Gently worn, previously owned, recycled, and reconditioned – these are terms we all know and either embrace or avoid when looking for a good deal. When it comes to buying a sail boat, a used sail boat should be regarded in the same fashion.
A used sail boat does offer some bonuses. It is a less expensive way to become involved in sailing. The boat offered may have extra equipment or special features you would not get on a new boat without paying. A used sail boat can be unique, one-of-a-kind or even a rare, discontinued model.
Do not, however, allow yourself to buy without a thorough check of the sail boat. This may mean, if you are not adept at or know what to look for, bringing along someone who is capable of pointing out the flaws in design, the poor repair jobs and any attempt to hide serious problems or major difficulties. The alternative is to hire a surveyor. This is recommended only when the cost of the boat or insurance warrants it. A surveyor need not be called in if you are just weighing your options, comparing used sail boat A to used sail boat B. Surveyors are specialists and don’t come cheap.
There are a number of things you should do. Do check with the previous owner or owners about the boat, it’s operation and condition. Review the ships log and ask questions. Compare the boat to others in it’s class and at the same age. Read, research and make notes. In other words: Do Your Homework.
When you go to view the boat, be prepared to make a thorough inspection. Examine every nook and cranny you can. Start with the hull. As the basis for the rest of the sail boat, it is the most important part of the vessel. Check to see if the hull is fair (smooth and regular) and true (flowing truly to the design).
Examine it for weeping, delamination and a variety of gelcoat problems. If there is massive gelcoat cracking or major leaking through the hull-to-deck joint, consider your options for this used sail boat.
Other major problems to watch out for include any corrosion of the electric system. If it is green, it is corroded. If the hull is iron, is there a rust problem? If the sails are dirty and stained, the inboard engine is rusty and slow to start, the plumbing smelly and the interior wall paint or vinyl peeling down the sides or stained, perhaps this is not the used sail boat for you.
A boat is an investment of time and money and a used sale boat fulfill these needs. Repairs are necessary for all boats but should not, at the beginning of your voyage into sailing, be costly. A simple rule of thumb to follow: If the cost to repair any boat exceeds it’s resale value don’t buy it.