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pjboots 03-20-2007 12:43 AM

A boat dream!
I am looking at buying my first cruising sailboat. My sailing experience so far has been on a 16 foot racing hobie cat which I sailed with a friend for several years. I recently started sailing with a friend who purchased a Cal20; this boat was great fun and has reignited my urge to sail. I know for sure that I want a boat larger than my friends Cal20 that i can enjoy for a few years until I can afford something more elaborate. I am looking at a Us29, 1979. I have been bargaining for a couple of months and the owner has accepted an exceptionaly low offer of 4000. I am told that the owner is looking to get out of moorage. I have the boat scheduled for a sea trial and haul out next week. The boat needs lots of interior work (which I am not too worried about) but I am told the Yanmar deisel was rebuilt last year and only has fifty hours (I have a friend comming with me who is a naval engineer to look at the motor and electricl sytems). Because of the exceptionaly low price I am not going to hire a surveyor but am seeking advice of things to look for. I know that the boat will need a lot of work but I am asking for advice on things that i should look for that would make this a walk away situation? Please I am seeking constructive advice; I want to be able to go for some over night trips this summer. As you can imagine blisters and problems such as these were never an issue on a sixteen foot trailerable hobbie cat. Please post any advice you can offer. Thank-you!

sailaway21 03-20-2007 01:14 AM

Run, don't walk, and get Don Casey's Complete Illustrated Sailboat Maintenance Manual. West Marine has it by order, but you can do better at amazon. $60 at WM. It's actually six books in one, with the first book being, "Inspecting the Aging Sailboat." Right up your alley.

At $4000 I would be very curious as to what would make this a walk away situation, other than alot of work. You could probably sawzall the boat in two, yank out the motor, and still make money on the deal! Casey's book will tell you what to look for-and how to fix it, if possible.

pjboots 03-20-2007 02:21 AM

Thanks. I will checkout the book. If you have any other resources to recomend that would be great.

I am not looking to make money off of the boat but am looking for a good time for a couple of years while my career sets sail (yeah, thats right lol). Anyways, what should I look for in terms of sailability (not sure if thats a word?). Is this the 'can't walk away situation'?


sailingdog 03-20-2007 04:31 AM


not if the motor isn't working... then it would just be ballast... and you'd probably lose money on the deal, as the disposal costs of getting rid of an old boat have gone way up.

IMHO, not getting a survey can make it a very costly purchase....

Faster 03-20-2007 09:53 AM

The US 29s are based on Doug Peterson designs, so apart from the typical '70s IOR tendencies to death roll under spinnaker these boats move well. Large genoas and kites, small skinny main leads to difficulty handling large headsails, esp the kite in a breeze.

However these boats were built by Bayliner, (Buccanneer) and the execution was not very good. As a sheltered water coastal cruiser it may be fine as long as it's in good condition.... but even at a bargain it needs a real good going over. Not getting a survey is a mistake, IMO.

pjboots 03-20-2007 12:43 PM

If the boat checks out I will be using it for sailing on the inside around the gulf islands mostly. So at this price it is still worth getting a survey. Can anyone recommend a good surveyor in the Olympia, Washington area.

When the boat is hauled out is it my responsibility to have it pressure washed or is it the owners?

Thanks for the info.


sailingdog 03-20-2007 12:46 PM

Yes, and from a previous thread...


Originally Posted by Faster
I've posted this here before, but here goes; In the Vancouver area myself and others have had a good experience with Phil Oldham. Have used him for purchase and insurance surveys, and have been happy with surveys he's done on boats I've sold.

As for pressure washing... it depends... ;)

TrueBlue 03-20-2007 12:57 PM

I don't mean to be harsh, but there are some expensive realities expected from the owner of a non-trailored boat. Have you factored and budgeted all the expenses related to annual upkeep, seasonal slip/mooring, winter storage, insurance, etc? My summer season slip rental costs more than the 4,000. price of this boat.

If you're concerned about who's paying for pressure washing - sounds to me like you may be getting in over your head. Can you really afford boat ownership?

To answer your last question, the prospective buyer pays the costs related to haul-out, bottom cleaning and the surveyor . . . whom you would be very foolish not to hire.

TAREUA 03-20-2007 01:17 PM

I Used To Liveaboard In Seattle Next To A Us 29. The Owner Assured Me He Wouldn't Have Bought It Then, If He New How Lightly It Was Put Together. A Boat That I Had Then Was A Cascade 29. They Are Available For Great Prices, But Vary Wildly Due To Most Being Owner Finished. The Difference For A Person Who Wants To Go Cruising, Is You Don't Have To Upgrade Later. Living Aboard Mine As A Young Man Allowed Me To Save Money For Equipment And Cruising Kitty. When I Married, My Wife And I Sailed 22,000 Blue Water Miles On Her Before Selling In Cyprus. A Solid Boat With Some Problems May Only Take A Lot Of Elbow Grease, But A Hull That Didn't Have An Extra Staple In Its Construction Really Can't Be Upgraded. Good Luck, And Don't Pick A Surveyor Recommended By Anyone Involved In The Sail. I've Done That Even When I Knew Better. Look At A Cascade 29 Or Two, And Great Luck To You As A Boat Owner!

pjboots 03-20-2007 01:21 PM

I have placed a call to a surveying company that is associated with SAMS (Nor-Pac Marine Surveyors & Sons, LLC, 4414 John Luhr Road, NE, Olympia, Washington 98516). I will do my best to get a surveyor in to look at the boat. Does anyone have experiance with these surveyors? I am looking local as a surveyor from Vancouver area will have to travel 300km.

As for cost of ownership. I will be keeping the boat on a mooring block for the summer then bringing it into the harbour for the winter (140 per month). I am aware that the boat will need up-keep and am able to cover these costs. As for the power washing question I only ask because of this line on the sales agreement: "Vessal shall be demonstrated at seller's expense to Purchaser's satisfaction. Upon satisfaction, Purchaser shall date and initial here." What does this mean then? It is true that I can not buy a boat worth more than 8-10 thousand but does this mean that I can not reasonably own a boat? I checked on insurance and can insure the boat for about 600 a year.

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