I’ve been having an on-line love affair with Spencer boats ever since we saw that 1968 Spencer 44, Mondo Mer, up in Seattle a year ago. Fortunately, that boat was recently purchased by a couple who have contacted us and are loving that boat. Whew! That was a close one.
I always love the way these boats look ‘on paper’ with their roomy interior and fine sailing abilities. So I was excited to see this 44 foot 1976 Spencer 1330 that has been listed for sale up in Vancouver, BC for many moons. When our broker called to make arrangements for to see this boat, he said we were just in time because the owner was having it surveyed in order to donate it to charity. WHAT??? We felt we better hurry because it might just be a great boat and maybe we could get it for a pretty good price.
True to Pacific Northwest form, it was pouring down rain. Literally.
My first impression of this boat consisted of two things: first, very pretty lines. I always notice that. Second, it’s really big. But it had many things that interested us, including a very nice steel hard dodger that protects the cockpit from rain and sun. We appreciated that on the day we went looking. This boat has a center cockpit, which is something we think we would like because it gives you an aft cabin that can be mighty comfortable on some boats. There are lots of opinions about center cockpits but since we’ve only owned two boats, and both of them aft cockpits, we figure we could get used to it.
I also really like the idea of mast pulpits. I know there are many times I would appreciate them even on Moonrise. So having them out at sea would give me a feeling of security.
I also thought the hatch doors were interesting and seemed extra sturdy. I think I would like this set up but have no experience with it myself. I admit that the rain was coming down so much that we didn’t spend as much time outside as usual. So on to the living quarters.
I really loved the interior of this boat. Like the 1968 Spencer we looked at, this boat has an awesome layout that includes a versatile and comfortable salon. The full galley is to port at the base of the companionway, with a dining/chart table to starboard. Then you still get two decently sized settees and a good table in the main salon. What luxury that would be! The salon was a little dark due to the fact that there are no ports, only hatches. But lighting can be added.
The galley was well equipped and had ample storage. Everything appeared to be in good shape.
The v berth in this boat was adequate and there is a full head for that cabin. There is a good hanging locker close to this berth and additional storage in the cabin. Storage is definitely NOT an afterthought in this boat.
The passage to the aft cabin has good headroom, meaning you don’t have to crouch down and shimmy through to that cabin. There is also incredible storage all along the hull in that passageway. Engine access, which is basically an engine room, can be had here, and is also available through a door in the aft cabin. The idea of having an engine room fills my heart with joy for my husband’s sake.
The aft cabin in this boat (which is also accessible from the cockpit through its own companionway) is pretty nice. Yes, I would prefer the ‘centerline queen’ berth that some people say so scornfully when talking about the recent spate of condo-type boats. But that’s because I like my sleep and don’t want to have to crawl over Mike, or vice versa, to visit the head in the middle of the night. Generally more than once. But that would not deter me from this boat. We could live with it the way it is.
Both of the heads in this boat are large enough to be comfortable and have plenty of storage.
The interior of this boat is in very nice condition. Frankly, I cannot understand why this boat has not been sold but I wonder if its very size might have something to do with it. It’s only speculation, of course, but the only reason we walked away from this boat knowing we would not make an offer is because it is just too much boat for us. It’s really huge, which is why the accommodations are so great. There is plenty of room inside to do everything well. It is possible, though, that getting moorage for this boat in the Vancouver area might be a problem. Another boat owner we talked to there said there is a waiting list for slips in Vancouver.
Also, while this boat would be very comfortable, I kept thinking about how much we like sailing in our Puget Sound area and how much more trouble it would be to take out a boat this big. There are a lot of big boats in our marina, and they rarely leave the dock. I also thought again about how I would handle a boat like this if Mike were incapacitated for any reason. I want to be as self sufficient as possible when we do our voyage. The very last thing I would feel good about doing would be to call for help because Mike was sick and I couldn’t handle the boat by myself. It makes me shudder to even think of it.
In addition to that, anything that went wrong on a boat this size would cost us a fortune and while everything looked good on the outside, I haven’t seen the survey for this boat so I have no idea if expensive repairs would be needed. I’m not sure we can really afford to keep a boat like this in good condition without compromising our retirement, and we can’t do that. I kept seeing dollar signs everywhere I looked. We’d have to get a mighty good price on a boat like this in order for it to pencil out.
Still, I am delighted we looked at it because it’s only by looking that a person can be sure of those kinds of things, and now I won’t bother to look at boats this big, even if I do like them. Every time we look at another boat, we learn something about what we want. So this crossed these worthy, but large, Spencers off of our short list.