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Old 10-09-2007, 21:27   #1
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Stuff going wrong...

Hi all, I've been reading a lot about several cruisers sites on their travels and just reading people's remarks and experiences here on this forum. My question is this;

After purchasing a new boat, you get a warranty for the hull and then the warranty for the other stuff on board from their respective manufacturers. How often does this stuff break down?? Almost everything that I read, it seems that people are constantly fixing, replacing, jimmy-rigging something on their boat.

I also read from that one salesman that he stated that even the Raymarine stuff comes in dead on arrival almost half the time and then will fail sometimes within a few weeks!!

I always knew that if you purchase an older and used boats, that there are assumed and expected maintenance ongoing, but how about new boats. I do realize that there is a teething period when you shakedown the boat on initial launch..

Can someone give me their experience or observations on how this happens and how often it will happen?? Or is it like a car, when you can get a great car with no worries. Then you can get an exact car that just seems to be a lemon..

Thanks for your time.. Cheers.

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Old 10-09-2007, 21:38   #2
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It varies by the item, but the biggest factor is the amount of stuff on your boat that can break.

Most people that abandon refridgeration, microwaves, water makers, and washing machines don't do so because they're spartan-loving wilderness people. For me it's because I'd rather spend time sailing and enjoying life than fixing some piece of gear, or working more to save up for a replacement.

If you have a boat loaded with gadgets, you will spend a lot of time and money dealing with them. The marine environment is horrible on all equipment. Sun, dampness, and salt water are incredibly destructive.

Here's some stuff I'd recommend if you want to avoid problems:
- get a lavac head
- use solar instead of wind (no moving parts)
- use foot / hand pumps in the galley
- don't have pressurized water
- don't use refridgeration
- don't have an ssb / fancy satelite stuff
- don't have a lot of wood (my boat has more than a forest)
- don't have a watermaker
- don't get a fancy nav system. gps reciever, sextant, a ruler, and some charts.
- go with a tiller instead of a wheel

Get a boat like that, and you'll be doing a hell of a lot of sailing and adventuring.

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Old 10-09-2007, 21:43   #3
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Hi rebel, thanks for your input!! I don't personally have any sailing time under by belt, that is why I'm doing tons of research first. And most of my friends are pretty spoiled in which they do tons of very casual cruising and have tons of money, so they don't care either way.

I've always known that, with anything else, the more crap you have, the more possible problems you will have. I also know that with the constant salt water and humid environments, things will have a very short life span!! Thanks again for your personal experiences!! Cheers!!
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Old 10-09-2007, 21:48   #4

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"Can someone give me their experience or observations on how this happens and how often it will happen??"
If you want meaningful numbers you will have to conduct professional polls not just ask "some guys on the internet". Or, extort the real numbers from the various warranty departments. Raymarine, like all manufacturers, knows exactly how many units will arrive DOA because they set aside money for warranty repairs--and they have someone who calculates that set-aside find very precisely. Every company does the same thing.

I would suggest that having things installed at the factory--rather than by the delivering dealer--is more reliable, as the factory is under less pressure to cut corners and nail the delivery out the door. In theory. Or, at least they are less likely to be hiring cheap local help, and if they offer something, the odds are that they are more familiar with it.
OTOH, if you pick a dealer with a top reputation, they're probably going to do at least as good a job as the factory.

The only difference between a new boat and an old boat, is that on the new boat, you don't have to wonder about how the previous owner might have had this great idea about running the AC lines inside the water hoses, or vice versa.[g]

Oh, and of course, the huge extra amount a new boat will cost you.
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Old 10-09-2007, 21:51   #5
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Well, even for the uber rich, they have to wait for a part just like everyone else does if they go somewhere remote enough. You can't carry spare parts for everything (what if it breaks twice?), and a lot of big money boats (that have all the fancy gear) spend a lot of time in the yards.

Read a lot of the stories in here and you'll hear a lot of ".. so we were waiting for this part to show up...".

Don't scimp on stuff you need to be happy, but realize that every system you have will require x amount of days per year to keep it happy. Ten hours a week working on your boat is 500 hours, or 12 1/2 weeks straight.

Even if you're rich enough to have the money for someone else to do it, unless you're going to fly them in with a helicopter, you have to take the boat to them, and wait for them to get it done.
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Old 10-09-2007, 22:01   #6
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Thanks again guys, I'm by no means like some of my wealthier friends. I will being doing this the normal way and want to try to be educated on the most common pitfalls that can and may occur. I also realize that no an plan or foresee things breaking. And it usually happens exactly when it is the least comfortable on time and money!!

Thanks again, Cheers!!
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Old 10-09-2007, 23:12   #7
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Hi Shadow,

IMHO with a new boat, you need to expect some issue to arise, and need to rely on the dealer to sort whats required.

Boats are all 'custom built'. Its not like a car - robots and all - its good old fashioned people screwing and glueing - and people can make mistakes.

We bought a new Hanse 3 years back and so far:

1. Replaced 2 starter motors (issue finally tracked back to a faulty $1 relay box).
2. Had the battery system rewired (it was miswired when boat used in land based exhibition prior to delivery).
3. Found the epoxy keel coating lifting on one side (it was not applied correctly by the keel makers).

But despite some of these things being found outside the 12 month warranty period, the dealer came to the party to pay for all repairs. The key is to deal with a reputable dealer.

And just for the record our boat has every item (except the electric toilet and wind generator) listed by Rebel Heart above - and all have been useful additions to our comfort over 9,000 miles cruising - and none have gone wrong.

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Old 10-09-2007, 23:17   #8
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Great input swagman!! Glad to hear that the dealership was one of the good guys and did the right thing!! I can just imagine some of dealers will just wash their hands if it is outside their warranty time!! Thanks again, cheers!
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Old 11-09-2007, 00:32   #9
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Originally Posted by shadow View Post
Almost everything that I read, it seems that people are constantly fixing, replacing, jimmy-rigging something on their boat.
I would guess that 50-60% of all people on the internet own boats older than 20 years.

Imagine one of those snow belt beater cars from the 70's. A big American land yacht that was brought out in the winter to battle the ice, the snow and the road salt. Imagine one of those surviving 20 years.

Boats live in a very hostile environment and they actually get very little maintenance. The standard practice is to just sail until the next thing breaks. Often these things are 15 years old and there is no more factory support.

We don't experience that any longer on cars because we throw them away before the parts supply runs out.

I think new boats are relatively trouble free after the first shakedown period. Then in about 7-10 years, everything is due.
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Old 11-09-2007, 02:25   #10
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Thanks for that Ex-Calif!! That's what I was hoping is that while I'm doing the shakedown cruise, I will be able to identify the trouble spots and have them repaired and/or replaced while still under warranty. And then, hopefully, smooth sailing with the given oddities here and there with constant preventative maintenance. Hopefully, not wishful thinking.. Cheers!!
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Old 11-09-2007, 03:30   #11
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Hi Shadow, has your research led you to a particular type and size of boat? That way you can customize at build stage with the equipment you decide you need. Also, yachting publication reviews of that model (and builder) may be available, as well as a wealth of tips from those already sailing that model. The most reliable equipment can be verified on this site I'd venture, as well as being a support network through build, handover and shakedown. exiting times . . good luck!!
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Old 11-09-2007, 03:56   #12
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I sort of agree with rebel Heart. Unless you really enjoy preventative maintainance it's a pain and if you don't do is spent waiting for spare parts (an even bigger, more expensive pain). I'd think about equiping the boat to your minimum level of comfort and go with that. Somebody on another forum missed not havin two walk- in closets on his boat like he had at home (really). I want a fridge, but I'm doing without a freezer. I've got a pressure cooker, but no microwave. I have a watermaker, but it's the simplest one I could find and runs off Dc power. I have solar power and a towed generator but no diesel genset.....that's my way of keeping it (relativel) simple but still having a level of comfort I want. Time will tell if I made the correct choices.
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Old 11-09-2007, 04:35   #13
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Thanks again everyone!! We are pretty sure about getting the privilege 44 footer. There is already a privilege thread and that has been a great help and I was just trying to get a general consensus on "stuff" that is a possible constant pain. I have also been reading tons of people's experiences about waiting for stuff forever!! So, I am trying to factor in as much as I can to really make an educated choice of items.

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Old 11-09-2007, 07:08   #14
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I take a different approach to boat gear. Installing, maintaining and taking care of it, is something I enjoy. While I don't like when something breaks, fixing it means you ultimately get to know about the piece of gear and system.

I bought my refer as a "kit" a Grunnert Caribbean and know what's going on. Same with my electrical, plumbing and so on. Yet I sail alot as well. I don't want to ONLY do maintenance, but when the sailing conditions are not optimal, it is a great time to spend messing about and taking care of stuff. Just another thing to do.

If you can't fix it... don't have it.

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Old 11-09-2007, 07:14   #15
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I have bought three sailboats in the last 24 years. All were new. I have had few problems with any of them. The latest one was bought three years ago and was loaded with most of the equipment a full time cruiser requires. It was commissioned by a very competent crew and the dealer was very helpful. That is the first step in buying a new boat - a helpful dealer. With the latest boat I had a few minor problems. One was with the fridge and another was with a cracked hatch, both past the one year mark which usually is the warranty on these items. An email to the builder brought responses from the fridge and hatch manufacturer and both problems were remedied, without cost. A large volume manufacturer has a lot of clout with suppliers.

I cannot stress enough getting a good dealer and a responsive builder. There were lots of minor things during the commissioning process and all were fixed by the dealer. I spent two weeks on the boat during commissioning and was able to monitor most of what was going on. If you are concerned with after sales help look for a responsive builder and a helpful dealer. They are out there, just a bit hard to find.

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