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Old 12-09-2012, 13:23   #1
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Reflections of a newbie trying to buy a boat

Hi:

Time for a change of tack.

I’ve been bitten by the sailing bug and looking for a boat for a bit over a year. My intention was to try for a “forever” boat with a high level of gear and be fairly aggressive with my offer pricing, it's a buyer's market don't you know.

This is not working on a number of fronts.

This is a very high energy level activity due to my geography. I am nowhere near any big water, it is a 4 hour round trip to the nearest piece of Lake Ontario, or 6 or 7 hours to Toronto area. Those of you in the Chesapeake, Florida, or California areas have a huge advantage in boat shopping. For me, the endless driving is getting tiresome, and expensive. Side bar: Of coarse I have a big advantage in slip and storage costs due to the low population and weak economics of my closest bit of L. Ontario, but I need a boat to take advantage.

I am analytical. My first pass at things is the written word, and any diagrams and pictures that go along with words. So there is this ongoing tension between my endless readings and study and my wife's “buy a #$%^ boat!”. So while I am quite happy with my knowledge development over the past year, and my confidence in selecting a suitable forever boat grows daily, I find I have run out of time. I know, I know, many hear say it takes 2 or 3 years to find the “one”, but this impresses not my wife. She knows nothing of pointing ability or tenderness or anything else of the myriad technical details, it all just reduces to “buy a boat”.

The next big issue is that most, maybe 80% of sellers want their price, said price was quite reasonable circa 2007. It matters not that most of them will hold on for 5 years, get their price and then have spent 5 year’s worth of costs waiting for their price. Or they will finally cry uncle and take what some dumb bugger like myself offered 5 years prior. Or their estate will get the privilege. Just yesterday I was corresponding with someone about a particular pair of boats and he said they both had been on the market for at least 2.5 years with no movement on asking price. I think this state of affairs is a corollary of people’s tendency to buy high and sell low in the stock market. They would in all probability be better off selling their boats now at whatever price they can get, and investing the money in safe blue chip shares yielding 3-5% PA. But what do I know, my net dividend income is only 30% higher than 2007.

So the new plan is to buy some 30 footer to get started. Likely an Alberg 30. Whatever old Alberg or Catalina I can scrape up with a decent diesel engine, because let’s face it, most of these boats are selling for about half the cost of repowering. So rule 1 has to be under no circumstances buy a 30 foot boat that will need a new engine within 10 years. Needing a new engine in a boat this size renders its value at best zero, and perhaps less than zero as you are still paying marina fees. I think then guy in London with his engineless Bristol 29 is starting to realize this - current ask $2,500.

So I’ll get my 30 footer to putter in and on and wait. Wait for just the right forever boat to show up at the right price, with the right geography. In the mean time my wife is happy because she has a boat. I’m reasonably happy because she is happy.

Or I could sail the boat to better hunting grounds to improve my odds, yet have a place to stay that doesn’t cost $150/night for a whole summer. A mobile base of operations to support the mission. Not clear what to do with an extra 30 foot boat I can't sell while I am in a foreign country, but I'd cross that bridge when I come to it.

If it comes to it, when I’m done with it, I’ll truck my 30 footer home and bury it for the guest cabin, or a really cool fort for the local kids, as already mentioned, I likely won’t be able to sell it.

I’ll keep the backhoe attachment for the tractor, I may need it in the future.

Yours,

Boulter
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Old 12-09-2012, 13:41   #2
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Re: Reflections of a newbie trying to buy a boat

Here is your boat, it is priced at bottom of the market with a nice diesel and was donated to a boat museum by a rich guy. $8500 last I checked. It just needs a little cleaning from what I can tell. Also, they won't negotiate the price lower period at donator's request.

http://www.sailboatlistings.com/view/28043
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Old 12-09-2012, 13:43   #3
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Re: Reflections of a newbie trying to buy a boat

I probably am not meant to be laughing .

.....but that only because I too am in a small marketplace .
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Old 12-09-2012, 13:44   #4
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Re: Reflections of a newbie trying to buy a boat

Another post about a "buyers market" and not being able to buy a boat. There are hundreds of boats available just in the Toronto area. As I said in another thread, folks are buying boats in our yacht club and selling them too. Perhaps your view of the market is not realistic. I know that folks in my club that are seriously in the market have all found boats. Of course this is anecdotal but it's what I see. Boats are there for sale. It's not like the real estate market is sometimes when there is no inventory. The boat inventory is very, very big.

As to getting a "forever" boat or starting with something smaller, it all depends on your age and plans and finances.
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Old 12-09-2012, 15:05   #5
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Re: Reflections of a newbie trying to buy a boat

Sounds like you are suffering from fear of commitment. If you are making really ridiculously low offers....don't expect people to take them. Many boats are already much lower priced than they were a few years ago and everything associated with boats has gone up in price. Try making a fair offer....for you and the seller.
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Old 12-09-2012, 15:24   #6
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Re: Reflections of a newbie trying to buy a boat

It's hard to tell what your experience level really is. If you've learned by reading, that's a good thing. Only thing is, the other half of learning is by doing. I concur with your idea to get a boat and start learning by doing. Only THEN will you know what features YOU like and/or want and/or need. Good luck.
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Old 12-09-2012, 15:25   #7
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Quote:
She knows nothing of pointing ability or tenderness or anything else of the myriad technical details,
Sounds like she knows what you haven't figured out yet through a year of research.

Ya can't point what ya don't own.
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Old 12-09-2012, 16:59   #8
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Re: Reflections of a newbie trying to buy a boat

G'Day Boulter,

Sounds to me like you have a very smart wife! (Lucky you).

I have never met a cruiser who bought a forever boat right out of the box. Reading is a great source of info, but it is no substitute for some hands on experience. Your ideas will surely change, believe it or not!

So buy your 30 footer, sail the hell out of it and then in a couple of years you might know enough to really buy a forever boat... maybe.

Good luck, and tell your wife that she deserves a gold star.

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 12-09-2012, 17:11   #9
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Re: Reflections of a newbie trying to buy a boat

Listen to your wife.
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Old 12-09-2012, 17:19   #10
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Re: Reflections of a newbie trying to buy a boat

Why 30'?

30' is too big to take out of the water easily and too small to be comfortable for long periods.

Why not drop down a size of two to a 28' (largest that can go on a trailer?) or to 22' (largest trailer sailer that can be easily launched)?

You don't mention a desire to see white water over the boat so an outboard should be fine.

I think the key here is that you need to buy something trailerable. Then your costs (both buying and maintenance) and risks will reduce to acceptable levels. Could also be easier to sell.

And you'll have a much better idea of what you want and where you want it when the big buy comes around.

Do ask your wife first!
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Old 12-09-2012, 17:45   #11
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From what you describe about your geography, there must be a ton of sailing lakes near you. Why don't you see what people are sailing on those? With a larger trailerable, you would also be quite safe on Ontario, at least nearer to shore.

You mention a year of research, but not a word of what your "forever" goals might be. Why is a 30' your small compromise? What do you want to do now? Do you want to do long distance cruising at one point? When?
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Old 12-09-2012, 17:51   #12
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Re: Reflections of a newbie trying to buy a boat

That Bristol would be a good choice, but Massachusets is too far away. But look for similar boats and avoid the Hunter/Catalina/Benneteaus. Try not to spend to much and recognize that you will learn a lot from your first boat, what you want in your second boat.

David
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Old 12-09-2012, 18:21   #13
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Re: Reflections of a newbie trying to buy a boat

Been there, done that. Then got a 22 for a few years. Then a Bristol 27 on a trailer (great to work on in the driveway!), but my wife thought it was too small :-) So now we have an Alberg 37 that came for a real good price. The 37 is my forever boat, but The 22 and 27 taught me what I wanted in a boat. Do yourself a favor, get a 22-27' boat (or maybe even an A30), live with it a few years, then you'll know what your forever boat is.
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Old 12-09-2012, 18:28   #14
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Re: Reflections of a newbie trying to buy a boat

There is no one perfect boat. It all depends upon your intended use.
How much time on the water has been part of your research?
The research won't make complete sense without time on the water -- whether crewing for someone, taking a class, or sailing on a little dinghy. Even tiny boats have a great amount of wisdom to impart.
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Old 12-09-2012, 19:21   #15
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Originally Posted by bluemoose
Been there, done that. Then got a 22 for a few years. Then a Bristol 27 on a trailer (great to work on in the driveway!), but my wife thought it was too small :-) So now we have an Alberg 37 that came for a real good price. The 37 is my forever boat, but The 22 and 27 taught me what I wanted in a boat. Do yourself a favor, get a 22-27' boat (or maybe even an A30), live with it a few years, then you'll know what your forever boat is.
Plus one. Alberg 30 can be trailered and is a tolerable size... there are some roomy 27s that can't due to beam. For me the compromise is that it's just big enough to live on, and just small enough to trailer to a friend's yard if I'm going away longer term.
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