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Old 14-08-2011, 19:29   #1
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Location: Tempe, AZ
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Buying My First Boat

I am new to sailing & am looking to buy my first sailboat probably within the next few weeks. There are some reasonably priced 25'-27' here in town & at a local lake for around $2500-$4000. Nothing fancy, but good first timers.

I joined a sailing club in San Diego & rent boats out there 2-3 times a year. I just want something to sail local to learn the ins & outs (trials & tribulations) of maintenance & repairs plus to just sail.

My question is, what kind of inspection should I do on it or have done to it before buying? What type of insurance coverage is recommended?

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Old 14-08-2011, 19:38   #2
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How comfortable are you with inspecting it yourself?

On a boat that size, Just check the rigging for corrosion, make sure the keel is intact and working (if it's a lifting keel) and make sure the rudder is attached well, with no play in the steering... Inspect the sails to be sure they're in decent shape, if it has a motor, make sure it runs (let in run for about an hour, if possible). Everything else is cosmetic and entirely up to you of what's acceptable or not.

If your not comfortable with all that, ether get the book 'inspecting the aging sailboat' by Don Casey, or hire a pro (or at least someone you trust).

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Old 14-08-2011, 20:43   #3
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Re: Buying My First Boat

There are some really good books that go through things to look for in sailboats, easy to understadn and read. Check the library or look on line.

My first boat was a 25' Cheoy Lee, I bought it in the water in San Diego and never had it inspected or dove, I was comfortable with my own research to know what to look for. I paid $4500.

My second boat is a currently a 37' Ketch, paid $3500 in 2007, and sailed it after 3 weeks of work. It was in a yard so I inspected it very closely for a couple months before making an offer to buy. Again, I did my own research and inspection.

If you buy a boat in the water then take a look at how it looks under (magnesium anodes in fresh water, zinc anodes in salt water). IF left without anodes you can get deterioration (electrolysis) to the exposed hardware underwater. See if it needs antifouling paint right away or if its good for 2 more years and does it show blisters through the wetted surface.
If its on the dry then look for the same stuff but you can make a closer inspection and easier.
If you are buying a wood boat then definately inspect the wood closely and if its been out of the water for a long time then the hull planks can shrink and it will leak like a seive in the water until it soaks water again.
Check for dry-rotted sails. Just try to push your finger threw it or pull on it like trying to tear a t-shirt...if its rotten it will tear. Dont worry about hurting the feelings of the owner because if the sails rotten...its no good anyway and he may not even know it.
If you find anything and have concerns then take a picture and post it here or email it to somebody for opinion.
I agree with Callmecrazy the cosmetics are dependent on your opinion.
Rusty bolts and screw, improper materials used to make modifications or repairs should be evaluated closely. Your looking at a smaller, simple type of a boat with limited systems and little initial expense, so dont fret it too much and enjoy the process of getting your first boat and exploring. Then go sailing and enjoy improving things as you go.
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Old 20-08-2011, 07:23   #4
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Re: Buying My First Boat

Thanks for the feedback!
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