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Maintenance Or Rather Lack Of It


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Visited a marina today to view a boat and got chatting to a guy who has had a mooring at said marina for thirty years, we got invited to look at his boat which was a Freeman 22 built sometime in the late sixty's, unsure on the exact year as it was bought second hand by him and the Freeman owners site are unsure as the numbers he has don't match anything they have on record, anyway after chatting to him for a while and asking him lots of questions about the marina and facilities they offer I asked him about maintainance and how much it costs him a year, he services the engine himself every couple of years but to my surprise its only been out of the water once in thirty years and that was around ten years ago when he had a vibration that turned out to be a damaged prop, this was replaced along with what he said was a refurbished drive line, what this involved I have no idea as he was unsure himself, apart from that he has had no issues apart from a rough running engine ,he removed the carburettor rebuilt it and refitted it a year later and its run fine ever since , as he now lives down south visits to the boat are few and far between but apparently it starts first time every time and has not had any breakdowns or major issues in all that time,looking at it it looks a well cared for example from the outside at least ,maybe freeman built them to last or maybe he has been lucky, still can't believe its been only lifted once in thirty years

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I'd want to see the underside for myself, grp boats really need to dry out every few years to prevent bad osmosis, don't get me wrong osmosis itself isn't a reason not to buy as everything in your budget (and much higher) will have it but to a minor extent, I've seen some big blisters on freemans that have never been allowed to dry, a couple of months every 2-3 years will do it but once in 30 years would make me walk away.

Surely his insurance must want a survey at that age?? I bet yours would as a new owner.

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If it ain't broke, don't fix it !

Well that's what they say.  From what you have described it strikes me that if you can find out when a boat was last lifted and then have it lifted yourself (for the survey) you will be able to tell whether frequent lifting is necessary. I agree with Dilligaf that once in 30 years is ... well lets say "pushing it" a bit, but unlike Dilligaf, it wouldn't make me walk away. Personally, if there are no issues, I'd go for 5 years or possibly a couple more. 

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 Not all insurance providers require  a survey to insure a boat........:51_scream:

As MM says 30 years may be pushing it a bit ,but I wouldn't walk away either on that basis alone).

One thing that you need to be aware of is its quite difficult to get petrol on the broads and may involve a lot of can lugging whereas diesel is available a plenty.

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To lift or not to lift, that is the question.

If the boat has not been lifted every two years over that thirty years, then the owner has saved himself the price of say 15 lifts, if say each lift was £200 ignoring the cost of any antifouling, then he has saved £3000 so is the current value of the boat worth £3000 less than it's market value? I doubt it. The owner has been quite canny, others might say lucky too. 

When a boat is over a certain age, value is more down to cosmetic condition. Eg if original gel coat, age, condition of engines etc. General state of repair, eg a new canopy could add £1000  Can the boat be used straight away, or does it need new upholstery?

The fact that it has been in the water so long is a testimony to the build quality of the day. There are many grp boats over 40 years old on the system, at the time of build, no one knew how long these would last.

What I do suspect is that more modern boats are not as tough as they used to be, time and experience has proven that they don't need to be. 

Just my thoughts.


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Nothing accelerates osmosis quicker than regular swapping from salt to fresh water. I used to moor at Ridge Wharf up the River Frome and go to sea via Poole Harbour. A Wareham based Marine Surveyor told me that it was one of the worst hotspots for Osmosis in the area, many more cases than near the harbour entrance and boats seeing it at a much younger age.

I remember a beautiful Morgan Out Island of about 40ft being lifted and it looked like Teredo Worm in GRP had arrived and was horrified to be told by CDR. Clarke that it was not yet 4 years old.

I think that it probably ended up in Court because he also told me that when the owner phoned the US to complain he was told to paint it with a high build two pack and re antifoul!   " The trouble with you British is you are neurotic about it, sail the Gulf and nobody bothers" he was told.

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