Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Creedmoor NC
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Boat "examination" instead of a survey
I am, like many on here, looking for that ideal boat. In my case it would be a bluewater capable cruiser with enough room for a family of 4 to spend extended time on, and the potential to serve as a liveaboard in later years. The loa we are looking for seems to be 35-42 and we have in mind a budget of $150M including any initial refit. Obvioulsy this means we are looking at older boats.
Since the budget for a boat always becomes an issue (for most of us, anyway) it is a search for the right combination of sailing lines, look, performance, stability, comfort etc. There are always tradeoffs. And it becomes difficult for someone like me to feel comfortable with the ability to look at a boat and to guess which boat is worthy of an offer. There is so much that an experienced hand can see with a short examination that I don't think I can detect. Rigging, Chainplates, Hull fittings, overall systems condition, clues to problems, special attractive add-ons..and on and on.
Since I am aware of my lack of expertise, I am finding myself wishing I could hire someone to help me look for boats that I think fit the bill, or "take a look" at boats that I am considering. A survey by a competent surveyor would be an obvious necessity to me AFTER an offer is accepted. But it would be nice to have someone with strong knowledge of structural issues, boat maintenance issues, overall boat condition, and an ability to provide a "rough estimate" of the likely cost to refit the boat to bring it into a condition that would be suitable. This becomes particularly relevant when you are looking at boats that are 20-30 years old. It may be that a certain boat maker has a problem with blisters, or leaky decks - or that an engine appears to have problems, or the fuel tank is iron instead of aluminum.
So what would this role be called? Will some surveyors offer this service? In other words, instead of relying completely on research from reading this forum and sailboat publications, is there a structure for having somone be hired to spend an hour or two on a boat prior to the offer. Then, if the offer is accepted, that person, or another, can provide the complete survey.
I know that a knowledgeable boat broker can be very helpful. But to me there is a conflict of interest because any good broker wants you to buy a boat from him/her, and although they would want you to be happy with it, they are not likely going to talk you out of a boat that you like.
So how does someone like me find a "consultant" during the boat buying process? Just curious if anyone has any thoughts on this.