The current (March 2010) copy of Soundings has an article about an experienced cruiser, re-builder and his problems after buying a Whitby 42.
The boat was on land so they could not do a sea trial as the yard was overhauling it's launch area. They were able to run the engine and sent the transmission fluid in for analysis.
Everything checked out fine so they decided go ahead with the sale and just hold back 10% in escrow to cover anything found after the sea trial.
They shortly found out that the transmission was no good and it would cost 10,000 to fix. The escrow was only about 4,000.
The broker told the new owner he was not responsible for a dishonest PO and that the sale was final.
The new owner finally found out that the PO, living in Australia was not part of the scam and the broker did make good under threat of legal action.
That owner is a friend of mine and a forum member here.
I can only imagine that the story does not translate as well to print as it does in real life, but I have not yet seen it. Trust me, if you heard all the details in person you'd be more than horrified.
Andy knew all about the condition of the hull, rigging and what could be deciphered on land of the engine from the survey and his vast knowledge of all things boats. He is involved in a fairly complete re-fit, knowingly.
The problem is that he was flat out lied to about the gear box. The PO knew it was totally fried and told the broker as such. IIRC Andy was also told that he would need to do the repair work at that yard, hence the super high, held hostage, price quotes.
Perhaps Andy will chime in here and give the "rest of the story". Please don't portray him as a naive boater as he is anything but and is actually a very knowledgeable and savy boat owner/cruiser with many, many miles under the keel. He was scammed, lied to and bamboozled, flat out. They avoided in water sea trials for a reason, and it was a good thing he held money in escrow, as any knowledgeable boater should and any good brokerage should have right in the P&S.
Yes he got a decent deal BUT the broker knew damn well he needed to sail the boat back to Maine. The boat is far from a basket case, actually very nice for the price, but does need some work, mostly some known wet areas of the deck, which I have been very lightly helping with, mostly in the form of tool loans... The Fein strikes again..
The bottom line is he was flat out lied to and it was known that the boat did not have a working gear box. None of this knowledge was disclosed to Andy before he showed up for sea trials.
The broker also knew Andy was planning to sail the boat back to Maine for a winter of re-fitting. It is also very hard to believe that the broker did not know about this as the boat would have needed to have been towed or sailed into the slings for a haul out. The PO sent this information to the broker in the form of an email which he provided Andy as electronic proof that the brokerage knew about the non-working gear box.
After lengthy discussions with Andy I am of the belief that yacht brokers need to adopt some set of minimum standards for full disclosure, just as they do in real estate transactions, though in this case it was the brokerage hiding facts, not the owner. The fact that an owner can list a boat that has KNOWN major defects and willingly HIDE these items, hoping a survey will miss them, is unethical IMHO.
It was not until Andy provided time stamped electronic PROOF to the brokerage owner, that they KNEW about this defect, that the brokerage owner stepped up and finally took ownership of the lies and deceit. If Andy had not contacted the PO, and did not have this electronic PROOF that they were notified of the non-operational gear box, Andy likely never would have recouped a dime..
I will call Andy this a.m and let him know you guys are discussing his article..