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post #1 of 8 Old 03-03-2009 Thread Starter
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Really Cheap Boats

Sunday I helped a young friend of ours bring his recently acquired San Juan 24 to Shilshole Bay from Everett, WA, a pleasant five hours on the water. He bought this little boat, his first, for less than the cost of one month's moorage.

The boat is no wreck. Quite the contrary, although she has been somewhat neglected for the past couple of years. The boat has no engine but a small outboard borrowed from my friend's Dad solved that, pushing the boat at hull speed through the still waters of Puget Sound.

The standing rigging has been recently replaced, the bottom seems reasonably clean, the bilge dry and the sails, including the roller furling genoa, in decent shape. She even has a working VHF, depth sounder, compass, and a new knot meter which the previous owner said he never finished hooking up in addition to a manual Whale Gusher bilge pump, water tank, holding tank and head. The seller threw in two inflatable PFDs, still in the packages and two anchors with rodes. The boat is set up for racing with six winches and color coded lines led to the cockpit through labeled cam-cleats. She would be perfect for single handed sailing.

We had a little wind for a couple of hours and set the sails. She sails very well. A great little boat, ready to sail for practically nothing. She needs a good cleaning more than anything. After that, a weekend with a little sandpaper, paint and varnish will turn her into a nice little yacht.

I was there when the deal was struck so I know that this is not just one of those yacht club bar stories.

My point in all this is to demonstrate that good, well equipped boats can be found for very little money. I also know of a Vega 27 that was purchased for $500. I have seen larger boats abandoned in boatyards to be eventually cut up for scrap. Some, certainly, were not worth the cost of saving but others could have been had for a few hundred or a couple of thousand bucks. You just have to keep your eyes peeled, have cash in hand and be in the right place at the right time.

If circumstances allow I would recommend getting a job at a boatyard or chandlery to put yourself in a position to find the deals. If you are retired, spend time at the marinas and boatyards in your area. (Showing up at 5:00 with a twelve pack is a great way to make friends among the yard workers who can give you the hot tips)


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post #2 of 8 Old 03-03-2009
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Sounds like a CharlieCobra story with OhJoy. $20 and back moorage!

marty

She drives me boat,
I drives me dinghy!
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post #3 of 8 Old 03-03-2009
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Congratulations to your friend! Hopefully, the boat will work out well for him.

Unfortunately, I find really good, cheap, boats very hard to find. I can find cheap boats or good boats, but combining the two traits is really hard! Most owners know if they have a dog or a gem and are unwilling to part with a gem for little to no money. With that said, there are good boats to be found that are cheap - usually due to an owner's distress. I keep remembering the old saying - if something appears to be too good to be true then it usually isn't. Just my general thoughts, not an opinion on any particular purchase or boat.

Sabre 38 "Victoria"
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post #4 of 8 Old 03-03-2009
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There are a few nice cheap boats out there with only minimal issues, mostly due to neglect.

My Hunter is old and was cheap, but is a wonderful boat, and only really needed catch up maintenance to bring her back to life.

As long as you don't overlook anything structural.. love will fix the rest..
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post #5 of 8 Old 03-03-2009
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cheap boats

I agree that there are many boats to be had at a very, very reasonable price. I suggest talking to boat yard managers and target boats that have not been launched for a year or two, (norther climate on the hard). Then work with the yard to identify the owners and start making contact as to interest in selling. Never take no as a final answer. As the wind blows and the snow fall, make another contact, expecially if the boat seems good but is not covered. Try to find a ***** in the owener armor. It took me 5 months to work a deal, from $18 to $10,000 including dingy and dingy motor.
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post #6 of 8 Old 03-03-2009 Thread Starter
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Long ago, before I bought my Vega, I was searching for a boat and had it in my mind that I needed a 40+ foot ketch (Having read all of the books and magazines of the time). I decided I preferred steel and as luck would have it I met a man named John Hutton who owned a company called "Tern Marine" a builder of steel yachts. (I was in the process of hitting on his daughter at a biker run when he walked up)

We hit it off and over the course of several months and many beers he contributed to my education. John offered to build me a bare hull for $15K but that would leave me nothing to complete the boat. He had built many boats and cruised to all the places I had dreamed of. He had just finished a 48 foot steel cutter for himself and had plans to set off on a Pacific Cruise when his wife divorced him and took the boat. He wound up on the beach in Lahaina and the boat disappeared. I wound up buying the Vega.

Fast forward ten years to 1997:

Walking down the dock in the Ala Wai boat harbor I spotted a familiar but somewhat worn looking steel cutter - Straywind, Johns boat, with a "For Sale" sign on it. I took the number and called the broker. They wanted $60K for her. I told him that was too much, gave him my number and told him to call me if the price came down. I knew John's ex still owned the boat and I also knew she wasn't interested in sailing her.

To wrap up what could be a much longer story, the broker called me three more times with a lower price each time. The boat was moved from the X dock to the transient dock to a mooring ball in Ke'ehi Lagoon. The last call I got from the broker they said they would be willing to accept $10K cash for the 48 foot steel hulled cutter. The boat was a little rough. She needed sails and running rigging and interior work whereas we had just completed a major refit of Lealea. We knew we would have a hard time selling our boat at that time in Honolulu. Laura and I decided that we already had the right boat and didn't need a new project that might set us back years so we passed on the deal.

The point is, you just have to be in the right place with cash available when the opportunity presents itself. The guy who comes out ahead in these things is the one who can walk away from it, not the one who is desperate to get a "Deal".


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post #7 of 8 Old 03-04-2009
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What is the cheapest I can expect to pay for a good boat in the 30 foot range?
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post #8 of 8 Old 03-04-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SailorGregS View Post
What is the cheapest I can expect to pay for a good boat in the 30 foot range?
You should start a new thread, Greg. Then you'll hear that you need to give much more information.

Like:
- What do you mean by "range". Generally there is a big drop off in price when you go below the 30' mark.
- What do you mean by "good". This is a lot of things to a lot of people. Are you handy? Are you looking to circumnavigate or sail the local pond?

You'll get a ton of great advice here, just be sure to ask good and specific questions.

Good luck and welcome to SailNet (we're all a bit crazy right now, but we'll be sailing soon... then we'll all be crazy and liquored!)

S/V Gracie
P303
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