1988 O'Day 40' a blue water cruiser?

Jan 10, 2015
ODay 40 MS
We are new to sailing. We are looking at a 1988 O'Day 40'. It comes fully loaded with water maker, wind generator, solar panels, electronics. I've read that O'Day was made by same builder who made Jeanneau but heard the O'Day wasn't a blue water cruiser. We are looking to sail to the Bahamas, Caribbean, the Mediterranean, and who knows where else. So my question is the O'Day a safe blue water cruiser? Thank you for any info/advice.
Sep 23, 2009
O'Day 34-At Last Rock Hall, Md
Do a search here as this has been discussed at length before. Quick answer; O'Days are great safe coastal cruisers but were not meant to be blue water cruisers and have been rarely used as such.
Nov 9, 2012
Oday 192 Lake Nockamixon
You may also want to do some searching on the interwebs to see which boats are well regarded blue water cruisers.

Some people have got O'days over to the islands, and I know of a West Wight Potter 19 sailed from the West Coast to Hawaii, but from everything I have read, I don't think you'd want to take an O'day all around the world, with ocean crossings, etc.

There are some boats that can be upgraded into reasonable cruisers, but again, you'd want to do some serious research into that.
Nov 5, 2010
Oday 23 Stonington, CT
It is most important to inspect the keel - shoe joint and condition. There should be no movement.


Jun 7, 2004
Oday 272LE Ninnescah Yacht Club, Wichita, Ks.
I'm uncertain as to the definition of a "blue-water cruiser". Would I cross an ocean on one? The answer would be no...but I'm not sure what I would cross an ocean on...would I sail it from Miami to
Tortola...probably yes...or as least as likely to do that as on most other boats built by Beneteau, Tartan, Hunter, Catalina, etc. 40 footer to me is a large boat...having sailed on Beneteaus, Bavaria's, etc. in the BVI & sailing/motoring thru some pretty big storms, etc. I think the O'Day 40 could be safe assuming the 35 yr. old O'Day had been maintained well. A poorly maintained 'anything' would have trouble crossing an ocean....
Nov 29, 2014
O’day 40 UK
Well we just bought a 1986 O'Day 40 and planing to do some cruising including to do some Atlantic passages. So I hope this is more than capable :)
There is tons of info from people cruising on it. Maybe it's not par with a Tartan, but than its a fraction of the cost. Well that's the way we see it. Good luck. :)
Sep 11, 2018
O'Day 40 Titusville
I know this post is a bit dated, but as a O'Day 40 owner I thought I'd chime in for anyone who stumbles across it.

I view the O'Day 40 as a "Coastal Cruiser with ambition".

It isn't built as robustly as many 'blue water' boats, but it is built well enough and certainly handles well.
Mine has spent time in the Caribbean and, if the tales are true, has been to Hawaii with a previous owner.

I also know of another O'Day 40 that has been all over the Caribbeans and Gulf of Mexico.

The O'Day 39/40 is based on a Jeanneau design and was made under license.

The O'Day 39/40 is also featured in the book "Bluewater Sailing on a Budget(2014)" by James Elfers.

The chapter on the O'Day 39/40 starts thus:

"For whatever reason, perhaps because the name O’Day was associated with smaller “day” sailors, the largest boat in their production history is almost never mentioned by the experts as being cruise-worthy. The accompanying photo, however, was taken after thousands of miles of bluewater cruising by Jeremy Alinson in his O’Day 39 Forever Young. He happened to be buddy boating with Fatty Goodlander on his well-traveled Wild Card, and Fatty snapped this great photo hundreds of miles off the coast of Madagascar. Not bad for a “day” sailing boat."
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Mar 24, 2012
O'Day 40 BC Coast
The O'Day 40, as built, is certainly capable of sailing anywhere any similar sized plastic boat can. As built is the problem, they're getting old.
Given their age I think you'd need to redo the tabbing. It may look ok but will probably have come loose from the hull. This is the same for all GRP boats more than a few years old. Doesn't matter for coastal cruising but might on a Pacific crossing.
You'd need to be sure the balsa core is dry. Since the hull portlights are set into core, they probably need to have some core replaced and be properly re-bedded.
Sep 24, 2018
O'Day 25 Chicago
The O'Day daysailor brochure from the 70's (19-25'?) brags about using the newest technology to seal deck fittings... Silicone! As an O'Day 25 owner I can safely say that everything on my 78 will need to be rebedded. I'd check to see the condition and materials used if they have been rebedded
Mar 24, 2012
O'Day 40 BC Coast
I haven't seen any silicone on my boat except the original portlights. Silicone was marked right on the frame as the correct sealant.
Everything else seemed to be polysulfide of some sort.
I've replaced the portlights with New Found Metal cast stainless bedded in butyl tape as per Maine Sail.
I'm gradually re bedding everything with butyl .
It appears they cut corners when they moved the hull portlights from where they were on the 39. The hull and liner come together to allow for a no leak seal without core, but not where the windows are on the 40. :banghead:
I had to replace about 8-12 inches of core below all 4.