1968 Spencer 44 Center Cockpit

The Spencer 44 Center Cockpit

Oh my goodness, what a cool boat! This boat is such a winner. It’s been in the same family since 1968 and has, what I like to call, excellent bone structure. If this boat were a model, she would photograph well. This is a boat that could last forever. It is roomy and comfortable, plus it has a really new engine. Actually, after being on Moonrise for so long, this boat felt more like a ship. To give you an idea of how much we liked the boat, I’ll tell you that we spent over an hour pouring over every nook and cranny, talking to the owner, asking plenty of questions.

One thing we noticed right away was that the rig would have to be redesigned. This boat’s main halyard is external to the mast and is original to the boat. The rigging looks tired. And it likely is.

The cockpit is very comfortable, and I could see the bow from a seated position at the helm, which was encouraging. I do like to see where I am going when steering the boat.

The layout is the usual center cockpit fore and aft cabins, with the salon in in the middle and a u shaped galley to port at the foot of the steps from the cockpit. The master cabin, while not ostentatious by any stretch, is generous enough and has clothing storage and a private head with a hand shower. There is an additional head next to the v berth, which is also generous in size, even though this boat is only slightly wider than Moonrise.

This is a dangerous boat because I found myself over looking its short comings by planning how to fix them. Like the fact that most of the ports do not open, and the hatch over the v berth is pretty crappy looking. In my mind, these things are already fixed. What would make an otherwise reasonable and analytical mind like mine have such visions? It’s the salon. I really, really loved the salon on this boat. It has almost 7 feet of headroom, which is nice, but what I really loved was the settees and the table, along with the cute little fireplace where they burn presto logs. It also has another source of cabin heat.

The charming little fireplace, which I love.

Now, before we go further, I want the reader to understand that the last time we bought a boat because of the charming heating element, said element ended up removed and sitting in our shed. BUT…we did get an awesome boat regardless. Also, I must admit it is unlikely that I would ever burn any wood product inside a boat. We have a nice wood burning fireplace in our family room at home and we almost never get to use it because it causes me to get upper respiratory problems.

No, the little fireplace notwithstanding, I had a vision of colorful, comfortable cushions creating a divan area that would be in constant use. The salon in this boat made my heart pitty pat a little bit.

So why haven’t we made an offer on it? I don’t know. Probably because we haven’t put Moonrise up for sale, and we can’t have two boats at once. Also, this is a LOT of boat. I think we’re a little afraid of getting in over our heads with this much boat. I know we could be comfortable living on a boat like this, but would we be comfortable sailing it? I know for sure that the boat would have to be completely re-rigged in order for me to be able to do much of anything in terms of raising and adjusting sails. I don’t want to depend on Mike to do that stuff. And how about slip fees, which only go up every year? And of course, there is the common wisdom that the cost of boats goes up exponentially with the size. We could probably do better to look at boats a little smaller, but, oh, that salon!

And did I mention that it had a refrigerator that opens from the front and has a secure door? Plus a freezer that is huge? Plus an engine room, and excellent dinghy with davots, a wide clear deck, a bullet proof hull, new electronics, drawers for full sized charts, a good sized sink, a graceful and easy entryway into the cabin, and many more amenities?

The cute dingy and davots.

And the asking price for this worthy vessel? $30,000. That’s right. We could invest another $30,000 and have a boat that would take us absolutely anywhere in the world. But it’s just that much too big. Rats. We’re probably insane.


17 thoughts on “1968 Spencer 44 Center Cockpit

    • That is wonderful! I am so glad someone is going to give this boat the attention it deserves. I do hope you will stay in touch occasionally and send photos of what you do to fix this boat up. It’s a worthy vessel! Best of luck to you with it.

      • We’re loving Mondo…been on it every week end and some week nights since we bought her….are planning our first big trip for Transpac 2014….can’t wait!

        Robin (John’s significant other)

        • It’s great to know this wonderful boat found a good home! She’ll be an excellent choice for the Transpac. Hope you will email photos of her sometime when you have her spiffed up.

          • Mondo update 2/19/2015: Mondo Mer lives near poulsbo now. New port lights are going in soon, and those dinghy davits are in tacoma getting refinished with powder coat. She got all new canvas with windows in 2013. Also, new batteries, full laundry, automatic dishwasher, engine driven salon heat (from waste engine heat).

            We found that closing her up tight with a dehumidifier running from shore power keeps her bone dry and comfy in all seasons.


            • How wonderful! We would love to see her again sometime. It’s so nice of you to update us with how it is going with that boat. Honestly, she is still one of the nicest boats we’ve ever looked at and she still holds the standard in my heart for a nice comfy niche for curling up in the main salon. I’ve been trying to figure out how to get that on Galapagos!

              • no, there is no backup steerage. We have given this some thought and it may be possible to produce an installable on need emergency tiller. we have produced some drawings but have not yet cut out any parts. the original hydraulic is by holley of the carburetor fame. also a second hydraulic ram for auto pilot may serve as backup helm.

  1. G — when I sailed on her in the mid 70’s it did not have an emergency steering, all hydraulic, which one time sprung a leak while we were racing Cloud 9 on Lake Washington, had to limp back to port, but that could have changed since then.

  2. So I thought I had answered this but my response does not apoear so here it is again.

    No back upsteerage, There are two possible backups that could be added: an emergency tiller shaft and arm or an autopilot or both. We have made a few changes like she now sports stainless port lights, a full laundry, dishwasher, upgraded radar, and new canvas. While the woodburner was cute, it was super smokey and dangerously hot, so in it’s place is a clean burning and safe diesel heater that runs silently all night in the main salon, Added smoke detectors some led lighting and an ice maker, replaced the refrigeration with a MUCH more energy efficient system and rebuilt the cold locker adding insulation. Next is a new bow pulpit, life line stantions, stern rail with solar panel array and dingy davits and a backup gen set, then just before we put to sea the watermaker and liferaft.

    • I still think that is one of the best boats we looked at. And reading this short review takes me back to remembering her salon, especially that starboard side settee. I think the main salon on that boat became the standard for me. We ended up with a boat about the same size, and with that same 7 feet of headroom. So very glad you got her and are enjoying and upgrading her!

  3. I still own Mondo Mer. During the last year she had both the fore and aft heads remodeled/replaced. Currently we are installing a 0.5kw solar panel array to power refrigeration which pulls 0.05kw and it will keep the batteries up also. All the New Found Metal portlights are installed. I found a seamstress willing, so the curtains are new now. Mondo Mer is in NE Bremerton at Brownsville these days.

    • We would love to see Mondo Mer and maybe we can do that one of these days. She is such a great boat and I still fondly remember that salon, which I failed to photograph. How do you like that marina? We are on the wait list at SwanTown and at Pleasant Harbor. We have no home yet and are trying to stay in the south sound or driveable from Olympia without getting on I-5.

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