Re: Boat Visit!
A very good resource is Don Casey's "Complete Illustrated Sailboat Maintenance Manual", the first section of which is entitled "Inspecting the Aging Sailboat", required reading for all saavy boat buyers.
I submitted the following questions to every seller before scheduling an appointment:
How long have you owned the boat?
Why did you decide to sell?
Do you have a certificate of title?
Has the engine been rebuilt?
How old are the sails and what is their condition?
Has there been any osmotic blistering, boat pox, or delamination of the hull?
Is there any spider cracking on the hull?
What is the condition of the gelcoat on the hull?
Is there any leaking at the hull/deck joint?
Is there any wet core in, delamination of, or soft spots on the deck?
Is there spider cracking on the deck? Around the stanchions?
Are the chainplates leaking? Is there any evidence of water in the bulkheads? Staining?
Has the boat ever sunk or had water inside at a level above the floorboards?
Does the electrical system work?
Has the boat ever been declared/determined to be a total loss by an insurance company?
Does anything need to be done in order for the boat to be cruise ready?
You should do the same. You will immediately eliminate the scammers, the low motivation sellers, the no motivation sellers, the con artists, the "Get Rich Quick Selling Used Sailboats" sellers and the unreasonable sellers.
I don't know about your area, but here in the Chesapeake, the market is even softer than it was 2 years ago and it appears folks cannot give away their used sailboats, even the decent looking ones.
You should be able to find a motivated seller with a good first boat for you. You want the seller to be there so you can gain even more information, gauge the seller's motivation, and establish some rapport. After all, you will be dealing with a real live human being, with thoughts and feelings. Don't let his or her presence stop you from inspecting or testing anything that would not damage the boat. Ask if you have any doubts about whether something will damage the boat.
Last edited by jameswilson29; 05-30-2013 at 01:36 PM.