Prospective Buyers

I regularly receive emails from prospective Ericson 32 buyers who ask, "what problems should I look out for in this boat?" My response is that Ericsons will suffer the ills of any 15 to 30 year old sailboat, and the desirability of any particular hull depends entirely on how much maintenance previous owners have done over the years.

Definitely hire a professional yacht surveyor to carefully inspect the hull, engine, and rigging before you sign a contract, or make the terms of the closing conditional on a satisfactory survey. It's the best $7.50-10.00 a foot you can spend on any boat over 25 feet or $5k, especially if the surveyor finds problems so significant you don't end up buying it. Your insurance company will probably require a survey anyway, so it's best to get it done when you still have the opportunity to walk away from the boat. Boat/US has a surveyor recommendation service on its website, or look in the Yellow Pages.

I offer the following advice from a design and buying-process standpoint and would like to add suggestions from other owners as well.

First, the bad news:


Practical Sailor did a "Used Boat Survey" review of the Ericson 32 in its July 1, 2000 edition. Copyright restrictions preclude me from placing the review on the website or emailing individual copies. But Practical Sailor will fax you a copy of the review for about $30, and their website says they will eventually be selling their reviews online. For now, fax them a request for the Ericson 32 evaluation along with your name, address, fax number, and credit card number including expiration date (Amex, Visa, or MasterCard) and PS will fax back the report. The cost is $5.25 per page. Requests received before noon Eastern Time will be faxed the same day. Requests received after noon will be fulfilled the following business day. Their fax number is (203) 661-4802.

Note, this is not an endorsement of Practical Sailor. I think they're off about the 32-II's PHRF rating and its "average" performance given its vintage. But I believe the piece is directionally accurate.