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Old 05-09-2012, 12:24   #16
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Re: Pitfalls of Buying a Boat Unseen?

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I see many potential problems and pitfalls in your plans.

1. Buying almost any boat, no matter the price, quality and condition would almost certainly require months of preparation, maintenance and repair before it would be ready to sail half way around the world. Like anything there can be exceptions to this statement but the odds of finding a truly ready to go boat are very small.
OK, but with a broker acting as your agent towards the sellers broker - assuming you can trust him - it should be possible to get a good overview of what is necessary to do before you set sail for the big one, no?


Quote:
2. Your group plans to spend over USD$250,000 for a boat but could not have someone there to inspect the boat prior to signing a purchase agreement?
Our pinch is time - we would want to send someone over before december but it might turn out difficult. Even our broker has told us that he'd prefer one of us came over before the deal is sealed.

Quote:
3. I might comment that a boat would need to do more than just float to sail it to Australia. Sure the cabinets and cosmetic details may not matter but the hull, rig and engine better be in top condition.
This I have stated as a prerequisite I think. And here is the thing - assessing the structural integrity of hull, rig and engine would be something we would have to trust someone else with anyway. So, if we accept that the boat may look worn and tarnished (we'd fix that on the way), would there be such a big difference to be made by one of us showing up?

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My main concern is your very short time table might cause you problems. Better to spend more time checking all boat systems before you start in a location where parts and labor are readily available instead of breaking down and being stuck for months in some small island with no resources for repairs.
Indeed the latter is undesirable. So we probably need to be able to start fitting the boat with the SSB, radar etc. before we arrive early december meaning that we need to buy the boat sooner than planned. We'll have to trust our agent again to get good people to do this but he has been in that kind of business for a long time and seems to know what he's talking about.

But really, is it THAT hard to find a cat in a condition where you don't have to change the rig, engine or do major repairs to the hull? I don't think that's a pipe dream at all. The ones we are looking at are less than 10 years old.
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Old 05-09-2012, 12:43   #17
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Re: Pitfalls of Buying a Boat Unseen?

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I think the word you were looking for was "likely". Very Likely .

Be hard enough getting all 9 buyers to agree on what is good, what is ok and what is sh#te - let alone relying on others.

My advice is don't. but if OP does, then IMO need to have an exit strategy mapped out if (when?!) the purchase does not meet expectations / hopes - so can exit (and get yer cash back - or at least some of it) without having to deal with 8 other people squabbling over the purchase, whilst eating money and time. yours.
Actually, our group is pretty much harmonized so that part isn't such a worry, surprisingly you might say.

Our rationale has been that:
i) if we deal with people who have been in the business for a long time, more than 10 years,
ii) we have broker acting as an agent on our behalf,
iii) our purchase is a small percentage of the annual turnover for both buyers' and sellers broker,
then it would make little sense for the two parts involved to risk their name and lawsuit by totally screwing us over (i.e. the boat is 6 ft under water).

I mean, even if we might find some unexpected problems with the boat when we arrive, there should be many ways to check that the deal is legit before we go to the purchase - right?

We'd really welcome comments to this.
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Old 05-09-2012, 12:47   #18
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Re: Pitfalls of Buying a Boat Unseen?

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But really, is it THAT hard to find a cat in a condition where you don't have to change the rig, engine or do major repairs to the hull? I don't think that's a pipe dream at all. The ones we are looking at are less than 10 years old.
Spend a little and take a trip to the Caribbean and check things out for yourself. It will be money well spent. When you get there (start in Roadtown) and talk to a few brokers and see a few boats you'll know what you're up against.
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Old 05-09-2012, 12:54   #19
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Re: Pitfalls of Buying a Boat Unseen?

Apparent from the posts so far: it is for obvious reasons very easy to advice against buying unseen - even our own broker would prefer we didn't as he doesn't want to have it on his hands that he has bought something for us that we don't like. However, it's apparently harder to explain why and how to minimize the risks involved - which is really what I'd like to get out of this thread.

And as much as I'd like to ignore it because it is irrelevant in this case, the allegations of scam got me curious still: How would paying money for something you haven't seen be a scam? Is it like some Nigerian scam thing where we would ask for money to get the deal through? And one answer is enough here - it's not the point of the thread at all...
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Old 05-09-2012, 13:03   #20
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Re: Pitfalls of Buying a Boat Unseen?

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. However, it's apparently harder to explain why and how to minimize the risks involved - which is really what I'd like to get out of this thread.

.

To minimize your risk do not buy a boat sight unseen.
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Old 05-09-2012, 13:05   #21
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Re: Pitfalls of Buying a Boat Unseen?

I would not be worried about buying a boat sight unseen if I had a buyers agent I trusted, a good surveyor and a boat that was no more than a year old. This is my plan. My budget is the same as yours also.
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Old 05-09-2012, 13:07   #22
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Re: Pitfalls of Buying a Boat Unseen?

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Spend a little and take a trip to the Caribbean and check things out for yourself. It will be money well spent. When you get there (start in Roadtown) and talk to a few brokers and see a few boats you'll know what you're up against.
Believe me, we would really prefer to do that! We have the money but might not have the time for it... Instead we'll have to settle for a buyers broker to do the inital checkouts for us. But, we would really like to know what kind of problems we could expect that would be so serious. I mean, yes I am totally aware that there may be hidden cracks in the hull, aluminum corrotion due to different metal components of the mast (limited vocabulary here), corrotion and osmosis underneath through-hull fittings etc etc. But I'll make the bold claim that on a mass produced boat less than 10 years old that is fairly rare, and definitely not the rule. Otherwise, boats would degrade in value at the rate of cars instead of, well, boats. Thrash me over this please, but let me in on the details - they are ones that really interest me!
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Old 05-09-2012, 13:10   #23
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Re: Pitfalls of Buying a Boat Unseen?

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Originally Posted by pina.banana View Post
Apparent from the posts so far: it is for obvious reasons very easy to advice against buying unseen - even our own broker would prefer we didn't as he doesn't want to have it on his hands that he has bought something for us that we don't like. However, it's apparently harder to explain why and how to minimize the risks involved - which is really what I'd like to get out of this thread.

And as much as I'd like to ignore it because it is irrelevant in this case, the allegations of scam got me curious still: How would paying money for something you haven't seen be a scam? Is it like some Nigerian scam thing where we would ask for money to get the deal through? And one answer is enough here - it's not the point of the thread at all...
This is how it works, they will send you the money with a check for an amount greater than what you ask for, requesting that you send the difference before you cash the check, because to release the funds they need that money...
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Old 05-09-2012, 13:15   #24
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Re: Pitfalls of Buying a Boat Unseen?

Pina Banana...

You're getting a lot of good advice in this thread, and you are not hearing it.

MAKE the time to go see the boat. There is no way you should be risking a quarter million dollars on somebody else's say-so. This is YOUR money and YOUR lives. You really, really, really must be there.

As for "fix it on the way"...No. You fix up a boat in port...hauled out on land, for anything major. You break it (repeatedly) at sea. Thinking you will "fix it on the way" is sort of like saying you will replace your car's radiator hose while driving down the highway at 60 mph.
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Old 05-09-2012, 13:25   #25
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Re: Pitfalls of Buying a Boat Unseen?

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As long as you get a good survey of hull, mast and engine you should be covered for the critical points, right?
Please let me know on what planet you live, I want to move there!
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Old 05-09-2012, 13:36   #26
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Re: Pitfalls of Buying a Boat Unseen?

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OK, how would that happen if we buy a boat "certified" by a surveyor to be in decent condition and insure it?
Surveyors don't "certify" boats. They simply describe the current condition in a survey report. They will also quite often suggest modifications that should be made to bring the boat up to current standards. If you ask, they might even suggest modifications that you should make before taking the boat half way around the world. But what they most definitely will NOT do is to "certify" to you that the boat is suitable for any particular use.

No offense intended, really, but given all of the questions you are asking here, it is quite obvious that you are just not ready for a journey like this. You can't just buy a boat and--voila!--you're ready to sail around the world. It takes some knowledge and experience. The people who do it successfully almost always start out with numerous shorter journeys, over the course of months if not years.

The only responsible advice I can give to you is, forget it. You cannot do this. At least, not on the time-table you have set forth. Try it and the odds are good that you are going to end up dead, or being rescued from your own foolishness by a team of Coast Guard and/or Navy personnel who really should not have to risk their lives to save yours.

I'm sorry to put it so bluntly. I truly am not trying to destroy your dreams. I am simply being honest. If this sort of voyage is something you want to undertake, great. But you need to allow yourself more time, and you need to do it right.

And it just occurred to me that it sounds like you and your little group have more money than time. Perhaps what you should be doing is looking into a crewed charter--where experienced sailors, with a properly equipped vessel, will take you where you want to go.

Good luck.
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Old 05-09-2012, 13:42   #27
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Re: Pitfalls of Buying a Boat Unseen?

My suggestion, assuming you have limited time now, and want to start cruising as soon as you get to the Carribbean.

Look in Florida on the web first, there's more boats and brokers and its easier to find reputable surveyors. Find a few boats you like there, designate one or two of you to deal with the brokers, call the brokers and arrange to see the boats. Take vacation and fly out see the boats, pick one, get it surveyed.

This is what I did. Of course I had the convenience of actually living in the Caribbean, but I took off and flew from island to island looking at boats, before I settled on one. I was glad I did. Plus I was glad I didn't buy a couple sight unseen, after I actually saw them!
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Old 05-09-2012, 14:04   #28
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Re: Pitfalls of Buying a Boat Unseen?

One other aspect you have to look up is the documentation process and what it involves. You'll need to register the boat under one of your names somewhere before you take it out.
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Old 05-09-2012, 14:11   #29
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Re: Pitfalls of Buying a Boat Unseen?

OK, just concentrating on your specific questions and ignoring the "buy without inspecting" philosophical debate...

[QUOTE=pina.banana;1029105]

We're a bunch of 9 in norway planning to buy a cat, most likely in the caribbean, preferably less than 10 years old and 43-46 feet. It needs to take us comfortably across the pacific to sell in Australia and that's all, that is, the sailing performance is unimportant - it just needs to float. Same with the layout, it should accomodate 7-9 but we're prepared to make adjustments to interior, and do the necessary make-up.

However, it will most likely need quite a bit of equipment fitted - watermaker, radar, perhaps a spinnaker, SSB radio, generator, and that of course, takes a bit of time.

KISS - forget the radar (not necessary for your route), forget the spinnaker and SSB (not really needed and will save you time and $$ during your rushed preparation). Watermaker will be essential for so many people. You don't have time to set up an energy efficient electrical system, so just throw some money at a generator and get sailing!

Now, 2 of us arrive in - well, that depends - but probably St. Martin early december, the rest one month later and we hope to leave for panama in january. So we'd have to buy and outfit the right cat for the right price (~250K USD) in two months - barely. Too ambitious, right?

It's doable if you know what you are doing, and the surveyor truly finds everything. Why not get 2 surveys just to put your mind at rest and prepare a realistic Work List? The hourly rate in St Martin is high. Twice we have bought boats and a month later left to go cruising. The first boat involved sand blasting, total re-painting, new gear box, new water tanks, etc etc. Between 2 of us, we did it all and left within our time frame. With the second boat (see avatar to left), a lot of the stuff we bought in the US and installed in the Bahamas. Met our time frame of 1 month again. No need to achieve perfection, just good enough. Prioritise between work in port and work at an isolated anchorage. No need to do it all in St Martin, far better to do some of it while anchored in the San Blas. There is a fast courier service from the USA to Panama where you will probably have to repair all the damage and iron out the wrinkles from the 1st leg.


OK, so we could try and have a deal pending and ready to be closed when we arrive - it would still be an unseen boat, it's bad timing for the market and work is more expensive to hire. And most importantly, we don't think we'd have the expertise necessary to discover the potentially really important caveats anyway. Could our eyes make such a huge difference when we can't be that picky with charm and how well the cupboard doors slide?

Risky but logical if you can trust the expertise of the surveyors.

We think we have a broker who can act as our agent in place to check out prospects. As long as you get a good survey of hull, mast and engine you should be covered for the critical points, right? Sure. I assume that includes rudder, rigging and sails, right? Would buying a former charter boat be a gamble with that in place, for example with hidden damage to any of these? Yes, this is the gamble you are taking. Maybe you need to hire 2 surveyors to cover the stuff that each other will miss?

I'll have to stop here I can tell, so please help us and share information instead of just saying the idea is stupid. You can tell us that as well, only say why, too.

Are you all young, competent off shore sailors, can afford to blow $50 k each and have a great time? Sounds like it could be a good adventure!
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Old 05-09-2012, 15:28   #30
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Re: Pitfalls of Buying a Boat Unseen?

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Pina Banana...

You're getting a lot of good advice in this thread, and you are not hearing it.

MAKE the time to go see the boat. There is no way you should be risking a quarter million dollars on somebody else's say-so. This is YOUR money and YOUR lives. You really, really, really must be there.
We hope to get the time to do that, of course! This is just in the case we don't, and we want to map out what our options are.

I'm seeing a lot of good intentions but not that much useful advice I'm afraid.

Quote:
As for "fix it on the way"...No. You fix up a boat in port...hauled out on land, for anything major. You break it (repeatedly) at sea. Thinking you will "fix it on the way" is sort of like saying you will replace your car's radiator hose while driving down the highway at 60 mph.
Sorry, that looks like an intentional misunderstanding. I'm not talking about changing through-hulls while at sea. Interior work and a lot of problems as things inevitably break can, and often have to be, fixed on the way. I have grown up with boats and I know this.
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