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Old 03-07-2015, 10:39   #1
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Boat: Catalina 320
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Boat buying trip

I'm going north next week to the Carolina's and Virginia on a sailboat buying trip. ( Catalina 32'-34' 1995 / 2002 ) This is my first sailboat and will rarely leave the sight of land. I've contacted all the brokers by email and made a short check list of what I think I can evaluate on my own. The last thing I want is to pay a surveyor to tell me the boat isn't worth buying because of something I should known from a visual inspection.

My plan is to see the 7 boats that I feel have the most potential. I know brokers don't like starting engines and powering up everything. My thinking was to narrow the list to the two that are in the right price range and condition . Then go back and fully check everything with the owner there before making an offer.

The members of this forum have purchased more Sailboats then I'll see. I would greatly appreciate any advice or warnings you have from your past experiences.

Thank You in advance, Woody


Check list

Condition of exterior Port Stb Transom cockpit
Standing Rigging
Running Rigging
Wenches
Sails and age
Canvases Boom & Bimini
Condition of ground tackle
Bottom paint and Keel if on the hard
Auto pilot
Wind, depth, gps
Interior condition including galley
Refrigeration
Air conditioning
Engine compartment
Engine hours, Type
Batteries
Dingy & Motor
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Old 03-07-2015, 11:19   #2
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Re: Boat buying trip

Woody,

Here are some handy tips & tricks

Boat Inspection Trip Tips - SailboatOwners.com

Home Page Brochures┬* Contribute Cool stuff Database FAQ Fleets For sale┬* Gallery┬*┬* History JOIN Links Mailing List Manuals Message

Home Page Brochures┬* Contribute Cool stuff Database FAQ Fleets For sale┬* Gallery┬*┬* History JOIN Links Mailing List Manuals Message

CRITICAL UPGRADES - DO THESE OR ELSE!!!

Happy Hunting.
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Old 03-07-2015, 14:01   #3
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Re: Boat buying trip

I would start with the very expensive, potential deal breaker items and work my way down.

1. Over all integrity of the hull/deck.
- hull/deck joint
- wet or soft decks
- bulkheads separated from hull
- evidence of water in the boat: water stained bulkheads, delaminated wood, serious corrosion in wiring.
- serious blisters.

2. Engine.
- Correct most initial inspections won't allow starting but at least get a visual. Look for evidence of leaks, major rust, look for discolored paint as an indication of possible overheating. Look at and smell the oil and transmission fluid. Check for visible metal particles, burnt smell in transmission fluid, discoloration, smell of diesel in the oil.
- Ask for any information on the engine: hours, problems, repairs, etc. Of course take it with a grain of salt.

3. Rig
- how old is the standing rigging
- sails

4. Systems
- Go over electrical, plumbing, electronics.
- Usually these are not major expenses but can add up, especially if you need a complete rewiring.
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Old 03-07-2015, 14:08   #4
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Re: Boat buying trip

Don't forget to look for water stains. Around portlights, deck to hull as indicated by stains on the interior cabin etc. These can be nasty buggers to fix.
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Old 03-07-2015, 15:19   #5
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Re: Boat buying trip

You've left off the most important thing to check:

Previous Owner

Almost without exception, the best boat is the one that is best maintained by a knowledgeable and careful (even better, "anal") owner.

Buying a boat would be much easier if you could talk to owner (and sometimes you can). Fortunately, most brokers talk too much. With gentle indirect probing you can probably get them to tell you more than they should about how the owner cared for the boat.

One good approach is to ask about recent repairs (if there are no recent repairs that's a bad sign) Look at the quality of the repair. Does it look like an anal guy wanted it "better than new"? That's the boat you want.

And find out why the owner is selling it. A bad answer is "He never used it much so it's almost new". A good answer "His wife is making him sell it because he's 75 years old, had three heart attacks, and still goes out on the boat alone" (I actually heard that one).
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Old 03-07-2015, 15:23   #6
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Re: Boat buying trip

You've left off the most important thing to check:

Previous Owner

Almost without exception, the best boat is the one that is best maintained by a knowledgeable and careful (even better, "anal") owner.

Buying a boat would be much easier if you could talk to owner (and sometimes you can). Fortunately, most brokers talk too much. With gentle indirect probing you can probably find out a lot about how the owner cared for the boat.

One good approach is to ask about recent repairs (if there are no recent repairs that's a bad sign) Look at the quality of the repair. Does it look like an anal guy wanted it "better than new"? That's the boat you want.

And find out why the owner is selling it. A bad answer is "He never used it much so it's almost new". A good answer "His wife is making him sell it because he's 75 years old, had three heart attacks, and still goes out on the boat alone" (I actually heard that one).

An even better answer is "He just bought a bigger boat"
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Old 03-07-2015, 15:27   #7
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Re: Boat buying trip

Quote:
Originally Posted by CarlF View Post
You've left off the most important thing to check:

Previous Owner

Almost without exception, the best boat is the one that is best maintained by a knowledgeable and careful (even better, "anal") owner.

Buying a boat would be much easier if you could talk to owner (and sometimes you can). Fortunately, most brokers talk too much. With gentle indirect probing you can probably find out a lot about how the owner cared for the boat.

One good approach is to ask about recent repairs (if there are no recent repairs that's a bad sign) Look at the quality of the repair. Does it look like an anal guy wanted it "better than new"? That's the boat you want.

And find out why the owner is selling it. A bad answer is "He never used it much so it's almost new". A good answer "His wife is making him sell it because he's 75 years old, had three heart attacks, and still goes out on the boat alone" (I actually heard that one).

An even better answer is "He just bought a bigger boat"
.....With one caveat: one of the worst you can buy is a boat that didn't get used often.
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Old 03-07-2015, 16:50   #8
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Re: Boat buying trip

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
.....With one caveat: one of the worst you can buy is a boat that didn't get used often.
That's so true. After seeing more then a few must see boats as the brokers call them. I drove 3 hours round trip to see a "lightly used one" with a $10,000 over the average asking price. It was beautiful on the outside but the water damages on the inside was horrific. The inside smelled of mold, every port window and front hatch were leaking. Even the bottom of the engine cover had rotten thru. I asked the broker why he didn't tell me about these problems up front as not to waste everyone's time. I didn't get a response. Its as if they think you won't notice.
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