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Old 19-06-2020, 16:50   #1
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What to ask when looking for a blue water sailboat?

Hi there!
I'm looking to own a blue water cruiser in the very near future. I've been doing my research and have come up with the following standard questions when looking at boats. What else should I be asking? If it matters, I'm looking specifically at Cape Dory, Endurance, Pacific Seacraft, and Island Packet in the 30-35ft range, and my budget is $30-50k USD (I'm assuming I'll have to put in a little work, I'm just not sure what that work is going to be).
Things I know to ask about/check so far:

When was the rigging last replaced?
Hours on the engine? (I feel like there's better questions about this?)
When was it's last sail?
Be wary of teak decks in this price range (deck rot)

and that's about where I start drawing a blank. Any advice on things to look for upfront to discern the condition the boat is in before a survey? Especially pertaining to liveabaord life, cruising life, with those four brands, or in that price range?

Thank you so much in advance!
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Old 19-06-2020, 21:21   #2
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Re: What to ask when looking for a blue water sailboat?

Sail compliment and age
Date running rigging was replaced
When was the shaft repacked, cutless bearing
Age and type of batteries and solar, type of controllers
Water maker?
Dinghy type
Furlers
Electronics? Below deck autopilot? AIS in/out? Radar?
Damage history?
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Old 19-06-2020, 23:27   #3
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Re: What to ask when looking for a blue water sailboat?

Keel structure and condition
Rudder protection and condition (bearing)
Diaphragm replacement date (if sail drive)
Tankage (fuel and water)
Downwind sailing gear (poles bowsprit running rigging etc etc)
Safety gear (epirb, MOB stuff, life lines etc etc)
Engine type and age (condition and servicing schedule probably more important than hours).
Spare parts included
Condition of the running rigging
Always get a survey
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Old 20-06-2020, 03:13   #4
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Re: What to ask when looking for a blue water sailboat?

You know, Slm, I've found that it's often little questions... I went to look at a boat once and conversationally asked the owner as we were going through the boat, "what was the last maintenance you did on her?" You know, figuring it would be something ordinary like "oil change". Instead, the guy responded "Maintenance? Oh, I've never done any maintenance on this boat." And he had owned it for 3 years! Then the story came out: bought the boat, hard grounding, tow by the Coast Guard, on the hard and cutlass bearing and shaft replaced...

I had privately noticed the pronounced crack along the hull-keel join, but when he spilled the beans, I thought, "Buddy, you have no idea how much trouble this boat is in."

And of course, walked away!
Good luck with your search (and your questions),
LittleWing77
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Old 20-06-2020, 03:34   #5
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Re: What to ask when looking for a blue water sailboat?

First define terminology "blue water" is a very vague term that means different things to different people. What do you mean by "blue water"? What is your intended use?
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Old 20-06-2020, 04:18   #6
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Re: What to ask when looking for a blue water sailboat?

You can ask all you want but what about the answers?

How true are they?

You have to be able to verify some of it with your eyes and experience otherwise get a surveyor.

Also, first and foremost start of with the right boat.

Here are some examples of the right boat.

scroll down for list:

https://www.mahina.com/cruise.html

https://atomvoyages.com/planning/goo...oats-list.html

Bluewaterboats.org - Sailboat reviews for offshore sailing
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Old 20-06-2020, 04:51   #7
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Re: What to ask when looking for a blue water sailboat?

The information thom225 offered is where you want to start, very good information to be had, mahina.com is worth your reading time, as are the other sites he listed.

Fair winds,
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Old 20-06-2020, 05:00   #8
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Re: What to ask when looking for a blue water sailboat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pegu Club View Post
The information thom225 offered is where you want to start, very good information to be had, mahina.com is worth your reading time, as are the other sites he listed.

Fair winds,
Right!

Many of us have sailed or owned boats but maybe not a monohull sailboat that we might want to use to cross many miles of open water with nowhere to run if the weather turns bad

These sites have good information, and the boats listed give you a good idea of the type of boat needed.

Some will argue you can cross an ocean on most any boat, but some of us would rather start with a proven design blessed by those with lots of experience
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Old 20-06-2020, 09:29   #9
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Re: What to ask when looking for a blue water sailboat?

In that price range begin with structural- ie rudder, keel bolts, look at hatch and port seals, looking for water discoloration. chain plates especially. stem and stern fittings, thru hulls.
the rest is timeless maintenance.
But you need to float to get home.
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Old 20-06-2020, 10:03   #10
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Re: What to ask when looking for a blue water sailboat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by slm053 View Post
Hi there!
I'm looking to own a blue water cruiser in the very near future. I've been doing my research and have come up with the following standard questions when looking at boats. What else should I be asking? If it matters, I'm looking specifically at Cape Dory, Endurance, Pacific Seacraft, and Island Packet in the 30-35ft range, and my budget is $30-50k USD (I'm assuming I'll have to put in a little work, I'm just not sure what that work is going to be).
Things I know to ask about/check so far:

When was the rigging last replaced?
Hours on the engine? (I feel like there's better questions about this?)
When was it's last sail?
Be wary of teak decks in this price range (deck rot)

and that's about where I start drawing a blank. Any advice on things to look for upfront to discern the condition the boat is in before a survey? Especially pertaining to liveabaord life, cruising life, with those four brands, or in that price range?

Thank you so much in advance!
Sailboats are use designed: inland, coastal, offshore/passage-making. Crossing oceans is no small feat and your boat choice and its condition should be able to handle the worst. Spend time to look at the ratios of those boats you are considering...sailingdata.com is a good place to start. Keep your head out of the salon and on the boat's ability to sail safely. Operational items take precedence over aesthetics, new hull paint means nothing in the middle of the Pacific.

The sailboat basics: hull, deck, rigging, sails, tanks, and engine must be sound or reparable with little expense.

If your expertise is limited to get the engine, sails, and rigging checked by qualified companies. I turned down a purchase after a mechanic's engine survey, bought a replacement main sail after a loft's opinion.

Get the best surveyor you can afford; hopefully one familiar with you boat choice. He can save you thousands on that one thing you missed.

Don't worry too much about electronics as everything that is over one year old is out of date. The secret is knowing how to use what you have to get you to your destination...don't be a electronics nerd that has to have the latest and greatest electronics. Think...does it work, will it get me there.

Good Luck.

~ ~ _/) ~ ~ MJH
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Old 20-06-2020, 10:06   #11
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Re: What to ask when looking for a blue water sailboat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by slm053 View Post
Hi there!
I'm looking to own a blue water cruiser in the very near future. I've been doing my research and have come up with the following standard questions when looking at boats. What else should I be asking? If it matters, I'm looking specifically at Cape Dory, Endurance, Pacific Seacraft, and Island Packet in the 30-35ft range, and my budget is $30-50k USD (I'm assuming I'll have to put in a little work, I'm just not sure what that work is going to be).
Things I know to ask about/check so far:

When was the rigging last replaced?
Hours on the engine? (I feel like there's better questions about this?)
When was it's last sail?
Be wary of teak decks in this price range (deck rot)

and that's about where I start drawing a blank. Any advice on things to look for upfront to discern the condition the boat is in before a survey? Especially pertaining to liveabaord life, cruising life, with those four brands, or in that price range?

Thank you so much in advance!
Marine Survey 101, pre-survey inspection This should add a great deal to your scope of possible questions.
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Old 20-06-2020, 10:32   #12
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Re: What to ask when looking for a blue water sailboat?

Look at Don Casey's book - Inspecting the Ageing Sailboat - for guidance.


And get a good surveyor...
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Old 20-06-2020, 10:45   #13
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Re: What to ask when looking for a blue water sailboat?

One of our members has done an INVALUABLE service for our members by making his experience as a PROFESSIONAL surveyor available to us in easily digested form. Here it is:

Marine Survey 101, pre-survey inspection

Read it, cogitate upon it, read it again. And do that as many times as it takes you to internalize the lessons contained in it. That will accelerate your speed of acquiring knowledge about these things many, many times over what it could possibly be by asking individual, discrete questions about such complex matters of numerous people all with their own idiosyncratic takes on what a reasonable answer might be.

One of the opinions that tend to be implicit in these sorts of questions from novices is that buying a boat and "going blue water" is first cousin to buying a Ram 350 and blowing it down Route 66. It simply ain't!

Among airmen there used to be a saying (may still be for all I know) that EVERY crash is due to Pilot Error. On the surface of it, silly, of course, but upon reflection, not so daft. Accidents are caused by the pilot having failed to foresee something he SHOULD have foreseen!

Just so with seafaring, which is why it's an old tradition that "skipper carries the can". Asking what kind of boat is good for you is coming at it bass ackwards. What you need to ask is "What kind of boat am I competent to handle?" Being competent to handle a vessel includes being competent to do a survey without "outside" help. You don't need to have the competence to survey EVERY kind of vessel, of course, but you most certainly need to be competent to survey your own - whether that be a vessel actually in your possession or one you propose buying!

All ships and boats are designed to do a specific job in specific waters under specific constraints of wind and wave. As skipper it is YOUR job to keep the crew safe wherever you may have taken them. You can only do that if you keep the vessel safe. You can only do that if you know what kind of vessel you are competent to handle. You can only know that if you can do a survey of the kind of vessel you propose handling.

So read Boatpoker's material. Since you are looking at "entry-level" boats, do a critical analysis of the skills you currently possess to determine and verify that you do in fact possess the skills to do ALL the required maintenance/repairs/upgrade on the boat, and if there are deficiencies in your skill set, remedy them.

Go look at some boats in the round, carrying Boatpoker's material with you, preferably having worked it into a check-list. What that will teach you is not something you can learn online.

All the best

TrentePieds
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Old 20-06-2020, 11:12   #14
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Re: What to ask when looking for a blue water sailboat?

Thank you all so much!! You have all given me such good information and further research to do I'm excited to dive in further and educate myself.
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Old 20-06-2020, 11:25   #15
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Re: What to ask when looking for a blue water sailboat?

Ask to see the boats log for say the last 5 years maybe?
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