Seafarer 34 Purchase - Trampoline Deck Problem - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 10-02-2012
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Seafarer 34 Purchase - Trampoline Deck Problem

I'm looking at purchasing a Seafarer 34 centerboard, sloop sailboat and am hoping someone can add some of their expertise to my decision process. First, this is a 40 year old boat. It has a Yanmar 30 HP that was installed in 2009 and has less than 50 hours on it. All the port lights are new and pictures of the interior look good. I'm going to view it later this week to check out all the equipment and sails.

Now the negative. The broker was upfront with me and called the deck and cockpit "trampolines." The Seafarer 34 research site states that the deck has a balsa core. The broker said that the asking price of $15,000 for the boat includes the fix, which has been quoted by a contractor at $5,200. For that amount, the contractor will take up the deck and cockpit, fix it, and apply non-skid paint to the finished deck.

My concern is controlling the quality of the repair, whether the price is right (too little indicating short cuts or too much indicating a high balled price), and weight consequences of the new core material since the contractor will probably use something other than balsa wood.

Any insight into this issue would be greatly appreciated. Also, any comments on the Seafarer 34 are welcome. If I buy the boat, it will be with an eye to eventually taking it cruising to the Bahamas and down to the Caribbean as far south as the Grenadines.

A little about me. I have extensive blue water sailing experience and deliverd sailboats for a living in the 90's. However, I have not owned a sailboat since 1985 and never owned one bigger than 27'; although I have sailed boats up to 60'.
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Old 10-02-2012
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Re: Seafarer 34 Purchase - Trampoline Deck Problem

I would want to get at least two, independent estimates of my own, rather than rely on what the broker is telling me.
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Old 10-02-2012
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Re: Seafarer 34 Purchase - Trampoline Deck Problem

Given the facts that we are currently experiencing one of the best buyers' markets ever and that there is a surplus of good used boats available, why would you take a risk and buy a boat in reliance on a promise that a repair would be made?

If I read your post correctly, you have not yet physically inspected the boat.

Google "Seafarer sailboats" and discover the facts. Don Casey and many others suggest you buy a known quality boat, that means a boat that was produced in great enough numbers to establish its value, its quality and its likely problem areas given its age.
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Re: Seafarer 34 Purchase - Trampoline Deck Problem

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Originally Posted by jameswilson29 View Post
Given the facts that we are currently experiencing one of the best buyers' markets ever and that there is a surplus of good used boats available, why would you take a risk and buy a boat in reliance on a promise that a repair would be made?

If I read your post correctly, you have not yet physically inspected the boat.

Google "Seafarer sailboats" and discover the facts. Don Casey and many others suggest you buy a known quality boat, that means a boat that was produced in great enough numbers to establish its value, its quality and its likely problem areas given its age.
You make excellent points. Of course I would not buy the boat until the repair was completed and the boat could be surveyed. Either that or low ball the broker on the purchase price and take on the repair myself, but only after I was certain someone could do an expert level repair. None of this would take place without inspecting the rest of the boat to ensure there were no other hidden problems and then have the boat surveyed.

I did Google the boat, which is where I found the Seafarer Research site. I also found Sailboatdata.com, which confirmed the boat's specs. However, I have yet to find a site that talks about any likely problem areas of the boat. Nor have I found out how many of this model were produced. Do you know of any sites that might help in those two areas?

As for the sailing characteristics, the boat is touted as a blue water cruiser ready to go anywhere.
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Re: Seafarer 34 Purchase - Trampoline Deck Problem

I would consider the repair estimate very low, assuming you want a quality repair. Refinishing a repaired deck and cockpit is far more difficult and expensive than the hull - you are looking at the deck and cockpit, up close, all the time you are using the boat.

I would expect a proper repair, proper being one that is not immediately obvious every time you look a the deck, would cost at least three times the quoted estimate.

The boat is not worth anything more than the salvage value of the engine, maybe not that.
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Re: Seafarer 34 Purchase - Trampoline Deck Problem

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The boat is not worth anything more than the salvage value of the engine, maybe not that.
Wow! Brutal honesty. I like that. Thanks!
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Old 10-03-2012
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Re: Seafarer 34 Purchase - Trampoline Deck Problem

A boatyard owner I knew well told me he did a re-core of the deck on a Columbia 57 - this was more than 10 years ago - he charged $140,000.

I just finished doing a spot re-core of the deck on a Columbia 43. It was probably the same amount of deck space as the entire deck of a 34' with a cabin top. I did it all myself and spent about $1,000 just on materials. I didn't count the hours but I daresay they were well into three figures.

$5K for a pro job seems very low.
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Re: Seafarer 34 Purchase - Trampoline Deck Problem

Gotta second the "low" thought

Just re cored the side decks and bridge deck of my Tartan 27 and the hours of labor are outrageous! Cutting, installing, glassing, filling, fairing, sanding, fairing, sanding, sanding, sanding, priming, sanding, painting, taping, painting! Did I mention sanding?!

There re a lot of boats out there, and cheap.

Be careful.

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Re: Seafarer 34 Purchase - Trampoline Deck Problem

Thanks for your comments. I am getting the message that the repair estimate is low. I'll post again after I see the boat. Yeah, I know. I should probably forget about it, but it's not far from me, and I'm curious.
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Re: Seafarer 34 Purchase - Trampoline Deck Problem

I replaced about 12 square feet of balsa cored cockpit sole this Spring. It took about 25 hours but wasn't very complicated -- I coated the sole with Kiwi Grip and made no attempt to replicate the original non-skid. At $80 per hour the labor would have been $2K.

None-the-less, I would suspect that the current owner would be better off scrapping the boat rather than investing the $5,200 to repair the deck. The combined value of 4,800 lbs of lead ballast and the diesel exceeds the $8,300 the owner would get net of the cost of deck repairs and sales commission.
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