Join Date: Aug 2006
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Approach to evaluating a used boat
Would like to start the search for our liveaboard/cruising dream boat. Have been skewed by the shiny new beauties at the boat shows (which we probably can't afford), so think it's time to start seeing what's out there in the more realistic used market. Grew up sailing on the family boat (fair weather and on weekends), but have a lot to learn as I only recently got serious about boats and chasing the cruising dream. We're about 2 years out from being able to purchase, but I've got to start looking to start learning. Yachtworld shows 2 vessels near my hometown that look interesting, and will call the dealer to inquire, but first a question:
Can anyone offer some advice on their approach to evaluating a boat on the first walk-through?
I realize an exhaustive list is not possible here, that there are a million variables to read about and personal preferences to consider, and that a professional surveyer is ultimately needed prior to purchase, but perhaps someone who has gone through this process can advise on the handful of questions they found most useful to ask, or the items most important to see firsthand, for the initial visual inspection. What were the must-have's and the dealbreakers? I'm obviously no professional mariner, so highly technical stuff is for the moment beyond me, but I'm hoping to be capable of evaluating if the vessel is generally well put-together and safe, appropriate for cruising with a family of 3 (not necessarily ocean crossing...yet), and not likely to suprise me with a need for a major overhaul 6 months after purchase. If nothing else, knowing what questions to ask will help me appear better informed than I actually am, and perhaps the dealers will take me more seriously...