Boat Survey recommended for $4000 boat? - SailNet Community

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Old 08-18-2011
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Boat Survey recommended for $4000 boat?

Hello All,

I did a quick search and didn't find any directly relevant answers, so here goes...

I'm thinking of purchasing a SJ21 in seemingly great condition (deck re-cored recently) but there is not a certified marine surveyor in the local area (Indianapolis) where it's for sale. I found a marine surveyor from a couple of hours away who said he had a minimum charge of $500 plus $300 for the 4 hour round trip travel to the boat. He indicated that he wouldn't recommend spending $800 on a survey for a $3500 sailboat purchase. I live in Knoxville, TN so I could purchase the boat and then have a surveyor check it out here... Any thoughts on whether this is a good idea?

Thanks for the help.
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Old 08-18-2011
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For that price, I'd do my own survey.

Find the San Juan 21 discussion board (there has to be one) and ask for common issues. Better yet, find the owners associaiton or a local race/regatta for one design and ask for common issues. Then scope out your boat.

A friend of mine has one of these and there is a common issue on the keel trunk where it leaks.
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Old 08-18-2011
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I would recommend you do your own survey as well. Here's a link to what to look for on any boat. Boat Inspection Trip Tips
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Old 08-18-2011
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I agree with doing your own survey. Put the money towards the repairs you'll do. When I bought my first boat I had an experienced sailor I knew give it a quick once over, that was all.

But I was buying a project boat that could float.
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Old 08-18-2011
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"(deck re-cored recently) "
So it HAS needed major work. May or may not have been done properly, may or may not need more work. Spending $800 to survey a $3500 boat does seem absurb, but I'd suggest trying to get someone, with some experience, to lay hands and eyes on the boat.
The problem is that IF there are more surprises, you can wind up needing to put another five grand into the boat, or paying hazmat dispoal fees to get rid of it. You can't just drop 'em off at the local landfill. So yes, you can lose way more than the purchase price of the boat.
If you can't find any other help, then do a crash course with some of the "how to survey your own boat" sites/books, and look it over very carefully for possible structural issues. Maybe you cna find someone from your area, who would go up with you when you go to pick up the boat, and do a "crash survey" before you hand over the payment?
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For my part, I just find people smarter than myself (not hard) to go look at boats with me (also not hard) and then make sure I sleep on everything before making a decision (often quite hard).

I've found a few times that boats which were AWESOME!!!! when I first saw them looked pretty disappointing after a good night's sleep.

Course, applying that to your situation is difficult, as the boat isn't near you. in your case, recognizing that this is free advice and worth every penny, I would offer this: Boats grow on trees. There is always another one. In the 18 to 22 foot range, there are usually another 10.

$3500 buys an awfully nice 20 foot boat these days. It's a buyers market.. sure can't hurt to take advantage of that.
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A re-core is definitely a yellow flag, right? You want to be sure you know how this boat was cared for and used. I wouldn't spend that kind of money on a surveyor, but I would find a qualified mechanic or other knowledgeable person to come look, even if I had to pay them for a couple of hours. There is little logic to having it surveyed after you purchase her, unless you are just looking for a repair list.

The primary filter here is how easy it would be for you to lose the $3,500. A major hidden problem can remove all value from boat like this, which is why its hard to use them as collateral for a loan. If that's all your disposable savings, do this right. If that is a common bet on the blackjack table for you, then don't sweat it.
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Thanks so much for the advice... The SJ21 does have known issues with the deck (water damage) and keel. I found an accredited marine surveyor (SAM) who is only about 75 minutes from Indianapolis and therefore much more reasonable in price. I've decided to go that route as I don't want to be stuck with a major hidden problem. Although $3500 - 4000 isn't much for a sail boat, it means a bit to me, so the $300 or so spent on the surveyor makes sense for peace of mind.

Thanks Again!

Doug
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Doug,

And if you decide not to buy this boat, you'll have the survey to see what the surveyor looked for and found so that it'll educate you about the next boat, especially if it's the same type of boat.

Our survey taught us a lot and the surveyor allowed us to ask questions as he went along and he provided really good explanations. Maybe yours will too. It helps you get even more out of the cost!

Good luck!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DRFerron View Post
Doug,

And if you decide not to buy this boat, you'll have the survey to see what the surveyor looked for and found so that it'll educate you about the next boat, especially if it's the same type of boat.

Our survey taught us a lot and the surveyor allowed us to ask questions as he went along and he provided really good explanations. Maybe yours will too. It helps you get even more out of the cost!

Good luck!
This is such a great point. The first survey I sat through was an enormous education.
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