J27, but boat shopping in general... - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 16 Old 01-15-2017 Thread Starter
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J27, but boat shopping in general...

I've spent the last couple of weeks shopping mostly online of boats of all types, but I've looked at about 3 different boats in person... and I am now remembering the hell I went through when i bought my S2 7.9. I looked at several turds before I found that diamond in the rough.

I'm starting to see a trend. Owners are posting pictures online of their boats, that are from 2-3-4 or more years ago. The one I really loved was the one who posted pictures of someone else's boat entirely.

Boats I looked at: J80, J27, and a Wavelength 24. I've also focused surprisingly a lot on a Starwind 27, and honestly so far that boat has been in the most accurate shape of any, but of course I've not seen it in person (yet).

I'm no boat inspector (and God bless those of you that are), but I have a pretty good idea what I'm looking at, and today I confirmed that my own inspection techniques apparently aren't far off. One of the 2 people who looked at my S2 7.9 before I sold it, showed up with an inexpensive touchless moisture meter, and showed me all the places on my boat that I told him were "moist" on my boat (he did find one I wasn't aware of too). I was so impressed with the tool, that i bought one myself. I had no expectation of using it as anything other than a start of an idea of where there may be a problem.

Today I showed up to look at the J27, and I ran the meter all over the boat. The owner was trying to whip up a ladder to get onto the boat, so it gave me free time to drag my new toy all over the hull bottom. Boat has been out of the water since October, and surprisingly I found only 1 major wet spot, and it was about 12 inches from a through hull (surprisingly not AT the through hull). I also noted the rudder was slightly damp. Using a sounding hammer confirmed to my ear that it truly was a soft spot (wet).

When I manged to get topside, I found wet spots that were really bad by one handrail, and both chainplates. I noted slightly higher moisture by the port stern pulpit, but generally the boat was dry (amazing for an old or even NEW J boat).

What bothers me, is the owner gave me a copy of a 2013 boat survey, and all the places (except by the through hull) I noted were also noted on the survey.. It makes me wonder why people don't address those things they are notified of. it also confirmed that I was testing correctly.

Another boat I looked at the owner lamented the fact that he had put countless hours of work into the boat. As a 1982 24 foot boat, it's resale value was sub $10,000. The boat was listed in at least 3 locations online at $8900. I asked the owner if the boat was the one that was previously owned by the designer, because I wasn't looking at the ad in front of me i asked what he was listing it for... and his price was $12,800! I didn't question the $4000 increase over the phone, but instead figured price was something i should concern myself with after I looked at it in person. After looking at the boat, it had crazing on nearly the ENTIRE hull, I was wondering how he could even ask $3000 for the boat. The boat was "rough" by anyone's defiition, and the "new sails" were actually 3 years old, and not nearly as good of shape as "new" would dictate for a race boat (New to me would be purchased in the last year).

I suppose my question is do people get some kind of warped "persistence of vision" about their boats? Do they not see the degrading condition of their boats over time?

You see, I refuse to believe that everyone is a scummy used car salesman type, but so far my shopping experience with used sailboats has consisted mostly of people distorting, stretching truth, or outright lying about the condition, upgrades, and work they have done on the boats. What I find most unusual is the price they think their lack of maintenance demands. Love these people who claim the prior owners work as their own, but do not do the minimum to maintain the work the prior owner started.

I've personally determined that I won't offer an owner a price on a boat unless I'm willing to pay it on the spot, but so far the last boats i've looked at are worth less than 50% of what they are presently listed as, and that assumes that I'd even be willing to take on the extensive work to get them back into shape.

Am I being to picky here?

So for NOW I've basically taken the tact that if I think your boat price is ridiculous, and I have no intention of actually buying your boat, I will leave without an offer at all rather than potentially insult the owner. I'd feel like I'm telling a parent their kid is ugly if I did.

1983 WD Schock Wavelength 24. Production boat limit tester, blue-water bucket owner, with wine taste on a beer budget.

Last edited by SHNOOL; 01-15-2017 at 10:22 PM.
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post #2 of 16 Old 01-16-2017
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Re: J27, but boat shopping in general...

Sounds about right. Many people have a distorted vision of what their boat is worth, I don't thinks of it a single dishonest, just delusional. Personally I am willing to make a low ball offer on any boat I would want to own, it may be the pin that pops their bubble. But if you go this route just expect a lot of people to turn you down.

The wet core not being repaired doesn't suprise me. It is a major issue, but it can be symptomless for years if you don't care about the hull's stiffness, which many people just don't.
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post #3 of 16 Old 01-16-2017 Thread Starter
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Re: J27, but boat shopping in general...

Greg, seems that I go in with a significant amount of skepticism, so I'm really not disappointed I suppose, but while I look at a boat, I determine how much of the work I'm finding I really want to do. I am blessed in having a place to work on a boat indoors during the solid water months, but its still cold, and without much burning of fossil fuels it really doesn't get "warm" easily, and I suppose I'm saying I just don't want someone else's project anymore.

I'm still struggling with "cruiser" versus "racer" too. I hate a slow boat, and love something lively, but I'll admit that something comfortable would be a welcomed change.

I'm sitting on some extra cash, along with money from the sale of my S2 just hoping something interesting comes on the market in my price range, and I'm just not seeing it.

you know a J95, J92, J88 would be great, but I doubt any of those will come in under the $20k mark

1983 WD Schock Wavelength 24. Production boat limit tester, blue-water bucket owner, with wine taste on a beer budget.
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post #4 of 16 Old 01-16-2017
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Re: J27, but boat shopping in general...

Too many owners of older boats think it's worth what they paid for it years ago. And many don't have the time or skills to do the proper maintenance so just let it decline. These boats sit on the market for years without an offer, while the good ones priced fairly are grabbed up.

Finding a sub-$20k J-boat that doesn't have wet core somewhere is going to be a challenge. Most have been raced hard and unless the previous owners were careful about about rebedding and installation of new deck gear, water intrusion was a given. Sounds like you'd like something in the 30 foot range. There were a number of racer-cruisers from the late 70s to early 80s era other than J-boats to consider - Olson 30, Pearson Flyer, Cal 9.2, Bene First, etc.

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post #5 of 16 Old 01-16-2017
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Re: J27, but boat shopping in general...

Why do folks exaggerate the condition/value of their boat? I think it's for a variety of reasons. While greed may be one, I don't think that's the most common.

We've all heard chest pounding stories of folks that have claimed to buy for a song and make money selling for a fortune. I think many feel they are supposed to accomplish something worth telling about. Ironically, I think most of the aforementioned stories are made up.

Another real factor is that most people don't have a good sense of what's available on the market or how their boat compares. Most love their boat and see past her flaws. Kind of like how a cat owner can't tell that their house smells worse than a high school locker room.

I understand why you might not be inclined to make an insulting offer. However, I wouldn't walk, I would just say that. If they say don't bother, then don't. If they want to hear it and react badly, just say they asked and be friendly. They may come around in time.

When I sell, I always load up on the reasons you should buy mine. Use, upgrades, maintenance, tender care and the reason why I'm selling. I also focus on what makes mine different, not load the ad with all the standard features. It's a waste of my time to oversell condition.

I once sold an aircraft sight unseen, but I sent pics of every blemish and imperfection. It was subject to a pre-purchase inspection (aviation version of a survey). I had written directly into the contract that the plane was 20 years old and, while repainted, etc, it did NOT look new. The contract specifically stated that nothing about condition, beyond airworthy items, was going to be a valid reason to get the deposit back. They agreed, she easily passed inspection and all were happy. Boats and planes will sell, without exaggerating. In fact, I think buyers trust honesty.
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post #6 of 16 Old 01-16-2017
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Re: J27, but boat shopping in general...

The boats you listed are also all known for issues. The J-27 is a light air machine, but most if not all of them have been raced heavily... W-24 is a great little boat, but man is she slow if much faster than her rating... j-80's were overpriced to start and have stayed that way.

Of this list the 27 would be the one I would look at by preference, but I would add the Olson 30, Hobie 33, and since I am a multihull guy the Corsair F-24 mkii, and the Stiletto 27.

For fun daysailing the Stiletto, for light air phrf racing the J-27, and for ocean crossing the Olson.

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post #7 of 16 Old 01-16-2017
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Re: J27, but boat shopping in general...

Maybe this is naive, but I don't think that most people are being nefarious in their boat listings. Boats are weird. They're more of an emotional purchase than a lot of other similarly-expensive things. They were often built in low numbers over the span of many years, and then kept in wildly differing states of maintenance over long lives, which can make finding comparables difficult. Lengthy periods of neglect don't necessarily ruin them, depending on what percentage of a prospective buyer's hobby is dedicated to fixing boats as opposed to sailing them. One one hand, you've got old boats that are more expensive to store than to buy, which leads to people dumping boats just to get out of slip fees, then on the other hand you've got someone who's been in a 20-year love affair with a boat, dumped tens of thousands into making it his, and when it comes time to sell, he honestly thinks that he added value (and maybe honestly didn't know that the hull was soft at every thruhull). These things all tend to distort prices.

Every old boat has a list of 50 problems. To one person, Problem Y might be a deal breaker. To another, it may be a negotiation point to get into a boat that does what he wants it to do for a couple years before it becomes an issue. Ultimately, the market decides what a boat is worth, and I'd never be embarrassed to make what I genuinely believe is a fair offer on a boat, regardless of the asking price.
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post #8 of 16 Old 01-16-2017
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Re: J27, but boat shopping in general...

Forget the J-27 unless the wet cores have been replaced. An ugly job that you always underestimate how much it will be and and how long it will take to fix. Also the transoms on the 27 are usually wet too.

My suggestions to look for: Laser 28- nicer inside than a 7.9 and way faster. Goman Express 30. Canadian boat- nice interior and performs well. S2 9.1- problems with mast step, partners, rudder, and sometimes blisters. Great boat if you can find one that's been fixed.

Right now boats in Canada are cheap. Google sailboats for sale Ontario and look at the Kijiji site. Prices listed are in Canadian dollars so they are 30% off in US dollars. My freind bought a very nice C&C 29-II for $10,500 this year.
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post #9 of 16 Old 01-16-2017 Thread Starter
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Re: J27, but boat shopping in general...

I'd love a Laser 28, it'd be a lot of what I want in a boat. Can't seem to find one.

Jeff H gave me a list other than those starting with "J" as well, and it was a pretty good place to start. I get deterred easily as well, since I usually race short handed on an inland lake that has very light air most of the time (under 15 knots, average probably 7 knots all summer)

I looked at the J27 over the J80 for reasons stated, the 27 was considered a better mixed fleet boat. I also realize that these are all balsa cored boats (as most race boats are), but that stems from my want of something more spirited.

The Express 30 also seemed like a nice boat, and I have come across a couple online, and I may make the trip if my time frees up.

Also the Soverel 30 was recommended. Those are getting really old as well, but might fit the bill well.

I have looked online at a Starwind 27, anyone have any thoughts on those as a cruiser/racer? The rating seems to place it within reach of a spirited boat, but not really a lightweight boat either.

I should note that the sailing community is quite small, and I am fully aware that the owners of the boats I'm looking at might well be reading this.

1983 WD Schock Wavelength 24. Production boat limit tester, blue-water bucket owner, with wine taste on a beer budget.
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post #10 of 16 Old 01-17-2017
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Re: J27, but boat shopping in general...

I recall the Laser 28 when new - impressive concept, and I have heard good things about them over the years.

One boat not mentioned is the Olson 911S. I would look for Ericson-built version (Olson 911LE) because they did not use coring in their hulls.
I have sailed the 'big brother' design to it, the Olson 34, for over 20 years. Very fast and easy to sail. Full-on cruising accommodations inside as well.

Good luck.
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