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Living on a 3250 Avanti-gctid356314

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    Living on a 3250 Avanti-gctid356314

    Hi Team,

    New to the forum. My company has paid me good money to read a lot of these posts! I'm looking to purchase a 1987 3250 Avanti, 11'11 beam. Twin 350's with 300 hours. It's in pretty good shape dry docked on it's tripe axle trailer. Looking to pick up boat and trailer for 14K. Seem's like a fair price to me, what do you guys think?

    Also for those that spend time on this boat, do you think it will be a good spot to lay low for a while? I'm 29 years old, and sick of sending my money to rent, when I can have a small condo on the water for the same price. I did look it over and walked around the cabin. I know it's not huge inside, but between work, gym, hockey, and bars I spend very little time at the apartment as it is. I'm pretty much looking for someplace to sleep and have fun with on the weekends.

    In addition I've alway's wanted to live on a boat. Been a dream for years but have never been able to do it. I've spent a few years getting out of debt. I was young and dum and purchased new everything and had the payments to boot. Now I've bought all older stuff with no payments, and I'm close to being debt free, minus my living arrangements. I don't want the 30 year house term and wouldn't think of getting an expensive boat in this economy. I think 14K is easily manageable in a worse case scenario, and having a trailer will make it easier to sell if needed, or move out of the marina in storage if something should come up.

    So with that said - I've been reading a lot about power consumption, heating and AC. This boat has 30amp power. I live in NC and it's sweltering hot in the summer. Will a hatch unit AC be good enough to get me through a season or 2? Also the winter has 40 degree temps sometimes 30s. Will the single electric heat under the sofa suffice or will extra be needed? It has a generator too. Forgot to ask what size, but I'll find out. I don't even want to get into batteries inverters and charging issues yet. I don't believe there are any separate battery banks other than to crank the engines.

    I have a ton of questions, but this should get me going for now. I'll be looking to purchase the boat possibly this week. Anything I should check out before hand? He is willing to let me sea trial it, and even stay on it the weekend. I don't trust many people, especially when selling something, but he did spend 3 hours going through the boat with me, and seem's like the type of person who would come over to the dock and help me if something goes wrong. He is 70 years old and the boat is just too much for him to handle now. It was alway's fresh water and will stay that way with me.

    Thank you for your help

    Bill R


    My wife and I spent two plus years living on a 28' Tolly with no shower! God I love that woman!!

    You can do it and enjoy it. You will either need a storage unit or a garage sale.

    Go for it! for that $ it won't take long to be even.


      First off, welcome to BOC!

      I know you have a lot of questions about living on a 32 footer; and unfortunately, there is no right answer to any of them until you have actually experienced it yourself. But one piece of advice I'd like to offer is encouraging you to take your time to find out if this is the right thing for you. Don't rush into something that involves completely changing your life around. Get a boat, take the time to learn the systems, get a feel for what its like being on it, and spend some time on it to see if its the right thing for you.

      Everybody and anybody could tell you to go for it or to run from it. In the big picture, none of what anybody says matters because it is a personal decision on your part. As for me, I'm 38, have a family, and would never consider living on a 32 foot express cruiser. But, when I was 29 and it was just my wife and I, I would have definitely wanted something larger. And if I was single, I would still definitely go for something larger. Remember, the Avanti is an express cruiser. It does not have the open feel of a pilot house. The "living quarters" are essentially a cave you crawl in and out of. You will have plenty of light but no decent views of the outside. It is for that reason I don't think express cruisers are a good fit for me. But then again, it's a personal choice.

      Just my two cents.


        If you can get a live aboard berth. Not every marina allows live aboard or has a slip available. Since your single the express cruiser while not the best layout but will work fine. Electric heater will be needed as well as some form of air conditioning. Hatch air will work. Before you commit to this boat have it surveyed. I know it's only 14k. If it's full of dry rot or has other problems you could be spending far more money making sows purse into something other than a toxic waste dump. A good surveyor will let you know what your in for. This could be a great experience or it could be a huge mistake, if you end up spending a fortune to keep this boat afloat all the fun will disappear fast. Living aboard is good.


          I'll echo Scary's advice about the survey. You could buy the boat for $14k and immediately be into $30k in repairs. Get the full survey done.

          Yes, you can live aboard and enjoy it.

          Don't get hung up on the asking price - be prepared to negotiate further after the survey.


            About heat and A/C: You want an installed unit that runs off ocean (or river or whatever) water. The hatch units are air-source and so less efficient, they concentrate the cool air in one spot, they are awkward to install, use, and move out of the way when necessary, and they're famous for dripping condensation. You want a "reverse cycle" unit that can also put out heat. You can install this yourself if you're relatively handy, but it's not for beginners.

            30A is enough to run a fair-sized A/C plus a few other loads like fridge and TV. On the hottest days in NC, it may not get all the way down to 70 degrees inside, and you may think about putting in 2 A/Cs. You'd probably need to upgrade to a 50A circuit at that point. A lot of work, quite a bit of expense, and the marina will charge you more for the power. One other thing about hot weather, make sure there's plenty of air flow through the A/C (enough vents, big enough ducts, and a clean filter) or it will frost over and stop cooling.

            On your cooler days, the reverse cycle A/C will keep you plenty toasty. You'll find it takes a few minutes to warm up, but once it gets cranking it'll feel great.

            As for this particular boat, you can look up NADA prices, but at this age the care and maintenance the boat's had will be more of a factor than anything else. Plus, once you settle on a model you like, look around, you might find a better price, or maybe find out that you've select really is a good deal.

            One last warning: First impressions can be very deceiving. You need to do some due diligence to make sure there are no major flaws, that you're getting a good deal, and that this boat is really everything you want it to be. The survey is essential in establishing reality. Look at lots of other boats so you get a feel for what's available and what features you like best.

            Of course, we're biased here and generally like Bayliners. I've been very happy with my 2003 285, and I've owned it since it was new. Never once regretted the purchase, and in fact the longer I own the boat the more I like it. A couple of Bayliner models are on my short list for my next boat.


              Hi Team,

              Thank you for the advice. I was thinking of being stupid and just buying the boat as my upfront costs are starting to pile up to get this underway. (full payment for slip, down payment, permits to tow it, and upgrading my transmission since it's slipping a bit)

              However I contacted a marine surveyor today, and was told he would do it for 14 dollars a foot. Or roughly 450 dollars for the boat. I agree that it's the smart thing to do, as I could be spending 10 times that if I get something that is rotted out.

              I appreciate the feedback on the larger living space, but right now I need my boat to be trailerable but yet decent size. I feel the avanti is a good mix between the two. I'm a simple person and don't need a lot to get me by. It has a camper enclosure so even if it rains I can still fish off the back since it's dry.

              It is against the law to live-a-board in NC. At least where I'm at. However the marina said that the letter of the law states that you can't be there for more than 2 weeks straight. So technically just going to work everyday means I'm leaving the boat. She said that she has 7 or 8 boats that stay there full time and do just fine.

              I have looked into the AC units. look to be about 1200 dollars to purchase. I asked if the Hatch unit would get me by as I won't have the discretionary income to do that install until next year. Of course if the hatch unit does not get the job done, I will have to limit my scotch budget and just get something a bit nicer. I hope it can fit the bill for me in the short term.

              Since I last posted the bank called and approved me for the loan. So Friday I will have the surveyor on site going through the boat. I will also do the sea trial as well. He said that it would be 75 dollars an hour for the sea trial in addition to the $14 per foot. You guys think that's worth it? I'm sure it is, but it never hurts to have that nudge.

              Thanks for all the posts. I can see that this forum will get me in trouble much like the truck diesel forums do. I see others with upgrades, and then I get the itch to do it. There are some nice looking re-fabs on these older avanti's in the project section. However one step at a time.

              Enjoy the day,

              Bill R


                Sounds like you got your ducks is a row. Seatrial will give you insight into the condition of the engines & outdrives, it's good not to have any surprise's after you've bought the boat. Good luck
                Capt. Ron.
                "I will not tiptoe through life to arrive safely at death"
                "Never Trade Luck For Skill"
                1987 3870 - Northern Lights ll
                Hino EH700
                Westerbeke 8.0
                1999 Logic Marine 17' CC/50 Merc.
                on Louisiana pool Mississippi River.


                  I'm glad you are proceeding as you are, I've never bought a boat without a survey and never will. I'm also glad you are going for it!!

                  Living aboard is a blast, specially at your age.

                  Everyone who lives aboard would like a bigger boat (to live on, not necessarily to cruise)

                  Good luck and fair winds,



                    We try to live 5 months a year on our 3258; similar to yours except for a flybridge. Are there are two of us on board. No problem. You'll love it.

                    BTW, I'm nearly as old as the fellow you are dealing with, and I have no plans to get rid of my boat for a good while yet.

                    As well, we have a 37' motor home to live in 5 months through the winter. I did get rid of the big old character home; I didn't need any more of that maintenance. We're in a condo, just a bit bigger than the motor home and boat. Perfect!

                    In fact, I just bought my first Harley so I would have something to do with my spare time.

                    Buy the boat and enjoy it!


                      Bill -

                      If she's healthy, you should see 4100 - 4500 RPM wide open, and a tick or so shy of 40 mph all trimmed out. Make sure those 350s have some lungs to them.

                      Also consider getting a compression test on both engines (I think 140psi is about lower-average for a 350 these days) and pressure test both drives. Crack the drain holes on the drive and make sure nice clean oil comes out of them and not milkshakes.
                      Matt Train
                      BOC Site Team
                      Chicagoland, IL


                        3 words:

                        Get a survey.

                        Go for it. (if the survey checks out)

                        I envy you.

                        Live the dream!!!
                        Phil, Vicky, Ashleigh & Sydney
                        1998 3055 Ciera
                        (yes, a 1998)
                        Previous boat: 1993 3055
                        Dream boat: 70' Azimut or Astondoa 72
                        Sea Doo XP
                        Sea Doo GTI SE
                        Life is short. Boats are cool.
                        The family that plays together stays together.
                        Vice Commodore: Bellevue Yacht Club


                          Imagine meeting a young lass and when it's time to ask the question, you get to say "would you like to see my place? I live on a boat".
                          Hanging Loose
                          98 Carver 350 Mariner
                          KRUSTY KRAB
                          2001 305
                          5.7 BII


                            I say to my wife all the time we should live in a least if the neighbors bug me i can move no I lost and I still living on a house lol..... I WONDER WHY?!?!?!?!!?!?! ..... be happy and enjoy ur dream.....

                            PS: take a lot of pics!!!!!


                              HI Team,

                              Thanks again for all the replies! I hope this does work out. I apologize as I'm not very good at quoting things yet so keep an eye out for my references to you. Also I'm scheduling a survey this week so I'm sure that will uncover things as well. In the meantime....

                              I took the boat out today. Seemed to have ran pretty well. It has not been on the water in 2 years, however he said that he cranked the engines over every so often to make sure they stayed lubricated. I felt it ran pretty good for it's first time on the water in a while. Somebody said that it should see 4500 RPMs. I was cruising at 3K around 28 MPH. I bumped the levers down and she got to around 3500 RPMs and 35 MPH. I don't feel it would have made 4500 RPMs? Perhaps the cables needed tightening? On a side note it was very windy and choppy on the river that we were on. I had him do a hull shot from a stand still and it shot up and went. Mainly wanted to make sure it would pull a wakeboarder out of the water. Seems like it will accomplish that pretty easily. (the MPHs were read with my GPS unit for accuracy)

                              The engines ran quiet and smooth. It did seem like it was leaning to the starboard side a bit. Even at the dock I felt that the port side was a few inches higher than starboard. He was able to even it out with the stabilizers. The holding tank was empty with about 70 gallons of fuel on board for perspective.

                              The only thing that i didn't like was that on the way back to the docks it seemed like the starboard side lever was a bit stiff and needed some effort to push down. He said that it was a new cable and needing breaking in. Also Towards the end it seemed like the port side was having trouble engaging reverse and you could hear the gears sort of grinding. Making the noise that it would if you reved it in neutral then popped it into gear. He said that she needs some adjusting on the cables since it hasn't been run in a while. Mentioned that when that happens his mechanic makes some adjustments and it turns in and out of gears just fine. Really that is the only thing that alarms me at the moment. (short of anything the survey finds)

                              Any feedback would be appreciated. I guess I can only upload a couple of pics. I've exceeded my quota.

                              Thanks for all the replies.

                              Bill R

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