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Old 04-30-2010
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Buying a boat remotely, smart or not?

I have been going through some classifieds and it seems there are some nice boats in the Northeast. How reasonable is it to purchase one remotely. I would of course get an inspection done on the boat prior. Is it feasable to purchase one and have it stored on the hard for 6 months or so while I go and replenish my saving for a late fall cruise into the caribbean. How often is this done and is it an acceptable risk to have purchase a boat with inspection that youve never laid eyes on? To clarify Im looking at small boats in the 25 ft range for under $10,000. Thanks
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Old 04-30-2010
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You are considering purchasing a boat that you have never actually been on to cruise the Caribbean with? I personally wouldn’t do it.
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Old 04-30-2010
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I wouldn't recommend setting off on any long voyages on a boat that you are not very familiar with, and especially not on one you just bought.

While one of my good friends has done something like this, they did have the previous owner aboard for the first third of the trip. They also had some very experienced sailors for the rest of the trip, including a person who knew the make/model of boat quite well. If they had not had those resources, I'm pretty sure they would not have done it.
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Remote boat buying

I agree with Remetau; you should definitely see what you are buying. There is no substitute for a hands-on inspection. Having said that I did buy my current boat remotely. However, I flew up to Boston to see the boat and then put an offer on the boat pending survey. The only thing I would do differently is first put an offer on the boat, then go inspect the boat during the sea trial portion of the survey. Of course, the cost of the boat has to be high enough to justify the cost of the survey and the transportation to see the boat. And if the cost of the boat isn't worth it then buy a boat with a slightly higher cost closer to home and know that the higher cost is justified by your knowledge of what you are getting. FWIW.
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Thanks for the replies,

Of course Im not going to set off for the caribbean on a boat I have never sailed in. But that wasnt the question. It does seem a little dicey to purchase this way it seems so far not a good idea. I am asking because Im not anywhere near the Northeast, and there are many potential boats spread out across the east coast. Thanks
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crazy8 View Post
Thanks for the replies,

Of course Im not going to set off for the caribbean on a boat I have never sailed in. But that wasnt the question. It does seem a little dicey to purchase this way it seems so far not a good idea. I am asking because Im not anywhere near the Northeast, and there are many potential boats spread out across the east coast. Thanks
Sorry, I misread you about the Caribbean. I would still want to personally see something that is going to cost me $10k, but that is me.
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Old 04-30-2010
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Actually, given that you wrote:

Quote:
Is it feasable to purchase one and have it stored on the hard for 6 months or so while I go and replenish my saving for a late fall cruise into the caribbean. How often is this done and is it an acceptable risk to have purchase a boat with inspection that youve never laid eyes on?
it certainly appeared that was the question you seemed to be asking.

Quote:
Originally Posted by crazy8 View Post
Thanks for the replies,

Of course Im not going to set off for the caribbean on a boat I have never sailed in. But that wasnt the question. It does seem a little dicey to purchase this way it seems so far not a good idea. I am asking because Im not anywhere near the Northeast, and there are many potential boats spread out across the east coast. Thanks
Buying a boat that is a distance away from where you live can be done, but it does require you to do far more work in terms of due diligence than buying a boat that is more readily accessible to you. It is done quite often and often with little trouble for the new owner, provided they have taken the appropriate steps.
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her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

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Old 04-30-2010
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I suppose it would be OK under certain conditions:
1- hire a very competent surveyor who can furnish up-to-date pictures for you (many pictures inthe listings are several months/years old)
2- Have a complete list of specific questions to ask such as when was the rigging last replced etc....
3- Be familiar with the model you are looking at. Go see the same model locally and see how you like it up close and personal.
4- Be ready for a "worst-case-scenario" that could happen if you get the boat and find that she sails like a wet box of Kleenex and you want to re-sell her.
I'm sure there are more points to be made, but I'm outta time...
Cheers,
Tom
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1) How much would it cost round trip (doing it on the cheap) to see the boat that you are going to buy based on someone else's opinion (surveyor)? Seems to me that you would want to look at it if possible.

2) Test Sails: This one always gets my attention. You just have to have a test sail before you buy? (and lots of people demanding a test sail wouldn't know a good sailing boat from a bad one, especially if they have an owner or broker telling how great it is). Most of the people demanding this are usually buying boats in the lower end of the range. Now, let's talk real money. People who buy customed designed mega yachts are committed from the beginning, there are no comparable boats to test, as their design is unique. These people never get to test sail before buying.

3) When was the rigging replaced? I've noticed that when people buy a boat to upgrade, the first thing they do is replace the running rigging. Quick, looks pretty (colored lines, you know), nevermind that the old rigging was serviceable. Next thing is to replace the standing rigging. They're not sure why, it just seems like something to do. This is frequently a total waste of money, in my opinion. If you are going to replace the rigging, have some factual basis for why you are going to do it. After reading about lots of rigging being replaced, depending on who is doing it, I believe sometimes the old is better than the new.

4) Before one buys, especially an older boat that is going to require work, spend some time understanding boats in general and the boat design that you are looking to buy, and what will be required (the OP may have already done this, and if so, good). Then, especially if its an older boat, look at it yourself. I believe you'll save yourself money and aggravation in the long run.

If my comments seem harsh, they come after spending some time in the boatyard yesterday where a previous boat, that I owned for 22 years, lies hacked up, abandoned, and is now a piece of junk. The last guy who bought it was going to "upgrade" it. He spent thousands of dollars and for every dollar he spent, he probably knocked off $10 in value of the boat. Not satisfied with this hack job, he bought another (better for living aboard) boat and hacked it up. Both lie abandoned together in the yard, never to sail again.

Last edited by NCC320; 04-30-2010 at 02:02 PM.
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Old 04-30-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crazy8 View Post
..... How often is this done and is it an acceptable risk to have purchase a boat with inspection that youve never laid eyes on? ...
No, absolutely no.

For example, during my last boat search, I only went to see boats that looked good enough to buy, yet 3 out of 4 boats that I visited (some by plane trips), I walked away from within minutes of first seeing them. Pictures are a woeful and completely inadequate substitute for seeing, and as to relying on someone else, we all have our own idea of what's trash and what's not.
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