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Old 28-06-2016, 17:22   #1
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Survey Decision Based on Price of Yacht

Is it a bit silly to pay for a survey on a boat listed for $9,000?

I am looking at a 1984 34' Watkins. I'm leaning towards yes only because I don't know hardly anything about this manufacturer. The text in the description states:

"1984 Full keel heavy cruising sloop. Rock solid WATKINS with thick gelcoat and
NO blisters. Beam 11.5'
Draft 4.5', cabin headroom 6'4", 60 gal fresh water. Main - 1 yr old., jib 3.5 yrs. old, new main sail cover, YANMAR 3 cylinder 20 hp. diesel, engine rock solid perfect, new water pump. 2nd owner. Brand new jib . New Raw water pump! Engine is fresh water cooled.
in bag never been used. Nice wide and long bow sprit and bow rail for anchoring. Priced to sell, snooze you loose. Cosmetically she needs awl grip paint on sides, red and blue stripe need paint also. Bottom paint needed. Needs interior cushions recovered. Needs new teak and holly cabin sole, some interior woodwork. Engine excellent, hull and rigging are ROCK solid. on. Extas on boat, prop, tools, parts,new jib sail, etc. 2 newer anchors plus 140 of very heavy chain, new spare jib in bag, ALL WORTH thousands of dollars."


Would appreciate thoughts and opinions.
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Old 28-06-2016, 17:30   #2
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Re: Survey Decision Based on Price of Yacht

Hire a surveyor, most of the description is pure bull.
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Old 28-06-2016, 17:37   #3
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Re: Survey Decision Based on Price of Yacht

Is she in the water and available for a test run? Do you have a couple of knowledgeable friends who own boats and can look her over for you? Are you the sort of person who takes a used car to a mechanic before purchase? Just looking at the ad, how did all that woodwork get messed up? Flooding? Salt water that reached the wiring? Does that Yanmar run? Electronics? What has this boat been doing since 2008? The more I think about it, the more I lean toward saying yes, a survey is in order. Remember, she may have a new X and a new Y, but most of her is 32 years old.
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Old 28-06-2016, 17:44   #4
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Re: Survey Decision Based on Price of Yacht

OK, I should not dash off a post before carefully thinking it through. I've read the ad again, and I smell neglect combined with water entry. Inspect her yourself, and decide whether she's worth surveying or is a project you don't need.
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Old 28-06-2016, 17:54   #5
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Re: Survey Decision Based on Price of Yacht

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OK, I should not dash off a post before carefully thinking it through. I've read the ad again, and I smell neglect combined with water entry. Inspect her yourself, and decide whether she's worth surveying or is a project you don't need.
I appreciate the double look. I frankly have zero experience with trying to decide on a good deal vs. a POS. I am looking for a 31-36' boat to gain experience for the future; something solid for day sailing and weekend trips, eventually a trip to the Bahamas from Daytona Beach.
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Old 28-06-2016, 18:01   #6
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Re: Survey Decision Based on Price of Yacht

Do you know the boat name? Often if you google the boat name you will get all kinds of gems. One boat we saw listed had a lot work done but the owner blogged about how they bought a derilict boat and were not able to finish the repairs. It put a different light on the listing description.
Another boat we saw was blogged about by someone who wasnt the owner. The blog gave a lovely description of the boat running hard aground.
Just be careful that you varify what you read is really the same boat.
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Old 28-06-2016, 18:26   #7
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Re: Survey Decision Based on Price of Yacht

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I appreciate the double look. I frankly have zero experience with trying to decide on a good deal vs. a POS. I am looking for a 31-36' boat to gain experience for the future; something solid for day sailing and weekend trips, eventually a trip to the Bahamas from Daytona Beach.
If you can't tell the difference, you need a really good surveyor. I used one on a $1500 boat because I knew it would be a more thorough and knowledgeable look at the boat. The list of recommendations has been very helpful in helping me prioritize my repairs.
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Old 29-06-2016, 08:10   #8
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Re: Survey Decision Based on Price of Yacht

With that description, it may be worth more parted out. It sounds as if there was a lot added to a questionable foundation and 10K worth of work just based on the description. Watkins made a solid boat, but if you like it, invest in a survey so you know what you are getting into. The purchase price is only the beginning on an in the water boat purchase. Unlike the other poster I would like to believe the seller is being honest and disclosing up front, and obviously sold the good before the bad. Does not sound like BS, though. Some people spend money first on what is obtainable at the time as opposed to what is needed the most.
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Old 29-06-2016, 08:44   #9
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Re: Survey Decision Based on Price of Yacht

Molo - can you post a link to the ad? Not a terrific deal but not out of line either. Remember this is a 30+ year old boat. I would at least look at it before you invest in a surveyor. Take a friend to get a second opinion. Look EVERYWHERE !!! Then invest in a survey but the survey will likely NOT check the engine, trans or rigging. They will list 20 stupid minor things you and your friend will be able to see yourself.
Good basic boat and nice draft for FL & Bahamas. Likely will have some electric issues to sort out, buy a new charplotter and batteries.
CAREFULLY check the transmission and standing rigging. I suspect a good learning boat as you were mentioning.
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Old 29-06-2016, 09:38   #10
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Re: Survey Decision Based on Price of Yacht

Having lived in Daytona have you thought through where you would sail it? The Halifax is just not that wide. You are a long way from ocean access and the nearest marinas with good access are well south of you. You might consider a 20' or so daysailer if you plan to sail the river.
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Old 29-06-2016, 09:48   #11
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Re: Survey Decision Based on Price of Yacht

If you know anything about glass boats and are only paying $9,000. I would skip the cost of a survey. If you were paying $90,000 not a chance.
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Old 29-06-2016, 10:02   #12
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Re: Survey Decision Based on Price of Yacht

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Originally Posted by Sailorman Ed View Post
Molo - can you post a link to the ad? Not a terrific deal but not out of line either. Remember this is a 30+ year old boat. I would at least look at it before you invest in a surveyor. Take a friend to get a second opinion. Look EVERYWHERE !!! Then invest in a survey but the survey will likely NOT check the engine, trans or rigging. They will list 20 stupid minor things you and your friend will be able to see yourself.
Good basic boat and nice draft for FL & Bahamas. Likely will have some electric issues to sort out, buy a new charplotter and batteries.
CAREFULLY check the transmission and standing rigging. I suspect a good learning boat as you were mentioning.
SAILBOAT 33 - sloop cruiser, 1984 Watkins
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Old 29-06-2016, 10:04   #13
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Re: Survey Decision Based on Price of Yacht

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Originally Posted by Dave22q View Post
Having lived in Daytona have you thought through where you would sail it? The Halifax is just not that wide. You are a long way from ocean access and the nearest marinas with good access are well south of you. You might consider a 20' or so daysailer if you plan to sail the river.
I would ocean sail her and try for a slip a whole lot closer to the inlet than Halifax Harbor.
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Old 29-06-2016, 10:35   #14
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Re: Survey Decision Based on Price of Yacht

A Watkins 34 with an 11.5' beam? I cannot find any evidence that Watkins ever built a boat with those dimensions. They built 33' and 36' boats in the mid-80s, but even the 36' boats only had a 10.5' beam.

Frankly, I would just walk away. There are a LOT of boats available in Florida, in all shapes and sizes, all different degrees of repair, and at all price points. This one just sounds like more trouble than it is worth.

Now, as to your original question, at what point is it worth it to pay for a survey? That's really something that only you can answer. If the survey is going to cost a substantial percentage of the selling price, I would say you really have to think about it hard. Beyond that, it's a matter of how much you can determine for yourself, and what you are willing to risk. There are a lot of threads here about doing a self-survey, and I would suggest you search the forum and read them. Perhaps you can learn enough to examine the boat yourself, and get a better feel for whether you want to proceed with a survey.

Good luck.
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Old 29-06-2016, 15:10   #15
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Re: Survey Decision Based on Price of Yacht

I really appreciate you sharing your thoughts denverd0n. And that goes for everybody else.

Is there anything wrong with a production boat for what I'm trying to do? The furthest I want to go is the bahamas. I'd like something with some character but at the same time I don't want to break the bank for a first boat. My budget cap is the $25-30k. Maybe something that needs a little refinishing but not a total overhaul.

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