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Used Core Sound Buyer's Guide

Andy B

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Has anyone created a guide for buyers looking at used CS boats (15, 17, 20, and the MK3 versions)?  I know these are common on other boat class forums but nothing came up when I searched.  When I bought my last sailboat there was a very comprehensive guide an owner had put together that was a great help when looking at used boats, both online and when picking it up in person.  Most of these guides mention issues known to the design or build, as well as different options on different boats/years.


Here would be my crude starting point, mainly gleaned from topics I've read here.



Aft deck or aft bench

Sails: sleeved or not; roached or not

rowing set up

any tent/dodger/bimini set up

Bench lockers or access ports

Lead ballast on end of centerboard


Areas of concern to evaluate:


Centerboard too aft/weatherhelm (I think early CS17mk3 only)(see Don Silsbe's current modifications)

Length of sprits

Swim/recovery ladder

Mast base: wood plug/aluminum (see "CS 20 Dismasted" topic by David Hughes on this forum)

"upgraded hatch plans" (not sure what this is but Graham mentioned it in a post).


What else should be on this list?  And what should a potential buyer look for regarding the areas of concern?



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That’s a good list, Andy.  Nearly all builders take “liberties” with a naval architect’s design.  I suggest that you become familiar with the designer’s original intent, so you can identify areas of “creativity”.  One such example are the side decks.  At least one builder deleted the side decks on his build.  They  are significant in improving the down-flooding angle* of the CS series over the BRS.  If I were buying a used CS, I’d want it to have the side decks.

The foredeck is another area that is susceptible to creativity.  Be wary of modifications there, too.  Graham told me a story about racing the EC in an early. CS 17.1.  It was nighttime, it was raining, and they needed to make an approach on a lee shore (in the dark).  Rather than risk that in darkness, they anchored in the lee of an island, wore their foul weather gear pants, and slept with their heads and torsos tucked underneath the foredeck.  They were bone dry, and slept well.  It’s also a great area to stuff incidental stuff for daysails.


It is my understanding that only the first few (6?) CS17.3’s had the balance issue.  Once Avocet is completed, there’ll only be three remaining, I think.  Hull number and lack of a c/b hump in the interior would be your guide there.

By design, the only boats to have a lead-tipped c/b are the mkIII’s.  Everything else should have a horn (my term) sticking up above the c/b trunk.  The advantage of the horn is that with it, you get both uphaul and downhaul for the c/b.  And you know the c/b’s precise position.  The downside is the protrusion.  Knowing my First Mate’s sailing preferences (see photo), I deviated from the plans, & put a mkIII-style weighted c/b on my BRS15.  I don’t know of anybody else who has done this.


* The angle of heel at which you begin to take on water.


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The side deck reinforces the gunwals and provides a place to sit in a good wind.  Dunno if reinforcement is necessary. It is also where many of use lead our main halyard, shotter and downhaul. On my Lapwing, the foredeck and a bulkhead create a dry storage place and flotation. I am all for customizing my boats, but there are many things that I say would be a mistake.  I paid for an expert's design, and I won't try to fix it.

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Since these are usually built by amateurs, we should think of key things to look for, to distinguish a good build from a bad build.  

One thing to look for is how much care was taken in feathering the taped seams into the adjoining surface.  A skilled craftsman will take great care in making this joint invisible. 

Worse yet, if you see areas where air has crept underneath the tape, or the tape is wavy or lumpy, run away!


What else?

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