Value of current owner's assistance? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 24 Old 09-11-2019 Thread Starter
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Question Value of current owner's assistance?

This is a question for both "newbs" and "old salts" (although you will need to think back to the beginning).

If you were purchasing your first sailboat and the current owner offered to assist and walk you through all aspects of the Fall decommissioning and then again with the Spring launch, how important or valuable of an offer would that be to you? (fyi...I think it is valuable)

Just asking because some time ago on the forum (of course, I can't find it now) someone mentioned if you can't seem to reach an agreed-upon purchase price that perhaps you could negotiate some time together on the boat with the seller to learn the boat as part of the purchase price. How do you put a dollar value on that? Better yet, what dollar value would you place on that?

Looking forward to your responses as it may help to make (or break) a deal! Thanks!
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post #2 of 24 Old 09-11-2019
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Re: Value of current owner's assistance?

This was done for me with my first boat and it was valuable, yes. I don't know how to put a dollar value on it, but all else being equal, if two boats were for sale and one seller offered to do it, that would be the boat I'd buy.

My two cents.
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post #3 of 24 Old 09-11-2019
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Re: Value of current owner's assistance?

mbfrau, I don't know that I'd need that level of instruction, because I'd likely question the Fall and Spring instructions and use my own research and judgment. However, and on the water demonstration to show (1) that it's seaworthy, and (2) any features unique to the vessel, would have some value. I can't say how much, though. I also think it'll depend greatly upon the complexity of the vessel. Some are self-explanatory.
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post #4 of 24 Old 09-11-2019
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Re: Value of current owner's assistance?

this happened with my first and second boats. It was extremely helpful both times. The second boat has a fairclough cover and I bought the boat in the fall, the owner met me on a cold December day and spent several hours putting the cover on with me giving me hints and tips, he came down in the spring during launch and helped with setting up all the lines /boom/vang etc. could I have figured it out ? Yes , but his help made the first year much easier . My first boat I bought right before winter haul out and the owner walked me through winterizing , and was available anytime I had a question ( still friends , our schedules are backwards but we try to meet up once a season . When I sold my first boat I offered any help I could , answered any questions he had even months later , I guess it's the sailing version of paying it forward.
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Re: Value of current owner's assistance?

I bought my current boat from her original owner, who had her commissioned. He shed a tear when we pulled away from his slip. That was ten years ago and we're still in touch. For several years, I would email all sorts of obscure questions and he would be so helpful. He didn't physically help with anything, but was completely available to me. He would even mail me stuff he found for the boat, years later.

I'm not sure how to put a value on it. However, it makes me feel much more comfortable that what I'm buying has been well cared for, if the owner is completely knowledgeable like that. That is worth something.

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Re: Value of current owner's assistance?

For a first time buyer, or for someone who's moving up to a more complicated boat, I'd say it's very valuable. To attach a dollar value to it would be difficult. But, hourly yard costs are $100. + an hour, if they mess something up. Plus the cost of parts if they break something. Sailing instructors $150.00 day or so. etc.

They don't know what they don't know though, so they may or may not see the value in it.

A neighbor of mine sold his boat several years ago. The new owners were moving it out of state. As I was chatting with them, they informed me that they were waiting for the high tide to leave. They didn't even realize that they had purchased a Wing keel version and didn't need to wait. He pulled out the manual to confirm what I just told him? . ;-) and they were able to save a few hours of waiting. No charge. ;-)
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Re: Value of current owner's assistance?

If purchase was smooth and previous owner will shoot straight with can be worth a ton. You want to know the uglies, etc
Especially if he/she maintained the boat.
Could tremendously steepen your learning curve for the boat.
Save you mucho mental pain
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post #8 of 24 Old 09-11-2019
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Re: Value of current owner's assistance?

The value depends on the person that is buying the boat. New sailor? Big step up? Experienced? Those help quantify the value.

I bought my first boat new and had the help of the dealer and crew in commissioning it, initial sailing, and fist year issues. The one staff member that I worked with added tremendous value for me and got my kudos to his bosses and others. We became friends and still see each other 16 seasons later.

Spring forward 10 seasons of ownership and I decided to sell the boat. Family and friends were not nearly as enthralled with sailing as I was. I sailed the hell out of the boat, but mostly single handing it. Decision was tough but boat did sell at a reasonable price a year later. If it had not sold at a fair price I would still own it.

I met the new buyer at closing. Shared all of my logs, notes, and also lists of commissioning and de-commissing practices that I had used. Generally a road map. In addition, the boat was completely stripped of everything as it was late November in northern Michigan. My practice was to take everything off, and it was stored at my home and barn. No reason in either of our minds to attempt to transfer everything to his home until spring. We both knew the broker, and he was the one that suggested waiting.

Fast forward to spring and he got his stuff, and I helped with launch, rigging, set up, and initial first sails to familiarize him with boat. He was a relatively new sailor with just some initial ASA classes before purchase. We sailed together on and off that first year and I also helped him with his first de-commissioning. Following season was a repeat, and he was finding that his family and friends were not as into sailing as he was. Familiar scenario! At the end of that season I had the bug to buy another boat. I wanted to sail when I wanted to, no matter if someone else wanted to go or was around.

When I discussed my plans with the new owner of my old boat he came right out and said that we should find a better option for both of us. He did not care whether I sailed his boat when he was not using it, but he enjoyed sailing with people and I was the most available that he actually enjoyed. I did not have a comfort level of using someone else's boat all the time without some skin in the game. We finally came to an agreement that worked for both of us. He kept the boat as his asset. We split ALL costs evenly including maintenance, storage, slip charges,insurance, etc. Because I am more local to the boat I do some additional cleaning and checking the boat in the winter. Those additional items were not in our agreement, but he owns the asset so I get a little extra good feeling by doing a little extra.

Was there added value in my helping him in the beginning? Can't put a dollar number to it, and you certainly cannot expect to get the same result, but we certainly think that there was value. In our case it is now six seasons since I sold the boat. Four of those seasons we have had our agreement. If I had taken the check and walked away I would not be sailing anywhere near as much unless I bought a boat of my own again. His learning curve on the boat, and sailing in general, was enhanced

We each average about 30 days a year of sailing. Most of those together now, but the first year was probably only about half the time because of our schedules. We also sail with a couple of other guys in Europe each spring. I am sailing more each year than when I owned the boat. Worth every penny to both of us.
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post #9 of 24 Old 09-11-2019
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Re: Value of current owner's assistance?

We don't haul out, last boat I sold 10 years ago, insisted they go for a second sail to make sure they liked it before I'd accept their offer. Spent a day teaching the owners how to handle the boat docking and a day on sail trim. I went into the marina office with them to help them get their slip.
Didn't charge but 3 years later when shopping for a bigger boat they called hoping I was ready to sell again and we had dinner at their house last week.
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post #10 of 24 Old 09-11-2019
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Re: Value of current owner's assistance?

Thinking way back to the purchase of my first big boat when I was 22, a Phil Rhodes 49' racing cutter, I don't believe anyone was there to show me anything. Whatever info I did get was probably from the survey.
I have since walked aboard and gotten operational uncountable sailboats and powerboats for deliveries including a completely shut down freighter without any help at all and managed just fine, so I don't think I'd put much value on any help from a previous owner or operator. I'd probably be better off for the experience of learning by going over everything myself, especially if I'm headed offshore on the vessel.

"Any idiot can make a boat go; it takes a sailor to stop one." Spike Africa aboard the schooner Wanderer in Sausalito, Ca. 1964.
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