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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Boat Review and Purchase Forum
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Old 02-11-2009
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Best location to buy an old sailboat

I'm looking into purchasing a sailboat for cruising. Money limitations dictate that it will have to be an older model (25+ years). I've read some opinions that suggest purchasing in a northern climate (upper east coast or great lakes) is better than a southern climate (gulf of Mexico). The theory is less sun, less humidity and less time in the water = less wear and tear. This seems to make sense, but I am wondering what people's opinions are and how important a factor this is.
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Old 02-11-2009
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The boats in the Pacific North West typically are valued at 10% higher than other areas in the US and Canada. Boats in hurricane prone areas like the Gulf have a higher probability of being previously damaged... This can be discovered through the survey process but is a consideration.

I purchased a boat that spent part of its life on the hard in the desert (San Carlos Mexico) and it seems that this climate is a lot easier on the boats than wetter, humid environments.

There are significant costs to purchase a boat far from where you live when you factor travel costs to look at boats, purchase and finally transport.

I would say the most important factor is the quality of the individual boat, how it has been maintained and the equipment it has.

Good luck with your hunt!
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Old 02-11-2009
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Purchase location

Agree with GW, and I would add an assessment of the local economic climate. Michigan could be a good deal. Key factor is your locationa and transportation costs. Smaller boat on trailer that you can pull vs larger boat requiring costly professional shipping, loading unloading etc. Not to mention travel time looking at boats. Generally you should be able to find a good boat in your local. Barganing skills are key, it is a buyers market. Cash talks loudly.
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Old 02-11-2009
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Blowfish,

you've already gotten great advice. Search your own area for a boat that has been well cared for by the PO. You'll save tremendously on your travel expense and time and ultimately on shipping/tranport expense's if you're buying something larger than a trailerable boat.

Enjoy the search, take your time. If you can drive there in a day it and the boat is one you are truly interested in, it's worth the drive. I spent two years searching, and as eager as I was to be on the water, I wanted the ' perfect boat' for me. I found a 31 year old Sabre that was a gem, truly loved and pampered by the PO and dilegently upgraded by him too.

Be sure to have a survey of the boat you finally decide to purchase. Not just an 'insurance survey' (not that there's anything wrong with them) but a full fledged bow to stern, top to bottom check of every system, the deck and hull.

Buying the perfect boat is great fun, enjoy the journey and welcome to Sailnet...MGM
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Old 02-11-2009
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Check out this 40+ year old boat. I have had one for 20 years and it's been a great boat...designed by S&S, built by Chris Craft. And this one looks to be in great shape.

http://www.sailboatlistings.com/view/10361

Moe
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Old 02-12-2009
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Thanks to all! I hadn't really considered that the likelihood of potential storm damage (which I assumed, but perhaps improperly, would be revealed in a survey) would vary by region, good point. Regarding transportation, I live in the middle of the country, so I won't be bringing it here. The plan is to pick up and go from wherever I buy the boat, so transportation isn't an issue. Given that, it seems that if 1 year in the tropics is like 5 on Lake Michigan it would make more sense to buy a boat in Michigan. However, if the differences really aren't that dramatic and it depends primarily on how the owner has maintained the boat, then I won't restrict my search. I guess the real question is, if you were searching for a 25+ year old boat (and location of the boat didn't matter) would you restrict the search to northern states and/or the great lakes region?
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Old 02-12-2009
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Moe, I checked out the Chris Craft and she's a beauty! It looks like the owners have put a TON of work into her. Unfortunately I'm looking for a draft of around 4'.
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Old 02-12-2009
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To answer your question: yes freshwater, northern boats are generally in better shape than salt water, warmer climate boats. There are hundreds of boats for sale in the great lakes area, so it wouldn't really be limiting yourself to concentrate your search here.
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Old 02-12-2009
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Many Great lakes boats have never seen a barnacle. Never had their anodes changed. cleaner overall in many respects. I'd say Michigan is a good spot. Indiana, or Wisconsin. Lots of sailors on lake Michigan.
If you have the time on your hands, you can sail it wherever you want.
Salvage boats, such as come from Hurricane-blasted states like florida and texas, Are not always total wrecks, but You have to have a good eye, and be prepared to replace a chunk of the electricals and perhaps some of the interior if they've been submerged. If you're a handy guy, this could be your gateway to a BIG boat.
It all depends on what time/resources you can spend, and how handy you are.
Then again there are some real fire sales on boats right now. In fact, if the US GOvt's plan to stem the flow of foreclosures becomes a reality, look for a rash of repo'd boats just prior to the legislations enactment.
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Old 02-12-2009
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You might want to add a dash of demographics to your search. Even though as someone mentioned their is a 10% premium on PNW boats there may not be as many available due to the lower population density and fewer boat owners. The Great Lakes area has a much higher density population and therefore more boats to choose from and likely more economical prices. Do some demographic research to find out where the most boats are. Of course southern climes will have more boats per capita than northern ones but then again there is high density population around those big lakes and many folks would have a boat laying around somewhere that they may have to sell given todays economic climate.
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