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Old 01-03-2014, 06:21 PM   #1
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First Purchase Advice

We are narrowing down our search for our first larger, non-outboard boat and looking for some advice. We live on the Chesapeake and this is to be our weekender for the next 5-10 years to learn how to operate a trawler-like boat and visit parts of the bay not accessible to us on our 21 ft outboard. We are interested in a solid, simple Mainship 34 (MK I, II, or III). We like the layout and would like to keep it as simple as possible with minimal bells and whistles with a reliable engine (leaning towards perkins non-turbo). Looking in the $25k-$45k range.

We have read as much as we can on the internet and owners forum. We have looked at many on Yachtworld but none in person yet. We're not sure where to go from here. Should we enlist the services of a broker or do we just start visiting boats on our own? If we do use a broker what can we expect to be charged for his services? Should we contact a surveyor now? Any help on the next steps in the process or things to look for on this particular vessel would be helpful (soft decks, leaking fuel tanks, etc).

Thanks in advance for any help!
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Old 01-03-2014, 06:54 PM   #2
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Here are a couple of places to start. First is the local to your area Mainship group. Jerry Friedman is Commodore and has a boat similar to what you may be seeking.

Yahoo Groups after you get to the Yahoo Groups search for Chesapeakemainshipgroup


The second is a more general geographic area group that you should find a lot of info.

Yahoo Groups Then search for the group Mainship

Hope you find these useful.
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Old 01-03-2014, 07:06 PM   #3
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Greetings,
Mr. d. I see no negatives in getting a "buyers" broker at this point to work on your behalf. I think there are several threads in the archives dealing with who pays the broker(s). I'm sure when the time comes if you ask for recommendations from this board you'll get a lot of leads regarding a reputable surveyor.
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Old 01-03-2014, 07:12 PM   #4
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I think Don provided you with some great places to start your search now that you have narrowed down the builder. Your approach of keeping things simple makes good sense as you start out. Having recently purchased our first used trawler I can advise we followed a similar approach of doing our homework on what builder we wanted on our own then contacted the builders sales representative to help us find the model we wanted. A benefit of using the builders sales team is that they should know which year boats have the best improvements and possibly who may have a boat for sale that is not listed. This how we found our Nordhavn, it was not even for sale but a few phone calls resulted in an owner ready to sell. Timing is everything.
While you can start asking around for inspectors you have time to find one. Again, look for one who knows Mainships and what to look for. If you have not followed our recent adventure you may want to look at the posts under the Nordhavn section of the Trawler Forum. Feel free to contact us with any questions and best of luck with you search.

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Old 01-03-2014, 08:28 PM   #5
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The right broker and the right surveyor can be a tremendous help and save you time and money. A poor broker or surveyor can do tremendous damage. You must put as much care into choosing them as you do the boat. a couple of links to help ....

Choosing A Marine Surveyor
Marine Survey 101

PS. Great choice on the Perkins. I had one run for 20,000hrs. (not a mis-print) on the boat in my avatar before rebuild.
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Old 01-03-2014, 11:32 PM   #6
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Yes I agree a good broker is critical :-)
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Old 01-04-2014, 06:22 AM   #7
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I suggest you look in Florida Mariner for your next boat.

While condition is key to what you will prefer to purchase ,,,location can gave the biggest change in price.

The Chessy area is awash with folks with 100% over scale incomes , so boat and slip prices are very high.

FL is Gods Waiting room , many boats get moved here and then sit , almost forever.

This is reflected in the price , $25K will usually find a number of cruisers ., ready for the ICW , the loop or a Bahamas winter.

Take a vacation , look at a half dozen boats, come back and chug back home when the snow melts?

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Old 01-04-2014, 02:12 PM   #8
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Moonstruck - Thank you for the group links. I'm joining up now and hope to find some useful info.

RT Firefly - Thanks for the reply. Sounds like it can't hurt to get a buyers broker. I wasn't sure if it was needed/desired for a purchase of this "magnitude".

Boatpoker - Thanks for the surveyor link. I will read it over. I'm assuming that I need to look at several boats and do my own "personal assessment" before moving on to using a surveyor, correct? Do I need to find a surveyor or is that something my broker will do for me? Also, do you have any links that might explain the differences in the various Perkins models (ie - 160, 200, 220hp)?

FF - Thanks for the advice on looking at boats in FL. I thought they would be cheaper but was worried that the cost of transporting them to MD would offset any savings. I'm assuming a Mainship 34 can be towed here, correct? Any idea on costs?
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Old 01-04-2014, 02:22 PM   #9
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Here are a couple of places to start. First is the local to your area Mainship group. Jerry Friedman is Commodore and has a boat similar to what you may be seeking.

We had an '87 Mainship III, excellent boat. I think Jerry's is slightly older, and there was another slightly older one in our local club, too. Jerry was aboard ours once when I discovered a recall on the Johnson & Towers DD 8.2T heat exchanger had NOT been done prior to our acquisition. THAT was a bit of a fire drill until we figured out it was just steam

Anyway, it was a great boat for our purposes... and we only sold it because ladders are getting to be a pain... and our big dogs (a Great Pyr and a Golden, at the time) couldn't ride right there with us when we were up on the bridge... and they got a little nervous sometimes when they couldn't actually SEE us all the time. Oh, and there was also that guy who was waving money at us...

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Old 01-04-2014, 02:32 PM   #10
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Moonstruck - Thank you for the group links. I'm joining up now and hope to find some useful info.

RT Firefly - Thanks for the reply. Sounds like it can't hurt to get a buyers broker. I wasn't sure if it was needed/desired for a purchase of this "magnitude".

Boatpoker - Thanks for the surveyor link. I will read it over. I'm assuming that I need to look at several boats and do my own "personal assessment" before moving on to using a surveyor, correct? Do I need to find a surveyor or is that something my broker will do for me? Also, do you have any links that might explain the differences in the various Perkins models (ie - 160, 200, 220hp)?

FF - Thanks for the advice on looking at boats in FL. I thought they would be cheaper but was worried that the cost of transporting them to MD would offset any savings. I'm assuming a Mainship 34 can be towed here, correct? Any idea on costs?

We were using a buyer's broker when we found ours. Our broker at the time (great guy, taught me a lot) had a good feel for what we would be comfortable with (even though we didn't, yet), saw the boat one day, approached the owners, I did a tour... and I instantly knew the boat was a good fit for us.

Yes, you should look at boats first, to the extent that's possible. The model is getting a bit long in the tooth now (not in a bad way), so you'll find some that are impeccable, some a bit ratty. You'll want to weed out the obvious showstoppers first. And then even good looking boats may have some less obvious faults your surveyor can find; decide whether to walk or negotiate further.

A slow trip from FL, even if you have to do it in stages, would be a great adventure... and you'd learn a lot about the boat, its systems, etc. I don't necessarily mean all by yourself, if you're not comfortable with that idea... but doing your own delivery (so to speak) has a lot going for it.

As a mental exericise last year some time, I wrote up a recap of things I would do if I had that boat today. Some dramatic (investigate spiral stairs to replace the ladder), but mostly not. Happy to share, if it'd be helpful and if I can find it...

-Chris
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Old 01-04-2014, 02:36 PM   #11
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ranger42c - How long did you own the boat? Can you give me some pointers on items to pay attention to when looking at these used? Any advice would be most appreciated.
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Old 01-04-2014, 02:59 PM   #12
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We had it from '95 through early '99. Aside from the hull itself... the only thing I can think of off-hand would be any evidence of water intrusion inside the cabins... which could conceivably come from loose stanchions, leaking window frames, etc. Discolored fabric, discolored oak (!) paneling, and so forth would be the tip-off. I don't know that these were at all bothered with water intrusion anywhere, though, and we never had any.

The rest of it's simply about what works to spec -- engine, genset etc. (engine survey will determine) -- and what doesn't. In the grand scheme of things, if something minor like a fresh water pump isn't working great... no big deal, since the periodically need replacing anyway.

A dicky genset, on the other hand... could still be subject to negotiation... but represent a heftier chunk of either purchase price or repair cost. And it could also be just a minor problem, easily sorted.

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Old 01-04-2014, 04:27 PM   #13
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Greetings,
Mr. d. I see no negatives in getting a "buyers" broker at this point to work on your behalf. I think there are several threads in the archives dealing with who pays the broker(s). I'm sure when the time comes if you ask for recommendations from this board you'll get a lot of leads regarding a reputable surveyor.
Completely agree. A good buyer's broker will help you refine your requirements, and also perhaps expand your horizons, i.e., he or she may introduce you to other options you hadn't considered. A good buyer's broker will not push you to move faster than your comfort level would dictate. Plus he/she will prep you for the inevitable challenges of making the purchase.

If you are purchasing a brokered vessel there is no additional cost for using a buyer's broker so why not get the benefit throughout the process.
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Old 01-05-2014, 07:03 AM   #14
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I'm assuming a Mainship 34 can be towed here, correct? Any idea on costs?

Depends on the cost of diesel, I am thinking YOU take her home over a vacation, 2 -3 weeks if in a hurry.

Actual use of the boat will allow you to decide how the boat should be outfitted , if changes are desired..

If you have $5.00 a ft for overnight and like swimming pools and tennis with nearby bars & rest. , it will be one style of boat.

If you prefer independence and silence at anchorages , the outfitting choices may be 100% different.

Learn what you like by experiencing the difference in person. Driving the AICW , the ditch, is a no brainier.

Think I 95 for boats.
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Old 01-05-2014, 09:54 AM   #15
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FF - I would love to take 2-3 weeks and bring a boat up the AICW to the bay. Unfortunately, it's just not realistic for us. We're both still working and would be able to get off 10 days at very best. The plan was to use this boat every weekend while we finish out the last 5-10 years of our working lives to see the bay and learn how to operate a larger boat. That's why I was inquiring about cost of towing it here. Any ideas on tow fees?
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Old 01-05-2014, 10:20 AM   #16
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Looking in the $25k-$45k range.
Is it possible to find a decent seaworthy vessel for this amount without it being a beater?
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Old 01-05-2014, 10:53 AM   #17
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Boatpoker - Thanks for the surveyor link. I will read it over. I'm assuming that I need to look at several boats and do my own "personal assessment" before moving on to using a surveyor, correct? Do I need to find a surveyor or is that something my broker will do for me? Also, do you have any links that might explain the differences in the various Perkins models (ie - 160, 200, 220hp)?
Marine Survey 101 will show you how to inspect the boat before you hire a surveyor. No point in paying him to find the deal breakers you could find yourself with a little education.

Never, ever, ever use the surveyor recommended by the broker. it may be his brother-in-law. We have a surveyor in our neck of the woods known as "Drive-By-Bill". He earned that nickname because he may or may not get out of the car to do the survey. Many of the brokers love him and highly recommend him because he rarely finds anything wrong.

That vintage of six cylinder Perkins are all the same basic engine tuned for different horsepower, some with turbo and some without. Some people will tell you to avoid the turbo but it was a 165hp turbo HT6-354) that we put 20,000 hrs. on before rebuild. They built these engines in two basic formats the regular straight 6 and the horizontal 6. some were built with 5 rings although most were built with 3. The 3 ring version is great, the 5 ring version is amazing.

I am pretty sure that if you search online you can find the service manual which is pretty well written. If you are lucky you may be able to find the parts manual which is excellent and shows exploded views of every single part of the engine.

These engines are very easy to work on and most parts can be purchased through farm equipment outlets which are much cheaper than "marine" outlets. These engines were used on farm equipment and as generators in every part of the world.
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Old 01-05-2014, 11:19 AM   #18
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Sunchaser - Hopefully some of the more experienced folks here can comment on the seaworthy characteristics of a $25-$50k vessel. I can tell you that yachtworld at any given time has roughly 20 Mainship 34's from 1978-1985 in that price range. For me it will be a weekender some i'm not looking for many bells and whistles. My priorities are sound hull, solid deck, good fuel tanks, and a dependable motor. I have no need for washer/dryers, water heaters, radar, and many other options. I hope I can find one that fits my needs.
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Old 01-05-2014, 11:52 AM   #19
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Marine Survey 101 will show you how to inspect the boat before you hire a surveyor. No point in paying him to find the deal breakers you could find yourself with a little education.
Agreed- but, with the questions that the OP is asking, one cannot assume that merely reading a marine survey guide will give anyone a sufficient knowledge base to inspect a boat. I feel I have a decent knowledge base, and that is after 35+ years of vessel ownership and 15+ years in the business- and I always have a potential purchase surveyed.

Quote:
Never, ever, ever use the surveyor recommended by the broker. it may be his brother-in-law. We have a surveyor in our neck of the woods called Drive-By-Bill. He earned that nickname because he may or may not get out of the car to do the survey. Many of the brokers love him and highly recommend him because he rarely finds anything wrong.
This is perhaps the most misleading and incorrect statement I've ever heard. Your experience may be that of a nepotitious relationship between broker and surveyor, but in all my years of being in the marine business, I have not had a problem with a broker recommending a surveyor based on the surveyor not finding anything wrong with the boat.

Usually, the broker will recommend a surveyor that is competent and will do his due diligence on behalf of the buyer, not the broker.

[/QUOTE]
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Old 01-05-2014, 12:07 PM   #20
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Agreed- but, with the questions that the OP is asking, one cannot assume that merely reading a marine survey guide will give anyone a sufficient knowledge base to inspect a boat. I feel I have a decent knowledge base, and that is after 35+ years of vessel ownership and 15+ years in the business- and I always have a potential purchase surveyed.



This is perhaps the most misleading and incorrect statement I've ever heard. Your experience may be that of a nepotitious relationship between broker and surveyor, but in all my years of being in the marine business, I have not had a problem with a broker recommending a surveyor based on the surveyor not finding anything wrong with the boat.

Usually, the broker will recommend a surveyor that is competent and will do his due diligence on behalf of the buyer, not the broker.
[/QUOTE]

1. I did not suggest that he forego a survey, merely that he educate himself to at least separate the wheat from the chafe before spending money on a surveyor

2. 2,967 surveys under my belt so I've been around the business for a while. Brokers are no different than any other profession. In my experience only about 10% are exceptional and put the client first. There are as many dangerous brokers out there as there are surveyors. For the "newbie" to trust either one blindly is foolish.
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