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Looking at a '79 O'Day (Weekender) Next Weekend

Discussion in 'Day Sailers' started by theluckyone17, Apr 15, 2018. Add this thread to a FAQ

  1. theluckyone17


    Joined Apr 13, 2018
    20 posts, 9 likes
    O'Day 19
    US Rexford, NY
    Short: I'm a new sailor, looking at a '79 O'Day Weekender next weekend. Anything beyond the obvious I should be looking for?

    Long: I've never sailed a day in my life, but I've built and paddled several skin on frame kayaks. Had given some serious thought to building a SoF dinghy, but a friend of a friend gave me a project: a 14' Force 5 dinghy that needs some fiberglass work on the hull & mast tube. Prior owner let water get into the tube, cracked it. Looks like enough water got into the interior to weigh the hull down good, since it damaged the fiberglass right at the lower bow roller. Still waiting for warm weather to get out and get it repaired.

    In the meanwhile, I had been doing some thinking about the next boat. Apparently, having three kayaks and a dinghy in the back yard isn't enough (with two more SoF kayak builds in progress, one for my mom and one for my neighbor). I'd like to have a boat big enough to take a couple friends out with (four person limit, three plus myself). Something to hang out on the lake for a day/afternoon, with an occasional camping trip overnight. Not sure my wife's keen on the concept of camping overnight so much... she tends to prefer cabins and the more civilized life. As a result, I don't have much need to bunk more than myself (and maybe my dog) overnight. Being able to trailer-sail it would be nice, too... Upstate NY has no shortage of lakes, and the Long Island Sound is just a couple hours of driving away, especially if I avoid the City and hit the CT shore instead.

    Had been looking at a Catalina 22, since it meets all the above criteria, has more than enough room to meet my needs, and there seems to be a lot of them 'round the country. That said, one of them would be too heavy to tow with my Subaru Baja (2,400 lbs tow capacity). Even an inexpensive Cat22 becomes quite a bit more pricey when I factor in having to replace the Baja with a pickup truck more capable of towing.

    Then I happened to find a relatively inexpensive '79 O'Day 19 for sale, about three hours away in the Adirondacks. Seller claims the hull and sails are in excellent condition. Trailer needs some TLC, and some paint at the least. One of the interior photos, showing the v-berth, might show some ice in the cabin. That worries me, what with the damage I'm dealing with on the dinghy, but none of the other pictures show any exterior damage to the hull. For the price, and the boat's proximity to the place I grew up, I don't mind taking a drive up there next weekend and taking a look at it. Even if the boat's a bust, I can still visit the area and call it a good trip. Assuming it hasn't got a load of ice sitting inside, it's within the towing capacity of the Baja. That said, I'll be keeping eye out on the way in to see it, taking note of any hills with curves.

    Anything out of the ordinary I ought to be looking for, during my inspection? The obvious bits ought to be obvious... condition of the stays, soft spots on the deck/hull, spider cracks in the gel coat, ice damage around the centerboard housing, etc. Scum line on the hull implies it's been sitting in the lake, as opposed to being stored dry on the trailer. The current owner (a Christian summer camp) never re-registered it (more on that later), implying that it hasn't had an outboard installed, though the mount looks clean enough in the photos. The asking price is low enough that I'm not going to be concerned about the lack of cushions in the photos, and I'm not expecting any of the weekending accouterments (head, etc) to be present. Can't imagine a summer camp on a land-locked lake would have much need for them, including the outboard. The included single axle trailer's going to need some TLC... peeling paint, surface rust evident in the photos, so I'll be giving that a good look over as well (tires, springs, hubs & bearings).

    I certainly don't mind much of a project boat, seein' as I'll be learning to sail on the dinghy before the O'Day hits the water (assuming I buy it). From what I've read, the boat's on the rare side with only 525 built. It's made it a bit difficult to find info on the interior, since the Mariner and later models keep showing up in my search results. I'm trying not to let the "it's a rare boat, rescue it!" cloud my judgement when I'm giving it the look over. To throw more drama into the equation... remember that bit about it not being registered by the current owner? The registration on the hull matches an online listing in Lake George from 2012. Sure would be nice to get it back to the area... and I might have a chance to reach out to the prior owner and hear its history. There's not much more tempting than a boat with a story behind it...

    Last edited: Apr 15, 2018
  2. Wood Jigger

    Wood Jigger

    Joined Sep 29, 2013
    21 posts, 1 likes
    Oday O'Day 19, O'Day 222
    US Casco Bay, Falmouth, ME
    I have an O'Day 19 that my wife and I sail on a small lake in Maine and a few excursions into Casco Bay. Like your situation, my wife has no interest in overnighting near a portapottie. We enjoy the boat and as we're getting less agile, really like the added stability of a boat with some ballast, and it stands up pretty well with two people in a blow with the main reefed. The cabin is a little larger than a two person backpacking tent, so one can easily overnight in it, and I have tried it out. The boat is a little faster than the Catalina 22 or O'day 222/22, but not by much. The main annoyance I have with the design is the cabin top. It doesn't slide forward out of the way, but must be lifted out and put down below. If it's not well secured, it will bounce from side to side on alternating tacks. Don't lose the top overboard, because a replacement will be hard to find. I usually leave my cabin top on the dock so I don't have to worry about it, but my lake is only about 2 miles long, so I can get back to cover it up well before any weather could surprise me. Overall we really enjoy the boat.
    I've owned many other sailboats including a Force 5, and they each have their thrills. You'll feel pretty hot as you blow by a larger boat in the Force 5 hiking out on a screaming reach. One day I did just that and looked at the crew in the O'Day 20 I was passing, and was feeling really good as I flew by, only to realize that they were all sipping Bloody Mary's while I was hanging on for the wild ride. It was then that I first realized that there is more than one way to have fun sailing.......

  3. 2taylorscotts


    Joined Jun 14, 2012
    23 posts, 3 likes
    oday 272LE
    US Lake Petenwell
    I'd vote for the C-22. It was designed to be hauled behind the family car, so towing is easy. They were sold door-to-door as they were made. It was my first sailboat, maybe 25 years ago. My son and I took it out on it's first run, neither of us had ever been on a boat under sail before. Over the years I was surprised at how many serious, senior sailors admitted to the C-22 being their first boat and reminisced about all the fun and places they'd been. It's called "The Volkswagen of the water". Catalina Direct can supply almost any part you need and everyone I ever talked to there was sailing one. Our wives must be related! The marina we berth in has bathrooms, showers, restaurant, bar and A/C power on the docks. I overnight-ed on the water, "we" overnight-ed at the marina with an electric coffee pot and a wok. The C-22 is like most sailboats, a reflection of what you want/need and how much you are willing to put into it . My wife eventually fell in love with an O'Day 272 and we are on our second. There are days when I'd love to have the C-22 just for giggles!

  4. theluckyone17


    Joined Apr 13, 2018
    20 posts, 9 likes
    O'Day 19
    US Rexford, NY
    Well, I picked up the O'day 19. For $750, it's just about what I expected. Pretty well neglected, with some bright spots and some rough spots and some ugly spots. Worst of it is a crack in the hull and corresponding soft spot, just over the end of one bunk; I'll be getting her off the trailer and onto blocks to cut out the fiberglass and make a repair. Starboard deck/hull is separating, which doesn't seem to be all that rare; knocking out as much of the old adhesive and squeezing some 3M 5200 up there, then clamping the joint should solve that. Some cosmetic fiberglass repairs needed in the cabin; one crack in the forward-most tub in the v-berth, plus a couple holes I've drilled in the fiberglass to get water out (more on that later). A block or two needs to be replaced. Mast looks good, standing rigging looks great, sails a little dirty and older. Missing the interior tub lids, cushions, etc. Bulkheads are just sorta roughed in... they don't fill the gap between the cabin and the underside of the cockpit. Hull's got a few spots where the gelcoat has been worn through. Trailer's not horrible, but I'm fairly sure it's been overloaded at some point. Frame's got a bit of a dip in the middle, both sides.

    I removed quite a bit of ice and water from the cabin before I towed her home. Drained more from her tonight, after drilling an access hole in the bottom of that tub. Got a wick in the hole and a fan blowing through the cabin through tomorrow night, 'til it's gonna rain.

    There's a hose missing between the cockpit drain and the transom drain. There was a cover over the cockpit in the winter, judging from the pictures, but it obviously let quite a bit of water into the cockpit, which subsequently drained into the bilge and cabin. Bet it weighed quite a bit... maybe enough to overload the trailer, and push the bunk up through the hull in the spot. I plan on getting her off the trailer and onto blocks, which will let me get to that crack and the worn gelcoat. Then I can tackle that deck/hull joint... then the interior. She'll take some work, but she'll float again.

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