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Thread: Checking out or inspecting a $3-6K boat? Reply to Thread
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  Topic Review (Newest First)
05-12-2011 12:49 PM
capttb Well, I guess you got the idea
Here in California the cost of keeping a boat is so high it makes the purchase price almost irrelevant. In my marina a 30' slip is $503 a month, $6000 a year, a $25,000 boat loan is $200/month, $1200 a year. So $4000 from you and $25000 loan you buy a $29,000 boat that is ready to sail without major expenses. It's $1200 mostly tax deductable dollars a year more, tricky math, I know.
Anyway, remember your prime objective is to go sailing, not learn to "fix" sailboats.
Like women, houses, and cars if it takes all your money and time every month you are going to get tired of it before too many years pass.
05-12-2011 09:17 AM
TQA I was on a prolonged boat hunt recently for my 'forever' boat.

Make up a checklist with space to make notes and take a digital camera. Photograph everything and write up negative points in as much detail as you can.

I used Casey's book to help me pre survey boats. I did pay for my boat to be surveyed as it had some issues I felt needed a professional opinion.
05-12-2011 08:04 AM
JKCatalina310 Here are a couple of boats in your area:

C&C - I like these boats. My first boat was a C&C. They are well built and REALLY fun to sail. It has a tiller but does have an inboard. If the condition is as good as it looks, it could be a real deal. I would suspect you could get it for around $5500-6000.

Hunter - Good boats. I personally don't like the look of the new traveler arches but do like there function. This one looks to be in OK condition but you have to go inspect it to really tell. Wheel and diesel but hankon jib.

Another C&C
- This one has it all. Wheel, diesel, roller furler, etc. but might be too much for budget.

Bayfield - Really nice solid boats. They have a tiller but hits on every thing else. This is heavier then the others and would be more of a cruiser then racer/cruiser.

Tartan - One of my favorite all time boats. The Tartan story, the boat itself, everything. Great sailing and solid. Cheap but may need some significant work. Might be worth the $400 to have a surveyor look it over if you like it just to make sure there isn't anything real major.

Irwin - Looks OK and it is cheap. You might have to put a lot of work into something like this or the Tartan.

I think your budget is OK for a first boat but you will need to put in some work at that cost. My first boat was $3,500. It was great to get us on the water and make sure that we really liked sailing as a couple. Then we jumped to a much more expensive boat.

The key is have fun, look at a lot of boats to see what you think you want. As others have said, don't fall in love with any particular boat for the first one.

Good luck in your search.
05-12-2011 12:33 AM
arf145 Sounds like you've got the right idea, dg. Just try not to fall in love with a boat until after you've got it, if possible.
05-11-2011 10:09 PM
zedboy Don't get discouraged, it is possible to find a good boat for a reasonable price.

Travlineasy/Gary, a regular here, sold his Catalina 27 for $5k this past winter. I don't know if it had any fancy bells and whistles but ducks to dollars the chainplates, keel bolts, decks etc were solid.
05-11-2011 09:34 PM
dgbenner Fantasic advice from everyone. I'd read a smattering of buying a boat posts, but this gives me particular perspectives on the hazards. I've done some fiberglass repair on Optis and have seen how brittle things get when soaking up the water for a season.

The "O ring" comment was hilarious. Perspective through humor... nice.

That inspection tip list is great. I'll read up on how to do my own survey so-to-speak so I can employ a professional when it comes down to a purchase. I looked at 30-35 cars of the same make and model before buying my current car, and want to do the same before getting into a boat. This gives me plenty to go on. Thanks!!!
05-11-2011 09:17 PM
mitiempo It takes as much experience to survey a $5,000 boat as it does to survey a $50,000 boat. And a $5,000 boat very likely has more issues to find than the more expensive boat. Any repair on any boat is done at today's prices. A 10k deck repair on a 100k boat isn't too hard to handle but the same 10k repair on a boat you paid 5k for is a different story. This applies to any boat, whether a chevrolet like an O'day, Hunter, or Catalina or a mercedes like a Hinckley, Morris, or Swan. They all deteriorate if not maintained properly and the repair of a wet deck on a Catalina costs the same as on a Swan.

Sailingdog's boat inspection tips here a good start, not to replace a survey but to decide if the boat is worth surveying. The more boats you look at the more you will learn and the better equipped you will be to decide. Generally you do get what you pay for - the bargain boat often isn't a bargain at all.
05-11-2011 08:11 PM
hellosailor dg, if you hunt around there are many older threads on the perennial question of whether an old boat is a treasure trove or a hole in the water. If you don't know boats, and don't know someone (who you'd trust intimately) who knows about boats, you want to hire a surveyor.

If the NASA "employee" is the guy who messed up the o-rings on the shuttle, you don't want the boat. If he's a cafeteria clerk, harder to say. If he's an obsevvie engineer who kept maintenance logs and receipts, that's better prospects for a good boat.

The problem is that if you don't know boats, you have no idea how expensive a rotted deck can be, or "just a waterstain" on the bulkhead, or a little corrosion on the chainplates, or a couple of bad keel bolts. How bad? Well, you can sink $20,000 into a $5,000 bargain boat that could have been bought outright for $15,000. And you can't just walk away from a bad boat--you've got a rather large disposal fee to get it hauled away and scrapped.

It's a funny thing, but aside from the few almost mythological deals ("The divorce says I have to sell the boat and split it, but I want to screw my ex so I'm selling it for ten cents on the dollar") it is still most likely that if a stranger is selling you a boat for $5,000, the boat MIGHT be worth what they are asking for it. But if it was worth four times as much--they'd have no trouble selling it for $20,000.
05-11-2011 07:52 PM
ccriders Don Casey authored a good little book, "Inspecting an Aging Sailboat" published by International Marine and sold everywhere for about $15.00. He uses a lot of illustrations sort of anticipating that you may not have absolute knowledge of arcane sailorisms. With just a modicum of mechanical and technical skills you can use it to guide you through a "survey" surely as good as one you will get for a few hundred dollars. If you can find an experienced sailor who does his own maintenance to assist, you can elimnate most of the risk in buying an older inexpensive sailboat. With book in hand build a spreadsheet of every thing you inspect and annotate repairs or replacement costs and by the end of the process you have a pretty good handle on the costs to have a safely operating vessel. Then if you look at several boats and document each you have good cost comparisons when that beauty steals your heart and the sirene call obliterates your rationality.
Have fun looking. There are a lot of boats available so choose wisely.
ps. Remember boat is an acronym for Break Out Another Thousand.
05-11-2011 07:07 PM
johnnyandjebus dbg

The sticky thread mentioned above would be a great place to start regardless of the cost of the boat. I used it to evaluate my own boat, a bit sobering really. Don't get me wrong she is solid and sound but the list of things to do didn't get any smaller after the exercise was done

With that said, lets assume you buy a 4000$ boat and spend 800$ on a survey. It seems high at first glance, almost 1/4 the cost of purchase price. But, purchase price is just the beginning. My 26 footer costs me about 2800-3000$ a year just to own, never mind any repairs or improvements. Add to the equation that it is a lot easier to buy a boat then it is to sell one, I would say a survey from a competent surveyor is a must.
If you are thinking of purchasing a 3-6000$ boat, good for you, there are plenty of them out there. But get a survey before you lay your money down. Surveyor's have no skin in the game and can give you a more realistic view point of said boat while you are ignoring the faults and dreaming about the possibilities.

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