Procedure for ordering a new boat. - Page 2 - SailNet Community
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post #11 of 16 Old 01-28-2007
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Buying a new boat, especially one like Pacific Seacraft 37. takes a lot of skill. These days cruising boats have become complex machines requiring hundreds of decisions, decisions that do not have just one universally correct answer. The correct answer to any of the decisions will reflect your plans for where you will be sailing the boat and your philosophy and priorities about how complex or how simple, where to spend money and where to economize, where to oversize, where to bias towards coastal vs offshore, where to go for low maintenance vs maintainable vs some particular aesthetic affect, where to go performance vs durability, whether to go for ease of handling vs having flexibility and reliability and so.

When you talk about a boat like the Pacific Seacraft which is a venerable design that has been in production for decades pretty much unchanged by time (and argueably quite out of date relative to current thinking), or even on a higher production model with a short production run, it is easy to look at a few dozen used models in hopes of finding one that is close to exactly what you are looking for but if not to see what works well and what doesn't.

In this day of heavily lined interiors and molded framing, the more that you can have the factory install the better. If they know in advance about your fitting out desicions, the factory can beef up the deck where some piece of hardware or safety gear is to be installed, run wires or plumbing, mold in attachment points and so on, and can advise you about the ability of the boat to carry the weight of all the stuff you are adding. The factory may have experienced the particular decision that you are contemplating and might be able to provide counsel on or tweak your ideas. They may talk you out of a bad idea or at least tell you of the pitfalls.

I firmly beleive that it makes no sense to buy a new boat unless you are very experienced, have extremely specific ideas about what you need in a boat and don't think that you can find it in a used boat, have a lot more time and money than you need. I have had jobs comissioning boats and frankly, I believe that it is easier to fix up and alter an existing boat than to commission a new one.

A case can be made that a top to bottom survey is more critical on a new boat than a used one. If something was poorly built when a new boat was new, after exposure to being in the water and stressed by sailing, a major defect would often show up in a few years, making it pretty obvious to a surveyor is not to the pre-survey buyer. On a new boat, everything looks....well....new. Its hard to see where mistakes were made. Lemons do happen. On a used boat you walk away, on a new boat you are stuck wrestling to make the boat right and if the problem is bad enough, take the hit at resale time.

Delivery times vary with the manufacturer and model. I have heard of delivery times as little as 2-3 months on high production models with minimal options and as much as 2 years on complex semi-custom/ semi- production cruising boats.

Respectfully,
Jeff
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post #12 of 16 Old 01-28-2007
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Vasco...it ain't just Bavaria. Anyone who takes posession of a new expensive cruising boat without a survey risks a lot. From a prior post i made:

All....I have close friends who sold their home and business to embark on their blue water cruising dream on a brand new 42' beauty. They did not do a survey on taking posession and subsequently found some huge issues with the boat during the first 90 days of ownership. To keep the story brief...lawyers got involved...surveyors and yards got involved, they had to move off the boat for THREE years at their expense while the company dug in its heels over the more than $250K of defects repairs required. Finally after arbitration, the company took the boat back but my friends were out their costs and their sailing dream was over. (Sorry folks but i cannot name the boat or the company due to legal issues in the settlement).
My B.I.L. also purchased a 54' Hylas new a few years back and after shakedown had many 10's of thousands in required fixes. Hylas was good about this AND he had escrowed a certain amount so was covered.
The point is that many purchasers of new boats think of them as new cars and expect them to work nearly perfectly and get the same results in warranty if they find something wrong. Just not true all too often so the small expense of a surveyor can often pay off big time even on a new boat.
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post #13 of 16 Old 01-28-2007
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Cam,

I agree with you but don't think a pre delivery survey would find most of these problems. I would be interested as to whether the defects could have been found by a surveyor prior to launch. Usually at launch the boat is yours. New boats all, well nearly all, look great. The problems seem to arise after sailing them a bit. The only way to avoid this is to have something like a Lloyds Certificate and that would entail Lloyds approving the plans and monitoring the construction, a very costly proposition. For the average buyer this would be out of the question.

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post #14 of 16 Old 01-28-2007
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Vasco...A pre delivery survey would have found all of my friends problems easily...and my BIL's too. These were not wear and tear related.
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post #15 of 16 Old 01-28-2007
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Not to belabour a point but could your friend have been able to refuse to take delivery of the boat after this survey? I am not aware of manufacturers agreeing to this. The builder usually has a substantial chunk of your money at this stage. In my mind the two important factors when ordering a new boat are how well they treat their customers and whether the builder is in good financial shape. Of course problems are compounded when dealing with offshore builders. I was lucky when ordering my first two boats as the factory was only 20 miles away and I went up there every week. I only worried with my second one as the boatbuilding business was heading south fast (1988) and I wanted my boat before the doors closed.

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post #16 of 16 Old 01-28-2007
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Vasco...had my friend known the issues he could have refused to take delivery and made the company take action to fix the boat with a complaint of "specific performance" on the contract. It would have been much easier for him to prevail with a survey in hand of the boats condition BEFORE he took posession. Not a pretty situation in either event but a much better and less costly outcome than he had. He would further, have had the ability to publicize the issue which he did not have the ability to do as he was at the mercy of the company while hoping they would do the right thing. Companies hate publicity which was why his settlement was "sealed".
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