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How to find a really inexpensive boat deal on auction on EBAY

It’s 2017 and the world wide web has evolved quite a bit but eBay has been around for over 30 years and it became famous precisely for auctions. Auctions are particularly suitable for boats because unlike cars boats are much harder to price and at times there is a significant difference between a boat theoretical value and the price that a cash-strained owner is ready to accept to part with his/her boat and get rid of the costs that come with owning a vessel.

I know a lot of yachting industry professionals will raise more than a few eyebrows for what we are about to write but here it is:

How to find very good deals for small and medium size boats on eBay and what should you look out for.

First and foremost decide what your actual goal is. If you are not a professional and you think you can buy low and sell high, please make sure you have experience in budgeting and refitting boats because, rest assured, even the most seasoned professionals (and I am not going to mention any major shipyard here to avoid a lawsuit) happens to go wildly out of budget during a new built or a major refit. If you are planning to buy a vessel that you can charter, we have available a Yacht Charter Business plan template you can download

Mostly you will be able to find day cruisers, cuddy cabin cruisers, sky boats and walk around boats, sports fishing boats a few RIBs and quite a few sailboats too.

On Ebay uk you will actually find very interesting boats if you are into classic lines and wooden sailboats with the occasional pearl such as this Sparkman and Stephens we just noticed 

Sparkman & Stephens for sale

In our little guide on how to find a good deal for a boat on Ebay, we would like to help if letting you know what to look at so here is a list of things you want to consider:

Before we get into to technical stuff, think about the location:

The Location

It’s a very important element because it can determine both your travel cost and time it will take to actually go and see the boat but also it can have a major impact on the cost of mooring in the water before you can actually sail the boat to your chosen home port. Furthermore, if you need to do some work before the vessel is seaworthy the current location of the vessel could have a major impact on those costs. Parts for the engine or rigging might be coming from far away and add quite a bit to your budget, as well as you might not have good enough facilities to carry out some specific works to your desired standard of quality or safety.  Budget very carefully if you are purchasing a vessel that can’t really be put on a trailer because moving a yacht on land can be a major expense and might end up costing more than the boat itself.

The Design and the Designer Name 

If you are buying very cheap you might not be able to be to fuzzy about it, however if you are buying a Sparkman & Stephens for example you can rest assured the vessel will retain a certain value among those who appreciate classic yachts or you might even get lucky and find some VIP owners in the history of the boat which might influence the buyer’s decision later on, whenever you’ll decide to sell the vessel.

The Model and the Shipyard

If you are buying a vessel from a very well known shipyard and a very common model you might be able to find forums or small group of owners that might point you in the right direction on common faults or problems that particular model has or that other owners of similar units have experienced, a bit like classic cars. The shipyard instead might have a reputation for solid boats that are good for sailing around the world – some examples; Hallberg-Rassy or Oyster.

Spirit Yacht Wood Boat

Spirit Yacht

The Construction Material/s 

Some construction materials we would just simply reccomend  to stay away from, for instance, Ferro-Cement. I am not going to bore you and explain why in this article. Some mixed constructions are tricky for example steel and aluminium are particularly complicated to join when welding so we would recommend you do your research in terms of what shipyard did it and how those stress points (joints) have put up with time and physical stress.  Let’s also bust a bit of a myth, fiberglass is a safer purchase then wood – we respectfully disagree with those who believe so. Wood is much easier to inspect without the help of a professional surveyor whereas a fibreglass hull with minor signs or initial osmosis can be much harder to detect than a rotten spot of wood. Also, if you plan to go sailing to the west coast of Africa it’s much more likely to find somebody who can repair wood and the supply of such material rather than fibreglass in general.  Carbon and Kevlar are very expensive and tricky to repair  but if you are looking at those you probably already know this. Steel is a great material but it can be subject to a lot more corrosion than you would expect in certain climates, so it’s often a good idea to call in a professional to measure the thickness in several spots of the vessel.  With aluminium you have similar issues as with steel however alluminium requires professionals that are generally harder to find to be fixed properly if need be. One trick is to consider that if you are looking at a fibreglass hull built in 1970 back in those years builders were just starting with fibreglass so your hull could be much more robust than you may think of course this ‘advantage’ would come with a bit more weight so you might need a little more HP on the engine to make up for it, compared to a modern vessel in the same size range and ‘style’.

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