too many masts/ too many places - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 5 Old 02-07-2004 Thread Starter
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too many masts/ too many places

we have previously asked questions requesting specific information about various sailing venues, which boat and what boat may be best for a cruiser/liveaboard, and what makes a particular boat better than another. thanks to all of you for providing information we requested and for directing us to the proper places for other needed resources. there is such a wealth of knowledge here for those of us needing answers to questions we sometimes don''t even know how to ask.
as we plan for the sail show in miami next week, we are hoping to spend some time looking around the area for used sailboats that may fill our needs.
how do you decide which one of 1000''s of marinas to visit. they all have so many masts and they all look the same when driving around. most have a brokerage/sales office on site; often closed or just no one around to show the boats they have at the docks,(our experiences).
we have heard the many stories about owners buying a boat, becoming unable to use it for whatever reason, and these boats often sit and sit until the owner decides to sell it. where should we go to find these boats? where are the most likely places to find this information? we cruise all of the sales adds online but just can''t justify the costs associated with having to travel all over the world to MAYBE find the right boat. this does not seem to be the best way to go about searching for "the boat".
so back to the questions; what factors should we use deciding which marinas to visit; and where are we most likely to find information about boats being sold by owners? we would like to see as many boats as possible while we are in the south florida area, but don''t want to spend all our time driving to each marina; hoping they may boats for sale.
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post #2 of 5 Old 02-07-2004
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too many masts/ too many places

I don''t know that this is the best method, but here''s what I would do.

First, have a short list of boats that fit your needs and budget. Then, check them all out online, as many places as you can, and see what marina/broker is listed in the ad. Also check online newspaper classifieds for the area, particularily for "for sale by owner". There might well be classified magizines for the area that you can check (here we have the Peddlers Post, that type of thing).

I don''t think there''s really any good way to just go looking willy nilly for "the" boat. You need to have some idea of what you''re looking for first.

There''s also a list of different online venues in the "selling a boat" topic in general discussion. Wouldn''t hurt either to do a search by boat as well.

Don''t know if this will help much, and you''ve probably done a lot of it already, but it is how I would go about it. Oh, one other thing, no, two other things... check for yacht club listings (many have classifieds) and talk to anyone you see at any marina you go to.

Fair winds and best of luck,

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post #3 of 5 Old 02-07-2004
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too many masts/ too many places

I run into this a lot. For what ever reason I seem to get a lot of emails from people looking for help during first throws of buying a boat. I often get emails that look a lot your postings here.

I think that the first step is to really precisely define your immediate and long term goals in terms of where you live, where you want to sail, how experienced you are, what physical shape you are in, what kinds of features appeal to you in a boat, what kind of budget do you have. From that, with the help of your own experience and sailing forums like these, you should be able to develop a list of makes, models and years that would work for you. You might have a single preferred model and maybe half a dozen alternative. The next step is to find a single broker that is knowledgeable, hard working and that you can trust. They are more common out there than most people think.

A good broker should be able to take your description of yourselves and your goals, as well as your ''long and short lists'' and begin to search for the right boat. A good broker may be able to make suggestions that had not occurred to you and should knwo of boats that are for sale that fit your description of a boat that has all but been abandoned. The broker should be doing the leg work and making the calls saving you a lot of time and money.

While there are certainly good deals on boats that are ''just lying about'' out there, in my experience, unless you are well connected in the sailing community and don''t mind doing a lot of leg work, those kinds of deals are not all that easy to find. They exist, but they''re just not all that easy to locate. They also take a lot of knowledge of the marketplace so that you can tell if one of these boats are in fact a good deal.

A good broker will more than earn their fees and in most of the deals that I have done with a broker, I have ended up with very fair prices and sometimes bargain prices for the boats that I have purchased.

If you want to begin that weeding process here then start by putting together sailing goals and abilities definition and post your question again.

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post #4 of 5 Old 02-09-2004
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too many masts/ too many places

Go to your local West Marine store, and spend as much time as they will let you reviewing their sailing books. A good one to start with is "Nigel Calder''s Cruising Handbook: A Compendium for Coastal and Offshore Sailors". You should probably spring for this guide.

If you have a large book store near you, such as Barnes and Noble, search their sailing books section.

Bring a notepad. You need to figure out some of what is important to you. A broker can''t do that for you. You have to start somewhere.

Budget - how much can you spend
Size - how big/small do you want/need
A) traditional, modern
B) mono, multi
C) cruiser, racer, combo
D) coastal, circumnaviagion, carribbean....
E) teak/no teak
I''m sure there are about 10,000 other things you could list.

After you answer some of these questions, you can do online searchs. After that, you can talk to a broker. Find one broker and work exclusively. They all have access to the same boats.

Every boat is a compromise. Nothing is perfect.
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post #5 of 5 Old 02-09-2004
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too many masts/ too many places

Tybee, by now you''ve arrived in Miami so perhaps the next week will produce useful results for you. If so, it appears they will be someone coincidental as your criteria seem vague and your intended use undefined. Assuming the post-Miami period leaves you with the same basic question - ''How do we find our boat?'' - here are a few thoughts:
1. Reread what Jeff advised on defining your intended use(s) of the boat. The more open ended your plans ("We''ll sail to the Bahamas and then, who knows? Perhaps the Pacific...") the more difficult the job of matching boat choice with real-world budgets and the realities of picking an offshore boat, as those are the vessels that require the most thoughtful selection and deepest pockets. The more specific you can state your intentions ("The ICW for sure, and we hope the Bahamas; going further in the Caribbean is a possibility..."), the more you can lay concrete requirements (and weed aside the ''nice to haves'') from the initial shopping list.
2. I can appreciate Sadie trying to cushion the expense of some research, but anyone who is planning on spending $50-100K or more for a cruising boat - and then LIVE with it for an extended period, sailing and maintaining it - needs to afford themselves meaningful seed money on the front end. You should be working to assemble, digest and understand a credible reference library at the front end of your search, a library that you will continue to consult while improving and preparing your cruising boat long after the shopping spree ended. Taking notes off the WM book rack is not how to accomplish this. Start a post on a small, targeted reference library if you aren''t sure where to begin. and then dedicate some serious time as a couple to educating yourselves; you can consider it purchase insurance.<g>
3. Ask yourself: Is it time to shop for a boat? Along with needing to clarify intended use, perhaps a deep dig into what it takes financially to fund the purchase, prep and then cruise the boat is in order. I guess the point I''m making is that choosing the right boat for the right crew and use is a process, not just a destination. There are no Cliff Notes for your specific needs. Whether or not you enjoy the digging it takes to end up feeling some certainty about what you''re looking for, dodging the process will mean your only hope for the right boat is luck.
4. There are many lazy, transient and/or ill-prepared brokers out there, which is why you hear gripes and complaints about using brokers. There are also many long-term, professional brokers out there who know their beeswax and have been through this process many, many times each year for many years. You need to use one of them; in fact, you NEED one of them...but probably not yet. Homework first, broker choice next (altho'' this doesn''t stop you from concurrently researching boats for sale, privately), and boat selection last. Ask for referrals. E.g. if you were in the Annapolis area, I''d urge you to talk with Al Gundry, who''s been with the same brokerage (Interyacht) for over 20 years, has done a LOT of sailing, and is a pro. Similar referrals are no doubt available from others.
5. It''s going to cost you money to ''pick'' your boat, even before you begin paying for it. It''s also going to cost you effort, how much depending on the breadth of your search. The more demanding your criteria (e.g. perhaps you want lots of ''bang for the buck'' given a limited budget), the wider your net needs to be and/or the amount of time allowed for the search. This in turn may well mean traveling on weekends out of town, motel bills, lots of phone calls, and logistics efforts in general that force changes in your lifestyle and checkbook balance. If this is effort you aren''t willing to make, then you''ll have to accept the limitations that your local marketplace impose on you. We often seem to adopt an entitlement mentality about finding a boat, as tho'' our willingness to spend a lot of money should at least guarantee us the right boat inventory for our needs. Some folks get lucky while believing this; you may not(probably won''t) be so lucky.

Let us know how the Miami visit went, but good luck on getting a grip on your own set of issues.

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