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  Topic Review (Newest First)
05-15-2005 06:01 AM
What are the most important considerations for a boat buyer?

All good advise above.

I can offer a tip on hunting for a boat.

Open a new notepad and copy all the manufacture''s name of boats the you have recommended to you. Then each time you go into copy and paste that list into the manufacturer''s window.

For instance I went to John Neal''s sight and got the names of recommended blue water boats I like the looks of and made a list.

Pretty informative when putting different size, dollar amounts, and year info in and seeing what comes out.

Then run that boat through the site and see how the asking price stacks up against book value.

Took me a while to figure this out but I may just be getting slower.
05-13-2005 10:22 PM
What are the most important considerations for a boat buyer?

Lots of good recommendations. Let me just suggest something about the buying process: buying a used boat is a lot like buying a used car -- don''t expect much knowledge or candor from the broker or owner about the boat you''re looking at.

The broker told us (me and the surveyor) that the diesel genset didn''t work but just needed a tune up; the windlass didn''t work, but it was probably just a bad switch; the steering was really, really hard, but just needed a bit of lubrication. There were a couple of other smaller issues and one major problem, a six foot section of hull that needed to be replaced (it''s a steel boat).

I haven''t had that section of hull replaced yet so I don''t know how much it will cost, but the genset was toast and needs to replaced if I want one, the windlass is jammed up and my mechanic is trying to rebuild it, the steering cables were at some time lubricated with ordinary automotive grease ruining the entire cabling system.

Cost of a new genset, $8000; cost of new windlass, $1500; cost of new steering cable system, $1800. Now add labor to all the above.

When I made my offer on the boat I told the broker that I had to assume that anything that didn''t work would have to be replaced. Neither he nor the seller were happy about that, but the deal went through. I just hope the $20,000 less I paid than asking is enough to cover all the repairs!

Carl Bostek
S/V Aphrodite
04-22-2005 09:48 PM
What are the most important considerations for a boat buyer?

Okay, we learned a few years back a little thing that can be overlooked (before ever even talking to a surveryor). It''s amazing how many boats had this problem when we started looking for this particular problem.
Walk around on the deck in a bouncy (not jumping) manner to check for weakened areas of the deck and upper cabin. It can be fixed, but depends a lot on the area and size of the problem.
All in all, weak (soft) spots on the deck and upper cabin is a problem to look for. It can be from leaky cracks, etc. but poses the question of "what else has this damage?" (hull, walls, flooring, etc.)
But always, after your inspecting the boat (and don''t be shy!) get a survey.
We currently have our boat for sale on this message board, and we encourage people to lift floor boards, open everything, bounce the deck, and spend a while on the boat. If the owner or broker rush you, they could have something to hide. Not to be a bubble-burster or pesimist (spelling), but better safe and knowledgable than having to spend lots of money later.
Fair winds,
04-17-2005 06:01 PM
What are the most important considerations for a boat buyer?

BTW, eventually we plan to sell everything and live for as long as possible aboard and cruising.
04-12-2005 07:14 AM
What are the most important considerations for a boat buyer?

Flyhop, there are many ways to address your question as ''things to consider'' can range from crew to boat to route issues and back again. Here are a few overarching issues I''d encourage you to tackle...

Families taking time off from work to go cruising can have wonderfully fulfilling experiences (we sure did...), yet they usually need to start from a practical plan that involves an iterative examination of the money needed (for the boat and for the cruising kitty), the time (and timing) which is right for them, and what the Re-entry plan should be. This examination is iterative because each piece ripples its effects into the others, and because each family member''s views need to be folded in, thereby influencing every other member. So...altho'' it''s a more abstract mission than reading a boat book, you might start with some pretty basic steps in this arena. E.g. you might work hard to build a long-term budget that answers the $$ questions (how much to save, how much boat can I buy, how much cushion do I need on re-entry) and let it show you second-order issues (where do we store our ''stuff'' and how much will it cost? do we sell or rent?). You might also treat the family to a big East Coast & Caribbean map from one of the book stores, pin it up on a wall, and start playing ''what if'', something kids can enjoy greatly. What if we visited Jamaica? Is it safe? How do we find out? Which route choices would take us there, and which coast would make the most sense to visit? What do people do there, what''s there to see, and is it expensive or cheap? The Caribbean is a small sea but offers great diversity; it''s far more than just the Bahamas. (BTW Jamaica is a great stop, as are many other island nations).

Re: books, the natural tendency is for us to recommend our favorite ''all about boats'' books and encourage the planning sailor to become a surveyor and savvy buyer as a result. The basic problem with this approach is that authors typically write generically about boat characteristics, systems and design, whereas your needs are quite specific. To complicate things further, your plans can be done by almost any boat (wait until you see some of the boats that got where you are going!), presuming thoughtful preparation and good seamanship. Consequently, the criteria can be fairly broad and forgiving so long as the boat can sail well, is affordable, properly prepared and you have a way to get real-time weather info (hard to come by in the Caribbean if all you have is a VHF), the patience to wait when ''going'' is not comfortable nor easy, and the diligence to watch the weather regularly. might learn a lot about boats by reading ''boat books'' but they may not by themselves be terribly helpful when shopping for your boat.

Here''s a different book suggestion: Buy Bruce VanSant''s _Passages South_, which is about *getting* to the Caribbean from the U.S. east coast (not so much about the places along the way), get each family member to read at least a big chunk of it thoughtfully, and see what it tells you about what you can expect the conditions to be and what you''ll be asking of your boat (and yourselves). Bruce has written, I believe, 8 editions of this book, each one better than the last; it is THE bible and - with reflection - it can tell you a lot about what is important (and not) regarding a boat''s capabilities, key systems, and how to be tactical, careful, and relaxed while having a grand time.

These are only a few ideas; I''m sure there are many more. But here''s a final one: Pick a date. Think in concrete terms, choose an agressive date, and see - for just a while - how it influences the rest of your dreaming and planning. Kids get older and distracted from family events. Parents get older and flabbier and more involved in office politics. Boats get older but never seem to get cheaper, only more expensive. Picking a date can be a valuable catalyst.

Good luck on both the dream and the plan.

04-10-2005 06:11 PM
What are the most important considerations for a boat buyer?

Well...I think a moderate draft and mast height are essenntial for your plans. With kids, one thing you may want is living space and your own privacy and I would suggest center cockpit boats would be worth considering. There''s always been a debate over keel/rudder configurations and a lot of cruisers opt for longer keels with well protected and supported rudders/skegs...but a lot of folks successfully cruise the Carib with standard fins and unsupported rudders found on many production boats so I personally don''t think that is a big deal.
Once you have the basic choice in boats sorted out, you need to think about HOW you want to live aboard. Will you be plugging into a dock? Living at anchor? What kind of refrigeration needs will you have with a family of 4? How much water will you use daily? Will there be lots of electronics needs? What kind of dinghy and engine will hold you all annd your stuff? In other words...will you need a watermaker, generator, lots of battery capacity,davits, inverter, solar/wind charging?
And where will it all go...especially with all the spares you need to carry once you leave the USA? Once you have a sense of these needs, you can then evaluate the boats you look at in terms of what they have and what they will need and what will have to be compromised.
I would buy a used boat that was well cared for over a new and take advantage of someone else having gotten the kinks out but have the engine well checked out as you will be relying on it heavily.
Finally, I''d encourage you to focus on the "living aboard" rather than sailing qualities of the boat. I''ve seen quite a few guys with the boats THEY wanted...with unhappy wives and families because they were cramped and uncomfortable and were not prepared for "camping out" for a year or two!If you are like''ll be sailing 10 or 20% of the time and living at anchor the other 80% and having everyone happy on the hook is more important than sailing 10 degrees closer to windward! All best...
04-10-2005 05:33 PM
What are the most important considerations for a boat buyer?

Agreed. I''ve read John Vigor''s "Seaworthy Offshore Boat"; his considerations for a boat seem to focus around the stability issue. I''ve also read Nigel Calder''s "Cruising Handbook"; rather technical at the front end, but an excellent read.

I''m just interested to gather as much input as possible on what other people think are some important considerations in selecting an island-hopping cruiser for a family of 4. Thanks.
04-09-2005 07:31 PM
What are the most important considerations for a boat buyer?

Pretty hefty question. May I suggest a couple of books that will help you select a boat that is right for YOUR plans, YOUR budget and YOUR family.
First is Beth Leonards, Voyager''s handbook...Second is COMPLETE GUIDE CHOOSING CRUISING SAILBOAT
Author: Roger Marshall

The only thing I can tell you for sure is that you want a boat with a mast under 65'' and a draft of 6'' or less if the ICW is in your plans...but there''s about a hundred other things that should be on your wish list for the perfect boat and these books may help you sort that out before you log on to!
Have fun!
04-09-2005 05:27 PM
What are the most important considerations for a boat buyer?

We are a future Carribean-island-hopping-and-ICW cruising family of 4. We''re reading everything in sight and practicing on our little sailboat. In about a year, we''ll embark on our first blue-water charter with plans on striking out full-time sometime after that.

We want to put some thought and do our research on what type of sailboat would fit our future needs. We don''t have endless funds nor time, so lots of charters or crewing opportunities on different boats is not a possibility at this time. We would like to whittle down the list of possible boats and/or manufacturer''s before we hit any boat shows.

I know I''ve seen it somewhere, but I can''t remember where, and now I can''t find it. It was some kind of a "10 questions to ask yourself before you buy a boat" or "8 considerations, etc.". Since I can''t find it, I''m asking fresh.

For a future boat buyer, what are the most important considerations or questions we should be asking ourselves before we set out next year to find our new home?

Thanks in advance.

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