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  #1  
Old 03-08-2011
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Your thoughts on my findings of a sailboat we are looking to buy

We are looking at trading our powerboat for a 25' bayfield. This will be our first time sailing if we go through on this trade.

The boat looks like she is in really good condition for being 36 years old. Most of the issues seemed to be cosmetic.

I'd like for forum members to comment on the following:

When I crouched to look at the keel to make sure it was straight (it seemed to be so) I noticed there was a small but noticable gap between the upper portion of the keel and the ballast. From bow to stern it only went about and inch or two deep. From what I've read this is an indication of a grounding. By gap I mean more like a gouge I guess? I unfortuntately forgot my camera to take a picture of it.

I wasn't able to check the mounting points for the ballast in the cabin bilge because there was about an inch or so of water in the bilge. The bilge pump is mounted higher than the bottom of the bilge so that leaves standing water. Now in my powerboat the bilge is mounted right to the floor so there isn't more than a 1/2" of water in the bilge at any given time.

I also noticed the rudder was bent, causing the rudder to favor one side over another when I moved it by hand. The owner said this wasn't a problem for him while sailing but I have to assume this affects the sail boat from steering on it's own.

So - couple questions:

Per the ballast / grounding
1: If there is a small gap between the upper keel and the ballast, this wouldn't cause a concern for water tightness would it? I don't think this is a serious problem, but maybe it is? What should I check further? Is that just something I can patch up?

Per the bilge
2: As far as the bilge being raised a bit from the bottom of the hull, If I bought this boat should I re-mount the pump so that it can push more water out of the bilge? I assume constant standing water in the bilge over the bolts that connect the ballast isn't necessarily a good thing.

Per the rudder
3: As far as the rudder, can I bend this back into shape? does it necessarily matter? I would hope for the sail to be able to sail itself straigt for those brief times I would need relief.

any warning bells going off in your head?

Thanks for reading.
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Old 03-08-2011
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pictures would be a huge help. The rudder issue confuses me as does the bow to stern "gouge." The rudder should be keel hung and the ballast encapsulated, so your questions are definite head scratchers.
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Old 03-08-2011
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Have a survey done for crying out loud.
How can you expect a bunch of people on the internet to advise you about buying a boat that you don't even have pictures for? Not that anyone could give you reasonable advise looking at pictures on a screen.

Get a survey or kick yourself later.
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Old 03-08-2011
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IMHP you dont know enough about sailboats at this time time to decide

For example on powerboats the transome wood supporting the motor and the stringers in the floor tend to be the common problem areas and on a sailboat wood is still and issue but in differnet places
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Old 03-08-2011
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Some of your terminology may be a bit off.

The keel is a big thing which hangs off the bottom of the boat. It prevents the boat from slipping sideways. It is normally full of ballast - typically lead or iron. Sometimes the ballast is covered in fiberglass (encapsulated), this assembly making up the keel; other times the ballast is given a nice shape and painted - in which case the keel and ballast are the same thing.

The keel is generally bolted to the HULL using keel bolts. And these are often in the bilge and wet!

so....
1) It is always best to get a survey done before you buy a sailboat.

2) A crack between the hull and keel is common - but such cracks are generally filled and made pretty ("faired"). The fact you can see it could be anything from normal movement to loose keel bolts to imminent keel bolt failure. Get an expert to check it out.

3) The bilge pump should generally be at the bottom of the bilge to keep it as nearly dry as possible. NEVER buy a boat like this unless you can get a clear examination of the keel bolts. And standing water is not a good sign.

4) Bent rudders may be bent back to shape - or may need to be rebuilt. Depend on the materials used, where the bend is, and whether the force that bent the rudder caused additional damage - like a hairline crack letting water in, rusting out from the inside and turning the filling to mush....

These are good questions; and experienced sailor could probably eyeball them and give you a good answer, and then you could decide whether to go for a survey of give up then!
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Old 03-08-2011
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The Bayfield will not have 'keel bolts' - as bl said the ballast is encapsulated in the hull. The 'bent rudder' - it's difficult to tell whether you're describing a bent blade or asymmetrical travel.

Pictures are really needed as a start, but KH is right - you need a survey and/or at least somebody more knowledgeable than yourself right now to take a personal look.
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Old 03-08-2011
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Definitely get a survey.. take pics, put them up. Lots of people like to give their opinions on stuff.

Gap between keel and boat = bad

Bent rudder = bad

The fact that you are asking about this stuff tells me that you are getting the idea there is something wrong here. Get 'er checked out professionally though, you don't want to take on a problematic boat if you don't know how to work on it or have the money to pay somebody to do it. There are lots of great boats out there that don't have those issues.
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Old 03-08-2011
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How much are they asking for the boat? is there a listing online we can look at? Bayfields are great boats, but all boats are subject to flaws or damage of some type.
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Old 03-08-2011
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If the rudder is bent, the odds are that the rudder is not bent but the rudder TUBE is bent. This usually means it is now also fatigued and that means it is going to FAIL.

There is no real way to repair this without an expensive rebuild or replacement, and if the owner tells you that it is no problem--either he's woefully ignorant or he's pulling the wool over a sucker's, ergh, newb's eyes.

Once a rudder post (tube) is bent, the metalis fatigued and it IS in danger of failing, the only quesiton is when. It also means the rudder armature (the inner structural works) is probably damaged and again, going to fail.

And it can't possibly sail properly with a bent rudder, unless the guy sailing it also thinks a car handles fine on the highway with a loose and bent front end out of alignment.

The rudder was probably ent in a grounding--which indicates keel problems as well. Big expenses.

Nuh-uh, walk away, run away, find a boat without that kind of problem to worry about. Unless you really want to do a lot of homework and take a lot of risk. There are so many "straight" boats on the market, I wouldn't get involved with a bent one.
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That boat an't the only one that will come around.
Get over the boat fever.
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