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Old 21-11-2015, 07:08   #1
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Buying an ex-charter Beneteau Oceanis 411/423: items to inspect

Hi Guys,

Next week I’m travelling to Croatia to ‘boat hunt’. I have some sailing experience, but built up most experience skippering motor yachts for several years. So Im looking for some 'expert' advice from you when it comes to evaluate a second hand Beneteau Oceanis.

I found out a Bennie Oceanis 411, 423 or possibly a 473 from building year 2000 and upwards suits all my needs, and is within my budget. Read: my personal price/quality winner.

[Please note I don’t want to start a discussion about the quality / Blue water suitability of Beneteau or other brands]

I’m looking to spent around 50.000 euro, all inc. for the initial purchase. (Willing to pay the right price for the right boat, though)

My keywords on yachtworld were:
Make: Oceanis
Length: 12-15 m
Year: 1999 – 2010
Budget: 40.000 – 90.000 Euro
Region: Europe and later: Croatia, Italy, Slovenia

As a result, I found nearly all ex-charter yachts. At first I wouldn’t even consider ex-charters. But now, I’m willing to take a look at them anyway, just to eliminate them from my search in the worst case. Figured the cost of the plane ticket would finally bring some piece of mind. Their asking prices often are in the 50000 – 65000 euro range (Excl. VAT) . So, I should be able to buy one for 40-45.000 euro… I hope. Maybe this is a bit too optimistic. Any experiences on this matter anyone?

In Croatia, most charter yachts hardly ever sailed – they are mainly being used by large groups of (young) people who spent a week on it drinking, BBQing, snorkeling and motoring it around from marina to marina and anchoring in the occasional bay. With other words: A big probability for hull damages, dents, etc. I’m willing to ignore these as long they’re not structural (keel, bottom, etc.).

For what it’s worth, chartering companies claim boats are annually, thoroughly maintained. Think: engine & sail revisions, sail replacements, new saloons, (basic) navigation equipment updated, running rigging replacements, etc.

Before heading to Croatia, I’m trying to compose a short list of things to be (visually) inspected by myself (with no tools at hand) – specifically things which are susceptible to wear on the (European built) Oceanis 411 and 423 – before calling in a surveyor. Also, I’m trying to figure out the repair / replace costs of the items involved. I’m a low budget kind of guy, but won’t ignore safety.

So far, I came up with a few general things to check, but I’m looking for Oceanis owners to advise me on other things, and thus to complete my list. Also, please comment if my estimated costs are ridiculous / underestimated etc.

[TBC] means To Be Completed (by you guys).

I think it’s nearly impossible to list everything here, but I’m sure you guys think of things I wouldn’t have. Especially some type-specific ‘diseases’ or problems.

It’s my intention to update this post regularly, and so creating an ‘Oceanis buying guide’ for other forum members to benefit from.

Also; if anyone of you is currently in Croatia and want’s to meet up next week: PM me!

Thx everyone!
Safe sailings !

My (very limited) list so far:

1. Standing rigging
WHAT TO CHECK: Diameter steel wire, signs of corrosion, [TBC]
WORST CASE SCENARIO: Replace all standing rigging + add extra forestay
COST: +/- 4000 euro (?)

2. Mast
WHAT TO CHECK: check for cracks, signs of bending (?), [TBC]
WORST CASE SCENARIO: replace mast / fix mast (if that’s even possible..)
COST: No idea, probably buy another boat? [TBC]

3. Sails
WHAT TO CHECK: UV-strip, general condition, eyes, [TBC]
WORST CASE SCENARIO: Replace mainsail + replace Genua
COST: 6000 euro (?)

4. Blocks ( the ‘thing’ to block sheets etc. ?) and running rigging
WHAT TO CHECK: condition of blocks, ropes of running rigging
WORST CASE SCENARIO: Replace few blocks and ropes
COST: Price for complete new running rigging: No idea.. Any 411 owners? [TBC]

5. Osmosis (hull AND rudder)
WHAT TO CHECK: ‘Vinegar bubbles’ on hull
WORST CASE SCENARIO: Osmosis treatment COST: Not sure if I’d consider buying a boat having osmosis, no idea about the cost and/or success rate of an osmosis treatment. [TBC]

6. Bimini and spray cover
WHAT TO CHECK: General condition of sail material and inox / ss frame work
WORST CASE SCENARIO: Replace bimini & spray cover
COST: 3000 euro? No idea… [TBC]

7. Winches
WHAT TO CHECK: Movability, corrosion (?)
WORST CASE SCENARIO: Replace let’s say 2 winches
COST: 3000 euro ? No idea [TBC]

8. Engine
WHAT TO CHECK: A lot (.. but for initial survey: General condition, corrosion, foundation bolts, service records, running hours and probability of reliability of these, shaft seal, shaft itself, propeller… [TBC]
WORST CASE SCENARIO: Complete overhaul of engine
EXTREME CASE: Replace complete engine.
COST: Overhaul: +/- 2000 euro I Replacement: No idea.. 8000 euro, incl. work. hours in Croatia?

9. Saloon, woodwork, matrasses
WHAT TO CHECK: saloon, floor, cushions, etc. WORST CASE SCENARIO: Replace matrasses, saloon cushions, curtains, toilet (I’ll replace the cushions and the matrasses anyway)
COST: Looking for someone who replaced all saloon cushions. No idea.. [TBC]

10. Keel bolts
WHAT TO CHECK: Ah yes, the keel bolts where everybody is talking about… Indeed: What to check about these exactly? Apart from obvious corrosion signs and torque ?
WORST CASE SCENARIO: Replace keel bolts
COST: Saw another thread on this here, but no price estimates. Anyone? [TBC]

11. Bilges
WHAT TO CHECK: Signs of water in the bilges, condition of epoxy
WORST CASE SCENARIO: Water in the bilges
COST: Good question. What to do if a boat has water in the bilges? Probably check the sail drive seal, keel bolts, toilet O/B valves, etc. Not sure if water in the bilges has to be a BIG problem? Heard people say they’d never buy a boat with water in the bilges though.[TBC]

12. Navigational equipment
WHAT TO CHECK: Functionality, age, power supply
WORST CASE SCENARIO: Replace essential navigational equipment.
COST: This small list contains items which I personally consider necessary for safe navigation.
Radar: 3000 euros ? (Yes, I have a certificate..) AIS transponder: 1000 euros ?
Navigational PC + screen fr OPENCPN (12v – waterproof – inside + outside touch screen): 1500 euros?
SSB radio: I’d very much like one, but this is prob. Out of budget.. 4000 euros incl. modem?
Iridium package: 1000 euro ? Know of a basic package for this price, but can’t seem to find it right now [TBC]
GPS and VHF: should be present.

13. Wind vane
WHAT TO CHECK: nothing, since probably not installed
COST: 6000 euro (Hydrovane) I consider this the only ‘luxury’ accessory I definitely want.

So far my list...

Hoping to see a lot of comments !
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Old 21-11-2015, 07:48   #2
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Re: Buying an ex-charter Beneteau Oceanis 411/423: items to inspect

Check the grid to hull bond initially in from of the keel, any stress cracks on the grid structure can suggest very expensive repairs down the line (and being a charter boat there is a high probability that it has "kissed" the bottom a few times).

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Old 21-11-2015, 08:30   #3
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Re: Buying an ex-charter Beneteau Oceanis 411/423: items to inspect

Check the rudder and rudder post. The boat may have backed into a rock or coral head. Riley on La Vagabonde had problems with that.

Test all the electronics, including autopilot. Upgrading the electronics can cost US$10000-15000.

Check all the thru-hulls and ball valves for electrolysis and corrosion. Replacing all the thru-hulls and ball valves is easily US$1000 for just the parts.

New upholstery for existing salon cushions for a 473 can be US$5000.

New running rigging for a 473 is around US$1400.

So far, my most cost-effective and satisfying upgrade has been glow-in-the-dark rope clutch labels. US$15

Best of luck.

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Old 21-11-2015, 11:19   #4
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Re: Buying an ex-charter Beneteau Oceanis 411/423: items to inspect

Keel, rudder, engine.

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Old 21-11-2015, 11:46   #5
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Re: Buying an ex-charter Beneteau Oceanis 411/423: items to inspect

Sounds silly but I knew a guy who bought a used Oceannus from charter and it had no shorepower system. Resale might be a consideration because charter companies tend to flood the markets. Just something to consider.

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Old 22-11-2015, 10:47   #6
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Re: Buying an ex-charter Beneteau Oceanis 411/423: items to inspect

if your plans are to bring a Charter Boat to the level suggested you may well be better to just start looking at non charter boats. My experience is that it always costs more than tbe estimate. No matter what you do to a charter boat it will always be a charter boat. You can buy a pretty nice 473 in the USA

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Old 22-11-2015, 10:54   #7
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Re: Buying an ex-charter Beneteau Oceanis 411/423: items to inspect

I was looking at one in BVI and it was 220 VAC, just another cost to convert over.
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Old 22-11-2015, 11:13   #8
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Re: Buying an ex-charter Beneteau Oceanis 411/423: items to inspect

I bought a Bene 38 from Moorings and have had great luck. I am leaving for a sail but will get back with you on some things. Plan on replacing at least the halyards anyway so you know what you're starting with. Winches will probably just need to be serviced. Do check rudder post and look for signs of a strike and grounding. Engine time will be high but don't let that scare you. If it is still in charter they tend to take care of them because they don't want an expensive fix either. More to come but I have to go now. Good luck
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Old 22-11-2015, 11:19   #9
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Re: Buying an ex-charter Beneteau Oceanis 411/423: items to inspect

Originally Posted by Safc View Post
As a result, I found nearly all ex-charter yachts. At first I wouldn’t even consider ex-charters.
A big probability for hull damages, dents, etc. I’m willing to ignore these as long they’re not structural (keel, bottom, etc.).
before calling in a surveyor.
My two cents, FWIW:

You said it yourself: "A big probability for hull damages". A surveyor can only see so much without taking a boat apart - which usually is NOT part of a survey.
So you're buying 'high risk' with no obvious pay-off for doing so, as far as I can see.

Charter boats are outfitted to suit the people that rent them for a week or so, not for boat owners that have serious plans with their boats.

Something to keep in mind: if you should buy an ex-charter and you later want or need to sell, it won't be easy. Most people stay away from ex-charters, for good reasons Assuming you'd be honest about the boat's past, you'd have a harder time selling her than you would with a non-charter.
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Old 22-11-2015, 12:07   #10
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Re: Buying an ex-charter Beneteau Oceanis 411/423: items to inspect

HI Keep in mind, charter boats are used for real, not as family cruiser, there is no love in a charter boat, it's only pay and play, and not only for 3-5 weeks a year as the love boat in the family is, more like 4-6 months... There is a reason for the low pricing on charter boats. However it can be always exception, and a surveyor is the guy to help u find it

Good luck.
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Old 22-11-2015, 17:23   #11
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Re: Buying an ex-charter Beneteau Oceanis 411/423: items to inspect

Like all other things in life, the quality of inspections and maintenance varies widely.
It will take you some time to vet out a charter boat properly. Become friendly with s local surveyor who knows the company, it's people and local waters and habits. Good luck. BRDT.
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Old 22-11-2015, 19:32   #12
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Re: Buying an ex-charter Beneteau Oceanis 411/423: items to inspect

I don't know what the stock boats are at the Canadian and US rentals on the Great Lakes. Might be worth a look. Short seasons on fresh water & close to home. Quite a few charters in the North Channel.
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Old 22-11-2015, 20:04   #13
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Re: Buying an ex-charter Beneteau Oceanis 411/423: items to inspect

I bought an Oceanis 411 about 8 years ago, ex charter out of BVI and if they do a phase out like they did there I would be more confident. But...., they have a huge fleet and coan afford to have a bespoke crew doing it. I sailed it across Pacific to Australia and then up to Asia.

Check the UV cover on genoa, stack bag ????? for the main although they are not big ticket items.

It was a good boat and was a 2 cabin or owner version which is what I would highly reccommend as they dont appear to be in demand as much and are usually used by owners a fair degree of time.

Through hulls need careful examination as had some electrlytic calcification on them (bronze ones)
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Old 23-11-2015, 07:53   #14
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Re: Buying an ex-charter Beneteau Oceanis 411/423: items to inspect

Dear all,
Having bought and sailed an ex-charter boat in Croatia (Bavaria 44 in my case) I might be able to add something to the debate. I will not go over the whole list since common sense is best applied here and others have done their best.
The question is whether to buy such a yacht - or not at all.
My agent in Croatia was also the owner of the charter company and knew this vessel from the first sail, eight years ago. He proved to be reliable, available and helpful long after we had completed te deal. In fact we are still in regular contact, even now that my boat is in Holland.
As mentioned by others, charter boats use their engines a lot. Ours had a revised head and overhauled cylinders and pistons, but I had to take his word for this. It certainly never let us down. Diesel engines can run a long time before wearing out.
Having stayed in the chartering marina, we saw that every returning yacht was inspected by a diver - so any grounding would have been noticed. And repaired, I presume. The rocks in Croatia pose a formidable threat to keel and rudder, so your own inspection on the hard is still money well spent.
We were afraid that 8 seasons of 4-6 month in use would leave traces in the interior, but not so. In Croatia one lives outside and beer crates were either stored outside - or inside, but with great care.
What I noticed now - and this was not visible before - are small scratches and small cuts in the gel coat from bad maneuvering. If you see these at close hand it is annoying, but not harmful.
My recommendation is to find a dealer that has a good reputation, who can show the service records (leave if he has none...) and ask for a three months guarantee. Mine assured us that everything amiss would be set right. And since we stayed in his marina for a while, there was no avoiding us. Even if you stay for a few weeks, you will find out what needs attention.
To sum up my advice; the boat that you visit will tell you a lot. But the seller can be your best ally if you want a good life with your Beneteau.
Happy sailing!
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Old 23-11-2015, 09:18   #15
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Re: Buying an ex-charter Beneteau Oceanis 411/423: items to inspect

Having bought an ex charter boat and then left her with the same charter company in order for her to earn her " keep" I can only say I am more than happy with the experience.
There have been a few issues and repairs over the three years she has been mine but nothing major and nothing you would not expect in a boat her age. (2007)
In fact she has probably been better maintained in some ways because somethings like some light fittings, ropes, wiring and switches , upholstery, sails, curtains, galley appliances , toilet fittings, outboard motor for dinghy and other sundries all get replaced while they are still quite usable or functional but maybe looking a bit shabby and aging and not a good look for the customer.
You should not only get a survey done but ask questions about the reputation of the charter company / owner. It is the way they maintain the boats not their treatment by clients which is the real measure you should be looking for.

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