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  #1  
Old 11-06-2008
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Buying north of the Chesapeake in late fall/early winter

Hey everyone. I did a search on this, and it seems like every year on SailNet around this time someone asks about this. However, most of those people were asking in general about best time to buy and so on.

I believe that the best time to buy is when you find the right boat at a reasonable price. So with that as a given (for me), I have a question about how to handle my particular situation.

It's now late enough that many boats we might be interested in north of our location are on the hard, winterized, and covered. Many are blocked in by other boats in the yard. So if one of those ends up being "the boat we've been looking for", how do we purchase without taking a big risk ourselves? Obviously we can survey, but a sea trial would likely be very expensive (moving other boats, winterization, cover, etc., plus splashing and hauling). We're desparate for a boat--we could always wait until late winter/early Spring, but I've learned it's asking a lot for the right boat to be available on my perferred timeline. There will always be a boat, but not necessarily THE boat. So if one of these is THE boat, how do we purchase without a ton of risk?

Thanks for your input. I realize this general topic has been covered, but I'm looking for some input on my specific situation, if possible. I don't want to continue looking at boats up north at this time of year, if there's no reasonable (non-risky) path to ownership.

Thanks,
J
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Old 11-06-2008
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You can always have the purchase subject to survey and sea-trial and put money in escrow until both the survey and sea-trial are done in the spring.
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Old 11-06-2008
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What he said: "Contingent on survey and sea trial"

BUT - if you buy now you'll be taking the boat over now and in five months it will be passing hard to back out of a deal. Especially if the owner has used the money to pay-off any mortgage on the boat and it's been registered in your name for "X" many months.

You can insist on a large escrow set up to help correct any problems, (i.e. $5,000 for the motor, $2,000 standing rigging, etc.) but I would only purchase a design I was familiar with and knew satisfied my desires at this point for a boat on the hard.

The good news is that a boat out of the water a month can be a good one to check with a moisture meter for hull problems.
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Old 11-06-2008
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I don't think he'll have to actually pass papers on the boat right now... as long as he has a deposit down, given the market conditions right now... that may be enough. I'd highly recommend making a trip to the boat and following the information in this post to determine if there's reason to proceed further...
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
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Old 11-06-2008
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Well, I know it's a boat design that meets my needs, and it's one of those on my "list" that I've yet to find a good example of. This is one of those that appears it might be a good example. Of course, I won't know that until we go look at it. That brought up the question for me--so what if I we do look at it and it's in fantastic condition? I mean, what next? I don't really want to be locked in for a 5 month long deal, but then again, I don't want to pass up a great boat. What we'll probably do is go look at it, following a lot of sailingdog's post, and go from there. Sometiimes eliminating the boat makes it easier anyway. We only have a dilemna if the boat is great.
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If the boat doesn't make it past the inspection trip... there's nothing to worry about... it's only the ones that get past that point that make you have to start worrying about what to do next.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
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—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Old 11-07-2008
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The survey is going to be the big factor, very few purchases fail at the sea-trial stage as at that point you already have close to $1g invested (traveling to and fro, survey....). You will likely already be familiar with the handling of the boat from other reviews. You have done your research so you will know that the shoal keel version doesn't point as well..... really the test drive is more of a formality other than being able to run up the engine and make sure it is good, but even that can be done on the hard if you really want too. On the other hand, you could wait until the good weather, then if you find a boat, you can pay to have it hauled and inspected... either way, you incur expenses.
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Old 11-07-2008
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Hello,

IMHO, if the boat is already on the hard, you can't really buy until spring. The boat really does need to be splashed so the engine can be tested. Sure, you can run it on the hard, but you can't put the engine under load, and you can't really test the transmission.

You can try some sore of escrow deal, but if I were selling a boat, I would not bother. In that case the seller takes all the risk and gets no real benefit.

OTOH, if you can find a boat still in the water, you can easily get the owner to take off a good chuck of change that would otherwise go to haul and store costs. THat's what I did about this time in 2006.

Good luck,
Barry
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Old 11-07-2008
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I wouldn't lock myself into a boat at this point in the Mid Atlantic season, unless the boat was still in the water and could be sea trialed prior to hauling.

I know exactly how you are feeling as this time last year I had sold my boat and hadn't found a new one yet.

Trust me, there will be a lot of boats that come to market over the next 4 months and only the nicest and most aggressively priced will sell and then probably not until spring. You don't want to be contractually obligated to one boat when one you like better comes to market.

You may well loose the early part of next season but it will be worth it when you end up with a boat you'll be proud to own for a long time.
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Thanks everyone. All great points and well taken. After reading these posts, other threads, and talking it over, we've decided on a plan (nothing profound, but it's a good one for us). Keep in mind we've been looking for almost 6 months now, have narrowed down our list to a few different models, and have traveled hundreds of miles in varying direction to view a number of examples of each. No luck. So while we're not desparate, there is merit to continuing shopping in case we find "our boat".

So here's our plan: We'll go to look at boats up north if they appear to be worth it. One or two in particular are our top choice models and appear to be in good condition, so it's worth a peek.

- If the boat is not so nice, well then we have no problem! We move on.

- If the boat is decent, and perhaps worth considering, but not great, then we can wait. If she sells to someone else, no huge loss. If she's still around in Spring and we haven't located another boat, perhaps we'll consider it (more convenient for sea trial, etc., and overall evaluation too).

- If the boat's in great condition (like really well-maintained), well then we have this issue of if and how to proceed. But in our experience, the odds of this occurring are very small. But if we don't go look, we won't know. That's just reality.

So that's the plan. The more boats we see, the more likely we are to find what we're looking for.
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