Buying a Twister

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What to look for when buying a Twister:

General Points

You, or you and your surveyor will obviously assess the general condition of your chosen Twister looking at rigging, sails, engine and equipment. These are standard survey items; appraisal of their condition is straightforward and generally non-contentious.

There are specific points relating to a Twister which we detail below. Given the care that Twister Owners generally lavish on their boats, and the time that has passed since launch, it’s probable that the issues detailed below have manifested themselves and been rectified. There is much guidance elsewhere on the website.

Wooden Twisters

The first Twisters were all built in wood. They were built to order and there were small variations in interior layout and the exterior. Nearly all had a straight coachroof with a few having a low doghouse.

If you are thinking of buying a wooden Twister then the advice is to engage a surveyor who specialises in wooden yachts.

GRP and Composite Twisters

All the mouldings were made by the Tyler Boat Company. Tyler’s were one of the pioneers of GRP construction and very well regarded in their field.

The majority of hull mouldings were delivered in 1980 and before. However, Tylers build records [In the Twister Archive] list 10 hulls completed after that date with 2 listed as being delivered in 1985. The delivery dates for the other hulls are either not clear or not given but it is possible that the last hull was delivered as late as 1996. Home builders may have taken several years to complete the hull. This will account for a wide variation in commissioning dates; dates far later than those generally given in the yachting press for the end of production.

In the early days of GRP construction there was no such thing as building down to a price or weight. This resulted in all Twisters being very strongly built; as result they have stood up well to the test of time. The hull thickness is at least twice that of a considerably larger modern 'production boat’.

Tyler hulls do not seem to have been particularly prone to osmosis and only one bad case has ever come to our notice. The build process, with hulls being made in Kent and then shipped to the home builder or Uphams will have allowed more time for the GRP to fully cure may also have helped. It has more recently been determined that polyester resin from Tyler’s supplier had a chemical composition such that it was less likely to suffer osmosis than the formulation from the other main supplier to the industry at the time. However, remember that any surveyor, being mindful of his indemnity insurance, will probably manage to find some trace somewhere. Most boats will have been epoxied by now.

The hull and deck mouldings are particularly robust. Occasional problems have occurred with the rudder [the lower section is hollow] either where water has got in or where the two halves of the moulding have started to separate by the stock. Both problems, if they have not already been identified and rectified, are easily resolved.

The original Uphams completed yachts utilised a very adequate deck mounted fabricated steel mast step to span the two main bulkheads and spread the load. A few home builders and some professional yards underestimated the loads involved. Check for deformation in this area. Check the deck beams in way of the mast for movement.

For composite Twisters, where the cabin top and cockpit are wood, the original specification for the cabin sides to deck joint was not optimal, resulting in leaks. By now, this should have been identified and resolved. Check for leaks and undue movement in this area.

For early hulls the chainplates were bolted through the deck, as far outboard as practicable, and originally reinforced by a simple glass fibre knee. Certain early Twisters were reportedly sailed hard; on some there were signs of movement, especially by the cap shrouds, and some Owners have reinforced this area. Later hulls have the chain plates positioned slightly inboard of the toe rail and reinforced by a more substantial ‘beam shelf’ by the chains. We have never heard of a catastrophic failure.

Note that all deck cores are marine play; presumably offcuts from the glassed-in bulkheads.

Twisters are magical boats to sail. Light on the helm, close winded and relatively fast. They are generally much loved by their owners who tend to own them for many years and lavish considerable sums on maintenance and improvements. The most common reason for sale is 'advancing years' on the part of the owner.

See what Twisters are currently for sale. You can now list your Twister for sale (NB, a charge applies) by using our online sales listing form.
If you're looking for equipment for sale then try looking on our discussion board.