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Old 01-07-2009, 02:34   #1
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Five Things to Ask when Buying Liveaboard Yacht

We are currently selling our house and looking around for the perfect yacht to liveaboard for our family. We have found a 66 steel ketch in our price range and have arranged a provisional look this weekend. We would love any input on any questions you asked when purchasing, or wished you asked!

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Old 01-07-2009, 05:19   #2
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Originally Posted by giselle View Post
66 steel ketch
66 feet? or 1966? Either way you should be getting some seriously good expert advice from a marine surveyor. If its your first boat then more so.

Let us know what it looks like in the flesh... and remember what many steel boat owners say: rust never sleeps.


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Old 01-07-2009, 06:24   #3
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i agree with MarkJ, rust never sleeps. kind of hard to answer your question without knowing where you are going to live aboard. and your level of experience. US dock? chicken harbor, bahamas? caribbean? south seas? world cruise? we are currently on a HR 53 but are looking at a catamaran. two entirely different boats with entirely different plusses and minuses. suggest you make a list of what you want on a boat and decide where you are going to use it and then go shopping. good luck and don't forget to keep more money set aside than you think you need for fixing her up.
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Old 01-07-2009, 08:40   #4
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If it's a 1966 vintage...hmmm that's a real old boat.... if it's a 66 footer.... wow, you are going for the gusto for your first boat! Hope you have a hired crew for maintenance! As noted above, in either case..... you need a good surveyor or knowledgeable person to start with, either due to age or due to size.....
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Old 01-07-2009, 15:44   #5
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Torch, inspection mirror, screwdrivers, fine toothed comb...

Before you fall in love I'd suggest spending a little time getting intimate with your intended.

Get yourself a torch, inspection mirror (one of those the auto parts stores sell), standard and #2 Phillips screwdrivers and go over every nook and cranny with a fine toothed comb.

Look for rust, rust stains, even a lack of rust stains (in case a PO got enthusiastic with the phosphoric and paint). Go along every join (metal to metal, wood to metal, bolted, glued, everything). Stringer to hull/deck, bulkhead to hull/deck, the lot.

Treat foamed in place insulation with extreme suspicion.

Don't forget to remove some of the headliner to check under the deck. Choose a place that looks like it has never been touched.

Old teak decks could be a deal breaker.

It is advisable to find a yard where major steel repairs can be made (like replacing the stern/rudder tube, replating, and filling electrolysis to get some idea of what these could cost.

If you can see the boat out of the water look for any indication that the paint has been pulled from the hull.

If all looks OK and you still like the boat then call in a surveyor with extensive experience with steel boats.
Rust never sleeps
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Old 01-07-2009, 15:50   #6
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Get yourself a torch, inspection mirror (one of those the auto parts stores sell), standard and #2 Phillips screwdrivers and go over every nook and cranny with a fine toothed comb.

Just to clarify. A torch in USspeak and a torch in OZspeak are two very different animals. Torch US makes holes in steel, while the OZ torch en-light-ens.
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Old 02-07-2009, 07:32   #7
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I supppose next you'll be wanting him to look under the "bonnet".... :>)
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Old 02-07-2009, 11:33   #8
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Old 02-09-2009, 16:41   #9
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steel sailboats lose half their value after 10 years even when well maintaned, they rust from the inside out so be veeeeerrry careful ;that may be the reason all is "affordable"
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Old 03-09-2009, 13:04   #10
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Audio-gauge your steel vessel

Part of any survey on a steel vessel should be audio-gauging. This is especially important to perform in areas that cannot be seen (or seen easily). ABS guidelines call for plate replacement when wastage is greater than 25%.
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Old 04-09-2009, 08:53   #11
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How big is your family?

We are selling everything we have, from the house to the kitchen table, and buying a sailboat... our first boat, no real experience either

We thought that a larger boat might be the way to go... but now, Im not even looking at anything over ~35 feet. I've found a '30 Catalina has a better layout for our family of 4 than many other larger boats Ive looked at.

I would suggest that you go out and do some tire kicking and get on as many boats as you can, take the family with you. We were lucky enough to have a broker in our town that has sort of an open house where you can crawl through their entire inventory w/o sales people talking to you, unless you want them to.

In my limited experience, I recommend avoiding steel, wood, and cement boats they seem to be either a maintenance nightmare, or a hassle with insurance.

Good luck, keep us posted
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Old 04-09-2009, 10:14   #12
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Its a liveaboard yes, but do you plan on sailing it or will it live its life at the dock? The difference is a lot less needs to work if its going to stay at the dock.

Life begins where land ends.
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Old 04-09-2009, 12:39   #13
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Still looking myself...

As someone who is currently going through the same experience, ( Does It Take Everyone This Long? ) I would ask the following:
  1. Has the boat ever been flooded?
  2. Has the boat ever been in an accident?
  3. How old is the rigging (running and standing and sails)
  4. Does a survey exist that can be sent to you? (this is FYI presume nothing)
  5. Is there anything that will require immediate attention in order to make the boat seaworthy?
Now when you do an inspection, I have a bag with the following:
  • Inspection checklist (google for sailboat inspection checklist and read a few.)
  • Flashlight
  • Pencil/paper
  • Screw driver, flat and Philips
  • Multi-tool with knife
  • disposable gloves so you will reach into anything
  • work gloves so grabbing a prop or pulley or running your hand over rust is not painful.
  • rags
  • paper towels
  • cotton balls
  • Mirror on a stick
  • Small digital camera
  • tape measure

When you go, take someone with you to talk with the broker or owner while you look. My approach is to:
  • As Paul suggested in the above thread look at the boat and do a gut check. Do you see beauty? A dirty swan is a swan, a turkey will never be a swan.
  • Look into everything. Every cabinet, closet, hatch, storage area and door. If necessary use the mirror or camera to see where you cannot look easily. Everything means everything (yes even the head) If you cannot remember where the through hulls or tanks are located you have not see everything.
  • When you find anything make a note and take pictures using the tape measure for scale. Nothing looks to scale when you look at a picture two days from now. Drips under a port can be they left it open or the port leaks. A leak or corrosion around a chain plate is never good.
  • Use the checklist.
If you read the thread above, you will see that even after doing this a survey found issues, but at least it was one survey not three or four.

Finally, never like a boat you don't own. It is a collection of parts right now and like the dictionary is a collection of words, it can be Shakespeare or the ramblings of a mad man.

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Old 05-09-2009, 20:10   #14
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