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Old 19-01-2011, 17:17   #16
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Try inviting an experienced sailor to go with you to look at a few boats. Someone with experience fixing boats can help you spot little details and can tell you which ones you can fix on your own. Always look at as many boats as you can. You can learn a lot by looking at old Catalinas even if you are wild about the design. If you spot something that needs to be done, go ahead and get a quote to fix it before buying the boat. A few things that I thought were $100 problems were really $400 problems.
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Old 19-01-2011, 18:06   #17
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Southern Hiker,
From your own perspective, you can superficially judge how an old boat has been maintained by asking questions & visually inspecting but, probably, not more than that. A surveyor can test the decks with a moisture meter to help you find a boat with no deck rot - most decks are balsa or plywood cored - knows blistering when he/she sees it and can tell you if it is serious or negligible, and many other things. Find a surveyor who knows sailboats/is into sailing and you'll have better advice on condition of sails, standing/running rigging, etc. . As mentioned previously, be present for the survey, ask questions, listen and ask for an explanation of anything you don't understand.

If you can find a very experienced sailor on these forums who lives in the area you're looking, knows how to inspect a boat & has the equipment, I recommend that person over a retained surveyor. Pay that person close to the local survey rate & they'll do a more thorough survey than the pro surveyor you retain. Sorry, that's a blanket statement, but it has been my experience. The boat must be on the hard to do a survey, but see if the seller will split the lift cost with you, as any prospective buyer will need the boat on the hard for same.
Mike
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Old 19-01-2011, 19:30   #18
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Unless you are going to try to do some serious bluewater sailing, I'm in the "if you spend less than $10,000 on a boat" group that says forego the survey and do one yourself.

There are plenty of good books, etc. on what to look for when buying a boat. That said, you can also take the boat and have a safety inspection done by the CG Aux. It all comes down to safety, but if you have a VHF radio, stay inshore, etc, even if something goes wrong, you'll probably be ok.

Everyone on here has their own opinions and most are pretty good. Go with the one you are most comfortable with.

Just my opinion.
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Old 19-01-2011, 19:53   #19
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allmy boats have been pre 1979. nothing wrong with older boats. my 41 formosa i got for 10k. i was told i would have to put 150k into it and be working on her for 5 yrs..LOL..... not even close-- is gonna be a total of 6 k and 2 yrs--only because i ran away from home for a year to sail opb.......now she is almost done-- i have the scary stuff and the chainplates then sailing....
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Old 19-01-2011, 20:16   #20
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Since this'll be your first boat and you acknowledge you hardly know what you're looking at, I wouldn't bother with a surveyor; their findings will only make useful sense to you when you know more.

So my advice is to buy the cheapest thing that is visually and spatially attractive to you and start on the learning curve. The process of rebuilding will take you all over the boat and teach you what to look for and how to fix things like no book ever could. It will also bring you into contact with people with similar interests, and that really helps.

The last thing you'd want to do as a newcomer would be to get a vessel that needs little work - because then the imperative to learn what needs to be learned to make you a good boatman is missing. See the work as the lessons you need to learn, and you'll be happy.
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Old 20-01-2011, 01:00   #21
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Just get something with standing headroom. It may as well be a dinghy otherwise. The best boats can be carried (or dragged, or rolled on a cart) or they can be lived aboard.

The in between sizes are cheap for a reason!

So get something with standing headroom, I made 2 big mistakes before getting my vessel, which I love.
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Old 20-01-2011, 10:04   #22
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uscg aux safety inspection only includes basic safety equipment. not seaworthiness of boat.
i bought formosa 41 for 10k. i didnt have survey as i found old ones in the boat records and went from there--- i know my way around a boat--is good to have someone with you who does, when looking at a first boat. i bought this cheep as the previous owner was a boat virgin and didnt knw h0w to address this boat's particular issues. i have only 2 more important thing to addrss then i sail out of sin diego. was worth the 10 k and bits i have invested into my home. i would not recommend a project as a first boat-- they become overwhelming-- i know-- my first was also a project-- i sold it as it was and went on....is dofficutlt to see the end goal of sailing when ye are stuck undwr the hull doing lil important dont sink the boat stuff and replacing items should have been replaced 20 yrs ago.... try to find a good cal or columbia or such to beat around in until you know how to sail really ell and how to repair what ye got-- then advanceas you are able wit5h the knowledge you gain from other folks and sailing with them and of your own lil boat ye find to sail around in... when you are ready, or a few months prior- then worry about blue water------and , if you are sneaky, you may find your cool lil boat is able to go where ye didnt expect it to be able to go ---- have fun and smooth sailing.....have to sneak up on the blue water in some boats so they dont know what hit em---look at markj, circumnav in a bendytoy!!!! so, ye see-- many boats ye think are not up to jobs ye wanna do-- gotta sneak up on the job with boat and see what she will do--dont know until ye try her out....-
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Old 20-01-2011, 12:08   #23
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Cheap, Zeehag? Cheap? Good god, it sounds like you stole it!
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Old 20-01-2011, 12:16   #24
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Aloha and good luck on finding the best boat out there.
I know I'm disagreeing with many of the other forum members but in my humble opinion, since you are new to boats, I would consider you nuts if you didn't get a survey for your first boat. Find a knowledgeable and competent surveyor in the area where you are looking.
As pointed out, you might need a survey for insurance purposes. You might need insurance to sign up at a marina or a mooring area.
You'll learn a great deal from following the surveyor around.
By all means, if you are in love with a boat before you purchase it you need to have a surveyor to point out her faults before you buy her.
If the surveyor finds things that need to be fixed on the proposed craft then a lower price can be negotiated. Not so with your experience. A crafty seller could convince you that the crack in the gelcoat just forward of the keel requires some easy cosmetic repair or that the rudder delamination is a minor fix.
kind regards,
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Old 20-01-2011, 12:26   #25
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SouthernHiker,
To respond to your question about boat age, on my top 10 list, one is 1966, one is 1968, one is 1969. For perspective, I'm looking for my 5th boat.
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Old 20-01-2011, 22:53   #26
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there is one like mine on the hard in sd county for $4500-- the deals are out there-- just need to be found by the right person....moorings dont generally demand insurance, but marinas demand liability ins, can be done without survey. survey is needed for financed boats and for the insurance thereof-- comprehensive and such. for when the complete boat could conceivably require replacement for what ever reason except earthquake and hurrycame and flood and .......
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