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Old 16-12-2009, 11:48   #1
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Help Me Buy a Boat!

I'm going to be buying a boat next month and living on it in the Florida Keys, I started a thread about it here:

Spending Winter in the Keys

Naturally I'm looking for a boat. I'm looking for something 27'-30' and in the $5k range. There are plenty of boats in this category but I'd like to find something in decent condition. There are a ton of boat's that I'm looking at from NC to FL and my top two boat that I want to go look at on my way to Fl are here:

1972 30' Islander MK II
1972 Islander MK II Sail Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com

I'm not familiar with the reputation of the Islander. It has a yanmar diesel with 300 hours. This one looks to be in pretty good shape and even has AC power.

1976 29' Ericson
1976 Ericson Sloop Sail Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com

I've never been on one of these boats but from what I can tell they have a good reputation. This one also looks to be in good condition but has a gas engine and doesn't seem to have all the accessories that the other one has.

Both of these are in NC so I'd buy them and then motor them down the ICW in January. High temps in Jan are in the 50's for NC so it would be cold but possible.

I'm looking for specific info on these boats as well as general things I should be looking for as well as things to watch out for. Thanks!
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Old 16-12-2009, 12:06   #2
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The larger old Islanders were pretty solid boats, the Islander 36 comes to mind. Ericson's, not so much. But there were some good Ericson's The Ericson 35 comes to mind. I am not familiar enough with the smaller Erickson's and Islander's.

Have you looked through YachtWorld's search engine?

Whichever live aboard you choose, make sure you can stand up in it below deck.

Advanced search for new and used boats and yachts. - YachtWorld.com
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Old 16-12-2009, 12:17   #3
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Sounds like you have a plan. Congrats!
A survey is always a good idea, especially for boats in this age range. Also, North Carolina waters can be pretty chilly, but definitely doable. I prefer the shallower draft of the ericson, but to each his own. Keep us posted,
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Old 16-12-2009, 12:17   #4
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I've used their search and I'm currently looking at about 15 boats that meet my criteria, these are just the two nicest looking ones. I've also been looking at craigslist and ebay. I've looked at some local boats but need to go look at more to get an idea of what I want. I've even found a couple 34' Chinook in my price range but I think staying smaller is going to be better for my budget.

Keep in mind I'm not going to be doing any water sailing">blue water sailing in this, the farthest I'm going to go is the Bahamas. I'm not planning on getting a survey done due to the cost but I plan to spend a full day aboard any boat going over everything I can touch before I buy it.
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Old 16-12-2009, 12:28   #5
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Gosh, for the money the Islander looks fantastic, obviously subject to survey. I wish boats this size and condition/equipment were this kind of price in the UK. It equates to @ 4.5k sterling. Thats a lot of fun for the money.
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Old 16-12-2009, 12:52   #6
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Given that it's winter and the current economic situation boat prices should be very low, especially in the colder areas.
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Old 16-12-2009, 13:21   #7
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I also have no experience with Islander 30s, but I've been on a couple of 36s and I agree with David. Zac Sunderland just completed a solo circumnavigation on a '72 Islander 36. Of course, it was tricked out and in excellent condition, but these can be good old boats. The Islander in the ad has a new engine and "appears" to be in good condition. But with this vintage condition is everything and everything from tanks and wiring to rigging, thru hulls, deck, etc. is suspect. If your personal examination goes well, I still highly recommend that you have this boat evaluated by an expert - a survey may not cost as much as you think.
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Old 16-12-2009, 16:46   #8
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IMHO you have picked two of the best production boats in this price range. As others have said, current condition is key with boats this old and worth paying some premium for if you have to. An aggressive and knowledgeable surveyor could be a real benefit here just so you know what you are buying.
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Old 16-12-2009, 17:12   #9
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It looks like the Islander was a really good deal, it's been on the market for a week and he already has a refundable deposit on the boat and 4 other people in line. The guy buying it is flying down from Alaska to buy it.
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Old 16-12-2009, 18:03   #10
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The Islander would be my choice b/c of:
more room down below and in cockpit, Diesel engine, more waterline, more beam
I think the Ericsons are fractional...why I think that??
BUT the draft of the Ericson is 4'4" compared to the 5' draft Islander, and you are in the keys. Also the islander looks to have some rot down below.

It is great to hear you have a short list and are ready to take the plunge Hope you are sailing soon.
Erika
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Old 17-12-2009, 09:27   #11
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I have an O'Day 30 down there ready to go, with some TLC.
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Old 17-12-2009, 09:58   #12
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Hi Joburnet,

Understand why you want to buy without a survey. Doesn't matter the value of the boat, they charge by the foot. Should be aware that without a survey you cannot get insurance or financing (assume financing not an issue but insurance might be).

Not sure what experience you have with used boats but there are a few gotchas with older boats that you should watch out for that could make the repairs, even do it yourself, way more than the value of the boat.

One of the less obvious to the less experienced is water in the decks. Most fiberglass boats build the deck as a sandwich of plywood or other core between fiberglass on the outside, top and bottom. This is great for making stronger, lighter and more rigid decks, but water can leak into the core causing rot.

It is easy for this to happen since every boat has dozens of holes drilled into the deck to mount winches, cleats, blocks, stanchions and every other type of hardware imaginable. Over time, even with bedding and caulking these holes can leak. If the core is really bad the deck can delaminate and get soft. Repairing this could be a nightmare.

Most other expensive items are easier to see: engine, rigging, sails, hull damage, etc. Be sure to check the joint where the hull and deck are attached, not always easy to see if it under liners or cabinet work.

Once you do find a boat to look at I'm sure you will have a list of specifics to ask.

Good luck on the hunt.

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Old 17-12-2009, 10:24   #13
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Two contarian points:

1) I see signs of a leak under the side deck and a disturbed headliner in one of the photos on the Islander (the one that shows the switch panel on the port side). Probably a leaking genoa track. Not a deal breaker, but something you will have to deal with. Also looks like the wood might have suffered some damage from leaks around the portlights.

2) The "T" shaped cockpit on the Ericson is a much better arrangement, in my opinion, as it's easier to get to the helm station (even with having to crawl around the mainsheet/traveler) and generally keeps guests out of helmsman's way and vice-versa.
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Old 17-12-2009, 10:39   #14
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These are both decent boats and, in good condition, should fetch more than the asking price... and that's the problem.

What is wrong with these boats that they are asking so little? Are they in much worse condition than the pictures would indicate? Maybe. Or do they have some sort of non-apparent problem that forces the sellers to ask so little?

I understand that when you are only planning to spend $5-$6k on a boat, $700-$800 on a survey seems like too much. But when spending so little on a boat, it is the things you cannot see that can bite you. Are you willing to take the risk that you'll spend $5k on a boat and it will fall apart two weeks and 400 miles hence? Can you afford to take that risk?

There's no such thing as a free lunch, and when you find a boat for sale for very, very little money there is ALWAYS a reason. You had better be sure that you understand that reason BEFORE you hand over the cash!
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Old 17-12-2009, 10:48   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by denverd0n View Post
These are both decent boats and, in good condition, should fetch more than the asking price... and that's the problem.

What is wrong with these boats that they are asking so little? Are they in much worse condition than the pictures would indicate? Maybe. Or do they have some sort of non-apparent problem that forces the sellers to ask so little?

I understand that when you are only planning to spend $5-$6k on a boat, $700-$800 on a survey seems like too much. But when spending so little on a boat, it is the things you cannot see that can bite you. Are you willing to take the risk that you'll spend $5k on a boat and it will fall apart two weeks and 400 miles hence? Can you afford to take that risk?

There's no such thing as a free lunch, and when you find a boat for sale for very, very little money there is ALWAYS a reason. You had better be sure that you understand that reason BEFORE you hand over the cash!
I agree about the potential that the boats are in worse shape than shown, becuase - like the photo of the 3-star hotel room - it's never nearly as good as it looks in the pictures. But, $6,500 isn't that far off for a nearly 40-year-old plastic fantastic.

I disagree that it's worth a surveyor, though, for a $6K boat. I think the chances of getting a good surveyor, even with a recommendation, are about 50-50 at best. It's a crap shoot.

Better to teach yourself what to look for - and that's not that hard.
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