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Discussion Starter #1
Long time lurker, first time poster.

We have an offer in on what we hoped would be our first sailboat, a Sabre 34 mk I, I went to the survey today. At the haulout both the yard crew and the surveyor were remarking about what a lovely boat she is. The hull is in perfect condition according to the surveyor.

Unfortunately, there are are a lot of wet spots on the deck, probably about 14 linear feet of deck, including the entire area around the port and starboard chainplates. This was very dissappointing. My question is, is it even possible to find a 25 year old boat with dry decks? The whole experience was very discouraging, we've looked at a lot of boats (our price range is up to $50,000) and this is the first one we were excited about.

Any ideas for boats around 34 feet that sail well? We want to sail it to the bahamas in 3 years or so, we're on the Great Lakes now.

Thanks

Gary
 

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That is disappointing especially since Sabres are better built than most boats. You may be looking at a boat where the shrouds were over tightened and the owner did not maintain the caulking where the shrouds pass through the deck. But yes it is possible to find a 25 year old boat with dry decks.

Jeff
 

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There are plenty of boats in the 30-34' range that sail well. Also, quite a few with dry decks in that age range. Much of it depends on how the boat was used and maintained.

Generally, boats that were raced may have more deck problems than boats that were used less hard, but this is not always the case.

Last year, a friend bought an older Tartan 34 which was raced, but was maintained impeccably, and had no hull or deck issues. The sails and rigging were in need of replacing, but other than that, it was in good shape.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
That's encouraging

That's encouraging to know that it is possible to find an older boat with dry decks. Are there any signs I should look for that would indicate the boat is being well cared for, other than basic cosmetic stuff? The surveyor pointed out the gel coat crazing around the wet areas. I would hate to have to pay for half a dozen surveys to find one decent boat.

We really liked the boat, it would be hard to find another around here because there just aren't that many Sabres 34s in these parts, especially fin keels. I was surprised because the current owner seems to be taking good care of the boat.

We may have an opportunity to look at a Tartan 37 this weekend; it's another boat we've been considering although we've never been aboard one. Of course it's more expensive but maybe we wouldn't have to move up in 4 or 5 years.
 

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Tartan 37

I had a Tartan 37 and completely rebuilt her. she was a fine boat and i put 15,000 Blue water miles miles on her in 4 years. with the centerboard up she is particularly great in skinny water like the bahamas.
she went through 2 hurricanes , a storm , and many gales with no damage.
GREAT OCEAN BOAT.
you might want to go to the tartan wensite
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/tartansailing/?yguid=190615546
i have hundreds of pix of the rebuild if you are interested.
you will probably find some small area of wet deck around the upper chainplates.

fair winds,
eric
 

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Well, take a look at the little details, like under the cushions, and in the dark spaces in the bottom and back corners of storage lockers. If a boat has been well-maintained, those areas are likely to show it... if it has just been cleaned up to show well, they usually neglect the areas that are prominent or immediately visible.

I highly recommend that you carry a good flashlight, pen, notebook and digital camera with you, whenever you go to see a possible boat to buy. Your memory can play tricks on you, but the camera and the notes you take about the photos will help you to remember the actual visit better.

Another good thing to look for is areas where the gelcoat doesn't seem to be the same color, or areas where the hull's surface or curvature seems to not run fair. These may be indicators of previous damage or repairs. Down below, look at the doorways and cabinets—are they true or do they seem like they are out of square. If they seem out of square, it may mean that the bulkhead or framing that they are attached to has shifted. In one boat I was looking at for a friend, the passageway to the head had some scrapes on the floor from the head's folding door, and it turned out the forward bulkhead that the door was attached to had broken away from the hull and deck.

One thing I've found, looking at a lot of boats, is that the really spotless, beautiful boats are often hiding something underneath the shine. If a boat looks like it was just painted and varnished, and the owner is selling the boat—you might want to ask why did they sink the money in to refinish the boat if they're selling it... all too often, the answer is that it wouldn't of been possible to sell the boat as it was.

Check the bilge. If the bilge is wet, and the boat is in the ocean...see if the water is salty, fresh or brackish. If it is salty, then the water is coming from the ocean...through a through hull or the packing gland or such. If it is fresh, it is either the freshwater tank leaking or something on the deck leaks... if it is brackish... then it is both.

Check the engine compartment, and see how clean it is. If it looks spotless, it is most likely that it was recently steam-cleaned, for the sale... If it s filthy, then it probably isn't all that well-maintained. If it is neat and orderly, but not spotless, it is probably a well-maintained engine. Few owners keep the engine compartment spotless, as it is not realistic to do so, but a good maintenance program includes neatening up the wires, cleaning up any oil drips or leaks, etc.

Ask to see the maintenance logs for the boat
. A good owner will generally keep a pretty decent maintenance log for his boat...as it helps him remember what they've done, and what they have yet to do.

I hope this helps.
 

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SailingDog... eggggzatly!!!!!!

those are wonderful recommendations!
Those are things a potential buyer can do BEFORE they spend good money on a survey.


I took a look at a 25 year old boat 2 years ago that was pretty as a new penny, the owners had invested in gallons of Cetol, All new lines and sheets, you could see yourself in every piece of brass, the cabin brightwork was like a mirror. Quiet classical music was playing on the stereo, scented candles were lit, all providing great ambiance.

I stepped on the foredeck and could hear the glass cracking under my feet. It was like a sponge. I've seen trampolines with less bounce. I went below, felt under the hull/deckjoint pulled out a handfull of rotted wood near a stanchion. I informed the prospective buyer that under no circumstances should they purchase this tub. (no, I didn't charge them) I proceeded to give the broker a short, but vocal piece of my mind. (as I was getting into my car, the broker wanted to know if he could buy me a beer.....uh, no.)

update: Boat is still for sale, and the owners have raised the price 10k.


Some other things I'd do, is walk the docks at the marina when there are other sailboaters around, ask them if they "know anything" about the particular boat you're looking at. We boaters are an opinionated bunch, and usually, the dockmates will be more than willing to tell you what they know...(sometimes, they'll tell you things they don't know too)
 

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camaraderie said:
Sailing Dog...you forgot one...if the water tastes soapy then the shower and sink drain to the bilge! <grin> Good post!
Being a dog, I generally SNIFF not taste the water in the bilge... drinking out of a perfectly clean toilet is one thing, but all sorts of nasty stuff can be found in a bilge—yes, us canines have standards. ;)

Two other things that I just remembered.
.. if you see/smell oil or diesel, then the engine or the mechanic maintaining it has a problem, and if you smell bodily fluids, the head or holding tank system probably is in need of maintenance or repair. These are both bad signs too. :D Personally, I'd rather deal with leaking oil than a leaking head... but that's just me.

CardiacPaul's advice on talking to the marina neighbors is also a good one. Finding out that the previous owner's left the boat sitting at the dock for the season without any use or maintenance is generally a good indicator of a neglected boat. An owner who is down to do work or use his/her boat every week is going to probably have a boat in much better shape. Beauty, in used boats, is really skin deep, but the ugly boats are ugly to their bones.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
thanks for the tips!

Great tips!

This boat was moved down here to SE michigan from Northern Michigan to sell as there are more potential buyers down here; nobody around here would know anything about the boat. The previous owner passed away, the current owner bought it after his death. I was out for a sea trial with the owner on Sunday, he's a nice guy and I honestly don't think he knew about the decks. But like Sailordog mentioned, the varnish on the brightwork and in the cabin sure looks like it was just touched up.

Anyway, the widely respected surveyor told me that I shouldn't give up on the boat; if I could get it for $30,000 instead of the orignal offer of $42,000 it would be a good deal. He's going to email me the name of 2 small yards across the river in Canada that do excellent repair work for reasonable prices.

I made the 30k counter offer; the broker, who is somewhat sleazy, says there is a difference between "moist" and "wet" decks. He wants to see the pertinent survey pages that detail the condition of the decks before taking the offer to the owner; I haven't received a copy of the survey yet since it was just performed yesterday. Of course not being very email savvy he immediately emailed the owner the offer and cc'd me.

Anyway, the broker's optimal strategy at this point is to do anything to complete the sale. The surveyor in question, I asked 3 or 4 brokers and experienced sailors to give me a list of the 3 best surveyors in the area, this guy was at the top of everyone's list. I don't think his capability or integrity are in question. I was with him during the survey and both heard the dull slapping sound the mallet made and saw the moisture meter spike around the affected areas, the broker is not going to convince me that this is a minor problem.

Also, I don't see what other options the current owner has. He can have the repair work done at his expense, and hope to recoup the cost next year. He definitely can't sell it for the orignal 47.5k asking price this year. The other factor working against him is that around here everyone wants a Catalina or Hunter with the big dinette, microwave, jacuzzi, pool table, etc. and not an older "classic" boat with 2 settees and a drop down table.


Should I still pursue this boat? Is the repair work going to be a nightmare? Would the recored decks add to the boat's value, or should I just walk away and look for a different boat? Is there such an animal as an honest yacht broker, or should I shoot the first honest one I meet so at least one of them gets to heaven?

Thanks for all the advice

Gary
 

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Gary,

There are two Sabre 34's loacated on the Great Lakes , in Ohio.(Yatchworld). I assume you may have looked at one of them. There are 7 others listed on Yatchworld east coast. It is not real difficult to move a boat from the east coast to the Great Lakes and this board can get you help with the brokers and maybe a survior if needed.
Good Luck,

John
 

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garymcg said:
Should I still pursue this boat? Is the repair work going to be a nightmare? Would the recored decks add to the boat's value, or should I just walk away and look for a different boat? Is there such an animal as an honest yacht broker, or should I shoot the first honest one I meet so at least one of them gets to heaven?

Thanks for all the advice

Gary
There are honest brokers, but you haven't run into one yet.. :D Shooting them is ill-advised, as they are federally protected as an endangered species.

If the buyer will go down to the $30,000, then it might very well be worth exploring. The main thing then is whether you are willing to invest the time to get the repairs done properly. This would delay you from being able to use the boat for a good chunk of this season.
 

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just an opinion mind you, ymmv...

I'd walk.

reasons:

IF the buyer goes for 30k...

You'll put 15-20k into repair, and you'll have a repaired boat.

You won't be sailing until next year.

Insurance might be a bit higher on a boat with those repairs. if available.

The value won't increase. it'll be worth what a recored boat would bring.

Unless you plan on this being the last boat you'll ever buy, and don't care about resale.


just a quick search on yachtworld listed 33 boats from 34-36ft, under 44k in Mich, Ill, and Ohio, one might better fit your needs.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
There are two Sabre 34's loacated on the Great Lakes , in Ohio.(Yatchworld). I assume you may have looked at one of them.


If you look on Yachtworld it's the one that says SABRE CORPORATION MARK I in all caps, it's located in Mt. Clemens MI.

I just emailed the broker stating that we are declining to purchase the boat as a result of the survey.

Back to the drawing board. It may mean no sailing this year but I don't want to start my sailing career on a boat that immediately needs major repair work.

I did learn one thing though. The surveyor asked that arrangments be made to haul the boat right before lunch; he would examine the hull, and the yard crew could relaunch the boat after lunch. I emailed these instructions to the broker. When I got to the marina at 9:00, the broker was pulling up to the lift in the boat; by the time the surveyor arrived, the boat was hauled and he inspected the hull first.

Once he found the deck problems, we quit the survey and he only charged me 1/2 price. He also said that if could have spent an hour on the boat before the haul out as originally requested he could have saved me the trouble. Anyway, I paid $170.00 for an unnecessary haulout and an additional $120.00 to power wash the bottom of someone else's boat, all because the broker can't follow instructions. I can't say I'm real happy about it, and the amount of money involved is not worth pursuing with an attorney, but you can bet it won't happen again and I certainly won't be recommending the broker to anyone.

The worst part is that I was really looking forward to sailing next weekend but now it looks like I may be a landlubber until next year.

We have an appointment to look at the Tartan 37 listed on yachtworld as Tartan 37 Fin Keel located in Holland MI this weekend. Plus there are a lot of boats for sale on the Lake Michigan side of the state so we should get to see a few more.

Thanks again.

Gary
 

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garymcg said:
I did learn one thing though. The surveyor asked that arrangments be made to haul the boat right before lunch; he would examine the hull, and the yard crew could relaunch the boat after lunch. I emailed these instructions to the broker. When I got to the marina at 9:00, the broker was pulling up to the lift in the boat; by the time the surveyor arrived, the boat was hauled and he inspected the hull first.

Once he found the deck problems, we quit the survey and he only charged me 1/2 price. He also said that if could have spent an hour on the boat before the haul out as originally requested he could have saved me the trouble. Anyway, I paid $170.00 for an unnecessary haulout and an additional $120.00 to power wash the bottom of someone else's boat, all because the broker can't follow instructions. I can't say I'm real happy about it, and the amount of money involved is not worth pursuing with an attorney, but you can bet it won't happen again and I certainly won't be recommending the broker to anyone.
I don't know if you are financially responsible for the haulout and power wash, as the broker requested the haulout and power wash before your arranged time. If the boat had not been hauled prior to the agreed time, the surveyor, depending when he arrived, may have done the deck first and not needed the haulout. I would ask the broker to pay for the haulout and power wash, but that's just me. I don't know what the legal situation would be...maybe Surfesq can help with the legal aspect of this.
 

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garymcg said:
There are two Sabre 34's loacated on the Great Lakes , in Ohio.(Yatchworld).
I just emailed the broker stating that we are declining to purchase the boat as a result of the survey.

Back to the drawing board. It may mean no sailing this year but I don't want to start my sailing career on a boat that immediately needs major repair work.

Gary


:eek:
I don't know all I want to about buying or owning a boat but after reading this thread and particularly the above comments even I feel a great deal of relief. :p
Good luck in your search and please post more of your experiences. :)
 

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Keep looking, I did.

I wouldn't bother with it. There's plenty of fish in the sea as it were. If you're in a hurry to get on the water than she's still not a good option cause that kind of repair will be expensive and time consuming. There are lot's of boats around that size and in your price range that aren't 25 years old. And regardless of age there's no need to settle for soft decks. I just bought a '83 Newport 41 for $44,000. Solid as a rock. In that part of the world I would look for a C&C from the mid to late 80's. They're fast, capable, and very well constructed. Being built in Ontario thay're also very available on the lakes. My boat is a recreation of a C&C design. I couldn't be happier. She's faster than most modern boats and more than capable of bluewater passages. Keep looking. Don't settle on something you're going to regret.
 

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One more thing. The usual practice is fo rthe buyer to pay for all things related to the survey. Haul out and wash, regardless of the result of the survey. It sucks but it saves you money in the long run.
 

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I lied. Still one more thing. C&C landfall 35. I haev been looking at boats seriously for three years. 36-40feet. I ended up with a Newport 41 cause I'm heading offshore for a few years. I have to mention the 35 landfall becasue it is without a doubt the best under 36' under $50,000 boat there is. It has all the speet and quality of a C&C but is a little better laid out for cruising adn a little nicer to look at. I really feel this would be the boat for you, keep an eye out one. Goodluck.
 
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