Re: Should I be scared??? What would you do???
As noted there is lots of good information in this thread.
Forgive me if I'm mistaken, but it seems that you are new to the process of purchasing and older, inexpensive boat. The process usually goes something like this:
-You dream about buying a boat
-You do some thinking about what kind of a boat meets your needs (day sailer, racer, cruiser, live aboard, etc.). Then you kind of decide on a budget and, or, length of boat.
-Use this site to ask lots of questions and learn as much as possible.
-Now you have to actually go look at various makes and models of boats that sort of fit your requirements. I found it very helpful to go on Yachtworld to find boats close (less than 2 hour drive) from me and then go and meet the broker and see as many boats as possible.
-Eventually you will find a boat that you think is the right one for the right price.
-The process is now usually:
-Get offer accepted (seller goes down in price, you go up in offer, etc.) and send deposit (usually 10% of purchase price)
-Boat gets surveyed (you pay for survey and associated costs, owner agrees to make boat available and operates the boat during the survey - usually the broker does this)
-You review survey results and either accept the boat, reject the boat (and get your deposit back), or renegotiate purchase price
-You pay balance due and sail boat away.
Make sure you understand the difference between survey and sea trial. The SURVEY will be done on land and in the water. The survey is to check all systems of the vessel for proper operation, inventory all gear included in the sale, check the integrity of the hull, electrical, plumbing, and other things. As far as I know, a sea trial is to make sure that the boat sails correctly. So, in a sense, the broker was right in that a sea trial won't provide you with much information. Assuming you are buying a common production type boat, like a Catalina 30, Tartan 28, C&C34, etc., the sailing and handling characteristics of those boats are well understood and you would lot learn a lot from a sea trial. I can understand the broker's point of view regarding a sea trial. Ask about a survey and his response better be along the lines of 'of course you should have a survey performed.'
The second part of your question, regarding how to buy a boat this time of year (if you
live in the north east) is that you don't. It's just not really possible or necessary to buy a boat this time of year. Wait until April at the earliest, march if you are just crazy to buy a boat.
Deep Blue C, 2002 C&C 110
Mt. Sinai, NY
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