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Old 12-06-2018, 01:54 PM   #1
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Considering the purchase of a boat and need a little advice

I have an opportunity to buy a boat with a stellar survey and perfect sea trial report that the current owner had paid for when he bought the boat in late 2017. The owner is 86 years old and discovered after 6 hours of engine time, over three boat trips last Summer, that he and his also elderly wife cannot handle the boat.


Assuming I decide to buy the boat, I will pay for a new survey and a mechanical survey to be done soon, but due to weather and the way the boat is trapped in the back of a heated storage building, a sea trial is not possible until Spring.

I have a lot of boat ownership, maintenance and repair experience and I have seen the boat in person. I think it is in exceptional condition and shows obvious signs of meticulous upkeep everywhere I looked. We have agreed on a fair price but he wants to sell within 40 days and has offered to put $10,000 in escrow to cover unforeseen mechanical issues that might be revealed during a sea trial next Spring. I would prefer to wait until after the sea trail to pay for the boat, but I also don't want to miss this opportunity to own this one. We have been looking for this model boat in this condition for 2 years and they are rare.


The boat is a 1992 model with 1607 hours on the CAT3208TA 375 HP twin engines. It has been used in the Great Lakes since new.


Should I consider the buying it now with the escrow offer? Is $10k enough? Can a mechanical survey on the hard with no sea trial reveal enough to make it a low-risk proposition? I realize there's some risk no matter what, but my gut says the mechanicals will be fine.



I appreciate any input.


Edited to add: The difference between the market value on the 2017 survey and the agreed selling price today is $17,400 and the boat has had $5400 worth of new canvas and $3000 worth of new electronics in the last year. It's a very good deal.
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Old 12-06-2018, 02:02 PM   #2
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Can the engine be started with a water hose for cooling if necessary while it is in storage? If the boat is in a building and they won't let you hook up water to it, then pop off the r/w pump cover and squirt some Dawn soap inside to lubricate the impeller so it doesn't shear off blades or just remove the impeller if easy and try to start it. You can run the engine for about a minute with no cooling without harm to let any smoke clear out.

If it starts easily from dead cold that is 80% of the story.

If it starts quickly and it is an otherwise good deal, $10,000 sounds fair and I would go ahead with the deal now.

David
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Old 12-06-2018, 02:03 PM   #3
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Buy it. Otherwise you’ll kick yourself all winter long. I think you say as much, in your own question. : )
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Old 12-06-2018, 02:23 PM   #4
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Good luck with the deal, hope it works out well for you.
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Old 12-06-2018, 02:36 PM   #5
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I talked to a marine surveyor and he said the escrow money for repairs after a sea trial deal is really common and that $10,000 was actually very generous. Going to pull the trigger on this.
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Old 12-06-2018, 06:25 PM   #6
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Pretty common in the great lakes to have money held in escrow until launch. Lots of boats sell over the winter. Is there a third party who will administer the escrow and adjudicate on disposition? I wouldn't say not to make the deal, but make sure the terms are well defined.
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Old 12-06-2018, 07:19 PM   #7
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Seems like you are familiar with market.

I would feel comfortable moving forward given the information you provided.

Best of luck...
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Old 12-06-2018, 08:08 PM   #8
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Very few times in my life have I had a bad deal when my gut says “go”!
Sounds like you have done your due diligence and you have an opportunity to acquire a nice boat.
Best of luck and keep us in the loop!

Cheers
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Old 12-06-2018, 08:33 PM   #9
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You don't say what kind of boat as some have better reputations than others. And everything on the boat, except the new stuff added is 26 years old.

If "most" of the wear items have been replace within the past 5 years, it could be a good deal.

Assume you mean $17.4 LESS than the survey.

If this is a really good, clean boat that's worth $60K, it's probably a killer deal and the $10k escrow is great. If it's a $500K boat, not so much.

The owner owned the boat for a year and put 6 hours on it, unless he's a boat guru and owned several similar boats, I'd bet he knows nothing about this boat. Any chance of contacting the previous owner?

And, yes a mechanical and electrical survey could tell you a lot about this boat, even on the hard, but a lot you could see yourself. Like poor wiring runs, hoses, supports, etc. that are in poor condition, broken or in need of repair. Corrosion, sea cocks can all be checked.

What do the maintenance records say? (there should be some, or at least receipts).

Gut feeling, if this is a popular and rare boat, in the condition you say it's in and not a really high priced boat (over perhaps $150) it's probably a good deal.

The canvas is nice, but $3K worth of radios is small in the whole radio package. If the rest of the radios/electronics are much older than 8 to 10 years, the value is zero. Mine were 12 years old and I replaced everything, except the VHF, and still going to replace one of those.

Food for thought, but gut feeling says.... BUY
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Old 12-07-2018, 08:07 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seevee View Post
You don't say what kind of boat as some have better reputations than others. And everything on the boat, except the new stuff added is 26 years old.

If "most" of the wear items have been replace within the past 5 years, it could be a good deal.

Assume you mean $17.4 LESS than the survey.

If this is a really good, clean boat that's worth $60K, it's probably a killer deal and the $10k escrow is great. If it's a $500K boat, not so much.

The owner owned the boat for a year and put 6 hours on it, unless he's a boat guru and owned several similar boats, I'd bet he knows nothing about this boat. Any chance of contacting the previous owner?


What do the maintenance records say? (there should be some, or at least receipts).

Gut feeling, if this is a popular and rare boat, in the condition you say it's in and not a really high priced boat (over perhaps $150) it's probably a good deal.

The canvas is nice, but $3K worth of radios is small in the whole radio package. If the rest of the radios/electronics are much older than 8 to 10 years, the value is zero. Mine were 12 years old and I replaced everything, except the VHF, and still going to replace one of those.

Food for thought, but gut feeling says.... BUY

I don't want to give away the details until the boat is under contract, but it's a brand well-known for quality and the fair market value is right at $149.9k, so the agreed upon sale price is $132.5k. The 3 grand was spent solely on a new 10" Garmin plotter (with Active Captain) and two sonar transducers, including side scan. The "old" electronics, except for the radar, are less than 9 years old and include another Garmin 10" color plotter. The Radar is a Furuno with a CRT and is probably original, but it works. If I don't like it, I can add radar to one of the plotters easily enough.




Quote:
Originally Posted by Seevee View Post
And, yes a mechanical and electrical survey could tell you a lot about this boat, even on the hard, but a lot you could see yourself. Like poor wiring runs, hoses, supports, etc. that are in poor condition, broken or in need of repair. Corrosion, sea cocks can all be checked.

I have already looked at the stuff you mentioned, I could not find any issues and neither could the surveyor that did the same 14 months ago. I have asked the broker to send me all the logs and maintenance records (and manuals) so I can go through them prior to the sale.



One thing I know from looking at a lot of boats (also working on a lot of boats...) is that you cannot fake 26 years of loving care after 26 years of neglect. This boat has no signs of neglect or restoration.
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Old 12-07-2018, 10:29 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mischief Managed View Post
I have an opportunity to buy a boat with a stellar survey and perfect sea trial report that the current owner had paid for when he bought the boat in late 2017. ..........I have a lot of boat ownership, maintenance and repair experience and I have seen the boat in person. I think it is in exceptional condition and shows obvious signs of meticulous upkeep everywhere I looked............

Should I consider the buying it now with the escrow offer?
Why are you asking us? You have 300% more information than we do! Pull the trigger!
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Old 12-07-2018, 11:54 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mischief Managed View Post

I have already looked at the stuff you mentioned, I could not find any issues and neither could the surveyor that did the same 14 months ago. I have asked the broker to send me all the logs and maintenance records (and manuals) so I can go through them prior to the sale.


One thing I know from looking at a lot of boats (also working on a lot of boats...) is that you cannot fake 26 years of loving care after 26 years of neglect. This boat has no signs of neglect or restoration.

Hey Dave


I totally agree with this and with a used boat - even if items inside are dated - starting from a point of "well maintained" is crucial.


Ken
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Old 12-07-2018, 01:32 PM   #13
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MM,

Im sure you know that's not an exceptional offer. However, if it's a rare boat, and truly in excellent shape, it's not a bad deal.

The big issue I have is that you're paying for the boat and you'll be the owner, long before the survey, sea trial and operating the boat. That's a relatively high risk to me.

Now, if you can get a good survey into the boat now, get some power on the boat and do a really good survey you can minimize the risk. Again, from what is know, I'd say go for it.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Mischief Managed View Post
I don't want to give away the details until the boat is under contract, but it's a brand well-known for quality and the fair market value is right at $149.9k, so the agreed upon sale price is $132.5k. The 3 grand was spent solely on a new 10" Garmin plotter (with Active Captain) and two sonar transducers, including side scan. The "old" electronics, except for the radar, are less than 9 years old and include another Garmin 10" color plotter. The Radar is a Furuno with a CRT and is probably original, but it works. If I don't like it, I can add radar to one of the plotters easily enough.







I have already looked at the stuff you mentioned, I could not find any issues and neither could the surveyor that did the same 14 months ago. I have asked the broker to send me all the logs and maintenance records (and manuals) so I can go through them prior to the sale.



One thing I know from looking at a lot of boats (also working on a lot of boats...) is that you cannot fake 26 years of loving care after 26 years of neglect. This boat has no signs of neglect or restoration.
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Old 12-07-2018, 01:54 PM   #14
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Hi I see you have mainship I was looking at 2001 Mainship 39 in Seattle, but I read a inspection on another Mainship saying there were many defects in the basic construction of this company boats. All my experance is in RV,s and large oil drilling vessels. So I need all the help I can get
Thanks
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Old 12-07-2018, 05:41 PM   #15
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Hi Mischief Managed,

Buying a substantial powerboat without a sea trial (YOUR sea trial) seems unwise to me. What you consider a "...stellar sea trial" from 2017 is someone else's opinion on the boat's condition, NOT YOURS. And you're the only one that counts! And it seems unlikely that any competent structural surveyor or mechanical surveyor will agree to complete a survey absent a sea trial. Some of that stuff simply has to be completed afloat!

Granted that the current owner wants to sell within 40 days (and I want the moon to be made of green cheese...), his wish is not your wish. Given the boat is on the hard, and "trapped" in covered moorage for the season, it seem unlikely that any one else will accept the boat absent a sea trial, either.

So, I might suggest you make your offer contingent on a sea trial in the spring, and the sale would not close until then. You might give the current owner some wiggle room with something like a 3-day notice to perform, should he receive a better offer prior to your desired closing date. Your earnest money would remain in escrow while you performed your survey and sea trial.

It's unclear what you have to gain by accepting the boat now, vs waiting until you can complete a proper survey and sea trial. It's very clear what you risk by accepting the boat as-is, where-is. It may be an absolute gem, but it also may be an absolute POS that wouldn't be revealed until it's afloat and trialed. But it's your money, and your choice.
Hope it all works out.

Regards,

Pete
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Old 12-14-2018, 02:28 PM   #16
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Get the engine oil analyzed.
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Old 12-14-2018, 08:09 PM   #17
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Mischief: I totally agree with JungPeter. Put in your signed agreement and keep the money in escrow BUT make the deal contingent upon a satisfactory sea trial in the spring. How can you buy a $150k boat without a sea trial?? Well, I know HOW you could. Lol. But WHY would you?

Is the boat in New England? I see you're from NH. If you and the boat are in NE then that's even more of a reason to wait until April.
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Old 12-14-2018, 09:07 PM   #18
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Considering the purchase of a boat and need a little advice Welcome, Nepidae. You la

In 2010 we bought an '86 Albin 43 Sundeck. Previous 1 owner boat.

There was less than 500hrs on the engines and everything else was in good shape but not setup for cruising, 25# anchor, Loran, old VHF and sounder with transducer rolling around in bilge.

The day we bought her in Oct in CT we left and drove her to Philly. 100mi/day.

She ran like she always wanted to do that.

Today she sits peacefully on the hard waiting for our return to continue our Loop, 3rd yr in progress.

Knock on wood & my head, no troubles, but plenty of expenses to bring her to cruising capabilities. Dinghy & motor, davits, windlass & 55# anchor, hard top for bridge, canvas for 3 sides of bridge, new refrigerator and a lot of loving, cleaning care, including a detail at the beginning of each cruising year, plus, plus, plus.

Asking price $99,9K. Purchase price a lot more than $10K less.

IF you are buying for price alone, I'd say pass, don't let the age of the seller or any other reason move you to the purchase something like a boat. BTW, how long on the market, that could be a tell.

Hope it works out for you as well as it has worked out for us.

Want to talk, email me.

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Old 12-15-2018, 01:15 PM   #19
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We purchased our 2002 Mainship 390, in October of 2017, it was out of the water and winterized when we saw her, we faced the same issue, and the seller was correct the boat would sell fast, we purchased her with an out of water survey complete and a 10K hold back pending sea trial in the spring the day of Launch. To us the most important part was the hull survey which was complete with full report showing moisture etc, prior to purchase, our assumption after meeting the elderly couple who owned the boat and talking to the yard where she was winterized, (Lens Cove on The Rideau) that they had winterized all the systems, and they all were working when the boat came out of the water. the 10K was really just reassurance that it had been winterized correctly, as we new the engine ran. Good luck I am sure your gut is right
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Old 12-15-2018, 02:27 PM   #20
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Update:



The survey is done, but not typed up yet and I'm still waiting on the oil analysis. The surveyor called me up specifically to say "Holy S#*t, what an aweome boat! Buy it." He literally gushed about the condition. So, assuming the oil analysis report is OK, we are moving forward without a sea trial, despite the risks.
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