Thursday, September 16, 2010

How to Buy a Boat - Part 1

Did you know there is a lot to know about boat buying?

SPOILER ALERT: Turns out there is.

That’s what I’ve been doing lately. A lot of reading up on things to look out for, things to check for, ask about…etc. That and a lot of looking at sailboats.

Here’s a breakdown of what I’ve discovered while searching through a lot of boats:

  1. The boats you want are out of your price range.
  2. The boats you can afford are too small for what you need.
  3. ...Or are in really poor shape.
  4. If you find the boat you want, in good shape for close enough to your budget as is to be expected, it will be too far away. The overall cost of checking out the boat and bringing it to your location would be too much to be an economically sound decision (darn you California and your moderately priced sailboats!)
I’m still making these rules up as I go so feel free to add anything you feel I’m missing.

Lately, I’ve actually started making appointments to see the boats I’ve been drooling over/eyeing skeptically. I’ve only seen one boat so far that I found on craigslist; it’s a Willard 30 Cutter rig. It’s been out of the water for a bit and is in rough shape but the price sounded enticing enough. Apparently there were only 30 of these made which has me feeling like its rare boat and I’m getting a good deal but at the same time, there may be some problems that a boat builder wouldn’t have been able to work out after only 30 boats.

I’ve been leaning towards the odds that the boat has problems since I emailed the owner a few days ago, asking some questions about the boat (does it float, what maintenance has been done on it…etc) just trying to get a better feel for the boat and see if its worth getting a surveyor for, but have yet to get a response. I sent a follow-up email but I’m not holding my breath. The interior of the boat was packed with stuff so maybe the guy has been using it as a storage unit and is rethinking selling. I dunno...

Anyway, I’m going to look at an Irwin 35 this weekend and a Pearson the following week. I plan to use the boat as a liveaboard for a year or two before setting off and doing some cruising and a circumnavigation with Girlfriend so I want a boat that will function well in both situations. I’m not entirely convinced about an Irwin’s bluewater  capabilities but I’m looking into it and I’ll get a better idea after this weekend when I get to see the boat up on the hard.

At least after reading up on the subject, I know what to look for and to avoid in terms of a bluewater boat. The section that all the books seem to be missing is where to find these boats for a deal. [sigh]…Alas.

If anyone else is interested, I’ve put up my reading list below. I’m still working my way through them but mostly the parts about what to do AFTER you have a boat. I’ve devoured the parts about how to pick and chose a boat. 

Twenty Affordable Sailboats To Take You Anywhere
Seaworthy Offshore Sailboat: A Guide to Essential Features, Handling, and Gear
How to Sail Around the World : Advice and Ideas for Voyaging Under Sail
Self-Sufficient Sailor
The Essentials of Living Aboard a Boat

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