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Old 06-12-2018, 13:22   #1
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Buying a used boat

Hello,

I new to the forum and I am looking for some advice on purchasing a used sailboat. This would be my first sailboat but have owned a couple small motor boats. My wife an I have a goal to live aboard a 40-50' cat later in life but want to start learning now on a smaller boat in fresh water. I am looking at a few 25' mono hulls and my question is this. What are the top 5 things you would check or require when purchasing a used sailboat? This could be a feature based response or function based. Just one word answers are cool too or reference to a similar thread. Many thanks in advance for your feedback.
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Old 06-12-2018, 13:25   #2
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Re: Buying a used boat

1. Hull
2. Deck
3. Rig
4. Engine
5. Steering


everything else is basically cosmetic.
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Old 06-12-2018, 20:02   #3
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Re: Buying a used boat

design pedigree
contruction method and quality
how recently in use
how well maintained in general

Hull, deck, engine

If a cheap enough price, expect to spend as much again upfitting, paint, sails & rigging are NBD
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Old 06-12-2018, 21:02   #4
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Re: Buying a used boat

Where are you? I’ll argue that boat buying, especially at the 25’ monohull level, is a very local operation. Try the “free or almost free” thread. It has been a while but it has been a good resource. Lots of winners. I feel it has some value to educate people to the market. There is also a Pearson Triton 28’ on the ‘for sale’ thread on CF for $2k. I wish she were mine.
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Old 07-12-2018, 09:43   #5
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Re: Buying a used boat

My nephew and his wife just bid on Ebay and won a Cal31, 1983 for under $3k. Turns out a winner, new engine has 175 hours, sails are good, full of goodies like grill, pumps, anchors. Yard maintained. PO fell, broke a hip, donated it, wanted to see what young couple got his boat, he was happy.
There are real winners out there, fortunately new sailors got a good one.
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Old 07-12-2018, 10:10   #6
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Re: Buying a used boat

So this will not be your forever boat but rather your for now boat.

There are plenty of ways to look at this. It will all depend on what you can afford, where you live, where you plan to keep her (in a slip, on a mooring, on a trailer etc), where you plan to sail her (small lake or reservoir, great lakes....l). What is your mechanical acumen.... can you or are you willing to do your own maintenance.

The most important item is that you can spend more time sailing than fixing. For me, I would look for a Catalina 25 or similar, either swing, wing or fixed keel. You will be able to practice all the good things you will need to know when transitioning to the live aboard life. Find something that has been well maintained. Get a survey to let you know what is wrong and right with her. Be patient and be willing to travel a bit to find a good choice.

Good Luck and Happy Sailing.
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Old 07-12-2018, 10:32   #7
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Re: Buying a used boat

Or, you could join a sailing club. You'd have no maintenance to do, no slip fees, no insurance and they often have races where you'd get onto a boat as crew and really learn how to sail. Depending on the club, you'd have access to multiple boats. A close friend has gone this route and when I looked at the numbers it really makes sense for him at this point in time. Much later, they will buy a boat.

Learning to sail, smaller is better. That's where you learn best how to read the wind, the water as you feel every little puff etc. Dinghy's are great for that. Laser's are as well. Fast, fun and when you make a mistake you know it right away as you're usually in the water having to right the boat LOL.
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Old 07-12-2018, 10:39   #8
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Re: Buying a used boat

Quote: "What are the top 5 things you would check or require when purchasing a used sailboat? ...Just one word answers are cool"

Well, no. One word answers to complex questions will not serve you well. Kelkarra gave you the basics in post #2, though tongue in cheek I suspect. As you've come from the dark side, your immediate task will be to learn to handle a sailboat's rigging. I could teach you the basics of that in a ten hour day on the water. After that, all you'll have to do is put some polish on what you will have learned, and doing that has nothing, or very little, to do with the particular boat you are in, but a lot to do with you own psychology.

For what you appear to want to do, ANY boat that passes the test in Kelkara's five categories, i.e. any boat that floats, will do the job, and there is a plethora of 25-footers to be had for very little money. Such boats are in some ways like dixie-cups. You use them, then you throw them away, or pass them on to another noob.

You say nothing about where in the world you are, and therefore I can deduce nothing about the kind of water you'll be sailing in. For serious sailing - put dreams of circumnavigation aside for now - a boat should be chosen for the waters in which it will be used. The Florida Keys are NOT the same a Newfoundland or the Pacific Northwest. None of those waters are like the Baltic or the Mediterranean.

So use the near future to learn boat-keeping, serious navigation of a kind you would probably not have used in a small powerboat, meteorology (i.e. weather forecasting for your operational area) and skippering in general.

You might do yourself a favour by getting and internalizing Don Casey's book "This Old Boat". Doing that will get you on your way faster than fretting over what sort of 25-footer is "best". As I said: 25-footers are like dixie-cups. They are a commodity. One will serve as well as another for what you need to do to get to where you appear to want to go.

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Old 07-12-2018, 10:45   #9
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Re: Buying a used boat

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cpt Mark View Post
Or, you could join a sailing club. You'd have no maintenance to do, no slip fees, no insurance and they often have races where you'd get onto a boat as crew and really learn how to sail. Depending on the club, you'd have access to multiple boats. A close friend has gone this route and when I looked at the numbers it really makes sense for him at this point in time. Much later, they will buy a boat.

Learning to sail, smaller is better. That's where you learn best how to read the wind, the water as you feel every little puff etc. Dinghy's are great for that. Laser's are as well. Fast, fun and when you make a mistake you know it right away as you're usually in the water having to right the boat LOL.
Yes!

At our sailing club we have a great learn to sail program and an active racing program No need to even be a member in order to participate in either. Learn to sail in the classroom, starts with 420's and ends on cruisers, so you get the total experience.

Race nights every Wednesday and there is always someone looking for crew and the committee boat can always use an extra hand too.
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Old 07-12-2018, 10:57   #10
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Re: Buying a used boat

I think the biggest, non obvious, factor is checking VERY carefully for soft decks due to water intrusion into the deck laminate at the fittings & chainplate attachments. A good giveaway is any sort of water stain on the ceiling of the cabin areas, and deteriorating caulk/butyl tape at the base of the deck fittings.

Soft decks can be fixed, but it's definitely something you want to avoid at all costs in the beginning, if possible.
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Old 07-12-2018, 11:21   #11
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Re: Buying a used boat

I am a strong believer in racing as a way to become a skilled sailor. Check out the local clubs. See who has an informal race series (i.e. beer can races on Thursday evenings or whatever). See what are popular boats used in those race series. Usually easy enough to find a used one for sale. As mentioned above, many clubs also have sailing programs for learners so you can work your way up.
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Old 07-12-2018, 11:40   #12
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Re: Buying a used boat

25 foot boats are $3500 or less.

If you’re going to dock it that will run $1500 plus. If you tow it the trailer condition is more important than the boat condition.

Save all the above advise for your 40’ boat. For the 25 make sure the motor runs and it has sails and get on with it.
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Old 07-12-2018, 11:42   #13
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Re: Buying a used boat

Very common for a good trailer to cost more than the boat

But no storage / slip costs, priceless!
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Old 07-12-2018, 12:10   #14
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Re: Buying a used boat

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Originally Posted by john61ct View Post
Very common for a good trailer to cost more than the boat

But no storage / slip costs, priceless!

Best deal in sailing. A catalina 22 can overnight, and tows at about 3500 lb.
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Old 07-12-2018, 12:21   #15
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Re: Buying a used boat

I think you are getting some good advice above on learning to sail and getting involved.

However, in terms of what to look for in buying a used sailboat, what you are looking for is Inspecting the Aging Sailboat by Don Casey.

It is a short, easy, read with lots of drawings. I expect you will find it very helpful if you want to buy an old boat.
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