Performance Yacht Sales

Performance Yacht Sales

6 Rules for Buying a Used Sailboat

Due to a dip in the US economy, the number of registered recreational boating vessels suffered a decline between the years 2009 and 2014 however the same is once again on the rise. A census conducted in 2016 put the number of Americans that partake in recreational boating at a staggering excess of 87 million individuals. Suffice to say, boating in America is making a huge comeback!

What Boat Am I Buying and What Condition am I Buying In?

When looking to buy a boat, two of the first questions to ask yourself is what boat you’re buying and if you want a brand new model or something second-hand. If you’ve decided the kind of boat you want to buy is a sailboat and you’re okay purchasing a used boat but in good to excellent condition, we have some tips for you.

Across the Board Buying Rules

There are certain things you will need to bear in mind regardless of if the sailboat you are buying is used or brand new. The first one of these specifics is with regard to sailboat designs. You have different vessels which class as sail boats or run primarily by using wind power. These include catamarans, sloops, centerboards and so on.

You also have sailboats that come with a choice by way of running mechanisms. These include options between boats that have outboard motors, inboard motors or alternatively those which run exclusively on wind power.

Finally, you have sailboats available with different speeds, passenger capacities and keel depths. Keel depth in particular is something of note. If the sailing you plan on doing is primarily shallow water sailing, a design with a shorter keel is recommended. Alternatively, you have deep keel designs for faster deep water sailing.

It is important to look into all these factors whether you’re buying a used or second hand sailboat.

Careful with Random Listings and Deals

When buying a second hand sailboat, especially as an amateur or first time buyer, you need to be very careful about the listings and deals you gravitate towards. Where there are many who are ready to sell sailboats in excellent condition due to financial reasons, there are others who simply want to make what they can off you before moving to the next person.

When trying to procure a second-hand sailboat using random listings or deals you may hear about in the passing, make sure you’re extremely careful before you hand over your money or sign anything! It also helps to do extensive checks on the boat as well as to know a bit about the person you are buying from in such cases, preferably from a trusted source.

Harbor Checks and Inspections

If you’re not buying your second hand sailboat through a reputable boat brokerage we recommend that you run thorough checks on the vessel you have selected while it is in the harbor.

Checks you should perform at this time include making note of what condition the exterior and interior of the boat are in. It also means looking into whether there are parts of the boat that are badly rusted or have sustained extensive damage.

This will give you a sense of whether or not the boat you have chosen is worth the asking price but there is more you need to do. If you feel you lack the eye to perform a standing harbor check, you can always hire a professional to run an inspection for you.

Test Running

Though we might not always insist on this with a brand new sailboat, when buying a second-hand sailboat, we highly recommend a test run. Taking the boat you intend on buying out for a short excursion (with the original owner if needed) will allow you to really see how your chosen vessel fares in the open water.


Second hand boats may have technical problems that will only become apparent when on the move out at sea. When you take the boat you’re looking to buy for a test run, don’t just sit back and enjoy the view. Inspect the paneling, tillers, mast, rail, motor (if present) and other necessary components. Make sure the sailboat you have chosen is as seaworthy as it should be.

Don’t Ignore Upkeep and Maintenance Costs

When buying a second hand boat, you might feel like the basic price is a real steal. Though this may be so, it is important not to ignore the very real presence of maintenance and repair costs. When you buy a second hand sailboat, though you do save a fair bit on the base price, you may need to spend a decent amount on repairs and refurbishing depending on condition.

Before you jump into a deal that may seem super sweet on the surface, do a quick feasibility check. Get an estimate of what your expected repair and maintenance costs will be like to get a clear sense of if the sailboat is worth the stated value.

Work with the Right Brokerage

Finally, though we ourselves are a brokerage dealing in sailboats, luxury motor yachts, catamarans and more, we will not ignore the possibility that you might be working with another company. In any case, if you want to work with a yacht broker company, make sure the people you’re looking to work with are licensed, registered and trustworthy!

Winding Down

If you follow the important rules listed above, chances are you will be able to find a second-hand sailboat that is perfectly suited to your requirements and reliable when out at sea. If you need any more support or information with regard to luxury sailboats, motor yachts and other recreational vessels for sale, feel free to give us a shout.

Our team of agents and specialists will be happy to guide you, walk you through our listings and find you the sailboat of your dreams! Happy sailboat hunting!