Pitfalls of buying a boat unseen? - SailNet Community

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Old 09-04-2012
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pina.banana is on a distinguished road
Pitfalls of buying a boat unseen?

Here is a true-to-life case to consider, if you don't want the details the question is in the topic:

If you have to buy a boat unseen because you don't have the opportunity to travel to a different continent to check it out - what are the major pitfalls, and how can you best avoid them?

Keywords here are: catamaran 43-46 ft, 260,000USD budget, caribbean market, possibly former charter boat.


So, to the exciting details and the following questions:

We're a bunch of 9 in norway planning to buy a cat, most likely in the caribbean, preferably less than 10 years old and 43-46 feet. It needs to take us comfortably across the pacific to sell in Australia and that's all, that is, the sailing performance is unimportant - it just needs to float. Same with the layout, it should accomodate 7-9 but we're prepared to make adjustments to interior, and do the necessary make-up.

However, it will most likely need quite a bit of equipment fitted - watermaker, radar, perhaps a spinnaker, SSB radio, generator, and that of course, takes a bit of time.

Now, 2 of us arrive in - well, that depends - but probably St. Martin early december, the rest one month later and we hope to leave for panama in january. So we'd have to buy and outfit the right cat for the right price (~250K USD) in two months - barely. Too ambitious, right?

OK, so we could try and have a deal pending and ready to be closed when we arrive - it would still be an unseen boat, it's bad timing for the market and work is more expensive to hire. And most importantly, we don't think we'd have the expertise necessary to discover the potentially really important caveats anyway. Could our eyes make such a huge difference when we can't be that picky with charm and how well the cupboard doors slide?

We think we have a broker who can act as our agent in place to check out prospects. As long as you get a good survey of hull, mast and engine you should be covered for the critical points, right? Would buying a former charter boat be a gamble with that in place, for example with hidden damage to any of these?

I'll have to stop here I can tell, so please help us and share information instead of just saying the idea is stupid. You can tell us that as well, only say why, too.

Cheers,
Erlend
CEO of pina banana line
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broker , buying , caribbean , pacific crossing

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