The origin of Messing About In Sailboats

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Buying A Sailboat

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July 02, 2008

Comments

Joel Reymont

Would you mind posting the checklists that you found? Lots of bots for sale here in the Canary Islands and I'd love to buy one someday.

Edward

I've only had good experiences with the boats I've bought. I've always had very modest boats and the trick there is to be patient. I knew I couldn't take on a project but could fix the cosmetics so I found boats that needed some "updating" but not full restoring. On my Newport 28, when I told the insurance inspector my price, he gave an appreciative whistle while nodding his head. I loved that.

Christy

I've had only two boats -- a CL-14 and my current Capri 18 -- and have only good things to say about both.

Although I wouldn't quite consider it a 'horror story,' the CL-14 came with a jet-ski trailer that didn't provide proper tongue weight and tended to fishtail a bit. I solved that problem by buying a boat trailer kit from Harbor Freight Tools and assembling it myself in my backyard using my trusty $19.99 "Homeowner's Basic Toolkit." Well, except for the 'greasing the bearings' part. I called in male assistance for that because I wasn't willing to 'interact with' yucky grease.

Keep us posted on your boat-shopping adventures, Adam!

Carol Anne

Aw, Christy, you chickened out? Back when I took auto shop in high school, I loved greasing wheel bearings. Besides, when you're done, your hands will be prevented from chapping for at least a week.

As for boat-buying misadventures, it's funny ... I haven't had any unexpected bad surprises, and I can't think of anybody I know who has had that sort of problem.

Now, when Pat bought Black Magic for me, I knew I was getting an older boat that had been neglected for many years. I knew to expect that lines would have deteriorated from exposure to Southern California sun and salt air, and that other parts of the boat would be decaying. I didn't know exactly which parts would go, but I knew that things would go.

So even though I've had to do a lot of work on the boat, I wouldn't consider it a "nightmare" -- it was all to be expected.

Of course, this is a very unusual boat, since it has no cabin or head or galley or motor or electrical wiring other systems that can go wrong, and everything on this boat is accessible for easy repair or replacement. The most technical thing I've had to do is fiberglass work. And the hole in the bow that I had to repair is one that I put there myself, not something from the boat's past.

Joe Rouse

What kind of boat are you looking for? Cartop? Multihull? Dinghy? Leadmine? Trailerable?

I like to inspect a boat out of the water and then put it back in and take her through her paces with a couple of test sails.

If you get a larger boat you might want to hire a surveyor.

Here is a link to a survey check list that I have used in the past.
http://www.geocities.com/BILL_DIETRICH/SurveyChecklist.html

Pat

Advice I've seen, heard, or dreamed up is ...

DO buy the boat you can afford now, and sail now.

But do not buy a boat if you won't be able to handle it (needing a little mentoring is okay) or if it's not the kind of boat you'll be ready to use any time soon.

Do beg your way onto lots of boats... OPB (other people's boats) is a fine, fine way to get experience. Play your cards right and some kindhearted, generous, caring boat owners might even let you help out with fiberglass repairs, diesel bleeding, marine head rebuilding, sail patching, circuit troubleshooting, blister removal, halyard retrieval/replacement, teak varnishing, and other secret delights of the boat owner's life.

Do ask lots of opinion, network, and pay attention to any feelings of unease ... or, with luck, feelings that "this one fits just right".

Don't believe everything you hear or read is true ... or at least, will be true for you and your needs and comfort level.

Pat

Advice I've seen, heard, or dreamed up is ...

DO buy the boat you can afford now, and sail now.

But do not buy a boat if you won't be able to handle it (needing a little mentoring is okay) or if it's not the kind of boat you'll be ready to use any time soon.

Do beg your way onto lots of boats... OPB (other people's boats) is a fine, fine way to get experience. Play your cards right and some kindhearted, generous, caring boat owners might even let you help out with fiberglass repairs, diesel bleeding, marine head rebuilding, sail patching, circuit troubleshooting, blister removal, halyard retrieval/replacement, teak varnishing, and other secret delights of the boat owner's life.

Do ask lots of opinion, network, and pay attention to any feelings of unease ... or, with luck, feelings that "this one fits just right".

Don't believe everything you hear or read is true ... or at least, will be true for you and your needs and comfort level.

Chuck

I scoured the internet for prospects of a nice pocket cruiser. Sent web ad photos off to sailor friends and relatives for advice.
Contacted the broker and made an appointment to look at a nice looking used Pearson. I liked the deck layout and outward appearance. My wife went below to give it the sniff test and shook her head. Checking further she put her finger through a wet spot in the bulkhead next to a chainplate.

Even the broker was speachless.

Chris Dowling

As a yacht broker, the best advice I can give to you is get a very good surveyor! Don't hire the cheapest one, get the one with good references and credentials. Be there at the survey and do not be afraid to ask questions. The surveyor works for you and you should take full advantage of this. This is also the best time to learn about the systems in your soon to be new boat before they break on you, and they will. Good luck!

Derek Bouwer

There are a number of issues when buying a new boat or your fisrst boat
I will assume that you have sailed before.
First question you need to answer for yourself is What do I ant to do with this boat
1 Either Yacht racing or Cruising or a combination of both. answering this question will put in the right direction if the type and design of boat you would like to buy.
2 Next identify 1-2 designs you like then try to sail on that design before buying this give you an idea of the boat appointments and capabilities.
3 make you final choice to the design then look for a suitable boat via boat yards and yachting mags.
Decide on a number of boat you might purchase
then look them over personally
Ask the prespective seller the following question.
1 How often have you sailed this boat.
If they sailed the boat once in 5 year wack 30% off the asking price, a boat that has not been sailed regularly will require more maintenance before you can go sailing
2 Ask to see the differeny appointments on the boat then ask to see them operating thus ensure that what ever you buy is in working order apointment that are nhot working wack off money as this is what you will have to pay to get them working.

Once youve found the prospective boat and the propective seller that has shown and given the answers that satisfy you settle on a price now ask for all the paper work manuals servce record of all the equipment on the boat. this save you a lot of heartach and pain when you have to work and service them.Buy the boat.
Once youve got the boat in you homr port go through it once again from stem to stern maling a list of things that need you attention
Stat with those that will get you boat sailing if you're lucky it will be ready to sail. Start fixing but most of all start sailing and enjoying tyou boat.
WE bought a VD Stadt 34 in 2006 and are sailing regularly and still working on our to-do list.
please understand work and manitenance to keep your pride and joy sailing never stops!!!
Enjpy which ever boat you buy but most of all sail her regularly

3

Corinthian

Good question and most of us have started at the same point at one time or another;
Couple of key points to remember
1.buying a boat will be one of the most enjoyable things to do - if and only if you use it
2.Buy a boat with the ability to be able to sell it in 5 years time - always look at the next owner
3.Make sure the lady/bride is onboard with your crazy adventure
4.then here is the risky (or less risky) approach.
Find someone in the sailing community with credibility/experience and good heart. Most of us are - be forthright - pay the person good money to sort thru the bullshit for you and do as your told in the boat to purchase.
that way you'll get out on the water quickly - the yacht will work -(from the "new to the sailing scene perspective" you will not have a clue about the compromises you need to make in the purchase of a yacht - but an experienced person will. (Not a broker - someone that you specifically employ on your behalf)
the act/art of sailing has always been about the people you meet along the way and the struggles/ experiences shared - many years later it will have been one of a number of boats.

Enjoy the water and be kind to those closest to you

Peter Hall

Subject: STOP BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE


I have a couple in my Maine neighborhood who are getting ready to shop for the first boat; not merely nosing around mind you but they have gone to the extreme of actually conversing with a yacht broker. Having seen a beat up dingy and assorted boat parts scattered around my garage they asked me for a bit of advice. Never mind that my sailing resume includes glorious events such as falling overboard, getting stuck at the top of a mast or watching my revved up outboard motor pin wheeling through the air before plunking into the bay. My ego got the better of me and I decided to impart to them my hard won wisdom. I emailed them back the following with the subject line: STOP BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE



Dear Neighbors:

You are clearly infected by an insidious disease that will consume your brain and bank account. Boats: can't live with them, can't live without them. Shamelessly trite but true. They break, maintenance tasks are endless, and the yacht industry is full of many screwballs whose customer service attitudes make the telephone and computer industry look positively stellar. How could I possibly forget the boatyard who cut the wires leading out of the bottom of my mast instead of just disconnecting them before taking the mast down for winter storage. Or the year one yard kept billing me for services on a boat I did not own. Or the sail loft who promised me a new genoa within 2 months, and yet a year and half later it was not quite done despite full prepayment (my bad). More recently one yard wired my boat so poorly one battery was not connected, the high tech mapping device had me going 180 degrees the opposite direction and a newly installed depth sounder pointed at my keel and of course always indicated I was effectively aground at all times.

These expensive toys have no brakes, a serious design flaw if you ask me. You may have a boat weighing 10,000 pounds and no effective way to stop the damn thing when sailing. Even a 16 pound road bike has a highly effective braking system. Your time on the water will be filled with hours of boredom, times of blissful pleasure and moments of pure terror. Old married couples scream at each other while docking and at other times gaze at each other in supreme marital bliss while sipping cocktails in the cockpit at sunset. I mean think about it, the seemingly simple task of just parking the friggin' boat can turn into this major production with all the logistics and coordination of a military assault. You will put hours of work into this hobby and some years it will seem like there is more work on the boat than playing on the boat. You will wait all week to go sailing on your precious summer weekends, only to end up having rain 3 weekends in a row. The sailing season in Maine is brief. And yet our coast of Maine is clearly one of the prettiest, most romantic and inviting areas to sail in anywhere in the world. Our state is rated one of the top 3 cruising destinations in the world. Even after decades of being around our waters I never cease to be amazed by the view. Picture sailing along with the boat perfectly trimmed and balanced, water gurgling down the hull, blue sky and sun, a pilot whale off the starboard bow and you are gazing at conifer covered islands all around. And then 1/2 hour later you are panicing and totally stressed out because the fog has rolled in big time and you are surrounded by ledges. The evil flip side of the phase "Rockbound Maine Coast" becomes all too apparent. And believe me, sooner or later you will run aground. I even remember hitting bottom in a marina when assured by the "Dockmaster" (he was all of 16 years old) that was it was not possible to run aground where I was because I was in the alley way between the docks. And this despite the fact he was watching me ineffectually and ultimately disasterously gunning my engine back and forth and stirring up the mud. Low and behold while at full throttle I discovered how quickly my boat accelerates when it suddenly breaks free. Of course this discovery occurred in an area of restricted space surrounded by yachts of far more value than my own. To be honest virtually every year at the start of a new season I mentally hold my breath, because without fail something bad will occur before the boat is put up for the long winter.

Consider just a few of the phrases and words that are part of the lexicon of sailing:
1. Life preserver
2. Life sling
3. Broaching
3. Death roll
4. Rogue wave
5. White squall
6. Dismasting
7. Man overboard
8. Lifeline
9. Limit of positive stability
10. Lost at sea.


It truly is a strange passion. And yet every winter like thousands of other defectives I find myself daydreaming about the next boating season. And it is usually because I think about certain moments. Moments like rounding a crowded windward mark in a large fleet or getting the boat on a plane downwind in a blustery breeze. Or awakening at daybreak on a perfectly still ocean and watching the seabirds fish for breakfast with that first cup of coffee in my hand.

Like I said it is a disease and short of death there may be no cure. And to paraphrase/butcher Dickens: Sailing has given me some of the most thrilling moments in my life and some of the worst.

Have you considered taking up quilting?

Peter Hall

rod

Rent!

Bob

Freedom 21s can be purchased for under 5k, and are very easy to rig and derig for daysails.

Count Enrico Ferrari

Excellent comments by all. Read "The Boat that Wouldn't Float" by Farley Mowat. You will see an adventure with love, hate, and amazing activities associated with boating.

My comment is to NOT buy a wood boat. Buy a boat that is in great condition so all you have to do is maintain it, which is enough work all by itself. Projects on a boat have a way of distracting one from actually sailing. Just say NO to a Project Boat.

Simple is easier to use. Complicated is usually a lot more money and time.

I suggest you purchase a 12 pack of cold beer and put your thumb out at the local Yacht Club on race night and hitch a ride on OPB for a year or so. You will learn more about making a boat go in one hour of racing than in a week of cruising on your own.

IF you are single and handy with your hands go to the Virgin Islands or other venue with lots of boats and put out your thumb as crew. Be sure to bail if it seems like a bad time and try again. It is about the people.

IF your wife has horses, just plan on sailing solo.

Good luck.

Count Enrico Ferrari

Virtual shopping is good once you know what you want.

www.yachtworld.com is where I found my boat in Puerto Vallarta.

Lorenzo

A little more than a year ago I bought my first boat - a 1971 Cal 27. Not the boat that I was looking for, but ultimately, a boat that, in my price range (under $5K), was too good to pass up. Granted, it was/is a 37 year old boat, but the pros far outweighed the cons in my decision making process.

I had started out looking at 22' daysailers/weekenders - Catalinas & Tanzers. However, my boating mentor advised me to buy the best boat available. This was stellar advice. My boat was in need of some work when she was purchased; however, the previous owner had resently replaced all of the electrical, the bulkheads, the upholstry, and it came with a new honda outboard all $4,800.

Now granted, my "new" boat was 36 years old. But really, the only thing 36 years old was the THICK Cal hull. AND is was sailable from day 1.

Since my purchase, I have redone the galley, and replaced the head - among other things - and can honestly say that all of the projects have been enjoyable learning experiences.

חופשת סקי

Once you have found the ship and the potential seller prospective showed and gave answers that meet to settle on a price.

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