Our criteria for the ‘next boat’ was a sturdy offshore-capable boat with 3 cabins, roomy center cockpit, and reasonable sailing performance and non-hydraulic steering so a windvane could be used. After a year of searching globally for a suitable bluewater boat within our budget and constantly revising potential cruising plans depending on where we might start, we found a 1978 Gulfstar 50 ketch only 2 hours away in Tacoma, WA. We tried numerous times to get ahold of the broker to schedule a viewing to no avail. so we kept looking elsewhere. Found a great deal on a Tayana 52 but after seeing it decided the cockpit was way too small. Then made an offer on a TransPac 49 that we absolutely loved the layout but had squishy decks and rot in the main bulkheads. Common sense and a desire to have a boat that could actually be sailed in the next couple years prevailed so we pulled the offer and decided there just wern’t any suitable boats to be found… then remembered the Gulfstar. We made an offer on her sight-unseen, which got the brokers attention enough to call us back and we finally got to go see her. She was essentially all original (meaning reasonably unmolested by owner modifications), had a few gallons of oil in the bilge under the Perking 4.154 engine, an enormous non-functional Espar heater mounted above the engine, tired sails and non-self-tailing winches, a flexing bulkhead under the cockpit where the steering turning sheaves were mounted, and a non-functioning windlass… but seemed otherwise sound and sailable so we finally bought ourselves another sailboat!
We reinforced the steering sheave mounting and bought her up to her new home in Blaine, WA and started chipping away at the projects. Pulled the engine to re-seal it, decided to rebuild it, found a couple of cam lobes wiped out and parts hard to find but located a used cam and had all the machine work done, then stumbled on a good deal on a low-hour 75hp 2018 Yanmar take-out from a boat in California. That sounded better, so had that shipped up and put it in instead (hah, that made it sound really easy!)