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Old 04-01-2017, 17:06   #1
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How Did You Find Your Boat?

Greetings! I am planning on spending the month of March shopping sailboats in California. I would appreciate any suggestions you may have regarding brokers, yards, individuals, or any "sailboat for sale" sources you may be familiar with from San Francisco to San Diego. I regularly visit Popyachts, Yachtworld, Sailboat Listings, Sailboats for sale in Mexico and specific boat brand associations. I hope to avoid wandering aimlessly by arriving on March 1st with a plan in hand. My goal is to purchase an older sailboat under 36' that is safe, seaworthy, easily managed by a small crew or single handed, and sufficiently comfortable for living aboard under 20K. I have sailed/raced my Lancer 25 and crewed on other boats here in Colorado for the past 5 years; it's time for a new adventure. Thanks for any help you may be able to provide!

Ron Chalian

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Old 04-01-2017, 18:14   #2
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Re: How Did You Find Your Boat?

Don't know about anyone else but ours was procured with a little bit of luck and whole Lotta window shopping

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Old 04-01-2017, 18:18   #3
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Re: How Did You Find Your Boat?

I found my boat through the good people on this forum. I started asking questions about which boat might be better then which boat and before long because I was a newb I was steered in the right direction.

Even now that I know a tad more then I did I would ask the community what to look for and be concerned about about any given design

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Old 04-01-2017, 18:42   #4
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Re: How Did You Find Your Boat?

Try to have your options narrowed down to 2 or three models of boat. Do that by looking at as many boats as you can between now and then (which may be tough if you are in Colorado). You would potentially waste a lot of time looking at a lot of different boats if you don't have it narrowed down somewhat.

Having said that, if you have no real options in Colorado or nearby, then this trip can be that "narrowing" process. Don't feel rushed though, it could be bad for your wallet.
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Old 04-01-2017, 18:54   #5
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Re: How Did You Find Your Boat?

After a whole lotta research and some dock walking, I had a list in my head of what I wanted in a boat and its performance. I searched Yachtworld and put together a spreadsheet of the boats that met my criteria and were in my price range. On a trip to the Seattle/Vancouver area, this included 15 boats and the directions from one marina to the next (including who to contact) all lined up for the 3-day trip. I only missed my return flight because I went to the wrong ferry terminal, but it did help narrow my choices to the boat I eventually bought in San Diego. I had a friend in Annapolis who just had the broker find him a boat. Personally, I would not do it this way, but each his own. You can also get a lot of preliminary info from talking to the brokers and (if they allow it) the owners about the condition of the different systems, but don't rely on it for complete accuracy.
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Old 04-01-2017, 18:59   #6
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Re: How Did You Find Your Boat?

I spent time considering my purpose and budget. My taste and style and experiences as well. I spoke with people I know sailors and brokers both.
A few years of window shopping and visiting boats New and used. Visualizing myself on board. When I saw the boat it pushed all my buttons.
Done. Like falling off a log but more expensive.
For more detail I was looking for a cruising boat not a cruiser/racer. I've owned a sabre 38 mkII and loved it but wanted more space and comfort. Speed was not a primary concern. Double handed was. Sure I looked at some fantastic modern speed demons but too often a larger crew or deep draft or rig height was an issue. Or budget. I wanted a split rig in the 44 - 48 foot range. Keel centerboard. Two heads. Aluminum or glass. Well maintained. If older I wanted most major systems updated if needed. That included rig and engine.
The key for me was identifying my needs. I once bought a boat through a very experienced broker. He told me, and I think it is true, that when you know your needs there may be only 5 or 6 production models that fit them.
My boat happens to be a one off but it fits my needs. It turns out the original design brief was not far from what I wanted. Surprise surprise.
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Old 04-01-2017, 19:05   #7
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Location: Whoo! Finally made it back to Mexico!
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Re: How Did You Find Your Boat?

Speaking of one who purchased a boat far from us - we started by defining what we did not want in a boat on very broad terms. We decided early on to be very flexible with "brand" and focused on type, condition and features that we wanted. I.e. long keel, sail configuration, condition over all.

We decided against seeking certain brands because we felt we would be on a wild goose chase seeking out "the perfect boat" when there were actually many boats that would meet our needs.

However we researched as many boats as we could so we had some knowledge of how they were built, how they sailed and owners opinions on their own boats.

If you need to travel to find your boat, this approach will give you the most boats to see in the smallest area possible. By using this approach and a good surveyor we found our boat our first trip shopping.
If toast always lands butter side down, and cats always land on their feet, what would happen if you strapped toast to a cat's back and dropped it? - Steven Wright
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Old 04-01-2017, 21:49   #8
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How Did You Find Your Boat?

Any particular model?
So many available.
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Old 05-01-2017, 08:06   #9
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Re: How Did You Find Your Boat?

1990-2004 i was looking at everything heavy and cruise worthy.
ha ha ha ha ha ha like that works...
2005 jan this formosa became my mooring neighbor--funny-- next mooring ball over. wow coool... so we became friends, po and me--- good friends.
i watched as he allowed the boat to deteriorate and detonate--then made arrangements to take it over for a reasonable fee.
it is last boat i will own, unless some crazy nut wills me a formosa 51.
i LOVE this heavy fat bottomed girl. sails well and is exactly what i wanted.
life is an adventure meant to be LIVED!!!!
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Old 05-01-2017, 08:58   #10
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Re: How Did You Find Your Boat?

well first i knew exactly what i wanted - a derelict with potential i could rebuild. spent two years going all over north america looking at failed dreams. found several potential gems but all would fall through on documentation at the last minute. ended up on google earth nosing around in local storage yards and backyards and voi la! there it was in a field not 25 miles from my house. youd be surprised how many boats are tucked away on the hard in so cal, and the shape is quickly recognizable from space...

this probably doesnt do you much good, literally needle-in-haystack hunting. just say that getting out and looking, walking the docks and yards and talking to people can turn up a gem or two. good luck
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Old 05-01-2017, 09:53   #11
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Re: How Did You Find Your Boat?

Sometimes you have to kiss a lot of frogs to find a Princess.
The basis of accomplishment is in never quitting
Mengzi Meng-tse
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Old 05-01-2017, 10:15   #12
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Re: How Did You Find Your Boat?

Craigslist can be one source
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Old 05-01-2017, 10:17   #13
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Re: How Did You Find Your Boat?

There is some benefit to wandering aimlessly. You can read all you want about different boats and their specs, reputations, etc. but there is no substitute for getting on as many as possible, pawing around inside, and starting to get a sense of what's what in terms of space, layout, construction quality, and the very, VERY wide spectrum of condition that you'll find.

If you've not owned or lived on a bigger boat before, much your list of requirements is going to be largely abstract and theoretical. Getting on lots of boats starts to give that list more substance and it will undoubtedly evolve as you progress.

This entails being a bit of a tire kicker, looking at lots of brokers' inventory, and making appointments to see their boats. They'll want to show you quite a few, on the assumption that the more they show you the more they'll learn about what you really want and the greater the potential for an actual sale. Take advantage of that.

In your price range the primary challenge is going to be finding the boat in the best possible condition. Even 30' boats are expensive to maintain and refit. It would be penny wise and pound foolish to buy a boat that meets most of your requirements but is poor condition as at that price point you can easily spend more than the purchase price fixing old systems, fixtures, hardware, sails, running and standing rigging. It would be wise to remain flexible and when you find a well maintained and cared for boat that is a good value but does not meet your requirements to the letter to consider it's purchase. The general rule of thumb is to strongly consider boats that have just undergone a substantial refit and are for sale, for whatever reason (seller's health, financial issues, change of plants etc.). That will give you the biggest bang for your buck as no seller ever gets all their money back after a refit in a sale.

At your price point you're not going to find any eager buyer's brokers, since they'll only make a grand or two and so won't want to invest much time in helping you sort through your requirements and find good candidates. But when you have found the boat you're prepared to make a bid on it would be worth considering retaining a buyer's broker at that point for protection, negotiation, and documentation/paperwork. They may be willing to take you on as you've done all the time consuming work by yourself.

If you've never owned a bigger boat before, you'd do well to bring a friend who has into the process. There are a million issues to do with a boat's condition that an experienced boat owner can help you to identify and assess that you just won't be able to evaluate yourself, no matter how much you read. A decent survey should catch a lot of things, but that's post bid and 90% of surveyors are just not very good. If you're a good marine engineer, you've got better professional prospects than being the marine equivalent of a home inspector.
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Old 05-01-2017, 10:24   #14
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Re: How Did You Find Your Boat?

Originally Posted by robwilk37 View Post
well first i knew exactly what i wanted
We spent an entire year looking for ONLY a Catalina 34. I became an expert on them due to their tremendous website (back then good, now exceptional).

Found altogether too many examples of neglect which made me cry.

Found one, didn't pass a survey, the owners lied about a lot of things.

Found "ours" in Latitude 38. Go to Latitude 38 - The West's Leading Sailing and Marine Magazine, download the magazine and read the ads in the back, as well as Farallone yachts, the local dealer.

IMHO, looking for "a boat" is silly. Determining what you want is very critical. A Catalina 34 is a completely different boat than say, a Cal 34 or a Sabre 34, or a Tartan 34.

It's like saying: "I'm gonna go look for a car!" Really?
Stu Jackson
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Cowichan Bay, BC, (Maple Bay Marina) SR/FK, M25, Rocna 10 (22#) (NZ model)
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Old 05-01-2017, 10:25   #15
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Re: How Did You Find Your Boat?

Spent 6 months looking at all the normal for sale websites 3 times a day at work while I saved up the 10k which was my bottom range. Watch prospective boats come and go but I was handcuffed. 3 weeks before I hit my goal it looked like market was blank. Was looking in the whole state.

The week I hit my goal I found the perfect match across town. Looked at it that Sat, paid monies on Wednesday and moved it to where I'm living on it now by that Friday.

Pure luck.

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