And so the shopping begins! The Admiral and I took a day-and-a-half trip cross-state to look at candidate #1, a 1999 Donzi 28ZX. We like this boat because itís a bit unusual (donít see your boat coming and going), is towable with our current vehicle, and the small blocks/Bravo combination should be pretty bulletproof. The boat is being brokered by a marina and was described to me as being as lift-kept, clean, and well-cared for.
- 1999 Donzi 28ZX
- Twin 350 Mags, approx 240 hrs
- Silent Choice
- Latham external steering
- Mechanical drive and trim indicators
The spec sheet from the brokerage had some details on equipment (see above) and gave the following ratings:
- Hull: 9
- Engines: 9
- Canvas: 9
- Upholstery: 9
- Interior: 9
The boat sits on a brand new Manning aluminum trailer. It is a two-owner boat.
So, after a leisurely 3 hours of watching our Durango suck fuel (that thing got a Hemi? Yep, Iíve got the gas bill to prove it!), we arrived at the marina. The boat was in heated storage in their service area.
First impression Ė the boat is dirty. There is a visible scum line on the transom (lift-kept??), the deck is filthy (the boat is listed as having two covers, mooring and cockpit, but I only saw a cockpit cover), the cockpit upholstery is dirty as well. Now, Iím of two minds on this one; on the one hand, the marina is closed the week between Christmas and New Years, and they came up just to show us the boat. Boats get dirty, it's a fact of life. OTOH, youíve got a potential client that is driving over 200 miles one-way to see this thing, doesnít that warrant taking 20 minutes to hose it off with some soap and water?
Anyway, the hull and deck look good. Few more dings and scrapes than I had expected, but it is 5 years old and there is nothing serious that I didnít already know about. Gel had a nice shine to it, even on the deck. Graphics looked good. Hullsides are straight, rubrail is straight, no caulk oozing out, etc.
Under the hatch it looked good as well. Nice red diamond plate on both gunwales and on the back of the bench. Rigging was OK, not great but not bad either. No signs of oil leaks or any of that sort of business. Gotta love small blocks, there was room for me to put two fists between the motors!
On to the cockpit. Carpet looks good. Upholstery was noticeably yellowed, both the bolsters, bench, and sunpad. ďZXĒ stitching on the bolsters was noticeably faded. And everything was dirty, not sure how much a good scrubbing would help.
There were no tears or rips that I could find. Both bolsters worked (manual models). None of the gauges were fogged, but one of the tracks on the mechanical drive/tab indicators looked like it was out of place relative to the others - broken? Windshield has a brace in the middle, it was missing one of the eight or so bolt/nut combos that held it together. Cover for the electrical panel was off-kilter, looked like a hinge was loose/broken.
Helm has Gaffrig gauges, the speedo and tachs were not mounted straight, not sure if it came from the factory this way. Other than the stock (?) Clarion stereo in the cabin, the boat has *no* electronics. No VHF, no GPS, not even a depthfinder.
Speaking of the cabin, it is bare-bones. No fridge, no sink, not even a cooler. The head is not plumbed for a pump out, so it would have to be hauled out of the boat every time it needs to be emptied. Again, the cabin was dirty (lots of spiderwebs in the hatch screen, etc.)
While I was buried under the hatch, the Admiral flipped the cushions over and found mold under nearly every one. It also looked like mold was coming through the seams on the headliner. Essentially, everything from the centerline over to the starboard side was moldy. Obviously, water had gotten in there and sat for a while under the cushions. And Iím wondering what is going on under the headliner (maybe nothing, maybe something).
Overall, I thought it was a decent boat that probably hadnít seen regular use or care; Iíd give it a 7 on a 1-10, excluding the mess in the cabin. From what I understand, it was kept at a vacation house, so probably didnít get the upkeep that a boat sitting in your driveway might get. And it is a base model boat, there are no options that I could see except the Latham steering and the drive/tab indicators.
Based on my research (selling prices, not asking prices), the price I had discussed with the broker was $5-7K more than the average. This was before I saw the boat. Now Iíd be more inclined to swing the other way. A good dayís worth of elbow grease might square away a lot of the issues I saw, but the lack of amenities/options and the mold under the cushions and possibly under the headliner really give pause on this one. What do you guys think? Continue negotiations or look for another fish in the sea?
Couple of design thoughts on this boat. It is really more of a sit down layout. I could not stand in the bolster and reach the wheel, and at 5'9", I'm no Nort. Sitting, however, was very comfortable.
The boat has an anchor locker, but it is a screwy design. There is no gasket around the hatch, and there is about a 3" gap between the top of the anchor locker and the deck. You can see the cabin headliner from inside the anchor locker. And there is no way to secure an anchor, so it just bounces around while your underway, the boat we looked at had a few good gouges inside the locker. I think an anchor locker is a great idea, but Donzi's execution was pretty half-assed, if you ask me.
Anyway, I snapped some pics while we were out there.
Center cushion and starboard cushion
Yeah, yeah, yeah. You need a 38 TG .
I would shoot for the 3-6k below average, bravo last a long time behind 350
Did Ed tell you what the owner is supposedly having built to replace that boat? I saw it sitting in their showroom back on the 4th of July.
Man DR, you should think abouta career as a SAMS Marine surveyor!! LOLOriginally Posted by dockrocker
Would the gap in the 'achor locker' allowing you to see the headliner, that you describe, be a reason for the mold etc coming through inside cabin??? Maybe an area vulnerable to getting wet??
IMO you should move on ... unless a deal you can't possibly refuse ... too many boats and deals out there in this buyers market to settle for anything less than a 'great' deal on a boat you're going to be happy with for a long ti((errrr uhhh)) well for a little while anyway hehehe
I'd pass. Its gotta be a 9+ for me to consider it.
That's one theory I have. I also think it's possible that the boat was loaded on the lift a bit sideways, allowing some water to pool on the starboard side; the port side cushions are completely clean. Kind of weird.Originally Posted by njgr8ful
I have a feeling that the guy will just sit on it. From what I understand, he is having one of the first Chiefs built as a replacement, big power and #6 drives. I'm guessing that money is not an issue.
For my comfort level, I'd have to replace all the cabin cushions and pull out that headliner, just to be sure. Once that mold and mildew takes hold, it is a cast iron ***** to get rid of it permanently.
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