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Buy new or restore classic - what I learned

Wow. What a deal I found! This boat had potential. It looked great to me! Of course, the blazing sun and 120F degrees in the cabin was melting my head and the cockroaches were walking on the walls in broad daylight. But I was too dense to take a hint.

I gave a lot of thought to buying a new boat early on in the process and came to the conclusion that a much better boat could be created by taking a sound hull and basic systems (notice the "and basic systems") and refitting it. The key to this venture is that you have to start with a sound basic system.

Alas, blinded by love, heat and humidity we ended up with a boat with rotting plumbing, pitted and leaking tanks, frozen seacocks, leaking and corroded chainplates, etc., etc., etc. The engine seemed OK. But who really knew? The electrical wiring was literally melting in many places and the zinc anodes had not even been connected to the bonding system rendering them uselss. This resulted in the corrosion of just about every piece of metal below and above the waterline.

Not to mention the centreboard which the seller and broker assured me was in perfectly good shape in a yard in Rhode Island (the seller had removed it cause it was too noisy for him) and would be shipped to me immediately. What I received - 5  months later - was a rotted out hulk of crap! Unusable.

At this point all the smart guys in the audience are thinking "Why didn't you get a survey moron!". Well, I did. I hired a NAMS registered surveyor and he sent me a 15 page report. When I got it I showed it to a half a dozen people who I trusted for feedback, but gotthey saw nothing negative beyond what I saw and was prepared to repair. In reality, the survey turned out to be a fantasy of omission. The surveyor later reported to me, when asked, that since all of the storage cupboards and hidey holes were crammed with the owner's junk, he couldn't inspect some places. But even the areas which were readily accessible were omitted in his report.

In retrospect, hints and innuendos littered the survey. But without a week to rip a boat apart, how can ANY surveyor know what lies within a boat's secret spaces? So he has to imply and hint to avoid making claims he cannot prove.

All's well that ends well. So it cost a lot more then I ever imagined. Luckily for us we were able to shoulder the burdon and come out afloat! And the result certainly meets or exceeds the standards of any new semi-custom yacht. We sure love her.

 

Jordan Bigel

August 9, 2000