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  #1  
Old 08-21-2006
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T-4 years to 14 month sail...and buying

We are a professional couple in our 30s who have found a way to get a few years to sail in about 4 years from now. We are getting geared up to cross some oceans. One of us has a lot of experience sailing coastally, the other is on the giddyup plan and learning. Both of us planning to get bluewater worthy before the big trip.

We are boat shopping. We have narrowed down our search to Tayana 37s and Valiant 40s (although we are happy to entertain suggestions to consider other boats). We desire a passagemaker over a floating condo although we aren't immune to the draw of creature comforts. We are looking for a used boat with a max listing price of 90K USD (and we would hope to do little in the way of refitting if it were in the max budget end). That's not easy to find of course as we are aware but we've consistently found possible boats in that range so we believe it is possible to do.

This price vs. passagemaker crunch has lead us to a number of questions I'm hoping that the expert sailors who read this board might be willing to weigh in on:

How much does hull strength degrade with hull age? How much of the strength can be determined in a survey?

How much of a no-no are teak decks? We've seen articles on removing them - is this possible to do and should one plan to do it?

If a boat has had blister repair work (see Valiant) is this a permanent solution or would you expect to have to have it repaired again?

Are wooden masts a definite no? How much would replacing one likely be?

We are planning to moor the boat on a coast for now while we are landlocked and visit it regularly while we are working on getting her ready for us. Any advice from people living far from their boats? We would probably moor her in the Pacific NW.

Is it normal for a broker to request an escrow deposit (and of what amount) while looking for boats for you?

What are normal insurance costs? We heard 1% of the purchase price but haven't been able to verify that. Anyone have good experiences with an insurance company and/or know of an inexpensive one?

Thanks for your time - Livia
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Old 08-21-2006
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Livia...Here's my thoughts...I'm sure others will chime in and I would also encourage you to read the tons of similar posts here on line and all the answers.

How much does hull strength degrade with hull age? How much of the strength can be determined in a survey?
Very Little and a good surveyor will find any significant issues.

How much of a no-no are teak decks? We've seen articles on removing them - is this possible to do and should one plan to do it?
They are not a no-no...what counts is their condition and evidence of leaks. It is possible to remove and replace teak decks but this is a huge, big, ugly job. You want good teak decks or no teak decks!

If a boat has had blister repair work (see Valiant) is this a permanent solution or would you expect to have to have it repaired again?
A well done blister repair job on the entire hull bottom/rudder should be permanent without recurrence. If someone tells you they've had the blisters repaired...be sure you ask for evidence of a professional fix. If they have...you can feel confident providing the survey shows no underlying problem.

Are wooden masts a definite no? How much would replacing one likely be?
Unless you are buying a wooden boat, I would avoid wooden masts...just too much can go wrong and they are few and far between these days. Besides... do you really want all that extra maintenance?

Is it normal for a broker to request an escrow deposit (and of what amount) while looking for boats for you?
No it is not normal or required. Walk away if he presses this issue. It is normal to make a refundable deposit with an OFFER on a boat...usually 10% of the offer.

What are normal insurance costs? We heard 1% of the purchase price but haven't been able to verify that. Anyone have good experiences with an insurance company and/or know of an inexpensive one?
1% for double handed bluewater cruising is not realistic. I would estimate 3K for a $100k boat. CHECK with your prospective insurance company that they will cover the vessel you are buying and that YOUR skills meet their requiremments for such coverage. I heartily recommend IMIS Jackline insurance as they did an outstanding job for me on a major claim and I know that many SSCA members have had similar experiences with them.

Finally...I think the Tayana 37 is an excellent cruising boat but a little cramped. The Valiants are probably out of your price range in decent shape and I don't think the Tartan is suitable at all to YOUR purposes, while nevertheless being a nice boat. Good luck!
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Old 08-21-2006
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Cam seems to have covered it all.. be aware that your deductible is likely to be at least 1% of the price of the boat as well. IMIS Jackline is one of the few that will cover bluewater sailing couples. Hartge Insurance, in Annapolis, is also a good one to contact.

The C&C 38 or 40 may also pretty good choices for you. One thing, I would set aside at least $10,000 for refitting, and drop the price ceiling to match. That may eliminate a few boats, but not having a reserve set aside for refitting, repairs, or upgrades is going be just as bad.
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Old 08-21-2006
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Morgan 382 is another boat to look at, though it is not as strong as the Tayana, but in your price range. Valiant really makes a great boat too. If those were your only three choices, I would pick V-40, T37, then M382. However, there are many others to look at.

Ditto to everything Cam said.

Depending on how much you update electronics and other gear, you better be prepared for a really big number. Is it realistic to think you can find a boat for 90 or under that is ready to sail away around the world? My guess is no, but people like Jeff-H and others might chime in with suggestions.

I also hope you have a nice fix-it budget. Stuff breaks on sailboats, and the amount of breakage seems proportional to how hard it is used (does this figure into the 'Duh' factor?)

I am not trying to talk you out of watching the sun set across the Red Sea, but there are some awesome places around this continent to view. A person could spend a lifetime and not see them all. Just thoughts.

Best of luck.
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Old 08-21-2006
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Cruising

My opinions are offered below:

How much does hull strength degrade with hull age? How much of the strength can be determined in a survey? I think all-glass hulls will serve indefinite if not fractured by impact. Rigging, steering, engine and most all hardware, definitely YES. These are areas where the surveyor need to earn his fee.

How much of a no-no are teak decks? We've seen articles on removing them - is this possible to do and should one plan to do it? Big No-No. Who needs the aggravation or the eventual prohibitive cost of replacment?

If a boat has had blister repair work (see Valiant) is this a permanent solution or would you expect to have to have it repaired again? Depends on what the underlying problem was and how if was repaired. For example, if problem was superficial osmosis and the repair was peeling the bottom and reglassing with quality materials, should be permanent. Another use for the surveyor. Get all the specifics on any repair you can, hopefully including the original survey and the repair order.

Are wooden masts a definite no? How much would replacing one likely be? Another Big No-No. My guess would be $25-35,000 to replace the rig and rigging...Just avoid 'em.

Is it normal for a broker to request an escrow deposit (and of what amount) while looking for boats for you? I never heard of such a request. I'd get a different broker. Brokers get paid when they sell someone's boat. Find one you can trust and let them do the work for you. All the questions you are asking here, and many more to come, can be better fielded by a knowledgeable broker. Chosing your broker is the third most important buying decision, after selecting the surveyor and of course the boat. I know no one to recommend on the left coast, perhaps other readers can chip in.

What are normal insurance costs? We heard 1% of the purchase price but haven't been able to verify that. Anyone have good experiences with an insurance company and/or know of an inexpensive one? My insurance runs closer to 2%, and thats for coastal use, May-October. Join Boat US and use CNA

Thanks for your time - Livia[/quote]
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Old 08-21-2006
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Since i'm not personnally experienced with with Tayana so I did a quick web search and found:
TAYANA:
1. built in Taiwan
2. mostly teak decks
3. internal steel ballast.
4. PHRF 173 (gives 5 seconds a mile to my old C&C 30!)

Sounds like a boat to buy if salty good looks are the prime consideration! Items 1 through 3 are each toss-out reasons, put all three together with a fundamentally slow boat and you'd have to be in La La...
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Old 08-21-2006
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There is a corny saying that if you ask two sailor the same question you will get three opinions. I must say that my opinion basically disagrees with almost everything being said above. That said, I don't think that any of these opinions are universally incorrect but we each come at questions like these from a diffenent perspective. I'll try to include commenst that will help provide the basis of my perspective on why I disagree.

How much does hull strength degrade with hull age? How much of the strength can be determined in a survey?

According to the data that I have seen, depending on when, where and how the boat was built, fiberglass can decrease in strength pretty dramatically over time due to fatigue and the natural chemical reactions within the resins. Boats like the Tayana 37 which has been in production for a very long time, will actually have different durability depending on when it was manufactured.

To explain further, during the period of 1970's and well into the 1980's (a period during which my my mother was building and importing boats from Taiwan) Taiwanese yards (and many U.S.yards) generally used a style of fiberglass with comparatively short fibers and routinely folded the fabrics after they were cut but before they were laid in the boat. They tended to use a large proportion of non-directional fabrics. They tended to use resin rich lay-ups and a polyester resin that was comparatively brittle once cured. At least as compared to more modern resins, fabrics and laminating schedules and techniques, this produces a boat that is comparatively prone to work hardening and fatigue. Over time, these boats while quite robust originally, will lose a fairly large amount of their original strength. How much strength is lost will vary greatly. Whether it is too much, is, of course, a product of what you plan to do with the boat, what has been done with her in the past and the specific construction of the boat in question.

Short of cutting a swatch out of the hull at a high stress area, no surveying method that I know of can really tell how much strength has been lost and how much remains.

All that said, there are boats out there cruising of all ages, and all construction types. We each make decisions about what we consider safe and adequate. I personally own a 25-year-old boat that has been offshore for some of her life, and I expect to take offshore again, and she is by no means as robust as the boats that you are considering, but by the same token she is wildly lighter, and so the stresses are much less as well. The point here being, while it is true that some boats lose a lot of strength over their life, it is really up to to you to make the evaluation about what you are comfortable with.

How much of a no-no are teak decks? We've seen articles on removing them - is this possible to do and should one plan to do it?

This is as easy a question to answer as, 'which is inherrently better, vanilla or strawberry ice cream?'. It is all about your philosohical bent in life. To me, if I were thinking of spending years off cruising, teak decks would unequivocally be a deal breaker. To me, (and this may only be my opinion) a proper offshore cruiser should be robust, simple, and easy to maintain. In my opinion, it should be easy to inspect the key structural elements of the boat and to monitor the health of these elements.

The loads and repetative motion of offshore sailing sorely work the various parts of the boat, stresses constantly passing from one part of the boat to the other. In any given year, an offshore boat that is making long distance passages routinely are exposed to the kind of wear and tear that a coastal cruiser might experience in decades of use. In that environment I believe that simplicity of maintenance becomes crucial.


Teak decks come in basically one of three varieties, traditionally laid and caulked decks, teak decks mechanically fastened to a structural deck membrane below, and glued down decks.

Traditionally laid decks have been around for centuries. Sooner or later they leak, and sooner or later they need to be recaulked and refastened. Decks built this way can be robust, and they can be monitored for condition. But if I were off voyaging for a limited period of time, having owned and maintained a boat with laid teak decks, I would not want to add the extra maintenance to the comparatively large maintenance that extended offshore cruising implies.

Mechanically fastened decks, in my opinion represent the worst, but the most common option. The problem with mechanically fastened teak decks is that inevitably, they will leak. Its not an if but a when. And when they leak, there are thousands of small fastening holes penetrating into the structural deck below with gravity and osmosis on the side of the water. Most of these mechanically fastened decks have wood cores either in the form of plywood or balsa because a glass deck thick enough to properly hold fastenings would add excessively to the rather large weight and stability penalty that you are already paying by having teak decks. In the orient, the plywood was often not a marine grade material, and when wet the crossed grain of the plywood would conduct the rot in multiple directions. Balsa core, properly laid up, is actually more resistent to the spread of rot than plywood, but it is more expensive and laying it up properly takes a lot more care and skill than was generally applied.

At some point in the life of a mechanically fastened teak deck, you will be facing replacement of the teak deck and the structural deck below. Religious maintenance can greatly extend the length of time. But as I said above, I personnally do not want to be beholding to maintaining a teak deck in the tropics, done that, never again. And so for someone like me, core problems are a sooner thing.

Which brings up my main objection to mechanically fastened teak decks for distance cruising, which is the robust and easy to inspect key structural elements clauses. Mechanically fastened teak decks certainly can and generally do start out robust, but there is no really reliable way to verify the condition of the structural deck below, so that over time, as the core begins losing strength, there is no really good way to know what you are dealing with. By the time that the syptoms are glaring, you are looking at a major job to replace the decks. For me that scenario is a major deal killer. But that is just me.

I suppose if I had a bigger boat budget than you are proposing or than I personally could afford, and I was planning to go offshore and I had four years to prep the boat, and I saw the absolute uniquely perfect boat, and it was really cheap for what it was ($20-25K below an otherwise identical boat), I suppose that I might buy a boat that had mechanically fasterned teak decks, remove the teak, repair any core damage, and glass over the whole mess with epoxy and cloth and think that a reasonable solution.

Glue down teak is whole other story. Here the teak is a simple cometic overlay. In order for the glue to work it needs to be much thinner than either mechanically fastened or a laid deck. Some day the teak will need to be replaced but at least it would not be endangering the structure of the boat when it fails. If I did buy a boat with glued down decks I probably keep the teak as long as it was servicable, but again I'd personally would probably still avoid boats with a glued down teak deck because I found teak decks too hot underfoot when I had them in Florida.

And beyond all that is the weight penalty, which in my mind reduces both the carrying capacity and stability of a teak decked boat relative to an identical boat without them.


If a boat has had blister repair work (see Valiant) is this a permanent solution or would you expect to have to have it repaired again?

The current thinking seems to be that depending on the type and source of the blisters, and the type of repair that was done, the repair can be permanent in some cases but in most cases it is temporary in nature. A quality peel should be good for 10 to 15 years (or more depending on who you believe). The most durable repairs involve removing enough glass and resin to permit a continuous layup of minimally a single new layer cloth in epoxy or vinylester resin.

Are wooden masts a definite no? How much would replacing one likely be?

I have owned a number of boats with wooden masts mostly in Florida. Wooden masts are beautiful to look at and have a lot of advantages. They were used for centuries, but again they were historically seen as short lived, and by any objective standard, high maintenance. We used to get two coats of varnish on the masts perhaps 3 or 4 times a year. I could do the varnishing from a bosuns chair, sanding going up, tacking coming down, then back up top again to apply the varnish on the way down. The tops of the spreaders were epoxy saturated and painted white which greatly extended their lifespan. I had a rig that I could haul myself up, and lower myself back down again.

But with all of that said, if I really wanted to go voyaging a wooden mast would be the last thing that I would want on a boat. Properly made but not fit out new aluminum spars for a boat the size that you are considering would be something on the order of $10K without rigging and hardware and perhaps twice that fit out and in place (depending on the details of how you do it).

Is it normal for a broker to request an escrow deposit (and of what amount) while looking for boats for you?

It is normal for an offer on a boat to include good faith money (escrowed deposit), typically somewhere around 10% of the value of the boat. If you are asking for a longer than usual closing period, the buyer may request that all contingencies be met quickly and that the deposit increase after the contingencies have been waived, If I were selling a boat through a broker, I personnally do not think that I would even consider an offer that was made without a deposit. It is not typical of a broker to ask for an escrow deposit before an offer contract was made. Contracts should be made subject to survey and sea trial.

What are normal insurance costs? We heard 1% of the purchase price but haven't been able to verify that. Anyone have good experiences with an insurance company and/or know of an inexpensive one?

I have no idea what offshore insurance costs, and of course the cost is dependent on experience of the owners, and use and age of the boat, but with an experience credit for a boat in a non-hurricane location I am paying roughly 1.25% of the declared value of the boat per year.

Respectfully,
Jeff

Last edited by Jeff_H; 08-22-2006 at 08:54 AM.
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Old 08-21-2006
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Oh yeah, if you are considering long distance voyaging I would not say that a C&C 38 or 40 would be a good option. Although I personally am not a fan of the heavy displacement cruising types, in your price range, and of the heavier displacement types that you seem to be drawn to, other choices that may make sense might include boats like a Atkins Ingrid/ Alajuella, Cabo Rico 38, Corbin 39, Hughes Northstar 40, Rafikki 37, Valiant Esprit 37 (my personal favorite on your and my list), Whitby 42 to name a few.

Jeff
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Old 08-21-2006
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Jeff...good post. Certainly gave me a few things to think about and I guess I disagree only in terms of what I'd say to a buyer that is on a budget.
1. Fiberglass may lose some strength as you say...but the layups on some of those Taiwan boats like the Tayana back then were so robust that most of them are for all intents and purposes bulletproof. Not to worry.
2. Teak decks I agree are NOT a plus for cruising...but a lot of great boats come with them. If the deck is in great shape, I wouldn't walk away from such a boat simply because of teak decks...just be very sure.
3. A bottom peel/repair that last for 10-15 years is likely to be sufficient. And as you say...no one realy knows how long they'll last...maybe as long as the rest of the boat. Worst case...you do it again in 15 years.
4. My offshore insurance with a hurricane box costs about 2% of hull value and has a 4% deductible. I believe smaller boats might pay a higher % of hull value as things such as liability are not related to boat value and are fixed values.
We agree that newer fiberglass is better than older...
We agree that no teak is better than teak...
We agree that no blisters ever is better than fixed blisters
I just think that there aren't too many 80-90K base price boats out there that are both bluewater capable/comfortable and won't have at least some of those issues...so I don't think they are deal breakers...and lots of folks are cruising out there happily in old boats that had blisters repaired and teak decks. I have one friend that has done 2 circumnavs in a boat with 2 out of three of those problems and another that has done 1 in a boat with 3 out of 3 of those problems...and they are still sailing!
As you say...it is all a matter of perspective...and your post certainly gives them some things to think about as they make their choices.
****************
Now on to sailing fool... that is in IDIOTIC response about one of the most revered and recommended Robert Perry designs for bluewater cruising on a budget. On that basis you'd also be rejecting Passport, Mason, Taswell and many other fine boats that make your C&C look like a toy! A LITTLE knowledge is a dangerous thing!
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Old 08-21-2006
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Jeff... you'd recomend a Whitby?? One with the screwed together hull joint???
And didn't the Cabo's back then have teak decks?? Actually...I like that boat...didn't realize the older ones were so affordable until I checked YW.
As to the Valiant Espirit...I've never seen one but the YW pix and specs look good. But this description:
" Her bottom was peeled, properly dried and barrier-coated. "
makes me think of blisters again!
And of course any of those boats will have old fiberglass.
See what I mean about budget cruisers? Somethings gotta give!
That said...Every boat you recommended is worthy of consideration!
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