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Buying my first boat


HannahDee

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Hello all, I'm looking for some advise an hoping the wealth of knowledge that's in this forum may be able to steer me in the right direction, so thank you in advance and sorry for how long-winded this post became!

 

I've been looking to buy a narrowboat for quite some time to continuously cruise. I've been doing my research, but of course there are still going to be a lot of blind spots.

 

I viewed one, and it looks like it could be a goer. It was bought by the current owner a couple of months back, who had a full out of water survey completed pre-purchase (September 2021). Their situation has since changed and they've moved city, hence the resale. I would still get my own survey completed if I was to put an offer in. 

 

It is currently on the market for 43k and as the owner bought it on finance, I've been advised by the marina that the seller may be unable to take offers as they now have monthly loan payments to cover. I appreciate this is quite a fair price for a (good) boat, but I don't want to get caught out in a few months and realise it was worth much less. I have quite a modest budget of around £40k - so this is at my upper limit. 

 

A bit about the boat: it is 57", built in 1994 by John White (Any thoughts on JW as builders?), with a 10:6:4 Hull, trad stern with a Lister LPW54 diesel engine, BSS till 2025 and last blacked in 2018. It has a 1600w Sterling inverter, 3 leisure bats, Solar, 12v fridge, Calorifier, stove. Basic fit out, but nice and tidy and I could happily continually cruise with the set up and there 's no signs of damp (that I could see) or leaky pipes, which has been a running theme for boats within my budget.  

 

Now onto the important parts:

 

The hull survey reading's came back good in my opinion(?) for a boat this age (as below)... 

image.png.6f66b3575966f187c3d77492ab83cd8c.png

image.png.5aa885e9f798fc232d4869dd7c2943cb.pngimage.png.d46a5156a693bc330783f520e495a67b.pngHowever the Surveyor also noted that:

Quote

3.6 The base has not been protectively coated previously and heavy encrustations were noted requiring clearing back to clean steel. The base was
assessed in multiple locations as outlined in the hull diagram section of this report with UTM readings ranging from 8.2mm to 9.8mm. Protective coating is required at each and every docking in order to prevent further thickness loss. Due to the level of encrustation the base was only assessed in test locations and cannot truly preclude corrosive pitting beneath such coverings.

 

Comment: The hull sides require treatment to eradicate microbes as outlined.
Option 1: Recommend grit blasting of the hull to SA 2.5 as the best solution in order to extensively treat against further microbial attack.
Option 2: If grit blasting is not possible, the hull should be extensively fresh water pressure washed and left to dry for 24 hours.
The entire hull should be coated with a 1:4 ratio of sodium hypochlorite to water mix and left to dry for an additional 24 hours. This full process should be completed again thereafter.

 

Here's where I get a little confused, the baseplate's readings seem ok - but the surveyor has said it requires grit blasting and 2pack - which costs around £7-8k with lifting/mooring costs included when I've looked - appreciate this is best practice for hulls, but is it common for surveyors to suggest this when there isn't cause for concern? Do I take this into consideration when putting in an offer?

 

Engine: There is a leaking injector. Engine service record unknown. I started the engine from cold during my visit, and it seemed fine. 

 

Other cons: The heating system is broken. The Surveyor couldn't identify what the unit was(?) - so this would need replacing, but a positive for me is that the boat has all the piping and radiators in place, so it would just be a case of replacing the unit, which I imagine is a fairly straightforward? 

 

The rudder needs welding to the stock image.png.d46a5156a693bc330783f520e495a67b.pngimage.png.d46a5156a693bc330783f520e495a67b.png

 

This is a small con - but it has a pump out toilet, which i'd be looking to remove fairly early on probably leave the tank in for the time being and just seal it off. This is going to be a gruesome task, any ideas of costs to have this done? 

 

From my perspective the works - other than the base plate - seem somewhat straightforward. Thoughts on whether I should put in a lower offer considering the works that have been noted....or do you think 43k fair?

 

Thank you again, and hope to pass some of you on the cut sometime soon.

Kestrel Full Survey 030921 (3) (1).pdf

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1) I would ask myself why a boat, that was bought a few months ago, is being sold merely because the owners are moving city? It's a boat, so could be sailed to somewhere near their new city.

 

2) The fact that it has finance on it has no bearing on its value... it's merely a negotiating ploy by the broker. Ignore it, and offer what you think it's worth to you. If they dont accept it, there is always another boat.

 

It's easy to talk someone out of buying a particular boat, as against suggesting that they get it bought quick, before someone else buys it but, in this case, based on your description of the circumstances, something smells - to me :( 

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Hello Richard, thanks for replying so quickly. 

 

I'm with you on something feeling off, but I look at the survey and I can't quite figure what that is 😕 

 

Like you say, boats are selling extremely quick, where this one has been on the marinas site for almost two weeks (which these days seems like forever), and I know the current owner had tried to sell independently for £45k in October before they moved. off her. From what I've been told, this was also the current owners first boat, so could this be a case of someone changing their mind...still seems odd though.  

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If the boat is Kestrel I would say the electrics looks shonky with exposed cabling going to the 240v sockets and what looks like 240v switches for the lighting. Also I'd want to deal with the finance company, not just the person who took out the loan because you want to ensure the loan is not outstanding once you purchase (sic) the boat.  

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Reading that survey I'm surprised it got a BSS certificate, as there seems to be a lot of BSS gotchas in the survey. 

I see it has a 18 x 17 prop. This seems very over propped on a 36hp engine with 2:1 gearbox, but I might be wrong. 

Hull seems reasonable, however I agree the story about selling the boat again so quickly sounds fishy. Proceed with caution.

 

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Hello Bill and Booke thanks for your input - really useful insight. It is indeed Kestrel. 

 

 

Booke, in terms of propeller sizes, this is certainly something I wouldn't have picked up and no nothing about. No you have any recommendations on where to read up on this? I tried to look into prop sizes-engine capability last night, with little luck. Would this also impact the rudder, perhaps why it needs re-welding? 

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If the loan company loaned finance against the boat then the current seller is not the owner & is not allowed to sell it wthout involving the finance company, you must negotiate with, & buy it from the finance company and they will then forward on to the seller (not owner) any payment above what he owes.

If you buy it from the seller then it is, in effect 'stolen goods', and the finance company are within their rights to come and repossess the boat and leave you with no boat and no money.

 

BE VERY CAREFUL.

 

If the loan was made as a personal loan to the seller, and not loaned against the boat, then forget all the above, he can sell it and the repayments contiue to be his problem alone.

 

DO YOUR RESEARCH ON WHO OWNS THE BOAT, it could be the loss of your savings if it goes wrong.

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Regarding your question about grit blasting and 2 pack epoxy on the hull, this seems to be a recent thing that surveyors are recommending. We sold an 18 year old boat last year, started with a 12mm base plate, never been on shore power in a marina and baseplate readings were above 11mm, but the surveyor stated it should be blasted and 2 packed so the buyer was asking £5,000 of the price. I said no.

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23 minutes ago, PeterF said:

Regarding your question about grit blasting and 2 pack epoxy on the hull, this seems to be a recent thing that surveyors are recommending. We sold an 18 year old boat last year, started with a 12mm base plate, never been on shore power in a marina and baseplate readings were above 11mm, but the surveyor stated it should be blasted and 2 packed so the buyer was asking £5,000 of the price. I said no.

What reason was given by the surveyor?  Microbes again?  My boat is blacked every 2 years, this includes a thorough jet wash first, followed by going over all the hull sides with an angle grinder, then the actual bitumen.  I'd have to question why I should ever need to take action against microbes with this happening every 2 years.

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Base plate treatment is considered best practice, but rarely done on narrowboats. I suppose that this is a catch-all for surveyors to avoid future claims.

I personally think the price is heavy for a 28 year old boat and is probably 50% of  what it cost new, but these seem crazy times. 

The reason for selling may be genuine if it was bought as a liveaboard in London, and there is nowhere close to their new city to moor so thay need to rent a flat.

Edited by Ex Brummie
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The thickness readings are fine, many boats start out with less than that when new. No mention of pitting but I expect if you looked you would find some. Grit blasting and two pack is just plain common sense but it is obviously going to cost - if only builders would do it from new, with many boats when they are built they are likely to have the worst possible paint job on the places where it should be the best thus handing over a boat with inbuilt problems  (I have a thing about builders so I am biased) As for the rest the heating will cost, the fit out is sparse but that is just taste. If the ownership thing is ok then what you see is probably what you get.

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7 minutes ago, doratheexplorer said:

What reason was given by the surveyor?  Microbes again?  My boat is blacked every 2 years, this includes a thorough jet wash first, followed by going over all the hull sides with an angle grinder, then the actual bitumen.  I'd have to question why I should ever need to take action against microbes with this happening every 2 years.

 

5 minutes ago, Ex Brummie said:

Base plate treatment is considered best practice, but rarely done on narrowboats. I suppose that this is a catch-all for surveyors to avoid future claims.

 

There was no technical reason given,  there was no untoward metal loss, it was just stated as best practice for future protection as Ex Brummie said. Which is why I told the buyer I would not reduce the price. 

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The boat looks as if it has been completely refitted and painted inside  . I wonder why? There were no curtain rails on the windows which didn't have blinds and I couldn't see any way of holding the bottom of the blinds in against the wall (there might be something there but I couldn't see anything). 

I think I would be trying to find out more about the boats history.

What would you replace the pumpout toilet with? 

 

haggis

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11 minutes ago, haggis said:

I think I would be trying to find out more about the boats history.

 

I'm with you on this, I've tried to get more information from the marina, but not had much back from them regarding this. I'll do some more digging 

 

13 minutes ago, haggis said:

What would you replace the pumpout toilet with? 

 

A compost loo - I no not everyones first choice, but I've used them in the past and they work for me! 

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10 minutes ago, haggis said:

The boat looks as if it has been completely refitted and painted inside  . I wonder why? There were no curtain rails on the windows which didn't have blinds and I couldn't see any way of holding the bottom of the blinds in against the wall (there might be something there but I couldn't see anything). 

I think I would be trying to find out more about the boats history.

What would you replace the pumpout toilet with? 

 

haggis

It's sobering example of what £43k will buy you these days.  Very basic fit out.  Looks like they've sanded down the interior and painted it white to hide damp problems. Broken diesel heater and no idea what type of heater it is (perhaps an unbranded chinese planar heater)

1 minute ago, HannahDee said:

I'm with you on this, I've tried to get more information from the marina, but not had much back from them regarding this. I'll do some more digging 

 

A compost loo - I no not everyones first choice, but I've used them in the past and they work for me! 

You do realise that compost toilets have been all but outlawed for continuous cruisers?  How do you intend to deal with your waste, which needs to be properly composted?

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I see it's London Broker, London prices, so  £3k more than anywhere else. 

I don't like it's lack of charm, sort of IKEA meets model boat builder. 

Stuff about two pack on baseplate, unless the baseplate is bright orange or pitted, it's just opinion not needed. 

The paintwork is rushed, thin, horrid. 

To paint a boat properly requires about six coats, you've got one or two. 

I anticipate it will have a outbreak of rust in less than six months. 

Ask for photos from four months ago.

 Keep looking. 

 

PS probably a half decent boat based on hull survey, Needs £5k and a lot of labour to make it home. 

You are at top of your budget, so it's a non starter IMHO. 

 

Edited by LadyG
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54 minutes ago, doratheexplorer said:

What reason was given by the surveyor?  Microbes again?  My boat is blacked every 2 years, this includes a thorough jet wash first, followed by going over all the hull sides with an angle grinder, then the actual bitumen.  I'd have to question why I should ever need to take action against microbes with this happening every 2 years.

 

The answer is because jet washing and grinding can not be guaranteed to get rid of microbial contamination if you have it. After that is done it needs extra treatment as per the info Alan posts regularly. The question is, s this boat, or your oat, contaminated and thus need the extra treatment.

 

If no steps are taken to kill the microbes they can continue eating the hull beneath the coating be it two pack or bitumen. Remember that they make pits to live in and thus make killing them more difficult than a surface living organism.

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My experiences of that broker were no good.

 

Visit one to look at a potential boat for a friend. Boat seemed OK but a bit scruffy, Having checked the oil & water started the engine to  check it and the gearbox. Found all the cables etc. working as they should be but no ahead gear. Told broker so they could action it but the reply was that i had no business to start it because I could have damaged it - why give me the keys then!!!!

 

Visit to to view a boat I was interested in buying. Found damp carpet by the steps into the back cabin and the accommodation bilge full of water. Despite advertised as having been newly repainted found paint over rust scabs that flaked off with the slightest probe with a small electrical screwdriver in remote locker locations. Also reported both to to broker. Apparently the water in the bilge was just condensation and nothing to worry about and that I had no business to be probing rust scabs because that is what surveyors are for. What sort of a broker is it that can't even keep a boats accommodation bilge pumped out?

 

This was over 20 years ago and the owner at that time is no longer with us, but it is not a broker I would happily use.

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2 hours ago, doratheexplorer said:

What reason was given by the surveyor?  Microbes again?  My boat is blacked every 2 years, this includes a thorough jet wash first, followed by going over all the hull sides with an angle grinder, then the actual bitumen.  I'd have to question why I should ever need to take action against microbes with this happening every 2 years.

 

Thise actions do not kill Microbial thingies.

 

If a hull is found with evidence of microbial attack, it is necessary to deal with it to try to prevent it recurring. A simple solution is for the whole area to be washed with copious amounts of high pressure fresh water. When dry the area affected should be coated with a strong bleaching agent (sodium hypochlorite) diluted 1:4 with water and left for twenty four hours. Afterwards a second high pressure fresh water wash is necessary followed by recoating. This will probably remove around 90% of the microbes but the only real solution is to blast back to bare steel and to treat any inaccessible areas such as tack-welded rubbing strakes as best one can with the bleach solution before applying the next stage of the coating process.

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23 minutes ago, Mad Harold said:

It's not very pretty.Paintwork looks horrible,inside reminds me of a dentist's waiting room,a Lister (yuk) engine and needs a fair amount of money chucking at it.

I think it's about £10K overpriced too.

I am sure you can do better for £43K.

Possibly in Yorkshire.  In London that's pretty competitive.

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A proper base plate grit blasting, zinc plating and 2 pack treatment at Debdale wharf will not cost as much as the surveyor quoted, more like £2.5K to £3K  with a 10 year guarantee.

Ignoring the present crazy prices horrible interior and the non existent heating, its still hugely over priced for a 27 year old mass produced boat built by a very economy priced builder.

Bear in mind that your insurance company will most likely demand a full hull survey repeated every 5 years on a boat of this age.

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