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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The boat is currently moored in a cove off of the St Johns river in Jacksonville and my dad and I are going to look at it on Friday. The owner has $4500 negotiable as the price, but a source says he would probably take $3k. I personally know nothing about this boat and my dad is the one doing all the talking. I have done a lot of searching for comparable boats and I gotta say the pricing on this boat kind of scares me. Here are the links to the same boat but with much higher price tags...
Boat information… MORGAN 35 sailboat specifications and details on sailboatdata.com
In Jacksonville… 1971 morgan catalina sailboat for sale in Florida
Lighthouse Pointe FL… 1971 Morgan 35 Classic sailboat for sale in Florida
New Jersey (has damage from hurricane Sandy and still listed at $13K)… 1970 Morgan 35 Masthead Sail Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com
Panama City…1971 Morgan classic 35' Must Sell
North Carolina...1972 Morgan 35 sailboat for sale in North Carolina | Find Sail Boats
$4500 selling price and it looks to be in good condition...35' Morgan Classic Sailboat | eBay

What do you think would make the last boat sell for only $4500 compared to the others listed at a WAY higher price?

During my research I have found a couple things to look for. One of which is the steel mast step (why the heck would they use standard steel?) rusting. The port lights are known to leak so I will do some close looking at them. Seeing as how the boat is in the water... What is a good way to determine the condition of the bottom paint? You can only take a persons word at face value. I wish I had a GoPro that i could sink below water and look but I do not. It is too cold for me to swim, well not really but I am baby when it comes to cold water ;)

This would be my first boat with an inboard engine and i know VERY little about them. I did download the original owners manual for the boat and read that the proper drip rate for the shaft packing is 1 drip per 20-30 seconds with engine off. That sure does sound like a lot of water? Is this normal or are they playing it conservative? Do you guys know of another thread that outlines the inspection of an inboard?

Got any tips on what to look for with the electrical system? I know to check the date stamps on the batteries, and to look for corrosion but that's about it.

The price of the boat is not going to warrant a survey correct? How much would a survey actually cost?

I have also never used let alone owned a head so any pointers as to what to look for?

I will post some pictures once we look at and I am sure i will come up with more questions. Thank you for you help.

Zac
 

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Im also new to sailing and looking for a boat. I would have someone who knows what to look for before buying. Good Luck
 

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Hey,

Some quick 'off the top of my head thoughts'

-For that asking price I would expect the boat to be junk but you never know....
-In reality, the lower the asking price relative to comparable boats, the MORE the need for a survey. You need to find out WHY the price is so much lower. The ad for this one clearly lists soft decks. What does that really mean? How bad are they? Are you able to determine that? Who would fix them? Would you do it right, pay someone to do it right, fix it cheap and ugly or just ignore?
-A survey for that boat will cost over $1000. That will include around $500 for haul and bottom wash. So I doubt that someone is going to spend that much $ for a cheap boat
-Before you get too excited take a deep breath and figure out, REALLY FIGURE OUT how much money you want to spend in total. You can spend $3K on a boat and then 30K to make it nice. Or you can spend 10K on a nice boat. Or you can spend $3K on an old worn out boat and have fun sailing it for a few years and then just throw it away.
-I suggest going to see the boat. Take lots of pictures of all the nooks and crannies. Spend a few HOURS going over everything and noting parts, conditions, spares, ETC.

Then come back and everyone here will give you more advice like
walk away there are better boats out there for less money
it's a great deal, jump on it
if you buy this boat and sail it you will die
run away
buy the boat if want to spend the rest of your life working on it.

Good luck,
Barry
 

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I would suggest having it hauled out for inspection at the very least. I would also want to be aboard when it's moved to the travel lift so that I could verify the operation of the engine and transmission. Pick up a copy of this Inspecting the Aging Sailboat (The International Marine Sailboat Library): Don Casey: 0639785803447: Amazon.com: [email protected]@[email protected]@http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/[email protected]@[email protected]@51uqn1ZjIeL
to educate yourself on what to look for. It covers about every system on the boat and is easy to understand.

Hope this helps. Good luck!:)
 

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I would invest in the survey. Worst case scenario would be $4,500 sale price + the cost of disposing of a wreck you cannot (in good conscience) re-sell. BarryL's comment about using it for a couple of years and then "just throw it away" may be an oversimplification.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the suggestions everyone. I will get that book and try to learn some things ;)

I am curious as to how one "throws away" a boat of this size? I know you can't just sink it, so what happens to it?
 

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Looks like she has a centerboard within the keel. Another reason to haul and survey, make sure it works, and the cable etc is sound.

I sailed and delivered some Morgans back in the day when they were being made, I liked them fine, they were good sailors and still comfortable.

The difference in price in a boat of this age has to be due to condition. A good one can be a good boat (but you'll have to replace standing rigging, etc if it's original, what about engine and elec stuff) but a bad one is a disease that no one wants to catch....unless for taking lead and parts off, and crunching up the fiberglass into a landfill.

So a survey is a "capital" idea...
 

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Are you looking forward to going sailing, or looking forward to messing about in boats? The $4000 will have you at the dock or on dry land for many more hours, time which could have otherwise been spent sailing. In most cases the cost of tools and materials to repair plus the hours spent (figured at minimum wage) will not be recouped. Buy the $20,000 boat if you have money and want to go sailing. If you don't have the money, work for a year at a decent job and collect the necessary funds, then buy a $15K to $20K boat.

Buy a $4000 boat only if what you really want to do is mess about in boats. Nothing wrong about puttering around at the boat yard. It's a fine thing to do. I say hello to those guys every time I pass them on my way to go sailing. They usually seem happy at what they're doing.


"There is nothing- absolutely nothing-
half so much worth doing
as simply messing about in boats."​
 

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Are you looking forward to going sailing, or looking forward to messing about in boats? The $4000 will have you at the dock or on dry land for many more hours, time which could have otherwise been spent sailing. In most cases the cost of tools and materials to repair plus the hours spent (figured at minimum wage) will not be recouped. Buy the $20,000 boat if you have money and want to go sailing. If you don't have the money, work for a year at a decent job and collect the necessary funds, then buy a $15K to $20K boat.

Buy a $4000 boat only if what you really want to do is mess about in boats. Nothing wrong about puttering around at the boat yard. It's a fine thing to do. I say hello to those guys every time I pass them on my way to go sailing. They usually seem happy at what they're doing.


"There is nothing- absolutely nothing-
half so much worth doing
as simply messing about in boats."​
I'm not so sure I agree with this completely. I do agree with the idea that, generally speaking, you get what you pay for, but I also believe that there are additional costs to pretty much any boat you buy, even a new one. Just going by what I have read here on Sailnet over the last few years reinforces that belief. How many folks have opted to go on the belief that the more expensive boat will actually be cheaper and then spend thousands of dollars on upgrades? And how many have posted about their extraordinary luck in buying a great boat at a rock bottom price and needing only minor additional expenditures? I think some sellers are experienced sailors that know what they have and what it's worth, while others don't know their boats true value vs what the market will bear, or they may even be in financial straits and need to unload an otherwise decent boat quickly. The truth is that the OP wont know until he looks at it. I think it is premature to assume that a $4000 boat will be a time consuming money pit based solely on it's asking price without knowing either its true condition or the use to which the OP will put it.
 

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Don't order a survey until you check out Casey's book linked by Dean101, the website linked by boatpoker, or Surveying Fiberglass Sailboats: A Step-by-Step Guide for Buyers and Owners by Henry Mustin. Then do your own survey. It could be argued that a novice with a book is no match to a professional surveyor; I won't dispute that. However, if the buyer can identify deal killing flaws, then he can save the time and money it would cost for a pro to do a survey.
 

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I'm not so sure I agree with this completely. I do agree with the idea...... [much deleted] .... I think it is premature to assume that a $4000 boat will be a time consuming money pit based solely on it's asking price without knowing either its true condition or the use to which the OP will put it.
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Yea, but the owner states that the decks are spongy, soft and wet. That fact is already established and that alone has sent lots of boats to the landfill.

A super deal on a boat ready to go sailing is possible, in theory, but I've not heard of one at $4k and this boat already has problems identified. I've known quite a few boats in the $15K range that have been 100% ready to go sailing for extended periods.

GTJ
 

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One big difference is that the E-Bay boat SOLD - the others are asking prices.

A lot of people out there have never come to terms with the reality of the used boat market post-2008.
 

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Yea, but the owner states that the decks are spongy, soft and wet. That fact is already established and that alone has sent lots of boats to the landfill.

A super deal on a boat ready to go sailing is possible, in theory, but I've not heard of one at $4k and this boat already has problems identified. I've known quite a few boats in the $15K range that have been 100% ready to go sailing for extended periods.

GTJ
I did notice the statement about the decks and also (later) that the boat had already sold. I'm assuming that either he was the winning bidder and he bought it sight unseen, in which case the books mentioned will help him do an initial self-survey, or he did not notice that the boat was already sold, in which case those books will still educate him for the next deal he finds.

The point I was really trying to make is that the initial cost of the boat may not necessarily be a direct reflection of its condition, although in many cases it is. I think the initial cost should be more related to the worth of that particular boat to the person buying it. I say that because, judging from the wording of the OP's first post, it is not his first boat, just his first boat with a motor, head, and electrical system. He may well have all kinds of experience with fiberglassing and fixing soft spots so he may look at the soft decks as something he can manage. He didn't say, so we don't know.

We also don't know what he is looking for in this boat. He may very well be looking for something turn key and ready to go like some of the boats you've seen, or maybe he wants something to tinker with because he enjoys it or wants to fix up to suit his own tastes. Who knows. He really only asked a question comparing the prices of various boats. He wasn't really specific with any other details. I do agree with you that assuming he wants to buy a boat and go sailing now and not have to work on a time consuming and possibly expensive fix, he should go with a more sound boat. I just think that there are more factors involved in establishing the worth of a boat to a particular individual than just initial cost.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Sorry for any confusion but the boat I am GOING TO look at on Friday is not featured in any of those links. Those are just boats that i found researching a Morgan 35 in the same age group.

I went to the library this afternoon and luckily they had the Inspecting the Aging Sailboat book, and while i was there I decided to checkout The Annapolis Book of Seamanship as well so I could learn more. Hopefully that is a good book to learn from.

That Marine Survey 101 website was a nice read and I printed out the survey checklist to make notes while we are there. I will go back over the website again Friday morning just to keep it fresh in my mind.

While I was downtown I decided to swing by the area it is currently anchored/moored. The boat is the closest one in the photos...



You really can't tell anything from the pictures but the boat looks good compared to some of the other boats in that area. I am hoping the owner will take us out on a little sail on Friday so we can really see how she is. I sure was hoping it had a furler for the headsail but it doesn't look like it. Oh well, I hank on the sails with my current 76 Chrysler 22 so it isn't that big of a deal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
So lets talk some numbers on repairs now...

If the motor operates and tranny shifts properly, what would you recommended service plan be right out of the gate? I am guessing oil/filter change, fuel filter, air filter? What about the tranny?

Do most motors have raw water as coolant or do they run a radiator and coolant?

Stuffing material...If the drip is at the proper rate should it be replaced just because, or does it only need changing if the drip rate is too fast?

Head... Is it pretty much, if it works it works, or could it be bad news and you wouldn't really know about it? What kind of servicing can be done or do you just swap it out with a new unit?

Helm... If it is tiller steering then I know what to look for pretty much, but if it is a wheel do you guys have any.... "If you see this, it will fail soon" pointers for me to look for? I obviously will not be able to checkout the rudder on Friday but I am trying to figure out if this boat is worth paying for a haul out. Luckily there is a marina within 1/10th of a mile from where the boat sits right now so it would be convenient unless that marina tries to rape on the price.
 

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So lets talk some numbers on repairs now...

If the motor operates and tranny shifts properly, what would you recommended service plan be right out of the gate? I am guessing oil/filter change, fuel filter, air filter? What about the tranny?

Do most motors have raw water as coolant or do they run a radiator and coolant?

Stuffing material...If the drip is at the proper rate should it be replaced just because, or does it only need changing if the drip rate is too fast?

Head... Is it pretty much, if it works it works, or could it be bad news and you wouldn't really know about it? What kind of servicing can be done or do you just swap it out with a new unit?

Helm... If it is tiller steering then I know what to look for pretty much, but if it is a wheel do you guys have any.... "If you see this, it will fail soon" pointers for me to look for? I obviously will not be able to checkout the rudder on Friday but I am trying to figure out if this boat is worth paying for a haul out. Luckily there is a marina within 1/10th of a mile from where the boat sits right now so it would be convenient unless that marina tries to rape on the price.
You could probably call the marina, give them the specifics on the boat and they would quote you a price for haul out. Concerning the motor, I would ask to see any maintenance logs and ask for specifics from the owner as to his maintenance habits. I'm no expert on any of this but at the least I would do an entire tune up on the engine. That is well within the DIY sphere.

I think most head units have rebuild kits you can buy to replace seals and such. The stuffing box... I think as long as the compression nut has adjustment you are ok. Just make sure you don't over-tighten it. I don't believe they should drip when the shaft is not turning. The last I checked, 2 - 3 drops per minute while the shaft is turning is sufficient to keep the packing lubricated but you don't want a lot of heat in the stuffing box. Replacing the packing is a DIY item when the boat is out of the water. If you know what you're doing, you can even do it while the boat is in the water.

I would definitely still have the boat hauled as long as everything looks good to you when you inspect it on its mooring. A lot of things can be below the waterline that would be a deal breaker for you. There is a thread going here on the forum about a boat stuck out of the country with a cracked keel that may have been there when he bought the boat.

Of course, only you know what you are capable and comfortable with fixing yourself. Take lots of pictures as someone previously mentioned and post them here. You are sure to get better advice than I can give.
 

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So lets talk some numbers on repairs now...

If the motor operates and tranny shifts properly, what would you recommended service plan be right out of the gate? I am guessing oil/filter change, fuel filter, air filter? What about the tranny?

Do most motors have raw water as coolant or do they run a radiator and coolant?

Stuffing material...If the drip is at the proper rate should it be replaced just because, or does it only need changing if the drip rate is too fast?

Head... Is it pretty much, if it works it works, or could it be bad news and you wouldn't really know about it? What kind of servicing can be done or do you just swap it out with a new unit?

Helm... If it is tiller steering then I know what to look for pretty much, but if it is a wheel do you guys have any.... "If you see this, it will fail soon" pointers for me to look for? I obviously will not be able to checkout the rudder on Friday but I am trying to figure out if this boat is worth paying for a haul out. Luckily there is a marina within 1/10th of a mile from where the boat sits right now so it would be convenient unless that marina tries to rape on the price.
Hey,

The engine should start easily, run well, make good power and not leak anything. If the day is cold (below 50) then the engine may be difficult to start. This doesn't necessarily mean anything, as many marine diesels don't like to start when it's cold (and most boats don't go anywhere when it's below 50). Some things to note: Does it have glow plugs? Does it have a mechanical fuel pump or electrical? What does the engine look like? It is clean, dry, and painted or rusty, dirty and wet with oil? Is the engine raw water cooled or fresh water cooled (follow the raw water intake line - does it go from the water pump to a heat exchanger or not)? When the engine is running is it smooth or jumping around on the motor mounts (bad motor mounts?)? What about the fuel lines? Are they in good condition or swollen and rotted? Do they lead to a water separator? Is there a racor or racor type fuel filter? Is the bowl clear so you can see if there is water or sludge in the bowl?

Assuming the engine is good then maintenance is really just an oil and filter change, fuel filter change, and that's about it.

The transmission should shift smoothly from neutral to forward and reverse. There should not be any clunking sound. The shaft should turn smoothly without any banging or rattling. If you hear noises then the cutless bearing may be bad. If you hear clunk when shifted see if the engine is moving around on the mounts (bad motor mounts). Check the transmission fluid. The fluid should be in good condition and at the right level.

The stuffing box can leak a few drops of water and be perfectly normal. If the hose is swollen, cracked, or rotted then it can get expensive to start changing components. How about the coupler? Is it a rusted mess?

The head and holding tank are pretty simple. Just about all marine heads have rebuild kits, they are usually cheap and easy to install. The hoses are another story - if they smell than it will be expensive, smelly, and difficult to change. Then checkout the holding tank - can it be pumped overboard legally? Does it have a deck pump out?

Wheel steering is pretty simple. You should be able to see the rudder quadrant and the steering cables. The cables should be clean, reasonably tight and not have any broken strands. Make sure the idler and other pulleys turn freely and smoothly.

After you go through all that you'll have a lot more info.

Good luck,
Barry
 
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