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buying a (one-time) saltwater boat?

Aug 16, 2009
20
Catalina 28 mk2 Toronto
We are considering a Cat 36 that lived for its first 7 years in saltwater, but has been in freshwater for the past 13. Right now, we have not seen the maintenance records, but superficially the boat looks ok, with moderate (for its age) engine hours. Not sure about spars and standing rigging (we saw it on the hard, and the mast was somewhere else). What should we be worried about?
 
Oct 22, 2014
15,791
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
If a boat is properly cared for then sailing in Salt water is not much different. Salt water marine environment will present a greater corrosion potential. But sailing in freshwater and ignoring the usual maintenance will do the same thing.

I would inspect the boat the same. If you see corrosion you need to decide if it is surface or the corroded object requires replacement.

If you have not inspected a boat or are unsure what you are looking at, I would strongly suggest you hire a surveyor to do that work for you.

If you believe you are getting an outrageous deal on the boat and really can not pass it up, then you are agreeing that the boat is worth what ever it takes to make it sea worthy. Just go for it. Salt water or fresh water makes no difference.
 
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DArcy

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Feb 11, 2017
1,193
Islander Freeport 36 Ottawa
Have the rig inspected. At 20 years the standing rigging may need to be replaced. In fresh water standing rigging could be in great shape after 20 years but in salt water it would be time for new rigging if it hadn't been replaced already. I agree with @jssailem on the survey. It really is worth the money and a surveyor will often find things you don't. This often gives you some bargaining leverage to reduce the price, usually more than what you paid for the surveyor, and you get a much better idea what needs to be fixed and if it is worth it to you.
If you want to buy now while the boat is out of the water you could leave some of the purchase price in escrow until you can see the engine running, or have an engine surveyor check it out. Marine surveyors don't typically include the engine in the survey.
 
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Likes: jssailem
Feb 11, 2017
98
Gulfstar 47 NC
A survey is well worth the cost. They will see things you won’t. Particular moisture intrusion around ports and hatches. Don’t be afraid of an older boat or salt water.
 

leo310

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Dec 15, 2006
434
Catalina Catlina 310 Campbell River BC
Leaks in fresh or salt water is bad just remember you can have fresh water leaks even in salt water, its called rain water. The big item that you need to do is get a survey this will save you money in the long run.
 
Feb 8, 2014
1,300
Columbia 36 Muskegon
Salt corrodes the heck out of every metal part on the boat, but after 7 years in fresh a lot of that probably has been cleaned up or replaced by now. One thing to check that even a surveyor might miss is the lifelines. If they're vinyl coated and original, the salt has likely reduced them to dust under the vinyl. If they're still there, it's only because nobody has yet fallen against one, broken it, and gone overboard. Vinyl coated even in fresh water is just a bad idea. Plan on replacing them with 3/16” uncoated wire, or dyneema line. Surveyor missed that on my boat. They try not to damage anything and the only way to test this is to try to break them. I later decided to strip off the vinyl and everywhere I cut it my knife went right through the wire too. Nothing left of it.
 
Jun 8, 2004
2,554
Catalina 320 Dana Point
The shroud chain plates often leak because they need to be rebedded regularly and it's rarely done, often you can just look at the top plates on deck and see a void.
Check upper and lower furling drums, Schaefers from 2000's had design flaw that didn't have a hole for flushing lower drum, others can have fouled bearings.
The closed Garhauer turnbuckles have a tendency for the stainless covers to bind to bronze bodies if ignored for long periods. If the mast comes down often they may have been changed because they are a PITA to use, bodies are soft and deform easily while tightening if not done carefully.
 
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Oct 26, 2008
4,988
Catalina 320 Barnegat, NJ
I wouldn't be worried about a thing! :cool: But I would wonder why the mast is somewhere else. You would want to see the mast and rigging. I found the 20-year old Catalina 320's that I shopped to be in consistently good condition but none were mint. Prices were very consistent as well. I'd consider it a freshwater boat if it has been for the past 13 years. Unless there is something very unusually wrong, I suspect that there would be no issue with 20-year old standing rigging (or lifelines) that you could expect the Seller to address. Those would probably be replacement items that you would find necessary to do when you have a strong enough reason, or urge, just for peace of mind. I doubt any Seller would agree to a price modification for standing rigging or lifelines unless there is something demonstrably wrong.
 

DArcy

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Feb 11, 2017
1,193
Islander Freeport 36 Ottawa
But I would wonder why the mast is somewhere else
It's pretty common in Ontario to store for the winter with the mast off. A lot of the yacht clubs around here haul out using construction cranes which is difficult with the rig up (but can be done). Good point about not reducing price based on the condition of items in typical condition for their age. Still a good idea to inspect the rig and make your decision with all the knowledge. Definitely include it in the survey whether the mast is on the boat or in storage.
 
Oct 26, 2008
4,988
Catalina 320 Barnegat, NJ
It's pretty common in Ontario to store for the winter with the mast off. A lot of the yacht clubs around here haul out using construction cranes which is difficult with the rig up (but can be done). Good point about not reducing price based on the condition of items in typical condition for their age. Still a good idea to inspect the rig and make your decision with all the knowledge. Definitely include it in the survey whether the mast is on the boat or in storage.
Not surprised that the mast is down, only surprised if it isn't in the yard somewhere nearby so that it can be viewed. I suppose it may be common for the boat to be trucked to storage somewhere, while the mast stays behind where it was lifted off the boat?
 
Oct 2, 2012
5
Fountain Pajot Bahia 46 Abroad
Glad you are buying a sailboat! With over 40 years in the sailmaking business, the most expensive things on a sailboat are engine, sails, electronics, and rigging. Sometimes not in that order! For safety I would replace the standing rigging and lifelines right off. With the mast down, checking the wind instruments, radar, and light fixtures can be a challenge. The marine survey is always good ammo for the buyer........good luck!
 
Dec 28, 2015
1,342
Laser, Hunter H30 Cherubini Tacoma
engine cooling systems. Are they fresh water or raw? Probably your biggest difference considering fresh or salt water use.
 
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