Boat Buying 2
Buying a Used Sunfish Sailboat: Know The Ins and Outs
Before Sailing Away by David Dunlap
As anyone who's ever bought a used car knows, you have to
approach the project armed with your own knowledge before
you even set foot on the lot. In this situation, being uninformed
is tantamount to being taken to the cleaners.
The same goes for buying a sailboat. And, like automobiles,
no sailboat is the same, so you should know the basics (and
some particulars, as well) about the overall condition of
the Sunfish sailboat you have your eye on.
The first question should always be, of course, how much
cash are you willing to part with? If you plan on upgrading
a used Sunfish, that alone can cost from $550 to $750 or more,
depending on whether you want to use it to race. Prices also
vary by location and supply; there's no "set" price
for a used Sunfish sailboat.
Then, where do you find a good used boat? Some people prefer
to place their own ads (either in local newspapers or on the
Internet) as opposed to responding to those already published.
Many people have used Sunfish sailboats in pretty good condition
but just haven't thought of placing an ad for it. Also, check
out local dealers, particularly if you're buying out of season
or if the outfit isn't a Sunfish dealer. Also, knowing that
sailboats go for less in winter and fall will put you ahead
of the game.
Some obvious things that people often forget to look for
are: age of the boat, which can be determined by checking
the rudder, gunwales, or the serial number, if you don't know
the actual age; the weight of the hull, which should be between
115 and 130 pounds, and the resistance or lack thereof - watch
out for a hull that's too flexible.
Also, check the mast step and daggerboard trunk for hairline
cracks or holes, and the condition of the bailer and storage
compartment. And, the cockpit rim may be hiding some damage.
Other places to look for potential deal-breakers: Signs of
moisture in ports or drains. Nicks or dents in the blades;
splits and cracks in wooden blades. Rudder and tiller cracks,
corrosion, or pitting. Dents or bends in the mast, near the
tube. Corrosion in the gaff and boom. Holes or bad seams in
Never let the seller think you know as much as you do, bring
plenty of cash just in case, and you'll find a good deal on
a used Sunfish sailboat.
About the Author
David Dunlap is the owner and founder of All About Sailboats
and The Ocean Sailing Guide, two online resources for every
sailing enthusiast. For sailing information and resources,
including boat insurance and sailing charters, visit http://allaboutsailboats.com