To buy or not to buy? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 17 Old 10-01-2011 Thread Starter
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To buy or not to buy?

Had a survey, sea trial, and haul out of a 1985 hunter 40 yesterday and wound up with problems. Boat is structurally sound but engine had a rusted out exhaust elbow, spraying leaks and rust spreading to the oil pump and beyond. The engine died during the sea trial and we had to drift in. House batteries dead, ac in need of service and switch rewire, Bottom line is boat has been neglected for several years. Several options going forward: a) forget about it and find another boat
b ) negotiate price adj to fix major items
Worried about inheriting multiple problems - opinions ?
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post #2 of 17 Old 10-01-2011
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Like most things, it depends. What is the price? What price adjustment could be made? How much of the work can you do or do you have to get it all done professionally? Why did the engine quit - none of the things you mention should cause that.

From what you say I would be worried about other neglect problems appearing after you take over. It is not as if there is a shortage of good boats and good deals to be had.

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post #3 of 17 Old 10-01-2011
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To each his own, as they say. What I mean by that, is this is one of those things you'll need to answer for yourself. If the boat is priced accordingly, and you like everything about it, and you don't mind projects, then what's there to talk about? If, however, you're a person that "just wants to get on and go sailing", maybe this isn't the one. (as you can see, there's no right or wrong). Good luck, regardless, and keep us posted.
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post #4 of 17 Old 10-03-2011
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One suggestion would be to get an estimate of what a repower would cost. That would be your worst case situation for the engine. Then revise your offer down by at least that much. If they take it, then you will be OK given worst case.

This assumes that you have a lot of confidence in the survey, because as you say, there was likely poor maintenance done on all systems.

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post #5 of 17 Old 10-03-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lajimo View Post
Had a survey, ... Boat is structurally sound but engine had a rusted out exhaust elbow,... a) forget about it and find another boat
b ) negotiate price adj to fix major items
Worried about inheriting multiple problems - opinions ?
If you had a good survey done...and the open issues are a bad exhaust elbow, new batteries and out-of-date AC wiring...GRAB the boat and run. Those are relatively minor issues in the big picture of a 25 year old boat. You can nit pick the seller for a few thousand to see if some dough is on the table, but a list like this is close to a clean bill of health for that age of a boat. As to the boat having been neglected...sure does not sound like it from the survey results. Or do you mean cosmetically neglected?

Its understandable that this is an important decision, and one you need to make as un-emotionally as you can, but it sounds to me like you are maybe looking to turn a silk purse into a sows ear...That said, squeeze in an engine survey before your time runs out.

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Last edited by sailingfool; 10-03-2011 at 02:10 PM.
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post #6 of 17 Old 10-03-2011
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In today's market I think I would tend towards keeping on looking... but as other have indicated that decision will come down to your comfort level with the remaining issues, confidence in the true 'repairabilitly' of the issues found, and the otherwise overall impression the boat makes. Some boats are cosmetically kept pristine while mechanical items are left to deteriorate.

So many issues and problems so soon is a red flag to me....
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post #7 of 17 Old 10-03-2011
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Agree with everyone else.

The most problems we've had on our used-new-to-us boat is the engine. And the PO owned a small engine repair business. Naively, we thought that after we took care of what the survey found, that the engine should be the least of our problems but each year something new has gone wrong.

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post #8 of 17 Old 10-04-2011
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Sure, plenty of boats on the market today, but I'm betting that few of them are in Bristol condition.

I assume you liked and wanted this boat -- you did put the money into a survey. If the overall survey was good, negotiate the hell out of it--you've certainly got the upper hand with a boat that had to drift in from its sea trial. You might want to get the engine surveyed to cover that worst case scenario.

A lot of work -- and $$ -- will go into any boat that hasn't had someone paying attention to all the issues that time, weather, and use create, so don't underestimate.

If you decide to move on, use this one as a lesson on why it pays to do a detailed inspection yourself ahead of time.

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post #9 of 17 Old 10-04-2011
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It's gonna be a tough decision on your part.

The indications of neglect are enough to warrant additional evaluation. Like dhays said, if the seller is willing to come down in price to address the known shortcomings, you may be in decent shape.

One thing to keep in mind is that surveys are usually far from being the diagnostic tool that identifies each and every problem with a boat. Unless the boat has been exceptionally maintained, kept clean, and has been unloaded to allow for good access to all the nooks and crannies, the surveyor can only go so far in developing a punch list of repair/replace needs. The worse shape a boat's in, the more likely the surveyor will miss some things. It boils down to the finite amount of time a surveyor can get to eyeball the vessel -- usually no more than a day.

That said, any boat is going to be a constant project -- you'll need to make the call as to whether or not you've got the time/energy/resources to invest in this particular boat.
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post #10 of 17 Old 10-04-2011 Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the valuable input

The survey was very thorough - lasted all day with all of the engine failing problems. I've been looking seriously for about four months and decided to make the offer on this one mainly due to a good price point and an advertised 'excellent' condition other than cosmetic issues, and sails needing sewing and a few other minor points. Hunter 40 owners reviews from this vintage are generally positive. In my initial inspection I totally missed the bad rusting elbow problem (only looked on one side of the engine), and didn't really think about the clogged fuel system issue. The generator was running the ac when I first visited ( marina has no power) so again I missed the dead house batteries - need to invest in a voltage meter is one of my lessons learned. But overall, this boat attracted me from the 'suitable for my intended use at a good price' - but I didn't and still don't have much of a heartstring attachment to it. This is I guess both good and bad. I'm getting the written survey tomorrow and will re- engage the owners but am tending towards an approach of saying I'll reconsider the boat if they fix items x,y,z etc, provided I haven't found another boat in the meantime. If all that occurs then I will definitely have an engine survey done. I appreciated the 'worst case repower' allowance suggestion, but think that might be not workable here. Any suggestions on where to look for re- power solutions other than brand new?
In the meantime I'm looking at some other boats that really do grab me - will be interesting to see how it all proceeds.
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