When What You Have is Not What You Got!
- Hello Group, Andrew Here,When I bought my Buccaneer 240 I was not shopping for a Buccaneer and in fact was looking for something else online. I was looking for a Columbia 24 and i thought I had found one.. and bought it. I posted my unusual tale in LowCostVoyaging some time back and so it is worth sharing in here.Posted Thu, Mar 1, 2912 at 3.05 PM
Hello Group, Andrew Here,
After a long convoluted process *sigh* I have finally identified what Columbia 24 I have. I ask you all to bear with me as you read this story and please don't throw rocks at me or my boat as it is almost nothing like the original anymore. It was already hard for me to identify and I do have a California Title. Two previous owners and myself have made so many changes it is a unique boat now. So read my sad and complicated story and note the final sentence.. I was told That I am not a unique case.
I call this story...
"I know you believe you think you know what you have, but I am not sure you realize that what you have is not what you got!"
When shopping around for a used boat it is not always certain what you end up with and it is complicated because boat registration is not the same from state to state.
I remember the early 1960's when this was true of automobiles and one could go get license plates with nothing more than a hand written bill of sale from the owner off a kitchen table. It did not even have to be notarized. If the car was old and had no VIN number one used the motor serial number instead. Most states became title states for cars by or just after 1970.
However this is not true of boats!
Title and Non-Title US states
There are states which will register a boat with only a bill of sale. Search 'license a boat for Kansas' or whatever state you are interested in Some states will license the boat but require a title for the outboard motor separate.. go figure. Some states require title for powerboats but not for sailboats. Some states do not require title or license for unpowered rowboats or rafts. Many states require no paperwork for boats under 16 or 18 feet.. one of the attractions for microcruisers like the Paradox or SF Pelican.
Some states which do not require titles do have some weird things that apply. My outboard motor has to have a title in Arizona for example but my boat does not.
Presently only 29 states require titling here is the list.
BOAT TITLING STATES
states that require boat titling. Some states, you will find that do not require a title or it is optional if there is a lien. Some states do not require a title if the boat is U.S. Coast Guard Documented. This is noted on this page with a star *
BOAT REGISTRATION ONLY STATES
states that only require boat registration to be processed. These states
do not issues titles. If there is a lien on the boat, a Uniform
Commercial Code or UCC is filed with the county or state of registration
to show there is a lien.
What this means is that you will be sure to get what you think,
1. If the boat is an obvious or unique boat,
2. if the boat is a USCG Documented vessel,
3. or in states that are title states which trace the boat back to its date of manufacture, especially if you are buying a boat from a dealer.
If on the other hand you are in states which give only a license this may come from the Fish and Game department, Parks and Wildlife or even the County Tax authority and they will usually give a license tag to all comers who fill in a form, often without checking the boat and if they do it is only to see whether the HIN is correct. Most take the word of the registration you are bringing from another state.
I have such an animal !
I bought a used 24 foot sailboat directly from the owner and I received a title which states it is a Modified Columbia 24 hull and yes the title matches the HIN number.
I started looking and I could not match the boat up with any Columbia model and I know Columbia sailboats somewhat to start with. Nothing fits. I was told I have a 'splashed' Columbia hull and that the second owner made a lot of alterations to the boat (he really did) so i credited it to that.
Now I know the full story what I have, and how I got it like this.
The boat was originally from Mississippi which is a registration only and not a title state. The seller gave someone from Kentucky a Bill of Sale for a Modified Columbia 24 and stated the HIN number and Kentucky is also not a title state.. just a registration not issued from the DMV in either Mississippi or Kentucky in the 1970's. The owner from Kentucky moved to California which IS a Title state and Calif issued a title based on the Mississippi and Kentucky previous registrations as the owner was the bearer of those papers in hand. This seems all well and good so far.
The owner now in California became old and sold the mostly stored boat to someone who took it to Nevada, which does not require titles except for motor boats. He signed off the back of the California title, and as Nevada is not a title state, no Nevada title was obtained by the last owner.
I bought the boat from this owner for cash and was handed the notarized Nevada DMV bill of sale and the California title signed off on the back. I was the proud owner of a vintage 1974 Modified Columbia 24 of some model since the Title assured me it was so...
... at least so I thought.
I have the California Title and previous California registration and other paperwork from Nevada which all matches the HIN number on the hull. When I wanted to register the boat here in Arizona I ran into problems because the boat registration was not recent nor in my name. Had I been the owner in Nevada with registration it would have been like the first owner going from Mississippi to Kentucky. However it was not, and so I began a search back along the history of the boat and found out I do not have a true Columbia 24 at all!
What I appear to have is a radically owner altered Bayliner Buccaneer 240.
Whatever the reasoning, they were called Buccaneers and Bayliner built a lot of them before they sold off the entire division around 1979 and went back to building powerboats only.
Many models were based on 'splashed' copies of boats from other builders (most notably the COLUMBIA 23T and COLUMBIA 26T) with changes that emphasized interior amenities with sailing performance as a secondary consideration. And yet some might say, they have their own unique aesthetic and they have been called "The Winnebago of The Water". These boats ranged from the 17' BUCCANEER 180 up to 27, but the 240 was the most popular of the lot. I have a very heavy shoal keel exactly like that of the Columbia 23T but with added ballast probably like the 26T.
Columbia sold permission to several companies to copy the Columbia hull during the 1970's... maybe they were in financial trouble.. no one seems to really know anymore. They did so with the Coronado and later when the company gave up, Columbia took Coronado over and continued to make them for a while. By 1974, the Coronado 23 and 25 had been discontinued. This was the last year that Coronados were built in a separate (from Columbia) plant, though boats with the Coronado name continued to be introduced (such as the CORONADO 45). All later boats were built by Columbia and many from Columbia molds.
Columbia also sold the permissions to Bayliner, founded by J. Orin Edson who had been a dealer for small powerboats and motors since 1955. At some point he purchased the Bayliner name and began building sailing craft around 1970. Columbia sold Edson permission to use the mold(s) and make 'splashed' hulls of the 23T and cheated designer Alan Payne out of all royalties on these models and it caused some hatred against Bayliner as a result, Nevertheless the boats are as seaworthy as the other Alan Payne designs.. Bayliner designed the higher more roomy cabin structure which gives it the unusual clumsy look.. It is slow and beamy and not that top heavy because of the added keel weight and the factory stats give it a capsize ratio of 2.0 good for a coastal cruiser, I have sacrificed headroom and added internal floor mounted water tanks and additional batteries and the recalculation now places my boat at 1.9
The Buccaneer 240 page on SailboatData says "This same yacht, but with a diesel inboard, was called the BUCCANEER 245. The hull for the BUCCANEER 200, 210, 240, and 245 all derive from a mold(s) 'splashed' from a COLUMBIA 23T. Forget about counting windows (above and below the 'sheer line') to identify particular models. It's a lost cause."
There were numerous custom factory alterations for customers, and to compound it, owners tended to make a lot of after market alterations on the boats. My own boat has the cockpit cut shorter by 1/3 and a motorwell added in the stern with two holds on either side. I have the optional wheel helm and not a tiller. That and other alterations made it hard for me to identify the boat and I was continually confused by the Title.
My boat was gutted when I bought it and so there was no name plate designating the brand, but what did I worry? After all, I had the TITLE LOL Bayliner has the HIN number stamped into the stern rubrail and did not have a plate so the Bayliner owners and group tell me. They all only have the number stamped into the rubrail..
Without the original factory paperwork which is long gone, it would be difficult to change everything and get a title reissued as a Buccaneer 240. So much easier to continue working from the California Title which says 'Modified Columbia 24', and it is a 'splashed' Columbia after all.
Honestly I am a little unhappy for not having an authentic Columbia 24, but since I am rebuilding the entire interior from scratch' and have beefed it up substantially, I am otherwise satisfied that I have a Columbia 'cousin' designed by Alan Payne which should make a decent coastal cruiser and sufficient for short offshore voyages like the Bahamas and Islands past the Virgins.
A few old timers told me this situation is not uncommon and not unique to me. Unless one buys a yacht from an authorized dealer and has a Title and not just a bill of sale, you may find out...
"...... that what you have is not what you got!"