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Old 03-28-2005
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Buying a yacht

You have many questions. This is a good thing, especially considering the boat you are looking at. Roberts seems to sell a lot of plans, some of which get built. No one I''ve ever spoken with has ever mentioned how any of them sail. Many Roberts designs were (are) built by amateurs. Was this one? How good were they at boatbuilding? Did they alter something from the plans? Was it something they did that caused it to sink? What else might they have done that will cause other problems later? Many Roberts boats are also made of steel. How much steel is left? Steel tends to rust continuously, especially in places you can''t see, and especially after getting thoroughly wet on both sides from sinking. Even fiberglass doesn''t enjoy being mistreated this way. If she is ferro-cement (!) are you wearing your track shoes? (You should be RUNNING the other way.) How was she salvaged? Lifting a boat full of water too fast can really do nasty things to it. Why did the hull need fairing? Does it need a new engine? (If so, add about $10k, or more for a hefty one. ) If it needs a new interior buy a copy of Ferenc Maté''s book From a Bare Hull and a copy of Practical Yacht Joinery from Intl Marine Publishers. Do you have twice as much money as you think it will cost to complete the interior? If you are a professional cabinetmaker with every imaginable machine & tool at your disposal, do you have a year or two to spend putting the insides back together? (Please consider that if nothing in a house is level or square, on a boat nothing is level, square, straight, or with enough room to fit anything.)
Why does this boat appeal to you? Are there others in this size range that might be in better condition, or with less work required, that could save your marriage? Why does this boat seem so affordable? Is it really?
Experienced sailors would ask these questions and spend another three days thinking up more of them. If the answers came back so there were only a minimum of things to worry about, then they might ask around about quotes for needed work, and get opinions from others -- NOT involved with the yard, broker, or current owner-- and proceed with both eyes open, putting one toe in at a time.
Worry about the Gods later - the Gods help those who help themselves first.
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