|SJ23 Tech Tip FAQs, (Updated 2002-04-03, Bob Schimmel)|
General Info and Things to Watch for When Buying a SJ23.
|Thinking of buying a San Juan 23 sailboat? Some hulls out
there are in excellent shape and require only cleaning and waxing. The
first hull came out of the mold in 1972 and most of them are still in
good to really good condition. This is because back in the early days of
fibreglass boats, the designers hadn't figured out how to calculate the
strength of the material. So to be safe they built the hulls with the same thinking as if it was a wood hull. This lead to over building a fibreglass hull. They
were heavier and stronger than required, exceeding many of today's
hulls. However, ALL hulls require some sort of "fixing"
because I have yet to meet a sailor who didn't want to change something! This is
half the fun of boating, but I digress.
Brief History - "The boats were named after the San Juan Islands in the Pacific North West. The original boats were built by Clark Boat Co. at their main factory in Auburn, Washington with another one slightly later in New Burn, North Carolina. The Clark brothers built their first boat in the early 1970s and their last one in 1980. After that, various other companies (I've heard of two) built them until 1984. A brochure from the later companies will state, "built by San Juan Sailboats." That's one way of telling the difference. Regardless of the company owner, all the hulls came out of the same original mold. I'm not a surveyor but I've inspected some boats built by San Juan Sailboats and I can't say they are inferior or superior to those built by Clark Boat Co. I've sailed on both and found no difference. They don't oil can. In closing I can say that A San Juan 23 these days has depreciated to the point that it should not loose value. The value should be stable as long as it is kept in good condition." Gene Adams. More History
The Appeal - What's amazing is that San Juan sailboats are still popular today, after so many years. It almost seems like the popularity is on the rise. The boats are in demand because they look good. They have very nice flowing lines that you simply don't get tired of looking at, either at anchor or under sail. The real plus is they GO like the wind!! There is no other 23-foot sailboat that offers as much sailing performance and room for the low cost.
Understanding the Hull Serial Number - The serial number is
imbedded in the transom, above the outboard engine mount. The following example
is from Hal Mueller's boat; OLKJ 0223M78E.
Sail Number - I have no idea how Clark picked the sail number for a hull. I can only assume he started at 1 and went up from there. If that is the case Panache at #109 is one of the original hulls and shows no sign of fatigue in 2023.
General Construction - The hull is hand laid polyester resin. The keel is lead shot and resin poured into the keel stub. The deck and cockpit hatches are balsa core. The hull/deck joint (Tech Tip B16) is glued and bolted with an aluminum toe rail. See Tech Tip H07 for the keel design.
|Things to Look out for - Fortunately the SJ23
suffers from no major design problems. But time has a way of finding a
weakness, even in the best of designs, especially if the boat was abused
through poor storage or maintenance. The following points are listed
to help you with your decision.
Don't be afraid to tackle one of the jobs listed above. They are within the capability of most "most carpenters with opposing thumbs". Most questions are already answered in a Tech Tip. If you still can't figure it out, cruise through the archived questions or sign up to the distribution list and let your questions fly. There are lots of sympathetic ears out there willing to help you. I suppose you could also email me! Good Luck Bob Schimmel.