Why I Bought the Ericson 25, Part IV

Having three read three books on the subject of small sailboats, and having conducted many months worth of research over the course of the spring and summer of 2009 in my hunt to find the best trailerable sailboat for coastal cruising (as I have defined it numerous times in this series of postings), I had at last identified what I thought was the best boat for me - the O'Day 25 - and, having identified that boat as the right one, and having found one for sale in Oriental, North Carolina, I decided to make a phone call about this particular boat to arrange a time at which I might make a weekend trip up the coast from Charleston, South Carolina to see it.
The Carolinas, with US Highway 17 stretching along the coast
Oriental and the Pamlico Sound, with the southern portion of the Outer Banks lower right
The owner of this O'Day 25 had listed the boat with a local yacht brokerage in Oriental, so it was not the owner, but the broker who picked up the phone when I made this call. With muted anticipation and excitement, I calmly asked the broker if the O'Day 25 still happened to be on the market. The broker herself responded calmly and even lethargically that this boat was in fact still on the market. With more pep and enthusiasm, though, she quickly added that she had just listed an Ericson 25 that would also be suitable to my interests as I had defined them to her over the phone. I told her that I had conducted many months of research, and I had never heard anything about Ericson sailboats. I asked her what the price of this particular Ericson 25 was, and I found out that it was a good bit more than the O'Day 25, but still within my price range. Nevertheless, when I heard this, my first thought was that she was just trying to steer me toward this Ericson because it cost more money. She continued to talk about this Ericson, and soon the conversation started to have that bait-and-switch feel to it, since I was beginning to allow myself to listen to her description of this Ericson. Damn it, I thought to myself, I made this phone call to find out more information about the boat I want - the O'Day 25 - not the more expensive boat I've never heard of, the Ericson 25. 
The O'Day 25 I had found online in Oriental, North Carolina
Beginning to bristle with a calm frustration, I shifted the conversation away from the Ericson and back to the object of my research - the O'Day. It just wasn't my day though. Something came up, and I had to cut short my call. After I hung up, I was even more miffed that I would have to give this broker a call back the next work day to find out more information about this O'Day 25 after she'd wasted my time with her digressions on the Ericson 25. 

So there I was, one day later, again near the end of the work day, when I picked up the phone and called this same broker to get that information I needed about the O'Day 25, and damn it if she didn't start talking about that Ericson again. After I got her back on topic and had found out everything I needed to know about the O'Day, I said to her that I liked what I had heard and I really wanted to come take a look at the boat the following weekend. She said that wouldn't be a problem. She said, though, that if I was going to take the time and money to make the six hour drive from Charleston to Oriental, I might as well check out the Ericson while I was up there. Her argument did make some sense to me, so I grudgingly agreed, and with that our second conversation came to an end.

It was only at this point, after I had agreed to look at a boat that I had never heard of, or cared anything about, that I began to hunt around for some more information about the Ericson 25.

The first thing I did was check out a picture of the Ericson 25 that was listed with this particular broker. Admittedly, it wasn't a bad looking boat.
The picture in the ad for the Ericson 25 was similar to this one, which I took in Sept 2009 at the time of the survey
Next, I took a look at www.sailboatdata.com to see what I could discover about this Ericson 25 in terms of its size. I had used this website quite a bit in my online research, and I found it helpful for its succinct presentation of data. I always had to look elsewhere, however, for more details. At any rate, when I looked on Sailboat Data, I was surprised to discover that the O'Day 25, which I had thought was the heaviest trailerable boat in its day (in the 1970s and 80s) was not as stout as this boat (which was also manufactured in the 1970s). After all, the original promotional literature (much of which I included in Part III of this posting), indicated that this was the case. The O'Day 25, as I discovered, however, had 1,825 lbs of ballast and displaced 4,807 lbs, whereas the Ericson 25 had 2,500 lbs of ballast with a displacement of 5,400 lbs. In other words, the Ericson 25 had almost 700 more pounds of lead at the bottom of her hull. The O'Day Company manufactured their boat in Costa Mesa, California beginning in 1975. Ericson Yachts, also located in Costa Mesa, had been manufacturing the Ericson 25 since at least 1973. Unless the O'Day Company was ignorant of their neighboring competitor's boat, they were not really being straightforward with the consumer now were they?
One of the ads by the O'Day Company that said the O'Day 25 was the largest trailerable cruiser on the market
The diagram below that I discovered on Sailboat Data indicated that the location of this 2,500 lbs worth of lead on the Ericson 25 was in the belly of the boat, on either side of the centerboard trunk. The dotted lines indicated the profile of the fixed-keel version of the boat, which I eventually discovered was far less common than the centerboard version, apparently because the CB version was geared toward the niche market for trailerable cruisers.
Finding this information about the 2,500 lbs of ballast and the displacement of 5,400 lbs really got me thinking about this Ericson 25. After all, I had recently been smitten by those full-keel, heavy-displacement boats that I had spent so much time researching - you know, the Cape Dory 25D, the Pacific Seacraft 25, the Contessa 26, the Pearson Ariel 26, the Bristol 27, and the Albin Vega 27, all of which were reasonably affordable, and all of which had ballast and displacement figures similar to the Ericson 25.
Cape Dory 25D
Pacific Seacraft 25
Contessa 26
Pearson Ariel 26
Bristol 27
Albin Vega 27
After a little more searching, I discovered that there was a website devoted exclusively to Ericson Yachts (www.ericsonyachts.com). Unlike quite a few other websites I had encountered during my lengthy search, this one was not only polished and professional looking, but it was also quite active with owners who enthusiastically aided each other with one problem or the next they might be encountering on their particular Ericson. Sure, there were other active forums out there for other brands of old boats, but I was struck by the overall quality of the website and the earnestness of its members. Within this website, I also discovered that there was a section for the original documentation of the different boats in the Ericson line, including the Ericson 25. I really wanted to see these documents, and since I couldn't access them without becoming a member of the forum, I created an account. Of the handful of documents that I found, the one that was most interesting to me at this time was the original promotional brochure.

The first page immediately caught my attention. Ericson Yachts had deliberately depicted this boat sitting on a trailer. Moreover, in the caption beneath this picture, they had characterized the boat as a trailerable cruiser - one that could be launched at a boat ramp.
The second page of this brochure also attracted my attention. Here was a nice shot of an Ericson 25 under sail, just off the coast of what appeared to be Southern California.
The lines of this boat under sail were also an eye-catcher.
Page three of the promo brochure had the original colored versions of the black-and-white copies that I had earlier found on Sailboat Data. It helped to see these originals.
The location of the 2,500 lbs of lead ballast was clearly indicated, and it was easy to see that the centerboard was designed as a "hydrodynamic" component to improve the sailing performance of the boat.
The second color drawing on this page of the brochure was helpful, because it reinforced some of what I had read in the online advertisement for the Ericson 25 in North Carolina. The ad said that the boat had a fully enclosed head. This drawing depicted the head in this manner. Likewise, the ad emphasized that this boat had a stove, a sink, and an ice box. Here they were in this drawing.
The fourth page of the brochure reinforced the message of the cover page - this boat was designed as a trailerable cruiser, one that you could tow cross-country if you wished.
It was at this point that the text of this promotional brochure began. Once again the emphasis was on the trailerable and cruisable qualities of the boat. Additionally, space was given to the designer of the boat - Bruce King - and to the testing of the design at the Stevens Institute. This had been emphasized on the cover as well.
My eyes were also drawn to the following sentence: "With nearly half of her 5,400-lb displacement below her cabin sole, she is more stable than many fixed-keel boats." Clearly it would be better for the 2,500 lbs of lead to be farther below the cabin sole, within a fixed-keel, rather than within the belly of the boat. Nevertheless, they seemed to have a point. The lead in the belly was not in short supply.
Some of the other pieces of information were intriguing as well - the transom cut-out for the motor and the mast-stepping system. It sounded like they'd put some thought and effort into this boat.
In the pages of the promotional brochure that followed there were a variety of pictures. Some emphasized the interior qualities of the boat, some the sailing qualities, and others the qualities associated with trailering and trailer-launching.

The pictures of the interior were worth a chuckle or two. This was the 1970s, and when it came to fabric, plaid was the name of the game. Carpet? Better have shag! And if you're going to splurge on that top-of-the-line shag, why not make it deep red while you're at it? The bowls and throw-pillows carefully arranged - that sure will make the Admiral beg her hubby to break out the check book and sign on the dotted line! I guess that's what the marketing people had in mind.
Seriously, though, this sort of styling was common in all sorts of boats of this era, even in those full-keel, heavy-displacement boats that I had been attracted to. I really haven't dwelt on this subject in my previous postings, simply because it's a distraction. Some of shots of the cabins of those boats that I included in Part II of this posting were simply upgraded, refitted versions. If you want that classic, yachty interior in a boat that was manufactured in the 1960s or 70s, you really need to trash the old upholstery and replace it was a solid color, like navy blue.

Now back to the main subject - the interior. Here's what the promotional brochure had to say about it:
I liked what I read above about galley and about the sleeping arrangements. I also liked what I read below about the use of mahogany for trim. This was indeed a posh detail that the O'Day 25 lacked, at least in the pictures I had seen of that boat. 
The pictures they included on these pages of the galley were just as funky as the first one (above) of the main salon and V-berth. Note the absence of a stove in this picture. As I would later discover, some E25s did not have them. The one that was advertised in North Carolina did.
The fondue pot and the big, top-heavy candle - how long would these items stay in place, even at anchor? Better not take your eye off that ashtray on top of the table, otherwise you'd be tapping the butt of your Lucky Strike into the top of that beautiful Formica.
After I got past the groovy red slacks on the guy on the cabin trunk, I enjoyed the pictures of the Ericson 25 sailing offshore with the spinnaker.

Moving on to other subjects, I was amused by one of the pictures that showed what appeared to be an Oldsmobile or Cadillac towing an Ericson 25 down a country road. Now I can assure you that family sedans of this sort had many horses under the hood back in those days. My first car was a well-used 1972 Delta 88 Royale, and though it wasn't marketed as a muscle car, it damn sure felt like one. Nevertheless, I can't imagine that a car like this could tow a boat like the Ericson 25 any farther than a skip and a jump from the driveway to the boat ramp without doing some damage to the transmission. To me, this was misleading, especially if the boat was being sold as a cross-country cruiser.
I was more encouraged by the next shot of this same Ericson 25 at the boat-ramp. It was nice to see that the mast could be easily stepped. This picture also provided a nice profile of the boat. I really liked the graceful lines of the hull and that classic styling typical of the full-keel, heavy-displacement boats that I had spent so much time admiring.
The architectural drawing that was included in the promotional brochure emphasized even more thoroughly the beautiful lines of this classic hull shape that Bruce King had subtly adapted for trailerable (and trailer-launching) purposes.
All of this information about the Ericson 25 had certainly piqued my curiosity, but I remained skeptical, and as I drove north, up the coast from Charleston to Oriental, I still had it in my mind that a full investigation of the O'Day 25 was the object of my visit.

By pre-arrangement, the broker had decided that it would be better to visit the Ericson 25 first and the O'Day25 second. The Ericson 25, she said, was at a private dock, and a morning visit was suitable for the owner's schedule. The broker and I met at an abandoned gas station on a two-lane road. There, I climbed into her car, and we drove down a series of dirt roads through the woods until we arrived at the owner's house. It was well off the beaten path, but it sat on the water, and that made all the difference. At any rate, after we arrived, we walked down to the dock. It was a beautiful morning, and my first impression of the boat, with the blue sky and the miles of salt water behind her, was that she was a good-looking gal, even without her make-up (her blue roller-furling jib and blue mainsail cover were not on the boat at this time).
Here's the way she looked when I returned a few weeks later in September 2009 for the survey - a bit more stylish, as in her online ad that had caught my attention in August.
At any rate, my first impression of this Ericson 25, as I drew closer to her during my first visit in August 2009, was that she was a sturdy, well-built boat.
 Her deck appeared to be in good condition amidships.
Likewise, her forward deck and cabin trunk looked to be well-maintained. The sandy-colored non-skid and the red stripe made this boat look very similar to the drawing of the Ericson 25 in the promotional brochure I had studied prior to my visit.
Yes, the similarities were striking.
Once I had stepped aboard and gotten to walk around the deck, I looked up and took a few pictures of the mast. I've included this picture below (which I actually took during my second visit), because it is the best of the several pictures that I captured. The mast seemed to be of substantial strength and size. 

Just before I made this first visit, I had asked a fellow in my neighborhood to take a look at the online ad for this boat. This fellow, named Jamie, had spent a portion of his youth on his parents' cruising sailboat, and he had later assisted them, as a young adult, with their trans-Atlantic crossings to (and from) Europe. Jamie was familiar with the Ericson name, and he told me that they had better reputations than the O'Days. As far as this particular Ericson was concerned, he thought this boat's mast and spreaders had been modified for long-distance cruising. He pointed out the sturdy mast steps and also the large spotlights that had been installed beneath the spreaders. 
The interior of this Ericson 25 was much more attractive than the one depicted in the promotional brochure - no red shag carpet and overbearing, funky plaid designs. Let's talk, though, about the characteristics that all Ericson 25s share, regardless of their original carpet and upholstery from the 1970s. One thing that Ericson did right, in terms of decorative touches, was to use a traditional wood in generous quantities throughout the boat. I'm talking here about ribbon-stripe mahogany. In the main salon there are the mahogany bulkheads, the mahogany handrails (above the settees), and the mahogany panels on the alcove boxes, just beneath the portlights. Another thing that Ericson did right, in terms of appearances, was to include a fiberglass hull-liner. The contrast between the dark, natural colors of the ribbon-stripe mahogany and the white of the hull-liner give the interior of the Ericon 25 that classic styling that to me is reminiscent of the styling associated with the Herreshoff family in Bristol, Rhode Island - the ones from the early days of recreational wooden-yacht construction in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. Tear out the shag carpet and replace the plaid upholstery with a solid color such as navy, and that classic styling is even more pronounced.
Since we're on the subject, let's digress for a moment to take a look at the main salon of an actual Herreshoff wooden boat. Read a sailing magazine and you'll encounter the phrase, "Herreshoff styling," but usually you'll never see a real example. During one of our big family camping trips (two of which were up the East Coast to New England), we paid a visit to the Herreshoff Musuem in Bristol. If your ever in the area, I highly recommend it. From the standpoint of most boat owners, who for many decades have sailed in fiberglass vessels as opposed to wooden ones, it allows you to see how our boats evolved from these early wooden designs.
It also allows you to see how the interior styling that the Herreshoff family used in their boats influenced what  later fiberglass boat builders would think of as classic styling. The picture below that I snapped during our self-guided tour is a great example. Here, in the main salon, we see an abundance of white paint, generous portions of varnished trim pieces, and navy upholstery. The Herreshoffs painted their bulkheads white, and in this regard the Ericson 25 (like many other fiberglass boats from the 1960s and 70s), with its mahogany bulkheads is not true to style. Nevertheless, we can rightly say that the elements are present, yet differently arranged.
Now back to our story.

The main salon of this Ericson 25 that I had just entered and begun to admire was accommodating, not only because of its generous helpings of mahogany, but also because of its size. But then again, I had been told that this was a spacious boat before I had ever driven up to Oriental, NC to see her.  Who told me this, you might ask? No, it wasn't the broker, or anyone else trying to sell me something. It was a former owner. A few days before the trip, I phoned a fellow in Michigan to ask him a few questions about the Ericson 25 that he had advertised online. He told me that he had just sold the boat, not because he didn't love it, but because he was moving up to a Nor'Sea 27 (a very heavy, full-keel boat that I earlier defined as transportable, but not trailerable in "Why I Bought the Ericson 25, Part II.") I ended up talking to this former owner for quite a while, and I actually ended up calling him a second time and talking even longer. He told me in great detail that the Ericson 25 was a fantastic boat and that he and his wife had used it for various cruises in the Great Lakes for many summers. Aside from praising the boat's sailing characteristics, he said to me something I would later hear from other people - that the interior of the Ericson 25 was larger than many thirty-foot boats. I wondered about this at the time, and for a long time afterwards. I believe now, though, that I have figured out why, and towards the end of this posting, I will present my explanation.
Below we see a picture of the same general area of the main salon, except that now we have a better view of the hanging locker which sits opposite the door to the head. Notice that at this point the owner had removed the white Formica table in order to allow more freedom of movement inside the boat. I really didn't like the look of the table. I wasn't sure why Ericson used Formica here when they used so much mahogany everywhere else. My best guess was that it was a nod to the fashions of the time. If the Formica reminded the Admiral of the comforts of her 1970s home, then she was much more willing to say yes to hubby's purchase.
The hanging locker was well-finished with mahogany, though not very practical for actually hanging up clothes. Then again, the same could be said for most hanging lockers on most boats.
I liked the open shelf above the locker, with its mahogany fiddle rail to check to movement of items stored in this area. In the picture, you see an old tiller pilot. Why it was here, I do not know. To my mind this area was a great place to stow the small toiletries duffel bag that the Admiral normally carried on our lengthy camping trips across America.
The fully-enclosed head was an attractive feature of this boat. It was well-lit with natural light and it did not feel cramped. The mirrored porthole was a useful and pleasing later addition.
You might remember me talking in Part II of this posting about those couple-friends, who owned a Cape Dory 22 in the early years of their marriage and sailed it in the Pamlico Sound, where they experienced some rough weather, and, in the process, experienced the horror of a porta-potti coming free from its mount. The male half of that couple was Jamie, the guy I just mentioned above, who as a young man had sailed across the Atlantic and back with his parents. When I showed Jamie a picture of the head in this Ericson 25, he told me that this set-up was golden. He said that having a fully-enclosed head and a toilet that would flush would make all the difference in the world between a happy Admiral and an unhappy one. Clearly, then, this was a selling point for this Ericson 25.
The V-berth was more spacious that it appears in the picture below. It was at least six feet long. I'm 5'11" and of an average build, and I fit in there with plenty of room to spare. I could have easily slept in there with a large duffel bag beside me. The former E25 owner from Michigan, that I had talked to, told me that he and his wife had slept in this area before. He also said that he had, at times, assigned this area to a teen-aged child. He said the teenager liked this space, especially because, with a curtain drawn, the area made a great spot for sleeping-in, i.e., sleeping later in the morning than everyone else.
During the survey of this boat in September 2009, I decided to climb back inside the V-berth and take a picture from the opposite direction. This should give you a better sense of the size of this space. I should also note that in the largest area of the V-berth there is plenty of head room for anyone who might wish to sit with his back against the bulkhead to read a book.
There were three lockers beneath the V-berth with lots of storage space in the two aft lockers. The forward locker, however, was petite, but then again it was very close to the bow.
Moving back out into the main salon, we see a picture of one half of the galley. Before we take a closer look at this area, lets take a peek at the storage area beneath the settee cushions.
It's difficult to get a sense of the size of these storage areas on account of the gray paint, but they are large enough for medium-sized duffel bags, piles of shoes, or maybe canned goods and other items for the galley.
The galley sink stood adjacent to a cutting board, which served as a cover for a large ice box.
The ice box was about arm-length deep.
On the other side of the galley there was a gimballed alcohol stove with a cutting board. This, along with the  cabinet and drawers underneath, was appealing to me.
Beneath the companionway there was a mahogany door, which led to the lazarette.
In the lazarette, there was a battery, a fresh water tank, and hoses for the bilge pumps. On account of the curvature of the hull and also the limited access to this space (due to the size of the door), it seemed that there was little more that could be done with this space in terms of the storing of equipment for cruising. This earned a negative check mark in my notebook at the time, although I would later figure out a way to make great use of this space.
Moving up to the cockpit now, I'd like to point out another storage area that is related to the lazarette - the cockpit locker, or I should say lockers.
On either size of the cockpit there were, beneath the bench seats, two lockers. The lids for these lockers, i.e., the bench tops, were solid and heavy. That was nice. The lockers themselves were large enough for items such as those pictured below, but they weren't as large as the O'Day 25 lockers that I would look at later in the morning. That was another negative check mark in my notebook.
Finally, there was the companionway hatch. This teak structure must have been beautiful in its day, but it certainly was not on the day of my visit. This was a big negative check mark in my notebook. If I bought this boat, I would have to replace this hatch, and to make the new one as good as it should be, I would need to spend a good bit of time and money.
It was with mixed feelings, therefore, that I left this Ericson 25 and rode with the broker to see the next boat - the boat I had spent so much time researching and had driven so far to see - the O'Day 25.
Being dressed out with a blue mainsail cover and roller-furling jib, I must say that this O'Day 25 was just as impressive, if not more so, than the Ericson 25 that I had just seen. That was my first impression.

Everything started to change, however, as soon as I stepped aboard. Earlier in the morning, before we stepped off the dock and onto the Ericson 25, the broker had said something to me. She told me to remember the way the Ericson 25 felt the moment I stepped aboard her. We then stepped aboard, and she asked me if I had felt a lot of movement in the boat as we added our weight to her deck. I responded in the negative. Now that we were at the next dock, she said the same thing. She said to pay close attention to this O'Day 25 as soon as we stepped aboard. With that, we crossed over from the dock. This boat, unlike the Ericson 25, rolled toward us as we added our weight to the side deck near the shrouds, and it continued to roll this way and that as we moved around the deck. It would even behave in this fashion later on, after the broker returned to the dock to point out something to me while I stood on deck and in the cockpit. All I could think to myself was that all that additional lead in the belly of the Ericson 25 must have made a big difference.
The O'Day 25, unlike the Ericson 25, did not have problems with the companionway hatch since it was made of fiberglass.
At the forward end of the cabin trunk there was a small fiberglass hatch. If I remember correctly, this was an anchor locker of some sort.
The stainless steel tubing on the pulpit of the O'Day 25 was not as thick as it was on the Ericson.
The mast on the O'Day 25 did not seem as hearty as the one on the Ericson 25. The spreaders also seemed undersized compared to the Ericson.
Reader, as we now move inside this boat, I'll do my best to avoid talking about the mess, and instead I'll try to focus on the layout and the materials.

The first thing I noticed when I walked down into the main salon was that it felt much smaller than the Ericson. One reason for this was that the settees were not quite as long on account of the placement of the galley in front of the companionway. We'll see pictures of this later on.
If there's a hell for half-assed carpentry, then the guy who did this is well on his way there, so I'm not going to discuss here the sins of this bulkhead repair job. Instead, I'll touch upon the unattractive elements that were present from the start. The bulkhead, partially concealed here by the emergency horn, consisted of a piece of vinyl-covered plywood. To the left is the bare fiberglass hull - no hull liner, no wood trim or anything else to dress it up.
From the starboard settee I was able to catch a good view of the space that separated the main salon from the V-berth. The Ericson 25 had a fully-enclosed head. The O'Day 25, on the other hand, used the yellow bulkhead as a partition to conceal a porta-potti. Let's move to the next picture for a view of this space behind the yellow bulkhead.
The porta-potti had an open hanging locker behind it, which served more as a storage bin than anything else.
Within the hanging locker, it was not difficult to see the backside of the bulkhead repair job. The cuttings that the carpenter made to install the board reveal more clearly the yellow vinyl cover for the bulkhead.
Opposite the porta-potti was a sink, presumably for brushing teeth, washing up, and shaving. The only problem was that this area was that it was uncomfortably cramped on account of the available space in this section of the O'Day 25. The best way to describe the feeling I had as I walked forward from the main salon into this area is that of walking into an ever-narrowing cave. Maybe a good adjective to describe this space would be conical. In other words, it felt like I was walking into a cone, with the everything closing in on me with each step. I never felt this way aboard the Ericson.
Within this sink area, I was able to get another good look at the yellow vinyl bulkhead cover. It appeared to be peeling free in some spots, and it looked as if the owner had tried to glue some of it back in place.
Beneath the sink, there appeared to be some good storage space. That was nice. Whoever owned this O'Day 25, though, apparently had to share this space with the rodents.
The V-berth was uncomfortably small. This was the tip of the cone or the end of the tunnel - however you might wish to describe it. I never felt this way when I climbed into the V-berth of the Ericson.
The designers of the O'Day 25 decided to place the bulk of the galley in front of the companionway. One of the stated benefits of this in the promotional literature was that it would allow the cook to stand-up in the companionway with plenty of headroom (when the hatch was open). I could indeed see the benefit in this, but one of the drawbacks was that the galley encroached on the main salon. The split-galley design of the Ericson also allowed the cook to stand in the companionway, but it didn't crowd the main salon.
There was not a dedicated space for a marine stove in the galley of this boat. In the storage area beneath the counter, the owner had placed what appeared to be a Coleman stove. Presumably he used this on the counter top or in the cockpit. At any rate, I wasn't fond of this set-up.
There was a large, built-in icebox (here filled with paper towels). That was a nice part of the O'Day 25 galley. The wooden step on the counter also served as a lid for a storage space. That also was nice.
Beside the icebox was a quarter-berth that was filled with equipment. I'd seen pictures of other O'Day 25s that had made use of this space in the same way. Likewise, I'd seen larger boats of different makes and models with quarter-berths that were used as storage spaces.
If I had purchased this O'Day 25 (or some other one), I probably would have used the quarter-berth for a similar purpose.
The cockpit locker on the starboard side of the boat (the side opposite the quarter berth) was very spacious, especially compared to the Ericson. There were two reasons for this. The first was that the aft end of the O'Day 25 was squared-off, whereas the Ericson's was curved. This meant that there was more square-footage on the O'Day. The other reason was that the O'Day, unlike the Ericson, did not have a lazarette, at least one that I remember seeing. Therefore, this cockpit locker went all the way down to the hull. The cockpit locker on the Ericson 25, on the other hand, only went as deep as the cockpit itself.
One of the benefits of having such a deep cockpit locker, such as we see here on the O'Day 25, is that you have plenty of space for your battery bank and your main circuit wiring, even if you do sloppy work, sort of like the person who did this wiring. Not only is there room for the wiring, there's plenty of room for many of the other necessities, such as dock lines, a shore power cable, and fenders. On the Ericson 25, you have to make modifications to the lazarette if you wish to make full use of its space. A future posting will address this issue.
What you gain in the cockpit locker on the O'Day 25, however, you loose in the lockers beneath the settees in the main salon. These areas were shallow and not as spacious as those on the Ericson 25.
This brings me to a subject that I said above I would address toward the end of this posting. Why is is, that the Ericson 25 feels larger, and actually is larger than your average 25 foot boat?

I'll begin by saying that I did not even discuss the Catalina 25 to which the broker took me after we had visited the O'Day. I had never even considered the Catalina because of some of the reviews that I had read. Since I was there in Oriental and there was a Catalina 25 nearby that I could take a look at, I figured it was worth an extra half hour. It turned out that this boat was just as cramped, if not more so, than the O'Day. Again, I had that same feeling as if I were walking into a cone, or cave that was growing ever smaller as I walked from the main salon toward the V-berth.

So why is that the Ericson 25 is different? Let's work from the top downward. For one thing, the side decks on the Ericson are smaller. The best way to demonstrate this is by comparing pictures of the main salons in the Ericson and the O'Day. Here is the main salon of the Ericson. Notice how the cabin trunk is broad and the cut-ins for the side decks are small.
Now take a look at the O'Day. The cabin trunk is clearly much more narrow, and this is not simply some illusion because of the curtains.
If you don't believe me, take a closer look at the cut-ins themselves. On the Ericson, the cut-ins for the side decks hardly encroach upon the settees.
On the O'Day, on the other hand, the cut-ins extend well over the settees. If this is not proof enough for you, go back to Part III of this posting and reread some of the promotional literature for the O'Day 25. One of features of the boat that the manufactured promoted were the boat's large decks.
Now, let's go up above, and compare the decks themselves.

In the first picture, we see the color drawing from the promotional literature by Ericson Yachts. Look carefully at the cabin trunk. The height of the trunk is essentially the same, forward to aft. You can also see how the side decks are quite narrow.
Here's a picture of the boat that I looked at and eventually bought. It's a little easier to see what I'm talking about in terms of the trunk-size in this photo.
Also note well the way in which the trunk terminates at the foredeck. It's almost as wide at the termination as it is at the cockpit, where it begins.
Now, let's take a look at the O'Day 25. Here, you can clearly see that the cabin trunk is wedge-shaped. The highest point in the main salon is technically not the main salon, but the galley counter-top and sink, which are  immediately in front of the companionway. You can't, of course, stand in this area, so you have to step down off of the counter top into the main salon proper. From this point forward it only gets smaller.
In the picture below you can see the wedge-shaped cabin trunk even more clearly. Not only does it taper downward toward the deck as it moves forward, but also it tapers inward as if to form a point of sorts. This is one reason why the area devoted to the head and the V-berth is so uncomfortable and cramped.
While were on the subject, it's worth pointing out that, in all fairness, the O'Day 25 is indeed more spacious in the cockpit area as I have already more-or-less said in the discussion of the relative sizes of the cockpit lockers. This spaciousness, as I mentioned, is due to the squared-off stern. It's also due to the overall wedge-like shape of the hull itself (not just the cabin trunk). It's easy to see this in the above picture.

Now compare the above picture to the one below from the promotional literature for the Ericson 25. From this perspective, it's not difficult to see how the hull tapers toward the relatively petite stern. This certainly makes for a smaller cockpit and less storage in the cockpit lockers, but for many people a smaller cockpit is preferable to a larger one, especially in rough weather.
Let's end this digression by comparing the bottom sides of the two boats, for here is another explanation for how it is that two boats that both measure 25 feet in length can feel so different in terms of their size.

First, the O'Day 25. As I have noted elsewhere, this boat has a shoal-draft keel with a centerboard within it that is capable of being deployed by the helmsman when necessary. The draft of this boat from the waterline to the bottom of the shoal-draft keel is 2 feet, 3 inches. Notice that the bottom side is, for the most part, flat, that is until it reaches the keel. Keep all of this in mind as we look next at the Ericson.
Here's the drawing of the Ericson hull that I discussed earlier. This is the one from the promotional literature. Notice how the bottom of the Ericson is not flat, but rounded. The Ericson's draft, with the centerboard stowed in its trunk (within the rounded bottom) is 2 feet. Remember that the draft of the the O'Day was 2 feet, 3 inches. Thus the Ericson, with the rounded bottom is only 3 inches less than the O'Day 25 that has the flat bottom and the shoal-draft keel. In other words, the drafts of the two boats are almost identical, but the Ericson has more interior space due to its curvaceous bottom side. If this description doesn't work for you, how about this one - the Ericson is bigger because of its big lead belly.
I have many different pictures of Ericson 25s sitting on trailers that I have collected over the years. Not a one of these pictures provides an adequate view of what I'm talking about. The best pictures I possess that aid me in demonstrating my point are the ones I took soon after I purchased my boat and had her hauled-out in Oriental, North Carolina. Let's take a look at these, shall we?

Here we see my boat, Oystercatcher, in the slings of the travel lift.
In the close-up below, you can clearly see the bulging belly of the boat, and the way in which this belly slowly transforms itself into a small shoal-draft keel of sorts, especially as it moves aftward to the stern.
In the picture below, taken a few moments later, you can see what I'm talking about even more clearly.
For all of the above named reasons - the small side-decks, the consistently-sized cabin trunk, the shape of the hull, and the rounded bottom - the Ericson is more spacious than the O'Day 25, despite the fact that both boats are 25 feet in length. Given the feeling I had when I boarded the Catalina 25 on the same day, I would guess that the Ericson 25 is more spacious than that boat for similar reasons.

Now back to the subject of this fourth and final posting - my journey to Oriental, North Carolina to investigate the object of my research: the O'Day 25. There was no doubt in my mind, after seeing both the Ericson and the O'Day, that the Ericson was the superior boat. Despite my concerns, in advance of my trip, that the broker was simply trying to sell me a more expensive boat by telling me over and over on the telephone about the qualities of the Ericson 25 that she had just listed, I realized, once I drove up there and looked at this boat, that she was in fact trying to steer me in the right direction. As I drove back home to Charleston, I was convinced that the Ericson 25 was the trailerable cruiser that I had been looking for all along. All I needed to do was find a trailer, and this beautiful boat, with her classic shape and styling, would be mine.

This concludes my four-part series, "Why I Bought the Ericson 25."

My hunt for a trailer capable of hauling such a heavy-displacement boat as the Ericson 25 is the subject of my next posting.





14 comments:

  1. I just stumbled upon your article and I have a quick question for you as my wife and I are currently going through a similar process as you described. Why are you so quick to not consider the Macgregor 26? I agree the newer models (26X and 26M) are basically motor boats with sails, however you mentioned that you were in the market for a used boat. The older models of the Macgregor, including the 26S have lines more reminiscent of a sailboat, and a price tag that is within reason. I understand the draw to the larger boats, I myself have an interest in the Westsail 32's and the Ingrid 38's with much heavier displacement than your Ericson 25, however like you the need for a trailerable boat and the price tag puts those boats out of the question.

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    1. I guess it all depends on what you're really looking for. I was convinced that an ODay 25 was the best boat for me until I actually set foot on one. I've never set foot on a MacGregor 26S, but from the pictures I've seen I would not be interested in one. The Ericson 25 is a solid and heavy boat (for its size), and I must say that I love the mahogany that's used generously around the interior. If you're torn between these two boats (the Mac26s and the E25) it might be worth it to check both of them out before putting your money down.

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    2. Thank you for the insite....... Prior to reading this article I was unfamiliar with the e25 (as I mentioned I am just starting this same process of research) and I agree that it dose look roomier than the macgregor (my intreast in the Mac comes from a friend who recently purchased one and has been living on it in northern idaho) This being said, I have since done several searches for the e 25 on various websites and have noticed that there appears to be at least two different models (one with a full keel, and one with a retractable keel that appears to be more trailerable: can you confirm) in either case they are not widely available. At this point my main intreast is in a starter boat, something cheep that I can practice in and decide if I want to commit further, but at the same time it needs to be big enough to spend the weekend aboard and trailer ability would be a nice perk. In the long run there is a lot of world out there that I would like to explore, and sailing just seems like a convenient way of getting there. I do realize that it won't be cheep as nothing comes free, just like owing a car or second house.

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  2. Thanks for conducting a great deal of research and identifying for others with similar purpose, a short list of boats. You have been thorough in sorting criteria that is similar to mine. A few questions; sailboatdata says the Dolphin 24 has a draft of about 2'9". I agree it looks difficult to unload in the photos, but is the 9" difference of great significance (6" difference from O'Day)? Also, a hatch above the V-berth would be almost a necessity for airing the boat out, and just having moving air in warm weather. Is that available on the Ericson? finally, I believe I was thorough in reviewing all 4 of your well researched articles, but didn't see what you were towing with. Can a 1/2 ton pickup with no external trans cooler handle it? Thanks again, and I hope you have the time to answer. Mike

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  3. The Dolphin 24, and others like her, are beautiful boats, and it appears that some people do trailer launch them. I would say it all depends on the trailer and the ramp, especially the latter. If it's an unknown ramp in an location far from home, it might or might not be long enough to allow for trailer launching. In terms of the hatch over the V-berth, I know of at least one owner who has installed one. Check out my article, "Ericson 25, Docked," for a picture. I used a friend's F250, i.e., 3/4 ton truck, to haul the boat from NC to SC, and I use a Toyota Sequoia, which is essentially a 1/2 ton truck, locally. I know of other E25 owners who use 1/2 ton trucks with and without the tranny cooler in their local areas and elsewhere. Hope this helps, Roscoe.

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  4. In the Introduction on the home page of this site, I mention that there does exist a fixed keel version of this boat. The Ericson 25 Trailer gallery contains several pictures of these fixed keel boats. Don't know where you are located, but there are probably about 5 or 6 E25s for sale on the East Coast right now. Not sure if you're familiar with it, but Search Tempest is a good search engine for Craigslist.

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  5. Great work on the Ericson search. Did you look at any Chrysler 26 centerboard boats ?

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  6. Awesome research, brought me to going forward on picking up this boat. Now living on it in Portland, added small fridge I mounted a few inches above the couch cushion, and with a 48ft rope light which lines the entire interior, this boat exudes grace and the finest lines of any boat I've come across. Given so much teamwork is needed to create a great boat, it's rare when it happens, and like a 69 Ford Mustang, when all the teams pull a 10, the artifact comes off an 11.

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  7. Hey thanks for the kind words Leif. That's cool that you added a fridge. I had planned to do that on mine, but ended up using a Yeti cooler.Did you mount the fridge on the bulkhead? I'm trying to picture your set-up.

    Regards,
    Roscoe

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  8. Thanks Roscoe, to answer your question no I made a bracket or shelf that's wedged over the cushions so there's about 2" of space between the cushions and the bottom of the shelf. This way the fridge doesn't effect the couch allowing air in between. Then I just tied the fridge to the rail behind the couch, so the boat would need to be keel out of water to unlodge the fridge. The fridge sits about 4 inches away from the bulkhead to so it doesn't dry or mold it out. So far it's performed well.

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  9. Roscoe, I have a question for you. Do you know of any other owners of Ericson 25 fixed keel boats? I'm trying to find other owners of the fixed keel version, and I'm also trying to find out how many they made. Got any ideas where to look?

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  10. Leif,

    In the early days of this website the focus was on the Ericson 25 itself. At that time there was an owner's registry. Six of the sixty-nine registered owners had fixed-keel versions of the boat. None of these six ever communicated directly with me, so I can't say that I know them, and I can't say whether they are still owners. If you're a member of the Ericson Forum you can send me a PM. I could then pass along some email addresses. If you want to go this route, just respond to this message and I'll temporarily turn on my PM setting on the Forum.

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  11. Hello Rosco,
    Considering rescuing an E25 and your articles were very informative. However, my main question is how does she sail with designed sails or added roller, especially to windward?
    Alex

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  12. Alex, I would have responded sooner but I've been on a month-long voyage aboard Oystercatcher. This boat tracks well, both when sailing and when motoring to windward, but only with the centerboard down. If the centerboard (in the boat you're considering) is stuck or is missing, the first project I would undertake (before taking her out on the water) is the repair or construction of the board. Recently, in St Helena Sound, I motored against an outgoing tide up the South Edisto River to enter Big Bay Creek on the southern end of Edisto Beach. The wind was on the port beam at approximately 10-15 mph and was thus trying to push me onto the beach as I entered. The boat pointed the way I wanted it to point, and I entered the protected creek without any issues. Roscoe.

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