Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: New England
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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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Still—DON'T READ THAT POST AGAIN.
Last edited by sailingdog; 06-29-2006 at 01:34 AM.