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Old 07-03-2011, 05:24   #1
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Help! Am I crazy?

Hello Cruisers Forum members!

I am new to the forum with a plead for a sanity check.

I have been sailing all of my adult life on inland and Great Lakes with minimal (but some) ocean experience. All of my boats have been deck stepped mast and shallow bilge.

I ran across a deal on a 95 Island Packet 38 that I think would be a great boat to gain more experience on the east coast and eventually cruising. The owner, who I know professionally, can trade the boat in on a new boat and already has an agreed upon trade in, but can also sell the boat himself as long as the boat or the trade in amount is delivered by May 1.

He is willing to sell the boat to me at a 25% discount to the average listing price and will make a little more than the trade in value, which gets my attention.

I inspected the boat last week, which is on the hard, and it was in pretty good shape with one exception: There has been a lot of rain and I noticed about a quart of water that settled in the corner of the floor where the chart table is, and also in the galley. The location is consistent with the way the boat is shored up, listing a little to starboard with the bow slightly higher than stern.

I could not figure out where the water was coming from. There was no evidence of water running from the top of the cabin and no visible leaking. The only thing I can figure is that it may have run down the mast and collecting in the spots noted.

I plan to have the boat surveyed, but based on the timing of the owner's decision to trade or sell, I may need to make a decision without having an in the water survey completed.

I realize it is difficult to obtain advice with only this much information, but my questions are:
1. Does it make sense that the water could have come from the mast?
2. Are there any other areas that IPs typically leak?
3. Does water usually run down the inside of the mast to the bilge on keel stepped boats?
4. Is it problematic having water build up in a deep bilge like the IPs during the winter and can freezing of that water damage the boat?
5. And finally! Am I crazy for thinking about buying this without the portion of the survey that is in the water?

Thanks for the sanity check!

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Old 07-03-2011, 05:33   #2
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pirate Re: Help! Am I crazy?

Hi... Welcome to CF... an interesting situation...
Yes its quite common for the mast collar to leak and allow water to run down the mast and into the bilge... the collars take quite a beating from weather and are also often poorly fitted... its a very cheap and easy thing to fix...
As to other possible leaks... is there a vent or portlight/hatch near...??
In the end it boils down to your gut feeling...
I've only bought a boat with a Survey once outa the 14 I've owned... and that was only coz it was a partnership purchase... big mistake.. not the boat... the 'partner'...
Good luck.. hope she's a good one
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I exist to live my life in a way that will make me happy.

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Old 07-03-2011, 05:34   #3
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Re: Help! Am I crazy?

You ask smart questions and I don't have smart answers but I am reminded of an old story. A man was changing a tire by the side of the road, putting the lug nuts safely in the hubcap. Accidentally the hubcap got kicked over the side and scattered irretrievably down a steep cliff. The man stood there helpless when a fellow from a nearby mental institution ambled by and suggested he simply take one nut from each of the other tires, which would allow him to get all four wheels to the next service station. When the driver commented that the solution was brilliant, the mental patient replied, "I'm crazy, not stupid." So you may be crazy but..... Good luck and happy sails.
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Old 07-03-2011, 14:27   #4
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Re: Help! Am I crazy?

Good catch Janet! Perhaps I should ask..."am I crazy, stupid or both"!
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Old 07-03-2011, 14:35   #5
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Re: Help! Am I crazy?

To answer the title...........if you're buying a boat then yes you are crazy!

Other than that all boats leak somewhere. I chased a similar leak for 2 years. I never found it but it stopped. All I did was turn the dorades to the side when off the boat so less water blew into them during storms.

If this all you can find wrong with the boat and you like it then you found a winner!

Keep in mind that if he trades it in, and he tells you the price he got, then I bet you can buy it from the dealer at the same price. Maybe less because they want to get rid of it and get their money back that is probably the profit on the sale of the new boat to start with.
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Old 07-03-2011, 14:42   #6
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Re: Help! Am I crazy?

Leaks are common on boats and that wouldn't particularly worry me. In-water surveys are overrated. It's a known boat. You can find out all you need to know about her on the Internet. You aren't going to learn anything about her in the water except that maybe there is something wrong with the engine. Out of water survey is the most important, which may even tell you where the water is coming from. I've looked at boats for sale that were soaking wet inside and had water up to the floorboards!
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Old 07-03-2011, 14:43   #7
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Re: Help! Am I crazy?

Welcome aboard!

Mast collar can be very problematic - but that's fairly easy to check with a hose pipe. So are the hatches.

If the problem isn't obviously one of these, then you may have to take off the ceiling lining and take a good look at the underside of the deck and coachroof. Look especially at the edges where the deck is attached to the sides.

What about the 'silly' things tho? Is it possible someone left the taps on? Or the hatches unlatched?

Two months should be plenty of time to get all your inspections done...

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Old 07-03-2011, 17:33   #8
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Re: Help! Am I crazy?

Something that all the above have failed to mention: Keel stepped masts always have water that gets INSIDE the mast through halyard openings, masthead sheaves, etc. There are various ways of dealing with this phenomenon, including a block at deck level with a drain, but mostly they just drain into the bilge. This could be the source of your water, and if so, nothing to worry about.


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Old 08-03-2011, 09:21   #9
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Re: Help! Am I crazy?

Thanks everyone for your experience and help. It has done well to soothe my nerves.
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Old 08-03-2011, 09:33   #10
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Re: Help! Am I crazy?

Wait a minute! Sure, water runs down the mast and into the bilge, but this poster says the water is laying on top of the sole. So it didn't come from running down the inside of the mast. That said, I recently bought a boat whose sole had to be completely replaced due to rot. The culprits were a leaking chainplate, old hatch and portlight gaskets, and the PO's storing wet cockpit cushions on the sole! Everything that opens or can open on a boat is an opportunity to leak. Key is don't let the leaks persist or you'll have a major repair instead of "normal maintenance."

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