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Old 09-29-2003
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Considering a J/30

Jeff_H and all,

I have read and re-read many of the discussions on this board regarding the selling and buying process. I think I have a general feel for how it goes, but this would be my first "large" boat purchase. I have been on boats, raced considerably, and recently bought and sold a newer Thistle. I live and will sail this boat in coastal North Carolina and possibly the west coast of Florida in the next 3 to 5 years.

I have a few questions regarding price. The J/30 I have looked at seems to be in good and realitively clean shape. According to the broker, the boat was never raced and a lot of the hardware is original. (Which is a good point for me, less mistakes by previous owners "upgrading" the boat). The sails are also old and would need replacing, but generally the boat "seems" in good shape. Especially in comparison to a lot of other boats I have been seeing in NC.

One question I have is the boat is listed at the bottom of the scale on yachtworld. I know to make it race-ready would be costly, but we plan to mostly coastal cruise, overnight and do week-long trips on the boat. (We is me and my wife only). The price is below BUC and I guess the question I have is should this scare me or is this a tell-tale sign I should be more wary of. If I make an offer I would do a full survey both structural and mechanical, but the low price still seems too low based on what is offered on yachtworld now. I am aware of there common problems and will certainly find a surveyor that does also.

Second question is how low to go on a first offer. Considering most people interested in this boat are probably one-design racing minded and the boat would probably take 10 to 15k to make it competitive.....Do you have any feel for what is too low to start with? I have seen execellent, up to date boats with good pedegree''s sell between the high 20''s and low 30''s.

Last question is on financing. Figuring the selling price could be between 18.5K (offered price) and maybe 15k or less, what is the best type of loan on a 1979 j/boat? I have been thinking a combination home equity and boat loan. (Unfortunately, we might not have quite enough equity for the whole thing - we''re relatively young and work in education, read - not rich ). Also, can you borrow more on a boat loan for things like new sails, dodger (yes, even on a j/30 if it is easy to remove), fuller, etc?

Sorry for the long message, but thanks in advance for your help.

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Old 09-29-2003
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Considering a J/30

First of all, I have no idea of why you think that having the original hardware on a J-30 so a good thing because even when new the original hardware on a J-30 was pretty dangerous stuff with line locks that could not be released under load and deck layouts aimed at huge crews.

J-30''s that have been raced have generally been maintained so that they can hold together with the strains of racing. That means repairs to the keel connections, chainplates and coring. A J-30 that has not been kept up to racing is more likely to have a series of ''needs''. Also these boats are old enough that you should budget for new standing and running rigging, new electronics, an engine rebuild, up to date safety gear, and new sails at the very least. Those combined are pretty much equal to the value of the boat.

Most boat loans won''t cover the costs of fixing a boat up. You would be best off buying the boat on a marine loan and then using your home equity to put the ole girl into sound condition.

Frankly the best deals on 20 year old boats are ones that someone else has loving restored because loving restored boats of that vintage rarely sell for as much as the owners have in them.


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Old 09-30-2003
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Considering a J/30


Thanks for that information. You do raise a good point about a boat that has been raced has probably been more likely to have been adequately maintained to perform that task. I know this from racing Thistles, and just didn''t reapply that knowledge. That is really helpful to think about.

The only point I made about original hardware was that the deck was not drilled and re-drilled as hardware was upgraded and hastily replaced over the years. I have seen several know that owners didn''t even seal the deck after slapping a new robe clutch to the deck over the old holes. It''s only good to me in tha fact that if I am the one to replace the hardware, I know that I am doing it right.

We are certainly not tied to this boat, but the price and location caught our eye. Generally speaking I am looking for a performance cruising boat for coastal/bay cruising. Maybe the occassional fun race, but nothing serious. It will just be my wife and I, bhot short, so 5''10" headroom is actually enough for us. The frac. rig is appealing and a large 30'' to 33'' is the range we are looking in.

I echo your comments about the lack of good clean boats on the market, I have seen a lot listed for top dollar that has been very poorly maintained.

Again, thanks for your advice.
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Old 09-30-2003
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Considering a J/30

I think the J30 fits more at the racer/racer end of the preformance cruiser spectrum, and if you won''t be cruising with 6-8 good friends, you may not get such good performance anyway. Plenty of other boats about that fit more into the general use part of the spectrum.

Especially don''t be swayed by the apparent "good deal" - the best you can hope for in buying a boat is to actually get what you pay for. Since all sellers know their boats intimately, and all their warts, I''m convinced that most buyers pay more than a boat is really worth (surveys or not). On this, I do speak from unfortunate experience...
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