New member on the hunt! Please help!

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New member on the hunt! Please help!

Postby ElCapitan » Fri May 15, 2020 12:34 am

Hello everyone! I'm new to the forum but am a long time reader. I've been sailing my whole life, but largely due to the great community and wealth of info in this forum, I'm officially on the hunt for my first DS1!

I've got an appointment set to go see a boat about an hour away. Mostly everything seems good on the boat, but I pointed out to the seller that in one of the photos it's clear that there are no coamings. He said he got the boat that way and had no idea there were supposed to be any. Of course I will have to replace these (formerly a professional carpenter, thankfully!), But I'm worried that the side decks might have already been structurally compromised. Should I look for anything specific, or will damage be obvious if it's there? There are also no centerboard supports shown. Not sure if they are temporarily not in the boat or if they don't exist, but that also worries me that this boat may have hidden structural issues.

Second question is price. The seller is asking $1500. Boat has paperwork, all working rigging, clean trailer w/ title, roller furling jib (my preference), and a 4 yr old 4hp outboard (a little oversized, as I've read, but I want a little kick here on the long island sound). The wood for coamings and some epiphanes varnish will run me about $100 and 2 evenings of work. I was thinking of offering him $1100. Too low, too high? I don't want to low-ball anyone, but I also don't want to get a bad deal. I feel like I always read these tales of everyone on the forum getting their fully loaded DS1 for $8 and a bag of pita chips from some poor widow who conveniently lives 3 blocks away, but those stories sometimes seem a bit too good to be true.

Any guidance you can provide would be much appreciated! Can't wait to get on the water! I've had too many naps on keelboats. Need the thrill of a tiller and CB!
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Re: New member on the hunt! Please help!

Postby GreenLake » Fri May 15, 2020 5:11 am

ElCapitan wrote:Hello everyone! I'm new to the forum but am a long time reader. I've been sailing my whole life, but largely due to the great community and wealth of info in this forum, I'm officially on the hunt for my first DS1!


Welcome to the forum!

ElCapitan wrote:I've got an appointment set to go see a boat about an hour away. Mostly everything seems good on the boat, but I pointed out to the seller that in one of the photos it's clear that there are no coamings. He said he got the boat that way and had no idea there were supposed to be any. Of course I will have to replace these (formerly a professional carpenter, thankfully!), But I'm worried that the side decks might have already been structurally compromised. Should I look for anything specific, or will damage be obvious if it's there? There are also no centerboard supports shown. Not sure if they are temporarily not in the boat or if they don't exist, but that also worries me that this boat may have hidden structural issues.


The picture you added looks very nice. You will see some triangular supports under the decks and there should be a piece of square wood also supporting the edge (called a carlin or carline). If you are already replacing the coamings, you might inspect these for dry rot and if found, replace these as well - they do tend to age. With all the supporting wood removed, it would be easy to support any weak spots in the laminate for the side decks, Assuming there are any.

You would foremost look for visible cracking in the gel-coat/paint. If the boat has recently been refinished, that won't help you, as much, of course. However, you may look from underneath; in the past, we you would have used a mirror, now the better way is taking a photo.

The missing thwarts (CB supports) are even easier to replace. Structural issues would show as cracks around the base of the CB trunk, where it meets the hull. Now, the DS1 is a single-hulled boat. Once you lift the floorboards you can access practically any part of the hull from the inside and apply a patch of fiberglass and epoxy resin should reinforcements be needed. These boats are eminently repairable and you seem to have the right set of skills already (If you haven't done fiberglass work, it's an easily acquired skill for someone with your background).

The boat gives the impression of being well cared for, it may be short of perfection, but I wouldn't rank it as "project boat". Yes, it needs a bit of work, but it does appear to be a major construction site.

ElCapitan wrote:Second question is price. The seller is asking $1500. Boat has paperwork, all working rigging, clean trailer w/ title, roller furling jib (my preference), and a 4 yr old 4hp outboard (a little oversized, as I've read, but I want a little kick here on the long island sound). ...!


I really don't like to give advice on price. Because everything is so readily fixable on these boats, I wouldn't expect even some obvious maintenance items to be cause for major price adjustments. It's more a question of whether you have multiple boats you are interested in or whether are willing to start with this boat where it's at to make it yours. Likewise, what the seller will accept depends on the situation more than on the boat.

Things that are harder to fix seem to be included (or you need to make sure), like masts and boom. In contrast to those, sails and running rigging are consumables - they need to be replaced at regular intervals anyway - only excellent/brand new or terrible/in tatters are conditions that would be reflected in the price -- anything in between is harder to account for; whether a new owner will replace sails and rigging in "average" condition sooner or later depends on too many factors from intended level of use to own sailing skills.

Title to boat and trailer is another one of those things that would be hard to "fix" if missing.

Finally, I see a decently sized outboard is included. That I would expect to be reflected in the asking price, because (unlike, say the trailer) it's easy to sell an outboard separately.

Let's say you sail this boat for 10 years. In that time you'll have some maintenance items, and you'll purchase at least one set of sails. And two sets of tires for the trailer, say. Something may break, and you may change the running rigging more to your personal taste (adding cleats / blocks / jib tracks as needed). Now add the purchase price to all of that and divide by 10. Does your budget run to that?

(In my case, maintaining a towing vehicle dwarfs everything :) ).

Would you be better off with a boat that was more of a project? Hold out for the "free" boat? Only you can decide that.

So, I can't tell you what to pay, but (very loosely) the asking price seems to be reasonably in the ballpark (depending on all the items and other conditions we can't see from a distance).
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
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Re: New member on the hunt! Please help!

Postby ElCapitan » Fri May 15, 2020 9:43 am

Thank you so much! Agreed that a matter of a few hundred bucks is far less important than finding the right boat. Glasswork is not my favorite activity, but as long as issues aren't extensive, I don't mind some small repairs. I'm hoping this boat is the right type of "project"- sail ready but I can spend some time on cosmetics and customizing my setup. For me half the fun is working on the boat, but I'm not looking for something that will take all summer prepping just to get it in the water. I'll let you know how it goes!
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Re: New member on the hunt! Please help!

Postby tomodda » Fri May 15, 2020 9:59 am

Hi ElCapitan:

I'll join GreenLake in welcoming you to the forum, and happy to see another sailor starting on their DS "journey." As GL wrote, from the photo the boat appears in good shape, check the fiberglass for any structural damage and figure that into your plans (and offering price). From what I see in the photo, my only other question would be what's up with the spreaders and are the stays any good? That tangle on the mast... Of course, new spreaders are relatively cheap and you should get new stays eventually.

As for price, it's tricky. As GL wrote, the asking price is reasonable, and the difference between $1500 and $1100 is meaningless over the life of your usage of the boat. And one way or another you'll be pouring in a few hundred $$ a year on STUFF, moreso in the first year. Not to mention your time.. this boat is only an hour away? Unless you live in New England (where there a LOT of DS's), guaranteed you'll have to drive further for any other boat on offer. Lastly, remember, no-one is selling their DS to make money, it's way too niche. Also, as GL pointed out, the outboard engine really changes the equation, if it's in good condition it's worth nearly a grand all by itself.

In my not-humble opinion, the best way to negotiate price in these "for sale by owner" transactions is just to communicate openly. Be very friendly, look over the boat, discuss is like you'd talk about adopting someone else's pet. "I love it, I'm wondering about X"... Don't approach it with a used-car buying strategy of "Ok, I can beat the price down $100 because of THIS and another $50 because of THAT." Have a conversation, ask them what's the lowest they'd go or tell them your price and ask if they're good with that, basically PARTNER with them to make a deal.


Best of luck!

Tom

PS: Check: https://www.searchcraigslist.org/ Enter both "daysailer" and "daysailor", people can't spell. Top hit today is a DS1 for $1400, so gives you a "ballpark."
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Re: New member on the hunt! Please help!

Postby ElCapitan » Fri May 15, 2020 11:05 am

Thanks! I'm in New York, so DS's definitely pop up all the time within a couple hours driving.

Definitely no fun in being a tire kicker. The owner seems up front about everything, so now I'm just (not so) patiently waiting for my hitch to show up so I can hopefully bring her home! Good point on the stays. I'd assume that with the way this boat was kept they were probably replaced at some point in time, but may be due for replacement. I was also a bit thrown off by that...knot...of stays on the mast haha. Clearly that is not the best way to store them, but is there a clean way to do so?
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Re: New member on the hunt! Please help!

Postby GreenLake » Fri May 15, 2020 1:42 pm

Source of stays custom fitted for the DS: D&R Marine.

Noticed one more item: a DS of that vintage usually has a keel stepped mast with a mast jack (circular nut on a massive threaded bronze rod). No mast jack in the photo. May have been replaced by some other means of tensioning the rig (hi-field lever on the forestay?). Ask the owner about this.

Stays should be replaced every 15 years or so, and if those aren't already the 1/8" then definitely as soon as you get the boat. However, as long as there are no kinks, the "tangle" may not be as bad as it looks.
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
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Re: New member on the hunt! Please help!

Postby tomodda » Fri May 15, 2020 2:04 pm

I keep my stays (and other mast dangly ropes) in order by wrapping a short bungee cord around the whole thing.
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Re: New member on the hunt! Please help!

Postby GreenLake » Fri May 15, 2020 2:15 pm

Tom, totally: I leave halyards on the mast and use the tails to wrap the bottom of the stays. With some bungee loops to take out the slack along the length. I learned early to use bright colors for them, so I don't forget to take them off before raising the mast ;)
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
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Re: New member on the hunt! Please help!

Postby ElCapitan » Mon May 18, 2020 9:28 am

So I went to see the boat yesterday, and sadly I didn't have much luck. There were many DIY fiberglass repairs from a previous owner, some which concerned me more than others. The worst was the bow and foredeck, which had obviously had a hit long ago. Part of the bow rubrail was missing, the foredeck was separated from the hull, and the foredeck had some softness near the forestay with chipped and cracking paint (pics below). The tow hook was also loose and the hole was not at all watertight. The rest of the glass issues, like a transom repair that left a bunch of exposed wood, were more manageable, but this boat is more of a project than I'm willing to take on right now. Going to look at another boat today, but it's a DS2. Not my preference, but if it's sail ready it will be hard to say no!

One question is about the rudder. (Pic below) The paint was pretty badly crazed and the bolts felt kinda wobbly. Is this servicable or should rudders like this be reglassed and rebolted?
Last edited by ElCapitan on Mon May 18, 2020 10:00 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: New member on the hunt! Please help!

Postby ElCapitan » Mon May 18, 2020 9:51 am

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Re: New member on the hunt! Please help!

Postby ElCapitan » Mon May 18, 2020 9:55 am

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Re: New member on the hunt! Please help!

Postby tomodda » Mon May 18, 2020 12:57 pm

Wow, looks like you dodged a bullet on this one, a definite hard pass, IMHO. Biggest problem is that the bow has lost it's structural integrity, so what's holding up the mast? The seller is DREAMING on the price...This is a sub $500 boat, as in the only value is in the trailer. The outboard is a $300 Chinese Mail-order two-stroke, no thanks. As for the rudder, I can't answer without poking at it myself. Sounds like the bolts need to be reseated indeed, but you can fix the crazing with any gelcoat repair kit. Still, you're in NY, there's other boats within driving distance. Keep your eye on Craigslist and sailing forums. Good luck!
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Re: New member on the hunt! Please help!

Postby GreenLake » Mon May 18, 2020 2:48 pm

I would agree that this is a bit more of a project boat than it appears.

Rubrail replacement is best done like-for-like, but the rail, while you can get it, is expensive. (Unless you are prepared to do shell out for the part, or live with some compromise or with the piece missing, this one's the deal breaker).

It's clear that some PO rammed the boat into a pier/dock or whatever, but the bow in particular on these boats is super heavy laminate and can take quite a bit of abuse - the same is not true of the foredeck (if soft spots there, they can be fixed; looks like there was a "puncture" at one point). The stemhead fitting for the forestay should have an L bracket that is embedded in the fiberglass of the bow. On a boat like this, you'd want to double check that that connection is firm -- the deck is not intended to hold those loads.

Hull/deck separation may be an indicator that the forestay has pulled on the deck, but in this case, probably due to the impact. If I were to take on that boat, I would cut a large inspection port at the place the deck has had a repaired puncture (and when done, seal it with a circular deck plate). That would give better access to the stemhead fitting and also the place where the bow eye bolt is secured. Could be that the plywood backing has gone a bit soft, or just needs re-tightening. Would inspect the eye and bolt for cracks and then reattach w/ some caulking. If hole is oversize, perhaps narrow it down with a bit of fiberglass. Bow eye, I would consider "minor".

More of concern would be the cuddy opening, where the internal rebar has been allowed to be exposed, has rusted and now needs to be removed and replaced by something. Because the mast is keel-stepped, it would be possible to sail this even w/o doing the repair (deck only holds lateral loads). However, the deck no longer fully supports the weight of anyone standing on it (and someone is always standing on mine, so that one is a must fix in my view).

Repairable with either hardwood beam or a hollow fiberglass structure. Not costly, by time consuming. If that work is done, it would be beneficial to extend the support so it becomes a "ring"; that would stiffen the boat in that area.

Rudder would need to be replaced/rebuilt. Making your own isn't that hard and you can get something that has better foil shape and less drag. See thread Building a Rudder.

CB is not shown - I would expect it's state to roughly match that of the rudder (on general principle). You can make your own w/ moderate cost/effort, and result would be "better than new" (better foil shape). So if inclined to work on your new boat I would not pass up one of these for issues with foils.
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
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Re: New member on the hunt! Please help!

Postby ElCapitan » Sun May 24, 2020 5:42 pm

Thanks for all the great advice! I ended up finding a DSII near me for only $450. It needs a bit of work, but the work it needs is more manageable and the overall condition of the boat is far less questionable than the dozens of patches all over the DS I.

I do wish I could have gotten my hands on a clean DS I, but I think this will perfectly suit my needs. I'll start a new thread at some point in the DS II section to document my progress!
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Re: New member on the hunt! Please help!

Postby GreenLake » Sun May 24, 2020 9:41 pm

Congratulations.
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
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