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Old 05-09-2012, 15:28   #31
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Re: Pitfalls of Buying a Boat Unseen?

pina, what on earth is COMPELLING you all to buy a boat in such a risky manner?

What could go wrong? Everything, and a total loss of time and money.

What on earth?
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Old 05-09-2012, 16:00   #32
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Re: Pitfalls of Buying a Boat Unseen?

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Originally Posted by denverd0n View Post
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 from me either, but I don't know if you noticed the " " around "certify"... Anyway, even if we're looking with our own eyes, some hidden damages will most likely stay hidden for us as well... This can happen with any purchase, and does our final look really make that big of a difference? I have a feeling that some people here are trying to say that the boat will fall apart in the first wave, which clearly is overly dramatic.

Quote:
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. [......] 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.
No need to be sorry, it takes more than a forum post to ruin something that is a plan and not a dream. We clearly see differently about sailing. I believe sailing isn't very hard. It's obviously full of challenges and has its dangers, but by being careful and applying care in the beginning it is easy to learn to sail. And you actually can do the right thing in a precarious situation by applying stuff you have been told or read. A first storm is a first storm for everyone.

That said, I have a circumnavigation behind me - even if I was a kid at the time 3 years on a boat gives you a good idea of what to expect. I have owned and lived on a Great Dane 28 for 2 years, and learned to respect the ocean through breaking its mast and losing power in bad weather, crossed the atlantic with 2 friends and numerous other sailing trips along the norwegian coast. This isn't to prove anything, but it's to say that my experience from this is that by taking the necessary steps, it's really not that hard. We probably don't agree how long you should spend in the pond before you take to the ocean though.
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Old 05-09-2012, 16:06   #33
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Re: Pitfalls of Buying a Boat Unseen?

Originally Posted by pina.banana
As long as you get a good survey of hull, mast and engine you should be covered for the critical points, right?

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Originally Posted by rolandgilbert99 View Post
Please let me know on what planet you live, I want to move there!
Yeah, that was a bit of an overstatement, I see that now. But, when can you be sure there are no such problems with your prospective boat? Initially you have to rely on the authority of someone else. How can you get all that experience before buying yourself a boat of your own?
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Old 05-09-2012, 16:14   #34
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Re: Pitfalls of Buying a Boat Unseen?

Pina -- people are trying to tell you that your group is being unrealistic. Way, way too many variables in play that can costs you lots of money, your boat, and your time. Relying on a broker for not only finding a boat, but honestly relaying the boat's condition, coordinating the survey, and advocating on your behalf during the negotiation process is a big, big leap of faith on your part.

Did you know that, legally, the broker (even a so-called "buyer's broker") has no fiduciary responsibility to either the buyer or the seller, at all? Unless you have a very specific, legally defensible, air-tight contract with a broker, done in the appropriate country -- and a legal system in that country that will actually uphold it, and the broker actually has legally obtainable assets that you can actually attach in order to pay for your losses, you have nothing but faith on your side.

Let's put it another way: Shark (broker), meet chum (you).

Let me tell you what is far more likely to happen: You find a broker, either recommended by "someone", or you like their website, or he/she just seemed "nice" (they specialize in that, by the way). You explain your situation and the broker is so understanding and reassuring, telling you that there will be no problem at all, he will get right on it.

He finds the closest boat to what you're wanting that he's (or an associate) has had listed for who-knows-how-long and has become a real burden. He talks it up and sends you a bunch of pictures that were taken years ago (or aren't even the same boat), telling you how he's got such a deal for you, but you have to move fast, fast, fast because there's at least 3 other people getting ready to write checks.

No worry about a survey, because he's got another surveyor doing another boat tomorrow and if you hurry and write up the offer, he can get that surveyor to hang around for another day and, just barely, squeeze your boat in his schedule. Oh, by the way, you will need to wire many thousand dollars to the broker, right now, to cover the haul out, survey, deposit, etc. No worries, just make it out to him, right into his account.

A week later and you've heard nothing. You call/email and the broker tells you that things have been sort of a problem -- at the yard, with the surveyor, with the survey, with the boat's owner -- that he's trying oh, so hard to convince to be realistic, but if you would just waive these little details on the survey -- they really are details, after all and he'll have them fixed up for you, on his dime, before you ever get there, but, oh, I'm so sorry to tell you this, he found out that one of the buyers is offering $10,000 more than you, so if you really want this boat (and, you really want this boat, he says!) you really need to come in at $12,000 more!

You protest and say, "we had a deal and what do you mean the owner is looking at other offers?!? That's not right, that's illegal!" He says, "well, maybe where you live, but not here, it happens all the time, here."

Enough? Do you understand, now?

Good luck,

ID
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Old 05-09-2012, 16:22   #35
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Re: Pitfalls of Buying a Boat Unseen?

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Originally Posted by pina.banana View Post
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?




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.



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?



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.
Here's just a short lise of some of the things that you need to check carefully before taking off on a blue water cruise. Yes these will be checked by a surveyor but probably very superficially and it will be up to you to check each more closely to make sure that they are 100%

1. Bilge pumps
2. pressure water system
3. all engine hoses
4. all other hoses.
5. seacocks
6. good double clamps on all hoses connecting to the ocean
7. engine
8. sails and running rigging
9. crew safety gear: life jackets, harnesses, jack lines, personal safety equipment, MOB recovery, MOB pole.
10. Boat safety gear: anchors, rodes, emergency pumps, radios, EPIRBs,
11. check and recheck rigging. doesn't matter if the boat was rerigged last year, spend at least a couple of days checking every wire, swage, chainplate, toggle, pin, turnbuckle, nut and bolt.
12. engine spare parts: belts, pumps or impellers, etc.
13. boat spares: a list too long to include.

This is just a partial list and each of these could take a day or three or more to check. Then when (NOT IF) you find things that need to be repaired or replaced you will chase all over the island looking for the parts and several will not be available so will have to be ordered and shipped in from Tierra del Fuego or Timbuktu. The shipment will be delayed or the wrong part delivered requiring additional delays.

Then you want in install: generator, water maker, radar, SSB, etc, etc, etc. Each of these can take weeks to get installed or you can get it done right now if you have big, big money to pay. Here is a standard boat joke that is not so much a joke but pretty true. When you go to have work done on your boat you get get it done right, you can get it done fast, and you can get it done cheaply. BUT you only get to pick two out of three. From your posts I don't think any combination of two options fit with your planned schedule.

The other boating joke that is more true that funny. Any work you have done on a boat will take twice as long and cost twice as much as you estimate. Even if you get three estimates from three different boat yards this will hold true. If you are doing this in the islands change double to triple.

While this all sounds somewhat facetious I've seen it happen like this over and over.

I could go on but just thinking about it all makes me tired. Plus it's time for me to go work on my boat. Three years and counting.
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Old 05-09-2012, 16:22   #36
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Re: Pitfalls of Buying a Boat Unseen?

Saying that you want to cross and ocean, and that sailing performance is unimportant, is, well, like saying that the air you breath can be any old air, as long as it has some oxygen in it. And the oxygen is not needed.

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Old 05-09-2012, 16:32   #37
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Re: Pitfalls of Buying a Boat Unseen?

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Originally Posted by Intentional Drifter View Post
Pina -- people are trying to tell you that your group is being unrealistic. Way, way too many variables in play that can costs you lots of money, your boat, and your time. Relying on a broker for not only finding a boat, but honestly relaying the boat's condition, coordinating the survey, and advocating on your behalf during the negotiation process is a big, big leap of faith on your part.
Thanks ID, your point is of course very valid. I'm listening to what people are saying here but I'm also filtering a little when I read the nay-sayers because there will always be so many unbalanced comments in a forum debate. And I'm trying to make our case to get the concrete arguments and similar experiences out of people.

We have not decided on anything yet, and our plan is perfectly fine if we get one of us over to oversee the deal. The case you're outlining, and I understand that it's written to make the point, would of course make all the alarms go off. The guy we're talking to is not rushing us, has been in the business for many years and strongly suggested we should see the boat before the deal is signed at least - so he seems good, so far.
Of course, it looks weird to be thinking about going against the brokers advice on the subject of seeing the boat, but bear with us here, we're just chartering the waters so far.
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Old 05-09-2012, 17:07   #38
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Re: Pitfalls of Buying a Boat Unseen?

Original question seems to be "What can go wrong?", so from where I am, not necessarily in order of importance:-

#1 You could lose all of your money. It may be difficult to get insurance, and what insurance you can get may not cover any loss.

#2 You're expecting 9 friends who have never sailed together before to get on with each other for how long? 6, 9 months? What collective experience on big cats? And they all have to synchronize their holidays! Who's going to be in charge? Can't see that one working.

#3 Continuous sailing puts additional wear and tear on the rig. Monos may get away with just replacing the headstay but we have had stories of catamarans losing their mast, rigging - the lot. Sails that have been used in charter will need repair, maybe replacement.

#4 The engines of charter boats can get a lot of hard use from charterers who have no real experience with diesel engines. Lots of hours, two engines plus generator - plan on replacing at least one engine somewhere in the middle of the Pacific. Allow 2 - 5 months to get this done.

#5 You're planning a major upgrade of the electronics. Going to be expensive and to take longer than you'd ever think possible. Don't forget that custom mounts for all antennae will be necessary. Mast will have to come down.

#6 Liferaft? For 9? Harnesses? Other safety equipment?

#7 Navigational experience? We've had a recent report of a large yacht with two experienced sailors on board hitting an island in the Pacific. It's an easy mistake to make - inaccurate charts, inexperience, tired, stressed etc. Do yous have a clear chain of command?

#8 Weather? It's a long way. The Pacific isn't that pacific. What you gonna do?

#9 Dinghy? For 9? You'll need at least two big heavy dinghies. Expensive, hard to handle and to store.

# 10 Sun protection? You'll need to get something serious or you're gunna cook!

# 11 Water? For 9 inexperienced cruisers? You're gunna need a big watermaker. Expensive and time consuming to install. And it may not work.

# 12. Surveyors ain't psychic, despite the wishes of their customers. If you tell the surveyor what you're gong to do they may not pass any boat as suitable! A cat that's close to a mil new and sells for $250k is going to have problems. Guaranteed.

#13 Upgrade cost. You're planning to have major work done in a very short time with no experienced person there to supervise. Think $100k+++ with problems emerging just as soon as you're out of sight of the yard.

#14 Resale. Oz customs love their pound of flesh, and there's no law that says they can't spill a few drops of blood. And they'll want the money upfront, on a boat that could take years to sell in a depressed market.

What you're planning is a timeshare with no plan or organization. Take the time to go through things carefully. Get the financial aspect fully sorted, look at the individual skills of your friends and work out who can do what.

If you do buy a boat allow a couple of years to sort out any problems. Put the people with technical skills in charge of maintenance and those with people skills in charge of the boat. All on board will need some navigational ability, and you should have at least two trained and experienced navigators on board at all time.

To sum up what I'm saying is that what you want to do is doable, but not in the time frame suggested. You're going to need planning, organization and lots of money.
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Old 05-09-2012, 17:43   #39
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Re: Pitfalls of Buying a Boat Unseen?

I did just that, What you are intending to do,
I bought my boat in another country sight unseen, till I actually stepped off the pier onto the boat,

Yes It can be done, But you have to be very carefull on what you buy and how you go about it,

Lots of piccys of your boat of choice, Piccys of every thing, Some thing missing or being avoided, Run away, If they wont give more piccys of the missing parts of the boat,
You need to be able to see every thing in the piccys,

At your cost, before you even pay a deposit, Get it hauled and out and inspected by a Licensed Surveyor, With a full sea trial as well,
Specify to the Surveyor that you intend to cross the Pacific ocean in it and it has to be fully sea worthy for this purpose,

Google, who the licensed surveyors are that do the big luxury yachts in the country where you are buying your boat from,
That avoids the fly by nighters, or the scammers,

Google, who the owner is and what he does for a living, That will tell you whether the person is actually real, or a scammer,

You state that you have quite a bit of experience on boats, That will stand you in good stead as you know what to look for in a boat and can see from the piccys if any thing is dodgy,

Look for mould in the carpets, water marks on the walls, any thing that dont look right, get close up piccys of the offending items,

Get a full inventory of what is included on the boat.

Get a boat that is fully decked out with all the bells and whistles, Water maker is essential, and the power to run it, EG; Solar, House batterys, generator, alternator from the diesel, and a wind generator,
Private owners usually have all the goodies already on board, Electronics, Auto pilot, Etc,

I took 6 weeks sailing around Fiji before I was confident in my self and my boat to sail my boat to Australia, And I cant sail for ****,

You can allways hire or get a Competant captain to sail your boat for you, For the ocean part of your voyage,
Talk to the seller on the phone, Do they sound genuine, This one, only you can tell, If they sound shonky, Run away,

I have just bought a 36 foot RV from America, sight unseen, All the above applies as well to my Bus,

I have never been dissapointed with my sight unseen purchases, But I do a lot of research before I cough up even one red cent,

And I am talking almost a 1/4 million dollars, Which I cant afford to lose, Its all the money I have, So I dont make a mistake when I buy some thing,

I did find out after I bought both my boat and my RV, The PO's were very proud of their boat and the RV, and then added a lot more equiptment that wasnt on the inventory, and actually bought more parts and installed them as they thought that the parts might be a bit dodgy, These were genuine people I bought from,

Wish you luck, But do your home work on it thoroughly, There are a lot of shonky people out there willing to rip you off,

Cheers,
Brian,
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Old 05-09-2012, 18:06   #40
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Re: Pitfalls of Buying a Boat Unseen?

Quote:
Originally Posted by pina.banana View Post
No need to be sorry, it takes more than a forum post to ruin something that is a plan and not a dream. We clearly see differently about sailing. I believe sailing isn't very hard. It's obviously full of challenges and has its dangers, but by being careful and applying care in the beginning it is easy to learn to sail. And you actually can do the right thing in a precarious situation by applying stuff you have been told or read. A first storm is a first storm for everyone.

That said, I have a circumnavigation behind me - even if I was a kid at the time 3 years on a boat gives you a good idea of what to expect.



Yeah right, at 3 you probably were able to understand the whole aspect of sailing on an open ocean! Applying stuff that you have been told or read will work all the time, the best example is flying a 747 after reading the book and talking with pilots, it's that simple.

No offence but in my opinion you are the kind of person who believe they know everything, I have one like that in my family, he purchased a sailboat at a boat-show and asked the delivery guy to show him "how it works" and then he started "sailing" on the lake, ran aground many times, sank the boat at the dock, and many more mistakes he never reported. He finally sold the poor boat after two seasons.

Before a group of people can consider crossing an ocean together they have to gauge each others in stress situations, they all have to be experienced sailors, otherwise the risk of panic may come at the wrong time when something breaks or in a bad storm. It does not matter how "carefully" you travel, experience is the key to saving your boat and your skin in some occasions.

If you do pursue you "plan" with these 9 people you should remember that Coast Guards may have to risk THEIR lives to save yours and the ones of your friends aboard just because you are determined to fast track a normally slow process consisting of learning to know your boat and experimenting all types of situations at sea before taking off.

This is nonsense
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Old 05-09-2012, 18:09   #41
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Re: Pitfalls of Buying a Boat Unseen?

Sounds like you have made up your mind and you plan to buy this boat. Also, that you would have liked to have received lots of enthusiastic support from the cruiser community that it's a great idea and a grand adventure.

Well, it possibly could be a grand adventure that you tell your grandkids. It could also be an abject disaster. None of us have any idea about the boat. We also have no idea if you have the financial means to throw another $10k or $50k or more into the potential repairs and labor costs associated with making something seaworthy. We don't know your mechanical aptitude, your sailing skills, your navigating ability or your ability to deal with stress and cope with a potential mutiny under duress.

If you're going to do this anyway, follow the law of seven p's: Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance. But in this case, you have one awful lot of planning to do in a very short time.

My wife and I just bought a boat several thousand miles away and sailed it home on day 3 of ownership. But we had been negotiating with the owner for 18 months (for reasons mutually beneficial), knew the waters for the entire trip, visited the boat three times, including a week aboard last summer, participated in a winter layup and spring commissioning to learn the systems, plus having surveys done and repairs executed.

The day of our departure the battery charger failed. Soon underway the main sheet padeye on the boom blew out. Instrument lights became tempermental. And most disconcerting, some unseen rot in the anchor locker opened a pathway for water to flow into the hull while underway.

None of these slowed our progress, but they were all unexpected surprises in a boat that was in tip top shape according to all surveys including our own thorough time on board in the slip, underway and on the hard.

Our journey home was also near coastal on known waters with easy access to help all along the way. Your trip could be frought with a bit more peril.

So if you're going for it, we sure wish you fair winds and a fair hull. But no matter, you're taking a serious gamble and the consequences could be dire if you miss a tell tale sign or two, or if you make the wrong judgement call due to time constraints or budget overrun.

None of us here want to be party to endorsing that sort of risk gone sour.

Cruising is grand and entails risk and requires a resourceful skipper. But people have died over less grand ambitions than your own. Be sure you have a full understanding of what you're getting in to.
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Old 05-09-2012, 18:10   #42
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Re: Pitfalls of Buying a Boat Unseen?

Hi Pina B,

anything is possible, it just takes time and money.

I am I right in assuming that your plan is to do a Pacific crossing which you will fund by buying a boat in a low cost market and then selling it in a high cost market?

Your plan is quite achievable as I and many other have done it.

There are pitfalls like any project but if you have done your research you can make it it work.

The one thing that concerns me is 9 people on a 43 foot cat.

Research Australian customs requirements if you are going to offload the boat in Oz.

Do not plan on doing anything other than minor repairs along the way.

Get all major stuff done in St Martin.

Be very careful picking up fuel en route it can cause lots of problems.

For you budget an ex-charter boat is probably your only option.

Buy a euro 220 v powered boat as that is what we have in Oz so it will sell better.

Be warned that the Oz market is very flat at the moment so don't expect to get huge money for your boat when it arrives.

As for buying unseen that depends on weather you trust the surveyor of not.

Considering many buyers have no idea of what they are looking at in the first place I don't see what difference it makes.

Though I must confess when we arrived at our boat for the first time it was a relief to find it in better condition than we expected.


When you think about it everyone whom orders a new boat before it is built is buying without seeing it first.

The reality is that modern production cats are pretty bullet proof. Sure many have lots of minor problems with equipment and the fit out but structurally they are very sound including the rigs.

They have to be to cope with the charter customers.

If you want life to be perfect don't go cruising and stay well away from boats
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Old 05-09-2012, 18:18   #43
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Re: Pitfalls of Buying a Boat Unseen?

Almost 99% of the people here have never purchased a vehicle without having the "Hands On Experience" therefore..except for their warnings
(most of which are factual ) they have no or little experience in purchasing over long distances.
While the experience can vary from person to person, all one needs to do it practice "Due Diligence" that is not to say you wont get taken by some charlatan,,it does happen regardless of rigid investigation. (People buying cars from Car lots for instance) I can only give you my own personal experience.
I have conducted many purchases over the internet through E-Bay and Craigslist.
And have never had a Bad experience yet,,this is because i do NOT go into a transaction blindly.
I am not for a minute suggesting that i cannot be taken to the cleaners, but with enough common sense (these days it's not so common) and preparedness your experience can be a Joyful one.
In life you will always find dozens of people who will Nay Say for idea's or experiences, but if you get the true story out of them, it will turn out that they have no Real first hand experience, only rumor.

Case in point: If you where to conduct your own Purchase HANDS ON and ON SITE what makes you think that your experience will be a positive one???
If you know very little about Boat or Vehicle construction and Reputation you will be doing yourself and Extreme injustice by conduction business on your own.
Ok,,,so what does that mean???
It means what it say's,,,"What give you the idea that you know more than a professional Surveyor" ?????
This is why you bring your vehicle to a Mechanic for repairs of a complicated nature.
Then there are the Honest People out there,( I have done business with many of them) It is an insult to people like myself to suggest that trust and good faith are Dead in this world. (It may be in theirs "The Nay Sayers" But certainly NOT mine) i do not allow myself to be duped by any scam,,,Nigerian or otherwise!!!
I control my own wishes and wants, and if you follow the tragic stories of people getting taken for a ride by unscrupulous characters over the internet or otherwise,,you will find in a MAJORITY of cases they will be GREED driven,,,in other words someone offering a deal which is too good to be true,,the victims usually see a way in which to increase their own wealth at the expense of the Banks or someone else. When they find out that it was all a scam on them!!! they get all righteous and indignated and complain bitterly to one and all.
But you sure as hell don't hear from them when they are expecting huge profits from shady deals.
Caveat Emptor applies always,,the Onus is on you to protect yourself in all cases.

You can certainly purchase over long distance using correct procedures and reputable agents. BIG BANKS and Corporations do it all the time.

As i said before,,if you have a mechanical problem of which you have little experience,,you send the problem to someone who has the proper experience,,,you do not try to repair the problem yourself,,,in other words Hire a Purchasing agent.
Unless you build a proven trust with the Seller (my own case many times) you will have to use the services of an agent anyway.
Hire a Reputable Surveyor,,NEVER the SELLERS surveyor....and conduct yourself in a good honest business like fashion and cross the "T"'s and Dot the "I"'s and all should turn out well.

As a last note,,my own recent experience has only been soured by a paranoid border control system,,,but the purchase i made went flawlessly through both of our banks.
I wish you good fortune and favorable conditions.
Just take what the Nay Sayers say as a "Given" and conduct yourself properly.

Alex
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Old 05-09-2012, 18:44   #44
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Re: Pitfalls of Buying a Boat Unseen?

Quote:
Originally Posted by pina.banana View Post
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.
This happens a lot on the forum. Someone proposes a stupid idea and then wants us desperately to agree with him that the idea is not stupid. But I certainly understand the rational behind the request that we at least mention why the idea is stupid.

Here goes, as per your request:

1. Buying a boat, any boat, is stupid.
2. Spending a quarter of a million dollars on a boat is even more stupid.
3. Spending a quarter of a million dollars on a boat you've never seen is stupid beyond belief, especially if it's been in charter.
4. Trusting a boat broker to look after your interests rather than his own interests, especially when the commission on a quarter of a million dollars is at stake, is the stupidest thing I've ever heard.
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Old 05-09-2012, 19:07   #45
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Re: Pitfalls of Buying a Boat Unseen?

Jeeeezze Man,,why do you even bother to get outa bed in the mornin????? Lol


Quote:
Originally Posted by Bash View Post
This happens a lot on the forum. Someone proposes a stupid idea and then wants us desperately to agree with him that the idea is not stupid. But I certainly understand the rational behind the request that we at least mention why the idea is stupid.

Here goes, as per your request:

1. Buying a boat, any boat, is stupid.
2. Spending a quarter of a million dollars on a boat is even more stupid.
3. Spending a quarter of a million dollars on a boat you've never seen is stupid beyond belief, especially if it's been in charter.
4. Trusting a boat broker to look after your interests rather than his own interests, especially when the commission on a quarter of a million dollars is at stake, is the stupidest thing I've ever heard.
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