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Old 04-04-2013, 05:01   #31
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Re: Avoiding a Hidden Project Boat

I'm not sure that it's possible to avoid an older boat from being a "project".

We're talking 30 year old boats for cruising here. There has to be many, many problems and the boat has to be able to handle 40+kts and rough seas for an extended period. That's a major refit and a lot of time and money.

8 year old ex charter Oceanis 343s look to be going for close to your figure. One of those with a good survey may do the trick?
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Old 04-04-2013, 05:36   #32
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Re: Avoiding a Hidden Project Boat

Every boat is a project. The keyword is "hidden". Something big that a buyer is not aware of when buying the boat.

By the way, mid-2000s Oceanis 343 is something I'm thinking about, too. But they can also be a hidden project, so the question how to dodge this bullet seems relevant, anyway.
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Old 04-04-2013, 06:16   #33
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Re: Avoiding a Hidden Project Boat

Well, at this point the OP, and most of the contributors to this thread, seem to have given up on any hope of getting a survey that has any value. I have to disagree. There are good, honest surveyors out there, and you can find them. It just takes a bit of work.

First, you need to do some homework on your own. You need to read a bit about what is involved in a survey. You need to get out and look at some boats. You need to know about the common problems to look for, including researching the specific boats you are interested in. You need to educate yourself enough that you can do a fair survey by yourself, so that you will know if the surveyor is doing what he should, looking at what he should.

Second, you need to get recommendations. Lots of them. Ask around. Ask here. Find people who have bought boats similar to the ones that you are looking at and ask who they used. And the surveyor does not have to be located in your immediate area. Most are willing to travel some distance, especially if you are willing to pay a bit for that.

Third, when you've narrowed it down to a couple who get consistently good recommendations, and have been in the business for a few years, you interview them. Ask them what they look for. Ask to see an example of a pre-purchase survey that they have done. Ask them for references and follow up. Search on the internet for any comments pro or con about them. Use some judgement.

Finally, when it comes time for the survey, go with them. Be there. Crawl around the boat with them. You should have already done this, just to be sure that the boat is even worth the price of a professional survey, but do it again so you can see what they are seeing. Ask questions. Make sure that they really check everything carefully.

Getting a good survey is not impossible. Not even close. You just have to be willing to put some effort into it. And, frankly, I would suggest that if you are not willing to put this kind of effort into the boat at this point, then you really shouldn't be buying anything more than a couple of years old to begin with.
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Old 04-04-2013, 06:56   #34
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Re: Avoiding a Hidden Project Boat

denverd0n I agree with most of this. As a surveyor (and I like to think a good honest one) I find some of the comments in this thread to be valid and others way off. Most brokers will provide a list of 3 or more surveyors. This may or may not be a good list. An honest broker wants to know the problems as much as you do, his reputation is on the line and he does not want problems after the sale that will make life difficult. That said we all know not all brokers are honest. Most of the above list for finding a good surveyor is good, I will add find out the surveyors back ground. Many surveys are retired people who just like to poke around boats but have little experience with boats. Try to find someone who has experience in the industry, ex boat builder or the like. Find one who is physically fit enough to do the job. If they are over weight or too old to climb a ladder you may want to find someone else. Do not follow the surveyor around on the day of the survey, you will just distract him and he will likely miss things. let him do his job watch him to make sure he is covering everything but save your questions for the end. If you feel he missed something ask. He might have asking will get him\ to look again. Give him time to do the report and read it and understand it. Once again ask questions once you get the report. I have had clients come back to me to tell me I missed something only for me to point out it was clearly in the report. Make sure you understand the language and scope of the report. Most surveyors do not and cannot do a full engine inspection. If the engine is 30 years old or has more than a few hundred hours hire a mechanic to check it. Ask questions before hiring anyone, ask what they look at and what they do not look at. Spend 10-15 min on the phone to make sure you feel comfortable with them and that you can talk to them. Ask them about their experience with the type of boat you are buying. Some surveyors are great on a powerboats but clueless about sail.
As for the OPs list of things wrong on all old boats yes you have to be careful. If you are looking at a boat that is 20-30 years old you can and should expect problems. I do not believe in all honesty anyone can find the "perfect" boat whether it is new or 30 years old. It aint happening! Boats are complicated and everyone has preferences. If you are looking for a boat to go long term cruising it will take time to get things ready and even then expect crap to break. I have to say boat prices are at an all time low and for the price of a car you can buy a boat that will take you around the world. But you cannot expect any boat to do that without some problems. i love what a friend told me recently as I was helping get some parts to the Bahamas, "Cruising is boat repair in exotic places!"
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Old 04-04-2013, 06:58   #35
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Re: Avoiding a Hidden Project Boat

Well. Some 10 years ago, with practically nil knowledge of keel boats, we bought our first boat.

It took us about 6 weeks to get her sea ready - some bottom paint, some mods to comfort, forestay replaced. And the we sailed rtw in this boat. We only had few adventures, and they were not directly related to our inexperience nor to the condition of the boat at the time we got her.

So, to me, the answer is very simple: get a well built boat, from an owner who sailed her and maintained her. Stick to well designed, well built, clean boats with the simplest of systems, and you will be fine.

There are many ways to achieve the same end anyways. People who get stuck with projects are people who go for projects. I do not.

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Old 04-04-2013, 07:42   #36
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Re: Avoiding a Hidden Project Boat

OK, I can not hold back any longer. I have more than a few cents worth to throw into the mix. Some may disagree but here it is.

First off, the sailboat industry did terrible job with planned obsolescence. That's great news for someone like you looking for an older boat. I think the conservative nature of sailors prevented manufactures from straying too far from the norm. You can see just recently, the designs are finally starting to show real change. The casual observer could hardly spot the difference between a 1990 and 2000 production boat. Sugar scoop transoms wow how radical!!!

Can you live with a boat a conventional stern? I put a platform off the stern of my o'day 39. It works for me. Similar boats will have a discount.

Interior made of teak. Even my O'day has solid teak most everywhere. Some marine plywood with teak veneer. The O'day 39 was one of the earlier boats with a fiberglass structural grid pan. I've never seen rot in these boats.

Some teak interiors have many years dirt and teak oil on them. Stripping it is very easy. A few weeks of stripping and re-oiling or better yet, rubbed effect varnish will make the interior as good as new.

Decks Cracks? Paint the non-skid. Dull gelcoat? try polyglow, my 30 year old hull looks like new. Pay someone to fill and buff out any deck cracks in the smooth gelcoat or learn to do it some afternoon.

Sails, I found a boat with a serial number 1 digit younger than mine? This owner races his boat and is a performance cruiser. I buy is old sails. I'm happy he's happy.

Engine / drive train, Have the pro go over it. My boat has a Universal Diesel which is a Kabota Diesel engine . The Tractor dealers I talked to in Wisconsin laughed and said that engine has never seen a hard days work. They said you can stall that engine out while while pulling stumps and not hurt it. I'm having a new driveshaft, dripless seal and a cutlass bearing put in it.
I won't have $50,000 in this boat.
Again , my point of view. I plan on sailing the boat a few months out of each year commuter cruising. Pretty easy life from this point on.
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Old 04-04-2013, 08:15   #37
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Re: Avoiding a Hidden Project Boat

When searching for a good deal on a decent boat, I contend that blisters can be your friend. They can be used to negotiate a better price with the seller, and then completely forgotten. A boat has never sunk due to blisters. Ninety-nine percent of the time they're just cosmetic, and you'll never see them unless you spend a lot of time under your boat. They do generate enormous amounts of cash for boatyards though.

I believe this is what is known as a contrarian view. Those who would disagree should offer some examples where the boat was lost or suffered significant structural failure due to blisters.
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Old 04-04-2013, 08:18   #38
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Re: Avoiding a Hidden Project Boat

Quote:
Originally Posted by robertsapp View Post
When searching for a good deal on a decent boat, I contend that blisters can be your friend. They can be used to negotiate a better price with the seller, and then completely forgotten. A boat has never sunk due to blisters. Ninety-nine percent of the time they're just cosmetic, and you'll never see them unless you spend a lot of time under your boat. They do generate enormous amounts of cash for boatyards though.

I believe this is what is known as a contrarian view. Those who would disagree should offer some examples where the boat was lost or suffered significant structural failure due to blisters.
I run from blisters but if you understand the work it takes, you may have a point.

How much would you discount a boat that had the pox?
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Old 04-04-2013, 08:25   #39
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Re: Avoiding a Hidden Project Boat

it is truly funny how when ye find a boat you absolutely LOVE, it isnt a project, but a labor of love.

what you feel comfortable inside of and sailing is your perfect boat even with her defects.

i used 3 previous surveys i found inside my formosa, and i surveyed her further myself and found nothing that could possibly break this deal--even her trying to sink on me isnt/wasnt a deal breaker--i just monitor the ingress and keep on keeping on.

you learn to deal with that which seems unkindly and make her yours.

there is no such thing as a PERFECT boat. there may be a perfect boat for YOU, but they are ALL projects, even those right off the showroom floor.
as i dislike the new designs i found a beautiful formosa and am loving this life--even with major repairs being done while underway.

anyone have a fuel tank i can have--i need one about 120 gallons that will fit inside my formosa.........LOL....good thing i have jerry jugs...LOL

could also use a crew......

btw--pox is no big deal. had 2 boats with that....fixed one, let the other be, with monitoring. was all good. didnt affect sailing capability or performance and didnt leak into hull. no big deal.
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Old 04-04-2013, 08:38   #40
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Re: Avoiding a Hidden Project Boat

I'm with Zeehag! When we bought our boat, there were "red flags" everywhere. The Broker was a greasy sleaze ball. His first tactic was to look at an incoming text and say "another sight-unseen offer".
The month-old survey commissioned by the owner was full of "appears to be in good working order" and "appears serviceable".
The engine was partly disassembled (mixing elbow).
The entire boat was very messy and cluttered so that we could not see much.
Lots of "condensation" marks streaming down the hull.

BUT the research I had done on the Corbins told me that this was a good build. She had everything (almost) that we wanted in a boat and the price was right.

The way I see it is that when we are ready to head south, I will know my ship intimately. I will know the age and life expectancy of her systems and how to fix them.
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Old 04-04-2013, 09:24   #41
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Re: Avoiding a Hidden Project Boat

I don't think blisters should be treated so casualy. Small blisters maybe. Big blisters are just scary. I did a blister repair job on a 32' Trojan, and it had some that were big and deep. After being ground out the remaining laminate was soft and gooey. If this boat was used offshore in some weather, no telling what could have happened. Small blisters eventually turn into big blisters. My top consideration when buying a used boat is that the hull is solid. People say that no boat has been lost due to blisters. Are you sure? Does your automatic bilge switch work?
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Old 04-04-2013, 10:00   #42
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Re: Avoiding a Hidden Project Boat

haw---look back into the words i have been saying about blisters--

MONITOR them. if they tunnel, haul and fix. tunnelling is not good.
a good diver--or yourself under water--can easily do this.
i never said no boats were lost to blisters.
there is more than one kind of blistering---there are
structural and surface.
most are surface that i have seen.....
structural ones are scary and do need immediate care.
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Old 04-04-2013, 10:12   #43
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Re: Avoiding a Hidden Project Boat

Quote:
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.
Pay so little for it, that if it turns out to need major work, you just walk away at minor loss and try again with another one. You really can't tell how bad something is until you take enough time to really tear it apart.
So my view: 1) buy something good already or 2) buy something real cheap,
anything between the two is pretty risky. That said, there are things to check that can reduce it, and many good tips offered.

I never own any "thing" I can't afford to lose. The folks that sell everything they own and spend it all on a $100-300k boat make me shudder. This is how dreams become nightmares. You see it often, something can become all consuming both emotionally and financially.

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Old 04-04-2013, 10:14   #44
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Re: Avoiding a Hidden Project Boat

ALLLL boats need maintenance to prevent dereliction. break down happens.
so, EVERY boat has pitfalls, even brand new ones are not cruise ready. have to work on EVERY one of them out there. good luck finding your absolutely perfect boat--it doesnt exist, except in glossy magazines.....
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Old 04-04-2013, 10:31   #45
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Re: Avoiding a Hidden Project Boat

Zee, I was referring to the post by Robert Sapp. He was insinuating that boatyards use blisters to ripoff customers, by doing repairs that don't need to be done. I believe that you know exactly what you have. My post was aimed at the less experienced buyer that will think that blisters are something that everybody has and only suckers pay to have them fixed.
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