Five Hot Tips to Buy a Good Used Sailboat
By John N. Jamieson
Are you in the market for a good used sailboat? Perhaps you want a day sailor, a cruising sailboat, or even a racing sailboat. Before you start out, you will want to consider these five sailing tips that will save you lots of money and give you more sailing pleasure for years to come!
1. Sail More When You Sail Small
Famous cruising couple Lin and Larry Pardey have a saying that goes like this “Go small, go simple, go now!” Think about that for a second. It sums up where you need to start on your quest. Smaller sailboats will be less of a headache to maintain and their sailing gear costs less.
For example, if you need to replace the sails, winches, or standing rigging (shrouds and stays) in the future, you can save thousands of dollars if you buy a smaller sailboat. That gives you more money left over for cruising.
2. Make it Easy to Get Underway for a Day
If you hang around a marina long enough, you ‘ll notice that many sailboats stay tied up in their slips like worn out thoroughbreds. Many owners become frustrated with the amount of time and effort necessary to get underway for a day sail or a moonlit cruise. Don’t let your purchase end up as a piece of “slip furniture”. Buy smaller and you’ll be able to get underway in a heartbeat.
3. Save Big Bucks in Outfitting
Expect to spend an average of 33% to get a used cruising boat ready for offshore cruising. But if you were to buy new, you could spend 50% more over the initial base purchase price to get her outfitted for sea. Used cruising boats often come well equipped with sailing equipment that the previous owner has bought and maintained. This fact alone will save you big dollars in the long run.
4. Hire a Surveyor with a Reputation
You will find the best surveyors are those recommended by people that have purchased used boats. Go onto some of the online sailing forums, like those on Sailnet, and ask around. Credentials are one thing, but you also want a surveyor who sails.
And one who will be ruthless in his or her pursuit to find the strengths and weaknesses in the boat that interests you. Remember that the surveyor must be dedicated to you, not to a broker. Sailors on sailing forums tend to tell it like it is and that’s just what you want.
5. Take Her Out for a Sea Trial
Did you know that a big number of folks will buy a used sailboat without putting her through a sea trial? This has to be one of the biggest blunders anyone can make. Just because she’s pretty at the pier doesn’t mean she will behave underway. Get her out there and put her through the paces under sail and power. Sail her on every point of sail.
Does she have excessive weather helm? Will she track on a sailing course with light fingertip pressure, or does it take white knuckles to keep her on course? Does her engine vibrate like a box of rocks, or wander up and down in RPM?
Once you buy, all of these become your problem. Use them as negotiating points if you decide to go ahead with the purchase. Or, run–don’t walk–from any boat that has too many “lemon” qualities. There a plenty of other fish out there. Be patient and you will find that one that’s a match made in heaven.
Now you know five super sailing tips that will get you started to find the perfect used sailboat in today’s hot market. Save lots of money and future disappointment when you find a sailboat that will give you joy to sail today, tomorrow, and for many years to come!
Captain John teaches sailboat cruising skippers the skills they need to set sail for a day, a week–or a lifetime! Get his popular free report “Ten Top Boat Safety Checks for Cruising Boat Skippers” at Learn to Sail at Skippertips.com.
John offers free tips, articles, videos and newsletter at Learn to Sail at Skippertips.com.
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