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Farr 11.6 (Farr 38)
10,531 Posts
So first off, i hope this is in the right forum, I looked at a 89 Catalina 25 with a fin keel today, an end of season deal before he puts in away for winter. The price is right, very inexpensive and he is even willing to split winter storage. It has an inboard atomic 4 that starts right up. It does need to have the fuel tank replaced, but he is willing to do that for me if i buy it and winterize the engine to boot. It has sails in great shape, roller furling jib, based on my reading on inspecting boats the rigging, sheets and mast are in great shape for its age. Also, every thing about this guys makes me think i can trust him and i feel like i am a pretty good judge of character. The price is roughly 2k, + a little. I have a few concerns though, 1 there was water in the boat, some in the bilge, but it has sat and he thinks the shaft of the engine needs repacked, also the boat is on the Chesapeake bay and the water didn't taste very salty, we have had really heavy rains recently and i feel like some water is understandable cause something probably leaks. And I can always seal that, but am i being stupid?
I would only suggest that anyone buy a boat with an Atomic 4 if they are a decent mechanic. There is nothing inherently wrong with an Atomic 4 if you are careful in how you use it, and can troubleshoot and do the maintenance yourself. The fuel tank replacement is a mixed bag. It should not need replacement if properly constructed in the first place but its not a big deal if replaced properly. Unfortunately, proper replacement is not all that inexpensive.

second, there is some ugly patching on the deck, I checked it and there are NO soft spots, but he said the previous owner cut into it and replaced the wood core with silicone./ To what i know that makes sense and a little ugly is worth the low cost, but am i being stupid?
Replacing the 'core with silicone' is gibberish. You can caulk a fitting with silicone but even then using silicone to permanently bed a fitting a bad idea. You cannot reasonably replace a core with silicone. If true that alone would have me distrustful of the rest of the boat and walking away. If false, it would have me distrustful of the seller and walking away. On the judge of character thing, my Dad used to say, "Con men's stock and trade is to always seem likeable and honest". The word 'Con' in 'Con man' is short for 'confidence' as in they have a personality makes you confident that they are telling you the truth. In reality, the seller may be an honest guy who did not understand what he was saying, or you simply misunderstood what was said, but you need to get to the bottom of this one.

Third a small issue, there is a winch, i assume for the main halyard, but it does not turn by hand, I guess it frozen no big deal if it is that seems an easy fix, but I have no idea if there is some weird super torque winches out there.
So normally when a which won't turn its either 1) an aluminum drum snubbing winch without roller bearings and its shot, 2) it just needs to be disassembled, greased and reassembled, 3) Has a broke pawl that is keeping it from turning. The only way to know is to try to take it apart. In your shoes I would assume that you need to replace it. If that does not kill the deal, then you are good to go, especially if it only needs maintenance and not replacement.

And finally, and this is the one that weirds me out, there are cracks all along the bottom of the cockpit, where the floor of the cockpit meets the interior walls of the storage and benches, I just find that odd, the cockpit floor doesn't seems soft, but i am scared this is indicative of some crazy issue i never heard of.
That is where cockpits crack. The cockpit sole (deck) and seats are cored. The sides of the cockpit are not. The point of flexure is at the turn of the deck mold between the cockpit sole and cockpit sides and so that is where stress cracking would be expected.

Like others have said, if you are not getting the boat surveyed, then you are rolling the dice with $4,000 on the line. ($2,000 to buy the boat, and $2,000 to chop it up and dispose of it, which is what it costs to dispose of a boat around here)

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