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S/V "MACKINAC"
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Good morning
My "Admiral" and I are looking at two boats with the intention to buy one pending surveys and sea trials.

The one that catches our attention the most is in the northern US. When I asked the "broker" how do I make an offer and buy the boat at this time of year (lake is frozen solid) without a "sea trial" ????

His answer was " What do you expect to find in a sea trial" ... Giving me the impression that one isn't needed!!!!!!

So talking to a broker that makes statements like that scare me a bit .... Am I right to feel that way ...???

How DO you buy a boat at this time of year??

Should I find a broker to work for me in purchasing the boat??? Will that be difficult as the boat will only be in the low30k range or less.

Thanks as usual
Bill
 

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Write a contingency sale is pending sea trial and survey. Bought a boat in the past in February . Put down 20%. Showed I had the other 80%. Closing was after sea trial . Owner/ broker were motivated to get that done ASAP .
Also bought a different boat. Did closing but had " hold back of 15% of price placed in escrow account. Made offer after survey on land and running engine with water intake feed by garden hose. Escrow released after boat commissioned and seatrialed.
In short,it can be done if owner/ broker are honest and want to sell the boat. If not amenable there's something up so stay away. In both my cases things worked out and got some money back for small stuff with second boat.
 

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I'd say wrong boat, wrong broker..

While people may buy a boat without a sea trial, I'd also ask what specifically would you gather from one that would make your decision one way or another if the survey came back clean...??

If a sea trial is critical your decision making process I think you'll have to wait till spring IMHO...
 

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Good advice from Outbound.

A sea trial can be held sometime in March, and that's only a month or 6 weeks from now. I bought my boat in winter and had to wait quite a bit longer than that for the sea trial. There's nothing unusual about it.

The selling broker represents the boat's owner, not you. The owner's interest is in closing a deal asap. Your interest is in having a survey and sea trial. When I bought my boat, I engaged a broker to represent my interests, and I recommend you do too.
 

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Old soul
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What Outbound said...

We began the purchase of our current boat in February. We couldn't even view the boat for a month or so (it was located on an island in Lake Superior), and then had to wait even longer for water to thaw. When we finally made the offer it was contingent on a satisfactory survey AND a sea trial. Deal accepted, 10% down, the rest paid when contract was satisfied. We waited for months. Everything worked out in the end.

A broker is always motivated to move the boat right now. It's how they get paid. Ignore the pressure and do what is right for you. Make the offer that works for you. They may not accept it, but that is the seller's right. If you can't strike a deal, move on. There's lots of boat out there.
 

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grumpy old man
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How good a sailor are you?
Are you going to be able to evaluate the boat under sail? Do you have the skills to recognize a problem if there is one?

I can't imagine buying a boat without sailing it. I wouldn't by a car without driving it. I wouldn't buy a guitar without playing it.

If I was buying a horse I would not need to ride it. I don't ride. There is little I could learn from a test ride. I would even know what to do or what to look for.

Giddyap!
 

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How good a sailor are you?
Are you going to be able to evaluate the boat under sail? Do you have the skills to recognize a problem if there is one?

I can't imagine buying a boat without sailing it. I wouldn't by a car without driving it. I wouldn't buy a guitar without playing it.

If I was buying a horse I would not need to ride it. I don't ride. There is little I could learn from a test ride. I would even know what to do or what to look for.

Giddyap!
If the seller of your horse refused to let you ride test it you would have reason to believe that the horse had something wrong with it.

Even if you couldn't ride but watched someone else ride you might notice if the the horse couldn't even get to a run.
Or if it did run was obviously over heated.

But yes someone who knew how to ride would probably get more out the ride test.
 

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For a first time buyer/new sailor I think the 'sailing' portion of a sea trial may have limited value, in that the buyer may not be able to tell if the boat sails well or not, and it's a crap shoot whether you get good sailing conditions in any case. But the opportunity to check running systems, vibration, noise, leaks, full functionality is the larger part of what a sea trial is for. Ideally your surveyor is along for the ride...

In the east where boats are routinely hauled for winter I'd think the mechanism for delayed closing should be a common practice. I'd stay away from a broker who minimizes or recommends against a sea trial on principle alone.
 
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S/V "MACKINAC"
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Just a quick update...
The Admiral has always said "go with your gut"... My gut has been turning over for the last week... Something just too unsettling ....
Maybe I was looking for "some other way" of doing things that Would make me feel better..
All your great responses tells me what is in my gut already.. I already knew.

So the update...
If we did purchase the boat (lake Ontario ) we would have had it shipped to Maine
Logic says .... Look for something closer to home...(no shipping involved) .... If nothing else .... More cash to find a "better" ( at least more expensive) boat... Or more cash for wanted/needed improvements to the boat we settle on
So we are staying home ... Looking in our own backyard
Thanks
The Admiral and I will keep you posted
Bill
 

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Kinda nice to know all the running gear really works without loud screeching noises and the wheel doesn't wobble back and forth under sail.
I'd tell the broker to call me after the spring thaw, Just in case I don't buy that other boat, if you don't want to wait he should come up with an alternative, he is a salesman right ?
He should recognize someone in what they call "buy mode" and try to sell you something.
 

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Learning the HARD way...
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There's a lot of good advice in this thread, and I will not bother repeating it.

Your gut instinct is correct. If something is bothering you before the purchase, imagine what it would be like just after the purchase...

There are a LOT of used boats available right now; some good, some less so, and some are a lot of crap. If you are honest with yourself about how you will use the boat, you should be able to save yourself a lot of time and trouble by buying an appropriate boat closer to your home waters (New England) than Lake Ontario.

[EDIT] I just wanted to add something that I learned in my own boat search; do not get too hung up on any one deal. If something does not seem right to you walk (or in some cases run) away. There will always be another boat.

There is a member of this forum with an O'day 35 that may fit your need; http://www.sailnet.com/forums/boat-buyers-sellers-forum/104121-1986-oday-35-sale-ny-%2432-000-a.html

DISCLAIMER: I own an O'day 35, but have no other interest in the sale of this particular boat.
 

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Hard to imagine you wouldn't/couldn't find a good candidate closer to home and, as you say, avoid the extra costs of transport, not to mention the stress and anxiety that's part of that.

You've made the right call, IMO..
 

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Farr 11.6 (Farr 38)
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I would add a couple notes to this. First of all if you live and sail in an area that has a strong sailing community, then unless you are considering a very unusual make or model, it makes no sense to buy a boat long distance.

But if, from your perspective, this boat has unique charms that warrant a long distance purchase, you should be working through a local broker who you trust. This simplifies many of the basic transactions such as simple sign off on contingencies and escrow and final payments. That said, once you contact the selling broker directly without mention of your local broker, that option is usually off the table.

In terms of the sea trial question, the seller's broker does not sound like he is being forthcoming, which he is under no obligation to be. It does mean that it is prudent to trust him less than you might with someone who offers good advice. But it does not necessarily mean he is dishonest or incompetent. I do consider the question reasonable. If the broker is going to structure a deal that he can sell to his client he needs to understand what you personally would like to learn from a sail trial. In that case a list of concerns may be helpful.

There is a big difference between someone seeking to know how well a boat sails, and conveniently she is rigged, subjective factors which could kill a sale, versus more pragmatic issues such as does the transmission work properly, do the thru-hulls and below waterline plumbing leak, does the depth sounder and knot meter work, does the wind instruments, and other mast mounted electrical and electronic components work, and do the winches work properly when under strain (very important for older winches for which parts are unavailable or hard to come by). In other words, things which might potentially impact the price of the deal but not kill it. I bought my current boat when It was completely out of commission, and sitting disassembled in a farm field in Maine. There was no practical or cost effective way to do a seatrial. We escrowed funds to address specific items which could not be tested on the hard, and stipulated line items for each and a period by which I needed to commission and test these items or the funds were automatically paid to the seller.

There is another category that is harder to define. Twice in my life I have seen otherwise perfectly good boats fail survey for structural reasons found while sailing. The first case was a friend who asked me to crew on his sea trial of an older Hinckley Yawl. The surveyor remained in the cabin while we tacked back and forth and somehow caught that the main bulkhead was shifting. We actually put tape on the bulkhead on one tack and measured the offset on both tacks. The bulkhead was moving somewhere between a 1/4" and 3/8". The seller claimed that he had no idea that was happening but needless to say, my friend did not buy the boat. It worked quite well except that I did not think to put the refrigeration system on that list since it ran, but we could not run it long enough to determine whether it would cool the plates.

In a simlar case, a friend was looking at an old Cal I believe. When they cranked on the hydraulic backstay the head door would stick. The surveyor figured out that the bottom end of king post was rotted in the bilge. I was not there for that one so I ma not sure how they sorted that out, but the deal did not go through/

I hope this is helpful, good luck.

Jeff
 

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Actually, the broker works for...the broker. He wants a deal done as quickly and as painlessly as possible. He'll push his client under the bus if it makes the deal go faster. Buyer AND seller beware.
You wont be sailing the vessel during trial. Either the broker or the owner does. You AND YOUR SURVEYOR are along to observe how the boat performs under power and under sail. Many issues cannot be seen until this is done.


er
 

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Maine Dub
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Sounds like you are on the right track now, Bill. There are lots of boats in Maine, but darn few in the water right now. I bought one a few years ago in January and made the purchase contingent on the survey and held back 15% for the sea trial. The seller took care of a few niggles on the survey and ended up buying me a new fridge and Radar which did not work on the sea trial. My Broker was Dave Perry at Robinhood (really a pleasure to work with), I don't think he is related to His Eminence, Bob. What are you looking for and how much is your budget, we have tons of experts to weigh in on the details.:)
 

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Hello,

As noted there is lots of good information in this thread.

Forgive me if I'm mistaken, but it seems that you are new to the process of purchasing and older, inexpensive boat. The process usually goes something like this:
-You dream about buying a boat
-You do some thinking about what kind of a boat meets your needs (day sailer, racer, cruiser, live aboard, etc.). Then you kind of decide on a budget and, or, length of boat.
-Use this site to ask lots of questions and learn as much as possible.
-Now you have to actually go look at various makes and models of boats that sort of fit your requirements. I found it very helpful to go on Yachtworld to find boats close (less than 2 hour drive) from me and then go and meet the broker and see as many boats as possible.
-Eventually you will find a boat that you think is the right one for the right price.
-The process is now usually:
-Make offer
-Get offer accepted (seller goes down in price, you go up in offer, etc.) and send deposit (usually 10% of purchase price)
-Boat gets surveyed (you pay for survey and associated costs, owner agrees to make boat available and operates the boat during the survey - usually the broker does this)
-You review survey results and either accept the boat, reject the boat (and get your deposit back), or renegotiate purchase price
-You pay balance due and sail boat away.

Make sure you understand the difference between survey and sea trial. The SURVEY will be done on land and in the water. The survey is to check all systems of the vessel for proper operation, inventory all gear included in the sale, check the integrity of the hull, electrical, plumbing, and other things. As far as I know, a sea trial is to make sure that the boat sails correctly. So, in a sense, the broker was right in that a sea trial won't provide you with much information. Assuming you are buying a common production type boat, like a Catalina 30, Tartan 28, C&C34, etc., the sailing and handling characteristics of those boats are well understood and you would lot learn a lot from a sea trial. I can understand the broker's point of view regarding a sea trial. Ask about a survey and his response better be along the lines of 'of course you should have a survey performed.'

The second part of your question, regarding how to buy a boat this time of year (if you
live in the north east) is that you don't. It's just not really possible or necessary to buy a boat this time of year. Wait until April at the earliest, march if you are just crazy to buy a boat.

Good luck,
Barry
 
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