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Old 10-07-2016, 22:56   #1
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Advice buying liveaboard: 1963 Christ Craft Conqueror

I'm buying my first boat with the intent to dock it at a marina in the San Francisco Bay area and live on it full-time. I've never owned a boat before and know next to nothing about them. I'm hoping some of you folks can weigh in on if this is a good deal or not. Below is a link to the ad. They were asking $30k, but accepted $24k. That's about how much I'd pay to rent an apartment for 1 year. I'll likely put another $2k in it for remodelling, and the liveaboard fee will shakeout to $700 a month. Based on the ad and the little bit of info below, can you tell if this a good buy? Also, what questions should I ask about the boat before signing? The sole purpose of this boat will be for housing, so I'm not too worried about mechanical/engine specs, but I obviously don't want it to sink in 6 months either. Any advice on questions I should ask and info I should get before signing would be much appreciated.

--42ft 1963 Chris-Craft Conqueror (wooden)
--There was about an inch of water in the very bottom of the hull, which they said was normal for wooden boats. Is this true?
--It has 2 working twin Ford 302 gasoline engines, but they're not hooked up.
--It was hauled out last August and had the bottom painted, prop and shaft cleaned.
--It has an 11 gallon hot water tank, propane stove/oven, refrigerator, marine head, sump pump, and bilge pump that were all purchased new within the last year.

Link to ad with pics: 42 ft. 1963 Chris Craft Conqueror Retrofitted for Liveaboard - $30000 (oakland east) hide this posting restore this posting - San francisco bay area - classifieds - reachoo.com
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Old 11-07-2016, 16:54   #2
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Re: Advice buying liveaboard: 1963 Christ Craft Conqueror

Run away, wood boats that size and age will wear you out just maintaining it.


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Old 11-07-2016, 17:01   #3
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Re: Advice buying liveaboard: 1963 Christ Craft Conqueror

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Originally Posted by River Cruiser View Post
Run away, wood boats that size and age will wear you out just maintaining it.


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^^^^^^^^^^^^^THIS^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
There are many around, you have to love boat work in general as a hobby or full time depending on the boat. They are VERY difficult to sell. There are certain and few people who can be happy with that.
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Old 11-07-2016, 17:03   #4
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Re: Advice buying liveaboard: 1963 Christ Craft Conqueror

Seems this boat needs to stay afloat for 18 more months to pay for itself...I think that is about right. You have to be a gambler. You win some, you lose some. I knew a guy and dog that stayed on a small leaky wooden trimaran for 12 months. Sure you will spend time plugging holes but what an incentive. Fix or sink.

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Old 11-07-2016, 17:20   #5
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Re: Advice buying liveaboard: 1963 Christ Craft Conqueror

I like wood boats and live on one, but this one is way over priced. The addition is extremely ugly and will have an effect on resale. With house type windows & doors, no reasonable view from the wheel if it ever runs again. The engines are not running and should be considered dead until proven. Gas engines would be expensive to run on a boat this size. What little I can see of the hull, it's not as good as my 70 year old.
The owners have put in a lot of work, but w/o running engines it's just a nice barge. I'm sure they spent a lot of money, but that doesn't necessarily equal increased value. Just because the bottom was painted doesn't mean it is sound. Survey no matter what. and don't go looking for the cheapest surveyor. My guess is 5-10,000. I am a former shipwright and owned a marine repair/builder business.
I didn't see a sewage hookup. You can't dump sewage into the water inside 3 miles. Fine could be more than the boat.
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Old 11-07-2016, 17:26   #6
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Re: Advice buying liveaboard: 1963 Christ Craft Conqueror

I would not run away.

I would haul out, get surveyed and then think again.

A wooden boat is as good as any other material. In many ways, it can be better. For you can easily remove a rotten plank and fix a wooden boat with plain tools, materials and skills.

And this is where 'think again' steps in: if you do not know the tools, the wood or have the skills, you will have to hire them. The same as with any other material.

We cannot bash wooden boats unseen. Wood IS still at the heart of boat building and many wooden boats have been around for much longer than any other grp, alloy or steel craft.

I think it is good thinking to buy a boat in material that you like and can work with. Otherwise, budget accordingly, no matter she is wood or wool.

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Old 12-07-2016, 04:28   #7
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Re: Advice buying liveaboard: 1963 Christ Craft Conqueror

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Originally Posted by eanne06 View Post
Also, what questions should I ask about the boat before signing?

1. How much would it cost you to salvage if it sinks?

2. How much will it cost you to sell it -- or maybe give it away, or maybe even cut it up for disposal -- if you decided living aboard sucks?

3. With non-working engines, how do you move the boat to the pump-out facility? (Or... if that particular marina offers in-slip pump out capability, how solid is the likelihood of inherting a slip during transfer? Or... if slip transfer isn't going to work, how would you move the boat to another marina, with in-slip pump-out?)


4. What is availability and cost of "home-owner's" (equivalent) insurance?

You might hum a few bars about why you want to live aboard, given no boating background. Newfound interest? Or just searching for cheap housing? Or...?

-Chris
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Old 12-07-2016, 06:24   #8
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Re: Advice buying liveaboard: 1963 Christ Craft Conqueror

If you bought that boat for $5,000 you would still never be able to sell it when you are done. The modifications make it unsalable.
Walk away.
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Old 12-07-2016, 06:36   #9
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Re: Advice buying liveaboard: 1963 Christ Craft Conqueror

conquerors are wonderful classic boats. they ARE wood, and wood does rot,. it mus tbe hauled at least every 2 yrs, preferrably every year, so as not to rot out from under you,
it shoul dhave a 6.5 kw onan genset, and all engines best be connected and turnkey for 30k usd. 30k usd is price for PERFECT boat. . boat MUST be turn key for this price, not engines not hooked up,, for what you described, 5000 or 6000 is perfect price.
if these issues are not cleared up BEFORE survey--yes get it surveyed-- then walk away.\
those engines need to be turnkey functional, onan turnkey functional and NO ROT for 30,000 usd.
BILGE PUMPS must have GOOD working huge capacity bilge pumps.
as this is a chris craft cockpit motor yacht, the area where cockpit and aft cabin meet usually leaks on port side. check out the entire boat for rot. it is too good to be true the boat has n one. if you need a GOOD surveyor, there is a man in san diego who will travel, tho pricily--he is HONEST, kjels christian. yes it will cost, but would be worthit in end. tell him i sent ye, he knows me as karen from san diego.
if anyone named dmitri has been working on the boat--he is a salvor--run like stink on wind. he is a bad bad bad person when it comes to restoring boats--trademark is nails. he uses house finishing nails on the hulls.
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Old 12-07-2016, 06:43   #10
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Re: Advice buying liveaboard: 1963 Christ Craft Conqueror

Run away now. It may look to be a much cheaper way to live but one day it will have to go (the boat) and you will lose your shirt.
Owned many wooden vessels and they are truly "the beauty is in the eye of the beholder." The seller must feel like it is the luckiest day in his/ her/ life to see you come along and offer to pay at all. Sorry for being direct but it is sketchy looking at the best. Whipped with the ugliest stick.

Truly ask yourself...... Deep down inside you know you are about to do something bad bad bad. Listen to that voice because it is right.

One day you will remember reading these words and hopefully it will be with you thinking....boy I am so happy I didn't do that! If not you will wish you had.

Too many boats to go this route.
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Old 13-07-2016, 13:42   #11
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Re: Advice buying liveaboard: 1963 Christ Craft Conqueror

You have to understand that wooden boats are "project" boats and require constant maintenance. Further, that wood rots from the top down and inside to out from fresh water. If the water in the bilge is salt, that would be normal from driveshaft leaks - but that boat does not move on its own, so no reason to have any water in the bilge. If it is fresh water, then it is coming in from rain.


The photos indicate a leak in the aft cabin bulkhead which is quite common for this style of boat and requires discovery of the leak, sealing and refinishing. They also indicate that the makeshift enclosure is unfinished on the inside and I cannot tell if it is "exterior" plywood or not.


The hull is probably mahogany and can last forever unless fresh water gets into the wood. The toe rails and planks just under are to first to rot. If any of the bottom planks need replacing, it will be an expensive proposition unless you are a carpenter.


Those small block Ford engines are useless on a boat this size except to move from one slip in a marina to another. Then again, they are not connected to the drive system so it does not matter much as they are useless.


This is not a boat! It is not capable of navigation. It was a boat and is now a floating house without the benefit of the amenities of a house built on a barge. Resale value is nil unless you were to find someone who is desperate for a lifelong project.


I doubt that you would find an insurance company willing to issue a policy for anything except liability and with a propane stove, there might be an issue.


Is $24,000 a good deal? Not in my book. Having owned wooden boats and now a 43-year old fiberglass aft cabin, I'd venture $5,000.


And don't forget: marina fees, electricity, propane costs, municipal taxes can all add up very quickly.
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Old 13-07-2016, 13:57   #12
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Re: Advice buying liveaboard: 1963 Christ Craft Conqueror

Many marina's in the SF bay area, will not accept a wooden boat period, let alone for liveaboard. Those that do will want it surveyed every year or two and have insurance that includes hauling it away. They can be well maintained, but most I've seen in the Bay area are not. Some local boatyards may not haul wood boats either as some have broken the keel when hauled. Berkeley Marine Center will not haul a wood boat.

You will be WAY ahead of the game if you buy a fiberglass Christ craft.

BTW, I love wood boats, but you really need to know how to repair them.

Looking at the photo's it looks like it's already been bastardized with that delightful aft cabin?? Run far far away from that boat.
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Old 13-07-2016, 14:04   #13
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Re: Advice buying liveaboard: 1963 Christ Craft Conqueror

It's a piece of junk.
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Old 13-07-2016, 16:15   #14
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Re: Advice buying liveaboard: 1963 Christ Craft Conqueror

It doesn't look junk. It looks like a proper live-aboard. Depending on prices of onshore property, condition of the vessel and price of the berthing, this may actually be a very good deal for someone who wants to live aboard.

Many people look at boats as if they were supposed to sail or something. The point is boats get used in more than one way: some are raced, some are sailed, some are cruised and quite many are lived aboard.

I would only judge by haul out and survey.

Converting her back to a navigating vessel? Not really.

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Old 13-07-2016, 18:33   #15
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Re: Advice buying liveaboard: 1963 Christ Craft Conqueror

Absolutely hire a surveyor. The boat is exceptionally overpriced and you will not recoup your investment when you try to sell it. You can look down the coast and find many fine liveaboards in your price range that will retain some of their value for resale.
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