a lifting keel, looks like fun, but like Doug said, it's not exactly a "comfort" cockpit. The girl loves going out, and a big part of that is the comfort and ability to take guests with us. It seems like the 7.9 does what it does extraordinarily well for the price. It's quite the struggle to keep fast and fun balanced with comfort, easy trailering, and overnighting, while still having room to pleasure sail with guests.

B-25, Tripp 26, Wavelength 24, some of the Precisions, I'm not desperate for another boat right now, I'll just keep my eyes open, and think if maybe there's a few things on my must have list I can't give up in order to open up my options.

As to spending 6K a year on maintenance... Not yet. I've been sailing off and on for decades (far more off than on) and this year was the most expensive ever at $2,500. I've always sailed old dinghies and a Hobie 16. I don't race so that helps keep the expenses down a lot. As I get into keel boats and into the marina and off the trailer, it's going to get more expensive, I realize that.

Fair point on the O25 cockpit - forgot about that on your requirements. Pretty much four is the limit for comfy cockpit loungin. I have day-sailed ours with 5,  but its a little crowded. Someone always chilling in the companionway. 

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S2 7.9 for sure. had one for years. great boat in all conditions and nothing more comfortable in the 26ft range. the one on CL looks dirty but OK. As others have said look for poorly installed fittings that lead to water intrusion and soft decks.   

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Just got through my first season with my 7.9 #20.  I go out with 3 small kids (8, 5, 3) and a wife.  Boat is easy for me to take out with that troop, and it's fine for the wife and I when we go out without the kids.  I use mine on Lake Michigan and it handles all conditions handed to it just fine. 

I had my fair share of issues this season, but all are attributed to the fact that the boat was sitting for 2 years and was needing some extra love.  Yes there are balsa issues you can have with the boat, yes they can be fixed.  I even have the often dreaded BMW diesel in mine and to be honest, it runs just fine.  All my issues were attributed to getting rid of shitty fuel that had been in the tank for years. 

We took the boat to the class championship (even had a top 10 finish in our 3rd race ever in the boat), spent several nights on it at the dock, and introduced about 25 of our friends and family to the sport of sailing.

The boat is built very well, sails like it's attached to rails and has given us a season full of fun.

You'll have to tear mine from my lifeless fingers, it's not for sale.

44573163_10106754003809142_8293692237825441792_o.jpg

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I was looking for a boat that had many of the attributes that the OP requires, trail-ability, shallow ramp launching capability (no fixed fin keel), reasonable cabin accommodations  and sailing performance. Having been on a S2 7.9 in the past it was close to being my benchmark boat with the exception of the price range was more than I had to spend. Over a year or so of casual looking I found several old MORC boats that, although a bit small, had the characteristics that I was looking for. Almost all were in Florida so that wouldn't help the OP. I happened to find a boat on CL that worked out perfectly for me at a very cheap price. I had never heard of it but it basically the same concept as the 7.9 in a 24' package. It is a Bruce Farr designed Farr 740 Sport built in NZ. The cabin is smaller but still comfortable enough and the cockpit is very large. It just goes to show that there are alternatives to the more popular mainstream boats hiding in the weeds, just have to keep your eyes open.

https://sailboatdata.com/sailboat/farr-740-sport

 

My boat find is chronicled in Dinghy Anarchy,  Craigslist Finds, near the bottom of page 17  

 

IMG_2217.JPG

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Have have my 7.9 for 20 years. Sailed on a 7.9 starting in 1982.

Everything is for sale at a price, but my price, to sell, would be higher than anyone would pay. May very well be my last sailboat.

 

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On 11/8/2018 at 9:15 PM, Looper said:

...  I go out with 3 small kids (8, 5, 3) and a wife.  Boat is easy for me to take out with that troop, and it's fine for the wife and I when we go out without the kids.  I use mine on Lake Michigan and it handles all conditions handed to it just fine. 

...    ...    ...

44573163_10106754003809142_8293692237825441792_o.jpg

 ^ THIS  ^

For the win!

Seriously this is what sailing should be like, this is what sailboats should enable.

FB- Doug

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On 11/8/2018 at 8:11 PM, mikegt4 said:

 It just goes to show that there are alternatives to the more popular mainstream boats hiding in the weeds, just have to keep your eyes open.

https://sailboatdata.com/sailboat/farr-740-sport

IMG_2217.JPG

I keep my eyes casually open for any boat from 22 to 26 feet that could fit the bill. I'm not stuck on a 7.9, it just seems like it's hard to find anything that can compete with it within my parameters. 

I sometimes wonder if I should have bought the really nice little Pearson Ensign that was available at the same time as my Merit 22. It was beautiful, had a huge cockpit, and rigged really well. The problem was it was not a trailer sailer, full keel, and it didn't seem exactly sprightly.

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What is your set of requirements?  What I've picked up from this thread is 5 people in the cockpit, you don't race, and want it to be reasonable to trailer.  Do you have any performance requirements?  Berth requirements?  Equipment requirements?

 

 

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On 11/2/2018 at 11:34 PM, Piginwater said:

I'm really appreciating the advice. 

I already know that cheap is often more expensive than otherwise. I've been there, done that. 

I'm looking for a good deal, not a "good deal" that's just a project.

Towing capacity is one thing I'm not too concerned about. I've got an older 70s 3/4 ton Ford with a 460, I've pulled heavy loads before. And I pay for it in 10MPG, load or no load.

I should explain what my desired use for the boat is.

  • Easily trailered and rigged with 2 people
  • No racing
  • Fast and fun, daysailer-ish, entertaining guests, with possible weekend camping
  • Nimble enough that it will teach me when I'm making mistakes, but stable enough not to punish me too harshly.

I'm determined to stay trailerable until I decide to go big enough to do some serious cruising. I like being able to pull it out in the winter, do any touch up that I need to, and be able to move it up back and forth from the Puget Sound to the Columbia.

I really think the 7.9 would fit those really well, I like the increase in size, but I just don't think this is the one for me.

One of my earlier posts.

Some more info:

  • I'm looking for a cockpit that will fit 5, 6 is a bonus. 
  • Something I can dry sail even if it takes a couple hours. I will usually keep it in a berth during the warm months. I don't have a size limit where I am.
  • Can weekend 2 around the San Juans.
  • Stable, but not sluggish, something that can teach me when I make a mistake without scaring everyone to death. Fast and Fun.
  • More of a daysailer feel than a heavy cruiser

Equipment, I'm not too picky. I'll learn whatever the rig is. Masthead or fractional is fine. Fractional would be better. I'd just like a spin, and a decently adjustable rig that I don't feel like I can't control it. Ideally a fractional rig with adjustable backstay, boom kicker/vang, decent spinnaker setup, good travelers and a nice suit of sails. I can set all that up if it doesn't have it.

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On 11/3/2018 at 12:49 AM, Piginwater said:

I had been perusing your thread the other day, you went through a lot of work!

I had initially wanted to wait for a 7.9 before I ever bought my current boat. Then I realized that if I waited for something in my price range, not a project, and on roughly the western half of the country, I'd be waiting years. And years. So I bought my little Merit 22 and I've really had a blast on it with the girl.

I just found the cockpit measurement on the 7.9 class page. 8 feet. Eight. Feet!! I'm at 6'5" right now on my Merit. An extra foot and a half of room would be bliss for guests. I get REALLY sick of banging knees with the tiller. And I'd love the extra room below.

What year did they stop putting balsa core in them?

I'll probably trade up to the better Merit, then wait a year or two for a better 7.9 to come along, add a little more cash to the boat piggy bank, and start looking again.

The girl might possibly want to do a road trip this weekend to go look at that 7.9 though. We'll see.

Other guys here will probably know better but my understanding is that the standard 7.9s had solid hulls and plywood decks but the "grand slam" version had a balsa cored hull.  Again, could be totally wrong (or wrong-ish).  There was a grand slam near me when I was looking for a boat but the guy wanted $10k Kanuckistani Kopecs and another $2k for the trailer (which was supremely irritating).

The guys are probably right.... balsa coring might not be a deal breaker but I get a little nervous thinking about a rotten shit sandwich hiding somewhere in the hull of the boat I just bought.  Wood in the decks is bad enough.

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10 minutes ago, Tempest said:

Other guys here will probably know better but my understanding is that the standard 7.9s had solid hulls and plywood decks but the "grand slam" version had a balsa cored hull.  Again, could be totally wrong (or wrong-ish).  There was a grand slam near me when I was looking for a boat but the guy wanted $10k Kanuckistani Kopecs and another $2k for the trailer (which was supremely irritating).

The guys are probably right.... balsa coring might not be a deal breaker but I get a little nervous thinking about a rotten shit sandwich hiding somewhere in the hull of the boat I just bought.  Wood in the decks is bad enough.

I haven't had to do a repair yet, but from what I've been reading it seems like end grain balsa is actually better than plywood. 

The reason being that since the grain is going vertically, the water has a much harder time traveling horizontally and spreading throughout the deck. Eventually of course it will, but it takes more time. This obviously only applies to end grain balsa core.

Conversely since plywood is arranged horizontally, it "wicks" the moisture throughout the plywood and spreads the rot.

Someone more knowledgeable can correct us.

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14 minutes ago, Tempest said:

Other guys here will probably know better but my understanding is that the standard 7.9s had solid hulls and plywood decks but the "grand slam" version had a balsa cored hull. 

All the 7.9s were Grand Slam (Graham and Schlageter).

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5 minutes ago, Piginwater said:

I haven't had to do a repair yet, but from what I've been reading it seems like end grain balsa is actually better than plywood. 

The reason being that since the grain is going vertically, the water has a much harder time traveling horizontally and spreading throughout the deck. Eventually of course it will, but it takes more time. This obviously only applies to end grain balsa core.

Conversely since plywood is arranged horizontally, it "wicks" the moisture throughout the plywood and spreads the rot.

Someone more knowledgeable can correct us.

Well that's interesting.  I will admit my ignorance on end grain balsa.  Had no idea that the grain ran vertically through the wood.  That said, I can't imagine it has any strength (not that balsa is all that strong to begin with) so I'm wondering if it's basically just a light filler material...?  Anyone know how that stuff is made?  Do they just laminate a whole bunch of balsa beams together and cut slices off the end?  Googleing now and not much is coming up.

1 minute ago, Cal20sailor said:

All the 7.9s were Grand Slam (Graham and Schlageter).

Well I'll be damned.

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36 minutes ago, Tempest said:

Well that's interesting.  I will admit my ignorance on end grain balsa.  Had no idea that the grain ran vertically through the wood.  That said, I can't imagine it has any strength (not that balsa is all that strong to begin with) so I'm wondering if it's basically just a light filler material...?  Anyone know how that stuff is made?  Do they just laminate a whole bunch of balsa beams together and cut slices off the end?  Googleing now and not much is coming up.

Well I'll be damned.

The end grain balsa in a fiberglass "sandwich"construction (this used to be the common term for it, back in the old days) is kind of like the diagonal girders in the middle of a bridge. It's job is to hold the top and bottom beams...... or in this case, the top and bottom fiberglass layers....... in a rigid orientation to each other.

It adds some strength, and much more rigidity, and not much weight. A sheet of fiberglass by itself is kind of limp. Very strong in tension, fairly strong in compression, doesn't resist torsion worth a damn.

The end grain also makes it very easy to bond to the fiberglass. As long as it stays dry, and isn't overstressed so that the outer fiberglass shell cracks, it should last pretty much forever..... in theory. In practice, who knows. I do know of boats with molded fiberglass hatches with end-grain balsa panels, no hardware anywhere near the balsa, just plain-jane layup, from the mid & late 1960s. I wouldn't say they're good as new because they've been painted or they'd look beat up and old, but they are just as strong and light as the day they left the factory (Pearson 35 at our neigbor's dock, and another Pearson of similar vintage).

FB- Doug

 

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