Looking at buying a Discovery 47' - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 44 Old 03-26-2012 Thread Starter
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Looking at buying a Discovery 47'

Weirdly, I had to create a new account to post this, every time I've logged into my account it gives me a http 500 error, or some other reason the forum doesn't work? I've waited weeks to ask questions thinking my account needed to be activated.
I'm going to see the boat tomorrow, and I'm hoping to get some ideas of what to look for and if it's reasonable.

Background on me
I've always dreamed of living on a sailboat, ever since I got into my dad's copies of Great adventures in Small Boats. I read many books on bigger ships but those first stories always stuck. Never had the money to make it a reality.
Recently I've come across what looks like to me at least a very good possibility to finally make this dream a reality.
I'm trying to collect all relevant information and make a good decision on this, as I am looking at a very serious investment, and tying myself down for the better part of a decade. I figure this would be the best place to ask about the boat itself. I'm motivated to make this happen, I'm not just another university kid dreaming of some idealistic work and stress free life floating around in a boat. I've spent the better part of a decade working heavy industrial jobs, I went back to school after enough injuries and damage to my health. It's given me a useful background of skills, from CAD for part layouts to running CNC controlled water-jet cutters to simple machine maintenance.
I'm comfortable with wood/metalworking, anything from turning wood on a lathe to gas/mig/tig welding. I can dive, am comfortable underwater and have my own dry-suit/tank.
I'm comfortable living in less than ideal conditions, and spent roughly 8 months last year traveling south to Panama overland on an old CX500(70's Honda motorcycle).
I'm looking for a boat to live on and sail long term, blue water sailing eventually, once I have the experience to make it feasible.
I have a reasonably well paying, stable full time job, and my expenses are now extremely low.
I have sorted out all my bills, transportation etc to the point that my only recurring expenses are 68$/month for phone(including all usage).
65$/month for cable+internet
4400$/year for university tuition.
As a percentage of my income the mortgage for the boat would be approximately consistent with my current rent(50% of income). I will be an additional 250$/month into a emergency/maintenance fund.
Does this sound affordable? In terms of actual dollars, after all currently calculated expenses I'll actually have 3x more income left over after expenses than I've had in the past 3 years.

My father will be helping me with any planning for repairs or upgrades, as well as teaching me to sail. He's got decades of experience with most aspects of sail from repair to navigation, though he mostly races small boats these days.

The Boat

Other than a one page spec sheet on saildata.com I have found no information.
DISCOVERY 47 sailboat specifications and details on sailboatdata.com
It looks a bit different from the blueprints I found on saildata, without the portholes set into the hull, and larger windows.

What should I look for in terms of issues and possible damage?
How would such large windows cope if I wanted to sail off-shore?
What would be the minimum crew possible? I'd prefer to sail solo once I gain enough experience(thinking 8-10 years away).
What kind of upgrades should be performed immediately?

Asking price 135,500$(+12.5%tax)

1983 Discovery 47' Center cockpit
Last surveyed in '08.
Had an epoxy bottom coat put on in '88, due to blistering, all blisters less than 3/8" but there were lots of them. Owner says the last time it was out of the water(two years ago) he filled approx 40 of them, all smaller than 1/4" in diameter by grinding them out with a Dremel then filling with West epoxy.
The couple who own it currently live aboard, and have done most of the work themselves.

Discovery 47' Peter Hatfield Design Offshore Cruiser
Fibreglass Centre Cockpit Cutter
Beam 13' 4
Draft 8'
Weight 18.59 R.T
Fin Keel
Skeg hung rudder

2000 Watt Trace Inverter
Apelco 265 Fish Finder/Depth Sounder
Radar - Raytheon R20X
Autopilot- Seatex s725
Depth Sounder - Data Marine Loran - Magellan Meridian GPS
Dell Laptop with electronic charts

Sails and Rigging
1 Main Cranfield
1 - 145% Genoa
1 Yankee 100%
1 Staysail with reefing points
1 Spinnaker Radial cut 1 3/4 oz. by North Sails with snuffer system by Hood Sails.
Isomat spar, made in California, double spreader, 55 feet tall
1 Spinnaker pole.
Winches are all heavy duty Knowsley (British)
2 - 2 speed primaries
2 - 2 speed secondaries
1 - 2 speed main sheet,
Winches on mast: 2 s.s. cable halyards, 1 2 speed rope halyard.
Standing rigging oversized stainless with Norseman Fittings
Harkin roller furling system on forestay, Furlex roller furling on cutter stay

Engine and Pumps
Main engine Perkins 4-236 73 Hp. diesel, 3,111 hours, head and injectors rebuilt.
Genset Yanmar driven Pincor 2 KW
3 - 12V bilge pumps wired with float switches and manual over ride switches,
1 manual bilge pump
1 engine-driven mechanical bilge pump

Fuel - 100 gallons
Water - 200 gallons s.s. 2- 30 lbs propane cylinders in laserette locker.

Full fibreglass hard dodger with full side enclosure
2 - 75 watt Siemens solar panels on tilt turn brackets on roof
Wagner hydraulic steering on pedestal with hydraulic Seatex auto pilot, emergency tiller, folding cockpit table
Large and roomy.

Fire Safety
1 - 15 lb. ABC extinguisher
4 - 2.5 lb. ABC extinguishers
1 battery operated smoke detector
1 carbon monoxide detector.

Ham/SSB Radio Kenwood TS 140S and MFJ tuner, Midland sea ranger and Standard horizon VHF radios, SMR handheld VHF radio

Ground Tackle
1 - 100 lb. Plow with 300 ft. 3/8 galvanised chain, 1 Bruce 44 lb. with 50 ft. galvanised chain and 300 ft 5/8 rode, 40 lb. Danforth spare, Tigress electric windlass, rebuilt and anodized.

Batteries & Electrical
*All Batteries new June 2011
House - 4 6V Deep Cycle, Starting Battery 1 Heavy Duty 400 Amps, 2 75 Watt Siemens solar panels on tilting and turning mounts, 2 x 30 amp shore power connections, phone and cable connections

Teak interior hard wood floor
Private aft master cabin
2 Bronze hatches and 2 Lewmar hatches
4 oval opening port holes
2 round opening port holes
Large teak dining table which comfortably seats up to seven people
Halogen lighting in salon/galley/chart table
2 heads, one with shower and holding tank
Work shop has furnace and wet gear and tool storage and work bench
Fridge/freezer -Danfoss 12 volt freezer unit, and fridge alongside with top and front loading
Dickenson diesel stove/heater (Lofoten model)
Sylvannia microwave oven
Custom stainless steel galley sink insert
Wedgewood 4-burner propane stove with oven
Jensen CD/cassette player/ fm/am radio
Magma propane BBQ.


Dingy - Avon Hypalon 10.2 ft hard bottom
Outboard Johnson 15 HP, new July 2003
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post #2 of 44 Old 03-26-2012
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Re: Looking at buying a Discovery 47'

Can you summarize your post into a single simple sentence?
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post #3 of 44 Old 03-26-2012
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Re: Looking at buying a Discovery 47'

Welcome to Sail Net! (insert name here)
You may have overlooked the cost for dockage and marina fees just to lift such a boat out. asking price is just a number owners think up. It's not a new boat, it may have allot of equipment but it's still due for some major surveying I'd want to be real sure of the 10,000 lb keel myself.
If your to strapped to mortgage you may never realize your dream, or sailing? If it's just you, that is allot of boat! Maybe a 30 something that surveys well would be a better choice?
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post #4 of 44 Old 03-26-2012
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Re: Looking at buying a Discovery 47'

Here's my two cents:

There are many, many good boats that should meet your needs for 100K.

Does not seem like a single guy needs a 47ft boat to live on.

7-8 ft draft is pretty deep, depending on your cruising grounds.

Statistically speaking, your first boat, as much as you plan, plan, plan, and plan some more, will probably not the boat you will be on in 10 years.

Considering rebooting your brain and post some more ideas here. You should get lots of useful feedback.

I'm ass u ming that this is the prospective boat? Vancouver Sailboat Inventory
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post #5 of 44 Old 03-26-2012
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Re: Looking at buying a Discovery 47'

Agree that this is WAY more boat than you'll need or even ultimately want. Slow down, and do some more research. Maintenance and upkeep on a near 50 foot boat is a huge undertaking and even a couple can live comfortably on something 40 feet or less.

If you really want to spend that much money right off there are a lot of nicer, smaller boats that will fit the bill.
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post #6 of 44 Old 03-26-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: Looking at buying a Discovery 47'

A 30 something boat would be ideal for travel only. There are other reasons behind looking at this one vs something for travel only. This is a compromise. I'm less concerned about the general size and more about the reliability and function of this design, and what to look for (aka deal breakers so I don't fork out for a survey on a obviously unusable host)

1. affordability. Somewhat unique to the area, housing is really hard to come by. Rent and living on land makes this look cheap. It's in the only live aboard marina in Vancouver. Average waitlist time to get a slip there is around twenty years right now unless you buy a boat with a slip. That boosts the price substantially. It's a coop, fees are about 150/month including laundry, workshop access, underground parking. For comparison a two bedroom condo next to the marina would run 650, 000$ easily. Impossible on my income.
Condo fees for that could easily run another 350/month, often plus parking (100/month at the nearby parkade).
it's boat or land housing in a much smaller place far out of the area I study and work in which will still cost a lot more.

2. Size. The size allows me to share the boat with another person, cutting the mortgage costs roughly in half. I've had 4 serious requests to share, plus my girlfriend who basically lives at my place anyways. while docked it would be 2-3 occupants.

If I have a family later there is space to grow, might seem weird elsewhere but here many young families are in 500 sq foot places.

My father backing me on this means a compromise on benefit to him, for his vacations with family the size is ideal.

The draft issue and potential keel issues are the kind of thing im worried about, and general info on these boats, I can't find anything! What to watch for, what wears out. Any input like that is really appreciated. Also any input on the price for the boat vs what a similar boat elsewhere goes for?
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post #7 of 44 Old 03-26-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: Looking at buying a Discovery 47'

Oops, can't figure out how to go back and edit, this is mostly from my phone. Sorry for being long winded, I want to provide accurate info, easy to write too much since i'm writing from work mostly.

You are correct, that is the boat.
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Re: Looking at buying a Discovery 47'

I agree with the earlier posts. A 47 foot boat for someone starting out? That is not a boat that can be easily solo-ed on PLUS crew would almost have to be mandatory. The costs of such a huge boat will outweigh the beginner's joy of discovering the ocean and cruising. He may be bogged down by tremendous investments on fixing and maintaining the boat. Even on a much smaller boat, the maintenance requirement is a huge investment as it is, but I cannot imagine on a 47 foot boat. Even a 40 foot boat requires a lot of maintenance. I suggest a 42 or under boat as a beginner boat to go cruising on so there is only you to rely on, and not have to worry about reliable crew. Crew will be a headache later on and another issue as finding crew can be a hassle as I've heard horror stories, but also some great ones.
But take it from me who've lived aboard a sailing vessel for the last 4 years, bigger does not always mean better. Especially when you stop working to go cruising and you have to rely on your savings/kitty. Unless you have a long term plan of raising a family on that particular boat you have in mind, than I would reconsider.
I have lived on a 33.5 Ft Cat and now on a 42 Ft Mono, and both have been enough space for me and my partner. Anything more would have us stuck on land and not cruising the Caribbean.
Hope this helps.
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Re: Looking at buying a Discovery 47'

Have you checked with Spruce Harbour about your 'subletting' plan? I suspect that may not fly unless they are going to be sneakaboards. That's a pretty tight community.

I get the whole real estate situation - we live here too.. I suspect the city is going to want its pound of flesh too beyond the monthly co-op fee. It does look very tempting in a world of $500K 500 sq ft studios but do your homework and make sure you get the full picture on the liveaboard costs. And it's true you need to buy transferrable moorage around here.

It's still a lot of boat, a lot of upkeep and with little or no background in boating per se it's a hell of a big bite.
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post #10 of 44 Old 03-26-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: Looking at buying a Discovery 47'

Got computer access for a bit so I'll try to be more concise.
At work I can typically write for a couple minutes every 15, so things tend to run long. Work has to come first.
I had hoped that titling background/boat separately would allow to skip over the boring bits, but I didn't want to leave out anything relevant. Sorry if it wasn't clear!

Faster: I suspect it's rather similar to the overland motorcycle community in that regard. Bring in someone else at your own peril, their behavior is on you.
If it wasn't acceptable I'd abide by their rules, the rules were there before me

I was mostly trying to illustrate that too much space isn't an issue. My current room-mate is the only one I would be interested in having there with me, we'd be in it together, not subletting as just a place to live. He's an industrial designer, enthusiastic about boats and has access to the kinds of equipment I don't(CNC routers, vacuum presses etc). I trust him and he's a good asset to any community.
My girlfriend is similar, fascinated by sail, one of the best big picture people, invaluable when taking on a long term project. We all work well together.

The willing labor end of things is well covered, the expertise would be mostly from my dad, once he is done with his current project(18' wooden boat to fish off).

In terms of big bites, that's how I generally function best. Last September I left Vancouver for Argentina after a few days of preparation on a 79 CX500 that hadn't been run in about 15 years. I had my L permit for a couple of months before that. Took me a month straight in California to rebuild it and adapt it to the task. Might seem silly, but I never get anything done if I don't go all in.

How much upkeep would you think is reasonable? I was budgeting approx 3000$ a year, or is that too low?

The city wants about 1100/year for anything over 37' that's being lived aboard with sewage and water hookups.

I see your PM faster, but I can't access it! I think it was about the accounts issue. Could you email me instead? I'd appreciate any offline feedback too, I'm actually heading down to take a look around today.

Last edited by Jgbrown; 03-26-2012 at 12:45 PM.
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