Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Tween Weeks. And Dunwurkin is gone. Hello No Hurry

Let me explain how a boat is bought and sold. It is not too dissimilar to buying a house. A offer to buy is made at a certain price with contingencies and provisions. The seller has an opportunity to accept the offer, make a counter offer or reject the offer all together. When an agreement is reached an inspection of the property is made by a professional home inspector who prepares a written report for the buyers. This report contains information about the mechanical and structural systems in the house, of which the buyer can make a decision to accept as is and proceed to close on the house, enter negotiations with the seller to correct the flaws found in the inspection, or reject it outright and let the deal die. Marine purchases are pretty much the same with the exceptions that the inspection is called a survey rather than an inspection and the survey also includes a sea trial. (Try taking a house for a spin around the block).

We had the Dunwurkin surveyed and were not surprised that the mechanics of the boat were rated as being in poor condition by the surveyor. The engine was certainly able but the hoses appeared to be on the older side and we knew that an exhaust elbow had to be replaced. The packing around the propeller shaft and the rudder were both tightened in as far as they could go which results in a very slow leak into the bilge and needed to be replaced. The generator was a mess all the way around. The electrical system was likewise. There were odd owner-made repairs that needed to be "un-repaired" and then fixed properly. As I said, poor condition. But we like the boat otherwise especially the very spacious main aft cabin and the sundeck. It is certainly quirky but we figured if we could actually acquire the boat for a small enough amount we would be willing to invest up to $15,000ish on the mechanics and we would have ourselves a really nice cruiser. We also took the position the it was obvious to us that the sellers had approached the point that they not only would not but also could not take on the financial responsibility to make any of the repairs, which were more than just desirable repairs but absolutely necessary repairs to make the boat seaworthy. This means that if we wanted the boat we would be taking on the burden to make it right, not the sellers. After careful deliberation we decided that the boat was not worth anything near what the seller had originally want nor at the low enough price that we felt comfortable with the risk/value trade-offs. In other words we would only pay so much, the sellers would only sell it for much higher, so the deal died.

Oh, and by the way, our car broke down too.

Even though we had a rental car we felt somewhat stranded. Now don't get me wrong. Getting stranded in south Florida ain't a bad place to get stranded, but it kind of felt that way. The deal on Dunwurkin was kaput so we didn't have any work to do on it. We had to wait for the car to get fixed because the parts had to be shipped in. So, stuck we were.

What do we do? We had already looked at just about every diesel trawler on the market in our price range. Or had we? As we looked at things we started to realize that we had a new set of eyes, so to speak, when it came to looking at boats. Our position with Dunwurkin was that we were tentatively going to buy what we considered to be he best as far as layout and fit and finish and spend the money on the engineering aspects of the boat. What if we turned that around? What if we try to find the best boat from an engineering perspective and spend the money (very likely less) on the cosmetics of the boat? And as we had new knowledge about boats gained from our experience with Dunwurkin our search could be more fruitful. This took us to look back at the boats that we had originally looked at when we first arrived here some 5 weeks ago. This took us back to No Hurry, a 36ft Albin trawler. Charlie took us back to that boat and we looked at the boat from a different perspective. Since we had better knowledge about what to look for in the engine compartment we were able to see it much more accurately, which is that it seems to be a much better maintained and seaworthy boat. The engine and generator are both in good shape. The battery power is plentiful - 550 amps of power, though this is a combo battery that would be used for both starting and house needs. Mike, our surveyor, will be able to sort that out for us. Now, cosmetically there are some issues. First and foremost is that the two sun-light deck hatches have to be replaced. The fore hatch is pretty messed up and the aft hatch is missing entirely. I have come up with a design for some strong temporary hatches that can be very easily made and put into place. We would want a better long term solution but it will do for now. Some of the faucets need to be replaced. Most problematic is that Albins have a reputation of the window designs allow for some hefty leaking. This is the case with this boat as the owner has actually caulked the windows shut, so that there would be no ventilation in the main cabin. That certainly needs to be fixed. And of course the double size bed is tucked under a deck ledge. The stowage in the cabins is scarce. But some of these challenges we would fix or have fixed for what we would expect to be for a lot less that having engine work done like we were planning on Dunwurkin. The one part of No Hurry's mechanicals that has us spooked is that the starboard fuel tank has some pretty deep rust in the forward inward corner.

We reached an agreement with the seller. The next step is that he is hiring a diver to give the hull below the waterline a quick barnacle scrapping. We will schedule the survey including a haul out and sea trial for this coming tuesday or wednesday. If all is aok we will close the sale, take possession of the boat, move it to Regatta Pointe Marina (No Hurry is currently docked at a home-side dock near the sellers home in Apollo Beach.), make a few minor repairs (namely the hatches and locks on the to two cabin doors) so we can head back to St. Louis for a couple of weeks starting next Saturday or Sunday.

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