Is a Santana 22 TOTAL fixer upper the right one?

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by totalnewbie, Apr 3, 2006.

  1. totalnewbie
    Joined: Apr 2006
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    Location: Ohio

    totalnewbie New Member

    Howdy to all!

    I am a novice sailor. Learning from my father on his Norsea 27. Done some big lake sailing and spent 2 weeks in the Sea of Cortez as well. I am hooked on the sport. I have an opportunity to "take over" ownership (at NO COST TO ME) of a Santana 22 on a trailor in good condition. The boat... yikes. Clearly it was a project that didnt really get started. It is full of 250 GALLONS of 5 year old rain water (that means it will float too, right? haha) almost all of the wood is 2nd effort and needs to be rebuilt. there is NO electrical system. It is missing A boom, and sails.

    Other considerations... I live in Ohio, the boat, though free, sits in Michigan. I believe there would be a sizeable financial investment just in getting it seaworthy. Then theres the making it "look nice." (the least of my worries, really)

    Basically what I get here is a hull, (that appears at first blush to be in decent shape) and a decent trailor.

    I need some help from some of you 'saltier' types. Recommendations for working on the Santana? User groups... forums... used gear... Is this the right boat to get into for me? etc.

    Should I walk away? Run? Any input will help and be greatly appreciated.
  2. AlFink
    Joined: Apr 2006
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    Location: Denver

    AlFink Very Happy NorSea 27 Owne

    Don't despair, Son, someone will reply to your querry. Someone with far more knowledge about the S22 than I have. And always remember the great old Hawaiian dictum, "For free take - for money waste time."

  3. mholguin
    Joined: Jan 2005
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    Location: santo domingo, dominican republic

    mholguin Junior Member

  4. hansp77
    Joined: Mar 2006
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    Location: Melbourne Australia


    Time is money, wood rots...

    Hello totalnewbie,
    you know from your name,
    I think we might somehow be related....

    My advice to you, Having just gone through your whole process of falling in love with the sport, deciding to get a boat and then looking at all sorts, especiially 'project boats' is:
    What do you want from the boat.
    Do you want to sail soon?
    Or, do you want to work and work on a boat for the next year-two-three-four,
    seriously, the amount of project boats out there on the market selling for very cheap, usually with the famous words "all the hard work done," should tell you how long these things can take.
    My reasons for looking for a project boat was that I thought that I could buy a boat in a higher league damaged or needing work, than one ready to go.

    Your boat is free,
    but the work and time and money you will have to put into it is not.
    Consider this.
    Maybe it would be better to work your normal job for this amount of time, and then save and buy something that requires a lot less work.

    I ended up, after looking every day for months, finding a gem of a boat, with practically everything included needed to make real ocean voyages. And cheap too.
    If you see my other thread, you can see the info.
    It is a wooden boat, which has been kept in great condition by one owner for the last forty years.
    However, with any boat, especially wood, like yours, there is ALWAYS work to be done.
    With the work that I have to do now on it, digging out all the seals on the roof, refilling, possiblly patching a little wood, and repainting the whole cabin, when I add up this and that and all the time,
    I can tell you one thing.
    I am so glad that I did not get a 'project boat'

    Finally, with your boat.
    Beware of fresh water and wood.
    That the hull is actually filled up with this water and presumadely not leaking is sort of promising, but, from what I have learned wood and fresh water is not a good mix (my problem from the rain leaking in through the cracks in my cabin roof)
    salt water in a wooden boat will inhibit all sorts of fungi and other troublesome things that fresh will not.

    For the old salties on this site, maybe post some more info and or photos.
    I would like to see what it looks like.
    Good luck.
  5. JPC
    Joined: Jun 2005
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    Location: Hong Kong

    JPC Junior Member

    The Santana 22 (Gary Mull design) is a well-respected boat and quite popular on San Francisco Bay, where it has proved itself to be able to handle relatively strong conditions (for a 22' boat), and is very competitive in the local PHRF fleet. I believe that Shock has even resumed production of the design (sort of like the Tarten-10 / LS-10 revival).

    I would recommend you have a look on, latitude38 and some other sites to get a sense for what's out there: I suspect that you could get a functional Santana 22 for a lot less than it will take you to round up a boom, buy new sails, etc.

    Best regards,
  6. AlFink
    Joined: Apr 2006
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    Location: Denver

    AlFink Very Happy NorSea 27 Owne

    GOOD advice

    My boy, wiser heads have spoken. The best line was from Hans who asked whether you want to diddle and piddle around doing skut work or actually get aboard - something, anything - and sail. And since you're overwhelmed with charm, personality, good looks and other positive traits inherited from your father, but poor as a church mouse, I am sure that something will turn up. Do continue to look at Santanas, certainly the early Catalinas and Capris in the 22' range. Maybe even a Chrysler. Good starter boats all. And then come aboard FUTHARK again and add to your skills.

    Tu padre.
  7. yokebutt
    Joined: Aug 2004
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    Location: alameda CA

    yokebutt Boatbuilder

    No such thing as a free boat.

  8. messabout
    Joined: Jan 2006
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    Location: Lakeland Fl USA

    messabout Senior Member

    My dentist has a similar boat that he has not used in several years. It is all there, it is afloat in a marina. It needs some work, he has been trying to give it away for six months. No takers. I know of two others of similar size that are free for the taking. One of them has been sitting on its' trailer "for free" for five years. No takers. Maybe prospective owners/lookers are just lazy. Or maybe they are smarter than me. I have done two such boats and the amount of work, cost of materials, skinned knuckles, risk to marital bliss, etc. is not a bargain. At the end there is a great deal of satisfaction in having completed projects of that sort, especilly if the job is well done. Satisfaction is insufficient reward. Yokebutt is right ...."no such thing as a free boat".

    Give the boat a decent Viking burial and forget about it.
  9. hansp77
    Joined: Mar 2006
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    Location: Melbourne Australia


    Just a quick addition.
    No such thing as a free boat!
    damn, you know when I feel like torturing myself I look at all the wonderfull cheap boats for sale over there in the states. Not a just few Australians have taken advantage of this by(or resorted to) purchasing a boat unseen and shipping it to this southern land in a crate, and still managing to get it home cheaper than they could have bought it here. Including our weaker dollar, and possibly lower wages....
    Boat for free? Trying to give it away? Still floating? the gods must be crazy.
    Here, unless it is family or friend, even that Santana 22 would probably have a price on it that would sting your wallet.
    Accept it guys, no matter what else they say, you do live in "the land of the free (boats that is)."
  10. grampianman
    Joined: Jan 2003
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    Location: sw florida

    grampianman Junior Member

    My two cents.

    I got a hold of one of those free boats. It came with pretty much everything, but in truly disreputable condition. The boat had been filled with rainwater, keel in the mud, but she was never fully submerged. I bailed her out, found the owner and persuaded him to give it to me (I'm a Scoutmaster here in Florida, so it was easy with this line of reasoning). I used over a gallon of bleach making the interior habitable. Florida is know for being somewhat conducive to the growth of mildew, fungus, algae, well you get the idea! I was able to sail her for two years with rotten decks, bulkheads etc until my son nearly put his foot through the deck. Okay, almost two years, and multiple hurricanes later, I am almost there. Have replaced most of the wood inside the boat, new head, etc. I figure I'm about a month away from re-launch. Yeah, it was a slog; strain on marital relations; life gets in the way, but at the end of the day I'm proud of what I've done. I've learned a lot and put into use a lot of what I had previously learned. Make sure you have time. Make sure your spouse, if you have one, is in complete agreement. Then take your time and do the job right. It'll be worth it in the end.

    Wing & a Prayer, Grampian 23
  11. mattotoole
    Joined: Nov 2004
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    Location: Potomac MD, USA

    mattotoole Senior Member

    I have fond memories of the S22. My dad and I used to rent them from Schock, way back in the day! I've crewed on a couple too. As mentioned they're a great heavy air boat, because of solid construction and a high (50%?) ballast/displacement ratio. But they sail well in light air too. They also have a big, comfortable cockpit for racing or daysailing.

    Forget the freebies though -- a more expensive one would probably be cheaper! Seriously, I've seen nice looking ones listed for under $3000. You could easily spend 2-3 times that refurbishing a basket case.

    I'm glad to see a S22 revival. These boats are similar to the Cal 20 and 25, in vintage and price. Cal 20s have always had strong class racing. But I'd rather sail the S22.
  12. Apaxmez
    Joined: Apr 2006
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    Location: Gulfport, FL

    Apaxmez New Member


    Where are you guys finding these boats? I've been looking for a cheap-or-free complete project boat for about 4 months and finding nothing.
  13. mattotoole
    Joined: Nov 2004
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    Location: Potomac MD, USA

    mattotoole Senior Member

    Of course once you express interest the price goes up!

    Walk around your local marinas and boatyards, talk to people, and find out the stories on various boats. Something will turn up!

    I see boats like these on eBay every week.

    There are more than enough cheap boats to go around these days. What there aren't enough of, are affordable homes near water!

  14. jang
    Joined: May 2006
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    Location: Oakland, CA

    jang New Member

    I took on this same project a few years ago, so I'll add my experiences:

    I bought a santana 22 for $500 with a usable trailer, a good hull, mast and boom, sketchy rigging, several sets of old but usable sails, and little else.
    I spent close to two years working on the project (so far). I have invested somewhere close to 4500 out of pocket, not counting storage, and now have a seaworthy (though not yet class-competitive for racing) boat that I use on san francisco bay.
    During those first two years, I probably averaged 10 hours a week on it.
    I spent alot of time re-bedding hardware, adding epoxy plugs in the deck core all over the place, and replacing a section of the aft bulkhead where freshwater (collected rain) had caused rot. That sounds like a short list, but the real list of tiny projects would go on for pages.
    Near the end of the project, I moved it to a DIY yard to do a bottom job, fair and repaint the keel, and set up the rig.

    The big cost items were the new rigging (from Steve Seals at - a very knowledgeable source) and the bill from the yard for the lay days while I did work.
    I use a johnson 6hp 2 stroke outboard - which I also bought cheap and rebuilt (I never learn).

    I agree with others who have said the santana 22 is a great design.

    I also have to agree with others who have suggested that you find a boat whose current condition and inventory of gear closely matches your ultimate needs. I take great satisfaction from the work I have done, I enjoyed the work, and it was a way to spread the cost out, etc. etc. etc. - but the investment required to do it this way completely overwhelms the cost of buying an old boat in good condition and with adequate gear.

    If I figured my own labor as an expense, even at just minimum wage, and add that in to what I've spent, I could have bought three of the better santanas here in the SF bay area for the same total cost. - Or I could have had a nice one in 1/3 the time.

    I know this isn't what any hopeful shopper wants to hear, and I ignored the people that told me the same, but a cheap or free hull is not a bargain.

    good luck either way,
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