It is great to hear about your adventures! Key West is so much fun! We have scheduled two visits to see Whitby’s in Virginia in Nov. Both are for sale by owner. Both are 1976. They truly vary in price- one is asking 160,000(!) and one is asking 96,000. I wish they were newer, and certainly think the 160,000 is way too much. We can afford about 100,000 - that will give us about 25,000 more to fix up.
What did you find the average selling price to be- and anything particular to Whitby's we should look for? We are pretty knowledgeable as far as looking at boats in general, and of course would do a survey. Where did you get yours? Barry is off for a week's solo sailing on our Hunter, out to Oakracoke and gunkholing around. One thing I worry about is 24 hr. togetherness, as we are both used to working. One reason I liked the Whitby is it seems big enough to have your own space! any thoughts?
Your new email buddy-
Our Whitby is a 1980. It is hull# 201. We have learned that the hull and topsides were molded in Whitby, Canada then shipped to Fort Meyers, FL where it was then used to make a mold for all future Whitby's in Florida. The boat was then finished in Florida with some level of supervision/input from the Canadians. How much is unknown. You would think that with extra supervision every I would be dotted and every t crossed... but that was not necessarily the case.
We found that our rudder had the classic "Ft. Meyers" defect of missing "fingers" of bronze that were to have given the rudder extra strength. We never had a problem with it, but we took it apart and had extra strength added anyway... we didn't want to have a problem in an inconvenient place. While we were at it we enlarged the rudder some and it handles better with the larger rudder area.
Our water tanks are fiberglass with aluminum tops. The tops of the tanks always leaked where the two different materials came together. We found that the problem seemed to be that when the tanks were filled completely, the aluminum tops would bulge up and break the seal. Roger finally solved this problem by running several threaded SS rods through the top and bottom of the tank, preventing the top of the tank from bulging away from the bottom. We also lowered the vent for the tanks to a little above floor level in the main salon. This prevents "pressurizing" the tanks when filling but has the disadvantage that the water COULD spill out on a really steep heel... but we don't usually sail that hard. This has solved the problem for us.
The forward 1/3 of the keel is where the lead ballast resides. It is apparently (there's really no way to get at the compartment in the finished boat) a block of lead molded to roughly the right shape. This block was supposed to have been set into cement. Somehow, they forgot the cement in our boat. We found there was void space around our lead ballast. It had a distinctly "hollow ring" in that section that we didn't like. We eventually filled the space around the lead by pumping in 2 part epoxy. We can tell there IS lead in there by how much epoxy it took to fill the space... and by the boat's weight.
A lot of these boats have had problems with their aluminum fuel tanks. Any water that gets into the tank sinks to the bottom where it sits, picks up acidity from the fuel and corrodes through the metal. We cleaned all of our tanks out completely and inspected them. We had some small amount of pitting of the metal, but very minor. We don't expect ours to be a problem, but we work hard to keep the fuel "dry.”
There was a lot of "crazing" of the topside gel coat on our boat, and I've noticed it on several other Whitby's we've seen. In our case at least (and I assume in others) it was strictly a cosmetic issue. The crazing didn't go deep enough to be allowing water into the under layers of the topsides. It just looked unpleasant. I was in charge of grinding out the hairline cracks, filling with West System epoxy and sanding it all smooth again. We later painted the topsides with 2 part Polyurethane paint.
Our hull gel coat was somewhat "chalky" as older boats get. It was otherwise in very good shape. We solved the chalkiness by prepping the surface extensively then rolling on a 2-part polyurethane clear coat. It solved the chalkiness problem and we no longer get the "ICW moustache" that chalky hulls get. It is now 4 years old, still looks good and is very easy to keep clean.
Mechanically the boat seemed to be in "good" condition when we got her... but it is very hard to tell exactly what you have until you start taking things apart. Which is not something you can do much of during the limited presale inspections and survey time that you get.
Roger, when he DID get her home and started taking things apart, found her mechanics to be not as well maintained as he had first thought. Of course, he is a marine engineer by trade and probably has a higher standard than most. And in retrospect, it was probably unrealistic for me to expect Roger, with his particular personality, to be happy with a 20 year old boat until he had taken it completely apart and put her back together again!
We bought the boat in St. Petersburg, FL and spent 5 months bringing her leisurely back home to North Carolina. We can recommend spending some time LIVING on the boat before you decide what you want to do to her. You don't know how it is going to "live" until you spend some time on her. We, for instance, learned that we wanted shelves in all 3 of the hanging clothes lockers on the starboard side of the boat... who wears clothes that need to be "hung" while cruising? Certainly not US! And our boat came with a VERY lovely teak bar on the starboard side! Pull down that table and you had a lovely place to display all your wonderful bar glasses and 12 year old scotches! JUST the thing for those yacht-club "gathers"! You can BET that was one of the first things ripped out on OUR boat! It now houses a toaster oven and plate and glass storage. We also discovered places where we wanted extra lights and extra switches... that sort of thing.
Once we got the boat home we took her out of the water and started making the changes we wanted. We hadn't thought she would be on the hard for TWO years, but that’s what happened! Of course we didn't spend the WHOLE two years working on the boat. We were finishing the house and taking trips. But the work on the boat definitely took a lot longer than we had anticipated.
Again... part of that had to do with Roger being meticulous, but I have learned to appreciate this quality in him. Its just that we have different points of view on life.
For instance: To ME, if we have a mechanical failure on some tiny foreign island where we don't speak the language, we spend weeks running around like chickens-with-our-heads-cut-off trying to find a left-handed widget that no one has ever heard of and then finally DO find it (ever the optimist, I always believe it will all work out in the end) and get it installed and everything is fine in the end.... to ME that's an ADVENTURE! To Roger it is his WORST NIGHTMARE! We just see life differently.
But I appreciate that his point of view is certainly as valid as mine. He would not have been comfortable on the boat without having done the work that he did... and there's no point doing this if we both aren't comfortable. And a HUGE part of my comfort level derives from the knowledge that I don't have to worry about the things he has already worried about for me! Of course it is his nature that he STILL finds all sorts of things to worry about, but we aren't going to change that completely! He has learned to relax some and I have learned to worry more, so we are coming closer together all the time.
You mentioned concern over being so close together on the boat. I'll try to write more about that in a separate letter. Short answer is YES it has been a challenge, but our relationship has really improved as a result of it... I wouldn't change one moment of it!
More later... Life's a trip!
portions Copyright © 2005 Claudia Sundman