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Old 20-07-2015, 19:16   #1
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Best place on the east coast to start hunting for the killer deal

Two of my friends and I have decided to start a life on the sea. We're all in our late 20s and willing to live uncomfortably, as long as the view is nice. One idea for finding a boat that we are kicking around is to sell all of our worldly possessions and just head east. I've always read about people who've found unbelievable deals on boats by walking the docks at marinas. Know a guy that picked up a westerly centaur for $1000 and sailed it home the next day. I would weep sweet tears of joy if I found a deal like that. We think we should just spend a month or so bouncing around looking for the "dream deal". We figure we will just live out of the car \ camp as much as possible until we buy a boat. The one question we all have is where to start. We live in Illinois so no matter where we start it's going to be a long drive. Anybody know where are all the great deals waiting, or at least where we should start?

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Old 20-07-2015, 19:30   #2
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Re: Best place on the east coast to start hunting for the killer deal

The place to start is your bank. You will need money.

Then go to the Internet. Don't waste gas finding what you can find with good internet searching.

For example, you could get a boat for free. Then spend all your money fixing the things that don't work.

Free boat?

Yep.

I came across two yesterday, via the net.

Want a tip where to look?
Go to Good old Boat dot com and search the boats for sale listings. Look carefully.

Good luck on your adventure.

Frankly, I think your funds would be better spent and get you further by taking a nice road trip in your van, to places you have never seen, camping along the way.
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Old 20-07-2015, 20:57   #3
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Re: Best place on the east coast to start hunting for the killer deal

Great deals on good old boats on the great lakes. No salt water, out of the water 6 months of the year. Its not the east coast, but is connected to the east coast. If you're in Illinois, not much of a road trip is necessary. Start in Chicago.

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Old 20-07-2015, 21:24   #4
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Re: Best place on the east coast to start hunting for the killer deal

I would start in West Palm Beach, and get yourselves some Kayaks, and a chart book for the ICW and all the canals. Park somewhere and paddle up and down the canals looking for a boat that looks like the owner has lost interest. Then you go around to the front door with your car and ask....
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Old 20-07-2015, 23:25   #5
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Re: Best place on the east coast to start hunting for the killer deal

+1 On what Steady said.
In addition, make up a checklist, akin to one that a surveyor would use, to evaluate each boat's cruise readiness. AKA how much it'll cost to get it cruise ready.

That way, you can take the boat's initial cost, & then add up what you need to add to her (using retail, like from Defender.com, prices). Thus, when you're comparing boat A, to B, C, or D, you have a realistic guide for what you have to spend in $, as well as time.

As to places. New England boats have many of the same advantages sited for Great Lakes boats. Newport, RI is kind of the Summer hub for sailing up that way, there & Long Island Sound.
Annapolis is a HUGE gathering place for sailing, probably the biggest in the US. Especially when you factor in all of the major metropolitan areas within an hour's drive.
And FL is another gigantic one as well.

Do yourselves a favor, & get real familiar with Craig's List, www.SearchTempest.com, & www.Sailboatdata.com & www.SailboatListings.com too. They'll have/help you find what's out there, as well as compare the different boats. And you'll start to also see that how well a boat is fitted out, is the expensive part.

A while back, another group of young folks was contemplating something similar, & I share a bit of the reality of living together on a tiny boat. But also some tips on what to look for. If you care to, you can read it here Occupancy of Boats Especially as a lot of other wise, & veteran sailors offered up a lot of good advice on the topic then also.

As to the gear checklist which I referred to earlier, you can cobble one together from some of the better fitted out boats for sale online. Or in the Appendices of the book Steel Away there's an excellent, if slightly dated, one. Probably the best I've seen +/-.

Good Luck with the Adventure, & by all means, ask away on here for advice. That, & filling us in on how you're doing. And I gather that you've seen the video "Hold Fast" It's theme is about a group of young'ish adults, who pool their meager funds, & cobble together a boat, to go off & see the World... or Caribbean at least.
They start in FL, BTW.


Some other tips would be;
- Learn as much as you can about surveying. Ditto on evaluating the serviceability of gear.
- Read anything & everything that you can find by Nigel Calder. It'll help with the above. And his Boat Owner's Mechanical & Electrical Handbook is kind of a Boat wrenching Bible. Snag a used copy
- Go to www.WestSystem.com & www.Epoxyworks.dom & download their free product guides, GREAT Book, about boat construction. Between those 2 sites, & the sites of other epoxy makers & retailers, you'll have LOTS of info @ your disposal on how to fix, & or build, many, many things.

PS: Also, of course, use the forums to learn about boat upkeep, seamanship etc. And especially some of the tricks of buying, & ones to watch out for as used by sellers.
That, & compile a list of used gear retailers, as paying for new gear's unneeded, & foolish, 3 times out of 4.
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Old 21-07-2015, 06:10   #6
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Re: Best place on the east coast to start hunting for the killer deal

Poke around on the great lakes while continuing to work. Plenty of boats and you can have some nice camping weekends on Lake Michigan while dreaming the dream.

The plan of buying a $1000 boat and having it in ready to sail condition is a mistake. Since you are asking the question, I assume none of you have much experience, so odds are any cheap boat will be a total cluster that will cost the purchase price several times over to get it into decent condition to head out.
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Old 21-07-2015, 08:35   #7
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Re: Best place on the east coast to start hunting for the killer deal

Here's a couple of other things which might be helpful.

1) Given that it's mid-July, boat owners/sellers in the far north are already starting to watch the clock, in terms of how much, or rather, how little, of the sailing & boat selling season are left.
And as the Summer progresses, you can watch this trend, & subsequently boat prices/negotiating power, travel down the coast as the weather cools, & the bigger storms start to form in the N. Atlantic.
Meaning that in Nov. in Cape Cod, you're likely to have a lot more bargaining power in terms of boat prices than you do right now. Or would have in Miami @ the same time of year.

FYI, you CAN buy something late in the season up North, or on the Great Lakes, & trailer it/have it trucked down to more hospitable climes. But if so, you have to factor those costs into your budget, as well as factor such things as boat weight & beam, into your buying equation.
Though, making a late season, mad dash down the coast is an option also. So long as you aren't constrained by the closing dates of any key waterways.

2) It's not unreasonable to take your total budget, & figure on spending:
- 1/3 on the boat's initial purchase
- 1/3 to get her tuned up, & make her a decent & safe sailing machine
- 1/3 to buy necessity type cruising gear for the boat, and or, to use this portion of the budget to fill her up with basic groceries & head out.

There's a lot of good info & tips on the above in terms of boat buying & outfitting @ www.Mahina.com Plus, they have a checklist for what to look for in a boat, as well as a list of good boats worth looking at.
The couple who own/run the site, teach offshore voyaging, & other, fairly advanced sailing skills & techniques. And it's worth a visit/look around.
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Old 21-07-2015, 09:02   #8
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Re: Best place on the east coast to start hunting for the killer deal

The New York State canals don't close until part way through November, so you don't necessarily have to pay for road transport.

Another option is to get a really cheap repo boat a marina just doesn't want to store any more. Like 0-2000$. You won't be taking a boat like this offshore- probably ever, it would just be too expensive and too much work to be worth the bother. But what you can do with a boat like this is conservative coastal cruising to your hearts content.

The advantage to this approach is you can gain experience and find out what it really is you want in a boat and whether you enjoy it or not without spending any money.

You will take a financial loss on almost any boat you purchase, but a financial loss on a $1500 boat should be easy to stomach.

I took this approach. Started with a 1974 Grampian 30 (i paid $7000) with no running water, no cooking appliances, no electronics and no compas (I used a $10 orienteering compas). What she did have was decent sails, decent rig, sound hull and a working atomic 4.

I absolutely loved it, was out nearly every day, line of site navigation, lots of parties and good times. When I had enough of roughing it (meaning I found a steady girlfreind- then I upgraded.

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Old 21-07-2015, 09:15   #9
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Re: Best place on the east coast to start hunting for the killer deal

I would also stop at the big boatyards. Check out the boats that the yard is stuck with too. Start around the Chesapeake and work your way down to FL.
Don't spend much time thinking you will sail off into the sunset in a $1000 boat. After sitting around Isla Mujeres a few times over the past few years I've seen some pretty iffy boats come down from from the Gulf coast. It looks like they just decided to go in what they have. One small problem with that plan is, when you loose your rig or something, you could be stuck there for years trying to get another.
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Old 21-07-2015, 09:22   #10
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Re: Best place on the east coast to start hunting for the killer deal

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Great deals on good old boats on the great lakes. No salt water, out of the water 6 months of the year. Its not the east coast, but is connected to the east coast. If you're in Illinois, not much of a road trip is necessary. Start in Chicago.
I second that motion...the great lakes have excellent older boats, and its a fun/easy trip to the ocean once you get your feet wet. As a bonus, the Canadian dollar is way down...so canadian boats are all 25% off!

I also agree with the post above about spending some time on the internet, not your car. Look for older ads...if they still have the boat, they will be excited to hear from you. Around here, kijiji is good for boats:

Buy or Sell Used or New Sailboat in Ontario | Boats for Sale | Kijiji Classifieds

Thats all the Ontario kijiji sailboat ads, sorted by "oldest first".

Please be nice. Someone is going to give you a gift, so be polite (not eddie haskel polite though). Don't be afraid to make lowball offers, but ask the owner first before you insult him...what is it they say..."kiss me first before you **** me".

At the end of the season, the work and cost of winter storage looms large...so august and september are your best months to buy cheap.

Beware the atomic 4 (with apologies to all the A4 lovers out there). A4 equipped boats will cost half as much as a diesel equipped equivalent.

And don't forget Ebay...there are some great deals there:

http://www.ebay.com/sch/Sailboats-28.../i.html?_sop=7

It can be done. I have done it. I've bought boats for next to nothing, and sailed them home. Most "unsellable" boats are just really really dirty.
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Old 21-07-2015, 09:50   #11
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Re: Best place on the east coast to start hunting for the killer deal

The best deal is where the most boats are. That's Florida.
The best maintained boats are held by retired people that spend all their time taking care of them/maintaining them. Florida.
The best deals are on boats where the owner can no longer operate them and/or died of old age and the family is disposing of them quickly and going back to their life in Wisconsin ASAP. Florida.
The DEA/ATF auctions are the lowest prices of any boat. My pal buys $1,500,000 boats at DEA actions in Miami where they are towed in for sale after confiscation, buys them for $500,000, tows them to RI, refits them for <$500,000, then sells them for $1,500,000. It's all he does.

Yes, there are some very nice boats in inland waterways and the Great Lakes. There's also a much smaller selection and transport costs to consider.

Conversely, on the west coast, DEA tows them into San Diego, but you're not looking there.

Not to say folks in RI, NH, Maine, CT and NJ don't grow old and frail and stop using their boats; Just that they (enmass) tend to retire in FL and take their boat down there until they end up limited to the land.

best of luck!
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Old 21-07-2015, 10:17   #12
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Re: Best place on the east coast to start hunting for the killer deal

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The best deal is where the most boats are. That's Florida.
The best maintained boats are held by retired people that spend all their time taking care of them/maintaining them. Florida.
The best deals are on boats where the owner can no longer operate them and/or died of old age and the family is disposing of them quickly and going back to their life in Wisconsin ASAP. Florida.
The DEA/ATF auctions are the lowest prices of any boat. My pal buys $1,500,000 boats at DEA actions in Miami where they are towed in for sale after confiscation, buys them for $500,000, tows them to RI, refits them for <$500,000, then sells them for $1,500,000. It's all he does.

Yes, there are some very nice boats in inland waterways and the Great Lakes. There's also a much smaller selection and transport costs to consider.

Conversely, on the west coast, DEA tows them into San Diego, but you're not looking there.

Not to say folks in RI, NH, Maine, CT and NJ don't grow old and frail and stop using their boats; Just that they (enmass) tend to retire in FL and take their boat down there until they end up limited to the land.

best of luck!
Never been to the Great Lakes apparently. There is a huge selection and transport costs only come into play if you want it somewhere fast. The lakes are great cruising in thier own right and there are multiple waterway connections south. If you aren't comfortable taking it across the Great Lakes, you sure don't want to be going off shore.

Most people sell thier boats when they move. I've seen plenty of clusters in Florida, so don't count on a little old guy with a pristene boat for dirt cheap.
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Old 21-07-2015, 10:37   #13
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Re: Best place on the east coast to start hunting for the killer deal

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I've seen plenty of clusters in Florida, so don't count on a little old guy with a pristene boat for dirt cheap.
ha ha so true. the boats in florida sit for a year or 2 before the owner gets sick of them and finally puts them up for sale. there are plenty of really sad and nasty boats and you would be amazed at the asking prices .. not cheap
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Old 21-07-2015, 10:41   #14
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Re: Best place on the east coast to start hunting for the killer deal

Look for boats $1800 and less. Offer them $200. You would be shocked how many will jump on the offer. Nobody looking to get rid of a boat wants to pay another year of Marina fees.

I agree with the one guy that said most old boats just need cleaned up. If you and your friends are handy, they might require some teak cleaning, some minor wood and fiberglass work, some simple plumbing and electrical work and you have a really nice boat that will last you many years for almost nothing. If you take care of things like wiring and motor first along with any minor rigging work, you can sail her while you do the other work. With 3 guys, repairs will go quickly.

Of course, make sure the boat doesn't have major structural flaws. Soft decking and a blistered hull are a real PIA to fix. If the boat needs bottom work, just getting the boat pulled will quickly add to the cost of your "killer" deal. Motor work can be done cheaply if you are mechanically inclined.

Have fun!
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Old 21-07-2015, 11:32   #15
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Re: Best place on the east coast to start hunting for the killer deal

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ha ha so true. the boats in florida sit for a year or 2 before the owner gets sick of them and finally puts them up for sale. there are plenty of really sad and nasty boats and you would be amazed at the asking prices .. not cheap
The great lakes have fresh water...no rust...boats last forever.
All our salt is on the roads...our cars are rust-buckets.
Florida has rust free cars...we have rust free boats.

Here's a good example:
http://www.yachtworld.com/boats/1981...a#.Va6DmqRVhBc

This guy will take any offer!

PS. Send me a rust free 65 mustang.
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