• Mobile App For Android Now Online!

    Download it here. The app is searchable in the Google Play Store under Sailboat Owners.

    Sorry iPhone/iPad users, we are still waiting on Apple. :(

    Click the X in the upper right corner to make this go away

Considering an Ericson Independence 31

Jan 25, 2017
143
Macgregor V222 Kentucky Lake
Greetings Ericson Owners - I'm considering an Ericson Independence 31as a potential cruising sailboat. I'll give a bit of background and what we expect from our next boat... or as we refer to it, the "big boat." We are currently sailing a Venture 222 that we lovingly restored over two years. It's my third or forth "rehab" and while she turned out great! I documented the entire process here in the MacGregor Owners forum - Titled "and so it begins." As s in most sailboat projects, we spent way more than S/V Sea Gypsy will ever be worth, but that goes without saying (we don't do this for money). We love her, she sails easily and we can trailer her anywhere. She has been a good "learner" for my partner and co-captain Molly. We have logged many hours since completing her last year, including a five-day cruise in Perdido Bay.

As we sail and consider our future plans both Molly and I agree we would like to eventually buy a larger boat for part-time cruising. We are located in Louisville, Kentucky and sail on Kentucky Lake, Lake Barkley, the Ohio River and a number of large lakes in our area. The eventually cruising sailboat will likely stay in West Kentucky as it's some of the best inland sailing around. It's also located on the ICW, so after some years of weekend sailing, upgrades and lessons the idea would be to head down the ICW and well who knows... the Bahamas, The Keys... your typical "part time cruising couple."

I've looked at a number of potential cruising sailboats (to be honest, I'm always looking but don't tell work). I've researched many and of course I know the challenges and pitfalls of older production sailboats. We considered a Hunter Cherubini 30, We have looked at New Ports, Catalinas etc... I've gotten a earful on the differences between a production cruiser and a true "blue water" boat. I get it, I've seen the difference and understand why a Hunter or Catalina may not be a good choice. We obviously are on a modest budget and that's why we of course where drawn to production cruisers. And to be honest, some of them might fight the bill if equipped right. We won't be doing long offshore passages (Ft. Lauderdale to Bimini would be the longest passage we would ever consider and we would do it during a favorable weather window. I've been sailing since I was a young boy and consider myself a capable sailer and am aware of the dangers when inexperienced sailors push boats into situations they where not designed for (i.e. I recently read the accounts of someone trying to make it to the Bahamas in a Mac 26 yes they made it... but it wasn't pretty or wise).

All that being said, I love the classic lines of the EI31. I've always been a traditional sailor and love a classic. We found one near one of our cruising spots on Kentucky Lake. The price is right (Dropped from 25K to 9K) so they have my attention. It also an indication of how "soft" the used sailboat market is, especially for boats of this vintage.

She is a 1978 and appears to be in overall good condition though I can't speak to that until we visit early next month. I'm looking for some overall input from sailors who have sailed the EI31. I hear good things. She is the sloop rigged version I think. If this prompts some discussion I'll post some pictures. If I don't move on her maybe someone her will. Seems like there are fewer than 75 of these classics around.

Last question - Does the EI31 have a shower? I see she has 35 gallons of fresh water but, no mention of a shower. If there are any other got ya's I'd love to know them. I heard they have an issue with their compression posts and maybe some deck/core issues. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

We would like to sail her locally and upgrade equipment as we go - before we head out and become part time cruisers (that timeline is still up in the air as we both work and may continue to work for the next 7 to 10 years who knows). I've seen these go for 20 plus K upgraded. Is she a decent project. Will she hold some value if we upgrade. Thanks in advance!

Far Winds
Todd
 
Oct 19, 2017
5,213
O'Day 19 Littleton, NH
You have probably already read this article.
Classic Plastic Sailboat Review: Ericson Cruising 31
They sound like a good choice for the cruising you describe. With a 4' 11" draft, they would sail comfortably in the ICW and if they are currently selling between $30,000 - $50,000 now, a well maintained and up-to-date Ericson 31 will probably continue to sell for that price.

Good fortune and fresh wind on your cruising adventures.

-Will (Dragonfly)
 
  • Like
Likes: Todd Atchison
Jan 25, 2017
143
Macgregor V222 Kentucky Lake
Good to hear from you Dragonfly, It's always a pleasure. Yes I have indeed read that article but appreciate your input whenever and wherever you want to add it. I've been busy sailing all summer some my visits to the forum "tail off" as the season gets going. Alas with a nip in the air my mind turns to the day we can cast off for an extended cruise. You no doubt remember my description of what we where looking for in a boat... doesn't have to happen tomorrow (we currently have our V222, a Hobie 16 and Multiple Sunfish to keep our addiction fed). But, extended cruising in the Bahamas or The Keys say four months out of the year is an "end game" goal.

We have learned from our 22 foot Venture that we need a head, and standing headroom. A shower will be crucial also. The EI31 seems to carry 45 Gallons of fresh water so I can't see it not having at least a hand held shower with a draining head. With her capacity, I guess one could always ad something. The Ericson's have a good reputation from what I can read and loyal following. I hear a great deal about the Cutter Vs. Sloop versions the sloop being called the Ericson 31 Cruiser. There are some slight differences in the accommodations but, I would be interested in getting your take on the difference between the two. Here is a link to the boat I'm currently evaluating. Ericson Independence 31.

Of course I know you can't tell a lot from a picture. But, you were the one that spotted the leaks around the mast on that Hunter Cherubini just from the presence of "Life Caulk" around the base on deck. That lead to a real close inspection and well... let's just say lead to the decision that she wasn't the boat for us. Though I still love the Cherubini lines... and the Ericson has the classic lines. The seem to be built well according to everything I've read and Bruce King has a great reputation as you know. I guess my over arching question is does she serve as the right "platform" to build on. I think you know what I mean by that. Some boats will be worth what they are worth no matter what you do. Others will appreciate because they are known to be seaworthy and solid. And I again, I stress I will never, ever, ever, ever consider a sailboat an investment (well maybe an investment in my sanity) but, not financial! Those who do are in it for the wrong reasons and fools. All boats cost money to buy, maintain and store or dock. It's the "cost of entry." The only reason I bring it up is to say, you want a boat that will hold it's value or even appreciate slightly with upgrades, if only for banking purposes. i.e. if you want to add radar some day it's nice to have the option to use a bit of your boats value to get a loan for 3k instead of hitting your savings... just saying. And in the event we had to sell... well you get it.

The truth is we will probably kiss some frogs before we set sail for good.

Fair Winds...
 
  • Like
Likes: Will Gilmore
Jul 7, 2004
6,012
Hunter 30T Cheney, KS
I can't help but I can Google -
 
Jan 25, 2017
143
Macgregor V222 Kentucky Lake
Thanks Justin... I have in fact, read this thread. I guess I'm looking for more experience based advise or suggestions. It would be great to hear from someone who live aboard one or did some extend cruising.
 
Jun 14, 2008
6,750
Hunter Legend 40.5 Long Beach, Shoreline Marina, CA
Coincidentally, I just talked to a Mexican guy who has a beautiful 31. He has sailed it all the way down the Baja coast and back as well as to the US and back. I think he told me it was one of 70+ built. Really a pretty boat. I think you could do a lot worse. $9K? Sounds like a super bargain unless there is something terribly bad with it.
 
Jan 25, 2017
143
Macgregor V222 Kentucky Lake
I just talked to the broker and he has a contract pending on it! That's the way it goes... but, I've learned a lot about the Ericson's and will put them on my list! Thanks everyone. I told the broker to let me know if the deal falls through. I agree $9k from $25K someone got a deal.
 
Jul 7, 2004
6,012
Hunter 30T Cheney, KS
I just talked to the broker and he has a contract pending on it! That's the way it goes... but, I've learned a lot about the Ericson's and will put them on my list! Thanks everyone. I told the broker to let me know if the deal falls through. I agree $9k from $25K someone got a deal.
It it's anything like home contracts; if there is a contingency on the pending contract, a new cash offer requires the pending contract party to "$hit or get off the pot". We lost a purchase because we didn't want to get stuck with two houses.