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Good deal on a boat?

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  • Good deal on a boat?

    I found this on my locally.

    20' Cuddy Cabin 1998 Thompson.

    Hull, Transom, etc is in good shape and the boat runs fine but the owner is removing the engine to sell to a client.

    It sounds like I can get the boat and trailer for $400, clean titles on both with everything including electronics.

    I'm a car guy. Not a boat guy... but I want to be a boat guy. I'm told that the Mercruiser engine in this boat is based on a 350 small block chevy, which I can get in abundance inexpensively with warranty.

    I understand that boat motors are not straight automotive motors but generally have different:

    freeze plugs
    non-sparking engine accessories
    intake manifolds
    exhaust manifolds

    certainly more that I haven't researched yet.

    What I want to determine is the cost, not including the motor itself to marinize a good running SBC engine so I can determine my total cost for this boat if the hull, transom, and floor etc... is actually in as good a shape I am told it's in. It looks like a good boat to me and the owners says it appears to have new bottom paint etc...
    Attached Files
    Last edited by pred8tr; June 9th, 2010, 04:31 PM. Reason: replace thumbnail with 640x480

  • #2
    Re: Good deal on a boat?

    Trailer is worth more than 400 bucks and you can resell for 400 without much problem, in that sense it is a good deal. No way that hull isn't rotted to heck, or suffering from serious issues for 400 dollars. There has to be something wrong with it if the last buyer refused to take the hull and wants just the motor, and left the owner trying to get rid of the hull quick and cheap.


    • #3
      Re: Good deal on a boat?

      To piece everything together from scratch may run upwards of $5,000, the bits and pieces can be costly. You may be able to find a trashed donor boat and pull out a somewhat usable drive train, but that's just like what happened to this one.

      I have a feeling there is far more wrong with this hull than you may have been lead to believe.


      • #4
        Re: Good deal on a boat?

        You may be able to find a trashed donor boat and pull out a somewhat usable drive train, but that's just like what happened to this one.
        Ayuh,... It'll take another donor boat to put This donor boat back together....

        Crawl through it with an Ice Pick,....
        If you don't find ROT, it might be worth it....
        I've had to Trash some beautiful hulls that I couldn't Give away....


        • #5
          Re: Good deal on a boat?

          I went to look at the boat tonight. Here are the details. It's a 1988 Thompson Carrera 200. The trailer looks like it's in great shape. I say great instead of excellent shape because ONE of the cross beams has a small hole in it at the end but it's not on the joint and doesn't appear to sacrifice structural integrity. Otherwise the trailer is in excellent visual condition. The rollers appear like near along with the tires and all else.

          I went all around the boat tapping on the hull and all seemed good on the hull and the transom on the outside. In the boat the controls, marine radio, and stereo were complete. The cabin has all the cushions, a porta potty and a carpeted board that I assume makes a bed in the cabin. The door and window were complete but there was some wiggle on the door left "wall" seperating the cabin from the passenger seating area.

          He had yet to remove the motor so I looked at it and all I can say it wow. Though it's a 5.7L sbc it looked like a BEAST in a boat. The engine cover is still covered with good vinyl along with most of the boat... it's dirty in many places and a few bits are missing but it's all cosmetic.

          Now for the bad part.

          There was an easily missed just barely soft spot right behind the steering wheel where the operator would stand or sit. It's very firm and stood up to me (300#) bouncing on it trying to feel it out. Also, in the back of the boat on the port side just to the right of the engine it felt soft. These were my only two areas of concern.

          Now on to the pics.
          Attached Files


          • #6
            Re: Good deal on a boat?

            I almost forgot. The guy that's selling it owns or works for a marine repair company. According to him he bought it yesterday to pull the motor for a clients boat and has no use for the remainder of the boat. He just wants it gone. He says that if it doesn't sell by the weekend he's gonna crush it and the trailer and haul it to the dump... sounds to me like he's just tired of dealing with people calling about it and wasting his time. Here are the pics of the trailer.

            Here's what I am thinking... and I hope this isn't a forum no-no...
            Where I live I can store and work on about 10 boats... and I have the means to move them. I'd like to own a small fishing boat that I could charter and I am trying to work my way there. I'd like to be able to buy this boat, put a motor in it and sell it for what it is... not take advantage of anyone but sell it cheap as a boat that runs that you could use for a few years and then may need to put a floor in. Any profit made I'd roll into the next boat until I can get that fishing boat... and I've found a Bertram 31 in Florida for $4,000 that needs work on the motors. So anyway, there's my dream.
            Attached Files


            • #7
              Re: Good deal on a boat?

              Okay... last post about this... I found the ad that the guy here in Richmond bought the boat from. He bought it from a guy in Norfolk. The asking price was $2100.


              ...and per the pics it IS the same boat.

              So the trailer has new bearings and the boat was leaking at the exhaust riser. Does this mean transom damage?


              • #8
                Re: Good deal on a boat?

                depends on whether it leaked sitting in the water (constant exposure) or just when it was being used, and was dry on the trailer. Look at the bottom--was it kept in the water? Does it appear to have sunk?
                At least the leaking water was salt water.
                One issue I see: once you fix it up, you have a 22 year old generic boat of an unpopular design. Top price $2000, maybe $2,500. Can you make a profit on it--counting your time and new engine/drive train/controls--when the most you'll make is $2,000?
                The market here is flooded with boats like this. Used trailers are a dime a dozen, too, and this one has been dunked in salt water. Pass.
                (I took a quick look at CL and in the 10 most recent ads is this:
                1986 Chapperal 1996 454 Mercury - Fiberglass, etc...
                21 foot - $3,500 - great for skiing - tubing - fishing - party's $3,500
                A man of constant boat tinkering.


                • #9
                  Re: Good deal on a boat?

                  I agree 100% with HC. If you want to buy it for the trailer or to part it out go for it. If you want to buy it to get running and use it a bit yourself, go for it. To hope to flip it for a profit? Not so much.
                  2002 20' Hydra-Sports 202DC 200HP Yamaha HPDI
                  1976 18' Starcraft SuperSport 90HP Evinrude
                  Restoration thread http://forums.iboats.com/showthread.php?t=357767


                  • #10
                    Re: Good deal on a boat?

                    yeah I agree with HC also, you'll be sitting on that thing for a while trying to sell it, here you would anyways. Soft spots in boats are like rust on cars, they're always worse then the look so be aware of that. Very few people make a big profit on boats, flipping them is iffy at best.
                    Love the life you live, live the life you love-Bob Marley



                    • #11
                      Re: Good deal on a boat?

                      Okay guys. I see your point. Thanks for taking the time to put this into perspective.

                      I thought going into this that I was looking at this boat purely as a investment... but now that it seems it may not be the investment opportunity I had in mind I still want it.

                      I got the other boat as a learning opportunity... when for potentially a lot less work this boat will at least be 'serviceable' and provide a much more better good time for a short period before needing major work.

                      If I consider the boat itself as disposable and plan to just get a season or two out of it and put my effort into the engine and drivetrain which I am most interested in right now; learning to marinize motors, this may still be a good idea.

                      Thanks for the input guys!


                      • #12
                        Re: Good deal on a boat?

                        Offer to haul it to the dump for him.. For free.
                        My little project boat, the "THUNDERCHICKEN":


                        • #13
                          Re: Good deal on a boat?

                          would any of you know what a 28 Mckee craft pilothouse boat is worth? I don't know the exact year but it not any older than late 90's. It has 27 hrs on it, used by state conservation department, comes with a trailer. I know this isn't much but a ballpark figure would be appreciated. They have 4 of them and asking 50k each.



                          • #14
                            Re: Good deal on a boat?

                            After some thought, I gave up on the idea of flipping this boat for a profit but rather simply marinize an engine and get this boat in the water and enjoy it for a season or two before it will probably need a floor replacement.

                            Armed with this info I offered the guy $250 and I am now the proud owner of my first... errr.... second.... boat. I am completely stoked about it! I pulled it home Friday night with my buddies help... the boat is a little big for my Jeep.

                            I spent hours Saturday going through it and familiarizing myself with it. It's plenty dirty now... they didnt spare any time removing the motor nor did they take any measure of keeping the boat clean... but that's okay. I can clean it back up and while at it repair or rebuild a few wood pieces. The cabin has all the cushions and they are mostly in good shape. There was one showing signs of mildew and rot on the starboard side near the entrance. I pulled out all the cushions and the interior was completely dry save for a very small amount of surface dampness smaller than the palm of my hand under this cushion. We had a rain storm about an hour before I did this, and the boat was out on the water Tuesday of the same week so I am not letting this alarm me yet. The compartment behind the mirror was dry as well as the compartment beneath the cushions. The porta potty was dry and the floor was dry. It took me probably about an hour to determine how the cushions worked. lol. The interior is clean and mostly in good shape except for the one cushion cover.

                            Outside the carpet had been newly covered in grease along with many surfaces around the engine. Some of the trim pieces are missing or are partially falling off and generally the boat needs a good cleaning.

                            The guy I bought it from said he put it in the water with the Merc 250 in it and as a performance oriented guy was a little disappointed. I have already found one engine option but it deviates from my plans. It's a Merc 228 complete that was last run a year ago. It's still in the boat and includes accessory's etc for $350. It doesn't come with the lower unit. So I have this possibility rolling around in my head only because I will invest a little more than this in my salvage yard motor but I will also get a warranty and the ability to keep swapping them out until I get one I am happy with... but it will not include any marine accessories.

                            The fore section of the engine compartment seems to have some rot but it's fiberglass or plastic on the other side.

                            I found the owners manual pack in the cabin as well.

                            Overall I am pretty pleased so far considering this boat is only supposed to serve two purposes right now.

                            1. Get on the water without a ridiculous investment.
                            2. Last for 1 to 2 seasons and be enjoyable.

                            I expect the floor to last that long and so far that's my only major concern.

                            One this that is peculiar, it seems that at some point the cabin had gallons of water set in it. There is a "low water line" in the wood at the cabin. What does this mean and how would this happen? Now on to the pics.

                            More pics.


                            • #15
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                              Re: Good deal on a boat?

                              What I need to do now is clean the boat up and figure out how to protect it from further damage while it sits awaiting it's new heart.

                              I also need to determine exactly what drive train components I have so I can figure out exactly what I need. I am still a boat newbie and this is a learning process. I know a little about motors (from auto knowledge) but nothing about sterndrives or any boat driveline stuff.