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Old 08-23-2015, 06:36 PM   #1
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Thoughts on Self-Survey, Valuation, Refit Costs?

I appreciate all the advice from the forum! I'm not sure yet if this is the boat for me, but it is the one I'm investing the time in to learn about all this stuff This isn't really a "Should I buy this boat thread" because that would be an impossible question. This is more of a "Thoughts on price vs condition" and "Refit/Repairs cost vs condition" advice thread. I'd like to use this boat, and what I'm learning, as a base point for any other boats I may look at. Something to keep in mind is I would be doing any work myself (other than machine work and exotic welding).

Quick background on the boat in question. This is the listing: 1979 Gulfstar "44" Motor Cruiser Power Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com

Those pictures are I believe a couple years old, from the last time they sold the boat. From some papers I snooped around and found, the PO paid $60,000 in 2013. I'm going to go out on a limb and say he didn't do much to the boat. . .just bought as-is, did the loop, and now is selling it. No power was available, so I couldn't turn anything on. I did go thru every drawer and hatch and access panel and did my own "survey" though.

I'm going to try and be brief, just areas of concern.

-Over all, the topsides have been painted rather poorly. The paint is faded, all the trim and teak was painted over, window frames, port lights, sealant. The paint is starting to check and peel in places. I can't imagine it being cheap or easy to remedy. Though, not something that would sink the boat.

-Hull gelcoat is in need of a good buff and wax. Some scrapes, dings, etc. Again, not critical, but something time consuming.

-Fore deck has a hundred pock marks evenly spaced around it. It looks like a "Drill and fill" job. Some of the plugs are shrinking and "smiles" are opening up. Some spring noted if I bounce on it. Not sure if deck compromise or just because it is unsupported below.

-Rust around a lot of the stanchion bases. Some are loose. Nice that they are bolted thru a solid glass hull flange and backing plate. I assume they would all need to be pulled, cleaned, and bedded.

-Fly bridge enclosure has seen better days. Still serviceable, but cracks and holes in the strato glass, fogging, chalky vinyl fabric, sticking zippers. On the outside there is evidence of a lot of tape to prevent leaking, I assume.

-Sundeck enclosure seems newer than the fly bridge. Much better condition. One panel needs to be restiched, but everything looks good.

-Vinyl exterior cushions are chalking up.

-Sundeck roof is springy over the transom (it is unsupported and I weigh 220, so. . .). Evidence of drill and fill. Most/all of the stanchion bases are loose. They are just screwed in. Some cracking around bases noted. This would be a priority fix to prevent water ingress.

-Atkins & Hoyle portlights have been shoddily painted over. Still work, but look like they need R&R.

-Probably the only thing scary to me was the thru hulls in the keel. They are just mushrooms with an elbow to the ball valve. When operated, you can see the mushroom twisting slightly in the keel These would all need R&R with Groco Flanged adapters. 4 that I saw, 1 1/2". One valve needs to be replaced. No good pictures though, phone ran out of juice as I got into the engine room.

-Other thru hulls have new ball valves, but they are just screwed onto the original flanged cone valves. Not sure if this is legit or not?

-No dead roaches, but I did find traps and borax behind some of the panels and drawers. . .

-One picture of what looks like gate valves going thru hull coring? I didn't think these boats were cored?

Thoughts, opinions, advice are all welcome! Please see below for a selection of pictures.
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Old 08-23-2015, 06:41 PM   #2
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Also, the under deck part of the windlass looks like a rotten chunk of steel. . .
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Old 08-23-2015, 06:47 PM   #3
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Um, thirty-six old boat. Gulfstar is a good boat. Personally, I did not see any show stoppers in any of your photos, nor in any of your comments. However, self-survey is only good for weeding out the real scams. Once you get to the next level, then you just have to cough up the bucks and get a professional. Just saying . . .
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Old 08-23-2015, 07:00 PM   #4
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Um, thirty-six old boat. Gulfstar is a good boat. Personally, I did not see any show stoppers in any of your photos, nor in any of your comments. However, self-survey is only good for weeding out the real scams. Once you get to the next level, then you just have to cough up the bucks and get a professional. Just saying . . .



I sure hope you don't get your heart set on this boat. GS's are somewhat popular boats with a bit of a cult following. Anyone Google searching this subject boat(other interested parties) stumble upon all these threads... Snatch the footwork from you and put it under contract without so much as a thank you.

There's a time to look and a time to leap, experience will show you the difference between the two. Buying and pricing boats is not a scientific endeavor, go with your gut.
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Old 08-23-2015, 07:18 PM   #5
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It depends on what you want to do with it, how important appearance is, and how long you plan to own it. Clearly you could sink a lot in just materials cost just to have a nice boat. More important to me is the drive trains. Two engines with 7K hours and a genset with 4.7K hours. You could spend serious $ replacing anyone of the three. It's rare that a rough boat like that has had great mechanical maintenance. That's a steal it or walk away from it boat. I would figure out what I was willing to spend between acquisition and refit, then save in reserve $10K to replace one of the 3 pieces in the engine room. I'd offer a dollar a pound for the boat.

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Old 08-23-2015, 07:30 PM   #6
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AS John said, don't really see anything on your lost that would be a deal killer, if, and a big if, you are (1) planning on doing ost of the work yourself, and (2) are absolutely realistic about the prospective cost and are comfortable with it. That said, I would invest not only is a good survey, but I would also invest in an engine survey. Assuming the mechanicals are in pretty decent shape and you are ok with 1&2 above, it is worth consideration. However, if he paid $60K for it in '13 and did a Loop, %59K seems overpriced. I would make a pretty low ball offer using the amount of work needed as a reason for the low offer. Give it a shot and see what comes back from the owner.
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Old 08-23-2015, 08:41 PM   #7
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Do you have requisite skill sets and experience to tackle a fixer upper?

How about budget and schedule?

To what level of finish and equipment state would you foresee taking this vessel in the next few years?
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Old 08-23-2015, 09:09 PM   #8
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Um, thirty-six old boat.
Not sure what that means?

I'm saving the surveys for when I'm serious about a boat, but yes they would be the most useful. . .and yeah, I would have to pony up the dough (I am known as CheapAssSteve, btw )

Hearts not totally set on this boat. If someone swooped in and put it under contract before I decided I wanted too. . .I'd be disappointed, but not heart broken. I'd take it as a sign from the universe that it wasn't meant to be

I don't want to fall in love yet, but I do feel I can be too cautious (leaning on my current experience with my sailboat). On the other hand, I have no particular brand, size, power plant, or style of boat I'm looking for. . .so there is a LOT out there to choose from!

THD & O C Driver, good advice to price out the repower/refit. Since I plan on doing most anything myself, it should as simple as ball parking parts and materials?

Thanks all!
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Old 08-23-2015, 10:38 PM   #9
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Do you have requisite skill sets and experience to tackle a fixer upper?
I've got mad skillz Well, my rolling & tipping could be better refined. . .and I've never welded aluminum. . .

A good amount of experience with my sail boat. But it turned more into a ground up restoration (it was pretty neglected) and that has kind of turned me off. I wouldn't mind a "fixer upper" if it truly is just that, and even then a light fixer upper.

Quote:
How about budget and schedule?
This has been hard to figure. I will be living on the boat and have no cruising aspirations. Fix things as they break when I can afford it? While I do have money in a savings account, I don't have $80k set aside specifically for a refit. Middle class guy on a fancy beer budget

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To what level of finish and equipment state would you foresee taking this vessel in the next few years?
Finish? I would at least strip and varnish the painted teak. If not that, at least paint it a nice trim color. Paint the topsides and nonskid. Not worried about replacing the side curtains on the fly-bridge. I would sew a cover for the helm station. It would be home, so I would want it to eventually look nice.

Equipment state? Whatever is needed to have hot pressurized water, AC/Heat, tunes, cold beer & hot food That laundry list of electronics means nothing to me. . .
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Old 08-23-2015, 10:55 PM   #10
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Beans, I'm in the process of working on a fixer upper right now. I have done this before on a smaller scale (1963 27' Chris Craft Constellation). I did an excell spread sheet with every problem I could find, priced it out then added 50% to it to decide what I would offer. Luckily I had time to really look the boat over for several days and research prices. You might not have that access so take it into account. I helps that the Admiral likes the boat.

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Old 08-23-2015, 11:02 PM   #11
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cool beans- it looks to me like you have the makings of a very good marine surveyor! I'm with you in digging under and behind. Lots of boats on the forum (including mine) would have at least one or two of the problems you located.
Just as a test run:
One of the things that stuck out to me were the screws popping up through the non skid. That's structural rot of the core beneath the non skid gel coat I suspect. Crucial to me would be to fix soon and try to save the original finish there.
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ID:	43489Our boat has crappy portals. 5 on the aft cabin were replaced by the prior owner. The remaining ones (all plastic) are in varying degrees of disrepair and area size that isn't available anywhere. During my recent bottom jobs, I updated two original portals by "shaving the screws" on the outer ring, removing the remaining "eyebrow" and repairing the remaining exterior using FG Bondo and body work techniques. Cost- about $15 by using mostly what I had laying around.


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Old 08-26-2015, 08:10 PM   #12
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I did an excell spread sheet with every problem I could find, priced it out then added 50% to it to decide what I would offer.

Kevin
That's kind of what I did. . .except I came up with them owing me $3000

But I did email the broker a fairly detailed description of what I found, after his reply, I sent an explanation of what I would be comfortable offering. . .and it was a range of mid to upper $30k's. That included a worst cast scenario of fiberglass/core work and major mechanical work in the near future and a little "I really don't want another project unless there is value in it for me".

To be honest though, the couple Motor Cruisers (not MY) I could find were in better condition and lower hours sold for $59k to low $80's. I'd be looking at $40k in equity? That MIGHT be enough to rebuild the motors if I needed too and a paint job

And thanks for the compliment Forklift
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Old 08-26-2015, 08:47 PM   #13
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Finish? I would at least strip and varnish the painted teak. .
Trying to bring back painted teak to a bright finish is generally not successful. The reason is that the paint soaks into the grain and you have to sand down a long ways to get past all the traces of paint. To the point where the trim is often not useable anymore.

Part of the problem is that finish removers these days have been so watered down due to environmental and consumer protection regulations that they are almost worthless even the so-called "heavy duty" strippers. They certainly won't lift paint out of grain like they used to.

In the late 60s early 70s I used to refinish gunstocks for extra pocket money in college. The finish removers available back then would burn a hole in your skin but they would lift an old oil finish completely out of the wood grain. This strength of stripper hasn't been available to consumers for decades now.

It may be that the teak trim can be removed from the boat and taken to a commercial stripping company that uses stripping chemicals powerful enough to pull the paint out.

This is why if an owner wants to paint the raw or bright-finished teak on their boat they should first apply a coat of varnish, Bristol, or some other bright finish that will seal the wood. Then paint over that. Then if the owner or a later owner wants to return the wood to a bright finish the paint will not have soaked down into the grain.

We have a run of painted teak trim around the flying bridge on our boat that I would like to bring back to bright finish when we get the time. Having experimented on bits of it in the past, there is no way we'll ever get the paint off and out of the grain and have enough wood left to fit the space it needs to occupy. Our only recourse will be to have new teak trim milled for us which is what we'll do when we get to that particular project.
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Old 08-26-2015, 08:48 PM   #14
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Finish? I would at least strip and varnish the painted teak. .
Trying to bring back painted teak to a bright finish is generally not successful. The reason is that the paint soaks into the grain and you have to sand down a long ways to get past all the traces of paint. To the point where the trim is often not useable anymore.

Part of the problem is that finish removers these days have been so watered down due to environmental and consumer protection regulations that they are almost worthless even the so-called "heavy duty" strippers. They certainly won't lift paint out of grain like they used to.

In the early 70s I used to refinish gunstocks for extra pocket money in college. The finish removers available back then would burn a hole in your skin but they would lift an old oil finish completely out of the wood grain. This strength of stripper hasn't been available to consumers for decades now.

It may be that the teak trim can be removed from the boat and taken to a commercial stripping company that uses stripping chemicals powerful enough to pull the paint out.

This is why if an owner wants to paint the raw or bright-finished teak on their boat they should first apply a coat of varnish, Bristol, or some other bright finish that will seal the wood. Then paint over that. Then if the owner or a later owner wants to return the wood to a bright finish the paint will not have soaked down into the grain.

We have a run of painted teak trim around the flying bridge on our boat that I would like to bring back to bright finish when we get the time. Having experimented on bits of it in the past, there is no way we'll ever get the paint off and out of the grain and have enough wood left to fit the space it needs to occupy. Our only recourse will be to have new teak trim milled for us which is what we'll do when we get to that particular project.
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Old 08-26-2015, 09:51 PM   #15
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I'll just speak to the asking price and assuming it surveys better than I think it will. It sold two years ago for $60,000. It's had something approaching 1,000 hours put on it since then. It's deteriorated since then with lack of maintenance. Maximum value in my mind is $30,000. Now that assumes engine and generator and hull check out. I suspect a lot of rot to be found though. Just as an example of the neglect, it's sitting with no electricity, battery or otherwise. People taking care don't risk that with nothing to operate the bilge pumps. This boat hasn't had a well maintained, cleaned up, cared for two years.
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Old 08-29-2015, 10:23 AM   #16
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I did allude to that to the broker. He clarified that the previous owners only had the boat for a year and didn't use it much. He bought it from the guy who did the loop, who passed away which is why it was sold.

The rest of the points stand Haven't heard anything from the broker. Not sure if he is waiting on a response from the Seller, or he thinks I'm just joking around
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Old 08-29-2015, 10:27 AM   #17
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Marin, my dad basically told me the same thing. He's been restoring furniture for some 30 years now. Though, he has hope and access to the commercial grade strippers. I used that stuff to strip a couple years of paint off my old pickup truck. Stuff gave me chemical burns thru my gloves
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