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Old 04-02-2014, 14:36   #1
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Things to look for in a used fiberglass sloop.

I have been convinced, I want a cruiser. I've been hunched over Craigslist for the last week and have arranged to look at some boats. I checked out a Rawson 30 this morning and have some 27' sloops to look at over the week.

Here is the problem, I'm no surveyor and don't know what to look for in an older boat. I'm looking for something that could use TLC, I just don't know what things are major problem and what's a reasonable fix type problem. For instance, the Rawson had a brand new yanmar diesel but also had a leak in the water tank, some leaking windows (portholes?) that was 'patched'. The rigging was a bit questionable (one of the static lines was clipped into the line that keeps people from going overboard) and the guy hasn't sailed it from the time he bought it (2 years, hasn't been out of the water for that long as well, only diver cleaned). Overall I don't think it's worth the 7500 he wants for it, but again I'm no expert. What are some things that you guys think are deal breakers and what you wouldnt worry too much about?
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Old 04-02-2014, 15:28   #2
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Re: Things to look for in a used fiberglass sloop.

I am just starting my boat quest also and have gotten some really really
Good advice here not only about looking for and at boats but also about my cruising plans.
As a start I suggest you purchase Don Casey's book
"The complete Illustrated Sailboat". Should keep you busy for awhile.
Also google "boat surveying 101"
Good luck and happy sailing
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Old 04-02-2014, 16:18   #3
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Re: Things to look for in a used fiberglass sloop.

Check out yachtworld.com and expand your choices, plus you'll have the advantage of working with professional brokers.
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Old 04-02-2014, 16:33   #4
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Re: Things to look for in a used fiberglass sloop.

I should have done a quick search of the forum, appears that there are a few survey 101 posts. I'll read those it am still looking for some other things that some might have come across while buying their boats.

I haven't been looking at sites that use brokers because they tend to get their boats professionally services which ends up pricing them out of my budget.
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Old 04-02-2014, 17:46   #5
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Re: Things to look for in a used fiberglass sloop.

The brand new Yanmar cost more than the fellow is asking for the boat. Brand new sails or engines can save you a lot of money on a refit. Any big money item is one less thing to look for , or worry about in a purchase. That doesnt mean that you accept some major problem, it is just a plus to have something new. _____Grant.
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Old 04-02-2014, 18:20   #6
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Re: Things to look for in a used fiberglass sloop.

Marine Survey 101
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Old 06-02-2014, 20:30   #7
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Re: Things to look for in a used fiberglass sloop.

Hey guys, I hope that this thread keeps alive as I "survaying" some of the boats I'm looking to purchase. Today's candidate: 1975 Pearson 30, original atomic 4 engine (looks a bit rough) nothing fancy. The rigging and hull looked good BUT the bilge pump kept coming on while I was looking it over. So my question is mainly, is this boat taking on water? It seemed dry, no musky smell or water stains but like I said that bilge pump was coming on every 3-5 minutes, which worrys me quite a bit.
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Old 06-02-2014, 21:22   #8
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Re: Things to look for in a used fiberglass sloop.

Most times that much water intrusion will be from a leaky stuffing box, which should be easily visible and reachable. They should be adjustable almost any time. That should not be a deal killer, since they can be adjusted, or repacked without hauling the boat, but if the shaft is worn or rough, it could be a re acurring (sp?) problem. It could be a variety of other problems, but the stuffing box is the most common. _______Grant.
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Old 06-02-2014, 21:55   #9
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Re: Things to look for in a used fiberglass sloop.

Pearson 30's a nice boat. There's one on my dock - the owner keeps it in top shape.

Leak? Easy enough to know if it's the stuffing box - look at it. It'll leak more when motoring.

Look into the bilge and watch the water - every 3-5 min is quite a bit of water. Not a busted seacock lot of water but quite a bit. If it's NOT the stuffing box, I'd pass. A dry bilge is a happy bilge

(My rudderpost leaks, but only at hull speed motoring.. never detected before I bought it.. Gonna fix it sometime. )

A4's are "bad" insofar as they are gas. (I've got one) -- but they're braindead simple to work on, moyer has every part you need, and they seem to be able to last 40+ years pretty well. There's lots of gas powered boats - like most powerboats. They only go boom every now and then. Run the blower and smell - no boom. Fuel econ will suck compared to diesel.
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Old 06-02-2014, 22:10   #10
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Re: Things to look for in a used fiberglass sloop.

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Originally Posted by Kenomac View Post
Check out yachtworld.com and expand your choices, plus you'll have the advantage of working with professional brokers.
... as well as the advantage of paying more.
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Old 06-02-2014, 22:36   #11
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Re: Things to look for in a used fiberglass sloop.

Some times it's better to pay a little more(the cost of brokers fee's) and get some help! at least use their sevices to look at boats, so ya get an idea what your looking at and sometimes what to look for ! Believe me there's been lot's of folks burnt buying a boat from online adds or from other ways going it all on there own ! and not haveing any idea of whats needed to get the paper work right !! Boy a few hundred bucks in brokers fees is nothing when have to try doing the paper work yourself!! Think about it ! do you know where to ck on an owner of a state registerd boat or a US doc one?? and how to re-register them ?? maybe im just old and simple, but I like things simple, and a GOOD broker earns his money,and makes it simple for me !! I like that !
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Old 06-02-2014, 22:50   #12
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Re: Things to look for in a used fiberglass sloop.

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Some times it's better to pay a little more(the cost of brokers fee's) and get some help! at least use their sevices to look at boats, so ya get an idea what your looking at and sometimes what to look for ! Believe me there's been lot's of folks burnt buying a boat from online adds or from other ways going it all on there own ! and not haveing any idea of whats needed to get the paper work right !! Boy a few hundred bucks in brokers fees is nothing when have to try doing the paper work yourself!! Think about it ! do you know where to ck on an owner of a state registerd boat or a US doc one?? and how to re-register them ?? maybe im just old and simple, but I like things simple, and a GOOD broker earns his money,and makes it simple for me !! I like that !
Yes, if there are good brokers involved, you might have to do less homework.

Then again, there's no guarantee that they're going to be all that good.

It's not necessarily a good assumption that adding 10% to a boat transaction makes the deal better.

I don't have a problem with people using brokers, but the assumption that they are required is patently false. Most of the time it's not all that difficult to check on boat ownership, or to check if there are liens on a boat. Depending on the cost of the boat, it may be worth a professional survey. Don Casey's book on surveying boats is worth consulting.

I'm sure there are good points on either side, so let's not hijack the thread over it.
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Old 06-02-2014, 23:50   #13
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Re: Things to look for in a used fiberglass sloop.

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Yes, if there are good brokers involved, you might have to do less homework.

Then again, there's no guarantee that they're going to be all that good.

It's not necessarily a good assumption that adding 10% to a boat transaction makes the deal better.

I don't have a problem with people using brokers, but the assumption that they are required is patently false. Most of the time it's not all that difficult to check on boat ownership, or to check if there are liens on a boat. Depending on the cost of the boat, it may be worth a professional survey. Don Casey's book on surveying boats is worth consulting.

I'm sure there are good points on either side, so let's not hijack the thread over it.
I really wish there were more boats for sale by owner but that is simply not the case over a certain price point (say $50k). Therefore you must look on Yachtworld, which is broker city. Might as well find a trustworthy buyers broker. Can't hurt.
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Old 07-02-2014, 00:29   #14
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Re: Things to look for in a used fiberglass sloop.

I am currently reading a book; Offshore Cruising Encyclopaedia by Linda & Steve Dew. Incredible amount of detail, anything you want to know about buying, building, redesigning or reconditioning a boat. It focuses on Cruising Yachts, however sections of it are relevant to all boats. Can check it out at setsail.com or buy it on Amazon. Has a whole section (60 pages) dedicated to "Acquiring a Yacht".
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Old 07-02-2014, 03:17   #15
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Re: Things to look for in a used fiberglass sloop.

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Originally Posted by shellphish View Post
What are some things that you guys think are deal breakers and what you wouldnt worry too much about?
deal breakers are anything I can't fix myself (or don't want to! - from either lack of time or laziness!) or if they need a pro repair is too expensive (for that yer need to know what the repair will cost, at least ballpark).

Things not to worry about are stuff I can fix in a timescale that works for me.

Given your starting position the above not a great deal of immediate help! I would suggest:-

a) read a book (or 2) on self surveying - that Don Casey book gets mentioned a lot
b) visit a few boats (for sale and not) - yer gonna kiss a lot of frogs anyway when buying.
c) research online on the things you identify as common problems to look for and at.......and get ballpark prices on fixes for your skills - the idea being that when you get onboard a boat you can see $1k (and xx months) for this fix, $3k (and xx weeks) for that fix etc.
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