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March 10, 2010

Gulfstar 60 Review: Attractive Value

Filed under: Reviews — Tags: , , — Richard Jordan @ 11:52 am
Gulfstar 60 Sloop

Gulfstar 60 Sloop

Of the fifteen reportedly built according to www.SailboatData.com, interestingly four are for sale with three in southeast Florida and another in the Bahamas. A survey of these shows three are meticulously maintained jewels while another is a charter-boat disaster that needs a $30,000 blister job. These meticulously maintained Gulfstar 60’s are interesting combinations. While similar in style, equipment, and accommodations to vintage Hinckleys and Little Harbors, Gulfstar does not have the same cache. That leaves these as attractive values. Founded in 1970 by legendary Vince Lazzara, Gulfstar began as a budget builder producing inexpensive power and sail boats. Located on the Tampa Bay, they switched tacks when market tastes changed and starting producing performance cruisers like this 60 Gulfstar. Starting in 1981 until 1986, Gulfstar produced 15 hulls of the 60-footer. In 1990, the Lazzara sons sold the company to Viking Yachts. Later, the sons formed Lazzara Yachts, a Tampa Bay builder of mega-yachts.

First Impressions
These are handsome yachts with nice overhangs and gentle sheer. Dick Lazzara, Vince’s son, is credited with the design of these performance sailboats. The cockpit combings are a tad out of place while the trunkcabin is low, neatly tapering into the profile. Two large windows per side give great light inside the saloon along with three more portholes aft and two forward on each side. The 60 has little vents below the relatively straight sheer line that lifts slightly upward at the bow. She has considerable teak on deck including a high toerail and wide cockpit combings of solid teak. Fore and aft were highly polished dorades on the one I previewed. This one was also a ketch rig while most are sloops. The ketch rig helped lower the clearance and gave her a nice look. Both spars were rigged with running backs. Underneath, she has a slightly longish fin keel of 7″, a deep cutaway forefoot, and strong skeg hung rudder.

Gulfstar 60 Profile

Gulfstar 60 Profile

Construction
Gulfstar is generally considered to have improved in quality as they became more experience. While they used mostly Formica early on, in approximately 1978 they switch to fine teak interiors. To increase performance, Gulfstar turned to lead ballast from their early use of iron both encapsulated. The 60’s have the lead ballast which keeps the draft to a reasonable level for a low center of gravity. Even with the linear increase in workmanship, all Gulfstars are known to have blister issues. Due to the oil embargo, newly invented chopper gun, and lack of vinylester resins, all manufacturers in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s were affected by the “boat pox.” For instance, a recent 60 Gulfstar Mark I was due for a $30,000 blister job. During the 1980’s, Gulfstar was one of the hardest hit by the boat pox. The layup is balsa cored hull and deck. Full length strings and floors stiffen the hull.

On Deck
There is quite a bit of teak on deck and maintenance needed. The toerail is solid teak with genoa track mounted on. The cockpit combings are topped with teak and the seats and sole have teak lining. Expect to varnish often. This is a reason that sometimes you find these in poor condition because of the higher maintenance. This can provide an attractive opportunity. While restoring the cosmetics is not the most costly, maintaining the teak is a long term commitment. The cockpit is modern with long seats easy to lie down on. The companionway has a hinged two-piece door that slides starboardside. The companionway sill is three inches high. Aft are three lazarettes. On the one I previewed, one had a pump for a washdown faucet, another had storage, and the last had a propane tank for a stern pulpit mounted grill. The deck space is terrific with outward deck mounted chainplates. The one I was on was ketch rigged and had inboard chainplates for the mizzenmast. She had nice running backs. This ketch is a serious sailboat to handle and needs a good crew even with in-mast furling and electric winches.

Gulfstar 60 Mark I Layout

Gulfstar 60 Mark I Layout

Down Below
The layout depends on whether you are inspecting a Mark I or II version. I prefer the Mark II layout with the head and stall shower forward with staterooms port and starboard. This layout would be great for chartering. Aft is the saloon with a U-shaped dinette opposite a L-shaped settee. The galley is portside along the walkthrough on both versions. The sole steps down during the walkthrough to avoid the cockpit soles and up again aft. Starboardside from the companionway is the navigation station and a walkthrough into a third captains stateroom. Mark I versions seem to have a head here, but the Mark II I previewed did not. Instead, a centerline laundry room was outside this captains stateroom behind the engine room exiting to the portside walkthrough. Aftmost is a large stateroom. It has great lighting with a porthole mounted full length on the aft end of the cabintrunk along with two more smaller portholes on each side. A full beam mirror behind the berth made the room seem much larger than in reality. Classic teak veneer and teak cabinetry filled out the room. Floors are teak and holly throughout. This is some of Gulfstar’s finest workmanship. They used a patented process to camber teak edges. Every corner is nicely radiused, and I would put up the quality of the interior against any other manufacturer in the world.

Engine
The engine room access is through the portside walkthrough. She has the nice little Gulfstar door with a circular porthole. Inside their is plenty of room for sitting down and crawling around. The engines are large Perkins of 165 or 200 HP. The engine is sunk into the bilge and inaccessible from the companionway. A re-powering job looks like a difficult job that would require cutting away the cockpit sole. I would be wary of a high engine hour boat as this looks like a serious endeavor.

Conclusion
The 60 is a tremendous value compared to similar yachts with equally equipped, maintained, and accommodating designs. The four on the market are asking $545,000, 495,000, 369,000, and 119,000. The 119,000 one is in poor condition and is sale pending. The quality of workmanship on these yachts is as high as other manufacturer then or today.

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