Should I even bother? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 17 Old 08-09-2010 Thread Starter
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Should I even bother?

Hello all,
I've been lurking for a while learning from all you experienced folks on here and would like some advice. Ive been sailing for years and am finally looking to buy my own boat. I recently saw an ad for a 1977 Capital City Newport 30 mkII. The owner listed it at around $7000, which is well below book value. One thing I've learned on here is that if you're buying cheap, you'll end up spending more than the boat is worth getting it in decent condition. So I contacted the seller and he was informed me the original Volvo diesel is neither functional nor repairable, so he installed a Sailmaster outboard (connected to the electrical system). Finally, here's my question. IF (that's a big IF) the boat has no other major issues and has a good survey, is this something I should even consider? I realize replacing an engine is extremely costly, but with the outboard, that's something that seems like it can wait...and possibly the boat is for sale at a cheap enough price that even after replacing the engine, it's still a good deal? Am I crazy? My guess is I probably am. Thanks for any input!
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post #2 of 17 Old 08-09-2010
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post #3 of 17 Old 08-09-2010
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I think you can find a number of boats of about the same vintage, size and price that have functional engines. At that price expect lots of work and lots of issues (of course this depends on your "issue tolerance" - some people do better than others).
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post #4 of 17 Old 08-10-2010
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I concur with the previous posts.
An outboard on a 30' boat is not an ideal set up for where you are with tides, current and plenty of wind and waves. You should be able to do better for the same money and at least get a working engine - or nearly working if it is an A4. These engines are so old that they are actually easier to resurrect from the dead.
Keep looking for the pearl in the oyster. Define what you want in a sailboat as well.

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post #5 of 17 Old 08-10-2010
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yeah... seems like there are a lot of potential problems associated with the boat... 7 grand buys a lot of things, including a working boat of only a couple fewer feet

... or I'm wrong.

Living aboard, currently in the Chesapeake
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post #6 of 17 Old 08-10-2010
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I'll take a somewhat contrarian view.

There are some very good deals out there... you just do not know (yet) if this may be one. First, do not fall in love with it.

The retrofitted outboard issue is the tough one and should probably be solved first. If you can't find a cost-effective solution here, walk away. I assume the outboard is on a lift on the stern, and I think you're courting big problems in a 30-footer in heavy seas (when you need that power most).

Seek out a couple marine mechanics for their ballpark estimates on what you might spend to get a rebuilt Atomic 4 installed. People turn their noses up at A4s, but they run (and run) and would probably be your best solution in this lower-cost boat. How many powerboats have gas engines and don't blow up? Lots and lots. moyermarine-dot-com shows A4s for $1K to $2.5K (before installation).

Don't forget if an A4 is viable, you'd now have an outboard you can sell to offset some of this cost.

Once you have a decent estimate for an A4 repower, get Don Casey's book Inspecting the Aging Sailboat and the boat inspection tips right here on SailNet. Perform your own detailed inspection (take notes and photos) looking for reasons to reject the deal. Consider cost-to-repair (soggy decks and blown sails are expensive to fix, new plumbing and wiring are not so bad if you're even just a little handy).

If it passes muster, make an offer, contingent upon a survey. People get heated about the politeness of "lowball" offers, but just look at all the donated boats where owners really cannot be bothered with the selling process. This owner may "want" $7K, but may take $3K... you only know if you ask (I've found an offer made with a refundable deposit gets much more consideration than simply asking "Would you sell it for $ XX?"). Sellers can be anxious if you catch them just right; I paid $1200 for my HR28 that first-listed on Craigslist 6 weeks earlier for $6K.

But DO get the survey and be cold-hearted as you evaluate the results and make a final purchase decision.

Bottom line is I do agree that an outboard on a 30-footer is a non-starter. But if you're a bit of a wheeler-dealer, maybe you could get that boat with an A4 installed for that same $7K (total)... getting seller price concessions, getting a replacement A4 installed at a reasonable price, selling the old diesel and outboard, etc.

Last, don't fall in love. It is a business transaction. But one can get a lot of boat for not much money if you're creative (and lucky).

Good Luck.
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post #7 of 17 Old 08-10-2010 Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone for the responses. So, in summary, I should stay away unless I can knock off enough of the asking price to cover the cost of replacing the engine, if there aren't any other major issues (and I'm guessing there are). I think I'll just keep looking. Thanks again.
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post #8 of 17 Old 08-10-2010
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Rodrigo—

I'd recommend you read the Boat Inspection Trip Tips thread I started, as it will help you determine whether any boats you look at are even worth going forward on, saving you the price of a survey on boats that aren't worth looking at further.

Sailingdog

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post #9 of 17 Old 08-10-2010
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Would you consider buying a car that needs a new engine? If so, you might be a candidate for a boat that needs a new engine.

Ask yourself, "What do I want to do -- sail or repair a boat?" I know some who like to sail and some who like to repair boats. To a degree the hobbies are mutually exclusive.
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post #10 of 17 Old 08-11-2010
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Hudsonian makes a fair and very pertinent point and one should assess one's own preferences honestly. There are a lot of half-finished project boats out there where the owner lost his appetite or got in over his head.

I enjoy both sailing (in season) and repairing (off-season), so my advice certainly comes from a perspective of being willing to do some scrounging and work on-my-own. Plus, I'd never get anything needing extensive work without also having something else to sail (makes me usually a 2 boat owner, much to wife's chagrin).
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