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Old 14-03-2013, 23:49   #1
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Minimize Travel Expenses when Buying a Used Boat -

I'm saving to buy a used boat to cruise. Last fall I traveled several hundred miles to the Boston area to see a few boats. I found all to be in very poor condition. I wasted time and money in looking. At that time I was considering some inexpensive ones and predictably they were all pretty poor quality. However I have since looked at some others and found that some are priced at $20K+ and that some of those are death traps and in terrible condition. So my dilemma is how to find a boat without wasting all my hard earned money on hotels and various other expenses.

I am retired, drawing SS and also working. One check pays my rent, food etc while the other is being saved toward my dream boat. Once I have what I expect will be enough, $25K or so, I hope to seriously look for the boat. Right now I'm just "window-shopping" to get an idea of what boats might work well for me.

My job is in a hotel so as long as I work there I can stay in hotels for a discount. Still this will be expensive and will eat my savings because the discounts are not that large.

How can I travel to see various boats without ending up spending what I've saved for the boat? Is it possible that brokers will put me up for a night or so while I look at the boat(s) they are offering? Would it be conceivable to stay on one of the boats I'm looking at for a day or so?

Do you have any other ideas I've missed?

Thanks
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Old 15-03-2013, 00:30   #2
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Re: Minimize Travel Expenses when Buying a Used Boat -

I think it's highly unlikely that you're going to find the boat you're looking for through a yacht broker. They work on commission, and 10% of a 20K boat is a lot less than 10% on a 100K boat for about the same amount of work on their part. Your best bet is to search all the different for-sale-by-owner pages on the internet, and spend the weekends walking the docks at marinas and talking to the locals. There are probably tons of boats available that may not even be advertised for sale, but that an aging owner (or widow of an owner) would be thrilled to sell if an offer dropped in his lap.

Also, if you see a boat advertised that you like, don't be embarrassed to offer 50% of the asking price. You'll get a lot of "offended no's", but the truth is that most boats sit for months or years before getting sold and you'll eventually find an owner who's sick and tired of paying yard or slip fees and is willing to take any serious offer,
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Old 15-03-2013, 00:32   #3
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Re: Minimize Travel Expenses when Buying a Used Boat -

You can try to line up a few at once. Make a trip to San Diego, as an example, and identify a dozen different boats you want to check out which you could do in a weekend. Try not to be super fixated on one particular style and design. There are a lot of great boats out there.

Just an idea.
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Old 15-03-2013, 00:46   #4
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Re: Minimize Travel Expenses when Buying a Used Boat -

I'm not sure what you're looking for, and I know nothing about the Eastern seaboard market. But for $20k if you're looking at "death traps" you must be in the 50+ft range. At least around here.

$20 K here will get you a decent 30ish ft boat with a lot of potential and able to sail today.

Again, you don't say what you want...so I could be way off. +1 on leaving out the broker.
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Old 15-03-2013, 00:51   #5
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Re: Minimize Travel Expenses when Buying a Used Boat -

Sorry, I realize that was off topic. On topic...do you have any family/friends in an area with lots of boats? Fly into FL maybe, spend several days with your long lost cousins looking at boats? Just a thought! I've also spent many a night in my car...not because I had to, but because I'm CHEAP!!!
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Old 15-03-2013, 02:31   #6
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Re: Minimize Travel Expenses when Buying a Used Boat -

Answering the questions: I lived aboard for quite a few years so I know quite a bit about boats. Originally I was fixated on Bristols but now I'm very open-minded. I'll take anything that seem to be a good boat. I require a quarterberth for secure sleeping when at sea. I plan on following the warm sun so bimini and dodger are important. A computer is part of my life so I'd like the boat to have decent power, solar panels, and/or wind generator. I like electronics but I could probably live with less. I have two rabbits so netting to keep them aboard is vital. A centerboard is preferable but not required.

I'm 66 and planning on living aboard and cruising until I die unless health forces me to swallow the anchor. I have been looking for something between 30 and 37 feet. I am really not sure what size to get. I fear that 37 would be a bit much for an old man to handle but 30 would be too tiny for me and my bunnies. I suspect that 33-35 would be best for me but I need to see a few to help me gauge that.

I've been looking since last year and I've noticed that many of the same boats are still for sale so I'd suspect that offering 50% of the asking price might get me a good boat from someone who wants to be rid of their boat.

I think you're right on brokers. I have talked with a few, expressed my desires and then heard nothing back from them. They probably don't want to be bothered with me. However I have been looking at the online places, yachtworld.com and others and it looks like almost all the boats there are for sale by brokers.

I don't have relatives that I can stay with so storage of what I have then travelling and sleeping in the car is probably the best idea. However I'm not sure how to do that without getting in trouble with the law. Thoughts on this?
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Old 15-03-2013, 02:37   #7
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Re: Minimize Travel Expenses when Buying a Used Boat -

Quote:
Originally Posted by Usagi View Post
... sleeping in the car is probably the best idea. However I'm not sure how to do that without getting in trouble with the law. Thoughts on this?
Well I wasn't expecting that lol

I use truck stops, totally expected. Also most wal-marts. But seriously, you don't have anyone in FL? I thought every American had at least one cousin in...Florida.. (Haha you thought I was going to Miami didn't you???!!! )
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Old 15-03-2013, 05:28   #8
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Re: Minimize Travel Expenses when Buying a Used Boat -

Have you tried camping? You can pack your tent in the trunk of your car, or get yourself a small used tow-able camper. I camped for years, along the eastern seaboard. Today's tents are rugged, easy to put up and dismantle; your neighbors will even help you out in pitching your tent! Invest in sturdy camping equipment; it should last you for years. Camping fees are very reasonable in most places, and many campgrounds offer Senior Discounts; KOA is the largest campground chain. Enjoy nature, while shopping around for your dream boat! Mauritz
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Old 15-03-2013, 05:47   #9
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pirate Re: Minimize Travel Expenses when Buying a Used Boat -

What are you looking at buying.. and where do you plan to be based.. so to speak.
Gives us some options.. unless your staying put and just want a roof.
Your best bet would be to find a job transfer to a hotel in a 'Yachtie' area then you can pound the boards at leisure..
I worked for a hotel chain in the UK in the late 70's, early 80's and moved from the Midlands to Wales and then the S.coast.. great not having to find accomodation..
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Old 15-03-2013, 06:51   #10
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Re: Minimize Travel Expenses when Buying a Used Boat -

My understanding is that yachtworld.com is a brokers website, so all of the boats there are offered by brokers. Sailboatlistings.com is one that I look at now and then, that has mostly FSBO boats. Also, craigslist is a good source, at least here in Florida.

Now, unless you're looking at multi-million dollar yachts, no broker is going to offer to put you up while you're in town for a look-see. So I think you can forget about that.

Best advice I can offer is what others have said. Try to go to an area where you can look at a lot of boats on one trip. From where you are, the Chesapeake and Florida seem like the likely candidates. There are hundreds of boats of the type that you're looking for, for sale right now, in the area between Tarpon Springs and Naples on the west coast of Florida. Probably at least as many more between Miami and Port St. Lucie on the east coast.

If you can look at 5-6 boats in one day (and you can do that around here) then you get a lot more bang for your buck when it comes to the travel expenses.

Good luck.
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Old 15-03-2013, 07:13   #11
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Re: Minimize Travel Expenses when Buying a Used Boat -

Prices are highest in the Northeast, lower in the Chesapeake, probably lowest in the Southeast. I would aim your sights from about Oriental, NC, south. Myself, I don't mind driving so I have a pretty big radius I can do in one day--say 400-500 miles from home and back. But, with gas prices it probably makes more sense to stay in a cheap motel or camp out near where you are looking for at least one night. Sleep in the car in a rest area. Go for areas with large concentrations of boats. Keep one eye on this site. There's a 26-foot Westerly going for $6800 there right now.
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Old 15-03-2013, 07:26   #12
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pirate Re: Minimize Travel Expenses when Buying a Used Boat -

Have a look on sites like this www.towndock.net in Oriental NC.. its a web paper and has a classified section where private sellers put up some nice boats.. there's also a couple of good brokers advertise there... also check out the boatyards and put the word out what your looking for... you'll get the ones trying to screw you over crap.. there's always a few looking for newbies to bemuse with salty tales..
But there are some diamonds depending on your needs.. at the moment theres a boat on there that would be perfect for me to live aboard and take down to the islands... a Westerly Centaur with bilge keels.. tidy interior, decent size engine.. seperate heads and 6ft headroom.. great stowage... simple n sweet
No... not mine... just know how under estimated these boats are.
Anyway... all that for just $6,600.
Drive down from Raleigh (5hrs?)... be there for lunch Sat.. you've set things up to view Sunday.. spend the afternoon mooching the yards and brokers looking at other options.. and more important prices similar sizes/makes are going for so you are armed for the bargaining Sunday morning...
Sure a B/yard owner you've chatted with won't mind you sleeping in your car in his car park if you ask him nicely.. most have no security gates etc. Not like you city folk..
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Old 15-03-2013, 07:32   #13
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Re: Minimize Travel Expenses when Buying a Used Boat -

Great minds think alike...
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Old 15-03-2013, 07:43   #14
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If you have not done so, I would recommend joining the SSCA. The advantage to you is that the SSCA maintains coordinators in many active boating areas. If you contact the coordinator in an area you are interested in investigating, he or she can often introduce you to other sailors in the area
. At least some of them will be happy to host you for a day or two.
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Old 15-03-2013, 07:57   #15
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Re: Minimize Travel Expenses when Buying a Used Boat -

check sailboat listings too.

There is a ton for sale here on the Chesapeake. My friend just bought a hunter 30 in good shape for like 6k! Owner wanted like 8k. I checked it out with him as he is a bit of anovice and wanted me to go. He got a great deal. I paid like 3.5k for my cal. Needed an entire refit, but that was what I was looking for. Bottom line is that there are a ton of boats for sale. Think about buying a boat much cheaper than your 25k dream with all that stuff on it and the money you save on the purchase can put that stuff that you really need on your boat.

a bruce roberts sold at my marina last summer. he was asking like 10k. not sure what he got. Deals are out there. Just have to look. I like the sailboat listings site. If you are looking at living aboard, check out the s2's. they have center cockpit and aft cabin. We have a few of em for sale up here on the bay. There is a lot to be had at great prices. You can fit bat and solar and fish finder (for depth and topography) garmin gps, ipad chartplotter and paper maps, get a good anchor and chain and a new set of sails. I know I could do it for 25k and I know you can too if you look at it a little different. It is hard to take 25k and get the boat you want, but to take less and get a boat and make it what you want seems to me to be much easier. Good luck in your search!
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