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Buying a used 1985 Hatteras 36 Convertible A Mistake?

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Buying a used 1985 Hatteras 36 Convertible A Mistake?

Old 09-17-2012, 05:19 PM
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Default Buying a used 1985 Hatteras 36 Convertible A Mistake?

Hey everyone,

I have been reading this forum for quite a few months now and finally decided to register and post a few questions for some of you pros. I have been reading a ton of information on this forum and others including yachtsurvey etc. and quite a few books to try and educate myself (so go easy on me since I don't know that much)

a little background. Started boating 2 years ago with a boat club and I take a boat out once or twice a week usually in the 30 to 36 foot range but also many center consoles that are 27 or 28 feet as well. Club was a great way to learn and have driven tons of center consoles, including Grady Whites, Boston Whalers, Pursuit, Proline, etc. Have also taken out various sized Sea Rays , Albemarles, Luhrs and many express and open boats including Tiara 36 open which I stayed on for 3 days on my first overnight trip with the family (wife and 2 boys).

It is time for me to buy a boat. My wife agrees. I know it is not as economical and will probably double my monthly cost (or more) but I am okay with that. I want to go wherever and whenever without having to make a reservation a month in advance.I am figuring around 5k a year in maintenance and $10 per foot for docking (have a place in mind) and maybe $150 a month for insurance and then bottom painting and zincs etc maybe another 2k a year so all in maybe $1,000 a month (do you guys think that is a good estimate?) I figure once a year something major might go which could set me back 5k (thinking generator or gas engine). Is that realistic or way too low? I can handle an unexpected 5k but not an unexpected 30k which is why I want to avoid diesels.

I want first and foremost a fishing boat that can handle open water well. Don't want a center console. I want a flybridge. Want to be able to fish in open water 10 miles out in 3 to 5 seas without a concern and want to cross over to the Bahamas maybe a few times a year.If weather gets bad at me I don't want to be stuck in something that can't handle the open water very well which is why I like the idea of a Hatteras or Bertram.

However aside from fishing I also want to be able to overnight on the boat for a few nights with the wife and 2 kids so it needs to be somewhat comfortable so would need air conditioning, a generator for being on the hook and big enough for all 4 of us.

I don't like the express models with everything down below since I already lived on that for 3 days and it was way too claustraphobic for me. I like flybridge models where the salon is surrounded by windows and is air conditioned so I am looking at primarily convertibles. So far I have been looking at Silverton, Carver, Luhrs, Hatteras, Bertram, Trojan, Topaz, Blackfin etc. I would like to go with a 34 or 36 foot so that it won't be too cramped. Also I feel comfortable docking up to a 36 since I already take 36 footers out all the time so I figure 34 or 36 would be the ideal size for me.

Problem is my budget is around 40k which I know is very skinny for what I am looking for. This means that I am going to have to go with an older boat like 1980's. Currently the models that interest me the most that suit what I am looking for are Hatteras, Bertram, Phoenix, Trojan and ??? Have not heard great things about Carver, Silverton was a little too top heavy for my liking and not fishy enough for my liking. Luhrs I hear a lot of bad and good things so kind of mixed bag on that one.

I think I would prefer gas crusaders since it will not cost me as much to rebuild them when they go. I am afraid of buying diesel since I don't want to lay out 30k or 40k for new engines. According to Pascoe gas is okay up to 35 feet. Perfect scenario would be an older convertible boat with gas engines that were maybe rebuilt a few years ago with a good hull that has been maintained and used and cared for with the records to prove it.

Most of the great fiberglass hulls in this size from my research have not been made since the late 1980's so it looks like I am looking at Hatteras, Phoenix, Topaz, Trojan, Luhrs and ??? any other models to suggest? So far I like the look of the Hatteras best.

I would definitly get a survery and sea trial and make my purchase subject to the survey and sea trial. Any issues would either request credit for price reduction or walk away.

However not being handy with boats I would need to pay to fix things and will not be doing it myself (just bought Nigel Calders book so I am trying to learn). This is the part where I am really very concerned since most of the people on this forum look like they do everything themselves and know every piece of their boat inside and out.

If I pay say 40k for a mid 80's boat and the survey comes back clean what should I budget for getting the boat in good working order to go fishing? I hear everything from boat brokers and sellers such as well you will need to put in 20k (broker) at least to the seller saying it is ready to go fishing and the boat is fine. I am sure the truth is probably somewhere in between the two.

Not that concerned with electronics for fishing which would be a plus or the upholstery, interior, cosmetics etc.since I already know that it will be dated. Very concerned with Hull integrity, engines, A/C, generator and will have it checked out in the survey.

I really like the look of the Hatteras. They have a classic look to them that seems timeless. I also like the whole story that goes along with that boat and prefer the modified V to the deep V of the bertram (also prefer the dark wood interior on the older Hatteras).

I see that Hatteras has a very loyal following, great customer service and Sams Marine is lpretty close to me in Fort Lauderdale which should make things a little easier for servicing etc. I plan on keeping the boat in the water in a slip in Pompano Beach.I also like the fact that the company still have a great user forum and I can't help notice that whenever I go out on deep sea charters the boats are either Hatteras or Betrams.

Do you guys think I would be making a mistake going for such an old boat? Am I getting in way over my head or do I have a good handle on the research so far?

Also if I did spend say 40k do you think I would need to put another 5k. 10k, 20k or more to make it a boat that I would feel comfortable going out fishing and taking to the Bahamas. I know that is a loaded question but trying to get a handle on my budget and what I should be looking for.

Keep in mind not talking electronics and canvas and things like that just hull and engines, air conditioning and generator which to me seem like the main issues or am I missing something? I know that fiberglass fuel tanks is a plus.

Thanks for the advice and go easy on me since this is my first post and I am a beginner on this forum

Thanks
Old 09-17-2012, 05:26 PM
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pictures will help
Old 09-17-2012, 05:38 PM
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How about Viking?
Old 09-17-2012, 06:01 PM
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Do a web search on Hatteras Owner's forum and you can talk to some people who have or have had this boat.
Old 09-17-2012, 06:28 PM
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If your budget is 40k I would buy something smaller/newer that you can dry store. The maintenance slip and fuel costs on an older 40 footer will burn up your expendable income and time that you would otherwise use for boating.
Old 09-17-2012, 06:33 PM
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I had a 1988 37 ft. Bertram twin 3208s great boat. Owned it from 1998 to 2008.
Best times of my life. Most money wasted in my life.
I would not buy gas on a boat this size.
Have a small glacier bay now. (cheap to own great ride)
It will cost you much more than you think. I would not do it again.

Last edited by bruceba; 09-17-2012 at 06:37 PM. Reason: sp
Old 09-17-2012, 06:51 PM
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You were right to exclude Carver. They are great safe-water boats (or more appropriately: floating RVs) but I wouldn't trust mine off shore. Silvertons have the same reputation.

I do all the maintenance on mine and I figure I've saved at least a couple thousand a year. Maintenance on an older boat is constant, and if you learn to do your own work you'll save money, plus the knowledge will come in handy when something breaks down while you're underway.
Old 09-17-2012, 07:20 PM
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Tiara made a gas 31 sedan and possibly the 36 sedan had gas as an option. Don't think any Hatteras except the 1970s 32 sedan was available w/ gas motors. The Bertrams around 30 feet would be okay w/ gas but even the 33 is too heavy for decent performance. Bertrams in the 28-31 range are more fish/dive than comfy cruise, but you know that. A Trojan 10.8M w/ gas is another possibility but you may have to travel outside S. Florida to find a decent one. I would not own a floating condo type boat here in South FL, they are not really good ocean boats and everything down here ages fast w/ the constant UV and 12month boating. Good quality materials, intelligent design w/ maintenance in mind, and a seaworthy hull are essential for South Florida boating in my experience. If you have to slip the boat insurance will be more than you are budgeting and your insurance will not cover a hurricane w/o a suitable plan to either move the boat inland or get in on the hard. I really think that you'd be better off with something in the 30 foot range given gas power, your price range, and estimated costs. You might want to buy Pascoe's book on mid size boats I found it interesting and informative. Powerboat Guide lists almost all boats you might be interested in and would also be worth the cost for more research information.
Old 09-17-2012, 07:21 PM
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Have you thought about getting something newer through a salvage auction and having a rebuilder rebuild it for you? You could walk away with a better deal, have something newer, and still be in your price range. Just an example below.

http://www.qcsadirect.com/Inventory....8f0696d917ee83
Old 09-17-2012, 07:31 PM
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1970s 32 Luhrs? Not in the same league as a Hatteras, but more practical, IMO. And it is not a great sea boat, but I have been out on one in legit 5', and it beat its way through. Heavy hull, lot of fiberglass.
Old 09-17-2012, 07:37 PM
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Here is what my 36 costed me, I did a maintence plan with the marina, $900 one time payment per year, they did 6 pull outs, one every 2 months, inspected, and cleaned the hull. Bottom paint is once a year, formula for that is length times width times .8 is how many square feet you will need to cover, your size boat will take aprox 2-3 gallons, less than $900, zincs are cheap, cheap. Add a galvanic isolator to you boat $180, will save your zincs. Once a year raw water impellers, also cheap for your kind of boat $30 per engine if you do it yourself, Oil also is cheap, you need to buy a fluid vacum for the oil. $90 for it.... manifolds and risers every few years $600 per engine. Threw hull packings glands every few years, you check the drip count, also this is once every few years, its a bit more expensive, mine cost almost $1900 for all, with zincs. But again it really isnt that expensive per month. I dont know if there is covered boat slips in your area, but if there is do yourself and your boat the favor and keep it under one.
Old 09-17-2012, 08:18 PM
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you know, your math might be reasonable - but frankly, your going to need to learn how to do things yourself. You say your not handy. If by that that, you mean your are not familiar with how boat systems work (like 12 volt electrical systems or fiberglass repairs) then you can learn by reading, making friends with other experienced boaters, using the internet, etc, etc. But, if you meant that you are not handy becasue you don't knwo which end of the screw-driver goes in your hand and which goes on the screw...and you have no desire to spend time fixing things, then your budget is shot and you should NOT buy a boat. ...and honestly that is true for brand new boats or old ones.

I own a 21 yr old blackfin/North coast. I do all maintenance repairs myself and any repairs on the engines short of injection-pump stuff on the Cat 3208 engines. My annual cost is about 12K/yr. But i spend TIME repairing it. If the fuel transfer pump doesn[t work, i trouble shoot and repair. If a bilge pump fails, i replace it...a bilge pump is $100 bucks for a good/big one....and i put it in with an hour or so of work. If the marina does it its more than 2x the cost. If a shaft log is leaking, i can adjust it, or replace the packing with the boat in the water...50 bucks...marina does it??? who knows.

My boss owns a 28foot searay. He's on the "executive" program. He doesn't even own tools. The only contact he has with his boat is to use and enjoy it with his family. He pays a LOT of money for that...but time is incredibly valuable to him - so its a good trade.

If you want to buy this hatteras...or any other boat on a relatively low budget, then it really shoudl be becasue you want the pride of ownership and the whole experience that comes with it. It sounds like you have a great resource with your club. lots of boat owners, me included, would love the ability to take a 20 foot center console this weekend to ski with the kids and a 36 foot pursuit to cruise or fish with the buddies the next weekend. As for the issue with having to schedule things a month ahead of time...oddly enough, i think you will find the same issue if you own your boat. Your friends will need that much time to plan to be with you. ...seriously, one of the toughest things about owning my fishing boat, is finding guys to fish with...in most cases i'm planning a month ahead anyway. ...and then, when you finally do get everything lined up with family / crew...if your post engine starter burns out...you'll have to be able to make a quick dockside repair OR cancel your plans and wait for a mechanic to get to it..."sometime next thursday"

I always hate dispensing advice like this about decisions that are ultimately pretty personal. But in this case, i think you should really think through your plan. ...you have an awesome opportunity to use so many great and different types of boats, at a price that you KNOW you can afford and with little to no risk of big repair bills or the constant worry that comes with owning a boat. You really gotta have a strong reason to want to give that up
Old 09-17-2012, 09:08 PM
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As a vintage Hatteras owner with some knowlege on the different vintage hulls I would point you to a series 1 36. The 80's 36 Hatts are nice and big but even with high HP Diesels they run slower and burn more fuel. The early seventies boats had more gas powered boats than the eighties as well. The narrower series 1 will run OK, not great on gas engines and most likely will have newer engines installed. My 34 is a great boat but is 10% smaller than the 36 everywhere except the V bearth. You should also consider Viking, Tiara, and Bertram. Go to Hatteras owners forum for more accurate info on the 36's. No matter which quality hull you go with it will all come down to condition of mechanicals and systems that will be the most important factor. Think this way, "what is the sum of the parts". Good luck. FYI mine started out as a 14K beater with Chrysler 440's. That was 20 years ago.
Old 09-17-2012, 09:23 PM
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Originally Posted by stondoof View Post
I own a 21 yr old blackfin/North coast. I do all maintenance repairs myself and any repairs on the engines short of injection-pump stuff on the Cat 3208 engines. My annual cost is about 12K/yr.
12k a year, holy moly!
I think I must have found the ideal sweetspot with an old 27 that is 32 LOA and twin outboards on bracket, my annual cost including fuel is less than half including the usual updating all around and my hull is 28 years old. But yeah............except for twice a year hauling I do absolutely 100% of all work. But did drop 35k on a refit some years back, but still....overall annual costs averaged out can't touch what you are spending. No diesels for me thank you very much.
Old 09-18-2012, 06:01 AM
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Hatters are great boats. I hope you find the one that you want and it works out beautifully for you. You definitely seem to have your head on your shoulders--Pascoe is a great resource, and your thoughts on survey, gas versus diesel etc are all well-reasoned.

And please understand that I am NOT casting stones....but if your budget for a 36 foot sportfisher is $40k, I would respectfully submit that you are digging yourself a hole.

Your running costs are going to eat you alive, IMO. I don't think it is possible to overestimate how much you can spend with fuel, dockage etc. Not to mention repairs, cosmetics etc.

Given that you are in Florida (meaning not fighting the weather), I think your 40k would be better spent on a nice older (95 and later) large center console. They will be easier to sell when you are ready, rather than an older sportfisher, will cost less to run, and be more manageable generally. You can still run the keys, and the Bahamas, just stay in a hotel instead.

Good luck with whatever you decide, but whatever your budget is, double it to get realistic costs.

JDC
Old 09-18-2012, 06:24 AM
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Thanks for all the responses! Seems like I might be biting off more than I can chew which is why I am glad that I am asking all of you these questions. Any Hatteras owners that want to chime in and say go for it, it won't cost as much or your budget is spot on?

djcxxx I just purchased the powerboat guide and I will purchase Pascoes book mid sized boats too. I think the Trojan 10.8 could be a good fit since it is much lighter which will work better with gas engines. I like the layout on the Trojan a lot. Pascoe also gave it a good review for what that's worth.

simpleanswer thanks for those numbers. I have saved them. bruceba and jayhh points well taken about the costs of ownership. Madhatter1 how much would you estimate you put into that 70's Hatteras over the years and how much did you need to put into it the first year? Jdc, a lot of friends tell me to forget the big boat and get a hotel when I go to the Bahamas. Stondoof you make good points about the boat club advantage and that is exactly why I am not in a rush I have a good setup right now and I am not going to give it up until the right boat comes along. rwmct I am looking at Luhrs too and have not ruled them out.

Thanks for all the input - much appreciated to everyone for responding.
Old 09-18-2012, 06:25 AM
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Your budget is light for your goal. That being said, I'd go diesel without question and have an engine survey on top od hull survey.

You can hit a 10 grand speed bump at any time with a sportfish and if that's 25% of your budget, you are hosed!

I tend to agree to the big center console idea, but fully support the Hatteras idea, they are great boats without question.
Old 09-18-2012, 07:41 AM
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I own a '79 43 Hatteras Convertible. In my opinion even a 36 footer is too much boat for gas engines. It will eat you alive in fuel cost. The market is so bad on these boats that you should be able to find a nice diesel version for not too much more money. The older Hatt's all have reliable detroits in them. They are not super efficient, but they are relatively low maintenance, safer, and longer lasting than gas. It is rare that you have to replace the detroits completely. Generally, a well maintained detroit will provide many years of service, and a properly rebuilt one will most likely outlive you. I would spend the extra up front on the diesels. As far as maintenance, it really depends on usage. Oil changes and general tune up items are a bit more expensive on the diesels, but those casts are minor compared to the fixed costs of dockage, insurance, bottom cleaning and paint.
Old 09-18-2012, 07:42 AM
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You are asking all the right questions, and have more of an idea about the type of boat you want than most people with two years of boating experience. But two years boating, jumping into a 36 foot sportfish, with minimal DIY capabilities will be an expensive and frustrating experience. Your budget is too tight to allow the expenditures needed to get a boat that size reliable and seaworthy.

To do that, a 40k purchase will be followed by another 40k for canvas, upholstery, electronics, and deferred engine/equipment maintenance. Then 5k/year for equipment and repairs as you work your way through all the plumbing, electrical and mechanical systems. Add on top of all that the annual slip fees and haul outs and bottom maintenance--possibly another 10k/yr.

So you are looking at 80K up front, then 15k/yr forever basically....plus fuel. That's about the minimum you should expect to spend.
Old 09-18-2012, 08:10 AM
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I am not much on big offshore boats (boats 35 feet or larger) BUT have you thought about how you are going to fish a flybridge vessel. You will have to have someone working the deck and tending lines while you drive from the bridge. That is one big advantage to a CC is that two or even one person can run it and fish it well...

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