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A+ thread, glad it was bumped

First off I want to thank all of you for making this forum a wealth of knowledge and even a source of laughter at times. I am deployed to Iraq and what downtime I have is spent reading, learning via online celestial navigation courses and researching everything sailing related I can find.

That said, I have zero real knowledge but consider myself much more aware of what I must learn to master, in part, thanks to all of you fine people. :D

On to the purpose of this post; Thank You Saildog for this thread; I have read it several times over the past few months and may be utilizing the tips you and everyone else has shared upon my return stateside.

The plan is now to purchase a modest daysailer that needs some work, learn as much as I can, hands on, by restoring her myself; which I had not planned to do for 2 years, after taking some ASA courses and having at least enough experience to confidently say I can at least sail. But then it happened, while looking at listings one jumped out at me and now I am currently "looking" at a 20' sloop modestly priced and have only begun e-mail correspondence with the broker and to be honest, I was very discouraged by his vague responses to very specific questions, which I would not have known to ask, if it wasn't for you all.

I will let you all know how this first step into being a 1st time boat owner turns out, and Thank You again, everyone, for sustaining this great community.

Ben
 

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So many great, welcome tips here. As a newb, these are invaluable to me. This, too, gives a good sense of the comraderie, experience, and intelligence of our members.

One thing that largely seems to be missing in the various forum areas here and on other sailing forums are tips and general info on trailering, such as tow vehicle ratings, great trailerable boats, etc. I did find what appears to be good guidance over on the h260.com site under towning-basics.html. This kind of info seems to almost need its own forum area. But the boatloads of other info here are great and needed, no doubt, by so many shoppers and buyers.
 

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Water Lover
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I go where I'm towed.

One thing about towing that people might not think about is that the published towing capacity of a vehicle is really only a starting point. A little bit under doesn't mean you're necessarily okay. The trailer being towed, windage, wheelbase and weight distribution of the towing vehicle, tires, brake set-up, terrain and altitude, and weather will all have their say.

In general, you can get away with bumping your limit when moving a tow a few blocks to a boat ramp with moderate slope and good traction whereas you want to have a huge amount of reserve capacity for towing cross-country through mountains, weather, traffic, etc.

Overhead power poles are of course a sinister threat. Trailer tires generally need quite a lot more pressure than car tires, so check frequently. Protect tires from sun damage. And don't forget to be sure to have your hitch ball and coupler match, lock your coupler, and cross your chains. For a big cross-country trip, I could see wisdom in having pre-greased and bagged spare wheel bearings.

We once had a power outage at our lake cabin when someone towed a sailboat away from the lake -- until they encountered their first overhead powerline, which knocked the boat off the trailer.

We once know someone who tried to tow about 7500 lbs. with a 3500 lb. capacity towing vehicle. It sort of worked -- until they got to the first downhill and the trailer decided to pass them. Fortunately, the body damage that resulted was to the Cherokee and not to any people.
 

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Discussion Starter · #145 ·
To add to what Pat has said about trailers-

Tandem axle trailers should have brakes on all axles, not just one. This isn't always the case, and is illegal in many states.

The towing capacity of the vehicle needs to be well above the stated weight of the trailer and boat for any serious towing. I'd also point out that many boat and trailer combinations are far heavier than the manufacturer says.

Checking your trailer and boat against a calibrated truck scale is a good idea.

Weight distributing hitches are a great thing for heavier trailers.

One thing about towing that people might not think about is that the published towing capacity of a vehicle is really only a starting point. A little bit under doesn't mean you're necessarily okay. The trailer being towed, windage, wheelbase and weight distribution of the towing vehicle, tires, brake set-up, terrain and altitude, and weather will all have their say.

In general, you can get away with bumping your limit when moving a tow a few blocks to a boat ramp with moderate slope and good traction whereas you want to have a huge amount of reserve capacity for towing cross-country through mountains, weather, traffic, etc.

Overhead power poles are of course a sinister threat. Trailer tires generally need quite a lot more pressure than car tires, so check frequently. Protect tires from sun damage. And don't forget to be sure to have your hitch ball and coupler match, lock your coupler, and cross your chains. For a big cross-country trip, I could see wisdom in having pre-greased and bagged spare wheel bearings.

We once had a power outage at our lake cabin when someone towed a sailboat away from the lake -- until they encountered their first overhead powerline, which knocked the boat off the trailer.

We once know someone who tried to tow about 7500 lbs. with a 3500 lb. capacity towing vehicle. It sort of worked -- until they got to the first downhill and the trailer decided to pass them. Fortunately, the body damage that resulted was to the Cherokee and not to any people.
 

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What is wrong with the word petcock?

Do you feel the word is evil?
 

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Water Lover
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the censored orifice

The word censoring (pet****) may have been done by a computer somewhere or may have been done by a poster who has "nanny" software on his or her computer. Some of these programs may be so sensitive and devoid of contextual knowledge that they don't allow bird watchers to talk about a titmouse, diesel mechanics to talk about a petcock, or dog breeders to discuss their best bitches. Whereas at the anarchists' website....

To try to get back on topic, how much error is there in an amateur's use of a moisture meter to look at boats, and what are there the limits of how much you can learn with a moisture meter about a boat that is in the water?
 

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To try to get back on topic, how much error is there in an amateur's use of a moisture meter to look at boats, and what are there the limits of how much you can learn with a moisture meter about a boat that is in the water?
Error depends primarily on your experience with the meter and knowledge of material (isn't everything?). Someone who just bought whatever meter and went to use it on a first boat likely won't derive any useful information whatsoever. Someone who had used moisture meter consistently (and took time to physically inspect materials he tests) - would probably be as good (or better, as my last survey had shown :) ) as anyone. It's not magic - but it does require some knowledge and experience.

You can always check the deck of a boat in the water. With cored deck and non-cored hull construction, deck is where moisture meter most useful anyway.

A good moisture meter should also be designed to ignore "surface moisture" and take readings at a small depth (to ignore any mist or run-off), and have atmospheric moisture adjustment (without that you will have different readings of the same surface on humid or dry days). Appropriate equipment is a significant part of success.
 

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Discussion Starter · #151 ·
LSG's point about tow vehicles is a good one. Most boating forums, unless it is the Trailer Sailor's BB, don't have much information about tow vehicles or trailers for that matter.

Mouldy--

Steel hulls and decks have special needs, since they can suffer very badly from corrosion, and repairs to them have to be done properly and the steel has to be etched and protected from water and air. Corrosion never sleeps and a lot of the steel boats in the US are home-built ones and many of the home-built ones used less than appropriate grades of steel and are far more susceptible to corrosion problems than professionally built boats.

Another key issue for metal boats is to make sure the galvanic bonding of the through-hulls was properly done. Galvanic corrosion can be a huge issue, more so on aluminum boats than steel, but still a problem on steel boats as well. Bronze, which is commonly used for through-hulls is more noble than steel or aluminum and if the boat's zincs have been neglected will cause galvanic corrosion if they haven't been isolated from the hull. Marelon through-hulls would make much more sense on a steel or aluminum boat, as it avoids the issue of galvanic corrosion entirely.

Also, if you do decide to go ahead with a survey, make sure your surveyor is EXPERIENCED IN STEEL BOAT CONSTRUCTION. If they aren't, there are too many things they can miss.

BTW, I am not a big fan of steel boats. In boats under 40' LOA, it is a horribly heavy material and will generally be more tender than a fiberglass design of the same size, since the boat's center of gravity will be higher up and there will generally be less ballast. Unless you plan on going places where floating ice and such are going to be an issue, getting a steel boat doesn't make much sense IMHO. Of course, there are a few insane people, a certain fuzzy rat comes to mind, that do own steel boats.
 

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#31 - I measure the bunks and beds to make sure they'll fit my 6' height with a bit to spare.
#32 - I measure the cockpit seating and coaming heights. I tend to spend a lot of time in the cockpit and if I can't stretch out and get marginal back support, then I'm less interested.
#33 - Check the cockpit drains for size, hose and clamp integrity and blockage.
#34 - Run the wheel/rudder from lock to lock checking for binding. With visual access to the rudder post repeat the movement, checking for any wobble, looseness, or frayed cables.
#35 - I power up every system I can, checking that the breakers/fuses are properly labeled and function.
#36 - I open the breaker panel and look inside. A rats nest does not inspire confidence.
#37 - I check for loose items that should be secured (filters, batteries, strainers).
#38 - I pull up every floorboard, looking in the bilge for any water or problems. Deck accesses that don't come up are grounds for concern.
#39 - I sit on the toilet and and make sure there's room for me.
#40 - I look inside every locker and drawer. I'm not a perv, I just want to see what the space looks like, get an idea of the construction (or deconstruction), and make sure the locker and drawers can be properly secured.
#41 - I'll ask to see any manuals and maintenance logs. I generally get little of the former and less of the latter. Manuals are especially important if the gear is no longer in production and, to me, shows the owner kept the boat up.
#42 - I've got the listing with me and I'll annotate the sheets with model numbers, functionality, notes, and comments.
#43 - I stand behind the wheel and look forward. Does the dodger block my vision? Does the bimini rub the top of my head? Can I sit behind the wheel or move around the cockpit easily?
#44 - I sit and rest for a bit, listening, smelling, and getting the feel of the boat.
#45 - As the OP suggested, I'll download the pictures from the camera and then let what I saw, smelled, heard, and felt percolate through the gray matter. If I'm still interested then I take it to the next logical step.

I do this before I bring in the surveyors. If the boat doesn't meet my criteria or I find something that sets off warning bells, I move on. If I think this might be "the one" then I'll negotiate a price for the vessel, provide a refundable deposit and make sure the contract is to my specifications, not the sellers, not the broker(s), not some broker boilerplate; my time frame and requirements.

If the seller agrees, then I'll bring in surveyors: a general one first to make sure I've missed nothing structural; then a mechanic to check out the engine and transmission; and finally a rigger.

So far, 90% of the boats I've looked at have been in the water, so doing hull inspections comes after the surveys are done. The haul is generally done about the same time as the sea trial although I've had a separate sea trial in a couple cases.
 

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Discussion Starter · #153 ·
All excellent point OceansCapt.

I'd point out that you need to clarify in writing what gear and such comes with the boat. One friend of mine bought a boat and assumed all the gear that was on the boat at the time they had done the walkthrough were part of the sale....and was rudely surprised when almost none of the required USCG gear was aboard when they went to pick up the boat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #155 ·
Exellent thread ! Thanks SD and all others for the great input :)

I am glad to see that most is common sence !
Unfortunately, that's the part so many people are missing... :laugher
 

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Discussion Starter · #157 ·
A lot of common sense disappears when one is starry-eyed and in love.

A lot.
True..but then again, some people didn't have much to start with...
 
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