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  #1  
Old 04-06-2002
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Buying a stored boat

I am looking at a boat that has been in long term (5yr) storage (dry). Could some of you share thoughts about what to check out as it relates specifically to this. (I couldn''t find anything on the message board)The engine comes to mind first when I think about the effects of storing this long. How would you handle buying a boat stored 5 years?

Thanks for your continued willingness to share advice!
Mike
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Old 04-06-2002
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Buying a stored boat

A lot of long term storage issues relate to how the boat was stored. Does it have good ventilation? Was the rig left in the boat? If it was, was it slacked a bit? Were the halyards removed and stored to reduce UV degradation, factigue and chafe? Were the cushions protected from UV and stored so they can vent, and not have thing stored on top of them? Was deck hardware cleaned of salt and lubed and perhaps stored down below? How were the batteries stoerd (they are probably close to the end of their life anyway)? Was the boat supported well so that the jackstands aren''t loading any on spot to harshly or distorting her lines? Is the boat sitting so all the deck drains and scuppers were able to drain so that water can''t stand and damage the fiberglass? Were the tanks drained and cleaned? Were the bilges kept dry? Were the sails washed and carefully flaked or rolled? Was the anchor stored off the roller? Were the seacocks operated once and a while to prevent freezing up? Were they cleaned and lubed at decommissioning? Was on deck plastics and wooden trim maintained or protected from UV exposure? Was deck caulking maintained or have leaks developed allowing water into the deck core and into interior components? As you noted how was the engine put to bed? (You can expect to change filters, belts, and pump impellors, some seals may be bad and some plumbing may need replacing simply due to normal aging over 5 years.) You need to think your way through the boat and ask yourself about these sort of things.

If you think about most boats they are moved around enough that week in and week out, year in and year out the same side of the boat gets fried, but 5 years in storage means that its always the same side that gets roasted.

Jeff
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Buying a stored boat

Jeff thanks! Great info again.
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Old 04-13-2002
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Buying a stored boat

Mike:

We bought our current boat after it had been in dry storage for 2 years, so I can give you a hint of the things that will need attention.

Fortunately, the diesel only had 300 hours on it and it had been professionally winterized, so no issues arose upon sea trial and our subsequent 1,400 mile delivery. If the engine is older or has had much more use, it may be more susceptible to the problems of long term storage (fuel contamination, brittle hoses, cooling system corrosion). A separate survey by a mechanic is strongly advised.

Our boat had been stored outside without cover. Thus, the running rigging was dirty and stiff. The following season I replaced all of it at a cost of about $1000.

Needless to say, the teak cockpit and trim were weathered and required chemical cleaning, brightening and new sealer, but there was no damage (teak is a wonderful wood).

The fiberglass hull and decks held up reasonably well, with just many hours of rubbing out required to restore the finish, but the gelcoat is still intact.

The deck hardware also held up fairly well, although finish on winches did suffer some and did not return to full luster. Winches definitely needed to be serviced to make them function properly.

Plastic in ports, hatches and lights suffered somewhat as well. I was able to restore to a fair degree with multiple treatments of Mirror Glaze, but I will probably be replacing horizontal panels not too far down the road.

The aluminum spars were oxidized and cleaned up decently, but not like new.

The main issue we had on the exterior was inthe cockpit where scuppers for the lazarette hatch tracks clogged with leaves and allowed the draining water to flow into the compartment. Water was landing on the plywood panels separating the lazarette from the aft cabins, causing water damage to the plyodd and the liner in the cabin. If the boat was stored outside and uncovered, make sure you check any drainage points to see if they clogged and determine if any backed up water caused damage.

As far as systems, the one that suffered most from storage was the fresh water system. Our boat has two heads with showers, 2 lavs in the guest cabins, and a galley, all served by 3 water tanks. Thus, there was a lot of potential for leaks caused by degraded antifreeze. I ended up replacing the pressure water pump, the main filter, the under galley sink filter, the pressure/temperature relief valve on the hot water tank, a section of hose supplying the hot water tank as well as repairing a crack in the hot water thermostat housing. I believe I still have a minor leak somewhere else in the system, but have not found it yet.

The electrical system was fine other than the batteries being shot (they were not removed because they are big group 6 monsters and not easy to handle). All the electronics fired upfine except for the LED display on the stereo being permanently dim. I did replace the cockpit speakers because the exposure had rotted out the cones and the cases were yellow. Oh yeah, and the compass had not been covered and it was totally devoid of fluid and the card was yellowed, so I had to replace it.

On the interior, the upholstery was fine. The boat was 9 years old, yet the fabric and foam were in great shape. The woodwork was fine, just in need of some cleaning/oiling.

Thus, our issues were sun damage to running rigging, water damage from clogged drains, winch deterioration, water system component leaks, and a fair amount of restoration of gelcoat, teak and metal finishes, with some surfaces not able to be brought back to a condition that might be normally acheivable if the boat had been constantly maintained. Fortunately the diesel proved to be no worse for its rest as we have put another 350 hours on it in 2 seasons with no problems.

My advice: Look at anything subject to sun exposure or holding water that could have frozen and buy the best survey and mechanic you can. Then negotiate your price adjustments with the seller and know that you will still find some things later, although hopefully minor. Best of luck.
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Old 04-13-2002
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Buying a stored boat

Mike:

We bought our current boat after it had been in dry storage for 2 years, so I can give you a hint of the things that will need attention.

Fortunately, the diesel only had 300 hours on it and it had been professionally winterized, so no issues arose upon sea trial and our subsequent 1,400 mile delivery. If the engine is older or has had much more use, it may be more susceptible to the problems of long term storage (fuel contamination, brittle hoses, cooling system corrosion). A separate survey by a mechanic is strongly advised.

Our boat had been stored outside without cover. Thus, the running rigging was dirty and stiff. The following season I replaced all of it at a cost of about $1000.

Needless to say, the teak cockpit and trim were weathered and required chemical cleaning, brightening and new sealer, but there was no damage (teak is a wonderful wood).

The fiberglass hull and decks held up reasonably well, with just many hours of rubbing out required to restore the finish, but the gelcoat is still intact.

The deck hardware also held up fairly well, although finish on winches did suffer some and did not return to full luster. Winches definitely needed to be serviced to make them function properly.

Plastic in ports, hatches and lights suffered somewhat as well. I was able to restore to a fair degree with multiple treatments of Mirror Glaze, but I will probably be replacing horizontal panels not too far down the road.

The aluminum spars were oxidized and cleaned up decently, but not like new.

The main issue we had on the exterior was in the cockpit where scuppers for the lazarette hatch tracks clogged with leaves and allowed the draining water to flow into the compartment. Water was landing on the plywood panels separating the lazarette from the aft cabins, causing water damage to the plywood and the liner in the cabin. If the boat was stored outside and uncovered, make sure you check any drainage points to see if they clogged and determine if any backed up water caused damage.

As far as systems, the one that suffered most from storage was the fresh water system. Our boat has two heads with showers, 2 lavs in the guest cabins, and a galley, all served by 3 water tanks. Thus, there was a lot of potential for leaks caused by degraded antifreeze. I ended up replacing the pressure water pump, the main filter, the under galley sink filter, the pressure/temperature relief valve on the hot water tank, a section of hose supplying the hot water tank as well as repairing a crack in the hot water thermostat housing. I believe I still have a minor leak somewhere else in the system, but have not found it yet.

The electrical system was fine other than the batteries being shot (they were not removed because they are big group 6 monsters and not easy to handle). All the electronics fired up fine except for the LED display on the stereo being permanently dim. I did replace the cockpit speakers because the exposure had rotted out the cones and the grilles were yellow. Oh yeah, and the compass had not been covered and it was totally devoid of fluid and the card was yellowed, so I had to replace it.

On the interior, the upholstery was fine. The boat was 9 years old, yet the fabric and foam were in great shape. The woodwork was fine, just in need of some cleaning/oiling.

Thus, our issues were sun damage to running rigging, water damage from clogged drains, winch deterioration, water system component leaks, and a fair amount of restoration of gelcoat, teak and metal finishes, with some surfaces not able to be brought back to a condition that might be normally acheivable if the boat had been constantly maintained. Fortunately the diesel proved to be no worse for its rest as we have put another 350 hours on it in 2 seasons with no problems.

My advice: Look at anything subject to sun exposure or holding water that could have frozen or caused corrosion and buy the best survey and mechanic you can. Then negotiate your price adjustments with the seller and know that you will still find some things later, although hopefully minor. Best of luck.
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Old 04-13-2002
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Buying a stored boat

Good advice from the above posts. Several items I would add...since I also purchased a boat that was stored (outside) for several years.

1) Right about replacing the impeller...bound to be a problem w/storage. Also check your fresh water pumps.

2) Engine. Corrosion is an enemy of diesels and it is often the case many of the parts don''t get lube/oil if the engine is not correctly prepped or turned over once in a while. Also your likely going to have to replace the batteries too.

3)Instruments. There was a Loran on our boat but the internal battery was long gone.

4) Winches. If stored outside they could be filled with grit, salt etc. Might be a good practice to clean and lube them. Mostly labor.
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Old 04-16-2002
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Buying a stored boat

I''d also have a close look at the steering system. Most of them are quite inaccessible, yet can easily suffer from corrosion. On our boat, the hatch behind the traveler leaked like a sieve. Usually ,the hydraulic ram for the steering of our Prout Escale Catamaran is mounted underneath.

In our case, the ram was mounted off-center while the furnace was mounted under the hatch. Two years after the purchase of our boat the furnace was dead. I suppose it''s better that the furnace died instead of our steering system.

I would also have a close look at the electrical system. Corrosion builds up gradually and cause real problems in high-amp circuits like the starter/alternator when it increases contact resistance. Besides taking apart, cleaning, and lubing these connections, I''d also have a look behind the electrical panel just to see how all the connections look. If anything has any kind of obvious corrosion, I''d consider replacing it outright.

Also, any stiff wire needs to be replaced. In areas with corrosive atmospheres (gassing from batteries, salt-laced air, etc.) all terminals should be closed and heatshrunk to keep water out. I''m still replacing terminals on our boat... many years after I started. Ditto for some of the antenna connections - make sure water has not gotten in!

Last but not least, you may want to consider sending the electronics in for a service. Not only will you discover if there are still some spare parts to repair them, they might come back in usable shape.

For instance, our Autohelm ST50 displays had this nasty habit of fading out when the backlight was turned on. Thus, they displayed nothing! $50 per display later and we were back in business. I wish a service call had discovered this BEFORE we had to enter a tight, shallow anchorage in pitch black darkness. oh well.

Constantin
www.vonwentzel.net
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