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I'll share an experience referencing back to sailingdog's list of things to check in a survey - Motor Mounts.

Prior to purchasing our current boat, we made multiple inspections, a trial sail and SAM survey. As a result, came up with a short list of defects for the previous owner to repair prior to sale, and I was very confident in what I knew I purchased.

We have a 72hp Mercedes Diesel engine weighing approx. 640 lbs. The boat was originally fitted with an engine drive compressor for refrigeration. We removed the compressor and opted to re-fit for a battery powered unit.
I believe this was a significant change which resulted in the engine moving forward off its mounts by 3 ½ inches. Unknown to us at the time, we luckily motored home in this condition without known serious damage. In fact after the initial inspection I had to call a dock buddy for a second opinion because I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

During the repair we found that 2 of 4 mounts broke long before I bought the boat, realized by traces of rust on the post at the break point. We also believe the old compressor and belt held the engine in place, but by removing it added further pressure on the mounts to the breaking point.

Although this may have been a very difficult defect to find, lessons learned – when buying an older boat, motor mounts would be considered one of the first things to replace, for peace of mind and savings in the long run.

The inspections and surveys paid off – after our first year we had no other problems, the engine purrs, and we are very happy with what we bought.
 

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Discussion Starter · #124 ·
Glad to help guys...
 

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Thank You

Sailingdog, Appreciate this post and it is very timely. After 20 years of racing small boats, ready to purchase first cruiser. Will re-inspect the vessel again tomorrow and will carry this equipment. Am lucky--boat well maintained and meticulous maintenacne/repair records.

Question--offer is made contingent on succesful survey. Is it customary that seller is responsible for all improvements identified in survey?
 

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Many buyers would prefer a dollar adjustment to the price of the boat rather than having the seller do repairs. The seller may be tempted to do the repairs the cheapest possible way while the buyer may want to upgrade a little while doing repairs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #127 · (Edited)
No, typically, any defects found in the survey, if serious, are used to adjust the price. Either the seller adjusts the price, or pays to have the work done, or the deal falls through.

As DavidPM notes, the best and most palatable option for both parties is usually a price adjustment. The seller doesn't usually cover the full price of the repair, and the buyer gets to have the repair done to their satisfaction after taking ownership of the boat.

Sailingdog, Appreciate this post and it is very timely. After 20 years of racing small boats, ready to purchase first cruiser. Will re-inspect the vessel again tomorrow and will carry this equipment. Am lucky--boat well maintained and meticulous maintenacne/repair records.

Question--offer is made contingent on succesful survey. Is it customary that seller is responsible for all improvements identified in survey?
 

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Very nice post thankyou. Also very appropriate. I was a dinghy sailor as a kid, and have been inspired again in my old age. Kids and husband think I have gone totally bonkers, but are going along with me patronisingly. I am on a very tight budget with lots of requirements, including getting them all on board with their surfboards. Your tips above at least let me look intelligently at a boat on initial inspection. I think I will leave the going aloft for more experienced collegues when I have narrowed down my selection of used boats from your suggestions and my personaly preferences.
 

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Learning the HARD way...
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How do you come up with a reasonable offer, not offensive to seller?
Here is my rule of thumb. 'Dog may do otherwise:

I look at the boat. I take copious notes, then sleep on it. The next day I come up with 3 numbers: Initial offer, Target price, Walk away price. If my Initial offer is within 80% of the asking price, I make an offer. If not, I proceed to the next boat. If the seller counters, and it is above my Walk away price, then I proceed to the next boat. If the counter is less than my Walk away, then we continue to negotiate.

I believe that most sellers actually believe that their boats are all in Bristol condition, and are asking TOP dollar for their boats. Unfortunately, most of these sellers are mistaken. A boat that is truly in Bristol condition is worth a substantial premium over a typical boat. One that has been neglected, however, is worth substantially less than a typical boat, and quite possibly, less than $0.
 

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Saildog, another question on this topic...

An old but very helpful thread, thanks.

I've made an offer on a boat in SoCal that I was not able to see ahead of time. In essence, I made an offer sight unseen. The offer was contingent upon satisfactory inspection, sea trial, and survey. They countered and I accepted the counter offer.

I've found the local surveyor that I want to use. He is an accomplished sailor, familiar with the type of boat I'm looking at, and was highly recommended by a local sailor in my own Yacht Club who used him for a purchase a couple years ago. He is also specifically listed as an "approved" surveyor by my insurance company. So far so good.

The question is this. The surveyor is very happy to do the survey for me at a rate that sounds reasonable. However, he would also be willing to accompany me on the sea trial as well ahead of time. He would charge for this service, about 1/3 of what a survey would cost, but would have the chance to view the boat, systems, sails, and rigging in a dynamic environment as they are actually used. I'm tempted to do this. While I have lots of sailing experience, I'm not that experienced with yacht maintenance. I can tell if the boat sails well, but I don't think that I'm experienced enough to pick up on things that he might. If we see things that are deal-breakers, then the boat won't be hauled and it won't be surveyed, saving me the cost. OTOH, if the boat checks out OK, I still may get some worthwhile advice, opinions, etc... from an experienced circumnavigator on the boat.

The hat that he would be wearing during the sea trial is different that the one he would be wearing when he surveys the boat, I understand that. Given all that, do you think it may be worth $250-$300 to have him participate in the sea trial?

Dave
 

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Discussion Starter · #135 ·
Maine Sail has written an excellent article on the use of a moisture meter, which you can read HERE. Basically, you would want to use a moisture meter to see if there has been water intrusion into the deck and such. In many cases you can't use it to check the hull, since the bottom paint can throw off the meter, especially if the boat has been in the water recently.

Would you elaborate on how and where to use a moisture meter?

Thanks, Mike
 

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Discussion Starter · #136 ·
Yes, I think it would be worthwhile to have the surveyor accompany you on the sea trial.
An old but very helpful thread, thanks.

I've made an offer on a boat in SoCal that I was not able to see ahead of time. In essence, I made an offer sight unseen. The offer was contingent upon satisfactory inspection, sea trial, and survey. They countered and I accepted the counter offer.

I've found the local surveyor that I want to use. He is an accomplished sailor, familiar with the type of boat I'm looking at, and was highly recommended by a local sailor in my own Yacht Club who used him for a purchase a couple years ago. He is also specifically listed as an "approved" surveyor by my insurance company. So far so good.

The question is this. The surveyor is very happy to do the survey for me at a rate that sounds reasonable. However, he would also be willing to accompany me on the sea trial as well ahead of time. He would charge for this service, about 1/3 of what a survey would cost, but would have the chance to view the boat, systems, sails, and rigging in a dynamic environment as they are actually used. I'm tempted to do this. While I have lots of sailing experience, I'm not that experienced with yacht maintenance. I can tell if the boat sails well, but I don't think that I'm experienced enough to pick up on things that he might. If we see things that are deal-breakers, then the boat won't be hauled and it won't be surveyed, saving me the cost. OTOH, if the boat checks out OK, I still may get some worthwhile advice, opinions, etc... from an experienced circumnavigator on the boat.

The hat that he would be wearing during the sea trial is different that the one he would be wearing when he surveys the boat, I understand that. Given all that, do you think it may be worth $250-$300 to have him participate in the sea trial?

Dave
 

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Discussion Starter · #137 ·
Ed's approach is pretty similar to mine...
Saildog,

How do you come up with a reasonable offer, not offensive to seller?

newbie
 

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Capt Ron
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While I am new to sailing, I’ve been around boats my entire life.

A moisture meter that is readably available today will separate bad boats from your consideration list quickly.

I’d recommend buying one of them, and checking the boat personally before spending any money..

In one day, I dropped 5 of 7 boats from consideration… with a moisture meter


Also.. Knowing how a boat should sail.. Does it really tell you a boat is bad, vs rigged wrong? or how that boat sails vs how you feel it should sail? just a question. like I said.. I'm new at sailing
 

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Also.. Knowing how a boat should sail.. Does it really tell you a boat is bad, vs rigged wrong? or how that boat sails vs how you feel it should sail? just a question. like I said.. I'm new at sailing
I think someone with enough experience on a number of different boats, can make those determinations. There are a lot of sailors who have raced in a large number of boats who can evaluate a rig under sail and know what rigging adjustments would help and what the potential for the boat may be.

This is partly why I asked the question I did about having a surveyor go along with the sea trial. (Thanks for your answer SD) I know if a boat sails poorly, but despite a fair amount of dinghy racing experience, I'm not confident that I can tell you if it is because of poor rigging or just the poor sailing qualities of the design. A person more knowledgeable than I can do a much better job of making that determination. My broker (friends wife) has had lots of racing experience, but even so an uninterested observer could be helpful.

Dave
 
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