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Old 08-05-2008, 23:07   #1
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Question as old as the sea! First boat-what to buy? My head hurts!

Hi everybody from Queensland Australiayes, our very best cruising grounds, are right on my doorstep. Just joined your absolutely brilliant forum out of sheer desperation! I worked on a marina 10 years ago and caught a serious case of yacht infection... The doctor told me it would go away in time, but guess what?.. to cut to the chase, I am back working at that very same marina at the ripe old age of 44, but NOW my life circumstances allow me to finally get that boat. (Can you say divorce?..)

Anyway, I am so so sorry to beg a question you are all probably sick of answering... yeah I know, like how long is a piece of string?

Quickly, what I decide I need is a small coastal cruising yacht 28 to 33 feet in length, I am not going to spend a lot of money on purpose (I can hear you all taking a deep breath right now) just in case I do not like cruising, nor do I want to over commit myself due to inexperience. In Australia, we can get a boat around this size which will need a little bit of work, for anywhere from $15-$40000 Australian

Every weekend, I go and look at boats, listening to all the crap the brokers feed me, unbeknownst to them, I was in sales for 15 years..
I've looked at classic timber (all had broken frames (but allegedly "made right again") leaking or rotten decks, not to mention engine and stern gland problems, I could go on and on. Yes, I am very aware of the knowledge required and "passion" required for timber boats.

So we move on to GRP. In my price and size range, I have to look at 20 to 35 year old vessels. After looking at six boats in six weeks, the broker was beginning to get a bit short with me saying things like "for that amount of money, what did you think you are going to get??" As we stood on a hard stand looking up at a hull full of osmosis blisters... he was then even rude enough to suggest I spend to much time on the Internet, and that the "repairs" required for these boats are not as extravagant as everyone makes out....yeah, right mate. I went back next day, and asked the owner of a boat getting osmosis treatment on the hard what it costs, he said it can take several months, he was already up to $21,000....

So..... finally, to try and achieve this seemingly very difficult goal, I am now looking at steel! Slow, heavy, rusty, yet for some reason, I can see so many things in its favour if you are not a sailing speed freak. Naturally, all of the wonderful people on this forum can by now, see the anguish and confusion going through my mind. I am sick of being lied to about so many things by smooth sales men, when I'm really depressed, I think it is all too hard. But I only have to go and have a beer with my mate who is building a 43 foot sailing cat in his shed!

Yes this is my first post, yes it is way too long, but you guys are kind of like my last resort... where do I go?? Thanks for reading
Donny D
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Old 09-05-2008, 03:19   #2
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Have another beer

Ain't no magic answer - just got to be in the right place at the right time......and that involves dealing with numbskull brokers, but also I would suggest walking the Dock / Boatyards / Marina's looking around and talking to folk.

Aim for a fair boat at a fair price........and treat any absolute bargain as a bonus rather than an aim.....unless you want a long wait.

IMO don't be afraid to laugh out loud at a Broker's nonsense
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Old 09-05-2008, 05:47   #3
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Donny :

The short one word to answer your question is...

Beneteau.

There are many reasons I say this, however, I'll just touch on a few obvious points...

Furling main-sail (i't's far safer not to have to go out on deck)

Swim Platform (not having one is just a total pain)

Anchor Windless (be sure to get a boat with it !!)

Athwart-ship berth ("Mrs Donny" likely won't want to sleep in a coffin-style upside down bed like many other boats have)

Microwave, Refrigerator, Freezer (for obvious reasons)

& finally...

The woodwork in the salon is georgeous (which really should read..."she'll love it" !!)

Good luck to you.
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Old 09-05-2008, 14:43   #4
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Thanks guyssorry my very first post here was a bit long winded and depressing. Thanks for the good advice, you are right David, I will bide my time and as you say, why not rushing into things I may just come across the right thing.

Paul....he he.. judging by your name, you could very well be French, no?? Your reply it was very tongue in cheek, and I take it in good humour.. in my country Beneteau attached to other words like, luxury, exclusive, high end, charter, style, etc etc. I am but a poor boy, but you never know one day may come across salvage rights to a sunken Beneteau....he he... and yes, you are right, simply stunning boats.
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Old 09-05-2008, 18:29   #5
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A quick look on Boatpoint and ...

A quick look on Boatpoint and I can see what you mean. The only potential cruising boats in your price range look to be steel.

That said, and given the usual caveats, there is nothing inherently wrong with steel boats. Check very carefully for rust anywhere moisture can be found.

I would suggest going up a size to 36'. Should be a much bigger boat and when you find a significant other you will need the space. The increase in price looks to be modest.

Don't forget to budget for the inevitable modifications/repairs/renovations.
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Old 09-05-2008, 22:47   #6
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Update!

Just looked at a small Bollard Flamingo steel cruiser by myself which was advertised by a private seller. The boat presented perfectly outside, new paint top sides and antifoul. Recently serviced 8 hp Volvo, six-foot standing headroom etc etc. The owner proudly showed me the freshly painted and very dry engine compartment, then, his mobile phone rang and he had to excuse himself to the dock. While he was away, I use my brain, and opened locker doors, stuck my head and torch right inside to be greeted by rust stains running down the Hull side, the Orange rust streaks standing out brightly against the grey epoxy paint. The owner just kept talking out loud on his phone, not sounding like it was going to end any time soon. So, I busied myself pulling out the entire cabin sole hatches. To my disappointment, and the owners horror, there was plenty of rusty fresh water beneath, which could not be sucked up by the bilge pumps due to the holes in the mainframes being blocked. We are not talking about moisture here friends, serious orange coloured water sloshing about underfoot. (Rust never sleeps... I am a believer.. hallelujah!!) I am sure if people lived permanently on their boats this sort of thing could be kept to a minimum. However..... at this point in time, I think I may go through the entire cycle again. I will not become negative! There will be something right out there, and I will keep an open mind about both timber and fibreglass. But I refuse to be an un-educated "wood-duck!"

So I'll keep you posted on the next "sure thing..."

Donny
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Old 10-05-2008, 01:25   #7
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I peruse Yachthub every day, its a modern version of boatpoint. Brisbane is expensive. High fees all round. Dearer even than Sydney. I spent a fair bit of time looking at yachts at Manly 5 years ago and some of these boats are still for sale tho some have dropped 25%.

Several Nicholson 32 s under $40,000 if you are prepared to travel.
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Old 10-05-2008, 02:56   #8
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Keep loking, first boat I bought took 10 days to find (in Brisbane 25 years ago) - 30 ft steel. Second boat took 18 months to find, 28 ft carvel (again in Bris.). Third boat took 4 months to find (in Perth, 31 ft ply.). All were great boats and I would be happy to re-own any of them.
The point being, the right boat for you will turn up - sometimes it takes only a couple of weeks, sometimes many months.
BTW, I saw dozens of boats that did not suit for a millon reasons .
Try looking in Tassie, they seem to have some good boats there!
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Old 10-05-2008, 03:48   #9
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Thanks guys

Thanks everybody for your helpful commentsWotname, you are so right time and perseverance can pay off. Yet I believe, buying a boat can bite you so much harder than even the biggest real estate deal. I guess what you are pointing out is patience and diligence? However, if we do not educate ourselves and believe the slick salesmen, we may end up turning away from the water for ever. But do you know what I am most grateful for? Is your tag quotation from T. E. Lawrence, those words reverberate and send shivers up my spine, I think you know what I mean......
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Old 10-05-2008, 04:00   #10
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Remember that it's part of the deal to give us a blow by blow account of every boat you look at / consider from now on in

I guess not so easy to buy a boat outside your area, I didn't really fully understand the distances in Australia until I bussed from Brisbane up to Cairns many years back.....I guess that is reflected in the prices.
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Old 10-05-2008, 04:16   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David_Old_Jersey View Post
Remember that it's part of the deal to give us a blow by blow account of every boat you look at / consider from now on in

I guess not so easy to buy a boat outside your area, I didn't really fully understand the distances in Australia until I bussed from Brisbane up to Cairns many years back.....I guess that is reflected in the prices.
Yeah, roger that Dave! Brisbane to Cairns is long haul!I really don't want people reading this threadand thinking"this guy has got stuff all money,what does he expect?" or worse "he hasn't even got a yacht,and already he's a tight *ss! It is nothing like that at all.I am not looking for perfection,I will be happy with a motor that runs,and icebox,and just enough lighting so I don't get run over!It is all about the sailing!We have all this beautiful wide open country where I live, and here is me,wanting to put to sea!

Are we all just a little bit strange?I think not...I could live in, how do you say,..flip-flops,board shorts and T-shirt,and not give damn how much gold someone is wearing around their neck........have a great weekend everybody!
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Old 10-05-2008, 16:27   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David_Old_Jersey View Post

I guess not so easy to buy a boat outside your area, I didn't really fully understand the distances in Australia until I bussed from Brisbane up to Cairns many years back.....I guess that is reflected in the prices.

Vessels for sale in places like Cairns are often at inflated prices. Same boats in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne are much cheaper, especially older vessels in the price ranges we are discussing. Often the annual mooring and slipping costs are a fair percentage of the vessels worth in these places. This often makes them an attractive choice if you live in a country seaside town as I do.
One thing that stands out with boats that have been for sale for ages is the motor. I have noticed that yachts with the single Yanmar YSM 12, flat single cylinder are hard to sell. I'm sure they are a good motor but people seem to steer clear.
Patience seems to be what is required and money to hand. Some stunningly good boats appear for short periods only.
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Old 10-05-2008, 17:03   #13
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Originally Posted by Donny_D View Post
Quickly, what I decide I need is a small coastal cruising yacht 28 to 33 feet in length, I am not going to spend a lot of money on purpose (I can hear you all taking a deep breath right now) just in case I do not like cruising, nor do I want to over commit myself due to inexperience. In Australia, we can get a boat around this size which will need a little bit of work, for anywhere from $15-$40000 Australian
1) Get a better broker. That isn't all that easy.
2) Look at the web pages of boat designers, small boat yards and marinas. You can often find some real values there.
3) Just like DOJ said, Be Patient. It often takes months to get the right or right enough boat. You were dead on when you said a bad boat deal is worse than a bad land deal.
4) Be sure you're actually planning to cruise as opposed to planning to doing a lot of day and and perhaps weekend sailing. If it's the latter you will have more choices, a generally lower cost of entry, and usually lower maintenance costs. It really important you consider that while a boat will generally keep its value it will do so only under a certain set of economic conditions, of which you have not control of, and only if you do the needed maintenance. Otherwise you can turn a 40k boat into a 19k boat in about 2 years.
5) If you are really planning to cruise, first make sure you review your finances for this. A decent starting point might look a bit like this:

No more than X% of net worth with a minimum of Y dollars. Y dollars includes purchase, repair & refit of boat (sails, blister job, chart plotter, whatever), insurance, storage as applicable and first Z years/months of cruising costs.

Just my $.021 $AUS
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Old 10-05-2008, 18:45   #14
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Once againexcellent advice from people experienced with the good the bad, and the occasionally ugly side of boating. Thank you all so much.
Maren, yes, I do plan to cruise. I have all ready spend some time cruising the Queensland coast in other people's yachts, and I believe I can cruise this area for several years, and still not see it all..

I plan to pay cash for the boat, hopefully a vessel which will only require minor refitting/set up. I will immediately live aboard, whilst also working to make money for the refit and cruising kitty. Being a person who does not have a passive income, I will still not let this prevent me from cruising, and finding work where I can. Yes, I will be tied to the dock for a little while as I accumulate the cruising kitty, but at least I will finally have my own floating home. My eyes are wide open, knowing that money will have to be going out as soon as I take possession. Some of the hard-core would just go and sit on the hook somewhere.. but I am realistic, in my job I must be clean-shaven and well presented (laundry and personal presentation) plus being in a marina I will have access to mains power for all the small jobs that Will be required before leaving. I am not stressing about how much money is required to go cruising, as I have seen many people do it on far less than what I have in mind. I am one of those people who for years on end now, have defeated my own dreams with negative self talk such as "I would love to go cruising, but only people "luckier" than me seem to be doing it as I watch from the shore"..... negative self talk, will win every time...

I now have the correct mindset to achieve this, but only if it is okay with everybody on this forum, I will be relying heavily for strength, guidance, and advice. Being a single bloke, a lot of my friends dismiss this as a "midlife crisis"....
thanks to all for making me feel so welcome here..
Donny
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Old 10-05-2008, 20:23   #15
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Being a single bloke, a lot of my friends dismiss this as a "midlife crisis"....
I can't think of a better crisis.
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