Points to consider when buying an H28

50th Anniversary Gala Dinner & Book Launch

Most H28 in New Zealand were produced in GRP by Compass Yachts Ltd in the 1970’s. Consequently the value of the yacht today will depend very much on how well it was finished originally and also on how well it has been maintained over the years. The condition of the yachts will vary greatly and this will usually be reflected in the asking price. However, it can be a rewarding and satisfying experience renovating a yacht that has been neglected, so if you have the capability and the time, such a yacht should not automatically be ruled out. Apart from general condition it is important that the potential purchaser takes into account any expensive items that may need to be replaced either immediately or in the near future. The following checklist should be treated as a guide only and it is recommended that you have the boat surveyed prior to purchase, or at the very least checked over by someone with good knowledge of the H28. In this regard we have members within our Association, particularly in the Auckland area who would be willing to offer their expertise.

Auxiliary Engine

Most H28 were originally fitted with 10-12 HP diesels and many of these are still going strong. Although adequate, the tendency in recent years has been to replace these when necessary with a diesel of around 20 HP. It is important to establish the condition and reliability of the auxiliary as this is the single most expensive item to replace.

Hull Numbers

There are 2-3 places you should find hull numbers.
1: On the aft face of the cockpit there is a builder’s plate. Behind this is some times found the number and the original owners name.
2: Inside the aft locker on the beam up under the deck either aft or forward side.
3: On the hull by the prop aperture but this one is usually covered in anti fouling and is only visible when you scrape back the hull to gel coat.


If the yacht has a refrigeration system, check this is working properly. Compressor driven systems, although very efficient, can be prone to problems if not run regularly.

Sails, Sail Cover, Dodger

Check for general wear and tear, hoist sails if possible. If in doubt have them checked by a sail maker to estimate their expected lifespan. Extras such as spinnaker or genaker may add value.


It is always a good idea to take the yacht out for a trial run. This will offer a good opportunity to check the diesel engine, sails, winches and any electronic gear.

Mast, Boom, Standing & Running Rigging

Check for signs of corrosion, particularly around fittings and base of mast. Check deck around base of mast for signs of compression and check chain plates for signs of leaks. Standing rigging usually last for many years but check particularly around swages for broken strands.

Keel Ballast

What are the differences between lead and the iron punching ballast
and how do I find out what type has been used?

Compass Yachts learnt of the use of iron punchings for ballast from Choy Yachts. So long as the iron punchings were properly mixed (encapsulated) with resin there should be no rust problems. Although problems with the iron punchings ballast are rare isolated cases do exist.

The iron punchings ballasted keels were topped up with a foam concrete mix. Sometimes the ballast wasn’t cleanly poured into the keel so if there are traces of punchings under the bunks then chances are its not lead. Compass Yachts did make H28s with lead ballast. These were solely lead with no iron puchings and the gaps between the lead ingots were filled with resin.

Lead has a higher weight per volume than the iron punchings. Hence less ballast is required when lead is used. The lead ballasted keels are 150 ~ 200 mm lower from the cabin sole than the iron puchings. So if the gap between the cabin floor and the bilge is significantly greater than other H28s chances are it is a lead keel.

Another way to check what type of ballast is in the keel is to drill a small hole say 6-8 mil through the floor of the fiberglass cabin sole about mid ships and on the centre line. After going through 6-8mil of glass you will strike either cement (=steel punchings) or resin and or steel or lead. When finished this hole is simply filled with epoxy filler.

Hull & Decks

In most cases the deck and topsides will have been painted over the original gel coat surface. Ascertain when this was done. It should last ten years or so if done properly. If still original gel coat, check for crazing as this will entail more work prior to painting. It is important that the yacht  be hauled out to inspect the hull below the waterline. Like most GRP hulls of this era osmosis is not uncommon, and much has been written on this subject. Generally if the hull surface appears smooth with no lumps, bumps or pimples then there is probably no problem. Should this not be the case, have it properly check out. Bad osmosis can be an arduous and expensive job to fix.

Generally the H28 has always been considered good value for money and because of the large number produced there are usually several on the market to choose from.
Although, perhaps not the fastest craft on the water, the fact that after more than thirty years the H28 is still one of the largest and most active keeler classes in the country speaks for itself.
Should you become the proud owner of an “H” we would welcome and encourage you to join our Association. We hold regular on water gatherings throughout the summer, including a friendly racing programme. We also hold occasional social events off-the-water and our bi-monthly newsletter keeps members up to date with all these activities.