Offer on first boat and discouraging survey - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 06-28-2006
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Offer on first boat and discouraging survey

Long time lurker, first time poster.

We have an offer in on what we hoped would be our first sailboat, a Sabre 34 mk I, I went to the survey today. At the haulout both the yard crew and the surveyor were remarking about what a lovely boat she is. The hull is in perfect condition according to the surveyor.

Unfortunately, there are are a lot of wet spots on the deck, probably about 14 linear feet of deck, including the entire area around the port and starboard chainplates. This was very dissappointing. My question is, is it even possible to find a 25 year old boat with dry decks? The whole experience was very discouraging, we've looked at a lot of boats (our price range is up to $50,000) and this is the first one we were excited about.

Any ideas for boats around 34 feet that sail well? We want to sail it to the bahamas in 3 years or so, we're on the Great Lakes now.

Thanks

Gary
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Old 06-28-2006
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That is disappointing especially since Sabres are better built than most boats. You may be looking at a boat where the shrouds were over tightened and the owner did not maintain the caulking where the shrouds pass through the deck. But yes it is possible to find a 25 year old boat with dry decks.

Jeff
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Old 06-28-2006
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There are plenty of boats in the 30-34' range that sail well. Also, quite a few with dry decks in that age range. Much of it depends on how the boat was used and maintained.

Generally, boats that were raced may have more deck problems than boats that were used less hard, but this is not always the case.

Last year, a friend bought an older Tartan 34 which was raced, but was maintained impeccably, and had no hull or deck issues. The sails and rigging were in need of replacing, but other than that, it was in good shape.
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Old 06-29-2006
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That's encouraging

That's encouraging to know that it is possible to find an older boat with dry decks. Are there any signs I should look for that would indicate the boat is being well cared for, other than basic cosmetic stuff? The surveyor pointed out the gel coat crazing around the wet areas. I would hate to have to pay for half a dozen surveys to find one decent boat.

We really liked the boat, it would be hard to find another around here because there just aren't that many Sabres 34s in these parts, especially fin keels. I was surprised because the current owner seems to be taking good care of the boat.

We may have an opportunity to look at a Tartan 37 this weekend; it's another boat we've been considering although we've never been aboard one. Of course it's more expensive but maybe we wouldn't have to move up in 4 or 5 years.
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Old 06-29-2006
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Tartan 37

I had a Tartan 37 and completely rebuilt her. she was a fine boat and i put 15,000 Blue water miles miles on her in 4 years. with the centerboard up she is particularly great in skinny water like the bahamas.
she went through 2 hurricanes , a storm , and many gales with no damage.
GREAT OCEAN BOAT.
you might want to go to the tartan wensite
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/tartan...guid=190615546
i have hundreds of pix of the rebuild if you are interested.
you will probably find some small area of wet deck around the upper chainplates.

fair winds,
eric
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Old 06-29-2006
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Well, take a look at the little details, like under the cushions, and in the dark spaces in the bottom and back corners of storage lockers. If a boat has been well-maintained, those areas are likely to show it... if it has just been cleaned up to show well, they usually neglect the areas that are prominent or immediately visible.

I highly recommend that you carry a good flashlight, pen, notebook and digital camera with you, whenever you go to see a possible boat to buy. Your memory can play tricks on you, but the camera and the notes you take about the photos will help you to remember the actual visit better.

Another good thing to look for is areas where the gelcoat doesn't seem to be the same color, or areas where the hull's surface or curvature seems to not run fair. These may be indicators of previous damage or repairs. Down below, look at the doorways and cabinets—are they true or do they seem like they are out of square. If they seem out of square, it may mean that the bulkhead or framing that they are attached to has shifted. In one boat I was looking at for a friend, the passageway to the head had some scrapes on the floor from the head's folding door, and it turned out the forward bulkhead that the door was attached to had broken away from the hull and deck.

One thing I've found, looking at a lot of boats, is that the really spotless, beautiful boats are often hiding something underneath the shine. If a boat looks like it was just painted and varnished, and the owner is selling the boat—you might want to ask why did they sink the money in to refinish the boat if they're selling it... all too often, the answer is that it wouldn't of been possible to sell the boat as it was.

Check the bilge. If the bilge is wet, and the boat is in the ocean...see if the water is salty, fresh or brackish. If it is salty, then the water is coming from the ocean...through a through hull or the packing gland or such. If it is fresh, it is either the freshwater tank leaking or something on the deck leaks... if it is brackish... then it is both.

Check the engine compartment, and see how clean it is. If it looks spotless, it is most likely that it was recently steam-cleaned, for the sale... If it s filthy, then it probably isn't all that well-maintained. If it is neat and orderly, but not spotless, it is probably a well-maintained engine. Few owners keep the engine compartment spotless, as it is not realistic to do so, but a good maintenance program includes neatening up the wires, cleaning up any oil drips or leaks, etc.

Ask to see the maintenance logs for the boat
. A good owner will generally keep a pretty decent maintenance log for his boat...as it helps him remember what they've done, and what they have yet to do.

I hope this helps.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Last edited by sailingdog; 06-29-2006 at 01:34 AM.
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Old 06-29-2006
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SailingDog... eggggzatly!!!!!!

those are wonderful recommendations!
Those are things a potential buyer can do BEFORE they spend good money on a survey.


I took a look at a 25 year old boat 2 years ago that was pretty as a new penny, the owners had invested in gallons of Cetol, All new lines and sheets, you could see yourself in every piece of brass, the cabin brightwork was like a mirror. Quiet classical music was playing on the stereo, scented candles were lit, all providing great ambiance.

I stepped on the foredeck and could hear the glass cracking under my feet. It was like a sponge. I've seen trampolines with less bounce. I went below, felt under the hull/deckjoint pulled out a handfull of rotted wood near a stanchion. I informed the prospective buyer that under no circumstances should they purchase this tub. (no, I didn't charge them) I proceeded to give the broker a short, but vocal piece of my mind. (as I was getting into my car, the broker wanted to know if he could buy me a beer.....uh, no.)

update: Boat is still for sale, and the owners have raised the price 10k.


Some other things I'd do, is walk the docks at the marina when there are other sailboaters around, ask them if they "know anything" about the particular boat you're looking at. We boaters are an opinionated bunch, and usually, the dockmates will be more than willing to tell you what they know...(sometimes, they'll tell you things they don't know too)
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Old 06-29-2006
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Sailing Dog...you forgot one...if the water tastes soapy then the shower and sink drain to the bilge! Good post!
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Old 06-29-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by camaraderie
Sailing Dog...you forgot one...if the water tastes soapy then the shower and sink drain to the bilge! Good post!
Being a dog, I generally SNIFF not taste the water in the bilge... drinking out of a perfectly clean toilet is one thing, but all sorts of nasty stuff can be found in a bilge—yes, us canines have standards.

Two other things that I just remembered.
.. if you see/smell oil or diesel, then the engine or the mechanic maintaining it has a problem, and if you smell bodily fluids, the head or holding tank system probably is in need of maintenance or repair. These are both bad signs too. Personally, I'd rather deal with leaking oil than a leaking head... but that's just me.

CardiacPaul's advice on talking to the marina neighbors is also a good one. Finding out that the previous owner's left the boat sitting at the dock for the season without any use or maintenance is generally a good indicator of a neglected boat. An owner who is down to do work or use his/her boat every week is going to probably have a boat in much better shape. Beauty, in used boats, is really skin deep, but the ugly boats are ugly to their bones.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

If you're new to the Sailnet Forums... please read this
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
.

Still—DON'T READ THAT POST AGAIN.

Last edited by sailingdog; 06-29-2006 at 02:34 PM.
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Old 06-29-2006
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thanks for the tips!

Great tips!

This boat was moved down here to SE michigan from Northern Michigan to sell as there are more potential buyers down here; nobody around here would know anything about the boat. The previous owner passed away, the current owner bought it after his death. I was out for a sea trial with the owner on Sunday, he's a nice guy and I honestly don't think he knew about the decks. But like Sailordog mentioned, the varnish on the brightwork and in the cabin sure looks like it was just touched up.

Anyway, the widely respected surveyor told me that I shouldn't give up on the boat; if I could get it for $30,000 instead of the orignal offer of $42,000 it would be a good deal. He's going to email me the name of 2 small yards across the river in Canada that do excellent repair work for reasonable prices.

I made the 30k counter offer; the broker, who is somewhat sleazy, says there is a difference between "moist" and "wet" decks. He wants to see the pertinent survey pages that detail the condition of the decks before taking the offer to the owner; I haven't received a copy of the survey yet since it was just performed yesterday. Of course not being very email savvy he immediately emailed the owner the offer and cc'd me.

Anyway, the broker's optimal strategy at this point is to do anything to complete the sale. The surveyor in question, I asked 3 or 4 brokers and experienced sailors to give me a list of the 3 best surveyors in the area, this guy was at the top of everyone's list. I don't think his capability or integrity are in question. I was with him during the survey and both heard the dull slapping sound the mallet made and saw the moisture meter spike around the affected areas, the broker is not going to convince me that this is a minor problem.

Also, I don't see what other options the current owner has. He can have the repair work done at his expense, and hope to recoup the cost next year. He definitely can't sell it for the orignal 47.5k asking price this year. The other factor working against him is that around here everyone wants a Catalina or Hunter with the big dinette, microwave, jacuzzi, pool table, etc. and not an older "classic" boat with 2 settees and a drop down table.


Should I still pursue this boat? Is the repair work going to be a nightmare? Would the recored decks add to the boat's value, or should I just walk away and look for a different boat? Is there such an animal as an honest yacht broker, or should I shoot the first honest one I meet so at least one of them gets to heaven?

Thanks for all the advice

Gary
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