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Old 04-08-2018, 10:02 PM   #1
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Newbie in HI looking at CHB liveaboard Option

Hello all,
My name is Scott Keefer, I'm an army pilot stationed out in hawaii looking into living aboard. I know I should post in the welcome section but since I have a more pointed question/topic I figured I would start here.

After a few months of research, book reading, and lurking around on miscellaneous forums I've found myself looking into a 1981 CHB 38'. I understand the complexities of seeing a boat in person and the difficulty in giving sound advice from an armchair thousands of miles away, but if possible any kind of first reaction/immediate advice you see fit to give would be very much appreciated.

(Link and pictures included below)

About the boat;
She's a 1981 CHB Trawler, 38 LOH, 41 LOA. So far I have been unable to find a similar model. Extensive aftermarket work saw the flybridge extended all the way to the rear similar to a Europa/Sedan, but the interior cabin stops well short of the transom leaving a very large covered deck but only a straight bench (no L-shape) and straight kitchen (almost shotgun style) on the interior with no aft cabin. The roof extension is from what I can tell extremely well done with beautiful matching woodwork and support arms glassed and identical to the originals.

The kitchen counter tops, kitchen sink, and shower walls were recently redone along with a house style sink pedestal installed in the sole head. Sewer system has been replaced with a new composting toilet which I think I can handle (tend to gravitate towards the army mantra KISS = Keep It Simple, Stupid).

She is a single screw although her original engine (presumably a Lehman 120) was replaced with a 1996 Cummins 6BT (which to me seems like a major upgrade despite the Lehman's good reputation). Comes equipped with an older stern thruster with everything in place but inoperable with the belts unattached.

A kohler generator (looks pretty damn recent) is setup in the rear and the electrical has a 30 and 50amp system in place with a recharger and two 8D batteries (if memory is correct) serving as the 'house' battery bank. Comes with a Garmin GPS system of unknown model.

In the covered/rear half the teak deck has been recaulked and is in decent condition considering its age. It has been completely replaced with fiberglass decking forward of midship. Identified issues include some water damage stains near several windows especially the cockpit center hatch/window in the galley/living room. Seems to just be from leaving open during rain and not representative of actual seal leaks.

Boat was hauled out in 2012 for a dry survey here in honolulu. I will attach the results/report. Asking price in 2012 was $59,000 before the extensive roof extension, kitchen/head improvements, and electrical system renovation. Current asking price is $77,000.


I'm sure I'm forgetting plenty of info and I also know that its a lot to read from a trawler newbie so I'll cut it short there. Any and all advice, commentary, or judgement is welcome and will be taken in stride. Thank you very much in advance for any help you may be able to provide.


https://honolulu.craigslist.org/oah/...542908356.html

More pictures that I took and the 2012 survey will be attached ASAP.

CW2 Scott Keefer
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Old 04-09-2018, 08:18 PM   #2
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I would be far more concerned with getting a slip with liveaboard status in Hawaii than anything else.
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Old 04-10-2018, 12:37 AM   #3
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Yeah I know firsthand how difficult it can be but I've already got a spot that I would use with the liveaboard permit included and am on the military only waiting lists in Rainbow Bay.
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Old 04-10-2018, 07:11 AM   #4
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Welcome aboard.

We had a 1984 Fu Hwa double cabin which was built by the same boat building group and looks like an identical hull. CHB also built some of the Marine Traders. On the mainland, these boats go for anywhere from $10-40K depending on condition, equipment, how well the boat was maintained, etc. I see nothing about that boat makes it stand out to make it worth more except possibly the location. Those owner enhancements most likely will not translate to a higher selling price.

Keep in mind, this is basically a coastal cruiser and HI is surrounded by blue water. If it has 400 gal fuel tanks, you are limited to about a 800 mi cruising radius. You will never get it back to the states on its own bottom. Last I heard, Army assignments were 3 years max before PCSing. How fast could you sell if you got into the position this seller is in?

If you look at the boat, pay real close attention to the fuel tanks. They seldom last 30 years in a salt water environment.

The most important thing is to be sure your offer is subject to a survey and sea trial.
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Old 04-10-2018, 04:00 PM   #5
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Thank you very much Donsan. The intent would be for resale upon leaving, however a lot of pilots have been able to go to advanced training and return to Hawaii with an extension to four or five years which would be the plan for me.

Right now our housing allowance for Honolulu is $2600 and with a boat payment of around $500-700, insurance, and a $600 slip/liveaboard fee, I'll be easily able to save into a separate boat fund for repairs, maintenance, and to maintain payments If I am unable to sell immediately upon leaving.

It seems that trawlers in general come up and sell relatively fast here and if I had a liveaboard slip to rent out or transfer in the sale, its that much more marketable. Right now I'm just burning $2000+ a month into rent and getting no return whatsoever, so even selling the boat at a large 'loss' at the end of five years would be no different than if I had been paying someone else's mortgage via rent.

As far as cruising goes it would just be island hopping in the local area to Molokai, Maui, and Lanai or the circuit around Oahu.
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Old 04-10-2018, 04:39 PM   #6
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Welcome aboard!
My take:
There seems to be extensions cords running all over.
Is that 2 microwaves under the sofa? That's a new one!
See the water damage under the windows? Very common for boat of that time frame to leak. Take a hard look for repairs here (or lack of).
Look for water leaks down on top of the steel fuel tanks.
Look for soft spots in the deck.
Soak down any teak decks with a heavy flow from a garden hose. Come back after 30 minutes in the sun and look for wet spots that won't dry. Step on them to see if they squish. If so the wood under the fiberglass is compromised and is probably leaking to spaces below.
Look for brown water stains/leaks on the headliners.
Almost forgot. Stick your head under the dash on the FB and lower helm. Is the wiring neat or a spider web?
$600/month for a slip is cheap for a marina in SW Florida much less HI. How sure are your numbers?
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Old 04-10-2018, 05:15 PM   #7
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Those are actually wine & beer coolers just to keep it classy hahah. Interesting install I know. Current owner is an audiophile and a lot of the modifications that he has made involve electrical additions such as the mini coolers, some serious non-built-in speakers, a powerful pre-amp, and a 60" tv built in a fiberglass shell that drops down from the outdoor roof/flybridge (the TV dropdown is actually pretty well done and a welcome addition for me).

All of the work is done seemingly correctly and absent of shoddy housing electrical material although it is somewhat of a spider web (pictured). That being said my first move would be to declutter everything including the electrical wiring and extension cords along with the overall demand on the system.

I didn't notice any soft spots on the deck but I'll double check using those suggested methods. Headliner looked good from what I could tell. Attached are a few photos I took of the deck, wiring, window leaks etc.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/UNRxdtjVJ3O9EGST2 (link to all of the photos)





























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Old 04-10-2018, 05:18 PM   #8
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It is an expensive houseboat that's pretty old. Plus since you are surrounded by blue water and it isn't a blue water boat seems not the boaty for you. Keep looking.
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Old 04-10-2018, 05:23 PM   #9
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Those are actually wine & beer coolers just to keep it classy hahah. Interesting install I know. Current owner is an audiophile and a lot of the modifications that he has made involve electrical additions such as the mini coolers, some serious non-built-in speakers, a powerful pre-amp, and a 60" tv built in a fiberglass shell that drops down from the outdoor roof/flybridge (the TV dropdown is actually pretty well done and a welcome addition for me).

All of the work is done seemingly correctly and absent of shoddy housing electrical material although it is somewhat of a spider web (pictured). That being said my first move would be to declutter everything including the electrical wiring and extension cords along with the overall demand on the system.

I didn't notice any soft spots on the deck but I'll double check using those suggested methods. Headliner looked good from what I could tell. Attached are a few photos I took of the deck, wiring, window leaks etc.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/UNRxdtjVJ3O9EGST2 (link to all of the photos)



























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Old 04-10-2018, 05:31 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geoleo View Post
It is an expensive houseboat that's pretty old. Plus since you are surrounded by blue water and it isn't a blue water boat seems not the boaty for you. Keep looking.
Point taken. My thought process was that obviously I wouldn't offer near the $77,000 asking price. Additionally due to job requirements, cruising in general (besides the ~50 miles to molokai) is out of the question, so a true blue water capable boat is a lot more boat than I would use. Generally this would serve as a houseboat/day cruiser with the rare inter-island run. The channels can sometimes be intense in the winter months, but you're never more than 25 miles off shore and people relatively frequently paddle race between them.

Admittedly the low selection out here and the fact that I'm a little attached to the boat is creating a bias. That's why I'm here though, to get the impartial/devil's advocate questions and comments.
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Old 04-10-2018, 05:53 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by High Wire View Post
Welcome aboard!
My take:
There seems to be extensions cords running all over.
Is that 2 microwaves under the sofa? That's a new one!
See the water damage under the windows? Very common for boat of that time frame to leak. Take a hard look for repairs here (or lack of).
Look for water leaks down on top of the steel fuel tanks.
Look for soft spots in the deck.
Soak down any teak decks with a heavy flow from a garden hose. Come back after 30 minutes in the sun and look for wet spots that won't dry. Step on them to see if they squish. If so the wood under the fiberglass is compromised and is probably leaking to spaces below.
Look for brown water stains/leaks on the headliners.
Almost forgot. Stick your head under the dash on the FB and lower helm. Is the wiring neat or a spider web?
$600/month for a slip is cheap for a marina in SW Florida much less HI. How sure are your numbers?
The low price is due to a number of factors mainly involving location and the fact that it is state run. Although located 30 feet from the private Keehi Marine Center and the La Mariana Sailing club (which has a beautiful tiki bar and grill), this is in the industrial marine area of honolulu and near the HNL airport (i.e. there are giant fuel storage towers/drums next door). The adjacent boat launch is also a public and heavily trafficked area on the weekends by a sometimes dubious crowd (normal for Honolulu though). That being said this specific slip is so far from that public launch that it might as well be in the private marinas 30 feet behind it. It also includes the typical overly secure dock gate w/ fence. I will be asking for a receipt to confirm before anything becomes official but I have been assured of the cost. Everything else I have seen is privately run and in the $800-1000 range. I would be using this until my name got called for the military slip or another private spot opened up.
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Old 04-10-2018, 06:35 PM   #12
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You might want to study the following blog of one of our members, Greatlaker221. It will give you some hints of what you could be in for with wood rot and fuel tanks and the like on a Taiwanese Tub.

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Old 04-10-2018, 07:55 PM   #13
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I have a friend living and working in Honolulu, while his wife lives and works in Vancouver. In his off hours, he prowls the docks. He has unearthed several great sailboats that have been sailed to HI by enthusiastic owners who have found the bloom has faded from that rose more quickly than they predicted, hence low prices. One could easily find a much better kept sailboat for your purposes, with only the same resale problems.
I would broaden the search before jumping at that obviously badly maintained, used up, worn out, did I say I don't think that boat is the one?
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Old 04-11-2018, 06:38 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greatscott152 View Post
Right now our housing allowance for Honolulu is $2600 and with a boat payment of around $500-700, insurance, and a $600 slip/liveaboard fee, I'll be easily able to save into a separate boat fund for repairs, maintenance, and to maintain payments If I am unable to sell immediately upon leaving.

It seems that trawlers in general come up and sell relatively fast here and if I had a liveaboard slip to rent out or transfer in the sale, its that much more marketable. Right now I'm just burning $2000+ a month into rent and getting no return whatsoever, so even selling the boat at a large 'loss' at the end of five years would be no different than if I had been paying someone else's mortgage via rent.

Thanks for your service, Scott.

Consider that you're not spending your time doing any maintenance at the place you currently rent. From your pics, the boat looks like a "maintenance every day" proposition, much of that maybe being about identifying/fixing incessant source of leaks and some about all that electrical spider web... and then there's all the other issues that come with a boat, even a new boat. I doubt you'd ever get it completely dry, and mold is a bad thing.

IOW, my guess is that boat will cost you more than you're paying now, either in money (if/when you have to hire somebody) or time, or both.

But then I'd suspect many boats would fall into that category, not just that one.

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Old 04-11-2018, 08:42 AM   #15
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My sister and brother in law would live aboard on weekends and holidays ( he was wing commander at the AFB) they loved it spent several years cruising the islands.
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