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Ladies and Gents:

I am looking for some feedback on the attached pictures. Would be super appreciative of your feedback before we choose to go down the path of a full survey. She is a mid 2000 Beneteau 473 in very good condition with many of the additions we are looking for. However, upon my initial inspection I found some cracks to the grid beneath the floor panels near the keel. The boat was in charter and the owner states he was never made aware of a grounding; however seems quite clear something occurred. I've done my best to capture various angles on multiple bolts and the liner leading up and beyond. I appreciate seeing and giving some advice through these pictures is hard, but your feedback is valuable at this time than me moving straight into a survey.

Thanks much all,
Bryan
 

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It could be poor workmanship in the original layup or the bareboat company didn't have a very good glass man to cover up some damage. Get it surveyed!
 

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Given the Cheeki Rafiki incident, I would *RUN* away from any boat that any possibility of a grounding in its history unless it was fully checked out and repaired. Especially those that have been in heavy charter. Even if the damage has been disclosed and repaired, I'd demand to see reports verifying structural integrity - and those tests are not cheap. I believe ultrasounds and Professional Engineers are involved. No hyperbole - you and your family's lives are at stake.

As for the seller saying its never been grounded in charter...thats just hogwash. There are unscrupulous people that rent boats. They don't/won't disclose the damage they've done to the boat when they return it to base. And if the owners check in procedure isn't thorough enough to catch this until several weeks or months after a charter, well who will the owner "charge" for the repair?

Hulls, liners and grids don't mysteriously crack on their own. There are either workmanship issues with this boats layup or this boat has been grounded.

You have picked a great boat *model*, but the wrong boat, IMHO.

The 473 (and the entire xx3 line of Beneteau's) was one of the last lines that had a more traditional looking lines from Beneteau. Interiors were still somewhat traditional too, not to Euro/IKEA inside and not super "over engineered" with things like movable interior bulkheads for multipurpose sailing or complicated electrical panels that are more form than function. Lots of equipment of standard sizes from major manufacturers - Lewmar mostly. They actually had toe aluminum toe-rails and just enough teak to be mainteance chore (but I suspect yours being ex-charter, no teak and lots of cabins and heads). This is a great long distance cruising boat and prices have really dropped on them as they're now coming up 10 year refits.

What kind of sailing do you intend to do?
 

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I would not waste money on a survey. Look at another boat.

The moment the surveyor came on board my prospective B 393 he told me and my GF to gather around the Saloon and said before he popped up the floor board told us what he was looking for: cracks around the grid near the keel bolts that would indicate a hard grounding. If he found those cracks he would tell us to catch to first bus outta town.
My anxiety level shot up as we crowded close as with flair he dramatically lifted the floorboard...
...
All clear!!
Yay, we heaved a sigh of relief and the surveyor moved on.

He described exactly the same cracks as you have.


Sorry. But catch that Greyhound.


Mark
 

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It's impossible to give reliable input from a pic. The one that got my attention the most, is the bolt head with some sort of goop all over it and staining around the backing plate. Makes me think she's leaking and maintenance was half-assed, which would imply the keel bedding was compromised.

If the hull is solid glass, this may be fully repairable, but at substantial cost to drop and re-bed the keel and re-glass the ribs/stringers. If she has a cored hull, I'm just guessing this a major problem.

My usual advice for suspect boats is to walk. There are thousands of others that aren't. If she's truly unique, you just have to buy her cheap enough to be able to do the repair and still be all-in for much less than the going price of the same boat, without a major damage history. If you can get it cheaply, fix it thoroughly, and then sell it cheaply, it can work. The seller, however, rarely agrees. They just wait for a sucker.
 
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, which would imply the keel bedding was compromised.
...

If the hull is solid glass,
...

My usual advice for suspect boats is to walk. There are thousands of others that aren't. If she's truly unique,
Yes, all Bene's are solid core

Unique!? She's a 473. There's hundreds out there. Superb cruising boat! There will be many, many better ones on the market.

3 additional points:
Resale value will be v low as soon as anyone sees this and/or the repairs.
You will never be confident at sea... Cheeky Refeeky
I bet this is the lowest priced 473 by a long shot on YachtWorld. Eh?
 

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Yes, all Bene's are solid core


I bet this is the lowest priced 473 by a long shot on YachtWorld. Eh?
A point to add on this. Even if she's the cheapest on yachtworld by a mile...you're still going to pay MARKET price. The price reflects the cost to do the repairs. There are no real "deals" on Yachtworld. Have to hustle to find those locally!
 

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Personally I would pass on that one and keep looking. Lots of 473s around.

I would say that those cracks are serious and structural not cosmetic.

A good glass man could fix it by grinding out, filling then adding some reinforcement. But a good repair will be obvious so will always raise questions if you try to sell it.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks all. All great points. Everyone's opinion really helped us to decide that we aren't going to pay for it to be surveyed and thus pass on it.
While not new to sailing, we are new to the SailNet community....so looking forward to "virtually" meeting everyone.
PS: educate me on how to find those deals locally?!
 

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I would emphatically say run, don't walk the opposite direction. In recent years there has been a lot of study of boats which have lost their keels or almost lost keels. One of the preliminary findings is that by the time that internal framing has been visibly damaged, there is likely to be large scale delamination in the hull surrounding the framing.

The delamination is hard to detect in a survey since it is often confined to the area closely surrounding and above the keel. But this delamination is thought to be the primary failure mode or major contributing factors in these keel loss cases.

To repair this properly, the ballast keel needs to be removed and the bottom of the boat carefully surveyed for delamination. If delamination is found an area of the bottom of the boat needs to be cut away and then a new section of the hull laminated. Similarly the hull framing would need to be cut away and new frames constructed.

This is a huge operation that is very costly. Few boatyards can do this kind of work to an acceptable quality.

I would also like to comment that there is very little relationship between the way that Cheeky Rafiki was constructed and the way that a 473 is built. Cheeky was a First 40.7 and these were heavily engineered racer-cruisers. That meant that there was theoretically a smaller safety factor, but it also meant that there was much higher care given in the layup and testing. This included much better materials and much more sophisticated laminating techniques. In other words, despite being engineered to a smaller safely factor, in practice this should have resulted in a relatively stronger and more reliable construction.

The report on Cheeky's keel loss included internal testing data that was specifically done on each 40.7 including Cheeky. That level of care was not given to the 'number series' at Beneteau. In other words Cheeky began life as a much better built boat than the 473's. But it also gets to the point that any boat which has had enough damage to crack internal framing needs to be treated as very suspect.

Jeff
 

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There are no real "deals" on Yachtworld.
I'd have to disagree with this, wholeheartedly. I found this boat on YW and watched her for a couple of years. Price remained steady even as the market was dropping. When I was ready to purchase, July 2009, I did my research and went to do a deal. Found out the owner had been in a motorcycle accident and had lost a leg, virtually ending his yachting days. Offered 2/3 of posted price and remained firm. Owner accepted after a bit of whining.
YW is a great place to watch and price boats, but the asking price is in no way what one has to pay for many boats. Do your research and go into the deal with cash in hand and you'd be surprised how much one can save.
 

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I'd have to disagree with this, wholeheartedly.
YW is a great place to watch and price boats, but the asking price is in no way what one has to pay for many boats. Do your research and go into the deal with cash in hand and you'd be surprised how much one can save.
Capta, I agree with you entirely. I have literally been involved in dozens of boat purchases off YW and if you do your homework and watch specific boats carefully, there can be fabulous deals on YW.

Jeff
 

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Thanks all. All great points. Everyone's opinion really helped us to decide that we aren't going to pay for it to be surveyed and thus pass on it.
While not new to sailing, we are new to the SailNet community....so looking forward to "virtually" meeting everyone.
PS: educate me on how to find those deals locally?!
How to find deals locally in my experience

1 - Sailing and Yacht Clubs...they have newsletters with classifieds in the back. Be on the lookout for the "Three Ds". Death, Divorce, Disease. You will develop a reputation as a bottom feeder and/or vulture

2 - Go to the nearest DIY boat yard or a yard known for cheaper storage. Look for boats that the owner seems to just have lost interest in. Either projects that are pretty far along (money already spent) or boats that are newer that are just sitting there. May a lowball offer and see what sticks.

3 - I hate putting this, but sometimes Craiglist or eBay. But dont buy sight unseen, *EVER*. In a purely academic sense, eBay (time limited blind auction) is really establishing the market price for any given boat. But there just isn't enough volume there for yachts to come up with fair market value pricing. I use eBay to market price out all sorts of other things that are sold in higher volume like used boat bits and other stuff you buy used in life.


The *best* deals in my opinion are older model boats in bristol condition boats maintained by open wallet captains that are looking to get out (Three Ds above or ready to move on/up)
 

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I'd have to disagree with this, wholeheartedly. I found this boat on YW and watched her for a couple of years. Price remained steady even as the market was dropping. When I was ready to purchase, July 2009, I did my research and went to do a deal. Found out the owner had been in a motorcycle accident and had lost a leg, virtually ending his yachting days. Offered 2/3 of posted price and remained firm. Owner accepted after a bit of whining.
YW is a great place to watch and price boats, but the asking price is in no way what one has to pay for many boats. Do your research and go into the deal with cash in hand and you'd be surprised how much one can save.
Capta, I agree with you entirely. I have literally been involved in dozens of boat purchases off YW and if you do your homework and watch specific boats carefully, there can be fabulous deals on YW.

Jeff
how is capta's situation a deal?? In a dropping market, owner was over priced. Then offered 2/3rds below posted price. While the details on what the market price then or may have been are sparse here, I'd be willing to bet that it wasn't some spectacular amount below the what the past several closings have been when true apples for apples were accounted for. If the owner's not using the boat, I'd contend he likely wasn't maintaining it in bristol condition like some active owners. Maybe the owner took a bath, but there's that 10% commission you have to contend with in broker listed boats on yachtworld (and yes, I understand that its variable). The best deals to me are done mano-a-mano without the easy browsing and high-res pictures of yacthworld.

JeffH- respect your contributions tremendously...but I hold to my guns. There may be good deals on Yachtworld, but the best ones wont be there.
 

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I agree best deals are local.

But few have access to them.
Some marine trader will hear about them well before you.

And the OP can't operate locally: if he's after a 47ft cruiser, modern, he has to spread himself wide, even internationally.

Beneteau 473's are one of the best, if not THE best long range cruising boats for a couple in that price range. The 2 cabin version is outstanding. Storage space unbelievable. I would certainly upgrade to one.
They are often on the market and I bet there's quite a few in the USA alone... but that doesn't mean tbetes one in each marina, there may only be a few in each state.

So, yes, a local may do great local deals but in different parameters than "usual" folks looking for a boat.
 

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how is capta's situation a deal?? In a dropping market, owner was over priced. Then offered 2/3rds below posted price. While the details on what the market price then or may have been are sparse here, I'd be willing to bet that it wasn't some spectacular amount below the what the past several closings have been when true apples for apples were accounted for. If the owner's not using the boat, I'd contend he likely wasn't maintaining it in bristol condition like some active owners. Maybe the owner took a bath, but there's that 10% commission you have to contend with in broker listed boats on yachtworld (and yes, I understand that its variable). The best deals to me are done mano-a-mano without the easy browsing and high-res pictures of yacthworld..
She was yard maintained and hauled/covered every year for the winter. That makes a 30 year old boat more like 15 if properly cared for, wouldn't you say? Lovingly owned by the owner for 18 years with impeccable records kept by both owner and yard. Bristol condition? Nope. Few can afford those boats as the owners usually over-value them terribly YW or not. But she was equally priced with three other 530's at that time. And better equipped w/electric RF and winches, new dodger/bimini, 30 hours on main engine, etc. Last one I saw sold, sold for nearly 75k more than I paid.
Personally, when buying boats, I just don't have the time or inclination to travel over three states searching every yard and marina just to save a few grand on a boat. You could certainly spend a lot more than you'd save running all over, time wise and money wise, than you'd ever save. Better to use the services of YW or similar with world wide references, watching things for a time, and know when to go visit a vessel that appeals to you, adequately prepared. By the way, the owner pays the broker's fee, not the buyer, so it's not something a buyer must contend with. Sale price is sale price, right?
 
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