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Marlinspike 06-21-2006 09:36 PM

Can a boat be too inexpensive to justify a survey?
can a boat be too inexpensive to justify a survey?

I'm considering purchasing my first larger 23' - 28' sailboat. I have my eye on boats that have an upper range of about $15k and a lower of $6k.

Is there a point where you wouldnt bother with a survey if it's clearly a "beater" to learn on?


SailinJay 06-21-2006 10:56 PM

At your high end of $15K, I'd probably consider a survey. At your low end, probably not, if I did a fairly decent inspection and checked for delamination (soft and "mushy" spots on the deck, coachroof, cockpit, etc.), obvious evidence of leaks, large cracks, holes, etc., and checked the running and standing rigging for wear and anything looser than it should be. If you have a friend who is knowledgeable, bring him or her along during your inspection. Ask the owner if he or she would agree to a sea trial to check the engine and how the boat sails and handles.

At the high end, you don't want to spend half-again as much (or more) as you paid for the boat in repairs to get it seaworthy. The money you spend for a survey would be worth it. You may want to resell the boat some day for something newer and/or bigger and you need to satisfy yourself that you're get your money's worth.

Gene T 06-22-2006 01:07 AM

You will probably need a survey to get insurance anyway. And you will probably need proof of insurance wherever you keep your boat. Other than that it depends on how much you know about boats. You will learn something during the survey too, if you get a good surveyor.

Jotun 06-22-2006 08:19 AM

How important is $6,000 to you? Most of the advice I have gotten has been to get a survey.

KenD 06-22-2006 08:44 AM

Even at six grand I would get a survey,Have you ever tried to get rid of a 3000 pound pile of trash thats about 7 ft w and 23ft long. A survey on a boat that size might cost you 200-300,but could save a lot of wasted time and energy,not to mention MONEY.Good luck with your search.

cardiacpaul 06-22-2006 09:32 AM


"Forgive them Lord, They know not of what they do"

Valiente 06-22-2006 09:34 AM

Always get a survey. Always. I'm getting one this week for a steel boat, so I invested a fair bit of energy in finding the rare surveyor who specializes in metal boats.

As for size, the market is very soft (due to aging boomers and "footitis") for small cruisers. You can get completely rehabbed and perfectly good Sharks here in Toronto for $4,000-$5,000 because nobody wants a 24 foot boat, even though they are a near perfect trailerable dry-sailer that is robust enough to race and to sail in the rare instance of 30 knots on the Great Lakes.

If you are looking for a daysailer or a "camping" type experience, and are a beginning sailor, go for older and heavier. In the '70s, I would argue the majority of boats were sold at the 26-27 foot range, and a lot of meticulous first owners are now giving them up, having maintained and updated them for 30 years.

A guy here last year had to drop his 1985 Newport 27 (a C&C hull with a raised deck) to $12K before it sold. The N27 is a decent "weekend" suitable for a couple with enclosed head, galley, six-foot V-berth, etc. It will also take heavy weather, although it's too light to work to weather in moderate seas without pounding.

The point? If your needs are modest, you can get a hell of a lot of good old boat for not much money these days at the under-30 foot level. You can change out the brown plaid upholstery later <G>.

sailingdog 06-22-2006 09:50 AM

I'd recommend getting survey, even at the low end of your price range. As someone has pointed out, if the boat turns out to have serious problems, you can have a lot of trouble and expense of getting rid of it.

camaraderie 06-22-2006 12:09 PM

Hey CardiacPaul...what range would a surveyor typically charge for a 22-25' sailboat? Seems to me that even with a $6k investment, you could easily recoup the survey cost with just finding a few things wrong that you didn't otherwise know about.

cardiacpaul 06-22-2006 12:25 PM

depending on the area of the country (and proliferation of surveyors), you're looking @ 13-15 per foot. (up to 30 ft)

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