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Thread: Older 1970s Tollycraft Owners

  1. #1

    Default Older 1970s Tollycraft Owners

    Hello-

    I'm just looking to see if anyone on here owns a mid 70s tollycraft sedan cruisers. I'm looking at a couple different options for a weekend fishing and hunting boat for my family this summer. I will mainly fish the boat in prince William sound, but might run it out of Seward as well here and there.

    One of the options im looking at comes with twin 351 Windsor's, another has just a single 5.7. I know that the twins screws are going to eat a lot of fuel. I'm just looking to see if anyone out there has any experience with this boat or similar. I know that the hulls had some cracking issues At certain times of manufacturing. But aside from that I am mainly looking on information about how those boats handle big water, how they sit on the hook, what's the ride like, durability, etc...and if you own one or have owned one in the past, what your thoughts were.

    Any information would be greatly appreciated. Please feel free to message me, call, or text at (907) 841-6569. Thanks

  2. #2
    Sponsor potbuilder's Avatar
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    I'd bet those boats had loads of plywood cores covered by fiberglass in them, be very careful of waterlogged/rotting cores in a boat that old.

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  3. #3

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    Proceed with caution. I know of very few people who are happy after jumping into an older boat like that. Lots of them turn into giant money pits.

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    Member Sobie2's Avatar
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    I thought the 26' Tolly was a standard classic? A great boat (flybridge, good cabin, and fish deck). I myself am a Uniflite guy, all fiberglass construction. They key to owning a boat with an inboard like a Tolly or Uniflite is to always have a heater plugged in year round next to the engine. But my 23' is getting an outboard.

    I have seen a lot of 26' Tollys over the years and some are in fantastic condition. I would look at a single before a twin but it depends on what size Tollycraft. I hadn't heard much about plywood construction in the Tollys either. If you are looking at an early 1970s Tollycraft with an OMC Stringer drive (most likely a 23' or 24') you might want to look at something else since parts are getting hard to locate (I pulled the OMC from my Uniflite).

    Sobie2

  5. #5

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    The boats I'm looking into are prop, shaft rudder boats, not outdrives. And to answer the rotting issue, the ones I'm looking at come with marine surveys with moisture tests. But I have also heard the 26 foot tollycraft to be a tried and true boat. Obviously any boat that isn't we'll taken care of and never maintained and covered during winter will need lots of work. Also it's my understanding that boats that were mid 70s before they sold the company were much better shape then the 80s counterpart.

    Again any advice is appreciated. But I know about money pits and I know about rot issues. I'm more wanting to know from Tolly owners or people that have experience with them about how they handle, rough water, better to displace or plane, etc...thank you everyone so far for the input.

  6. #6
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    I had a 26 Tolly back in the early 80's I kept in Whittier. It was a '78 with a 270 hp Mercruiser V-drive. Boat was a great family boat for a young family. It was very well built and first I've heard of hull cracks (maybe the earlier 28's ?). Access to everything below decks is great, not like a lot of boats in that size range. And as for size, it's the biggest 26 there is at an true 26' 9" centerline length without counting the swimstep, and a 10' beam. Anyway, with the 270, it's not a fast boat, semi-displacement hull with a keel. You could cruise at 15 kts. but even with the 150 gallons of fuel it had limited range. I'd need to haul extra 30 gals when we did a week out down in the south sound for instance. I used to run it at 7-8 kts a lot and just cruising on the sound with plenty of time, that was fine. A comfortable ride mostly but it had a few quirks. It hated a following sea and wouldn't back down to port (single screw right hand prop) so getting out of our slip was always an adventure if the Whittier winds were blowing. We had a starboard side tie up bow in slip which made it easier coming back in. We caught a lot of fish, shriimp and crab on that boat and lots of good memories. Can't say I was happy to sell it though moving up to a 38 footer made life on the water lots more comfortable for the admiral and a couple of growing boys. I've also admired the other Tollys but they changed to more of a European design in the late 80's before going out of business. Always well built, but I liked the earlier lines better, especially the 37. Again, not a fast boat. I went out with a charter on one with 3208 cats and cruise was around 17 kts but a solid ride. Good luck with your search!

  7. #7

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    Great information thank you!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fish Witch View Post
    I had a 26 Tolly back in the early 80's I kept in Whittier. It was a '78 with a 270 hp Mercruiser V-drive. Boat was a great family boat for a young family. It was very well built and first I've heard of hull cracks (maybe the earlier 28's ?). Access to everything below decks is great, not like a lot of boats in that size range. And as for size, it's the biggest 26 there is at an true 26' 9" centerline length without counting the swimstep, and a 10' beam. Anyway, with the 270, it's not a fast boat, semi-displacement hull with a keel. You could cruise at 15 kts. but even with the 150 gallons of fuel it had limited range. I'd need to haul extra 30 gals when we did a week out down in the south sound for instance. I used to run it at 7-8 kts a lot and just cruising on the sound with plenty of time, that was fine. A comfortable ride mostly but it had a few quirks. It hated a following sea and wouldn't back down to port (single screw right hand prop) so getting out of our slip was always an adventure if the Whittier winds were blowing. We had a starboard side tie up bow in slip which made it easier coming back in. We caught a lot of fish, shriimp and crab on that boat and lots of good memories. Can't say I was happy to sell it though moving up to a 38 footer made life on the water lots more comfortable for the admiral and a couple of growing boys. I've also admired the other Tollys but they changed to more of a European design in the late 80's before going out of business. Always well built, but I liked the earlier lines better, especially the 37. Again, not a fast boat. I went out with a charter on one with 3208 cats and cruise was around 17 kts but a solid ride. Good luck with your search!
    It wasn't a Tolly, but I had a single screw straight shaft boat that also didn't behave well in a following sea and wandered a lot at idle/salmon trolling speed. The boat behaved WAY better after I added 4" to the rudder. Drop in a newer fuel injected motor and the mileage should improve significantly.


    Big_E

  9. #9
    Member Akgramps's Avatar
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    the Tollys are tried and true boats and good hulls, they are heavy a fiend had one with a single 5.7 IB and it was not enough motor, If he ran it on step the motors didnt last long. So most of the time he cruised around at displacement speed, which is OK, but ya dont a need a planing hull and a V-8 to do that. I think it would be better with twins or at least a big block (which will limit your range, especially with a 150 Gallon tank)...... Or a diesel repower.

    They are nice boats but definitely a step up form a 24 X 8-6 if when you have to tow. It always seems to me if you go that size you may as well get a 28 or 30 foot boat. It is not uncommon for them to have issues form leaking at the bottom of the windows.... but many old boats do, I just seem to recall reading replacing the wood was a bit of a project.

    If you find one that is nice and affordable it may make sense, but if you are looking at one that needs a lot of repairs or upgrades I would look at something else. The hulls are very similar to a 28 Glasply.


    I dont believe these were cored hulls, possibly the decks, which is OK IMO, just not a fan of coring below the waterline, I think they were all hand laid..

    There is a solid following on the Tollys and suspect you can turn up some good info with some "googling"
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  10. #10
    Member tlingitwarrior's Avatar
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    Having owned one, Run, don't walk, from old boats that are powered with inboard gas engines.
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  11. #11
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    Owned a 1978 26' Tolly for 10 years, great boat. Solid fiberglass hull. Heavy so it rode well in chop. Mine had a 454 ci with V-drive, cruised at 18 knots around 13~14 gph. Only draw back is it didn't maneuver very well at slow speeds due to being rudder steared.

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