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Old 06-11-2006, 11:26   #16
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Sean - good for you, glad you did not get taken.

Someone who wants you to deviate from the normal, established business practices is usually either conning you or just too inexperienced to know better. In either case, remember that you have the equity, thus you need to remain in control.

I was told once that even if you are not using a broker to sell your boat, that some boat brokers will assist you in the transaction (for a small fee). Most importantly, they will take a check from the buyer and hold it in escrow and see that proper procedures are followed.

I would add that you should always trust your instincts. I actually ran into a major con once. Last season, anchored in St Mikes, I happen to have a person who stole a Jeanneau 36, Akizuki II, anchor right next to me. This guy was slicker than you could believe, Affiable and incredibly convincing. Still in all, things just did not add up (I won't go into details here).

I called the DNR police. UNfortunately, those complete IDIOTS were of no help whatsoever. They said that I had to report the boat as stolen (which I had no idea whether or not it was was not mine) before they would investigate. FORTUNATELY, I googled the name of the boat and found a posting on the net that it was indeed stolen. I called the real cops....only to find that someone else in the anchorage has already done so as well and the guy was caught. Even in jail, he kept playing lots of different stories and roles. The guy was incred and had a story for everything, explanation for everything...right down to a story for the name of the boat and the tatoo on his arm (also BS...and easily googled).

Amazingly...they ARE out one poster wrote above. Even in the cruising world.


Stay safe.

s/v Invictus
lying....nope...not going to say now....

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Old 06-11-2006, 11:39   #17
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That boat was stolen out of the marina I am in. I never got a chance to meet the couple who owned her, but I understand the wife was totally devastated when she came down there mere hours after having left to find the boat missing.

I also understand the guy that stole her trashed her pretty badly.
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Old 06-11-2006, 12:07   #18
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I'm so glad neither you nor your wife were hurt by this ghastly experience. IMHO, it could have turned very nasty, even deadly.

That said, I'm wondering why no one here has mentioned the obvious....GET A RELIABLE BROKER to sell your boat. Yes, it will cost some percentage of the sale price. However, a broker may well be able to get more money for your boat than you could, he/she can certainly get more exposure for your boat, and can serve as an intermediary to guide the process.

A broker can also serve to filter out the deadbeats and dreamers-without-resources. And, possibly the grifters as well. I doubt that a grifter would target a boat sale being handled by a responsible broker, backed by an experienced firm (including lawyers, surveyors, etc.).

There were lots of clues in your original tale: the gold, the buy-it-today, the wire transfer only, the "self-survey" (for someone who allegedly didn't have much experience with boats), the personal questions, the remarks about bilking retirees, the intention not to register the boat, the urgency of getting aboard/getting you off the boat, etc., etc. I would have tossed him off the boat and called the cops on this turkey after the first meeting or two.

The fact that you didn't despite all the clues, and that you're a bright guy (otherwise), was no doubt due to your high desire/hope/maybe urgency to sell the boat. This psychological mindset clearly clouded your judgment. This is perhaps the strongest reason to go through a good broker, so you don't wind up in the end shooting yourself in the foot.

Disclaimer: I'm not a boat broker nor do I have any interest in a boat sales/marketing business.

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Old 06-11-2006, 12:50   #19
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Wow, what a story! and interesting input as well.

I get the feeling that you were perhaps lucky to come out of this in one piece..........especially given the comments about throwing someone overboard

(Not a criticism), but I am surprised you did not blow the guy off after the initial phone call - "gold or cash"???!!, plus "weird" questions would have left me feeling very unhappy, but I appreciate that these things are designed to "creep up" on you, hence I guess you not just telling 'em to f##k off soon after meeting them, coupled with your genuine desire to sell the boat.

From personal and proffesional experiance I know their are some very "strange" and also some evil feckers out there, but IME most people are basically honest. Just as well, cos' I sent the lass I was bought the boat from a cheque in the post, and only went to collect the boat 6 months later
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Old 06-11-2006, 12:53   #20

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Here, here! I would suggest to EVERYONE that they use a broker. I would not even entertain the idea of selling a boat anymore without one. I am pretty much a "do it yourself" guy, but in this case, why not pump the price up $10K to cover the broker fees and just be done with it?

I love brokers all of a sudden.

It is incredibly difficult to work through the con while you are trying to sell the boat. Remember, you have spent countless hours cleaning the boat (read about a week full time) and showing it to tons of people. Your lives are in disarray, you are moving, you are distraught that you can't keep the boat, etc... etc... It makes for some cloudy judgement.

That said, I have worked with plenty of shady people in my time having done business in NY. I actualy assume people are shady to begin with, then let them prove otherwise, no matter how well I treat them during the evaluation period. It comes from many hard knocks in NYC. I really view all the pontential buyers as just "cattle" and let them into the "gate" which is my process. This particular "cow" was feisty and constantly trying to get around the gate. It was the fact that I am methodical and precise that saved me here, not intelligence.

Anyway, I shared this in the hopes that people elsewhere wouldn't have to work all the way through a con like this and waste all the time. I hadn't heard of the couuple killed during sea trial... that's just crazy! Makes me nervous just thinking about it.

To quote Seinfeld: "People... they're the worst."

We're done with land.

And... I have sold many things without brokers - RVs, computers, etc... but never realized someone might KILL you for a boat. Wow.
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Old 06-11-2006, 14:52   #21

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And he wasn't even Nigerian?

Do file reports with the police or FBI, please. If his last victim had been more vigilant about that...he might be locked up by now.
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Old 06-11-2006, 14:55   #22
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Thanks for the story. I bought a boat recently w/o a broker. Everything worked out fine. Lucky I guess. I had no idea that deals could go so bad. I've done alot of handshake deals and all but one have come out well. I need to rethink that idea now b/c of your story. I'm glad nothing happened to you or your family (counting the player to be named later).

Intentional Drifter:
Thanks for the info on psychopaths. Unfortunately I think I have a family member who fits the bill. Very interesting. I will get the books you recommend and read them.

Shocking to hear that you know the Hawke's. Makes life a little bit different. Been losely following the story thru Lat 38. Percentage wise you think that there is a small chance of something like either Sean's prob or the Hawke's happening to you but man it feels close.

John Drake:
Good to hear from you. Hows the cruising life going. Looks like your North of where I had last heard you were.

Being part Scotch hate the idea of using a broker but 10% of anything isn't worth my life.
Fair Winds,


Between us there was, as I have already said somewhere, the bond of the sea. Besides holding our hearts together through long periods of separation, it had the effect of making us tolerant of each other's yarns -- and even convictions. Heart of Darkness
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Old 06-11-2006, 21:42   #23
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OTOH, as much as we talk about protecting the seller from unsrupulous buyers... We had an occasion in our marina where a boat owner had hired someone to work on his boat. He let the guy stay on board while he was doing the work. He got a call a few weeks later from a neigbor in the harbor letting him know his "worker" had the boat up for sale, and had a serious offer on it. Never did hear if the buyer put a deposit down. Like the saying goes, some people will steal anything that isn't nailed down.
Old 07-11-2006, 05:48   #24
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I think the lesson here is that we are targets. I would not have believed it before...was shocked when my suspicions were confirmed that a 30yo guy STOLE a sailboat for a joy ride (which lasted just 5 days, on the 5th day he was in jail, a 3 time fellon). Unreal. And sad.

As for the police...I have some mixed feelings, I must say. I CALLED the DNR cops. Their response was that they did NOT have access to the NCIC database (at least the local St Mikes did not). Further...a DNR cop WAS on Akizuki II on WED of that week (this guy stole the boat Sun night or early mon am...rolled into st mikes mon pm). He was looking for a stolen dinghy...that was TIED to the stern of the boat (another story). HE NEVER CHECKED the boats docs or the guys ID...he would have seen that he was NOT the owner of the boat!! [frank...i reported this deficiency to the head of MD DNR by letter, phone and reply. I also reported this to the local MD States attorney...while being interviewed for the case...never any reply]

And Sean calling NYPD with his suspicions....I am a big supporter of the NYPD, but they would have told him that they could do nothing unless a crime had actually been committed. Forget some sort of sting opertation.

SO...we need to protect ourselves by being more vigilant.

One word of advice...USE THE NET. Akizuki II was reported ONLINE by the owners...very smart. I was able to google it. And...I wonder if Sean did a search what he might find on his grifter??

Charlie...I am doing great and loving life aboard. I cruised 1200 miles solo from Annap south. Still here. Spent the summer doing a lot of diving. Winter will head to the islands. I am sure you are very happy with the Sceptre...very very nice.

My best to all.

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Old 07-11-2006, 06:39   #25

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John... exactly right. The grifter didn't commit any crime, so I have nothing to report. I can't do a thing. The police would write up a report and then file it never to be seen again. Waste of time and tax payer's money, unfortunatley.

I was also surprised, as is John that we are indeed targets. I never in a million years thought anyone would kill to steal a boat (as in the case mentioned earlier). This just cinches the guns debate for me. I had always been on the fence, but I feel a big change going on in the western world. People are getting desparate. Call me a "unibomber freak", but my wife and I have chosen to have defensive weapons aboard. We will not carry them to other countries, but we will sleep better knowing we have a last resort.
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Old 07-11-2006, 08:38   #26
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I am sorry that you didn't sell the boat. But I think you would have missed her too. You have done too much to let it go. Try to enjoy her a bit.

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Old 07-11-2006, 10:16   #27
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Sound Advice

Originally Posted by John Drake
Someone who wants you to deviate from the normal, established business practices is usually either conning you or just too inexperienced to know better.
This bit of knowledge is the real lesson.
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Old 07-11-2006, 12:16   #28

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Thanks, Jef. We will certainly enjoy her now that we have decided we don't want anything to do with land. This situation was the final straw for us. No matter what this boat costs and how much we have to work to pay her off, we're on this for a long... long... time.
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Old 07-11-2006, 13:15   #29
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man that is spooky. i sold a house once and the people wanted to move their furniture in before closing. i said not until you buy the house. they went ballistic and called me a few names. but i stuck to my guns. they ended up buying the house but would not speak to me or be in the same room as me at the lawyers office. i wonder if you can retain a lawyer to handle a boat sale?
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Old 07-11-2006, 20:21   #30
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Lesson there is, you sold the house. Were you out to make friends, or sell a house? A legitimate buyer (or seller) will appreciate all the i's being dotted. It protects both parties. If someone is more concerned about being friends after the sale than the terms of the sale itself, I would be very concerned about that person's real intent. When we sold Petrel, we received a call about a week into advertising. The person said he was from Morro Bay, was familiar with the boat, and would be up in a week to pay for her. After about two weeks of a call every thre days with a new schedule to come up, I finally got it (yea, a little slow I know, but I was hopeful).This guy just wanted someone to talk to. I let it play out for a few more weeks and he eventually lost interest and admitted he was not going to buy the boat. Just goes to show there are some really messed up individuals out there.
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