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Old 25-01-2018, 11:07   #1
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A few owners too many?

Hi folks,

just looking for a sounding board for some thoughts I am having on a boat purchase.. I would love to hear people's opinion on this one.

I think the ideal boat to buy is one with a sole knowledgeable owner who has had her since new and spared no expense on keeping her tip top etc. But sometimes one might find a boat which ticks almost all the boxes (and if we all know how tricky that part can be) but well.. has not quite the ideal owner pedigree so to speak.

So the question is.. how anal about this "requirement" would you be? For example, I am looking at a boat whose PO history looks a bit like Taylor Swift's list of boyfriends. First owner had her (the boat, not Taylor Swift) for like 12 years and then subsequent 4 or 5 owners in the last 10 years or so. The first of the 4 looks like he invested a substantial amount in her and then did sail her on a circumnavigation. The following owners kinda coasted on his investment I think. She looks reasonably good on paper .. though I haven't seen her yet. She probably will need some new bits like sails and rigging but then she should be ready to go. I am willing to invest this on her etc.

But well.. the checkered owner history is putting a bit of a damper on my enthusiasm. One imagines the "adventurous" types, buying her for a sabbatical for just a couple of years and not really caring that much.. no consistency in her maintenance etc.. maybe it is just me being neurotic. Or am I justified in thinking this is a big red flag? what do you guys think?
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Old 25-01-2018, 11:25   #2
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Re: A few owners too many?

Depends on the boat, at least for me. A large cruiser or a weekend lake boat?
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Old 25-01-2018, 11:30   #3
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Re: A few owners too many?

Well I did say "circumnavigation" which probably should preclude weekend lake boats

But yeah.. your archetypical 40ft "bluewater" (whatever that means to you) cruising sailboat.
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Old 25-01-2018, 11:41   #4
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Re: A few owners too many?

My boat had a single owner (1986 boat, bought in 1998). It was pristine. I still had to redo the electrical system: rotten charger, no inverter, OEM alternator ran through the switch instead of to the house bank). I had to redo the mainsheet tackle to new Garhauer blocks, and upgrade the traveler to 6:1.

But single owner, even if pristine, means nothing if the stuff he put on doesn't meet the intended goal of the new owner. He was a marina hopper, I'm an anchor out skipper. Had a nice microwave that wouldn't work at anchor without an inverter.

Forget about the subsequent skippers, even the first one.

Does the boat meet YOUR needs? That's ALL you have to ask. Once you buy it, whoever owned it before is, uhm, history.

Good luck, don't fret unnecessarily. You have more important issues to consider.
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Old 25-01-2018, 11:45   #5
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Re: A few owners too many?

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Originally Posted by crankysailor View Post
Well I did say "circumnavigation" which probably should preclude weekend lake boats

But yeah.. your archetypical 40ft "bluewater" (whatever that means to you) cruising sailboat.
Whoops, missed that part

I think it's pretty normal for a huge cruiser to change hands once the cruise is over, so I wouldn't worry about it too much. Now, a Catalina 27 with a half dozen owners over twenty years would be a red flag for me, yes.
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Old 25-01-2018, 11:49   #6
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Re: A few owners too many?

Number of previous owners is of no importance to me. All that matters to me is the condition of the boat. Maybe it had twelve different owners in the last 30 years, and the most recent owner just finished a complete and professional refit of the boat.

Or the single previous owner abused it for thirty years and is now selling it on Craigslist in "mint" condition.

Whether there is any correlation between number of owners and condition is questionable. One might argue that if there were multiple owners, then at least multiple people were willing to buy it.

I would just argue that it doesn't matter. Condition, condition.
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Old 25-01-2018, 12:04   #7
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Re: A few owners too many?

My first boat (a 1988 model) had only one owner for 20 years before I got it. It was starting to have frequent wiring type issues. It was by a doctor who think had lost interest in it.

My current boat (a 2001 model) had only 1 owner for 9 years before I got. It was owned by an ex navy nuclear trained guy (like me ��) and he had done drawings of things he had installed.

Current boat is now 17 years and the systems aren’t looking bad. Is it the boats age, newer boat construction that are better, or the owners ability to maintain?
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Old 25-01-2018, 12:15   #8
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Re: A few owners too many?

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>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Is it the boats age, newer boat construction that are better, or the owners ability to maintain?

Good question. I'm not sure that new boats are much better. Electrically, has anyone seen boat builders actually wire the charging sources to the house bank instead of through the switch(es)? Many builder still are building with two equal sized house banks of 4D batteries that aren't true deep cycle. Ever see a combiner/ACR/echo charge on a new boat? And a64 reminds us of his battery boxes that aren't deep enough for golf cart batteries. Sometimes I ask: "What are these builders thinking?"

Oh well, it gives those of us who want to do it right something to do!

My 30 year old Shurflo domestic water pump still works fine, after countless threads of "How do I troubleshoot my water pump?" It probably works only because I have a backup pump on board.
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Old 25-01-2018, 13:03   #9
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Re: A few owners too many?

crankysailor:

If you haven't seen it, take a look at this before you look at boats: Marine Survey 101

I understand you want to winnow your searches, but with individual boats, you just have to go there and poke around. I would not be rigid about the one owner notion. Owners just vary so very much. If the boat that attracts your attention at this point has had quick turnovers, that may speak more to those owners' desires than to the care of the boat itself.

You can't go wrong, assuming that the oils all need changing, and bring along plenty of fuel filters when you buy it.

Ann
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Old 26-01-2018, 05:02   #10
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Re: A few owners too many?

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It probably works only because I have a backup pump on board.
That seems to be a truth to some degree.
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Old 26-01-2018, 06:22   #11
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Re: A few owners too many?

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Originally Posted by JPA Cate View Post
crankysailor:

If you haven't seen it, take a look at this before you look at boats: Marine Survey 101

I understand you want to winnow your searches, but with individual boats, you just have to go there and poke around. I would not be rigid about the one owner notion. Owners just vary so very much. If the boat that attracts your attention at this point has had quick turnovers, that may speak more to those owners' desires than to the care of the boat itself.

You can't go wrong, assuming that the oils all need changing, and bring along plenty of fuel filters when you buy it.

Ann
Thanks! Yeah I had seen that one and in fact afterwards I bought that book he linked to ... "Surveying yachts and small craft" and read about 3 quarters into it already. I think all that has been said makes sense... it all boils down to fear. As an inexperienced buyer (and to be honest, unless one has had the .. fortune?.. of buying and selling dozens of boats I think most regular sailors are inexperienced buyers. I mean, how many of us go thru more than 3 or 4 boats in a lifetime.. but ok that is another discussion :-)

Anyhow.. as I was saying, as an inexperienced buyer one finds it hard to trust one's own gut feeling or eyes etc cause one doesn't have the myriad of experience to back it up. I lucked out on my first boat but I don't take for granted that I will luck out on the second one too :-)

Thanks for all the input folks.. great food for though as always. I will be booking yet another round of flight tickets to go see this boat.. crossing my fingers!
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Old 26-01-2018, 08:00   #12
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Re: A few owners too many?

I would say that in general, the fewer owners a boat has had the better. Nothing messes up a boat as much as an owner.
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Old 26-01-2018, 08:32   #13
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Re: A few owners too many?

Unless it's an unknown design, how many owners alone is probably not a worry. Now if each owner drilled a dozen holes for their personal widget, that's another thing. People buy boats, then dont use them, one half of the couple doesnt like the water, the cost of moorage is too high for the little use etc and they move on etc.
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Old 26-01-2018, 08:37   #14
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Re: A few owners too many?

I think the point is...whatever boat you buy your also buying the past owner(s) You can learn quite a bit from people by careful observation. Some people are so cheap they shouldn't own a boat because it's always going to be fixed with bailing wire and chewing gum. Others are so proud of everything they own that they keep it in absolutely Bristol condition no matter the cost.
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Old 26-01-2018, 08:40   #15
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Re: A few owners too many?

Number of owners is immaterial. Survey the boat thoroughly. If you cannot for any reason - use a good surveyor.
The survey/state of the boat is the deciding factor.
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