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Old 11-11-2009, 05:47 AM   #1
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Hi All

Recently I posted a query about van der stadt yachts for bluewater cruising. We found one, decided to put in an offer, that was accepted, pending surveys. Our last post to the thread occurred just prior to the survey.

Rather than just post a reply to that thread, one commenter suggested that we share our experiences in the forum, so we decided to open a new thread.

On our first visit the owner showed us around (it was a private sale) and was up front with everything. Yes we were looking at a boat which needed some work, but we accepted that. We still wanted a survey. We eventually reached price agreement and wanted to do the sea trial first off. She sailed like a dream in occasionally blustery conditions and we were impressed. At that point the owner pressed us to make a decision. Yes, she did need some refurbishment, but we still insisted on a survey.

The owner suggested a number of surveyors, just to be helpful, who were relatively inexpensive. We asked around and found these surveyors were not really very exprienced. Finally we found a number of surveyors who were well known to be thorough and went with them, despite being more than twice as expensive.

We managed to get surveys organised (the yacht was sitting on a swing mooring away from a main centre so there was a fair bit of extra cost in getting things done) and the structural surveyor provided a brief verbal review to both ourselves and the owner.

After the surveyors left we were immediately pressed by the owner for a decision. We insisted that we wanted to read through the surveyors reports first. Over the next few days we were repeatedly pressed for a decision, but we held our ground awaiting the reports, and honestly we were getting a bit wary with being pressed so much.

When the reports did arrive we were VERY pleased we stood firm. Extensive osmosis on the topsides, much deferred maintenance to deal with and a raft of other issues. We decided at that point to bite the bullet and walked away from the deal -even though we really loved the boat.

I guess I am writing this just to share the experience with others of you out there in our position. We have been looking for a bluewater-capable yacht for almost a year and were really excited to find a boat that we both liked a lot. We are so glad that we stuck to our guns over the surveys and I encourage everyone looking to do the same.

I guess the take-home message is that if you are looking at a major purchase, particularly through a private sale, then one should always remember caveat emptor -let the buyer beware, go for the survey using a reputable surveyor (ours saved us from tens of thousands of dollars in repairs) and dont let your heart rule your head...

... so the quest continues....

Cheers!
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Old 11-11-2009, 06:08 AM   #2
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Thanks for sharing this with us.

Firstly, well done for sticking by your guns. There is a lesson in this for all of us.

And now your search continues. I hope you have greater success in the near future.

Aye // Stephen
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Old 11-11-2009, 06:27 AM   #3
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Old 11-11-2009, 08:46 AM   #4
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Hi to you both

As I said in my pm, really sorry it worked out that way. Must admit I too would be very wary of being pressed for a decision like that. We also had an horrific survey one one before we purchased our current boat. There are such mixed feelings - sadness at having to blow away the hopes and relief that one hasn't been saddled with a real problem.

It's ironic that it can be so difficult to get any real details about the condition of a prospective purchase until you see it for yourself or have a survey. I was reading a UK forum a few moments ago where someone said what a turn-off it was to find that the owner had hidden faults. I can only assume that people think there are a load of mugs out there ! We travelled a long way to look at a steel boat (admittedly not as far as you guys) which claimed to be finished/fitted out. I don't think it had a single fitment and it's plumbing was a washing up bowl perched on a board.

Has anyone out there got an idea of the questions which might elicit details to save wasted journeys/surveys ? Perhaps a checklist referring to maintenance you would expect to have been carried out ?

Best wishes in the search !

P
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Old 11-11-2009, 01:14 PM   #5
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Has anyone out there got an idea of the questions which might elicit details to save wasted journeys/surveys ? Perhaps a checklist referring to maintenance you would expect to have been carried out ?

Best wishes in the search !

P
It would be grand if such a checklist existed and owners/brokers were required to use/sign off on it. The same sort of list is required for owners to list a house in some states--giving age, condition, etc of key structure and systems. Alas, no such thing in the yacht-buying world.

When we were searching for boats, we had such a list for each boat that we would travel long distance to get to--often faxing it or emailing it to the broker or owner. We found that people who otherwise appeared honest would simply out-and-out lie about things on our list. It was amazing. We finally got into the habit of paying a surveyor near the boat to do a quick "look see" (not a full survey) and call us on what he observed and whether it might be worth our while to fly to the location to see the boat in question. That worked--usually cost us between $100 and $200 for the surveyor's time to go check out the boat and get something back to us quickly. It was well worth the money.

We did go look at a few boats that we knew were just in terrible shape (and the price reflected it) so we had to bite the bullet and visit the boat with or without a surveyor to get a handle on condition. The boat we ultimately purchased and rebuilt was pretty much like that--a giveaway boat that the owner just wanted to get into the hands of someone who would rebuild it and use it as he had dreamed of doing himself.

One typical story--we were investigating a wood boat of interest to us and we asked specific questions about the structural floors--the broker lied and told us the exact opposite of the real situation and we had no way of knowing he'd lied. The question was whether the material of construction was wood or metal. The broker supposedly went to the boat, looked into the bilge and inspected them to ascertain that they were indeed "wood and in good condition, too" before calling us back a few hours later...It was only a 1 hour flight for us to get to the location and we were looking at another boat nearby it so we decided to look at this boat too. When we arrived and saw the poor condition of the iron/steel floors as well as other aspects of the boat's structure that were in poor shape (and the boat was priced at close to $400K as if it had just been rebuilt...but with the poor condition of the structure was likely worth less than $50K), we point blank asked the broker why he'd lied to us and we told him that he'd wasted our time for no reason. He tried to sidestep the issue but it was pretty disgusting to be dealing with such a shady character.

Keep on looking and stick to your guns--you will find an appropriate vessel for your voyaging and you'll be very happy that you kept looking for the right one
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Old 11-11-2009, 10:45 PM   #6
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QUOTE (pragmatist @ Nov 11 2009, 02:46 AM) *

Has anyone out there got an idea of the questions which might elicit details to save wasted journeys/surveys ? Perhaps a checklist referring to maintenance you would expect to have been carried out ?

Best wishes in the search !

P


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

There are owners, who have kept meticulous records regarding maintenance, installations and upgrades. Some keep a separate log, some make entries in the boat's log.

The answers one needs from the owner are those that would involve major works or expense to rectify faults, omissions and damage.

There are maintenance check lists which a prospective buyer can use when he is on the telephone to the owner. Here is one for a start :- Click ONE

Here is another in our Wiki Click TWO

The buyer also needs to know the following :-

----------

The boat designer

The boat builder

The model

The HIN (Hull Identification Number)

The port of registry

The year that the boat was built

The year that the boat was launched

The name of the boat's "Owners Association" if any?

Who is the Owner?

The Owner's address

Is the Owner legally entitled to sell the boat?

Is the boat fully paid for?

Have all taxes/duties been paid?

Are there any claims of any kind on this boat?

---------

What major repairs have been completed satisfactorily on this boat?

Has the boat ever been involved in an accident?

Has the boat been the subject of an insurance claim/s?

What repairs does the boat require at this time?

What upgrades to its equipment are necessary at this time?

What age is the standing and running rigging?

How many hours does the main auxiliary engine have recorded?

What condition is the boat's paintwork?

When was the boat last antifouled?

What are the models of all the navigational equipment?

What age are the navigational equipment?

Are all items of safety equipment in good and working order?

Does the boat conform to maritime rules and regulations?

etc...

--------------

An important question to put to the owner :-

Should we decide to buy your boat following a condition and value survey by a surveyor of our choice, will you pay for defects that he determines are necessary?

-------------------------

Follow up any verbal discussion one holds with the owner with a written understanding of what information he provided.

--------------------

If there is an owner's association ask questions of members regarding special points to cover.

Richard
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Old 11-13-2009, 01:22 AM   #7
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Although we are international in our coverage of Cruising subjects, special mention should be made of California and Florida when it comes to protecting the interests of buyers of yachts.

Understand that these are the only states in the US where brokers and their employees are required to be licensed and bonded.

In Florida, the Department of Business and Professional Regulation require persons who wish to be brokers must first have worked for a licensed broker as licensed sales person. Formal applications must be made together with fingerprints - the data is checked thoroughly before the license is issued. In addition to the application fees - the applicant to become a broker must lodge a 'behaviour' bond of $25,000. 00 - while the applicant to be licensed as a salesperson for a broker lodges $10,000.00

And there are rules with teeth :- Florida Statute Law

An interesting website (I have no connection with it whatsoever) where a broker describes the role of a Buyer's Broker, where if he finds you a boat which you eventually buy, he gets no payment from you, apparently:- PARADISE
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Old 11-13-2009, 10:53 AM   #8
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These are all great posts and I have made use of the checklists already- so now we have asked more questions of another boat, fell for her headover heels (terribly fickle we are!) and the owner likes our price... so once more into the (surveyors) breach we go....anyone know much about cold molded triple skin wooden (NZ kauri) boats? The boat has been in San Diego for 25 years (before being refurbished and sailed back to NZ), presumably slowly drying out in the sun- what does that do to a boat? cant be good i suppose....
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Old 11-13-2009, 11:35 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by MMNETSEA View Post
An interesting website (I have no connection with it whatsoever) where a broker describes the role of a Buyer's Broker, where if he finds you a boat which you eventually buy, he gets no payment from you, apparently:- PARADISE
I don't know if this arrangement is unique to the U.S. but as far as I know, it's true throughout the country. One aspect of US law that is confusing to people is that "state's rights" are a significant consideration when navigating business transactions. Even for US citizens the various laws and regulations in another state can come as a surprise. We have Federal laws. We have State laws (though a state law cannot nullify a federal law) and we have local - city, county, municipality - laws. In general, the closer to the ground (city, for example), the stricter a law/regulation will be.

For this reason, a buyer must always remember that the broker represents the SELLER. And with regard to recreational boats, in most states there is little to no consumer protection afforded a buyer. Before putting down any money, be sure that you understand what laws protect you as the buyer.

Is there a "buyer's remorse" provision (24 or 48 hours to change your mind after signing a contract)? Are there disclosure laws (compelling the seller, or the seller's broker, to reveal any hidden damage or defect). If you put these into a form that can be answered by your broker, and SIGNED by the broker, at least you might be protected from fraudulent representations. "trust me" - how much money do you care to trust to this stranger? Are there tax considerations? And what are they? Do you have to pay state sales tax immediately upon purchase? Can tax be deferred until the boat arrives in its home port? What about registration/documentation?

These are some of the questions that need to be answered, and some of them have different answers dependent on in which state the boat is located.
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Old 11-13-2009, 03:20 PM   #10
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These are all great posts and I have made use of the checklists already- so now we have asked more questions of another boat, fell for her headover heels (terribly fickle we are!) and the owner likes our price... so once more into the (surveyors) breach we go....anyone know much about cold molded triple skin wooden (NZ kauri) boats? The boat has been in San Diego for 25 years (before being refurbished and sailed back to NZ), presumably slowly drying out in the sun- what does that do to a boat? cant be good i suppose....
Wooden boats are "special" We own one now and looked at many carvel planked and cold molded hulls. Most the cold molded hulls we looked at were plywood layered, only two were wood stripped, btw. Be careful to find a surveyor who knows wood boats.

Before we would hire a surveyor we made sure that we were looking at a good boat from a good yard and well known naval architect. We also made sure that the owner had the plans and specs OR they were well known and widely available for the boat design. We would study the background information and learn about the "expected" weaknesses of the particular boat type, plan, builder, etc. Owners groups and the like are helpful for this type of info, btw.

Who built this particular boat? Well known builder and NA? Are you familiar with the specifics...Do you have access (via the owner or others) to the plans/specs going into the survey?

If the boat was in the water during all those years in San Diego, fine. If it was actually in storage, on the hard, in San Diego's dry climate it is likely to have sustained a good bit of damage. We're in San Diego right now and rebuilt our boat in a boatyard that had mostly boat storage going on--there were so many boats that the owners' didn't take care of (this is normal) so they were drying in the sun, glue joints drying out and opening up for freshwater intrusion or bugs. bedding compounds doing the same. Boats getting termites (they have the flying kind here which don't require contact with soil...), getting freshwater intrusions (from the dew or rain) that the owners didn't come by to pump out...so they'd have bits of rot inside...The person who refurbished the boat you're interested in should have a log of the repairs performed before bringing the boat back into the water (if it was on the hard...)--perhaps you can get that info as part of the up-front negotiations. Then you'll know what was done to fix all the stuff that likely went awry if it was stored on the hard for so long.

How old is this boat? Was it cold-molded with epoxy? At a certain point the value of the cold molded hulls greatly diminishes. Many folks won't look at a cold molded boat that is more than 10 years old-- 25-30 years being a sort of "end of life" as far as they are concerned. It is likely untrue and likely that cold molded boats will make it many more years than that, but the pricing of the vessel should reflect the age of a cold molded boat. There are cold molded boats 40 years old and older that are doing just fine--but again, pricing should reflect that the boat is an older cold molded hull. We considered a 25 year old cold molded multi-hull (in Sweden) that was in Bristol condition and extremely reasonably priced--but we passed on it simply because it was built by a builder with no reputation that we could learn of and the age was getting up there. We wanted a boat we could continue to voyage with for at least 10 years and weren't certain that the older cold molded boat could take it.

Best of luck in finding and procuring the right boat!
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Old 11-13-2009, 06:03 PM   #11
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i have to jump in here a bit. I build the occasional boat and i would not pass up a home built boat before looking at it. many home builders put way more time/care into a boat build than you will ever find in a yard boat. it pays to look at the joinery and workmanship. home builders in most cases tend to build jewelry boxes taking several years to finish the boat hull and pains to make the fittings as close to exact as possible.

Redbopeep is correct on most counts i just have a quibble with the not well known bit.
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Old 11-13-2009, 09:41 PM   #12
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Hmm from this assessment we would be '3 strikes and you're out...'

Strike 1 the cold molded hull is 30 years old;

Strike 2 she was laid up by a professional builder of houses with assistance from boat builders and the designer

Strike 3 she is a one-off design, though she has a strong pedigree with a well regarded kiwi designer

However....

She is made of triple skin NZ kauri, an incredibly strong and beautiful wood (the brits used to love nz kauri for their masts when they first colonised the country in 1800s). She was designed to the builders specs for a go-anywhere fast bluewater passage maker. At 17 t, 45 ft stem to stern, drawing 7'6 and 14'6" she is a pretty big girl (see pics). Teak decks (groan) but these were relaid two years ago. We are going to work with a top notch surveyor of wooden boats who used to build with this particular designer. The designer himself, in his 70s now, is keen to see how she has stood the test of time. The vendor has been really accommodating, indicating he would bend over backward to help us, will fix anything that the survey uncovers, spend time with us after sale learning her systems etc.. We are trying to be as clear-headed and logical about this as we can...but given her lines and pedigree its hard to!

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Old 11-13-2009, 09:49 PM   #13
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Pretty. I like the low-angle slope of the coach roof, too. Our Jeanneau looked a bit like that, and water over the bow never made it into the cockpit (except when I laid her on her side, mast in the water - oops!).
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Old 11-13-2009, 11:00 PM   #14
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"For this reason, a buyer must always remember that the broker represents the SELLER. And with regard to recreational boats, in most states there is little to no consumer protection afforded a buyer. Before putting down any money, be sure that you understand what laws protect you as the buyer." Unquote


One example was given for Florida, where the Broker represents the BUYER and only the BUYER.

Florida Yacht Brokers are covered under 61B-60 Administrative Code, and Chapter 326, Florida Statues. Bonding is a form of insurance that the broker provides to the State that provides liquid damages to a consumer for any wrong doing that was purposefully committed. In addition, In addition many carry General Liability Insurance.

If the broker commits a breach of the Code, his license to operate could be withdrawn and/or be forced to pay a penalty.

Most people do nothing to check out Brokers before engaging them; they just take them for their word.

There must be real benefit for example if one lives in South Dakota, when finding a boat advertised in Fort Lauderdale, Florida to have a professional go and and give it a once over, in order to save what may turn out to be a wasted journey.

Should also be noted carefully that Yacht Brokers and Sales Persons in Florida do NOT require licensing or bonding when the boat is less that 32ft LOA (9.7536 metres) Do not know if this provision means :- 'Make sure that the boat is longer than 32ft' or still make sure that the broker you want to engage to look at a boat on your behalf is licensed and bonded ?
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