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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello All,

I did a quick search and didn't find any directly relevant answers, so here goes...

I'm thinking of purchasing a SJ21 in seemingly great condition (deck re-cored recently) but there is not a certified marine surveyor in the local area (Indianapolis) where it's for sale. I found a marine surveyor from a couple of hours away who said he had a minimum charge of $500 plus $300 for the 4 hour round trip travel to the boat. He indicated that he wouldn't recommend spending $800 on a survey for a $3500 sailboat purchase. I live in Knoxville, TN so I could purchase the boat and then have a surveyor check it out here... Any thoughts on whether this is a good idea?

Thanks for the help.
 

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For that price, I'd do my own survey.

Find the San Juan 21 discussion board (there has to be one) and ask for common issues. Better yet, find the owners associaiton or a local race/regatta for one design and ask for common issues. Then scope out your boat.

A friend of mine has one of these and there is a common issue on the keel trunk where it leaks.
 

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I agree with doing your own survey. Put the money towards the repairs you'll do. When I bought my first boat I had an experienced sailor I knew give it a quick once over, that was all.

But I was buying a project boat that could float.
 

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"(deck re-cored recently) "
So it HAS needed major work. May or may not have been done properly, may or may not need more work. Spending $800 to survey a $3500 boat does seem absurb, but I'd suggest trying to get someone, with some experience, to lay hands and eyes on the boat.
The problem is that IF there are more surprises, you can wind up needing to put another five grand into the boat, or paying hazmat dispoal fees to get rid of it. You can't just drop 'em off at the local landfill. So yes, you can lose way more than the purchase price of the boat.
If you can't find any other help, then do a crash course with some of the "how to survey your own boat" sites/books, and look it over very carefully for possible structural issues. Maybe you cna find someone from your area, who would go up with you when you go to pick up the boat, and do a "crash survey" before you hand over the payment?
 

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For my part, I just find people smarter than myself (not hard) to go look at boats with me (also not hard) and then make sure I sleep on everything before making a decision (often quite hard).

I've found a few times that boats which were AWESOME!!!! when I first saw them looked pretty disappointing after a good night's sleep.

Course, applying that to your situation is difficult, as the boat isn't near you. in your case, recognizing that this is free advice and worth every penny, I would offer this: Boats grow on trees. There is always another one. In the 18 to 22 foot range, there are usually another 10.

$3500 buys an awfully nice 20 foot boat these days. It's a buyers market.. sure can't hurt to take advantage of that.
 
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A re-core is definitely a yellow flag, right? You want to be sure you know how this boat was cared for and used. I wouldn't spend that kind of money on a surveyor, but I would find a qualified mechanic or other knowledgeable person to come look, even if I had to pay them for a couple of hours. There is little logic to having it surveyed after you purchase her, unless you are just looking for a repair list.

The primary filter here is how easy it would be for you to lose the $3,500. A major hidden problem can remove all value from boat like this, which is why its hard to use them as collateral for a loan. If that's all your disposable savings, do this right. If that is a common bet on the blackjack table for you, then don't sweat it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks so much for the advice... The SJ21 does have known issues with the deck (water damage) and keel. I found an accredited marine surveyor (SAM) who is only about 75 minutes from Indianapolis and therefore much more reasonable in price. I've decided to go that route as I don't want to be stuck with a major hidden problem. Although $3500 - 4000 isn't much for a sail boat, it means a bit to me, so the $300 or so spent on the surveyor makes sense for peace of mind.

Thanks Again!

Doug
 

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Doug,

And if you decide not to buy this boat, you'll have the survey to see what the surveyor looked for and found so that it'll educate you about the next boat, especially if it's the same type of boat.

Our survey taught us a lot and the surveyor allowed us to ask questions as he went along and he provided really good explanations. Maybe yours will too. It helps you get even more out of the cost!

Good luck!
 

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Doug,

And if you decide not to buy this boat, you'll have the survey to see what the surveyor looked for and found so that it'll educate you about the next boat, especially if it's the same type of boat.

Our survey taught us a lot and the surveyor allowed us to ask questions as he went along and he provided really good explanations. Maybe yours will too. It helps you get even more out of the cost!

Good luck!
This is such a great point. The first survey I sat through was an enormous education.
 

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Back in its day, the 70's, the SJ-21 was an inexpensively-built boat. Hull to deck joint was mediocre.
OTOH, real Good sailor and fast, being a big dinghy-shape with a sit-down interior.
Better built & rigged than a Venture or a Clipper Marine, to name a couple from lower down that list.
The thing is, you can buy scads of boats from that era for under $2000., that are more easily certified as ready to sail and enjoy.

You've already read some great advice here, and I would only echo the reply about getting a survey on that boat (and any other you buy, even for near-free), for the education alone.

Good luck,

LB
 

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Thanks so much for the advice... The SJ21 does have known issues with the deck (water damage) and keel. I found an accredited marine surveyor (SAM) who is only about 75 minutes from Indianapolis and therefore much more reasonable in price. I've decided to go that route as I don't want to be stuck with a major hidden problem. Although $3500 - 4000 isn't much for a sail boat, it means a bit to me, so the $300 or so spent on the surveyor makes sense for peace of mind.

Thanks Again!

Doug
If it is that close you might be able to leave a deposit with the owner, and trailer it to the survey. That might save you some money.
 

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Thanks so much for the advice... The SJ21 does have known issues with the deck (water damage) and keel. I found an accredited marine surveyor (SAM) who is only about 75 minutes from Indianapolis and therefore much more reasonable in price. I've decided to go that route as I don't want to be stuck with a major hidden problem. Although $3500 - 4000 isn't much for a sail boat, it means a bit to me, so the $300 or so spent on the surveyor makes sense for peace of mind.

Thanks Again!

Doug
Going rate to survey a boat that size with travel is about $500, so if he's doing it for $300 you are getting a very good deal. I just hope he does a good survey for you. Sometimes you get what you pay for. He should be there for at least a few hours and your report should be very detailed...especially if he's accredited through SAMS. Good luck.
 

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SJ21s are relatively simple boats. They do not have a lot of systems. The hull is solid FRP with a cored deck. A survey is not going to teach you much about this boat that you would not be able to easily figure out on your own if you have prior sailing experience. The cost for the survey would be a waste of money in my opinion for a $3,500 boat that is pretty much what you see is what you get. Although $3,500 is steep for that boat. I would expect new rigging, sails and engine for that price.

Use SailingDog's inspection list and do the survey yourself.

Here is the SJ21 list. Jim Hubbard's San Juan 21 Sailing Page

They are fun to sail. I had mine for 4 years in Casco bay. Unfortunately there are not many in this end of the country so no active racing fleets.

BTW, I sold mine for $1,200 in 2002 and it was in very good condition.
 

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SJ21s are relatively simple boats. They do not have a lot of systems. The hull is solid FRP with a cored deck. A survey is not going to teach you much about this boat that you would not be able to easily figure out on your own if you have prior sailing experience. The cost for the survey would be a waste of money in my opinion for a $3,500 boat that is pretty much what you see is what you get. Although $3,500 is steep for that boat. I would expect new rigging, sails and engine for that price.

Use SailingDog's inspection list and do the survey yourself.

Here is the SJ21 list. Jim Hubbard's San Juan 21 Sailing Page

They are fun to sail. I had mine for 4 years in Casco bay. Unfortunately there are not many in this end of the country so no active racing fleets.

BTW, I sold mine for $1,200 in 2002 and it was in very good condition.
What he said. Educate yourself about the boat, get an experienced boat buddy, and the two of you go over the boat yourselves thoroughly. A disinterested 3rd party (your experienced boat buddy) will help you see the boat with an unemotional view.

That being said, there's no way in hell that I'd pay $4,000 for a 21' boat that had deck core and keel issues.

For Christ's sake, I just paid $4,000 for a 30 foot boat that is completely dry, and has almost no issues of any kind aside from tired sails! You can do better.
 

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I'm going to pile on here I'm sure it seems, but two things; for a basic day sailor of that vintage, $3500.00 is a LOT in this current economy. I can show you plenty of 27-30 boats in that range that are ready to sail. Of course I know nothing about Indianapolis, so I'll defer to your knowledge as to availability.

$300.00 is definitely a fair price for a survey, done right, but I'd also agree with posters that think it's something you can do for yourself, in a boat this size. Whatever makes you feel the most comfortable is the best decision there, I think. Good luck and keep us posted. We look forward to seeing a "Happy New Sailboat Day" thread in the near future.
 

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Only the OP can really assess their own ability to survey this boat themselves. I suspect all those that suggest it be done by the OP have all owned boats for many years and perhaps bought and sold several. I'm not sure if I picked up whether this is the OP's first boat. Odds are, however, if they were comfortable in having the skills to do so, they wouldn't have posted this question at all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks for all the advice... this is my first boat as an owner but have sailed a sj21 when I was a kid in Puerto Rico. I have 25 yrs of bareboating experience but am a beginner when it comes to maintenance and systems. This SJ 21 has brand new sails, paint, lines, rigging, etc. Most SJ21 in good shape fetch $3000 - Hubbard's website has a for sale section for reference... that price also includes a trailer with new tires.
The fact that she has been re-cored can be a good thing since that is a real common SJ21 problem. Hopefully the surveyor can tell if it was done correctly. You can find the boat description on Indianapolis Craigslist and let me know your thoughts... I don't know how to post links using my DROID yet... Thanks again,everyone.
Also, the boat is currently being sailed regularly- so I think it's "dry"... if not, I hope the surveyor finds the evidence.
Thanks


Doug
 

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Most SJ21 in good shape fetch $3000 - Hubbard's website has a for sale section for reference...
Most XYZ in good shape have "asking prices" of $_____ is a more rational look at the market. The selling price and the asking price are two different things. What some of the other posters were hinting at is in "this market" and "this economy" the selling price can be quite different.

Sure, there will be sellers who hold out, and they often remain sellers.

Sure, you can buy a boat at the asking price too.

Bareboating you might not have heard "the two happiest days in a boat owners life are the day he buys the boat, and the day he sells it"
 
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