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Jwood2 07-09-2013 03:23 PM

Possibly buy a boat..
I am looking into buying a sailboat, it would be my first one.
I am looking at buy a 1974 Tartan 30 30' that is in very good condition and has been taken care of and is listed for $9800, should I do it?. Any feedback or ideas?

miatapaul 07-09-2013 03:37 PM

Re: Possibly buy a boat..
Tartan 30's are really nice boats, I have been out on one and really liked sailing it. They are fairly fast for there age, and seem to have really nice sailing qualities, and would make a great learning platform. They are an older boat, so a survey is really necessary, especially if it is your first boat, unless loosing out on 10 grand would not bother you. Solid boats for sure if it has been well cared for. What are your goals for the boat? Where are you? By the way don't be afraid of offering a bit lower than listing price, lots of boats have been on the market for quite awhile.

The thing with older boats like this are they are often sold as "needing cosmetic work" and that cosmetic work can often times cost more than the boat is worth. Not that it should scare you just be aware of it. Water damage is quite expensive and time consuming to fix for sure. A new engine will cost at least want they are asking so make sure that is solid and running as well. Sails, standing rigging and running rigging are all expensive as well.

SHNOOL 07-09-2013 03:45 PM

Re: Possibly buy a boat..
With little else to go on... YEAH! buy now... And please don't regret it, even if it costs you another $10k to get it all working and sorted. It'll be the most crazy stupid thing you can do, but you won't care when you sail it rail down and your bare feet up on the cockpit seats.

Listen, don't think of a boat purchase as a financial investment think of it as a depreciating asset that is worse than a car... if you write off the initial purchase price... and think of it as "money spent for your own personal enjoyment." Then it gets way easier to roll with the punches.

Example: McDonalds meals for 2... $19. Tickets for the movies (just tickets) $19. Popcorn and drinks for 2 at the movies $25. A round of golf (18 holes) for 2 with a cart, $100 at a public course! Freaking gas for your car ($50-$75)... Imagine Gas for a motorboat - UGH...

My point is... Boats cost money... the initial outlay of cash, can be small, or even nothing. But you'll be putting lots more money into it, new or old... how much more depends on how good a shape the boat is in (or how well equipped or both)... If you accept that fact now it makes it easier to take the plunge. $10k for a 30 footer, for something as nice as a Tartan... seems like a steal to me (and before all you others chime in, and start saying what about the bottom, the motor, the gelcoat, the rigging, YEAH YEAH YEAH..... I am assuming that the OP has done some homework on that)...

Get the boat surveyed (or bone up on doing some of that yourself)... in the "under 10k" range you're borderline (if losing 10k will ruin your retirement, then by all means get the surveyor)... otherwise I'd say get a great book and learn the signs to look for yourself.

Ok, now the obligatory disclaimer: My advice is worth exactly what you paid for it... I am not a professional boat surveyor, nor do I recommend you could do what they do for a living by reading 1 book... I know nothing about the boat you are purchasing, and therefore it could sink tomorrow so please don't hold me responsible. HOWEVER - if you DON'T PURCHASE, and you THEREFORE don't ever get to sail that beauty to places unknown... I won't be responsible for your loss of fun EITHER!

Life's short... we'll help where we can... post pictures or a link, or something... tell us about the condition you find it in... Where you gonna sail it? Do you have a slip or mooring lined up for it? Are you aware of the costs of marina, mooring, and insurance?

Details... we live on those!

Either way, welcome and good luck! We'll help you where we can... post questions and we'll make up answers, I mean try to answer.

Donna_F 07-09-2013 03:45 PM

Re: Possibly buy a boat..
It's the rare 30+ year old boat that won't cost you more to repair than you paid for it. If you're up to that potential financial drain and time commitment away from actual sailing, go for it.

FirstCandC 07-09-2013 03:46 PM

Re: Possibly buy a boat..
I am probably the least qualified person on this board, but I do KNOW one thing after buying my first boat this year- A sea trial and survey are essential, without these you will spend many weekends "wondering what this is" and literally staring at little things around the boat, trying to figure it all out. I probably lost four weekends (a month's worth of dry storage) just going through the systems and nooks and crannies that a surveyor could have shown me in one afternoon. And this is AFTER years of reading forums and This Old Boat, by Don Casey.

Also, storage, renovation, and repair costs are probably going to be higher than you expect. Not trying to scare you away, I would still take a hard look at that boat! Hopefully, some of the posters here will advise on that price and that model.

Check this site out:
About the T30

jimgo 07-09-2013 03:49 PM

Re: Possibly buy a boat..
Tartans are generally decent boats. Do you have pictures of her? How much experience do you have with sailing? Have you been around boats and gotten to know the problem areas on sailboats? Have you had a surveyor go over the boat?

I'm not looking to be a wet blanket, but more of a reality check, so please take my comments in that light. A 30' boat may be a bit much for a first boat. In general, most people recommend starting with something in the 15-18' range, maybe a 22-25'. Everything happens slower on a bigger boat, which is good and bad. The slowness is due to the weight - there's more inertia - and that can make it hard to handle. The sails are going to be heavy, there will be lots of "stuff" on a boat that size that can also make it overwhelming unless you have some experience. It's kind of like driving a car - most people start out in an Escort or a Civic, not a Ferrari, Rolls Royce or Kenworth, and there are good reasons for that. Unlike driving, which many of us HAVE to learn to do, sailing is a recreational activity that is supposed to be "fun." You're talking about learning to drive on roughly the equivalent of an F250, and there is going to be a big learning curve there. I'd hate to see you sink $10K into a boat, get frustrated with it because its more than you're ready for, and then hate sailing and have a $10K albatross around your neck. Also, have you looked into slip fees and winter storage for your area (unless you live somewhere warm)? Are you ready for the maintenance costs?

Again, I don't mean to be a wet blanket. And many people have bought 30+ foot boats as their first boats. Unfortunately, many of them simply sit at the dock most of the time, because their owners get overwhelmed. If that's not likely because of your personality, then from what I've ready, the Tartans are nice boats and, assuming the survey/inspection comes back clean, and assuming you're ready for the costs, this is a great sport/hobby.

CalebD 07-09-2013 04:25 PM

Re: Possibly buy a boat..
Atomic 4 or diesel powered?
Boats with Atomic 4's in them will cost less than a diesel and you get to learn engine mechanics as few "mechanics" actually know how to work on them.

T37Chef 07-09-2013 04:59 PM

Re: Possibly buy a boat..
There is one way to learn, go do it right. If you have a link to the boat listing if there is one post it. Tartan, especially of that age are great boats, sturdy, overbuilt, and pretty to boot...better than decent ;)

I would get a survey as already suggested, just like a house, it good to have someone go over the little things with you and more than likely they will see things you wouldn't.

Keep in mind that once you take that leap there is a good chance you will spend many more boat bucks outfitting to your liking, repairs, storage, mooring/slip fees...but all worth it if you enjoy the experience.

Last thing I would suggest is you take it slow, don't be to aggressive with you planning so that you don't end up overwhelming yourself or crew and worse getting into an unsafe circumstance. Travel with others if you can until you feel comfortable with the boat and your skills.

JimMcGee 07-09-2013 05:31 PM

Re: Possibly buy a boat..
JWood I think you might be asking the wrong question.

Rather than "is the Tartan 30 a good boat" try "Is the Tartan 30 a good boat for me?"

These questions may help:
  • Where are you going to sail?
  • Do you have any sailing experience or are you new to it?
  • If new have you taken some courses or are you just taking the plunge?
  • Do you plan to sail by yourself (called single handing), with your wife/girlfriend or do you have kids?
  • Will you stay overnight on the boat? If yes at anchor, at the marina or both?
  • How good are you with tools, engines, electrical? Older boats, like older houses have lots of systems that need attention.
  • How's your budget? As others have said boats need attention and repairs, there are slip fees, insurance, bottom painting and winter storage if you're north of the snow line. All will probably be a bit more than you anticipate. With boats most costs are calculated based on the size of the boat.

If you can answer these folks here can give you an idea if this boat is a good choice for how you want to use her.


Originally Posted by SHNOOL (Post 1056579)
With little else to go on... YEAH! buy now... And please don't regret it, even if it costs you another $10k to get it all working and sorted. It'll be the most crazy stupid thing you can do, but you won't care when you sail it rail down and your bare feet up on the cockpit seats.

Beautifully said...

Best of luck whatever you decide.


mark2gmtrans 07-09-2013 05:43 PM

Re: Possibly buy a boat..
As long as you are not spending your life's savings on this boat, or if you are you at least know that when you get it you will be working to support your sailing habit from now on, then I say go for it, conditionally, but go for it.

The conditions that I would apply to the purchase are the survey, get survey done, be there with the surveyor and ask questions, you are paying him, so use that to your advantage. If the surveyor tells you all the stuff that is wrong with it and gives you a ballpark idea of what the repairs will cost and you are good with that, then you are going in with your eyes open. If you see that the boat is in decent condition for its age, and you jump in and buy it, knowing you sold your weekends and a lot of other "spare" time in trade for a future good time of sailing, then you are ready to jump in and own a sailboat. The Tartan is a very pretty boat, and from all reports a good one to own and sail.

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