Caveats for a Craigslist sailboat? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 24 Old 10-16-2015 Thread Starter
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Caveats for a Craigslist sailboat?

Here is the scenario: Husband and I are new to sailing, finished ASA 101 and starting 103. Have opportunity to purchase a 22 foot drop keel sailboat (we will likely be daysailers) built in 1993 by a now-defunct company called Sailor's Haven out of North Carolina which did not turn up on Google searches. According to the current owner, Sailor's Haven was trying to improve upon the Catalina design. No idea why they went out of business, but always something to think about.

Anyhow, to us as novices, this boat appears loaded with nice features. It has a pulley system to raise and lower the mast, a swim deck with fold up ladder, lots of cabin space for its size and a good size cockpit. It has a traveler for the main sheet, a pop-top, port a loo, sink, stove, full set of running lights, and a slew of other accessories like extra life jackets, fire extinguisher, air horn, new upholstery, etc. We learned to sail on a J22 racing boat, so this boat is a bit different in its size and "feels" much larger even though it is technically the same size by length. The boat comes with the main sail, jib, genoa, storm sail and spinnaker. We've taken an initial look at the sails in their storage bags and all seem clean and all the grommets/other hardware are intact. The boat also comes with a 9.9 HP extended shaft Evinrude motor. Price is listed at $4700. The trailer appears to be in excellent condition with new tires including a new spare.

The catch, maybe, is that the boat has been stored for the last seven years. The owner invited us to take the outboard to be tested, though I imagine it may need some service even if it was working perfectly the last time they used it. From reading Sailnet, I know that the cable that attaches to the drop keel can be a source of expensive problems. This is attached to an electric winch. Our plan is to see if we can pay someone from our sailing school or the local sailing club to take a look at the boat and give us an opinion on the pro's/con's, and clue us in to anything we don't have the experience to recognize ourselves.

There is no huge rush to purchase, however we've been looking at boats since the end of last year when we realized we weren't going to be able to stop sailing and we just have strong intuition, if that's not too silly to say, that this boat has everything and more we'd hoped to get for our under $5K budget. We also had very positive feelings about the seller and the meticulous condition of the boat, the accessories, and his property in general. Because this is a new Craigslist advertisement, it is possible we may have to make a decision before we can find someone who will come look at it (our sailing instructor told us at our last class he'd be willing to come inspect a potential boat purchase plus help us rig it the first time, but he's out of town!)

So what we were thinking is to ask the owner if he could charge the batteries enough that we could see if the electricals were working (particularly the one that raises and lowers the drop keel). We already inspected the hull crawling underneath and there's no visible cracks, evidence of repairs, or blistering in the paint. We'd take all the sails completely out of the bags and lay them out to confirm no rips, hardware missing or broken, etc. The owner still has all the original paperwork and even the VHS tape (!) that came with the boat when new (it has only had two owners; we would be the third.)

So, are there any other things about a boat that has been out of the water for so long that we should worry about? Any one ever even HEARD of Sailor's Haven as a manufacturer? We don't want to make an avoidable mistake, but we also don't want to pass up an opportunity figuring something better will always come along.

Thank you for enduring this very long post, and for any advice you may be able to offer!
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post #2 of 24 Old 10-16-2015
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Re: Caveats for a Craigslist sailboat?

Found the add, nice looking boat.
Keep in mind at 23 years it is getting time that some things should be replaced, like standing rigging.
Many of the things you mention may be no good anymore, like the fire extinguisher will need replacement or inspection, batteries that are 7+ years old....
Knowing what I paid for my C&C 25 which is a good bit older than that one, one owner boat, but it came with a 3 year old Yamaha 4 stroke 9.9. Brand new tiller pilot never mounted, brand new GPS, new dodger, cockpit privacy curtains, interior and exterior cushions. 2 brand new real dep cycle batteries. Bottom freshly done with epoxy and anti foul, hull painted the fall before....
I'd say this one is a good 1700$ over priced, max I would pay at this time would be 3000 if I could truely sail it away. It is a buyers market right now and there are a lot of used boats for sale.
Lets just say my C&C was listed for less than this one and he accepted my offer when I changed it to a cash deal. I wasn't looking specifically for C&C, when I bought mine there were 4 other C&Cs for sale within 2 hours drive, 2 in the same marina. I shopped for a year and looked at a lot of boats from 25-27 feet of all makes, was hard to decide because there were so many good boats available!
I admit I do live in an area where boating of all types is huge, lakes everywhere you turn!
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post #3 of 24 Old 10-16-2015 Thread Starter
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Re: Caveats for a Craigslist sailboat?

Thank you! We were able to get another of our sailing instructors to agree to come look at the boat tomorrow. It is interesting what you said about pricing. The majority of boats that appear on Craigslist in our area under $5K tend to be about ten years older than this boat with far fewer amenities, so we thought this one was a bargain! That was good guidance about some of the accessories being too old to be considered gifts-with-purchase, so we will definitely check the extinguisher for an expiration date, things like that.

When I called to talk to the owner about the inspection tomorrow, he said we could use a battery to test the electrical systems, so that made me feel a little better to be able to have some confidence those systems work. Will definitely ask our instructor/inspector to evaluate the integrity of the standing rigging, the lines, etc.

I appreciate your help! This is almost as scary as buying a horse!
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post #4 of 24 Old 10-16-2015
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Re: Caveats for a Craigslist sailboat?

Seems like a fair price for such a boat. Looks clean and well kept. This is not a great sailing boat if you want performance or thrill, but perfectly fine for inland lake sailing. Look for signs of water intrusion around deck mounted hardware, hatch, and ports, as well as mast step. These smaller boats usually had solid fiberglass deck (no coring) but I'm not sure about this particular boat. Make sure there are no soft spots on deck.

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post #5 of 24 Old 10-16-2015
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Re: Caveats for a Craigslist sailboat?

Saw a link to the craigslist ad, and it looks to be a clean little 22.
Being that its a 1993 is probably where the owner gets his pricing from.

I'd admit I couldn't find anything on the boat either, which is striking since plastic trailerable 22s of that vintage were rare. The companies that existed in 1993 making boats had usually survived through the 80s... I suppose some started up in the 90s, and died off quickly though.

You probably already know this, but I'll say it anyway... the boat won't likely sail anything like the J22 (might be what you are after I dunno).
The amount of space on a 22 footer is a personal preference and has everything to do with how much you like camping on your boat.. if your main purpose is to day sail the boat, then focusing on a larger cabin might be wasted space. But if you wanted the "big" 22 to camp on (and it'll feel like tent camping in a way), then its probably a good pick. I doubt it'll be a quick boat, but just guessing by the shape, it should be pretty stable.

For a first (sail)boat, I personally like to see people look towards "common" boats. For no other reason but to find parts, configuration, and tuning tips from other owners. It speeds the learning process.
However, its seems like a nice boat, and price range is about right (if everything is in ship shape), for a trailerable, then it might be good. The systems on these smaller boats are "similar," and you should be able to find parts that will work for most things... by buying an equivalent models part and modifying it to work. Also rigging books for say a Cat 22 should give you an IDEA of how to rig this one (perhaps not the same rig, but similar).

Oh and of note, if the boats been sitting, the batteries are trashed for sure, the motor's impeller has to be replaced, and much of the electronics are likely to be trashed. I JUST purchased an S2 7.9 last October, that was well thought out, and well equipped but was last sailed in 2008 (so around 7 years prior)... the boat was mostly stored indoors, sails, cushions, rudder, motor, and yep keel, were all stored inside.. yet I still had to replace all the electronics (none worked), the battery, the cushions were tired out, most of the stored sails were improperly stored, so they had mice damage, some were laminate sails that were folded, that delaminated, and finally the motors impeller was completely dry rotted. I paid $7000 for my 26 foot boat (boat, motor and trailer). I've already put about $3000 into it, and I haven't even addressed the sails yet. The boat came with 15 sails (only about 7 were usable of the lot, 4 of them being spinnakers).

So I'd not say it's a stellar deal (because its been sitting), so keep in mind it'll likely need a decent amount of work yet.

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Last edited by SHNOOL; 10-16-2015 at 01:47 PM.
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Re: Caveats for a Craigslist sailboat?

A bit over priced but if it is ready to sail maybe worth it.

I would replace the tires though. 7 years and they are done.

Compare it with this Catalina 22 and trailer $500 or less will get you an outboard.

If I had a choice I would pick the Catalina. Huge user base. Excellent support forums. Spares off the shelf if you get unlucky. Easier to resell.
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post #7 of 24 Old 10-17-2015
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Re: Caveats for a Craigslist sailboat?

If pictures are accurate, it looks like a fine boat. However, considering the time of year, I wouldn't pay more than $3,500, I think that's a fair offer.

Almost anything you buy will require some money as everyone wants to put their stamp on a boat.

I agree with the above poster, I'd rather see you in a Catalina 22 as the support from other owners, availability of parts, etc is work a few more bucks that a boat the people are gonna say "huh, what kind of boat is that, I never heard of that, etc"

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Re: Caveats for a Craigslist sailboat?

"Sailors Haven" tickles some sort of memory but I can't put my finger on it, they don't come up in the CG manufacturers list. The actual maker might have a different name, if you can get the HIN number you can find out who built it and some additional info.
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Re: Caveats for a Craigslist sailboat?

I don't know... I'm currently looking at a new genoa for my 1987 35 footer. One quote was for $3300... $4700 for a well found boat sounds like a steal. Heck the trailer, if it is in good condition, is probably worth almost $1K.

There are several threads on SailNet about the process (and psychology) of buying and selling boats. For boats that are in prime condition, sellers are not particularly patient with people that try the "Pakistani-rug-dickery" (-phrase credit Aswayze) approach. Realize that if you push the seller too far, he may tell you to shove off.

You should look to see if any of the deck has delaminated. You could test this, or your ASA instructor should be able to check by tapping the deck with the handle of a screwdriver.

Great that you are testing all the electrics. Although, I don't understand why an electric winch is necessary (or like that it is electric). I've seen much bigger boats (like 40') that use hand powered winches to raise and lower their centerboards. Check that the pivot point for the centerboard is sound (both the trunk and the board itself).

It has already been pointed out that the impeller for the motor is probably toast after sitting for 7 years. See if you can find the service manual, and part number for a new impeller.

Lay out each of the sails, and look to see if they are intact (or if mice have moved in), look for chafe, look for fraying, look for loose or missing stitching.

Does this boat suit your needs, or are you looking at it as a way to hone your skills, then upgrade? How long are you looking to keep this boat? Unless you have a planned trade-in timeline, resale may not be particularly relevant.

Because everyone here seems to have found your advertisement, why don't you post a link to the ad. I'm not interested enough to go searching. If you were scared by posting a link that you may be inviting competing buyers, they've already found it...

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Re: Caveats for a Craigslist sailboat?

Hi...wasn't scared to post the link, I'm just new to this forum and didn't know if posting links was allowed.

We bought the boat today after our sailing instructor went over every inch of it as well as all the sails and lines. The buyer accepted our offer which was several hundred dollars less than he was asking. I can't describe how much it was worth having an expert look over this boat for us...he asked all kinds of things we'd never even know to consider, and we felt really good that afterwards he said this boat had quite a few features normally only found on bigger boats and that he felt it was sound and that the sails were in excellent condition. And there were a LOT of them! Main, extra main, jib, genoa, storm and a gorgeously colorful spinnaker.

Our goal for this first sail boat is to sail on our local small lake, get some nautical miles under us in it, and learn all we can from the sailing club we'll be joining. Originally we thought we'd just be day sailors and trailer all the time, but realized it will be well worth it for us at least the first year to keep the boat in a slip at the sailing club where we'll have plenty of knowledgeable people around to help us.

I'd like to thank all you kind folks who gave advice...we did look at all the things you pointed out and feel pretty confident with the suggestions you all gave and the help of our instructor's inspection that this was not a bad choice for us. What's really sort of nice is that the couple we bought the boat from kind of had a similar experience to the way we started out in sailing, were sad to be losing the boat (due to life circumstances they have simply run out of time to sail), but volunteered to come with us the first time we put the boat in the water and show us how to get started. So we will probably end up getting to sail with them a time or two, and made some new friends! How lucky can you get?

So, we are feeling awfully happy tonight. We have a sailboat! :-)
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