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mooseoftoose 05-04-2009 11:45 PM

CHEAP J/24....any thoughs?
Hey all, I recently found a 1978 J24 for sale, previously used by a college sailing team. Asking price is below $2000. It has recently replaced lines, upgraded traveler and car, and backstay adjustment assembly. Includes an outboard, but no trailer. The boats too far for me to check it out in person, but Ive been in contact with the seller and received a few pics and a detailed description. The price also includes delivery. He says there arent any cracks, soft spots, or other noticeable deck trouble. The hull below waterline is developing some osmotic blistering, but is described as being only cosmetic at this point. The V berth has some rot in the lower wood (pictured) Is it a dumb idea to consider buying a boat without inspecting in person? I really want to get into racing, and hope to upgrade this as time goes on. The price is perfect for me (Im 20, in college), but realize it IS going to need work and more $$. Any input or wise words would be greatfull :)


Here are the pictures from the seller (not the best but gets the idea across):

nk235 05-05-2009 05:47 AM

You can't take a road trip to check it out? I just graduated college 3 years ago so I know what you mean about the money situation. However taking a boat off someone's word can be a risky bet especially if the boat is in much worse condition than they claim it is. Plus if it was used by a college racing team it could have been beat to hell and once it is delivered, you are then left with a 3100lb mess on yours hands that cost could more to get rid of!

With that in mind, the boat could be as they claim, a little soft in areas but otherwise worth the $2k and it does its job and gets you on the water. But I would try and at least check it out first before you commit and have it delevered.

Also just curious, what school do you go to?


tommays 05-05-2009 06:27 AM

This is a 7700 dollar 1981 J24 with trailer NEW motor and two GOOD sets of sails and hatches that don't LEAK (this happened mid 1980 )

This boat still required a LOT of time and money just to get in safe basic sailing order

My thoughts from being a two time J24 owner is #1 you have to check the keel for vermiculite as my friends boat still has IT :eek:

Those old style hatches have leaked so long i can see the forward ROT

The picture of the inside shows the Lazarets bulkheads upgrade was never done to close off the boat from flooding during a knockdown

KeelHaulin 05-05-2009 06:39 AM


Originally Posted by mooseoftoose (Post 482834)
(Im 20, in college), but realize it IS going to need work and more $$. Any input or wise words would be greatfull :)

You answered your own question IMHO. You're 20 YO, in college and it will need work and more money. I'd save that money; charter for daysailing when you have time, and graduate. Don't get caught up in owning a money pit that will waste your time and interrupt your studies; regardless of how good it looks on paper.

Graduate, get a good job near the water, save some cash (and emergency funds) and then buy a small boat if you want to own one. For the most part owning a boat is for someone who wants to live aboard or is already wealthy enough to justify the ongoing expenses of owning one.

If you are trying to buy a boat and your parents are supporting you in school; well I hope you ASK THEM what they think of this before you spend anything on it. Too many young adults spend themselves into oblivion these days before they even graduate; don't fall into this financial trap!

sailingdog 05-05-2009 08:06 AM

I'd also point out that the exposed plywood and peeling paint in this photo indicates that there's water getting in, and the plywood looks pretty much shot...

bshipp 05-05-2009 08:31 AM

Keelhaulin has it right. Here's what I tell people... the purchase price of a boat is like the cover charge at the bar. It just lets you belly up and start spending real money. If you're struggling with the purchase price, once you add storage, maintenance, etc., it's probably something you're best off waiting to do.

JohnRPollard 05-05-2009 09:39 AM


I have to agree with the others. This does not seem like a good deal under the circumstances.

First, it is generally a very bad idea to purchase a keelboat sight-unseen. A trip to inspect it, as well as a survey by a professional surveyor, is generally money well spent. It can save you a small fortune in the long run. Some wealthy folks can afford to take that kind of financial risk -- but this does not sound like you.

If you go over to YouTube, you can do a search for a video that shows a seemingly nice J-30 being crushed and destroyed at a waste processing facility. You see what appears to be a decent boat being torn to pieces by a backhoe, with the owner onlooking. What the photos don't and can't show, is the extensive rot inside the hull that would have cost many times the boats market value to repair. The photos you have can't show that sort of damage either.

Second, based on what little we and you know about this boat from the photos and history provided above, there is plenty of available info that would cause anyone to pause on this boat. College boats generally take a beating, and often don't get lavished with attention. The photos confirm that this will be a serious project boat.

Third, you received some VERY VALUABLE advice from "Tommays" above. You are new here to SailNet, so let me vouch that Tommays could be considered our "resident expert" on J24s. He has raced and owned multiple hulls for many years. He knows these boats. You should give great deference to his opinions.

Finally, there is your circumstances as a college student. Taking on the expense of a keelboat right now would be a major financial drain and distraction.

But the good news is, if you want to get into racing, you should be able to with little difficulty. What you need to do is get the word out at your nearest J24 or J22 fleet that you are seriously available to crew. Then show up early to help get the boat ready before the race, and linger afterwards to help clean it up and put her to bed. If you show-up consistently, you will be asked back consistently. You will learn a lot about racing and boat ownership and expenses. And you will probably get some good leads on well-maintained boats that might be coming available after you graduate.

Take a pass on this one. There will be other nicer examples in the future, when timing is better.

tommays 05-05-2009 10:09 AM

You will find J24s in 3 price ranges

1. LOW: what your looking at now

2. MEDIUM: One like my boat that needs a LOT of elbow grease and a fair amount of money BUT you have GOOD sails which is a BIG deal because there really costly even USED compared to other boats

A new set of 4 new sails at 1700 dollars EACH is reaching allmost 7 K with good used ones about 1/2 that price

3. HIGH: These boats have had bottom and keel work done(10K in value) and pretty much everything on the boats is close to NEW and they will be in the 15 to 25 k range and UP

Mimsy 05-05-2009 10:22 AM

Having just gotten to sail a J-24 a couple of weeks ago for the first time, I have to say that these are super fun to sail. Just a blast.

I've sailed on the J boat a couple of times in the last weeks. How did I get to sail on these so regularly? The sailing club I go to has a couple of these boats. Lots of sailing schools/clubs use these and have them available for charter. It would be a far better idea to join a sailing club while you are in school and pay to play as it were. Once you graduate and are gainfully emploeyd, you can buy your boat and will have the added benefit of being certain of what you want on a boat.

I'm no expert on condition by any stretch of the imagination but the photos of the water damage to the boat are fairly obvious to me. One of the things I first started looking for when boat shopping was interior water damage. Even before I knew a shroud from a backstay, I figured you did not want evidence of water inside the boat. Water damage inside boat= leaky boat. Leaky boat= not fit for purpose. :)

bubb2 05-05-2009 10:38 AM

A J 24 is a cored hull boat. Blistering is a sign that water has penetrated into the laminate. I will bet you a steak dinner that core is wet.

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