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I looked around real quick and didn't find any threads about stories about the search for the boats. I figured what the heck...with a lack of better things to do on a Monday night why not start a thread.

My wife and I looked at a handful of boats over 6 months. We're pretty young and didn't have a bunch of money so we were looking at some real fixer-uppers.....or boats that needed some TLC as I would tell my wife. I finally found a boat down in Solomon's that looked like it might be in pretty good shape for alittle more than we wanted to spend but I figured what the heck. I told the wife we should take a day trip to point lookout, had a wonderful walk around, picnic, etc then after leaving I thought we could drive to the marina and check out a boat i saw on the web. Things were going well even after the wife realized my true intentions for this trip. Once we got up in the cockpit, it was unlocked so we took a peek inside (yea, probably a no-no but we were there and I wasn't calling the broker to meet us on a sunday). My wife said, wow this isn't a piece of crap like the other ones...right there I knew I had a shot. 3 hours later we made a tentative offer, a seatrial and a few weeks later we were sailing up the bay bringin the new boat home.

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My wife and I have also been looking for 6 months. We got so darn tired of owners lying to us on the phone about the condition. To a lesser extent same deal with brokers. The few people who were honest about the condition of their boat on the phone had unrealistic ideas about the boats value.

Some of the funniest stories, were,

"we replaced the head hoses with hi end hoses so there would be no smell. Head stunk so bad I couldn't go in!"

"Lots of Sails, in good shape, ya lots of sails all 20 plus years old with all the snap of an old bed sheet."

Engine is in great shape..... ya sure, blows blue smoke and has 2700 hours with one small fuel filter and oil blacker and thicker than roofing tar.

I asked.... any gel coat crazing or cracks, answer, just a few, yup just a few dozen.

We tried to keep a smile on our faces, but found it to be exhausting. The saddest part was having to answer untruthfully why I would not make an offer on one boat. Because the owner made cabinetry that he was so proud of was ugly, poorly constructed, with a horrible varnish job to boot. I just couldn't look at it it was so bad, he was so proud of his work. I lied and told him I thought a more modern boat would suit us better.

Maybe the funniest story was when I went with a broker to look at another brokers listing. I went to take a sailcover off. He said abruptly hey, what are you doing, you can't do that unless you are going to buy the boat. Said same thing when I asked to have engine started. So pee on him, I wrote that boat off my list and found a new broker and a week later had a boat. Thousands in commission that fool won't see. The new broker, started engines, uncovered sails, got me service records, asked what else I need to see, what a refreshing change. If you need a good broker in Seattle , I got one for you.

With fingers still crossed, we have a boat under contract now, survey to happen this coming weekend hopefully. What everyone said was true........ "You will know your boat when you see it" We saw it and a week later wrote the deposit. It is quick, comfortable and one owner.


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Too many wasted trips looking at 'well maintained' boats.
Yup I made over 50 trips two find just two candidates!!!! Most, like 95%, of boats are in horse do do condition!!!

We once drove six hours to look at a "very well maintained boat" that the owner stored in his yard so he could work on her. When we arrived there was the boom with the main sail wrapped around it sitting on the ground next to the boat rotting. The boat and the boom were uncovered under 100+ foot white pine trees. The cabin had 16-18" of water over the floor boards and the deck was leaking and oozing out a brown goo of coffee color that was rotting deck core. Oh and one blade was sheared off the prop and the boat had been grounded so hard the water from inside was slowly leaking out of the keel to hull joint... But the hatches were open to "air" it out or let it fill up like an indoor swimming pool...:confused::confused:

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2 Year Search

My wife and I spent 2 years looking for our boat. We started out wanting either a Pacific Seacraft, Hans Christian, Cabo Rico, or Island Packet sailboat after going to numerous boat shows and doing a lot of on line research. We looked at a few used Island Packet sailboats (350, 370, 380) but they were priced too high. We couldn't find any Hans Christian sailboats in our price range either, on the West Coast, and no used Pacific Seacraft sailboats could be found at the time on the West Coast either. So we went to the Pacific Seacraft dealer in Dana Point California to see if we could swing a new Dana 24. After putting down all our "got to have" items, the cost for a new Dana 24 was out of our reach. We did have a chance to spend time on a PS 24, 31, and 37 and really liked the traditional look and ruggedness, so we decided to focus on that brand.

Luckily we met a great broker at the PS dealer in Dana Point who agreed to help us find a PS sailboat. Soon after, a 20' Flicka came on the market in San Diego, and we went to see it. It needed a few cosmetic items, but was in good shape. The owner wanted $19K for it, so we offered $15K to start the negotiation process. He was selling it due to a divorce and needed the $19K and would go no lower. The wife didn't want to pay $19K so the deal fell through. Kept on looking.

We then found 2 Miriah 31s for sale of the 1979 vintage. The first one was in rough shape and the wife didn't want to spend time fixing it up. She also said it smelled really bad and that turned her off to it. The 2nd one was in great shape but was over priced, and the broker even told us the guy really didn't want to sell it based on his asking price.

We found another 20' Flicka for $25K that was in very good shape, and put an offer on it. We were all set to do a sea trial and survey when I found an Orion 27 listed by the dealer in Dana Point. The listing had only been on line for 1 hour and I called about it. Our broker arranged a visit that day and needless to say, we cancelled the sea trial on the Flicka and put an offer on the Orion 27 which was accepted that evening.

The following week we did a sea trial and survey on the Orion 27 and liked what we saw. We finalized the deal then spent 40 days waiting for the bank paperwork to go through. The owner almost backed out due to the delay, but we were able to get the bank to issue a letter stating that they had messed up the paperwork processing and we would be done in 4 days time. That saved the deal. In September of 2006 we took ownership of LittleWing and have been happy ever since.

Of course, one week after we had LittleWing, a mint condition Hans Christian 33 came on the market, within our budget range, but we don't talk about that anymore.

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We had an interesting experince just about this time last year.

In November 2007 the Hinterhoeller Niagara 26 we had owned for 6 years was sold. We had put it up for sale because we were no longer staying aboard much and doing more day sailing and racing. Priced such that if it sold we would get a good price but if not we would still have a good boat. One potential buyer who had been corresponding for two months drove 5 hours to see the boat in mid November and made an offer - and then we were boatless.

My wife and I had decided that if we replaced the boat we could go for less accomodation or less performance but not both. In the end we decided to look for a boat that compromised interior comfort at same or better performace and for less than we sold the Niagara.

Initially we looked at Kirby 25, Bombardier 7.6 (Holland 7.6) and older J24. As the search widened someone suggested Olson 30 which was at top (or just above) the price range we had in mind but lead to Olson 25 which was a pretty neat boat. One of my criteria was that I did not want a boat that had just had topsides refinished (expensive!), etc... as I wanted some work to do on the boat and hoped to get a better price as a result.

The Bombardier had the best interior even if no headroom but an awkward coachroof, the Olson 25 we liked was quite far away and had some blisters at waterline but these were repairable with a bit of work, the older J24 were just a bit too spartan and the Kirby 25 also had almost no interior but more importantly not very much comfort to sit in cockpit.

So all the above boats met my criteria. They could be purchased for less than we sold previous boat for, had nice performance but sacrificed a lot of comfort. Some of these "compromise boats" were actually for sale at the same price we sold the previous boat - sort of a step down for the same money ....

One day I did a search on Olson looking for Olson 25 and found a Sailing World article on 16 PHRF performers on a budget. the Olson 30 triggered this search evevn though I was looking for Olson 25. On the list was a boat I had not heard of - the J/27. I went from there toa Yachtworld search on J/27 and found a boat advertised as "good for someone who does some fiberglass work". That was me so I called the broker, got the goods, severely lowballed with an offer and then bought the boat sight unseen in a foreign country 1300 km from home with no survey.

The broker told me exactly what was wrong with the boat - it had wet areas on deck esp around stanchions and the sails were old. The broker described everything very accurately and the pictures posted showed the potential of the boat. It needed new cabin sole, some deck recoring, a bottom job, a cradle and some major cleanup.

We drove down in May of last year to get the boat and it was exactly as advertised. Except the "old sails" included a 3 year old dacron main and genoa, a beautiful UK Tape Drive main that had light use and a nice light wind mylar genoa. the engine had just been serviced and the cushions looked brand new as they never spent any time on the boat. All in all the boat was in better condition than expected.

Spent a LOT of hours last Spring putting the boat back in sailing condition and thoroughly enjoyed for 2008 season. No regrets. The total time from selling the Niagara to buying the J was less than 2 weeks.

Was a fun fun fun experience and the broker was very good to deal with. the best part is that we consider the J a step up more than a step sideways. Fabulous sailing boat with pleasing lines and FAST!

J27 #150

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One horrible boat!

Here's a good story about a bad boat. Hope that counts. While searching for our boat, we scheduled a viewing of a Sabre 34 in our area. The pics looked all right, but when we got to the boat, we knew something wasn't right. First, she wasn't sitting correctly in the water, she was down by the bow (never did figure out why). The dodger was on incorrectly (like someone removed it and didn't know how to put it back on.

When we got down below, we realized the "new" cushions in the cabin were made of that superhard substance that I would hesitate to call "foam". It was more like sitting on a slightly soft concrete slab.

The cabin sole showed evidence of major leaks and even rot underneath.

We lifted up the cushions to check out the water tanks and storage--we found that the area around the inspection ports on both water tanks were blackened with some sort of growth, and there were little white "larvae" of some sort--not maggots, but really disgusting anyway--crawling over the inspection port. ICK.

The head WREAKED. It was so bad that we couldn't physically take being down below. We had to immediate leave the boat.

I could go on and on about what we saw, but you get the idea. I think perhaps we were on board for about 3.5 minutes.

It was by far the worst boat we looked at, and was listed as "showing beautifully" and "perfect example", etc. The worst of it is that the asking price was the highest (at the time) of the Sabre 34s we looked at. Just plain awful. By the way, this lovely vessel is still for sale. :eek:

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How about an "impulse purchase" story?

We had moved from Colorado to Michigan only 3 weeks before we became boat-owners, having fallen seriously in love with sailing after a week's learn-to-sail liveaboard vacation in the USVI. We had gone touristing to Traverse City on northern Lake Michigan and walked through the marina as we were exploring the city. Saw an older Ericson 27 sitting with a "For Sale" sign. Price was so low that we could totally make a mistake, hate the boat, and still survive.

We didn't do any research or comparison shopping, this was the only boat we'd seen and we hadn't even started our search. But somehow, this boat wasn't "calling" our names, it was shrieking, yelling, broadcasting our name IN CAPITAL LETTERS!!!!!! We HAD to have this boat!!! Went on a sea trial. Ripped off the "for sale" sign on the way back into the marina and handed it back to the owner, along with our check. We didn't hate the boat, we fell deeper and deeper in love. Spent every single summer weekend aboard for the next couple of years, then realized we were totally utterly hooked and started looking for a full-time liveaboard.

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In 2007 we decided to get a boat to sail in the North Channel. We looked at a basket case Dolphin 24. A more ready Dolphin, and a 25 Cat. The Cat was too much to swing. We found a 22 Cat at a charity shop for $2k including a trailer. That was in April and by July she was on the water in Bruce Mines ON. I had to add some standing rigging ends, all the running rigging, put in a pumpout porta potty, rewired and used a 6hp Johnson I had. We only sailed her a couple of hours on local lakes.

We tooled around St. Joe Island, Horseshoe Island, Detour and back during the next week. Ran a ground once in the Drummond channels. Had a fabulous time except for the porta potty. Using it was a real pain because of the lack of headroom and privacy as it was in the v Berth. At the end of the summer, sold it for $2,500. Sold the motor for another $400.

This past spring we starting checking out other boats. This time with a separate head. We want a trailer boat because of the quick driving to so many big lakes and easier storage costs. We ended up buying a US25. The glass was in very good condition, very few scratches even. The interior was OK. The boat came with a 10HP electric start Chrysler with remote controls, roller furling, spinnaker and pole, radio, sails, autopilot, two batteries and other assorted goodies. Its up on a trailer with rollers. It can be launched in a deep launch which we know of many.

Of course there are issues. The ports leak, the interior is poorly maintained. However, the clincher was that the interior is not a glass tub, the whole interior is wood. This spring, I am stripping her down to the hull and redoing her with an aft kitchen and stretching out the v berth a couple of inches and making the head bulkheads full width so there is much more space to use as a changing area for the grandkids. I'll hope to get that done for some summer cruising. We move to the Up of Michigan and lakes Michigan, Huron and Superior are all in an hour's drive. If I can get the mast raising and lowering process down to a reasonable time, day sails would be a reasonable expectation. It came with the pivot frame for raising it.

So far, I have accumulated new opening ports, a dual battery charger, new compass, GPS, an lot of books and ideas. Can't wait till spring. Its on the hard in the back yard under a tarp surrounded by 24 inches of snow.

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I purchased my boat in July of 2005 in Oxford, Maryland. Here's how the process went:

I found the boat on, had a question about the listing, and e-mailed the broker. He sent back the details I was looking for.

I did research on the boat model, and decided it was a boat I was interested in. The boat was in Maryland and I was in New Hampshire, so to justify the trip down, I decided to go ahead and make an offer sight unseen, contingent on my own inspection and a satisfactory survey. I called the broker and he gave me some further information about the boat, and I offered 2/3 of the asking price. The broker faxed me their standard contract, I filled it in with dates and conditions of my offer, and mailed it back with a deposit check (10% of the offer).

A few days later the broker called me up, as he had received my check and presented my offer to the seller. The seller wanted to split the difference between my offer and his asking price, but the broker confided that he thought the seller would come down to my offer "on survey issues." He did say that my offer was as low as the seller would likely go.

My response was to stick to my offering price, and say that the survey would be a buy-it or walk-away deal rather than a point for further price negotiation. I knew that the price was already at rock bottom. The seller accepted this.

So with a signed contract in hand, I made arrangements to travel down to Maryland to see the boat, and also made appointments to see other boats while down there, just for comparison purposes. I also refined my self-survey checklist and packed up my tools.

Since I was going to be in the Annapolis area for a day or two anyway, I made appointments to look at several other boats as well as the one I had a contract on, just for comparison.

I spent three or four hours inspecting the boat in great detail. It was obvious that the boat had been sailed hard and put away wet for much of its life, and would need a lot of work, but I knew this going into the deal. It was a "project boat," but it appeared to have good bones. I did not uncover any major flaws, and decided to proceed to the next step and hire a surveyor.

I had previously identified potential surveyors in the area, so I just had to call them up for a quick interview and make my decision who to hire. I chose one who had been highly recommended by a respected boatyard manager in the area. We set a date, and I called the broker to make arrangements -- the boat was on the hard and would need to be launched for a sea trial. One of the big unknowns following my inspection was the condition of the engine. It was reported to start every time, but I wanted confirmation before finalizing the purchase.

Since the survey was a make it or break it thing, and since I planned to be present for the survey, I felt comfortable in making my decision to purchase or not on the day of the survey without waiting for the surveyors full written report. I confirmed with the broker what the closing costs would be, and got a bank check for that amount. Then it was back to Maryland again for the survey.

The surveyor pointed out numerous issues that needed attention, but nothing I wasn't already aware of or prepared to deal with. He was able to confirm that the hull was "dry" (another concern I had). Eventually the boatyard got the boat in the water, the seller showed up, and we all went out to motor about for a bit. Indeed the engine did start, and it actually ran pretty well. We then returned to a slip at the boatyard, the surveyor went up the mast to check the rig, and completed other parts of his inspection.

Walking back to his truck, the surveyor asked me if I was going to go for it, and I replied that I was -- he hadn't uncovered anything that turned me off from it. Then he asked me what I wanted him to list as the market value in his report! He said the broker had told him how much I was paying, and it was clear from these comments that he thought I was getting a good deal. I had looked up BUC, NADA, and Boat/US ValueCheck values, as well as reviewed the listings for sister ships on the market, so I had a figure in mind. More than what I was paying, for sure -- much more!

Following this, I went over to the broker's office where the seller was waiting, and handed over my check, and we signed all the paperwork, and the boat was mine. I should point out that I was paying cash and no bank or other financier, nor any insurance company, was involved in the transaction. In addition to the outstanding balance on the agreed-upon sales price, closing costs included title search and abstract from the Coast Guard (for a documented vessel), State of Maryland sales tax, title and registration fees, and the broker's notary fee. Additional costs included paying the surveyor, paying the boatyard for putting new zincs on before splashing the boat, and I also decided to re-document the boat in my name with the Coast Guard (which I handled myself separately). I had previously made arrangements for a berth for the boat and for delivering it from the boatyard where I purchased it to its new home, so we then carried out those plans.

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Ah, the long, convoluted search for a boat. We started out looking at various boats from 65' on down, trying to find something that'd work. We planned on using some of the profit from selling our house as down payment. After finally settling on a Catalina 380, after many false starts, we waited patiently for the house to move. It didn't.... I started looking at boats I could buy outright and found a Kettenburg 46 that I liked. Fredia didn't really like it much but would go along with it. The seller was a foundation that will remain unnamed and their broker was like the slimiest used car salesman ever. Needless to say, the deal fell through.

During that process, I had come in contact with the President of the Kettenburg Assoc. and he emailed me pics of Oh Joy one Saturday morning. I had never sailed on anything but a sloop and wasn't considering anything with more than one stick. I asked to meet him and was there at 10AM. We looked at the boat and I was really impressed, especially when he told me at the bar that I could probably buy her for a dollar since they'd tried to donate her to his foundation. We walked back to the boat, I met the owner and we took her for a little powered test sail to check the engine. Everything seemed ok so when we got back, I offered him $20.00 USD. He accepted my offer and I had him write out a receipt. His wife then mentioned that they owed some back moorage, about $600.00 so I said don't sweat it. "I just bought your dream for twenty bucks so I'll take care of it". A week later, myself and two others sailed her home in what turned out to be a Force 10 storm, but that's another story.

Here she is, a 1961 Knutson K35, 38'4" LOA, 10' Beam with a 5'6" draft.

Surprisingly, Fredia liked this boat, something I never thought would happen.
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