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Old 27-05-2010, 08:20   #1
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What to Offer ?

I'm going to take a second look at a Southern Cross 31 this weekend. After the first visit, I was really impressed with the boat, but it does need some work as it has been sitting in a yard for a few years uncovered (in New England, so snow on it in the winter).

I read an article by the PO in an online newsletter where they stated that the mast had been not centered on the mast step and started to bite into the deck, the broker says this hasn't been addressed. There is also obvious rot on the bowsprit, which would need to be replaced.

The toe rail is teak and in poor shape. The broker has stated that the plumbing is a "work in progress".

The SC 31 was originally rigged as a cutter, but the PO has removed the inner-forestay and been sailing it as a sloop, so there is no staysail.

Overall I really like the pedigree of the boat, it already has self-steering, new tiller, and some other nice features, as well as feeling solid (no soft spots on deck), good ground tackle, and sails look to be in good shape.

The boat is listed at 28k, but other seemingly well found SC 31's on the web are right around that price as well. So my question is that considering the repair I noticed on a cursory visit, coupled with the fact that the current owner is anxious to sell, what do you think would be a reasonable offer? I'd be inclined to offer around 60% of the asking price.

And yes, I would make the offer subject to a thorough marine survey.

Thanks!
-Bill
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Old 27-05-2010, 08:45   #2
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I'm looking as well and can agree with the disparity between the condition of a vessel and the asking price. I'm 0-2 in the offer biz so what I'm doing may be wrong, but;

I did the walk around, took pictures and notes then sat down and tried to figure out what the parts would cost. I added them together then read the advert again, trying to see if what I read was what was written.

I offered 40-50% of the asking price and gave the broker a list of items to look over, so that she would understand my decision. (I do not give the broker a copy.) It's up to the broker to inform the seller and I want them to understand that I'm interested but there are problems that I consider significant.

Then the haggling begins. I may come up a bit but I've got a maximum in mind and won't budge from that. There are other boats out there and if it wasn't meant to be, it wasn't meant to be.

If you're convinced this is "the one" then agree on a price, depending on survey and sea trial. Agree that if the survey finds additional problems or that the estimated value of the survey is lower than your offer, you want reconsideration. If the sea trial goes poorly, then you should be able to renegotiate the price or walk away.

I'm looking for a boat I can sail and work on; not a boat I have to work on so I can sail. That may be my biggest problem, but this isn't my first boat.
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Old 27-05-2010, 09:12   #3
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That's the way we got our boat, comparable models were priced the same as the one we got, but after having looked at others the condition of ours wasn't up to snuff. I made a low offer(less than 50%), solid, no survey. Included with the offer was a list of items that were "distressed".
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Old 27-05-2010, 12:28   #4
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Offer and acceptance are a dance. A bizarre dance, but a dance.

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Old 27-05-2010, 17:16   #5
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SC 31 - have you sailed on one? Be aware that the SC 31 is not the same as the SC 35 and the specs are not comparable. The SC 31 may heel easily, not work that well in light air, and be a bit more uncomfortable in the waves. In my charts its only a 3/10 in score.

If this is the RI listing, looks interesting...but have a real hard survey done on it (soft deck may be an issue if uncovered all winter) and have separate surveys performed on the rigging and the engine. I know the engine is considered new or rebuilt @ 428 hrs but you better check it just the same..including the transmission...its been on the hard and may not be winterized correctly. There is also a question about the fuel in the tank. Put the boat on a sea trial definitely. This boat has been around and who knows about the hull.

That said, you offer what you offer up front...depending on the boat and condition, and how much your cruising budget will allow for refitting. And give your reasons to the parties so they know you have some thought behind it. That way they will be more inclined to accept it or offer something reasonable too instead of balking and being emotional. I usually cry 10-20% below offer considering whether I need to transfer, and compared to other historical listings I am tracking. If I think I need to lowball, the boat is probably not worth my time anyway - given repair, outfitting and other costs. So I won't feel too guilty about it. If I think the price is too high to begin with, I won't worry if they are insulted with a low offer because I know I have done my homework.

At least for me, the most important thing to think about when evaluating and making an offer are the essential high ticket items - hull, deck, rigging, sails, and engine. Everything else is nice have or easier to service. Mostly I can justify them mentally in some way as being either needed or not needed. If I need something it's easy to scrounge it up from somewhere. But the essentials take up big $$$ and big time. A fancy scarfed planking liner in the V-berth doesn't impress me as much as a new engine with 3 filters. A custom made navigation table doesn't impress me as a new awlgripped deck. Monitor windvane? Sure it's a necessity for me, but my refit budget allows for one because I know upfront most boats don't have one. All boats have hulls. All boats have engines.

To sum up: make your own list of necessities and evaluate as needed. And do not be swayed by the nice curtains and oiled teak.

And remember..."there are ALWAYS boats to buy, and MORE to be listed soon if you don't find it this weekend"

Also, I would do my homework and measure boat characteristics up front so you have a select set of boats that you know are good for your need and track them.

Lastly...hint NE buyers season typically in fall-mid winter when owners don't want to pay land storage and they are done with their summer sails.
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Old 28-05-2010, 10:49   #6
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Thanks for the advice.

It is the SC 31 that is in RI, and I've never sailed on one. We are looking for our first "big boat", just like what we have heard and/or read about the SC 31. Also on our short list:

Down Easter 32
Bristol 29.9

We actually had an offer in on a DE 32 (at full price, yikes!), but the survey went poorly and we pulled out. A good learning experience though...

We are also looking at a Newport 30, and a DE 32 this weekend in RI.
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Old 28-05-2010, 13:06   #7
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The Downeaster is extremely slow in light air and is not that great at avoiding the heel.

The Bristol doesn't have good numbers - especially for roll recovery. btw I had a Bristol 24 at one time.

Since you are in the NE, may I recommend you look at Cape Dory's? And Pearson 35, 365...Morgan 382, 383, 384
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