I just looked at an old '65 Columbia 29 defender

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by souljour2000, Dec 5, 2010.

  1. souljour2000
    Joined: Aug 2009
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    Location: SW Florida

    souljour2000 Senior Member

    I just went up to South Tampa to look at an old '65 or '66 Columbia Defender 29-footer that a friend of mine decided to sell.

    All I can say is what a freakin tank!

    It's a mess and needs tons of cosmetic work...but the construction I must say was impressive. I have not been privy to much 1960's FRP construction...ain't seen these boats at all really and Columbia deserves it's reputation as far as these early boats go..This thing has over 4000 lbs of lead in the forefoot-type keel....and a gross tonnage a little over 8,000 lbs..this is almost a 2 to 1 ratio of gross weight to ballast...with only an 8-foot beam giving this boat some groundspeed with a 225 phrf or so...a raised decker and kinda ugly compared to the later 29's of the early 70's more traditional designs...but still a Sparkman and Stephens jewel..any comments from those who have any idea of what I've been ranting about in the above paragraph are welcome...seems these are ideal for project boats since they are built so well and especially with little or no cored areas...just thick solid layers of glass and goo...
     
  2. Paul B

    Paul B Previous Member

    IIRC Columbia was using chopper gun in their laminate around that era. As has been discussed recently on these forums, thick/solid polyester laminates do not equate to good construction.

    Columbia never had a reputation for high quality construction.
     
  3. souljour2000
    Joined: Aug 2009
    Posts: 481
    Likes: 13, Points: 18, Legacy Rep: 195
    Location: SW Florida

    souljour2000 Senior Member

    Paul...so this is the CSM or chopped strand mat stuff on the early Columbia's....instead of heavy roving inter-laden with lighter mat?...I'd say this boat was a '65- '68..not sure but judging from the couple hours of research I did... That does change the equation...seemed strong though..I mean...if you use enough of the chopper gun where the thickness is double what the hand-layed alternating roving guy is doing..do you end up with a boat that is practically as strong? My guess is no but ... is it still better than what alot of late 70's/ early 80's boats boil down to overall I am wondering? Appreciate any thoughts though I suspect there are older threads that have covered this topic...
     
  4. Paul B

    Paul B Previous Member

    No.


    How could you tell?


    If you don't know how to tie knots, tie lots of 'em...


    No.
     

  5. souljour2000
    Joined: Aug 2009
    Posts: 481
    Likes: 13, Points: 18, Legacy Rep: 195
    Location: SW Florida

    souljour2000 Senior Member

    I did not like the fact that the boat had only one set of lower shrouds which was a bit surprising. As for her build quality...maybe she was built with a chopper gun...I don't care if she was built with a glue gun but I'd take a boat like this anywhere from what I saw ...The Sparkman and Stephen's provenance doesn't hurt either as they seem to have achieved a rep for building sturdy boats...

    From what I have heard there were issues with blistering in alot of late 70's /early eighties models of all kinds when the resin mixture changed. i'd guess this one was a '64- '67 ..and from the original Colunbia Yachts California factory as I said. The hull appeared to have zero issues other than some barnacles...hard to say to much here though but from what I have heard thus far...this era wasn't known to produce hulls with a lot of blisters...that came later. This was not a survey...I am no surveyor but the boat seemed well-built and still fairly solid more than 45 year later..
    Perhaps old boats like this that are long in the tooth could benefit from adding longitudinal stringers in the upper hull near the chainplate tie-in areas/panels...wouldn't be the hugest of projects ,,though not the smallest either..but it might strengthten the chainplate sectionspanels...The boat could have been abused and had a hard life and if so then she may indeed have serious stress issues in that area that may or may not preclude one from taking a closer look at an old boat...or you might need a magnetic resonance machine or what they use on aircraft wings like those on the old B-52's to check the spars for cracks.....I dont know about you Paul..but I doubt too many surveyors are bringing these type of structural integrity analysis x-ray machines out to the boatyard on saturday mornings.... All I am saying is I was initially very impressed by the boat because she seemed much more solid than alot of 70's/80's boats I have seen and it is readily apparent and does not require a N/A holding one's hand to know a heavy lay-up when you see one. One thing that is hard to swallow with boats ...is ugly... and this is a bit of a" beer-goggler" with her raised flat deck...especially when I went home to my Mac/ Rhodes 24 classic deck...

    the boat in question was offered to me for less than 700 bucks..I walked away from it.... but I come away with the feeling that these old boats deserve a bit more consideration than some would grant them...
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2010
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