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Buying our first "performance" boat

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Old 08-01-2008, 11:41 AM
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Default Buying our first "performance" boat

I've owned/had boats in the past and grew up on the water. I've never owned a performance boat and I've never had to actually go through the actual purchasing of the boat believe it or not. So, I need your help guys. I am just leary because it's a "new" type of boat for us. It's not the typical runabout.

Are there any specific questions I should ask?

Any certain things I should look out for when I am looking at the boats?


Lastly, I am going for a single I/O engine. How many hours on an original Merc would you say is too many to consider buying?

Here are a couple boats I am interested in. If you know these boats or have comments on whether it is a good/bad boat, I want to hear it.

Last thing.... when offering a price... what is a fair "offer". Let's say the boat is listed at $40K obo... what would you offer?

Thank you!!!!!!

OH.... boats....

2003 29' Cheetah Offshore w/ 496 MAG HO...64 hours
2003 23' Warlock Mid Cabin w/350MAG
1992 NORDIC VENTURE 24' 454 Mag Bravo 1 Drive
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Buying our first "performance" boat-possible-cheetah-offshore.jpg   Buying our first "performance" boat-possible-warlock-2003.jpg   Buying our first "performance" boat-possible-1.jpg  

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Last edited by WakezoneINS; 08-01-2008 at 12:15 PM.
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Old 08-01-2008, 12:31 PM
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Your simple question has a series of answers that could fill a very large book.

This is usually what I tell people-

Buy a name-brand boat. A first boat usually isn't around long. If you like it, you'll want bigger/faster/roomier/racier/whatever in a year or two. If you don't, you'll probably just want it gone. Selling an off-brand boat can be tough- especially when there's no shortage of bargain priced name brand boats you're competing against. Cigarette, Fountain, even Baja- they hold their values better. The boats you list are rare on this end of the country so they may be big, popular brands in the West. But if they held the name recognition of Cigarette and Fountain, we'd see them here. Also, stick to something mainstream. While something unusual might appeal to you, it may not to the average buyer.

Condition is everything- I'd take a high-hour boat in pristine condition vs. a lower-hour one that looks like it's been ridden hard & put away wet.

Service records- There are 3 types of ways to do maintenance. The first is having it profesionally done. The second is the skilled owner that DIY's it. The third is the "whatever- if I remember, I'll change the oil" and also "if it ain't broke I ain't worryin' about it" I'm guy #2 but I have records that detail everything. If a guy doesn't have printed, organized dcoumentation, he's probably boat maintenance guy #3.

All things being equal, newer is probably going to be cheaper in the long run. You may find a stellar deal on an older boat but if you have to scavenger-hunt on parts, that can be expensive.

KNOW what you want before you buy something. Making a boat into something it isn't is exceptionally expensive. Making a 60 MPH boat into an 80 MPH boat can be prohibitively expensive. If you want to go 80, knowing this beforehand and looking at 80 mph boats is going to be alot less expensive.

Survey- unless you're prepared for and not concerned with making a 5-figure mistake, have your final choice surveyed by a well-known high-performance marine surveyor. The guy that does million-dollar yachts all day won't know what to look for, just as the guy who surveys Cigs & Fountains every day would probably be lost on a big sportfisher.

Lastly- on surveyors, they can be more than just the guy who checks the boat out. A good one will share his experiences, his knowledge of the market and also who is and isn't a scrupulous dealer. They may be able to point you in the right direction. I think I'd start by calling around- or asking on here for a referral.
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Old 08-01-2008, 12:40 PM
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Wow. That is great info. thank you very much! I will absolutley keep all of what you said in mind when we are narrowing down our choices.

I don't have the "need for the speed" or the high insurance prices that come with a boat over 70mph.. for now. Where we boat (Arizona lakes around phoenix) I would have absolutley NOWHERE to go that fast. We boat basically in a Canyon... hence the name Canyon Lake. It is very narrow and there are a ton of waverunners and jet skiers out. We basically go out to hang out anyways. I posted a pic of the lake we boat on.

Thanks again for the GREAT information! I'm sure I'll have more questions as we narrow the search.
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*** Please note that any insurance advice given is based on current information at the time of the original post. Insurance rates, terms, policies, markets etc change often. We can not be held liable for outdated information that can be found in older posts on this forum.

Last edited by WakezoneINS; 08-01-2008 at 01:11 PM.
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Old 08-01-2008, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by WakezoneINS View Post
Wow. That is great info. thank you very much! I will absolutley keep all of what you said in mind when we are narrowing down our choices.

I don't have the "need for the speed" or the high insurance prices that come with a boat over 70mph.. for now. Where we boat (Arizona lakes around phoenix) I would have absolutley NOWHERE to go that fast. We boat basically in a Canyon... hence the name Canyon Lake. It is very narrow and there are a ton of waverunners and jet skiers out. We basically go out to hang out anyways. I posted a pic of the lake we boat on.

Thanks again for the GREAT information! I'm sure I'll have more questions as we narrow the search.

Of the three you have posted, I would personally go with the Cheetah, especially if it is in good shape and surveys well and all three are priced similarly. I'd say all three brands are well enough known on the West coast for resale issues, but I believe Warlock is out of business so their brand recognition is dwindling.

Cheetah's are definitely known as a "beginner boat" and are priced accordingly, but there are many fans who swear by them. I haven't been in or near one, but have read the rigging may not be the best, but then the pricing is considerably more aggesive than anything around. If you just want to hang out and not haul, that would be a good package and the HO is fairly reliable from my understanding.

It is also considerably bigger than the other two, which will save you from the 3 foot itch you are basically going to have in a year or two with the others. Last, I think it's the best looking of those 3.
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Old 08-01-2008, 01:17 PM
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Cheetah's are definitely known as a "beginner boat" and are priced accordingly, but there are many fans who swear by them. I haven't been in or near one, but have read the rigging may not be the best, but then the pricing is considerably more aggesive than anything around. If you just want to hang out and not haul, that would be a good package and the HO is fairly reliable from my understanding.
The boat is listed at $36,500 obo. NADA says between $28 and $32. Let's say that everything with the boat checks out and we decide to make an offer. What is a "reasonable" offer?
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Old 08-01-2008, 01:22 PM
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Of the three you have posted, I would personally go with the Cheetah, especially if it is in good shape and surveys well and all three are priced similarly. I'd say all three brands are well enough known on the West coast for resale issues, but I believe Warlock is out of business so their brand recognition is dwindling.

Cheetah's are definitely known as a "beginner boat" and are priced accordingly, but there are many fans who swear by them. I haven't been in or near one, but have read the rigging may not be the best, but then the pricing is considerably more aggesive than anything around. If you just want to hang out and not haul, that would be a good package and the HO is fairly reliable from my understanding.

It is also considerably bigger than the other two, which will save you from the 3 foot itch you are basically going to have in a year or two with the others. Last, I think it's the best looking of those 3.

I just have a tough time with the Cheetah. I was picking my boat up and there was one in the shop for a motor issue. The motor was a custom either by the owner or some other shop. There has been alot of talk about Cheetahs of late at one of the other forums so I took some time and really looked at it. The sides were waving and thin and the rigging was absolutely horrible.....I just think that stuff will come back to bite you in the future. IMO......
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Old 08-01-2008, 01:26 PM
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There's no such thing as a reasonable offer in todays market. Boat sales are almost non-existant and it's also end-of-season. There are two kinds of boats on the market, cheap one's and one's the owner really has no interest in selling. There are probably 5 to 10 boats on the market for every real buyer. I was looking at Ebay's "completed" lisings and I was astonished at what some of the boats are selling for- not the one's that didn't make reserve, actual sold prices.

Setting aside issues like condition/options ups or downs, the numbers I keep hearing are the real transaction prices are somewhere between 20 and 25% less than book. Take another 20% for dealer trade-in.
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Old 08-01-2008, 01:26 PM
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The boat is listed at $36,500 obo. NADA says between $28 and $32. Let's say that everything with the boat checks out and we decide to make an offer. What is a "reasonable" offer?
I'd offer low at best, especially given the market. I think NADA is still high right now? Someone else would know better.

I'm no expert in boat buying, only boat shopping. Been going on 3 years of research, but will be buying in spring. Therefore, I haven't gotten to offer/acceptance part yet.
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Old 08-01-2008, 01:29 PM
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Just a question, and I'm not trying to start anything, but shouldn't the ability to place a realistic value on a boat be a no-brainer for a marine insurance rep?

I'm sorry for opening a can of worms but this isn't sitting right with me.
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Old 08-01-2008, 01:34 PM
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I just have a tough time with the Cheetah. I was picking my boat up and there was one in the shop for a motor issue. The motor was a custom either by the owner or some other shop. There has been alot of talk about Cheetahs of late at one of the other forums so I took some time and really looked at it. The sides were waving and thin and the rigging was absolutely horrible.....I just think that stuff will come back to bite you in the future. IMO......
I hear you, and have read all of those recent long and colorful threads too, and there have been others over the last 3 years too.

There does appear to be a hit and miss rigging aspect on Cheetah's, based on who was there at the time, and what shop it was done. But plenty of people have been happy with Cheetah's and love them, so some must be good enough.

Last, did you see the price? You just can't touch a 29 ft boat with those hours with a decent merc package like the HO for that kind of money. Some drywall screws in non critical places are probably ok for $20K less money.

So, I think Cheetah can be a good buy if you get a good price, and get it surveyed and really look it over to make sure it is one of the nicer jobs. This isn't one that is "overpowered" and beat itself up either. If it is a good one, I'd still take it over the other 2 she's looking at. Like Chris has said, by as new as you can, and I have always heard buy as big as you can as well.

It's not anywhere as nice as compared to your ride, (I think you have the Skater Trident rigged/painted?? Still waiting to see finished pics somewhere if that is it?), but there really aren't many that are.
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