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Lookin' for an excuse ...
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm looking at purchasing a Seafarer 34 centerboard, sloop sailboat and am hoping someone can add some of their expertise to my decision process. First, this is a 40 year old boat. It has a Yanmar 30 HP that was installed in 2009 and has less than 50 hours on it. All the port lights are new and pictures of the interior look good. I'm going to view it later this week to check out all the equipment and sails.

Now the negative. The broker was upfront with me and called the deck and cockpit "trampolines." The Seafarer 34 research site states that the deck has a balsa core. The broker said that the asking price of $15,000 for the boat includes the fix, which has been quoted by a contractor at $5,200. For that amount, the contractor will take up the deck and cockpit, fix it, and apply non-skid paint to the finished deck.

My concern is controlling the quality of the repair, whether the price is right (too little indicating short cuts or too much indicating a high balled price), and weight consequences of the new core material since the contractor will probably use something other than balsa wood.

Any insight into this issue would be greatly appreciated. Also, any comments on the Seafarer 34 are welcome. If I buy the boat, it will be with an eye to eventually taking it cruising to the Bahamas and down to the Caribbean as far south as the Grenadines.

A little about me. I have extensive blue water sailing experience and deliverd sailboats for a living in the 90's. However, I have not owned a sailboat since 1985 and never owned one bigger than 27'; although I have sailed boats up to 60'.
 

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I would want to get at least two, independent estimates of my own, rather than rely on what the broker is telling me.
 

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Senior Smart Aleck
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Given the facts that we are currently experiencing one of the best buyers' markets ever and that there is a surplus of good used boats available, why would you take a risk and buy a boat in reliance on a promise that a repair would be made?

If I read your post correctly, you have not yet physically inspected the boat.

Google "Seafarer sailboats" and discover the facts. Don Casey and many others suggest you buy a known quality boat, that means a boat that was produced in great enough numbers to establish its value, its quality and its likely problem areas given its age.
 

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Lookin' for an excuse ...
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Given the facts that we are currently experiencing one of the best buyers' markets ever and that there is a surplus of good used boats available, why would you take a risk and buy a boat in reliance on a promise that a repair would be made?

If I read your post correctly, you have not yet physically inspected the boat.

Google "Seafarer sailboats" and discover the facts. Don Casey and many others suggest you buy a known quality boat, that means a boat that was produced in great enough numbers to establish its value, its quality and its likely problem areas given its age.
You make excellent points. Of course I would not buy the boat until the repair was completed and the boat could be surveyed. Either that or low ball the broker on the purchase price and take on the repair myself, but only after I was certain someone could do an expert level repair. None of this would take place without inspecting the rest of the boat to ensure there were no other hidden problems and then have the boat surveyed.

I did Google the boat, which is where I found the Seafarer Research site. I also found Sailboatdata.com, which confirmed the boat's specs. However, I have yet to find a site that talks about any likely problem areas of the boat. Nor have I found out how many of this model were produced. Do you know of any sites that might help in those two areas?

As for the sailing characteristics, the boat is touted as a blue water cruiser ready to go anywhere.
 

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I would consider the repair estimate very low, assuming you want a quality repair. Refinishing a repaired deck and cockpit is far more difficult and expensive than the hull - you are looking at the deck and cockpit, up close, all the time you are using the boat.

I would expect a proper repair, proper being one that is not immediately obvious every time you look a the deck, would cost at least three times the quoted estimate.

The boat is not worth anything more than the salvage value of the engine, maybe not that.
 

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A boatyard owner I knew well told me he did a re-core of the deck on a Columbia 57 - this was more than 10 years ago - he charged $140,000.

I just finished doing a spot re-core of the deck on a Columbia 43. It was probably the same amount of deck space as the entire deck of a 34' with a cabin top. I did it all myself and spent about $1,000 just on materials. I didn't count the hours but I daresay they were well into three figures.

$5K for a pro job seems very low.
 

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Gotta second the "low" thought

Just re cored the side decks and bridge deck of my Tartan 27 and the hours of labor are outrageous! Cutting, installing, glassing, filling, fairing, sanding, fairing, sanding, sanding, sanding, priming, sanding, painting, taping, painting! Did I mention sanding?!

There re a lot of boats out there, and cheap.

Be careful.

Skywalker
T27 249
 

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Lookin' for an excuse ...
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for your comments. I am getting the message that the repair estimate is low. I'll post again after I see the boat. Yeah, I know. I should probably forget about it, but it's not far from me, and I'm curious.
 

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I replaced about 12 square feet of balsa cored cockpit sole this Spring. It took about 25 hours but wasn't very complicated -- I coated the sole with Kiwi Grip and made no attempt to replicate the original non-skid. At $80 per hour the labor would have been $2K.

None-the-less, I would suspect that the current owner would be better off scrapping the boat rather than investing the $5,200 to repair the deck. The combined value of 4,800 lbs of lead ballast and the diesel exceeds the $8,300 the owner would get net of the cost of deck repairs and sales commission.
 

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Given the facts that we are currently experiencing one of the best buyers' markets ever and that there is a surplus of good used boats available, why would you take a risk and buy a boat in reliance on a promise that a repair would be made?

If I read your post correctly, you have not yet physically inspected the boat.

Google "Seafarer sailboats" and discover the facts. Don Casey and many others suggest you buy a known quality boat, that means a boat that was produced in great enough numbers to establish its value, its quality and its likely problem areas given its age.
Well Seafarer sailboats are a fairly well known boat, while not the hugest volume producer (not really an indicator of quality) they are known to be fairly high quality boats, nothing that would scare me away from a good example.

I would consider the repair estimate very low, assuming you want a quality repair. Refinishing a repaired deck and cockpit is far more difficult and expensive than the hull - you are looking at the deck and cockpit, up close, all the time you are using the boat.

I would expect a proper repair, proper being one that is not immediately obvious every time you look a the deck, would cost at least three times the quoted estimate.

The boat is not worth anything more than the salvage value of the engine, maybe not that.
Yes, this is harsh but likely true. With so many good boats out there the only way this would make sense would be if you offered the guy a $1,000 and have it trucked to your back yard, and do the work yourself. I don't think any contractor is going to do a very good job for $5,000. I would think you will want to paint the whole boat, as it will need it anyway.

I replaced about 12 square feet of balsa cored cockpit sole this Spring. It took about 25 hours but wasn't very complicated -- I coated the sole with Kiwi Grip and made no attempt to replicate the original non-skid. At $80 per hour the labor would have been $2K.

None-the-less, I would suspect that the current owner would be better off scrapping the boat rather than investing the $5,200 to repair the deck. The combined value of 4,800 lbs of lead ballast and the diesel exceeds the $8,300 the owner would get net of the cost of deck repairs and sales commission.
Again true.

I will say to that I looked at a Seafarer 36 and I stepped on the deck and bounced and it was like a trampoline. The rest of the boat was a mess, and I told the broker I would not give the guy a $100 and he told me I was right. He only listed the boat because the father of the owner was a friend of his.

I am still looking. Lots of boats out there in my price range, just not a lot of good boats.
 

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The Seafarers are overall very good older classic fiberglass boats. Like many boats of their era, the decks on some models are balsa core. Soft decks are obviously indicative of water intrusion through an area with a weak seal. Most likely a deck fitting, or some modification by a previous owner has caused the problem.

In my opinion, an otherwise good boat should not be parted out just because of this problem. Repair is possible and fairly common. I've seen several boats other than Seafarers with the same problem and were repaired by their owners. Once non-skid paid is applies the repair shouldn't be detected.

I do not think the asking price of $15k is that great of a deal with or without the soft deck issue. With the issue I think the price is entirely unrealistic. Others have suggested that the boat should be surveyed and professionally appraised. I could not agree more.

I certainly hope the S34 is saved. They are wonderful boats with a very loyal following. I have owned a S29 for over 12 years and have been very involved with other Seafarer owners for just as long.

If you're interested in specific advice on the S34 I suggest joining the Seafarer Yacht Group on Facebook. Currently, we have over 150 owners/members, and to my knowledge this is the largest Seafarer member group in existence. There is also a good forum for Seafarer owners on this web site. Here's the link to the Facebook group.

Log In | Facebook

I look forward to hearing more about the restoration.

J Newsome
sv Roma - Seafarer 29
 

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Lookin' for an excuse ...
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Here is a final on the subject Seafarer. I went to view her and it was not a good time. Every deck fitting on the boat was surrounded by stress cracks in the fiberglass and there were cracks in areas of the deck that had no fittings anywhere near the cracks. The damaged core was forward in just one spot and in the cockpit. Nevertheless, I looked at that deck and knew there had to be other festering problems. Down below, the cabin sole had buckled running down the center of the cabin.

The broker fired up the relatively new Yanmar and it really purred. Unfortunately, there was black water in the bilge under the motor, so I'm not sure what that was all about.

So, that is the end of that. Sailingfool hit it on the nailhead. The value in the boat is strictly salvage.
 

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I was looking around the web for information on a seafarer 34 and found this thread. I am wondering if this is a "normal" issue for a seafarer or just poor care from the owner.
Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I am wondering if this is a "normal" issue for a seafarer or just poor care from the owner.
Thanks
If you are asking me, I have no idea. This is the only Seafarer I looked at. It was in really bad shape. I would be real careful of any Seafarer this old given the condition of this boat.
 

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The owner just needs to change his marketing to emphasize the dual purpose nature of the boat. For example,

"Do you realize that jumping on a trampoline is one of the best forms of cardovascular exercise?
Did you know sailing can actually lower your blood pressure?
How would you like to relax during your next workout? Think it is not possible?
Introducing the trampoline boat - merging a superior cardiovascular workout with the best relaxation money can buy!
Jump to your heart's content while sailing, losing calories and hypertension!
Only on the trampoline boat!
 
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