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Old 03-25-2007
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Purchase strategy advice

Hi all;

My wife and I are shopping for a bluewater boat for cruising. I have found a vessel that has peaked both of our interests. The hull was professionally built, what looks to be a great offshore design. We really like the hull and on-deck layout. It has a simple, but robust sloop rig.
The interior was owner-finished to spartan standards. Essentially, they finished to boat as a coastal cruiser, and outfitted minimally. The interior, while funtional is not 100% complete, and would need some reworking. There is little in the way of extended cruising gear - no autopilot, no windvane, nor dodger, bimini, proper refrigeration. Only two working sails. The net result is that is is a great start for an inexpensive bluewater boat, but not a very attactive boat for somebody shopping for weekender.

The boat looks to have had very limited use, and it was finished in the mid 90s, so it looks very clean.

So here is my dilemma. I have looked at many pics, and had a long discussion with the broker. No alarms are sounding. This is a lower priced boat to begin with, but I feel that it would need to come down another 30% before it would make sense for us (we would need spend ~$3k to ship it for starters.) I am hesitant to spend the $$$ for both of us to fly in, rent a car, to see the boat, without knowing that we could purchase the boat for something that makes sense for us.

So it it were you, how would you proceed? I have several ideas, but instead of stating them upfront, I would like to hear your ideas first.

Thanks in advance,
Chris
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Old 03-25-2007
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Usually, you check the boat out first, to see if you want to pay for a survey. Prior to the survey, you make an offer, contingent on the survey. Chances are, the seller will counter offer. Once a pre-survey price has been reached, you schedule the survey, including haulout and seatrial. Also, any specialized surveys such as engine or rigging. Once the survey has been completed, you go over the report, than make an offer based on the results of the survey.

Of course, you can make an offer that to you is reasonable, and see what happens, explaining your situation. It is though, hard, when you haven't seen the boat in person.

Good luck,
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Usually..

Yes, I would go the usual route if the boat was local, but it is not. I'm not keen on this approach, as it would require at least two trips for us to the boats location, without knowing if it was going to work out.

Chris


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Originally Posted by PBzeer
Usually, you check the boat out first, to see if you want to pay for a survey. Prior to the survey, you make an offer, contingent on the survey. Chances are, the seller will counter offer. Once a pre-survey price has been reached, you schedule the survey, including haulout and seatrial. Also, any specialized surveys such as engine or rigging. Once the survey has been completed, you go over the report, than make an offer based on the results of the survey.

Of course, you can make an offer that to you is reasonable, and see what happens, explaining your situation. It is though, hard, when you haven't seen the boat in person.

Good luck,
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Old 03-25-2007
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You don't mention the make of the boat, or whether it is home-built. "Bluewater" can mean many things, but unless there is a known and reputable builder and designer behind the boat--you don't know what you've really got. Much less how it will handle in seas offshore.
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Reputable designer, and I am checking out the builder - broker says they have a good reputation.

I am more interested in talking about purchase strategies, So any comments of alternatives to the usual progression of events leading to a purchase?


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You don't mention the make of the boat, or whether it is home-built. "Bluewater" can mean many things, but unless there is a known and reputable builder and designer behind the boat--you don't know what you've really got. Much less how it will handle in seas offshore.
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Without more details, it's hard to give useful advice. Please give the designer and builder names, the hull material, the length LOA/LWL, the beam, the sail area and the displacement, along the keel type, engine type/HP, tankage and mast height.

Seriously.

In a world where I've heard Hunter 33s, a boat I would charitably describe as a moon boot, called "bluewater", I am inherently suspicious of such terms in the absence of dimensional facts. Also, what the broker says about "reputation" is akin to what the teenaged boy says to his girlfriend about the odds of getting pregnant: regardless, someone's getting f****d.

I bought a similar "finish her off" boat (as opposed to fix her up) and I spent a lot of money having her launched, surveyed and sailed before I decided I could finish the job. On the bright side, I would rather put in the latest amp-sipping electronics in a boat where nothing like that existed than just rip out old electronics, dozens of feet of rotten wire and loads of stinky hose.

Do you have any pictures? There are people here who know vast amounts about what makes a decent bluewater cruiser and can extrapolate as much from a boat's lines.

Your purchase strategy will be dictated by whether it IS a bluewater boat, won't it? If it is, and that's what you want, go the "conditional on survey" route, because all the bad things that will uncover are bargaining chips to get the price closer to your comfort zone. The $500-700 is "ante up" money to play in this game and should be part of your calculations.
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So this is a "kit boat" not a home-built boat?

The usual progression of events (offers, surveys, escrow) is what is usual because it is what usually works for both sides. Any offer you can think of is valid for you, the only question is, what will the seller accept?

If you are trying to deal by remote control and the airfare is a big issue, that may be a reason to back off. Any "real deal" on a boat will be sold pretty quickly on the local market, unless there's something oddball enough to keep the boat from being sold. And I don't think you'll find that out by remote control.
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If you're not going to look at before making an offer, and since making an offer is the only way to have any idea of the actual cost, then it seems the only alternative you have is to make an offer based on your 30% less than the asking price, and go from there. I would imagine they'll either reject it, or counter offer, and then you'll have to decide whether to go see it. Not a situation I would recommed, particularly without more info on the boat.
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The first step in your purchase strategy should be to develop a thorough knowledge of the various builders who make the kind of boat that you want to sail. I don't mean to sound like a wise ass, but you seem to have the cart before the horse in this case.
Sailhog
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The broker may not be an good source for information, as he may or may not be unbiased. He does have a financial stake in the sale of the boat.

Owner finished interiors can be really good to really bad, depending on the skills of the owner. Have you seen the boat in person yet? If not, then I would recommend at least one of you go see the boat in person.

The appearance of a boat in photos and the prescence of the same boat in person can be very different. If, after you have seen the boat in person, you still feel it is a viable purchase, make an offer somewhat below what you want to pay for the boat, and see what the owner says.

One of three things can happen: 1) he tells you to get lost, 2) he accepts, or 3) he counters with a different number. In cases 1 & 2, it is easy... you're done... in case 3, you and he will have to see if you can find a middle ground that is acceptable....

I wouldn't make an offer on it sight unseen. When you do go to see it... bring a copy of Don Casey's Sailboat Maintenance manual and go through the check list on inspecting an older boat... and take a look at the quality of the owner installed interior. Is it tabbed in properly? Does it allow access to the hull? and so on... Take lots of notes and digital photos of the boat if you do go to visit it—human memory is awfully unreliable...
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