Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Boat Quest, Part 11

Little Walk, a 1980 Valiant 40Stephen, the salesperson representing "Little Walk," the Valiant 40 I looked at in Virginia, emailed me back with some answers to my questions. The JRC radar I noticed, which was not included in the online listings, is one of the upgrades and improvements the owner is making in order to increase the asking price from what it was, $80K, to the "fair market value" of $95K. The slip does convey with the sale, at a monthly rate of $140. And there is a recent survey, but it is only viewable at the sales office because it is the property of the person who paid to have it done.

As a person who started inquiring about the boat before the price increase, Stephen indicated that I would be allowed to make an offer at the original price. Frankly, I was thinking an offer in the $65K to $75K range would be more in line based on what I saw of the boat's condition, even if all the systems were in good working order. There was a look of benign neglect to the boat, both inside and out. The deck fiberglass was oxidized, and there were impact cracks repaired with epoxy in several places. The plastic frames around the hatches were dried and cracked. The mast boot was sealed with duct tape, and the dorade cowls were black with growth. The inside looked like a bachelor's apartment--dark, cluttered and grungy.

Even though my first impression was not overly favorable, it was still a Valiant 40 and therefore worthy of consideration. I thought to myself, if I hauled all the stuff out of the boat, gave it a thorough cleaning and shining, replaced some parts and painted others, and put back just the necessary stuff, it would be almost tolerable, again provided that all the systems were in good working order.

Since nobody was available that day to demonstrate the systems and since the survey cannot be faxed or mailed, the only way to figure out whether it would be worth putting any money and effort into this boat would be to make a second trip out there. At this point, I'm thinking it's probably not worth it. A better-maintained boat of about the same age and in about the same price range will show up in the listings someday, and by then maybe the economy will have improved somewhat to make it more affordable. I'll continue to scan the online listings in the meantime. If you happen to know of a good, used Valiant 40 that's available for sale, please let me know. Thanks.

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