Today we looked at S/V Spellbound, a Westerly 39 docked up in Blaine, WA. I’ve been waiting for months to view this boat and am surprised it is still on the market.
What it has going for it: the perfect size. It’s a stout boat, and a center cockpit. The deck layout is great. The wheel is positioned where I can sit on the top of the rear cabin comfortably, hold onto the steering wheel, and still see where I am going. You might think this is obvious but it is not. It has a full dodger and bimini, which is nice. There is a great cockpit table and cockpit seats are long enough to be comfortable. The traveler is mounted aft of the helmsman, making it easy to adjust the mainsail from the helm, and putting the traveler at the end of the boom where it can do the most good. The primary winches are large (but only single speed, alas). It has a decent sized anchor windlass. The deck is covered with non-skid and it’s in decent shape.
One of the cockpit seats opens up to a very deep lazarette, which is great for storage. Mike tested out the square footage.
On the inside, the layout is just about perfect. It has a reasonable galley, u-shaped, with cabinet space and a large enough fridge/freezer. There are double, deep sinks, and even a built in microwave. That’s a bonus since I don’t really care much about that.
The settees are nice enough and the back of each settee can be removed, enlarging the available space for laying down. If I wanted a deeper settee on one side, I could probably arrange it. There is storage space above and below the settees.
Across from the galley there is a full sized navigation table, with storage. It is easy to sit at this desk, unlike some we’ve seen. Aft of the nav station there are sea berths, which could be left as-is, or that area would be a good place for a small workshop. The engine access is in that area.
The main cabin, all the way aft, is large enough to be comfortable and has storage in the form of cabinets and a hanging locker. It’s a versatile space, and has plenty of light as well as decent head room. There is a full head off this cabin.
This boat also has a good sized v-berth cabin, with it’s own head and plenty of storage.
So what is the problem with this boat? (See update below, 11/2012) Well, there may not be one. At least not a serious one. We are not sure. There is definitely a bad leak in the forward head, and there is significant water damage to the wood trim in that room. It may be coming from a crack in the deck at the base of the forestay. That would have to be looked at seriously. I am concerned the forestay was tightened too much, putting stress on the deck of the boat. There are some electrical problems, and the bilges have a lot of water. There is water standing in the engine compartment as well. However, that is what a good survey is for. Mike is concerned about the stanchions. They are all aluminum, and several are cracked. They probably need to be replaced with $tainless $teel. He also is concerned about the pulpit, which he says wiggles when it should not. All of the glass in the ports and the hatches needs to be replaced. All of the running rigging is worn. So there will be some work that will have to go into this boat, for sure. And it’s more than cosmetic.
I wish this boat was a cutter rig, but it’s not a deal breaker. It has everything else we want, almost. It’s probably a little sluggish in light air, and that’s a concern, but we might be able to overcome that a little with the right sail plan.
Smaller issues include replacing all the cushions (although that could wait, they are in pretty good shape), and putting a stove in. There is currently only a stove top propane burner installed. It needs a good stove/oven combo, so lay down $1000 right off the bat. The heads are a little weird with the ‘flushing’ mechanism located well above the actual head. That’s a little counter intuitive, but I guess it must work. The holding tanks are metal. Mike doesn’t like that because of corrosion. We’d likely replace them. These are all things we’re prepared for, as we’re looking at older boats. It comes with the territory.
At the end of the day, we like this boat. We like the look of it, the way it is laid out, and the feel of it. We like the interior and think it would be a comfortable fit for us. If it’s still for sale when Moonrise finds another home, it will be on our short list for sure.
Update on this boat November 3, 2012. We traveled north to look at this vessel again, thinking we may be ready to place a bid on it. It has now been sitting for months and the rainy season is upon us. What a difference some rain makes.
Apparently this boat leaks like a sieve, and from several places. The cushions on the settees in the salon are ruined, soaked through. You can see in the above photo, though a poor photo it is, that the wood above the cushion is getting moldy and is wet. In every cabin in this boat there are wet cushions, which is a darn shame because if not for this they would not have needed replacing immediately. Now they do.
Also I had mentioned originally that I was concerned about the babystay on the foredeck, thinking it may have been over-tightened and compromised the deck. Apparently that was correct. When we decided to look at this boat again, I did some research and found this blog that shows this same issue on another Westerly Sealord. In that article, scroll down to the middle to the part about the babystay and take a look at the photo showing a gap at the bulkhead at the bottom. Apparently an overly tightened babystay pulled his deck and bulkhead upward because the bulkhead was not attached well enough to the hull. It appears that this Sealord has the same problem. Of course, a surveyor would have to determine this for sure, but I’d be hard pressed to think that gap is being caused by any other problem, especially since this other blog shows exactly the same thing and also details how the owner fixed the problem.
This is still a great boat, and I really do like it. It breaks my heart that this boat has been left to languish at the dock, slowly getting ruined from water leaking in so many locations. How hard is it to put a tarp over the boom and protect such an investment? What looked like a reasonable prospect in the spring is now looking like a project boat. And that’s a shame. I’d like to say that we walked away from this boat thinking we should make an offer anyhow. I’m sure our broker wished that, too. But we are sitting on it for awhile.