Date: 27 April 2017. Buying a Big
Boat (part 3)
Search criteria for boat buying is something each individual has to
decide for himself. Having elbow room in the engine room is critical
in my view. If you cannot easily get to engine components to do routine
maintenance you will not do it. I can practically guarantee that the previous owner did
not do preventative maintenance either.
If it is not easy it
will not get done. I find that true in many aspects of my life.
The larger the boat, the more complicated ship systems will be. Make
sure your pre-purchase surveyor has the experience to do a great
survey for you. He needs to be able to interpret what he is seeing.
His conclusions should be detailed and accurate.
A fellow who routinely surveys fishing boats is not
you want looking at your inboard propulsion motor yacht.
My Seaweed has one 30 amp power
inlet. A larger more complex boat would require additional power. A cord capable of
carrying 50 amps is likely necessary to run larger capacity air conditioners,
washers and driers, microwaves, etc. Your surveyor needs to
understand wiring and more. The surveyor I hired pre-purchase was not very good
So you have decided you want a
45-60' trawler. One decision will be determining hull composition.
Do you want fiberglass, steel, aluminum or wood? For goodness sake, pick a
surveyor who knows your hull type. A person who knows and
understands steel might not be so well versed in the intricacies
of a wooden boat. The obverse may well be true too.
Make sure you have chosen the
Find a Surveyor:
Your best bet for finding
a surveyor is to ask for recommendations. Be specific. Tell
what type of boat you are considering and where it is located.
There are *some* excellent wood boat surveyors. Ditto steel
and aluminum. Most surveyors have far more experience with
fiberglass and are better able to offer an educated review of
said 'glass boats.
DO NOT ask
the seller's broker for a surveyor.
I would first ask on
Trawler Forum. The folks there are primarily power
boaters, though many were once sailors. It is a good group of
Because I have plenty of power,
the niceties that make life pleasant for those of us past the half
century mark are on my Seaweed. I am quite comfortable now. I do not
have to conserve power because my solar panels keep up with my
usage. Thank you Bucky.
What I would have
enjoyed at thirty will not work now. I want decadence!
Finding a Last Boat when we are of
"a certain age" brings into play many things that those younger
might not consider. Often early retirees want spare cabins for their
children and grandchildren to use when they vacation. All too any
times those cabins become storage rooms. Younger people simply do
not have the time to devote to leisurely cruising. That is most
John and Tracey aboard their beautiful Selene 4714
I would encourage
couples to focus on what will work
for them and not count on many overnight visitors.
The original Hatteras advertising showed crew quarters forward of
the galley. That stateroom could easily accommodate visiting
grandchildren. The extra cabins on your yacht might become an
office, tool workshop or sewing nook.
There are a lot of options with the
extra cabins found in larger vessels.
Lady Catherine is a gorgeous motor yacht.
In Pete and Deb's letter they said
"So after lots of reading, looking and talking to people we have
decided on a 45-60ft Trawler type boat with full/semi displacement
hull.. more towards an *LRC... small displacement
natural diesels (prefer twins) of the "old school" type with manual
pumps etc... Fiberglass hull, preferably no teak decks"
*LRC - Long Range Cruiser. A motor
yacht capable of extended voyaging without the need to take on
supplies such as fuel, water or foodstuffs.
That search criteria does not seem unreasonable. Know this though:
finding a gem is not easy. Be prepared to pay $$ for one that meets
your needs. Do not dawdle before making an offer. Your broker can
advise of contingency wording so if the vessel does not pass the
survey you can back out.
our 40' sedan cruiser with fly bridge back in 2001:
Mother put a sign in the starboard
forward window on Saturday. Sunday a broker saw the sign and Mother
listed with said broker that afternoon.
We had an appointment with a
fellow Monday. A second appointment was scheduled for Tuesday with
First guy offered full cash with a
closing on Wednesday. Tuesday's fellow called Monday evening meeting
our asking price as well, sans survey. We had already signed off on
#1. From listed to sold took less than a week.
When you are ready
to pull the trigger, do not wait.
Do make your offer contingent upon an acceptable survey.
I have been on
innumerable boats since last fall with a neighbor. He is shopping
for his Last Boat. We have not found a suitable one. Yet.
Every boat we have seen thus far described as "turn key" (meaning ready to go, perfect)
was not. I wish folks would say needs major overhaul or leaks
like a sieve but otherwise okay. All boats need something, at least at the lower end of
the dollar scale. I recently wrote
Turn-Key versus Fixer-Upper
about this very topic.
"I remember coming to grips
with the notion that I could spend six digits
on a boat and still come home with a fixer upper." 6-Pack on
Congratulations folks. This life can be yours too.
Taking a training course is a
good idea. Chartering a variety of boat types is an excellent
idea. Being aboard for a day or three at a dock is valuable. You will
want to know what layout works best for you. Do you prefer the
galley down or up? Do you want a pilothouse or a sundeck? Is your
dream a go-fast cruiser or would a stately Dock Queen better suit
Boating is a
lifestyle. Pick the vessel that best fits you.
For the social set, a marina is a great place to have
At anchor I've shared meals with folks too. I met Bear
and his son Drew three miles offshore.
I provided power while Bear tried to get his engine up
and running. That wasn't successful but we/he tried.
Now Bear's garlic bread was super. I made New England style clam
chowder. Bear had spent a fruitless afternoon working in his
engine room. A shared meal made the unsuccessful repair experience
less onerous I suspect. The story of our meeting is found in the
Three Miles Out (Thursday's Child)
Charting a course to large boat ownership can be
daunting. Pete and Deb intend to take trawler lessons and charter.
Pete says "Then if we liked it, and we can't see why we wouldn't, we'd start
looking avidly for a boat..." This is a wise couple.
Pete and his wife Deb are not
jumping into yachting without learning all they can. Yes, that
will cost some upfront money for charters and such. The value is
in discovering that "yes this is absolutely perfect" or "what was
I thinking?!?" Either lesson learned is worthwhile.
A boat like Lady Catherine could be
in your future... if boating is right for you.
Those new to the trawler world should charter a variety of vessels
in order to drill down to what is absolutely necessary. Try a trunk cabin
model such as a Grand Banks, a sports fish, motor yacht, a sundeck and more. The more
styles of boats you can get aboard, the better.
Find the Best Boat for Your Needs:
Spend time aboard a
variety of yacht styles. Decide which best suits your needs.
Do you want a galley up
or down? Is a sundeck perfect for entertaining or do you
prefer a sportsfish? Pilothouse, fly bridge or both? Walk in
engine room or not?
Will you be going
anyplace where air draft (the height over the waterline) or
depth (how deep of water does your boat require) matters?
Is there good access to
the engine and generator? Can you swap out an impeller,
change the oil, replace filters, etc.?
Which model(s) fit your
requirements and budget?
Know that whatever
structure you buy is what you will live with forever. Do not
compromise on this issue.
NEVER USE THE
Trawler Forum or
Cruisers Forum for surveyor recommendations.
Be specific. Tell what
type of boat you are considering and where it is located.
If your hull type is not
fiberglass make sure your surveyor is thoroughly versed in
whatever you're interested in.
Specifically, for wood, steel, cement or aluminum hulled
vessels go with an Expert for that particular hull type. You
want first hand experience and knowledge.
Hire a mechanic to provide
a thorough drive train and engine inspection.
Imagine life aboard your vessel. Does your heart sing? Mine
does, and yours should too.
No boat will ever 100% suit you. There is always
something that needs
changing, upgrading or tweaking.
After nine years, Seaweed still has a list. Next up, the tuna
door creation and possibly a fan installation in the overhead of my
pilothouse. Both of those
may be done this month. Or next. However, it has been nine years. On
a tight budget one must have the patience to work toward perfection.
This life is ideal for me. If
you think it is for you as well don't forget this aphorism:
A goal without a plan is just
Make your dreams come true.
Good luck and happy cruising. Wish me luck on the tuna door and fan
installation projects. The fan is rather critical what with summer
almost here. Plus I am not quite so flexible as I was nine years ago
when I bought Seaweed. Climbing over the transom has gotten old. I
would like a tuna door back there.
Thanks for reading. I will see you along the
How long did you boat shop before finding the one?
And, was your boat local or a long distance away?
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Buying a Big Boat (part 2) ~
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