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Old 20-08-2016, 06:47   #1
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What to buy? Newer ex-charter vs older privately owned

Hi,

My first post after a long time lurking. Have learnt so much from this forum, so am hoping the members might be able to help out with my conundrum.

We are in the process of trying to find an L450 to buy. Should one avoid ex-charter boats like the plague?

Have found 2 boats with the same specs and very similar prices, one is a 2014 ex charter boat (~1500 engine hrs), the other a 2011 privately owned boat, lightly used (less than 1000 engine hrs).

Two questions:
1. Despite being lightly used, are there any disadvantages to buying a 2011 model in terms of overall wear/tear/UV damage/aging systems etc just because the boat is now 5 years old (even though was only used a few months a year?)
2. Similar spec'd ex-charter boat at similar price, has done 2 seasons in the Med, has ~40% more engine hours, but is 3 years newer. Is it better to consider the newer boat despite being ex-charter and having more hours?

What am trying to grapple with - is overall age of boat an important consideration? So despite it's low engine hours and light private use what would be the negatives of buying a 2011 boat, versus a well-used but newer charter boat?

Many thanks in advance!
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Old 20-08-2016, 07:46   #2
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Re: What to buy? Newer ex-charter vs older privately owned

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Millerslocal.
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Old 20-08-2016, 08:56   #3
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Re: What to buy? Newer ex-charter vs older privately owned

Welcome to CF!

There are several threads on this topic here on the forums, so hopefully with the aid of a custom Google search you can find a fair number of them. That said, here's one on this topic which is just a few days old, & covers some of what you're asking.
Seeking comments from one who has bought a boat out of charter

I posted in it a couple of times, but my first comments in it seem to align with your questions. And I've pasted them below. But still, it's more than worth reading the whole thread. And good luck!


There's a member here who went looking to pick up a charter boat that was being retired from service, over in Croatia. Maybe 7-9 months back, in hopes of converting it into a cruiser. I don't recall the exact details as to date, nor the make of boat. But when he got back, he wrote about his experiences & findings.

Evidently he looked at about a dozen boats, & didn't find one which was worth the
money. As they'd been worked hard enough in service that many were in need of some sort of structural repair. Plus full refits, & interior refits. On top of what they'd need in order to be good cruising boats.

I'm not saying that that's what you'll discover necessarily. But it surely would pay to have a sharp eye towards being able to do the preliminary DIY survey(s) yourself.
And keep in mind that on the large majority of cruising boats, outfitting them with
gear easily runs anywhere from half of the purchase price of the boat alone. All the way up to the cost of the boat, or more. Not that 2/3 of such toys & equpment are needed, but...

It pays to put together a spreadsheet, as to what you want on a boat. In terms of; structure, features, &
equipment. So that you can plug candidate boats into such a matrix, & see what it'll cost to get them fitted up to the level you'd like.
It makes for a good cost comparitor.
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Old 22-08-2016, 03:45   #4
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Re: What to buy? Newer ex-charter vs older privately owned

Thanks for the link UNCIVILISED.

I have made a detailed spreadsheet and do try to compare apples with apples. Many of the charter boats are actually very well spec'd, and quite a few have engine hours not that much higher than the private boat I'm looking at - as they're newer models only been used for 1 or 2 seasons charter.

So my question being is there any issue with the overall age of a boat (assuming mechanical systems are lightly used and in a good state) -as in, if it's 5 years old are there things that will become a problem in future that are just age related - irrespective of use.
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Old 22-08-2016, 04:11   #5
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Re: What to buy? Newer ex-charter vs older privately owned

Age itself is rarely an issue. Especially as a 5 year old boat isn't even middle aged as boats go. Well, other than racers that are run really hard. The biggies are quality of design & construction, as well as the amount & type of use, plus the quality of care & maintenance.

The thing is too, if you buy something that's brand new, odds are there will still be a lot of issues with her, that will only be discovered with time & sea miles. And will need to be fixed also. So, new boats are rarely even close to perfect. Between leaks, improperly installed equipment & systems. Sails that need some TLC from the loft. Etc.

Read some of the lists which delivery skippers & crews put together about what needs attention on "new" boats, that they discovered when taking such boats to where they'll be given to their owners. Well, they're enlightening. As commonly the lists are a few pages long, & aren't just about things like "light bulb X needs replacing".

Consider all of the hours which go into building a mid-sized to large sailboat, & all of the myriad systems in her. Most of it by hand. And things start to make sense. So there's no free lunch. Which is why even with a new boat it makes sense to go through the whole survey process.
Meaning;
- Owner DIY Survey
- General Survey -> The type you commonly read about. Including on the boat's structure. Though on some boats that also requires a specialist.
- Engine & Mechanical survey -> By a pro mechanic, & possibly other experts if the vessel has complex systems. Such as electrical for example.
And with a Mechanical Survey, you want to get samples of all of a drive system's fluids tested. Engine Oil, Transmission Fluid, etc. (x2 with a catamaran). And ditto on Generators...
- Rigging Survey - > By a professional rigger
- Sails Survey

And it's easy to add to this, as the price of the vessel goes up, ditto on her complexity.


Edit: Here's a company that I & the family have used for vehicle fluids analysis. They seem good, as well as friendly. And I toured the lab for an hour, asking all of the hard questions I could come up with. Both layman's questions, & engineer's. As well as going into the shop spaces where they don't let most folks.
You're trusting such a firm with a lot of your $, by virtue of their eval. of your machinery (via the fluid's testing). So if them answering your questions is awkward, IMO, find someone else. As there are plenty of such companies out there, many of them decades old. http://www.blackstone-labs.com/

As a comparison, I spent 4-5hrs with Brion Toss & 2 of his crew when they did my pre-purchase rigging inspection. In additon to the report they wrote up for me. And while you don't spend as much money on the fluids analysis, it only takes them a short while to do the test, & have the computer write the report. But both are high $ "tests". So it's important to have a sense of who you're working with.
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Old 01-09-2016, 19:57   #6
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Re: What to buy? Newer ex-charter vs older privately owned

I have used Blackstone Labs for my airplane engine with every oil change. Very good value, but need 25 or more hours on the oil.

The Value of the boat will be determined by condition thus professional survey AFTER your personal survey. If you find too much issues, not likely Marin surveyor is going to find less issues. The condition of ex=charter boat determined by quality of maintenance... or amount of deferred maintenance.

Good luck
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Old 02-09-2016, 03:36   #7
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Re: What to buy? Newer ex-charter vs older privately owned

I own a bare boat charter boat currently in its 6th year of use in Tropical Queensland. In the past year I have replaced a fridge, replaced the galley bench tops replaced the helm bimini and main sail boom bag and replaced then Mainsail. Head sail repaired and UV strip replaced. Previously re-done the upholstery in a microfiber fabric. The boat is working 200 days a year on average so the sails are probably out in the uv more often than the average private use boats. Gives you some idea of what takes a hammering on a charter boat. Also upgraded the solar system after 5 years. Batteries replaced after 3 years.
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Old 02-09-2016, 04:26   #8
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Re: What to buy? Newer ex-charter vs older privately owned

To compare a 5.5 year old 400 that has been used up & down East Coast of Australia ( live aboard for first 4 years): bench top replaced, helm & cockpit covers replaced along with sail bag. Head sail nearly warn out & main still has a couple of years left. Trampoline is close to being warn out. Cockpit cushion covers replaced. Engine & generator batteries original - house bank was change to lithium at about 12 month mark. Hatch screens are pretty well gone as well.

So perhaps it is just normal UV that kills exposed items & not so much charter use!


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Old 02-09-2016, 04:57   #9
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Re: What to buy? Newer ex-charter vs older privately owned

Personally, I'd take older & private over charter any day. We've seen way too many charter boats being abused in the course of their charters. There are exceptions to every rule, and $ matter, but it wouldn't be for me. If the boat is still in good shape, wouldn't it still be in the charter fleet?
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Old 02-09-2016, 12:18   #10
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Re: What to buy? Newer ex-charter vs older privately owned

Is it normal to replace bimini, cockpit cushions, stack pack and trampoline after 5 years, or is this a result of the manufacturers cutting costs?

In other words, after replacing these items with products of your own choice, do you expect to replace them all again at around the 10-year mark?
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Old 02-09-2016, 12:49   #11
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Re: What to buy? Newer ex-charter vs older privately owned

Personally, I'd take a charter boat over an owner boat any day. I've seen way too many owner boats being abused in the course of their ownership. There are exceptions to every rule, and $ matter, but it wouldn't be for me. Get involved with a charter boat just phasing out from a contract, get problems or issues addressed at that time. Could be a good deal to be had. Get a survey done and and work on getting items a survey finds corrected.
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Old 02-09-2016, 13:09   #12
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Re: What to buy? Newer ex-charter vs older privately owned

I've always been leery of chartered boats.

However, my own search has me questioning that.

One boat I looked at is privately owned. Put away wet. Literally. Boat is beat.

Recently a similar boat came up for sale. While looking over this 21 year old boat I remarked about how perfect it was. The broker said it had been chartered the first six years of its life, and my jaw almost dropped. I couldn't believe it. His explanation was that the post-charter owner was meticulous about keeping it in bristol condition.

So while there may be general trends one way or the other, they are not rules.
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Old 02-09-2016, 14:10   #13
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Re: What to buy? Newer ex-charter vs older privately owned

a question of finding one with the layout you want and wasn't designed for crammiing as many bunks as they can into the thing
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Old 02-09-2016, 14:18   #14
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Re: What to buy? Newer ex-charter vs older privately owned

Quote:
Originally Posted by SaltyMonkey View Post
a question of finding one with the layout you want and wasn't designed for crammiing as many bunks as they can into the thing
Ain't that the truth.. the one draw back in my opinion of most charter boats is too many heads and cabins. Fortunately you're seeing more and more owners versions come out of, and going into, the charter programs.
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Old 02-09-2016, 20:25   #15
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Re: What to buy? Newer ex-charter vs older privately owned

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tetepare View Post
I've always been leery of chartered boats.

However, my own search has me questioning that.

One boat I looked at is privately owned. Put away wet. Literally. Boat is beat.

Recently a similar boat came up for sale. While looking over this 21 year old boat I remarked about how perfect it was. The broker said it had been chartered the first six years of its life, and my jaw almost dropped. I couldn't believe it. His explanation was that the post-charter owner was meticulous about keeping it in bristol condition.

So while there may be general trends one way or the other, they are not rules.
The question is, how much time, effort and money did the 2nd owner have to spend to bring it back to Bristol condition?

I suspect charter operators put their boats up for sale when major maintenance items start coming due. Sails, engines, etc. That's easily 50K just for those two items. I wouldn't be surprised if the 2nd owner has to put 100K into the boat in the next few years.

Once you factor in that extra cost, is the charter boat still a bargain?

But it's true that quite a few privately owned boats are in quite bad condition with lots of neglect and deferred maintenance.

Buyer beware I guess. Personally, I find the used market very challenging to navigate, and suspect many an unwary buyer ended up with high and unexpected maintenance/refit costs after purchase.
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