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Old 03-04-2013, 16:14   #16
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Re: Avoding a Hidden Project Boat

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Originally Posted by tsl View Post
Unfortunately, I think you must consider any 25+ year old boat a project boat. Yes, that is unfair to owners who maintain their boats.
I think pretty fair, at least until verified otherwise.

IMO will certainly be only a small minority of 25+ year old boats that will be anywhere near to "ready to go" for extended cruising let alone transocean.............That partly from age, partly as never intended for that use (despite what the brochure may have said!), but mainly because once a boat gets into the older category it drops into the price range of those with less budget to maintain - and for many happy years of inshore weekend use can get away without doing a lot.
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Old 03-04-2013, 16:47   #17
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Re: Avoding a Hidden Project Boat

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Speaking of #1 (don't use a surveyor recommended by a broker). ...

... Not to mention that I'm an out of towner with a funny accent (Russian from Canada), and any surveyor from the area is probably dealing with that same broker every other week for the last 10 years.

THIS.
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Old 03-04-2013, 17:09   #18
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Re: Avoding a Hidden Project Boat

OTOH, when a surveyor finds nothing wrong with an old boat, it clearly marks him as a hack. Therefore, any "reputable" surveyor should find a few problems. At which point, this may be useful in two ways:

1. Noticing things that you didn't. For one thing, a surveyor has a pro moisture meter, and you probably don't.

2. Officially noticing things that you also did, and putting them on paper, makes it easier to take it to PO for renegotiation.

What cannot be assumed is that a surveyor found all of the serious issues. In a few hours, not a realistic expectation.

By the way, if you are a solid, reputable (sans the double quotes) marine surveyor reading this rant and being offended by it, I'd like to profusely apologize in advance, and ask you this: look at all the hacks plying the same trade. Tell me how can a relatively clueless buyer from out of town tell someone of your standard from the rest of the crowd BEFORE hiring you. One thing I know is that neither certificates, nor asking around on the waterfront does it.
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Old 03-04-2013, 17:13   #19
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Re: Avoding a Hidden Project Boat

I had a great surveyor, trustworthy, competent, thorough and honest. Unfortunately, he passed away recently. They are out there, though.
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Old 03-04-2013, 17:41   #20
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Re: Avoding a Hidden Project Boat

Here's an idea. Use an old survey as a guide. Write down everything that was checked on the survey, and check all these things yourself when you look at a potential boat. If you don't want any surprises, you need to check everything yourself. A surveyor is just another set of eyes that may find something you overlooked. If a buyer is not experienced enough or educated enough, imho, then they should buy new or very close to new. Do your own survey before hiring anybody. Good luck!!!!!
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Old 03-04-2013, 17:47   #21
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Re: Avoding a Hidden Project Boat

I can't speak with a lot of experience (with buying boats), do have a LOT with cars.
I would think that if you want a cruise-ready boat, buy one that IS, i.e is being cruised already. Cost more of course.

I always buy project cars (and boats), never disappointed because they can only turn out better than I thought!

JackB
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Old 03-04-2013, 17:53   #22
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Re: Avoding a Hidden Project Boat

A few things that can get pretty spendy or time consuming that you can avoid: Bolted on keels, teak decks, , blisters, old rusty looking engines, fuel tanks in the bilge, old worn sails, old rigging, cored decks. The latter being difficult to avoid unless you buy a boat built in the 60's.
Those are probably the "big eight" to me.
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Old 03-04-2013, 18:18   #23
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Re: Avoding a Hidden Project Boat

Look at all the doctors and surgeons who butcher people and eventually move to one of the states where malpractice insurance isn't required, and then set themselves up as judgement proof.

Look at all the priests buggering altar boys, and the cardinals who cover up for them.

Or, cheating spouses.

Or the 500 highly screened TSA employees who are fired every year, mainly for stealing.

Boat brokers and surveyors should somehow be any more reputable, trustworthy, and reliable?
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Old 03-04-2013, 18:36   #24
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A few things that can get pretty spendy or time consuming that you can avoid: Bolted on keels, teak decks, , blisters, old rusty lo20102oking engines, fuel tanks in the bilge, old worn sails, old rigging, cored decks. The latter being difficult to avoid unless you buy a boat built in the 60's.
Those are probably the "big eight" to me.
We bought, fixed up and sailed our 1983 Ericson 38 in 2004 (sold it in 2010) ... cored decks, bolt on keel, old sails, blisters, etc but the main costs were for stuff we thought we needed but probably could have lived without. LIKE $2400 for a folding prop , $400 SS Dorade vents, $2000 davits, etc... I have a several hundred row spreadsheet with all the stuff we did to that boat but in the end we enjoyed several years of reliable, dependable cruising on her even with her 20 year old plus diesel. Other stupid mistakes also cost us a bundle like putting too much tranny fluid in and burning up the clutches.

Anyway, marine surveyors provide a useful service but they cannot find everything that's wrong with any given boat. Boat buyers should have a different set of expectations. What you should get from a surveyor is an experienced, non-emotional value judgement... on the order of 'if you buy this POS, you can expect to spend big bucks fixing serious reliability issues every day of your cruising life' or 'they should pay you to take it off their hands'.

I'm an experienced and licensed USCG captain and this boat was our last in a string of maybe 12 or 15 boats over 40 years and I still found that I could quite easily fool myself into buying unnecessary crap and making poor spending decisions. Don't write off surveyors, they at least bring a bit of sanity to a sentimental and romantic notion, cruising sailboats.
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Old 03-04-2013, 20:46   #25
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Re: Avoding a Hidden Project Boat

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Speaking of #1 (don't use a surveyor recommended by a broker).
I can add another bit of advice to that.

NEVER BELIEVE A WORD OF ANY SURVEYOR HIRED BY THE INSURANCE COMPANY WHO WAS SENT TO LOOK AT DAMAGE TO YOUR BOAT CAUSED BY A CUSTOMER OF AFOREMENTIONED INSURANCE COMPANY.

A perfect example:
I got screwed over by SAFECO Insurance company when an old fart ran into my docked boat.

SAFECO sent their own surveyor and never paid a dime for the damage repairs.

As if that weren't bad enough, in thinly veiled language they accused me of filing a false claim.

I fixed it myself with sage advice of MINARET.
Thanks Ethan!

Steve
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Old 04-04-2013, 00:16   #26
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Re: Avoding a Hidden Project Boat

Just because you weren't able to keep up with it doesn't make it a bad boat, or even a project. It might just mean that you are not cut out for maintaining sailboats.

Boats 25 years old are going to be rough - probably REAL rough. Whether wood, cored, metal, or composite the hull is probably going to be compromised in some way, somewhere. Maybe you could avoid this if you found a boat that had been on the hard for 15 years, but then who knows what different nastiness happens to boats that are not in the water?

Buying a used boat and attempting to bring it up to the standard of a new boat is complicated, expensive, and time consuming. You literally would be better off buying a new or near-new bene in both cost and results. Time and time again, the people who do this have stated that they did not do it to save money, they wanted a project.

If you don't have the money to get a bluewater ready boat that is comfortable for liveaboard, then don't. Figure out which of those two features you are willing to give up.

If you can't, then my suggestion is to be INCREDIBLY patient until a boat falls right into your lap that is too old, too ugly, too faded, too whatever for the general market, but meets your needs perfectly - sound hull, secure hardware, hard work and minor repairs needed.
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Old 04-04-2013, 02:27   #27
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Re: Avoding a Hidden Project Boat

You don't say where you are, what sort of cruising you want to do and what price range you're considering.

However given you had to abandon a project boat may I suggest that you either spend enough to get a boat in good condition (for the size mentioned this would be over $100k for a boat less than 10 years old) or drop the preferred length to where you can afford a boat in top condition.

Old and project boats need dedication, money, time and somewhere to fix then. If any of these is missing then the task becomes harder. On a big boat it can become impossible.

If you really want an older boat there are several books available. Inspecting the aging sailboat by Don Casey gets good reviews though I have not read it myself.
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Old 04-04-2013, 04:16   #28
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Re: Avoding a Hidden Project Boat

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Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
A few things that can get pretty spendy or time consuming that you can avoid:

Bolted on keels,
teak decks,
blisters,
old rusty looking engines,
fuel tanks in the bilge,
old worn sails,
old rigging (inc. Chainplates),
cored decks.
Bulkheads / Compression posts (need for!)

The latter being difficult to avoid unless you buy a boat built in the 60's.

Those are probably the "big eight" to me.
I think a good list .

(My reformat and additions). Maybe we could turn this thread into a resource? and possibly even distil the info into something handy to read as an initial starting point?, not quite a list and not exhaustive..........
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Old 04-04-2013, 04:21   #29
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Re: Avoding a Hidden Project Boat

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Here's an idea. Use an old survey as a guide. Write down everything that was checked on the survey, and check all these things yourself when you look at a potential boat.
I have found old surveys very informative - obviously can't be relied upon for current condition , but gives a good heads up on both what was wrong with the boat - and what the PO(s?!) did about it and how well (if anything!) which is an indicator of how they dealt with stuff not on the survey or simply their attitude and ability to deal with basic maintanence (one of the financially sensible approaches to boat maintanence is to sell it to someone else!).
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Old 04-04-2013, 04:21   #30
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Re: Avoding a Hidden Project Boat

ArtM, Boracary: Gentlemen, let's not make this a conversation about yours truly. Having spent a couple thousand hours working on old boats doesn't make me an expert, but handy enough, perhaps?

The subject was: what should one do to reduce the risk of costly surprises when buying an old boat. And yeah, buying a not so old boat is one way to go about it.

Thanks for the book recommendation. Judging by "This Old Boat" by the same author, must be solid advice.

Since you asked, I'm in Canada. The current idea, for what it's worth, is to buy somewhere on East Coast (or Great Lakes, or maybe Caribbean), spend about 50k on the purchase and another 10-20 on outfitting. A 100k boat from mid-2000s would mean another two years before we go. Possible, but not very appealing. But, like I said, I'd rather forget about me and my "plans", and stick to the subject of "Avoiding a Hidden Project".
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