INQUIRY – Used boat, the time is right!

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The used boat market for buyers has never been such a mine of real bargains as it is this year. A little less for those who sell.
Prices have dropped from 2008 by an average of 20 to 30 percent. But one thing is certain for the seller, if the boat has been well maintained, the guarantee of finding a buyer soon is assured. And for the buyer it will always be a bargain. Because the market has rebounded, it has become possible to take over a lease again, and the ratio of new to used boats sold has been restored; on average, for every new boat, ten used boats are sold. And then the treacherous sea of the Internet is also being put in order.

Screenshot 2016-06-01 at 5:29:34 p.m.We at the Journal of Sailing have also adapted by creating a new platform, topboatmarket.com, which can be accessed directly from giornaledellavela.com. The advantages of topboatmarket are varied, from the guarantee of bids from selected brokers who only place their guaranteed bids, to the possibility for individuals to place their bids online for free and, under favorable conditions, to also be able to place them on this newspaper’s famous “Buy & Sell” buying with a simple credit system. To give an example, with 19 euros you acquire credits for 30 euros, quite an advantage! But there are also many other “pluses” of topboatmarket.com: from geolocation of listings to being able to choose area by area based on the port of loading. Another not insignificant advantage, on topboatmarket.com you can view hundreds of boat cards with their ratings.

And this is where the chapter on fair pricing comes in. Which one is it? Regardless of the subjective parameters and the law of supply and demand, there is a definite point to start from. Below we offer what is the baseline for the valuation of a boat, namely the asset depreciation indices. Read them carefully because this is where, buyer or seller, you need to start when evaluating a used boat.

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We were saying about the market. The real research for a buyer, is to distinguish between a boat in good shape and a neglected one. There are so many perfect and efficient used boats, in often more reliable condition than new ones, because everything has been broken in and any design and outfitting defects have been eliminated. But beware dear buyers, behind a seemingly excellent appearance may lurk flaws and troubles that could cost you dearly. Do not be enthralled, for example, by redundant electronic equipment. The perfect used boat is one where no short-term investment will be needed. But how can you tell if there is wizardry behind the facade? You have to be an expert, or rely on those who know more than you. There are excellent professionals who do just that. How much do they cost? The correct price of a recognized appraiser can be priced according to the meters of the boat. The fair cost is 40 to 60 euros per meter. It is money well spent for both the seller and the buyer and can be shared equally between the two parties. Mind you, we are not talking about insurance adjusters who instead must primarily determine the value of the boat.

Screenshot 2016-06-01 at 5:30:26 p.m.WHAT A GOOD DECK SURVEYOR VERIFIES
We followed step by step the audit of one of the most reputable Italian appraisers and tell you step by step about his work. Our expert starts from the bow, examining the bow pulpit to see if it is well secured. With firm foot pressure check the anchorage on the left and right. By eye check to see if the pulpit is straight or has crookedness or cracks. The anchor cockpit is a good place to check the hull/ deck joint from the inside, as well as to check the condition of the windlass and barbotin. It backs up on the forward deck to the forward skylight. Thoroughly checking the seals without forgetting to check the condition of the locking system from the inside. But where our investigator lingers at length are the candlesticks and moors, to which he gives “shock” treatment. A visual inspection is not enough for them. It touches, shakes, “rapes” everything fixed on the deck. And he is not impressed by any gelcoat “cobwebs” at the deck attachments. They are not necessarily indicative of structural weakness, but simply the sign of passing time. Pass-throughs, rails, idler pulleys, stoppers, winches, accurate control. In cockpit and deck practice test for anti-skid and toeboards. It starts aft and with a firm blow to the tiller or wheel, tells us that it is correct if there is any play at all. A heel strike to check the soundness of the mooring bollards.

All along the way on deck, the expert keeps springing, pressing with all his weight on the surface, looking for any “soft” spots that are a sign of delamination of the fiberglass sandwich. That would be trouble! He does not forget to operate the manual external bilge pump and makes a careful check of the gas cylinder housing and the condition of pipes and joints. Opens each locker and with the flashlight checks the state of the bottom. To the electronic instruments from an eye to see the status of the repeaters, the important thing afterwards will be the accurate verification of their operation and the correctness of the data provided. Then he retraces his steps and starts with the inspection of the tree. His watchful gaze rests on the coaming (the boat’s mast is through) to notice if there are hidden cracks. Inspection continues with rigging. If it is more than 10 years old, his warm advice is to change it. He hoists himself with the bansigo up to the masthead, inspects the condition of the halyard deflection pulleys, then descends to the spreaders and shroud attachments, where he checks the attachments to the mast. Back on deck, utmost attention to the condition of the rigging rigging and rigging splicing (mainsail attachments have already been checked). Then he moves on to the boom, where he works the trope hard-over, under, and across-to check for wear on the shaft/boom connection. While he is at it, the surveyor also checks the condition of all other hsteriges/manholes on deck.

THE VERIFICATIONS BELOW DECK AND ON THE LIVING WORK
Our expert goes below deck and looks like a truffle dog. Smell the environment for unpleasant odors of mold and fuel. There is, he says, no system to cover up bad odors resulting from moisture and fuel leaks. Then move on to control, always starting from the bow. His watchword is for the boat to be empty; by removing everything that accumulates on board, it is easier to inspect and become aware of moisture halos that highlight hidden waterways. Off go all the dunnage and open all the lockers the hunt is on for delamination at the foot of the furniture in the joint with the hull. If bilge water has been present for a long time then there may be problems. Like an investigator, he checks all sea intakes for suspicious repairs. He takes the opportunity to run the whole freshwater circuit and examine the state of the toilets. When he kneels on the bottom to check the keel bolting, he looks like a surgeon before an operation. Check painstakingly for corrosion on the bolts. The same treatment at moorland attacks, in this case looking for any suspicious movement or dislocation. Also attach as many lights as possible and take a look at the back of the electrical panel.

It then goes to the battery case, which it checks with a smart tester. The focus now is on the engine. He first asks for an oil change, wants it analyzed. According to him, it is the best way to understand the true state of the engine. Then go on to a thorough analysis of the alternator and the condition of the belt and its tension. Another crucial point is checking the condition of the silentblock anchoring the thruster to the hull. The condition of the exhaust and silencer are also essential to prevent future smoke and black powder releases inside, caused by oxidation and cracking. He takes the opportunity to do a careful audit of the brakes and the government system. It asks you to start the engine cold (never hot!), by ear hear if the valves are poorly adjusted by feeling if at low rpm the engine “peaks” and by revving up if the smoke coming out is absent and minor. Then the master stroke, with his hand he swipes the bottom of the bilge, which turns out mirror clean. He clenches his fist and feels for suspicious stickiness and sniffs his palm. Our expert tells us that it is impossible to remove traces of fuel and oil spillage from the bilge.
Time comes for checking the operation of the electronics, sail kit, and furling gear. Descending to the ground, he moves on to perhaps the most important test, that of the living work. A quick check of the hull to see if some of the bubbles are simply imperfections in the antifouling application or hide traces of osmosis, or water seepage into the fiberglass sandwich. It focuses on the bulb attachment.

It tells us that signs of corrosion on a boat of a certain age are not synonymous with problems, but if there is too much putty on the leading edge…then it could be masking some major bump. Move on to look at the rudder blade to see if there are any hidden repairs. Then check the axle play: it is not worried, at the limit the bushings need to be changed. In our case, the boat is equipped with sail drive. The expert spends quite a bit of time checking for microcracks on the headset. If water gets into the foot, you risk seizing the transmission and that’s trouble.

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