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Moody Eclipse 43...maybe?

John Dekkers

John Dekkers
Registered Guest
#1
Hi all,

I have been on a quest for a boat to use for a family of four in the Med, perhaps touring the french canals and up into the Baltic. I was very excited when I came across the Moody Eclipse 43, this ticks almost every box..... shoal keel, 3 state rooms, interior helm (something about standing watch in the pouring rain and wind that just doesn't appeal to me), love the true raised saloon that makes great use of the space underneath for a full mid ship cabin, walk around island V-berth, lots of storage in the Aft Port compartment (I like to cycle as well and adequate storage large enough for a proper bike or two is rare). So awesome! What's not to like? Then reality set in, only 38 of these were made from 89 - 91. These are now 28 year old boats and yet they still carry a fairly heft AVG price tag of Euro 132,000 (for the 5 that I found). I guess I'm not the only one who feels these are awesome boats.

For the right price, I can deal with maybe having to replace an engine, windlass, standing rigging, navionics etc. but what I really don't want is a boat that is already half way to Davy Jones locker. I am very concerned about rot. Can anyone advise of the hull construction of these? Deck construction. I also like the Moody 44 CC and learned that it is a solid glass hull with balsa core deck. Is the 43 the same? Balsa core scares the %$#@ out of me. Any moisture ingress during it's 28 years and it will be rotten...what are the odds of that not happening? Was Moody a super diligent manufacturer that sealed the core with epoxy at every hole in the deck? Could this boat be THAT awesome? I explicitly rule out any boat that has teak decks with any mechanical fasteners as this just creates a 1000 opportunities for moisture to destroy the core.

What has been the experience of Moody owners of this vintage or older? Does the coring stand the test of time? I am not into a massive recoring/re-skinning project....especially not at the prices people are asking. I have also read about rusting keel bolts and fittings on other Eclipse models so that would also mean dropping the keel for inspection....more work, more $$$. Love the boat, but the age scares me a lot. Would love to hear from others who have gone through this process of buying an older boat. Thanks for any feedback!

John
 

David Woolgar

David Woolgar
Boat name
JEMMA
Berth
Medway
Boat type
Moody Eclipse 38
Cruising area
East Coast
#2
Hi John

Sorry for the very late reply to your thread. Over the last 12 years I have owned a 1989 Eclipse 33 and a 1991 Eclipse 38 and they ARE awesome boats. What is not to like!

In my current 38 the engine is still the original with 2500 hours and it still starts and runs really well. Yes, we have changed the standing and running rigging, the windlass, the navionics (and most of the 12volt and 230 volt systems) as well as the sails, the hatches the windows and the upholstery but we have a boat that we really like which is like new and a quarter of the cost of buying an equivalent new deck saloon. The hulls are solid fibreglass and the decks are balsa cored but not where most of the deck fittings are mounted. Here the fibreglass is solid and backed by marine plywood pads. If there are mounting bolts through the balsa then Moody (Marine Projects) were a diligent manufacturer because there are no 'soft spots' on my 38 or any of the other 38's I know. I am in touch with 18 of the owners of the 24 boats that were made. Eclipse 38's are really rare!

You may have heard about 'rusting' keel bolts on other Eclipses but when the bolts are drawn or the keel dropped they are nearly always in good condition with no wasting and unlike stainless steel there is not the threat of hidden crevice corrosion. I know owners who have drawn and changed the bolts usually because a surveyor has recommended this, and sometimes they put new ones in as they have the old ones out but I do not know of any Eclipse owners who had to change them because they were dangerously wasted. I have also never heard of a Moody yacht losing it's keel and there are a lot of Moody's from the 70's still sailing around.

In conclusion I would say allow for how much you may need to spend on the things that wear out on a yacht and try to get the price reduced to reflect this but do not worry about the build quality of the hulls. They are still better than many boats built today!

Good luck!

David
 

John Dekkers

John Dekkers
Registered Guest
#3
Thanks David, I really appreciate you taking the time to share your experiences. The description of what you have done to your boat is really exactly what I'm envisioning this 43 that I'm considering will require. It appears to be almost entirely original so in need of everything. But so long as it has good bones, I can go through and refurbish all those things that need attention, rigging, sails, keel bolts, windows, hatches, upholstery, navioncs etc. It is daunting but I feel in the end I would have a boat that I truly like and will be solid for many years to come. I fear a little bit that the to-do list may never end (but then, it never does with any boat) or that I will spend more time fixing than cruising....but then I hear that's what cruising is...working on boats in exotic locations. :)
Guess you'll know if I went for it if I show up again in the MOA forums. Thanks again!

John
 

Peter Wright

Peter Wright
Boat name
WILD THYME
Berth
Suffolk Yacht Harbour
Boat type
Moody 425
Cruising area
North Sea, English Channel, Biscay
#4
Hi John,

In my view, a to do list that you never finish is a normal part of boat ownership. A near original example is the best option with boats of this age - once you've finished the first refit, you know that everything has been done the way you want. You will find this site exceptionally helpful in working out what to do and how to do it. I know it saves me several times the subscription fee every year.

Hope your purchase goes well.

Peter
 

David Woolgar

David Woolgar
Boat name
JEMMA
Berth
Medway
Boat type
Moody Eclipse 38
Cruising area
East Coast
#5
Hi John

I agree with everything that Peter W says especially regarding having a near original example as a 'blank canvas'. The only thing I would add is maybe do the safety related items straight away but then use her for a season. You will learn a lot about what and where to fit all the new bits you will be buying but also you can get in some cruising to give you the motivation to work through the long dark winter!

My 'to do ' list is now reassuringly short but it still exists!

Hope all goes well.

David
 

Peter Sims

Peter Sims
Boat name
SIRI
Berth
Ocean Quay Marina, Southampton
Boat type
Moody 44
Cruising area
Ionian
#6
Hi John
I can only endorse what David and Peter say above.
My boat is a 1997 M44 but hull length is 43 so I wonder if it is the same hull? They started the model in 1992 I think so about the same time as the Eclipse was stopped.
Mine has teak decks but they are all glued rather than screwed down so no water into the balsa core thankfully. I imagine an Eclipse would be the same as they were fitted at Marine Projects. Only the next sizes up had decks fitted at Moody's and they were screwed down.
My keel was dropped by the previous owner after he last used it as his maintenance man told him the studs were rusting in the bilge because the keel wasn't connected to the anode. Absolute rubbish of course bu it means I had brand new keel bolts along with photos of the old ones showing them in perfect condition. Many articles in the archives on this subject but you should never be complacent about such an important item.
My boat had a major refit when 10 years old and is anyway rather different to an Eclipse but the size, performance, comfort etc is fantastic.
Hope your purchase goes will if it is the right boat.
Regards
Peter
 

John Dekkers

John Dekkers
Registered Guest
#7
Thank you all for your input. There is a 43 Eclipse in Inverness with teak decks and the fasteners are apparent around the perimeter of each section. Price is right but that may be the reason....as well as very high time engine (5500hrs). Agree with you Peter S about not being complacent about such critical bits as keel bolts. Should be able to do them one at a time without breaking the seal from my understanding. Still agonizing over what I'm willing to pay for a boat that needs this kind of work, especially when I see Moody 44 CC's for almost half of what many Eclipse 43 owners are asking, sure it's a unique boat but there has to be a dose of reality in there as well. I wouldn't think there are that many people so stuck on a Deck Saloon that they would pay double for it. This boat has been for sale for many years so I think that says something right there. I kind of like Davids blank canvas concept but blank canvas should come cheap. Thanks again! All good food for thought.
 

Peter Wright

Peter Wright
Boat name
WILD THYME
Berth
Suffolk Yacht Harbour
Boat type
Moody 425
Cruising area
North Sea, English Channel, Biscay
#8
Hi John,

Obviously your choice, but I think the 1990's 44 is a better boat than the Eclipse 43 - certainly sails better - some say the best sailing performer of the Moody range. If you can get a 44 in the same condition as an Eclipse 43 at half the price that would be a no contest decision for me.

Peter
 

Pierre-Yves Saumont

Pierre-Yves Saumont
Registered Guest
#9
Hi John,

Did you eventually bought the boat? If not, would you mind explaining why? (It seems the boat is still for sale, but under offer.)

Thanks,

Pierre-Yves
 

John Dekkers

John Dekkers
Registered Guest
#10
Hi Pierre

Are you referring to the one in Inverness? Fair Clip I believe is the boat? Although I like the price on that one, I wasn't going to touch it due to the fasteners used in the teak deck and the very wet environment in Scotland. I thought it was a recipe for deck rot nightmares. There is another in Greece that is my focus. Dryer weather, no teak deck. I feel it stands a much better chance of still being a solid boat. It's been for sale for a while so I don't feel a lot of pressure to make a deal. It sounds fairly neglected so for the work that it needs I will need to see the price come down fairly substantially. Also I won't be in a position to use it for another year so the longer I can delay the better, though wouldn't mind having it for next winter so I can get some of the more urgent items checked off. Am still waffling somewhat as well as to whether I want to take on a project boat.

Cheers,

John
 

Pierre-Yves Saumont

Pierre-Yves Saumont
Registered Guest
#11
Hi John,

Thanks for your answer. Yes, I am speaking of Fair Clip. The price seems attractive but you're right that the teak deck is a bit frightening. That might explain why the boat was not sold yet (although it is presently under offer). I guess a good survey would reveal this kind of problem. If you are interested in how a bolted through teak deck might evolve in Scotland, I recommend this video:
and the following ones. Although it is about a rotten deck on a Warrior 38, it should not be very different. Not the kind of thing I am prepared to do!

Actually, I am not completely decided about the boat. I am thinking about a Moody Eclipse 33 bilge keel, which is a bit too small, but the bilge keel is a huge plus since I only have a mooring that dries out twice a day (North Brittany). The 43 is a bit too big and I would have to find a place in a marina. Such a place is affordable here for that boat size, given one gets an annual contract, which is kind of impossible (12 to 16 years waiting lists). Without an annual contract, the price is multiplied by 3 to 4. A place for 9 months a year would be possible, but that would leave 3 months on a drying out mooring. Although the Moody Eclipse 43 may use legs, I am not sure if it is possible to let it dry out unattended (although it is a very calm an protected mooring with a very flat sand ground). If anyone can give some advice about drying out a Moody 43 Eclipse using legs, I would be very much interested. (I know that Fair Clip as legs, so it must be technically possible.)

The Moody 33 Eclipse I am also considering has keel bolts completely eaten by rust, to the point that it will be impossible to remove the nuts and bolts will have to be cut. Plus the keels to hull joins are in bad condition, so both keels have to be removed, and nuts and bolts replaced. This is where having to keels is not a good thing! If someone has good advice about this, I would be interested too.

Cheers,

Pierre-Yves
 

John Dekkers

John Dekkers
Registered Guest
#12
I follow Sail life as well. I am in complete agreement, this is not the kind of project I am willing to take on, though huge kudos to Mads for taking something like that on. I would be curious about using legs on an Eclipse as well, I've seen it done on other boats but it seems sketchy and would worry about a leg sinking into the mud causing the boat to roll over. Keel bolts are a concern for me as well, more so the consequence of hidden corrosion at the hull/keel joint, but the reports I have from people here are that they aren't normally an issue...though there are exceptions I'm sure. I will pull them to be sure, with the knowledge that if there are issues, I will be facing a full keel removal (better on the hard than the middle of the ocean!). If the nuts on the keel studs on the 33 you are looking at, are rusty only in the bilge, I have heard from some people, that they will turn right out of the keel with no issue with the nut seized on top...more like a bolt than a stud. You could then replace with fresh stud material and new nuts. Good Luck!
 

John Burbeck

John Burbeck
Boat name
GUARDIAN SPIRIT
Berth
Hamble
Boat type
Moody Eclipse 43
Cruising area
South Coast
#13
John.

I apologise for coming to this thread so late. I bought an Eclipse 43 a year ago. I travelled 1500 mostly very enjoyable miles last season and I am very pleased with her. A very spacious and comfortable and tough yacht, easy to handle, capable in rough weather she sails well but not very quickly, and motors well. Everything is easy to operate and with the raised deck saloon we rarely used waterproofs as we could keep watch below when it was raining.
I had a full survey and have done all the necessary work as well as fixed many new problems with the intention of serious long distance voyaging. I am off to the Baltic in April. I would be delighted to give you the benefit of what I have learnt.
Give me a ring if you are still interested on 07747 766028
John
 

John Dekkers

John Dekkers
Registered Guest
#14
John, thank you for the offer. I would really appreciate hearing of your experience with the 43 eclipse. I am away on holidays at the moment but will be sure to give a ring once I'm settled back at home.

Cheers,

John
 

John Burbeck

John Burbeck
Boat name
GUARDIAN SPIRIT
Berth
Hamble
Boat type
Moody Eclipse 43
Cruising area
South Coast
#15
Have a good hols. I'll await your call.