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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Boat Review and Purchase Forum
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  #1  
Old 09-13-2008
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Buy it Wet or Dry?

Hello all,

I'm wondering if anyone has any thoughts to share regarding buying a boat in, versus out of, the water. With fall approaching here in the Northeast, I could have options in this regard.

As I see it, buying it 'wet' would require a short haul for a survey, but could allow me to negotiate a bit off the price, as the seller wouldn't have to haul and store it over the winter. While I'd then have to pay winter storage, I'd have all that time to "move in", and be able to splash-and-go in the spring.

Conversely, buying it on the hard would mean I'd have to wait till spring to be able to do a sea trial and close the deal, and any 'settling in' to my new boat would have to be after that. (Who's going to paint the bottom if the seller has an offer, but the contingencies don't clear till after launch?)

Complicating matters is that the two boats I've currently got my eye on are whole day trips for me to go look at, an investment of time and money itself.

I'd appreciate any thought/ideas/opinions you might have on the matter.

Oh, and because someone will ask if I dont mention it- we're talking about 80's vintage production coastal cruisers, mid 30' range.

Thanks,
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Old 09-13-2008
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When I looked for my current boat, Cat 27, 18 months ago, I saw plenty in the water and many out. I made the decision based on the best boat for the money and then had it pulled and inspected. So, my suggestion is to look for the best boat in or out of water and then get it surveyed.
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Old 09-13-2008
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First of all, there's lots of good 80's boats in the $30K range - just be sure you are looking at boats that will do what you want: i.e. if you are going to sail in lakes or bays, buy anything you want, but if you are primarily sail offshore, don't consider a bay boat.
Down here, boats stay in the water yeararound, so being in the water or not isn't an issue - but I would never consider a boat without sailing it to be sure the engine starts easily and moves the boat with enough power, the sails are in good shape, the boat responds well to the helm, all the winches work like they should, all the instruments work, turn on the radio to be sure it receives and transmits and most of all - do you like the way the boat sails. Then a quick haul to check for significant blisters, good zincs on the prop, wiggle the prop to check the cutlass bearing, wiggle the rudder for play, how long til the next bottom job, etc. If that's all good, they pay for survey - your insurance company will require it anyway.
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Last edited by johnshasteen; 09-13-2008 at 01:51 PM.
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Old 09-13-2008
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Exclamation Unconventional Wisdom

First, Best of Luck and fun on your boat purchase... Thinking there are many good deals on boats as there are other items off season. This from a person who buys summer cloths in the winter and visa versa... I even added a in ground swimming pool in the Fall- (Admit it was hard to look at it covered until the spring and summer came around). Did get a better deal...

That being said, I would Not want to purchase a 25 year old boat from a stranger without taking the boat out for a sail... Just my humble oppinion.

Best of Luck...
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Old 09-13-2008
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Arrow

the boat must be

Afloat
Sailed
Surveyed

so you avoid different troubles after the contract.

Last edited by Karletto; 09-13-2008 at 02:56 PM.
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Old 09-13-2008
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Doesn't matter. You have to pay to either have it hauled for winter storage or to drop it for a sea trial. We purchased both our boats in water, hauling for survey. Both worked out great.
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So, my suggestion is to look for the best boat in or out of water and then get it surveyed.
Says it best.
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Old 09-13-2008
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Forgive my ignorance- But should I take the boat out with the seller and/or broker before making an offer and still then require a formal 'sea trial' with a surveyor? Is this standard?

I bought my current, and first, boat from an acquaintance, having been about her for an afternoon sail once before, so I wasn't so concerned with these things. (I did have a survey done before executing the purchase, but just on the hard.)

Thanks.
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Old 09-13-2008
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Ed, you'd do it the other way around. Make an estimate, make an offer, complete with "contingent upon haul, survey, sea trials" with whatever escrow you feel is necessary. Somewhere in the details, get it clear that if the haul shows a problem (i.e. heavily blistered bottom, keel repairs, etc.) the deal with go ahead with an offset for the damages--or the seller has the right to reimburse you for the haul and walk away.

In a reasonable negotiated position, you could expect the seller to pay for the haul if it reveals a deal breaker. But the two of you should be able to figure out up front what and how that would be.

If the seller doesn't want to know about it and doesn't know what's under their boat (or, maybe they do) just walk away, there are other boats with more reasonable sellers.
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Old 09-13-2008
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I wouldn't want to be committed to a boat and have to wait all winter to do the survey and sea trial. You never know what boat will be on the market next week, so I'd advise waiting till close to spring, if you don't find your boat in a timeframe that allows you to close the deal before it's hauled for the winter.

Paying for insurance and storage before you've had a chance to enjoy the boat would be a bit of a bummer, but at least you could make sure it would be ready to go come spring. Also the seller may be willing to negotiate deeper on the price, so the costs may be close to a wash.

Good Luck
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