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Boat hunting #2 Finding Cyrano

It was just about the end of winter when I was about to check online pictures of Ranger 29 for sale in Netherland, but becuase I forgot the website name I tryied search by keywords and accidentaly found Mariner 38 Pilot House being for sale in Germany located roughly about 400km from my parents home.

Mariner Pilothouse 38 we named Cyrano

Mariner Pilothouse 38, picture from the  sale. Hope the boat was at this shape at the time we went to check her.

At the time LiPing was in Sweden working in hotel behind the noth pole circle, I sent her link and made a quick skype. Wrote the brooker and set up appointment for next working day.
I packed some tools like multimeter, wood hammer, awl, screwdrives, flashlights, rullers, magnifying glass, Perkins 4.108 manual, pictures of other Mariners 38, and equipped with really helpfull survey checkist made by our geat friends Jana a Petr we sit into the car with my father, drove four hours and get to see the boat.

The selling brooker was not attended as he lives about 400km other direction than me. He established contact with me and the seeller directly. The seller was really nice to us, offered us to go to buy some food and drink for us while we were inspecting the boat, but the only think we needed was just a quite moment to sit and watch the boat for a while so we could notice the condition of the boat and potential results of the previous damages.

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Mariner 38 as we found it when we come for the first time.

We went quickly with the seller thru the boat and she explained us the history of the boat and becuase most of the interiors were removed and stored in two storage rooms she expained us parts located in the boat, where is the watter system, diesel tanks, batteries, seacocks, water heater and so on.

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You rather take rubber boots if you wanted to get on that boat. But we already knew we can make a beauty of her once again if we manage to get her for a good price becuase it will require a lot of work and great investments.

Than we asked her for two hours of time to stay in the boat to do our inspection. Previously I made sure with brooker the seller woud be fine with small wood hammer tapping on the hull for structural sounding, ultrasound measurement of the hull thickenss and some other stull related to engine (trying to turn over the pistons by turning the propeller manually, removing the cover to check the ventils and even removing the engine head if we find it necessary becuase the engine was nto running for as long as the boat sit on hard, and that might be more than 7 years- who knows?).

Once the owner left us on the boat my father instantly saying “we take it, we take it, it is so good for a good price. Check the winches, that’s a 500$ each, check the water heater for hot shower, check this and check that- we take it.” I just calm him down and went to change into working clother and asked him to do so. He as an car mechanic went for and engine. Instructed firstly seriousy check the complete system before he try to figure out the details.


I went for the hull and deck check, the delamination, blisters and other damages from grounding, dockign and so on. Equiped with my fastly DIY wooden hammer I went to tap the hull. The hull, stern, keel and ruder all were good. No a single delamination sign. Such a good result could be also done by years of staying on the hard under canvas. So the boat pretty try, there was a minimum of 1-2 cm of water in bilge and all the potential delminations could be now dry and indetectible for me. But for now, the hull sounds good.

Small snack in the cockpit and we were ready to see the interiors, sails and other part of the boat in the storage. I was sure I like the boat, it has a nice high pilothouse which is a great thing for me with 187cm (6ft 2inch) height. The biggest structural problem was for us the crack of the keel as you san see on pictures below. The horizontal crack between the boat hull and external lead balast is the biggest thing to repair. It is not the only cospetical issue, it could be also very dangerous (check for Cheeki Rafiki and other sailboats with lost keel).

We are on the way home and my feelings were mixed. We could own the boat I was dreaming about since I started to sail in my 10. Have it is a bad shape, fix it and go sailing literally anywhere we would liek to go- becuase this boat is capable to do so. Or just go away, becuase it was too much work and keep searching for another years. I knew I want to go difficult and painful way, but stil we had to get the better price to be worth this project.

Searching on forums I found an company which can replace a kee bolts for smaller boat than Mariner 38 for about 10k USD. Far too much, but a good news was the replacement is possible and even it will be complicated job we might be able to do it by ourselfs with a crane, torch and few friend’s help.

 We made a deal with seller and THE BOAT WAS OUR SINCE THEN!