Possible new Searay Owner, a few questions

Discussion in 'Newbie Lounge - NEW' started by reno55, Jul 28, 2016.

  1. reno55

    reno55 New Member

    8
    Jul 28, 2016
    Cleveland, Ohio
    Boatless
    Boatless
    My wife and I are ready to take the plugne and get our first boat. We have narrowed it down to wanting a cruiser, something we can sleep on if we take it to Cedar Point or the Islands of Lake Erie. Looking to buy used and it seems like the Weekender's & Sundancer's are the style we want.

    We would also probably have to dock it as opposed to trailer due to storage here at our house.

    Looking for any advice/input to help us with this decision.
     
  2. Sous

    Sous Member

    670
    Jul 27, 2011
    Herring Bay, MD
    2009 330 DA, Raymarine C80, Intellian, VesselView, Kohler, Sea Lift, Central Vac
    MerCruiser 8.1 Horizons DTS
    Welcome and enjoy the journey. Excellent resources here, so ask, read, and learn.

    Given where you are in your search. My first piece of advice is to write out all of needs/want as it relates to how you plan on using the boat. This will drive your fundamental options... i.e. size, accommodations, etc. Also, do the best you can to figure out the total cost of ownership. Too many people go in and say "hey a I can afford $XXX a month payment, lets do it" only to find out later it cost them twice as much per month once you figure in slip fees, fuel, annual maintenance, winterization costs, storage fees, etc. etc. Next, go out and look at lots of boats of different sizes, years, etc. this will help refine what ones you like which can then help you further narrow your search. Once you find a boat you like absolutely make sure you get a survey done.
     
  3. reno55

    reno55 New Member

    8
    Jul 28, 2016
    Cleveland, Ohio
    Boatless
    Boatless
    Thanks so much! Any tips on the size? We are not certain we just know we want to be able to sleep on it, and having a head would be nice
     
  4. Sous

    Sous Member

    670
    Jul 27, 2011
    Herring Bay, MD
    2009 330 DA, Raymarine C80, Intellian, VesselView, Kohler, Sea Lift, Central Vac
    MerCruiser 8.1 Horizons DTS
    Again, depends on your situation and how many people, etc. For my wife and I we had a 260 (28 foot LOA)... had everything we needed for an overnight boat, head, shower (wet head), AC, cookspace, microwave, etc. This worked fine for awhile until overnights turned into weekends, and weekends turned into long weekends, and long weekends... well you get the point. From there the list of NEEDS grew much bigger, more livable space, a bed we didn't have to take down to eat dinner, room for both of us to move without doing "the dance", a head I didn't have to slump down in just to take a pee, etc. So we went from the 260 to a 330 (old model so 35.5 LOA) basically jumping up 7+ feet in length and 3 feet in beam.

    I'd think that strictly overnight/weekends you could get away with something in the 26-30 loa range and have everything you'll need. But If you plan on longer events, or if you've got more people (family, friends, kids) that will be with you, then that size will get very small very quick. Most people will say get the biggest boat you can afford and I agree with that mentality. But if your not sure that the boating life is for you, or if you are certain that you will do nothing more than the occasional overnighter then maybe getting a 35-40 foot boat isn't necessary.
     
  5. reno55

    reno55 New Member

    8
    Jul 28, 2016
    Cleveland, Ohio
    Boatless
    Boatless
    Yeah we don't/won't have alot of friends and family with us that often. I also do not think we would have many long weekends at least not for the first couple years since it will all be new to us.

    Are most of the weekenders single or dual motor?
     
  6. reno55

    reno55 New Member

    8
    Jul 28, 2016
    Cleveland, Ohio
    Boatless
    Boatless
    I think we are looking at 88-92/94 year range models
     
  7. mwph

    mwph Active Member

    Jul 8, 2008
    Lake Guntersville, Tennessee River, Alabama
    1998 250 DA
    7.4L, B3
    1. Welcome to CSR! - The best site on the internet for Sea Ray information & all things boating for that matter.
    2. Sous' advice, in my opinion, is spot on. Its worth a second read.
    3. I'm betting that most weekenders that you are looking at are single engine boats.
    4. If you haven't yet, spend some time on yacht world.com. The advanced search feature helps narrow the field & you can learn a TON just by looking & reading spec sheets.

    Enjoy the search!
     
  8. Sous

    Sous Member

    670
    Jul 27, 2011
    Herring Bay, MD
    2009 330 DA, Raymarine C80, Intellian, VesselView, Kohler, Sea Lift, Central Vac
    MerCruiser 8.1 Horizons DTS
    If you are looking at something in the sub 30 foot range it will be single motor pretty much exclusively. I'd think that something in that size would work for you, but again I'd go and look at several boats just to "feel them out". They don't even need to be in the water to start your search... go with the admiral walk on board see how it feels for the two of you, go in the head feel that out make up the berth to see if you both fit, etc. You'll find pretty quickly what works and what doesn't.
     
  9. topnote

    topnote New Member

    123
    Dec 21, 2012
    None
    None
    None
    Another issue regarding size you might consider is where you plan to cruise. If your going to be more than A few miles off shore I would always opt for a twin screw and a little more size. Its a matter of safety and comfort...If your staying close in then its a simple case of how much, or little, room is comfortable for overnite stays. I own a multi engine airplane for the same reason. If I fly alot over big water, and I do...I Want a back up engine fore safety.

    When my wife and I went thru this same decision we decided we wanted the comfort of a small condo on the water. A small galley and an extra sleeping room for a child when we had one, which we did! But small enough for us to handle around the dock and not spend a fortune on docking fees. We found our perfect solution.

    We fell in love with the old Sundancer 340 floor plan and the rest is history. We bought a 1985 340 and completely renovated her. It wasnt the cheapest way to go but now that we are done we have a boat we can trust, and that we know. It was cheaper up front but we had to write a check for renovation every month.

    Many will tell you you wont get a return for this type of investment, but what you do get is a solid, thick hull, and a bullet proof design. They truly dont build them like this anymore. Because we didnt have weeks to cruise when we used the boat we opted for gas engines..again much cheaper up front, and harder to sell on the other end. I have to admit when we use the boat we tend to go to the dock, settle in, cruise for a few hours, swim off of a mooring, and then return to the dock and have dinner and spend the night. Thats how we use the boat and so it works for us. We have a million dollar stunning view of the lobster boats and lighthouse in Portsmouth harbor for one twentieth the price of a house with the same view....

    and when we want to change the view, Maine's Casco Bay is two hours up the coast...truly heaven on earth for a boater.

    The biggest trick I think is to get your choice right enough so that you skip the need to buy another boat that better suits your needs, like most do. Avoiding that expense with some forethought is just about the best way to save the most money during your boating lifetime...good luck!
     
  10. dwna1a

    dwna1a Well-Known Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    Apr 23, 2012
    James River
    88 Weekender 300 "Seahorse"
    Twins 350
    First welcome to boating life enjoy the ride.
    Sous is spot on, I can't stress more than the survey part of his post. It is a must when it comes to all boats but really nessary for our older boats.

    There is one boat you may want to look into as well as the WE and SD's. Check out the Express Cruisers. The older SeaRay boats are built like tanks and the EC is no exception. My slip neighbor has a 89 34'ec, I'd sell mine today if that boat was for sale. Tons of cabin room, plenty of power, and a well built hull. I wish you all the luck in this quest.

    There is one other thing, go for a walk around some local marinas. Boaters are a great group, always willing to talk. Go down and look around, we ( at our Marina ) always welcome folks to go aboard and look around.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2016
  11. reno55

    reno55 New Member

    8
    Jul 28, 2016
    Cleveland, Ohio
    Boatless
    Boatless
    Wow thank you all so much! On the survey part our fear is we single out one boat we want get down to the survey and find out it is not the right boat due to failing the survey. We don't want to just keep blowing money on survey's.
     
  12. dwna1a

    dwna1a Well-Known Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    Apr 23, 2012
    James River
    88 Weekender 300 "Seahorse"
    Twins 350
    Only thing with that is the survey may cost you a few hundred but unseen issues can cost thousands.

    I did not have mine done but I got very lucky. She was very clean and well worth the price I paid for her. My wife loves our 300we as do I
     
  13. reno55

    reno55 New Member

    8
    Jul 28, 2016
    Cleveland, Ohio
    Boatless
    Boatless
    That is our concern what if we get a string of bad surveys and $1k later we still don't have a boat. Has anyone ever seen something drawn up that the seller will reimburse for a failed survey?
     
  14. dpmulvey

    dpmulvey New Member

    Dec 19, 2007
    Homeport: Charles City, VA
    1999/2007 330 Sundancer Hardtop.
    6.2 Merc Horixons
    1.5:1 Velvet Drives
    I'm getting ready to start a thread on the importance of competent mechanics and surveys. Just getting my legal, ducks in a row. I did not get a survey on my 2465 Regal. However, my mechanic inspected her stem to stern. If you do not have "that guy", get a survey.

    WRT the Which boat question..... The answer is in front of you.. You need to look.... None of us do.....


    What do YOU want out of YOUR boat?

    What are YOUR normal operating conditions?

    How mucH money do YOU have?

    As an example.... Saint Max is a 330. She costs $1000 per month whether I take her out of the slip or not. Add $100 per hour if I do. That does not include marina fees if I am going away for the weekend.

    OTOH....my 2465 Regal cost roughly 1/2 that and was rack stored under cover M- Thurs and in a slip Sat and Sun.

    Something to consider. The costs go up exponentially per foot. I honestly from an economical perspective, would not mind having the Regal again. The interior room rivaled any thirty footer.


    My $0.02
     
  15. reno55

    reno55 New Member

    8
    Jul 28, 2016
    Cleveland, Ohio
    Boatless
    Boatless
    Can you break down what the costs are for that $1k month?
     
  16. boatman37

    boatman37 Well-Known Member

    Jun 6, 2015
    pittsburgh
    2006 Crownline 250CR
    Previous: 1986 Sea Ray 250 Sundancer
    5.7 Merc
    not sure what years you are looking at but we have a 1986 sundancer 250. at first it seemed pretty big but after a few weeks we realized we needed bigger. it is nearly impossible for us to pass each other in the cabin unless one of us steps into the bathroom. not a huge issue but can be a pain. it is also a pain swapping back and forth from table to bed and back to table, etc. our next boat will have a dedicated table and seating. next to think about is the head. are you ok with a porta-potty and having to carry it through the marina to dump it out or do you want something with a pump out? can you live without air conditioning and/or generator. windlass? our boat doesn't have the walk through windshield so it is a pain to get out on the bow. those are a few of the things we would change. think about those before making a decision
     
  17. JimmyDubai

    JimmyDubai Member

    349
    Oct 13, 2015
    Dubai, UAE
    Sundancer 290 1996, one big block Mercruiser 7.4 LT
    Simrad Go9 XSE + 3G radar
    One, Mercruiser 7.4 V8, 310 HP
    In my case (annual cost): 5,800 marina fees, 2,000 in fuel, 2,500 in annual maintenance. Assuming just these very basic examples you are already talking about 10,300 dollars. As said before this excludes other marina fees as a visitor, extra maintenance, upgrades, etc.
     
  18. topnote

    topnote New Member

    123
    Dec 21, 2012
    None
    None
    None
    Best advice I never took....Don't even consider saving a few hundred dollars and passing on a survey if your buying an older Searay. There is a significant amount if wood used in the building process, much if it is hidden, or covered up, and if its exposed to water, of course it rots.

    I bought my 85 Sundancer 34 in Florida. The canvas was weak and leaking in a few places. We literally spent three years removing wood rot in the craziest places. When we finally finished the project after three years and three months...we noticed the transom door rattled when it was closed while prepping her for shipping. Opened it up and the wood interior had turned to mush. I passed on a survey because I intended to totally demo the interior and start over. I never realized how much damage could be caused by hidden wood rot even inside the fiberglass!

    you can bet after all that work Ive invested in a new aluminum cockpit top and the best canvas covering. Paid triple the price of the boat sales price to repair her. Just one man's experience! Yes Ive got a great boat now, and it is perfection, but I sure could have had a better understanding of what I Was in for.

    By the way, in almost every case I've had a survey in the past for anything, the seller did pay for the survey, because they lowered the price to make up for problems found that they didnt even know about. I should have known bettr to skimp on one on my current boat.
     
  19. KHE

    KHE Member

    202
    Feb 28, 2012
    West Michigan
    1997 Sea Ray 240 Sundancer
    Mercruiser 5.7L EFI alpha 1 Gen 2 drive
    I haven’t heard of a seller reimbursing the prospective buyer if the survey failed but it may be possible if you negotiate that with the seller prior to making the offer.

    I hear you on having a $1000.00 invested in failed surveys and not having a boat but $1000.00 wasted is better than $10,000 on a boat that is rotten and otherwise unsafe.

    When I was looking, I had the surveyors do a structural analysis while I was present. That brought the cost down to $100.00 since they did not need to generate a report.The surveyors were very helpful and explained everything they were doing and showed me what to look for in order to screen the boats before having them surveyed.I was able to do my own evaluation of the engine (compression test, etc.) and outdrive (gear oil, bellows, etc.).After two failed surveys on an ’87 and ’89 Sea Ray 230 Weekenders, I decided to purchase my own moisture meter.I learned enough from the surveyors to do my own evaluation – tap the stringers, transom, motor mounts, etc. with a plastic hammer – any dull thuds where the hammer doesn’t rebound usually means rot damage.The moisture meter would confirm that.You can find a non-contact moisture meter on ebay for $200.00.I was going to sell it after I bought my boat but I hate selling tools and think the moisture meter is a good tool to have.Check the gel coat for blistering and excessive cracks.A fiberglass boat will always have some mild stress cracks but if you see anything major, that indicates a problem.

    I decided to increase my budget and look for something in the early 1990s when I found my 1997 240 Sundancer. I thoroughly checked it out as described above – it was solid and dry.The broker asked my wife if I was a marine surveyor…


    Always make your offer contingent on a marine survey and a sea trial.
     
  20. copb8tx

    copb8tx Well-Known Member

    Jan 26, 2008
    Lake Texoma, TX
    2005 420 Sundancer
    T-8.1S Horizons
    Budget, budget, budget!! That's going to determine SO much of your decision. Get a handle on what you want to spend on the boat and what you're comfortable with for your annual outlay for maintenance, slippage, fuel and so on. Without this you'll be completely in the dark, or worse yet, you'll buy something that ends up costing more than you expected and ruining the fun.

    If you're definitely going to be keeping the boat in a slip, and since you're going to be boating on some pretty big water, I'd definitely lean towards a boat with a wider beam than 8.5'. Beam makes a HUGE difference in space, comfort and stability. Only boat I owned for less than three years was my first single engine 250 Sundancer. Had an outdrive (that failed), rocked like crazy, and the head was tiny. That said, you'd more than likely be moving into a twin engine boat and that really impacts your maintenance effort and costs. Also, if you're going to keep the boat in a wet slip and you're looking at older boats I'd try and avoid and inboard/outboard boat.

    Regarding the survey costs piling up, you're only option there is to do a lot of personal due diligence regarding the boat's condition and maintenance before you take the step of signing a contract. You'll need to educate yourself about the weak spots of the boats you're considering and look for those during your inspections. The BIG BIG dollar killers are bad mechanics and soft spots in the hull. Compression and leak-down tests tell a lot about the condition of the motor itself. Straight-inboard boats have the simplest driveline and least amount of risk. Tapping the hull around the soft spots (stanchions, windless, cockpit sole, windows, etc, etc) may tell you something right off the bat before you've spent any money.

    You've come to the best forum to ask your questions. People here really love to help. Once you've got your eye on a boat or two come back here and ask if anyone with experience lives or boats in that area and can help you check the boat out (bring beer :grin:). The more eyes on the boat during inspection the better.

    Good luck ad enjoy!! Look for a boat is it's own kind of fun. I love it!
     

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