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Old 25-07-2009, 10:16   #1
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Does It Take Everyone This Long?

Let me start with my family (spouse and children) have been very supportive over the past few years with my sailing review. We sold our last boat about 13 years ago (kids were born) and are now getting back into it.

For the past year or so, I have been doing a lot of research, and have posted numerous questions here and elsewhere concerning approach, thoughts, etc. Then, came the 8 year-old. "Does it take everyone this long to get a boat?" My instant reply was "Of course, because you have to be sure it is what you want, there are lots of choices, there quite an investment..." But thinking about it, maybe it is me.

We are long term buyers. "Typical" Americans may own a car for 3 years, but we own ours until they die. (146,000 miles and 11 years on the Tahoe). I want something I know meets the requirements of the crew, will leave me sufficient funds to repair, supply, and upgrade where necessary. I also recognize that a two year project boat will lose support quickly .

People ask "Did you look at a XYZ?" so it sends me looking. I had a broker tell me this week good boats can be in and out in less than 24 hours. I will lose those every time. I am unwilling to buy without a survey and an inspection by me, etc. If others can afford to do so, good for them.

So... Is it me? Did you look for something that gave you all you wanted for the price you could afford or compromise to get something? Or luck upon something where a compromise was unecessary? Unless you can buy new (I cannot), then I have to wait for something to meet my needs to be on the market.

Thoughts?
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Old 25-07-2009, 10:19   #2
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My wife travelled 10,000 miles and viewed 22 boats before we chose...and in today's market in and out in 24 hrs is pure BS!
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Old 25-07-2009, 11:04   #3
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Please don't take my comments in a negative way..... they are meant to be constructive. I have noticed that you have asked a number of questions here and have received a lot of advice in return. I have noticed a few responses from you so I am reasonably sure you are paying attention to the advice and suggestions you are receiving.

But what I have not seen from you is any concluding comments to the threads you have started. What became of the 30 - 32 footers you were considering? And what about the boat that needed full interior replacement?

Maybe you are not going through the exercise of reviewing each of your purchase investigations to see what you have learned, and to add focus to your search. If you are taking this much time, it seems to me that you might benefit from some better organization to your search.

Can you answer these questions well?

How do you plan to use the boat, and how long do you expect to own it?

How big should it be, in terms of displacement and length?

What equipment must it have at the outset?

What kind of condition should it be in? (eg Sailaway, needs complete refit, or somewhere in between?)

What are you willing to pay, in terms of initial purchase plus immediate repairs?
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Old 25-07-2009, 14:22   #4
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There you go again, Speedoo, quantifying things…
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Old 25-07-2009, 15:38   #5
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How much time does it take?

It takes as long as it takes to buy a boat...

...and I suspect everyone has a different story. It took me 18 months to locate one...when I did it dropped into my lap (go figure). Anyway... By the time I found the boat I wasn't ready money-wise...then when I was, the seller wasn't ready. Then there were the surveys...(there were two because I wanted a complete engine survey which was separate), and we had her surveyed in the slip, out in the water under full sail, then up on the sling. After all this... came the money deal (which was further complicated because we were selling our house and it hadn't closed yet). Finally, when we got all of the offers and payments made etc... we had to arrange movement of the boat from it's location in Tacoma to Olympia, which meant we had to find new moorage....before we closed the deal because it would have been a mess if we didn't have a home for her! Oh, and we were selling our other boat at the same time (a Morgan 38') which meant more time in surveys and financial haggeling. To top it off, the bottom was dropping out of the housing market (as well as our 401K's) so we had to "do multiple adjustments as far as prices and offers all over the place...you know...pretty much the run-of-the-mill-buying-a-boat-deal .

I think by the time we got all through we spent 6 months before we finished....not including the 18 months we spent trying to find the boat we wanted.

BTW even with all the intense surveys we did...there is still stuff that we (and the surveyor) missed.
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Old 25-07-2009, 16:03   #6
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It depends how specific you want to be, and your needs. I’ve been looking for two years, but that’s because I want a particular make and model, (Hudson Force 50 Venice model), to go long term cruising, and there haven’t been that many for sale. I agree with everything others had said. Sometimes it takes a long time to get your act together, and to coincide with a seller. If you don’t have a specific make in mind, and just want a boat to sail around at weekends and play with, they are ten a penny, and it wouldn’t take five minutes to buy one.
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Old 25-07-2009, 18:42   #7
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It does depend I think... We were at the bottom of the food chain. When you are spending less than 5k you are not having a survey done. The survey would cost more than the boat was worth to begin with. We spent less than a month of intensive reading talking and looking and then made up our minds over the course of 3 days. Saw it one day. Thought about it the next, went looking with a broker the following day and made up our minds that that little Cal28 was the boat for us, called the owner and told him we would meet him at the marina. Drove to half moon bay, stopped at an ATM to transfer money from the savings to the checking, went out to the marina and did the deal.

Every transaction must be different, and I am the sort who buys for the long haul as well, but at some point a gut feel kicks in for me and that's it. Decision made. Rarely have I had buyers remorse.
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Old 25-07-2009, 19:06   #8
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Quote:
"Of course, because you have to be sure it is what you want, there are lots of choices, there quite an investment..." But thinking about it, maybe it is me.
It is you. It is all supposed to be you. You need the boat that is right for you. I have long felt you know it when you see it. It was that way with the two boats we bought. Odd thing is we both knew it at the same time. People and boats are different. The boats are where they are and it's up to you to find them.

That is not to say that home work and experience don't count for the most of it though. If that wasn't true then why did it take us two boats? You have a slight advantage in that you know you used to know why. Not everyone understands that in a sense that gets them ready to buy a boat. On the next time around the expectations rise a little bit more. As they should.

On the second time the moons converged and we found a list of five boats. I figured it was now or keep the last boat. You can get better at locking at boats and you should never look at a a boat and not think what you liked and didn't like. You need to talk about it and discuss why. Sooner or later you find one and suddenly you both say this is the one. Sometimes at the same time too.

Quote:
It takes as long as it takes to buy a boat...
Sounds simple and silly to me - but it's right and says it all. If we were all the same we would all end up with the same boat. Understanding yourself is the key to finding not only the right boat but finding the one really for you. Don't settle for anything else.

Never buy a boat you don't like and don't sell your kids to make the payments. It's a legal thing. You need to feel good and sleep well. Be nice to eat regular too.
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Old 25-07-2009, 21:57   #9
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How I got here...

First and foremost – no offense is taken. I have found this to be one of the most helpful boards I have encountered and the advice is always welcome. I think part of the issue you are seeing is we are getting close and that puts the pressure on to be right.

What became of the 30 - 32 footers you were considering? And what about the boat that needed full interior replacement?
The two I was looking at would have maxed out my budget in the purchase. Reading numerous postings, I recognized the need to keep 25-33% back as “start up” costs.

The discussion on the full interior replacement came from looking at a very old Tartan that my wife liked. It was upgraded with mechanicals but the interior needed to be refinished. I took the advice that two years is a lot on a marriage and decided that is more than I can do.

My ideal boat for a while was a Gemini 3400. But, as you read on you can see that would be problematic, given my other constraints.

If you are taking this much time, it seems to me that you might benefit from some better organization to your search.
And that is what made me wonder about the answer I gave my son. Perhaps my approach is wrong – or perhaps it just takes a while for the stars to align.

Can you answer these questions well?
How do you plan to use the boat, and how long do you expect to own it?
I stay in the Annapolis area a few days a week. Ideally, I would like to use this instead of a hotel for the two nights. It also has the benefit of being available for weekends with the family. A win all the way around.

The length of ownership question may be the sticking point. I am looking at a 10 year minimum commitment due to the costs involved, and the more the better. I have read numerous posting from people saying someone should just buy and then they will know what they like and not. Given boat costs approach housing costs, that is not for me.

How big should it be, in terms of displacement and length?
32 – 40 ft, shallow draft (~5') because I am on the Chesapeake bay, but I like the swing keels because they appear to allow me into blue water with the right boat. Displacement is a little more difficult due to the other factors.

Smaller is better as my reasoning is anything over 35 will be too much for me to enjoy if I just want to take it out on my own on a midweek cruise.

What equipment must it have at the outset?
The easier to sail alone the better.
We would like it to have h/c water, a shower, head, and two sleeping areas (one for mom/dad, one for the kids). We had originally hoped for cabins, but given our constraints, one cabin, and a quarter berth or two would work. Ideally, we could all sleep aft. Because these are more difficult to add, (the Tartan issue above), we need these to exist on the boat.

Items like vhf, GPS, Plotter, speed, depth finder, tigging, lines, anchors, PFDs, autopilot, etc. could be added, or replaced if not on the boat, but the price is limited to total costs.

What kind of condition should it be in? (eg Sailaway, needs complete refit, or somewhere in between?)
I had hoped for Sail away. Reality is it will be somewhere in between. How far? I cannot say for sure. Pblais may be right and I will know it when I see it.

What are you willing to pay, in terms of initial purchase plus immediate repairs?
$65,000. That has to do everything to make it usable as a base for the couple nights during the week, and with the family on the weekends. The broker we were working with kept showing us $65,000 boats, so this created an issue where I would have spent everything on the purchase (+6% taxes +fees). His theory was it is better to be in a newer boat, using as much money in that area, than to be in an older boat with the inevitable upgrades, repairs, etc.

I want to avoid being boat poor (like house poor), where all my money has been spent on the purchase, but I cannot afford to use it. While I can work on the boat, I am too busy with revenue generating work to do so 20 hours a week for very long. I also recognize that certain work (rigging, engine) will require professionals if the work is significant.

I also look at the $65k as drop dead dollars. If it cost more than that to get into something that will meet the above, then I am done - espcially with the economy.

I think I covered everything, but if not, please let me know.
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Old 25-07-2009, 22:26   #10
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Kefaa.... thanks for the response. I'll comment on your response more fully later, but I want to say now that you might start looking for boats on your own rather than depend on a broker.

For example, check yachtworld, ebay and even craigslist. I just found this C&C 35 that looks very nice, might meet your needs and is very attractively priced:

35' 1975 C&C MKII black; Portsmouth, New Hamshire:eBay Motors (item 290332044200 end time Aug-06-09 15:01:02 PDT)

Only problem is it is in New England but getting it down to the Chesapeake should not present a problem, even if you have to pay someone to do a delivery. Draft is 6' but honestly you are better off with a bit more draft in this size boat IMO, even in the Chesapeake.

Edit... actually there is another problem: it won't be available very long at an asking price under $30k. You will have to move FAST to get this boat IMO.
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Old 25-07-2009, 22:35   #11
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and now is a good time to buy... so all the research you have done over the last year will stand you in good stead now that the market has loosened up!
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Old 26-07-2009, 00:38   #12
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Multiple lengths of string...

Part of the reason that I took so long (other than every reasonable boat costing an arm and a leg, and it taking a day to look at each boat) was that as the process continued I redefined my needs.

Eventually Boracay turned up, but it took around two years of fairly constant looking.

So the process running:- define boat -> look -> redefine boat etc. can go on for a long time.
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Old 26-07-2009, 07:16   #13
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Kefaa,

In going over your responses above I don't see any wrong thinking. It all makes sense. The framework and the reasons seem to be thought out well. It is the translation of these ideals into a list of boats you could actually buy that remains. It's not that you would buy one of them but more the idea of forcing you to make not a list of potential boats but a list of actual boats. If you can accept the notion that you'll know it when you see it then you have to see it to believe it. It's time to wear out a comfortable pair of deck shoes.

I would hold back $15K and shop for $50K. Once you can get a deal then use the left over money to get a nice canvas package and sails and anything not really seaworthy. You'll be comfortable and sail well.
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Old 26-07-2009, 11:28   #14
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While I understand your concern with a 6' draft we have been happy with a 6' draft on the Chesapeake. We have sailed alot in the in Norfolk area but we have taken several trips up the bay that include Annapolis, Baltimore and Solomon's Island. A chart plotter is really nice to have with a deep draft boat. We used paper charts exclusively for about 2 years. Once we got a chart plotter we were able to go a lot more places because we could avoid shallow areas that weren't anywhere near shallow markers.

It took us years of looking at boats to find the boat that we bought. We are now trying to work our way up to a liveaboard/cruiser and we have been looking for years to determine what we want and can afford.
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Old 26-07-2009, 11:40   #15
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Boracay - I feel the same thing is happening. Each boat tells me what works and does not. Inspect -> Analyze -> Refine has been my mantra.

Paul - I think you hit it on the head. It is moving from the idea of the boat to an actual one where $5000 in differences is difficult to put a finger on or at least subjective. I also appreciate the thought on pricing.

As for selection, I can use Speedoo's example, and moving up to Paul's suggested $50k, (and C&C is on our list,) we came across the following:

First a great match:
1984 C&C MarkIII Sail Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com
- alas, it is under contract, and based on my conversation with the owner, being purchased (via survey only) from Vancover and shipped. Short of something falling through it is gone. I mention it as an example of our expectations (correct or otherwise).

In the same area of Maryland, we have this one:
1983 C & C MK III - Boats.com
A year older, and $10,000 less, but compared to the prior, wanting when compared to the above. But is it possible that $10,000 would make the difference (mayhaps even more with sweat equity) to make it comparable, or better?

Or - a little further from home, (figure $1500 to her to the new home port), we have this one.
1984 C&C 35 MK III - Boats.com
It appears more like the first, but there are some differences with regards to the outfitting.

Finally, Speedo provided the example to start this with
35' 1975 C&C MKII black; Portsmouth, New Hampshire:eBay Motors (item 290332044200 end time Aug-06-09 15:01:02 PDT)
which the owners - while living on it - have made a nice series of repairs and upgrades and it is $15,000 less than where the others are priced which leaves me $20,000k for improvements, to be within the $50k but 10 years more of age.

For $15k difference it is hard to know without a personal inspection and detailed survey. I am less confident I would see anything but glaring issues. I may, as PBlaise suggests, get that "feel" and maybe it takes going to each one to see. The Mrs. had that feel for the one that got away just looking at it - recognizing as a photographer that cameras are friend and foe to boats (A thread unto itself).

Finally, as Sara points out this is as good a buyers market as we may find. I see in different places "everyone" expects to pay 20%-40% less than asking. Yet, my experience has been that bad boats go cheap and good boats are held until the person either must sell or they are willing to wait it out.

I am trying to be as open as possible, but I am unsure if I am helping everyone to help me or if it is merely muddying the waters. So given the examples, what process would you use for elimination? I have others I am looking at, and hope the process would be applicable regardless.
-Kurt
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