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Old 07-03-2012
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BarryL BarryL is offline
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Re: Coastal Cruising Boat Selection Help


Good post.

Some comments, which are all IMHO:

Just about any 30' coastal cruiser would be a good choice for your first 5 year plan. How did you decide on the three boats you listed? It sounds like you just went to a local boat dealer and looked at what they had. While that's not necessarily a bad plan, there are other ways.

Personally, I would look for the nicest, cleanest, best equipped 30' boat in my price range and within a 'reasonable' distance, say 50 nm from me. This would include Catalina, O'day, Hunter, Beneteau, Pearson, Tartan, Sabre, Newport, Bristol, C&C, CS, and probably a few others. Take your time, look at lots of boats and start thinking about features you want to have. For example, do you need refrigeration, or is an ice box OK? What about cooking: do you need propane, or is alcohol ok? what about an oven? What about the marine head, basic OK or do you need a shower and hot water? What about the draft of the boat, how deep can you use? Self tailing winches or regular, wheel or tiller, deck stepped or keep stepped mast, etc etc etc

Regarding the boat buying process, if you are using a broker the process is standardized and easy to follow:
-You find a boat you like and spend a lot of time crawling all over it.
-If you still like it, you decide how much $ you are willing to pay for it - assuming the boat is in the condition it appears to be.
-if you really like it you then make an offer to the broker. The broker will cry about how that's not enough, the owner will be mad, etc. You tell him to present the offer anyway. Then you negotiate and hopefully agree on a price.
-You pay the broker 10% of the price and he should produce a contact that you and the owner sign.
-If the broker uses a standard contract, it should include a statement that basically means you can cancel the contract at any time for any reason and you get your deposit back. This protects you in case the boat has damage you were unaware of, or it doesn't sail like you expected, or you decide to buy a new car instead.
-At this point, you arrange for a survey and sea trial. The owner / broker agree to make the boat available for the survey, you pay for the cost of the survey and for the cost of things like the haul out.
-You can still walk away at any time if you change your mind
-After you receive the survey, you may be able to renegotiate if the survey reveals issues you were unaware of. Or, you can buy the boat as is, or you can walk away (less the $ you spent for the survey).

Good luck,
Barry Lenoble
Deep Blue C, 2002 C&C 110
Mt. Sinai, NY

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