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Old 08-06-2016, 11:26   #46
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Re: Buying a donated boat

You can get a mechanic for an hours pay to give it an inspection. If you're going to sail learn your boat. In and out. Boat maintenance and repairs consume a lot if your ownership. This is your first inboard, galley, head... Get it functional and then upgrade as needed. O/B works. Maybe it's a simple maintenance issue. Change fuel, filters... For what it's worth these type problems are exactly why I have a trailer for my 27'. Do it yourself in a cheap place or your own property/family/friends at your own financial pace. Good luck and stay the course.
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Old 08-06-2016, 11:37   #47
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Re: Buying a donated boat

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Originally Posted by NoQuarter79 View Post
It's a 1981 Watkins 27. We paid $1600 and a survey would probably be half that, and we just can't afford that. We are new to diesels. This is our first inboard, our first galley, our first head. A lot to learn and do with dwindling time and money.
For $1600 I can't see how you could have done wrong. Earlier I missed the 1600. Buying a boat sight unseen?
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Old 08-06-2016, 11:45   #48
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Re: Buying a donated boat

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Originally Posted by NoQuarter79 View Post
My fractions were wrong. We actually have about $1700 dollars. Losing this boat means losing our home.
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Originally Posted by NoQuarter79 View Post
We owned it for several years, but were only aboard for two summers. We would go back to WV, work minimum wage jobs and save up to come back and try to make it south, which never happened. We got stuck in WV a few summers and couldn't make it to the boat.
If you work minimum wage jobs, are not boat repair experts and have only $1700 to your name, you certainly can't afford a boat. Try to get your money back from the charity. Sell or donate the boat if you can't. Take the money you have and invest it in education, then get better paying jobs. Work hard and some day you will be able to afford a boat.
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Old 08-06-2016, 12:05   #49
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Re: Buying a donated boat

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Originally Posted by NoQuarter79 View Post
And there's no batteries. If that's all it takes, plus what I mentioned above, we would be very happy.
Nothing fatal has been identified so far. A battery needed. Let's hope for the best with the rest.

I support the idea of finding some experienced local sailor who is happy to help. He/she can hopefully identify any possible expensive repair needs. If the motor runs, the boat floats and you have sails, you are already on a good track.
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Old 08-06-2016, 12:24   #50
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Re: Buying a donated boat

I feel your pain brother. I was in a similar situation a few years ago with a Catalina 30. I planned to live aboard and bought one for $2k at auction. I did a cursory inspection but I should have been more thorough. After really digging into it I realized it was not worth my time or money so I sold it on Craigslist for half of what I paid then spent $3,500 on a nice Ericson 27 from a distressed owner. I lived aboard for 2 years, paid off $5k in debt, and fully funded my IRA. I consider the $1k loss an invaluable education.

It sounds like this is a live aboard situation for you, OP, and $1,600 is a lot of money to you. I wouldn't sail the boat with rotten through hulls but you could live aboard for a while and buy time.

My advice, if you don't go my route, is to make a 'triage' list for living aboard comfortably, with safety items moved to the top of that list. Do you really need the engine yet? Fix the leaky port holes and hatches and automatic bilge pump sorted and worry about the engine later. A softwood plug should be lightly taped or secured with a small lanyard to each through hull in case of a through hull failure. Deep cell battery are cheap at Walmart and if you have no access to shore power a 15W solar panel at Harbor Freight. This is your bilge pump battery only if you aren't connected to shore power. A butane type "Mr. Stove" is $20. All of this should cost you less than $300 and some time. Your first priority when you have the dough is to replace those through hulls and check the stuffing box and hoses. Those things sink boats. All else is secondary.

When you're at the point at which you can live aboard comfortably you have a choice to make while you're saving your money. Save for another boat with fewer maintenance issues or invest the time and money into this one. Only you can know which is the right decision. Keep your eye on listings and actually tour those boats to see what your money can buy in either case. Do the math and estimate the hidden costs on top of a new boat purchase (DMV fees, slip transfer fees, etc.).

I know a guy who rebuilt his Yanmar 3 cylinder inside the cabin of his Coronado 30. It took him 2 months. Not ideal but he got it done, he learned a ton, and now has a reliable engine that he knows inside and out. Nobody starts life knowing how to do this. There are tons of resources on the internet and your local library.
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Old 08-06-2016, 12:41   #51
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Re: Buying a donated boat

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Originally Posted by Gregoryulrich View Post
Nobody starts life knowing how to do this. There are tons of resources on the internet and your local library.
^^^^^^^^^^^^ +1,000,000

None of us was born a mechanic or electrician or plumber. You buy a boat and you become all three.

Or you do what you did with your last boat. Avoidance is NOT an option if you want to get the boat running and KEEP it running.

Good luck.

Here's a very good resource:

Welcome To MarineHowTo.com Photo Gallery by Compass Marine How To at pbase.com
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Old 08-06-2016, 12:50   #52
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Re: Buying a donated boat

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gregoryulrich View Post
. . .
I know a guy who rebuilt his Yanmar 3 cylinder inside the cabin of his Coronado 30. It took him 2 months. Not ideal but he got it done, he learned a ton, and now has a reliable engine that he knows inside and out. Nobody starts life knowing how to do this. There are tons of resources on the internet and your local library.
Excellent advice!

And to the OP -- acquiring these new skills and solving such problems with limited resources is actually very satisfying -- one of the pluses, and not minuses, of this sport. Boat repair and maintenance is an integral, inseparable part of the sport. Even guys on here who are multimillionaires very often, probably most often, repair their own diesels, do their own electrical work, etc. You can't hire a mechanic in the middle of the ocean.
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Old 08-06-2016, 13:26   #53
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Re: Buying a donated boat

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Originally Posted by Gregoryulrich View Post
I feel your pain brother. I was in a similar situation a few years ago with a Catalina 30. I planned to live aboard and bought one for $2k at auction. I did a cursory inspection but I should have been more thorough. After really digging into it I realized it was not worth my time or money so I sold it on Craigslist for half of what I paid then spent $3,500 on a nice Ericson 27 from a distressed owner. I lived aboard for 2 years, paid off $5k in debt, and fully funded my IRA. I consider the $1k loss an invaluable education.

It sounds like this is a live aboard situation for you, OP, and $1,600 is a lot of money to you. I wouldn't sail the boat with rotten through hulls but you could live aboard for a while and buy time.

My advice, if you don't go my route, is to make a 'triage' list for living aboard comfortably, with safety items moved to the top of that list. Do you really need the engine yet? Fix the leaky port holes and hatches and automatic bilge pump sorted and worry about the engine later. A softwood plug should be lightly taped or secured with a small lanyard to each through hull in case of a through hull failure. Deep cell battery are cheap at Walmart and if you have no access to shore power a 15W solar panel at Harbor Freight. This is your bilge pump battery only if you aren't connected to shore power. A butane type "Mr. Stove" is $20. All of this should cost you less than $300 and some time. Your first priority when you have the dough is to replace those through hulls and check the stuffing box and hoses. Those things sink boats. All else is secondary.

When you're at the point at which you can live aboard comfortably you have a choice to make while you're saving your money. Save for another boat with fewer maintenance issues or invest the time and money into this one. Only you can know which is the right decision. Keep your eye on listings and actually tour those boats to see what your money can buy in either case. Do the math and estimate the hidden costs on top of a new boat purchase (DMV fees, slip transfer fees, etc.).

I know a guy who rebuilt his Yanmar 3 cylinder inside the cabin of his Coronado 30. It took him 2 months. Not ideal but he got it done, he learned a ton, and now has a reliable engine that he knows inside and out. Nobody starts life knowing how to do this. There are tons of resources on the internet and your local library.
Well thought out and helpful information for the OP. This type of response is an example of good information and a model for "helping" others rather than bashing and degrading. Good job!
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Old 08-06-2016, 13:42   #54
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Re: Buying a donated boat

OP: In for a penny - in for a pound :-)!

But I think that this is, for you, one of those famous "forks in the road". You either donate the boat to a charitable organization and go away to lick your wounds, or you take a major step on the road to becoming a competent sailorman.

That step is, as others have said, to get down to work. I thought GregoryUlrich's post is very much to the point because it gives you sound advice in regard the road forward FOR YOU and you companion rather than specific advice on such minor technicalities as fuel filters. The boat will turn out to be but one of the halfway-houses on you road through life.

You haven't said explicitly that your intention in buying the boat is to live aboard, but you do say that you are on minimum wage in West Virginia. I'm sure that's no picknic! You also say that "if we lose the boat, we lose our home". Well, then?? Hasn't you choice been made for you?

Consider the boat not a boat but an apartment. Do what you need to do to "camp out" in 'er, out of the rain and the wind, until you financial situation improves. "Living rough" is something many of us have had to do, and something that makes a man realize the truth in the old saying that "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger".

Just go at the "upgrades" one at a time and remember that "scrounging" is part of the sailorman's essential skills. For forty years I've cleaved to the policy of never paying more than 10% of "sticker price" for anything I've wanted. That includes TrentePIeds who is the same age as your boat and actually a very nice place to "camp out" :-) It isn't something I HAVE to do, but it surely is something I LOVE to do :-)

Consider the truism that for 20% of the potential expenditure of effort and money, you get 80% of the desired effect. In you present situation, be not misled by people who get wired on striving for perfection. In your present situation the desideratum is ADEQUACY. That isn't hard to achieve even in fields where you have no experience. And there is a mob of people here who will give council that is quite as good as what you would get from high-priced "professionals". You supply the labour - CF members will supply the knowledge :-).

Onwards!

TrentePieds
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Old 08-06-2016, 14:42   #55
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Re: Buying a donated boat

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Originally Posted by Tkeeth View Post
Well thought out and helpful information for the OP. This type of response is an example of good information and a model for "helping" others rather than bashing and degrading. Good job!
Thank you! I come here for advice, not to get bashed and I treat others the way I'd expect to get treated.
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Old 08-06-2016, 16:15   #56
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Re: Buying a donated boat

Do Not turn that motor over till you lubricate the cylinders ! Period ! If it's not tied up and you turn it without lubb it will probably start to smoke from scratching the cylinders . I'd use WD-40 and a lot of it many time turning it over by hand ten times . If it starts change the oil in 15 minute of running .
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Old 08-06-2016, 19:09   #57
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Re: Buying a donated boat

There was a lot more encouragement here than I was expecting, and we also have reason to be optimistic! We have, from what we hear, the best diesel mechanic in Oriental at our marina and after we got our batteries, within five minute of him helping us out, we got it running with the push of a button! I am not sure if I mentioned this, but if we lose the boat, we lose our home. So we would much rather learn how to fix this boat up and live aboard a few years than go back home to being cashiers and cooks. It has been very rewarding learning what we've learned and what we've accomplished so far. We believe this boat has a lot of life left in her, and I think when we are ready to upgrade, we will certainly get more out than what we put in.

Thanks everyone!!
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Old 08-06-2016, 19:11   #58
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Re: Buying a donated boat

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Why is NoQuarter79 listed as a Marine Service Provider?
We did bottom cleaning and I felt, at the time, that was the most appropriate title. We are going to get back into bottom cleaning and diving after we figure this boat out and get to where we're going!
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Old 08-06-2016, 19:16   #59
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Re: Buying a donated boat

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I looked at the pictures in a previous post and the cabin interior looks pretty decent for a $1600 boat. Hopefully, you can get the diesel running.

I guess I would recommend a survey as well, you want to ensure you have a safe boat and prioritize any repairs based on that.

Just by the pictures:
1) I would check the compression post. The head bulkhead that has wood flooring on the bottom makes me think the bulkhead has rotted out at the bottom. My bulkhead was rotted out but the compression post looked good.
2) The mid-cabin hatch looks like it is leaking. Checkout Bruce's blog
Bigtooth - A Watkins 27 Journal
He is repairing this now (he is doing a lot of work, I wish I had his time, patience, and skill).

Mike
We already resealed the cabin hatch, and I think we sealed it good. The core needed to dry out, so we haven't sealed the inside of it yet, but as soon as we know it's dry, we are going to seal it up. I hadn't thought about the compression post, though. And that spot had concerned us as well. There are a few rotted spots we need to take care of. She sat for five years, but honestly she could be much much much worse. We got the motor running off of the fuel that was already in the tank. We are aware that it needs changed, and the tank cleaned. And we intend on doing so.
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Old 08-06-2016, 19:25   #60
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Re: Buying a donated boat

Good to hear that the engine is probably going to be OK.

Good engine, it floats (hopefully after you fix that valve) and serviceable sails would mean you have something that can be made to work. Might be a while before everything is right though.

Next things I'd fix is bilge blowers, fire extinguishers and CO/flammable gas detection equipment/alarms as appropriate. These will help keep you alive.

Check for local Coast Guard Auxiliary... they often do free/cheap safety inspections. You can get a lot of good recommendations from them.
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