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Old 30-11-2016, 04:57   #1
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Maintenance costs/issues with a 90ís yacht

I wanted to ask the more experienced folks on this forum what potential problems could come towards me when purchasing a 46-55 foot yacht that was built between 1988-1999

Iím currently thinking about purchasing such a boat in the price range of around Ä80,000-150,000 to cruise the Med with it for the next 2-3 years with my family (2 small kids)

Assuming one is getting a surveyor who will check the boat and assuming that the boat was always well maintained by the owner with repairs, upgrades, engine maintenance etc., my big question is what kind of risks are there due to the age of the boat.

Iím obviously aware that something unexpected can always happen and thatís not the point of my question. My point is that assuming the boat is in a relatively good shape, how likely is it that there will be constant repairs to do and massive serious issues suddenly popping up (I know there is always something to do on a boat though!).

I personally have not owned a boat yet, so I lack experience here and to put it in other words, how much more maintenance issues and problems can be expected from a boat that is well taken care of but built letís say 1991 compared to a boat that is well taken care off but built letís say 2003?

Any advise or input is very much appreciated.
To give you an idea on what kinds of boats Iím going to look for some time next year here are a few:

President 52 Flybridge Used Boat for Sale 1989 | TheYachtMarket

Trader 52 Fly Boat for Sale 1989 | TheYachtMarket

President 45 Boat for Sale 1991 | TheYachtMarket

Marchi 50 Used Boat for Sale 1990 | TheYachtMarket

Kind regards,
Robert
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Old 30-11-2016, 08:19   #2
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Re: Maintenance costs/issues with a 90ís yacht

I just recently bought a new 45 from the late eighties and even with a survey there was a ton of stuff that was missed. A lot of the issues I am working through is old wiring with corroded connectors. No matter how well maintained a boat is you will always run into issues with water damage and corrosion. Now I have two small children as well so I am going through everything just to be on the safe side like new engine and bulkheads and fortifying the sub structure and adding all the latest things to keep us safe. Granted your spending a lot more then me so your boat will be in better shape but best to be safe no matter the price or condition. Also research your surveyor and make sure he is well recommended and also try and be there with said surveyor you would be surprised as to how much more information is retained in seeing it first hand then reading it on a sheet
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Old 30-11-2016, 08:48   #3
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Re: Maintenance costs/issues with a 90ís yacht

There will be many things on a big boat. Some are expensive and time consuming of course. A partial list of expensive items:
-fuel tanks, ready to fail? How accessible?
-water tanks, ready to fail? How accessible?
-Engine, hours? Spares cost? Wear/blowby? (esp powerboats)
-Shafts and props (powerboats) If sat a long time, shaft corroded inside stuffing box, prop bent/vibration?
-Rudder (s), water logged, corroded shaft? etc
-Sails. $$$$$
-Rigging, chainplates
-Cored decks or hulls: Delaminated or wet core
-Keel; bolt on , need rebedding?
Any number of "bolt on" appliances or equipment is suspect after about 7-8 years.
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Old 30-11-2016, 08:49   #4
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Re: Maintenance costs/issues with a 90ís yacht

Here is a rule of thumb for you. Buying a boat that old (I have done it twice) means you are likely to spend 50% more than the purchase price on upgrades/repairs in the first 3 years you own it if you are a safety nut as I am. You think you won't because you got a great survey but you will. Yes. You will. So consider spending more for a newer boat. There will still be issues but probably not as many. Or, as I and many have done, learn how to do work yourself. If you are like me you learn how things work when they break. It takes three times longer to get them fixed because you are learning by doing but then you know how to deal with your systems yourself which will save you a lot in the long run.
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Old 30-11-2016, 10:29   #5
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Re: Maintenance costs/issues with a 90ís yacht

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Originally Posted by sck5 View Post
Here is a rule of thumb for you. Buying a boat that old (I have done it twice) means you are likely to spend 50% more than the purchase price on upgrades/repairs in the first 3 years you own it...
Okay looking at the first boat in the list priced at Ä130,000, is it really realistic that I will have to spend some Ä65k in the first 3 years?

This is obviously assuming that the boat surveys positively and that there are no serious issues found.
Of course I know it's possible that something goes unexpectedly seriously wrong, but I'd like to know what is realistically to expect.

I also want to point out that I'm not talking about living on the boat full time, but rather only using it for some 8 weeks per year which I consider rather light private use.

In addition does anyone have any experience with roughly how long it would take to sell such a boat again in the future?
I do not intend to keep this for a very long time, but rather sell it again after maybe some 3 years to move up to a newer boat.
My thinking is that now with the small kids and me never having owned a boat, it may be better to only spend around Ä100k on an older boat and use this one for a while to see how the family likes it and for all of us to gain experience.
If everything works out positive I would then like to move up to a newer and nicer boat in a the future.
Therefore it's also important for me to not buy a boat that I can later not sell anymore. I would not mind having to wait half a year for the sale probably, but do not want to wait for 2 years and then still have no buyer
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Old 30-11-2016, 11:21   #6
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Re: Maintenance costs/issues with a 90ís yacht

People are always looking for boats to buy but the market varies heavily with the seasons. What I mean is that before your prime season for being on the water or location it is in it could sell quickly for what you want but in the same sense if it is in a bad location at the wrong season you could end up not selling it or taking a hit financially to get rid of it. I sold my 41 offshore in 4 days either out of luck or someone was looking for it specifically. As far as realistic maintenance there is going to be a lot with an older boat whether you full time live on it or take it out 1 day a year. Boats are basically a hole in a hull and you try and stuff as much money in there too stop the leak all the time. Keep in mind too that the newer the boat you get you will avoid maintenance but not for long.
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Old 30-11-2016, 11:24   #7
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Re: Maintenance costs/issues with a 90ís yacht

Quote:
Originally Posted by oxymo View Post
Assuming one is getting a surveyor who will check the boat and assuming that the boat was always well maintained by the owner with repairs, upgrades, engine maintenance etc., my big question is what kind of risks are there due to the age of the boat.

Iím obviously aware that something unexpected can always happen and thatís not the point of my question. My point is that assuming the boat is in a relatively good shape, how likely is it that there will be constant repairs to do and massive serious issues suddenly popping up (I know there is always something to do on a boat though!).

I personally have not owned a boat yet, so I lack experience here and to put it in other words, how much more maintenance issues and problems can be expected from a boat that is well taken care of but built letís say 1991 compared to a boat that is well taken care off but built letís say 2003?

Two surveyors. One is the marine surveyor (hull and most systems) and the other is the mechanical surveyor (engines and ideally, genset, too). Latter should be a specialist in whatever main engines your target boat has.

Concentrate your examination on the bones (hull, fuel tanks, water tanks, holding tanks, etc.), propulsion (engines, gears, shafts, props, cutless bearings, rudders, etc.), and the genset.

You'll be faced with constant repairs, but most fall into the area of bolt-on systems like engines, genset, heads, water pumps and systems, reefers, ACs and related plumbing, batteries/chargers/inverters, etc... and much of that will be routine maintenance... with some periodic replacement liberally sprinkled throughout.

Hard to predict upgrade, repair, and maintenance costs. Certainly not so easy to predict an exact cost based on purchase price. It depends.

"Well taken care of" is key... and trumps build year.

-Chris
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Old 30-11-2016, 13:40   #8
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Re: Maintenance costs/issues with a 90ís yacht

Excellent rule of thumb for boat maintenance is to expect to pay 10% of the purchase price per year for a new boat.

When you are buying a used boat, especially an older used boat from the 1990's, expect maintenance will run 20% of the purchase price per year. So if you buy a boat for 150,000 Euros, maintenance and repairs will run 30,000 Euros per year.

You will be astonished at how much stuff breaks down on an older boat! Salt water is intensely corrosive and damaging, to say nothing of sun damage and mildew. Wiring, tanks, pumps, plumbing, all gauges and switches, fabrics, lighting, deck leaks, metal finishes -- it all breaks down over time.
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Old 01-12-2016, 03:21   #9
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Re: Maintenance costs/issues with a 90ís yacht

Quote:
Originally Posted by jsschieff View Post
Excellent rule of thumb for boat maintenance is to expect to pay 10% of the purchase price per year for a new boat.

When you are buying a used boat, especially an older used boat from the 1990's, expect maintenance will run 20% of the purchase price per year. So if you buy a boat for 150,000 Euros, maintenance and repairs will run 30,000 Euros per year.

Don't think it's that simple.

I've probably approached 10% of our purchase priceon this boat, but it's taken me 14 years to do it. And some of that was about discretionary improvements, not basic maintenance.

My costs have been controlled a bit by doing most everything I can, myself.

Dockage has been a larger expense.

-Chris
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Old 01-12-2016, 05:15   #10
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Re: Maintenance costs/issues with a 90ís yacht

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Originally Posted by ranger42c View Post
Don't think it's that simple.

I've probably approached 10% of our purchase priceon this boat, but it's taken me 14 years to do it. And some of that was about discretionary improvements, not basic maintenance.

My costs have been controlled a bit by doing most everything I can, myself.

Dockage has been a larger expense.

-Chris
So you say the maintenance costs you had for your (probably new) boat in the last 14 years were 10% of the purchase price?
That would then be quite good I think.

I also can not believe that rule with 10% per year.
I mean if one takes docking costs, fuel costs and any other kind of expense regarded to boating into that calculations it maybe be more realistic, but impossible JUST on maintenance costs.

By that rule, if you buy a new boat costing Ä400k you would have to spend Ä200k on maintenance and repairs in the first 5 years. Does not seem realistic to me at all.

Same thing with the 20% for the old boat.
I mean if I purchase an old boat for Ä120k that has had regular maintenance and that surveys positively and the surveyor does not find any serious issues, by that rule iI would then still have to spend Ä72k in the next 3 years I plan to own the boat just one maintenance and repairs.
This would be the absolute worst case scenario I could imagine, but can surely not be what is realistically to be expected.

I think the purchase price can simply not be taken as a guideline, because when you look especially at old boats from 1990 you can find a 46 footer for Ä100k and a 60 footer for almost the same price, but obviously the 60 footer will cost more in maintenance and repairs than the 46 foot boat.

Therefore the more realistic question is, what can one expect to have in maintenance costs and repairs for a well cared for and regular maintained 50 foot motoryacht built around 1990.
Is it realistic to assume that there is a good chance that there will be no serious repairs to do for the next 3 years except for minor things that will not cost tens of thousands?

I'm just trying to find out what I can realistically expect. If I have bad luck and there is a massive issue popping up after a year that was not to be forseen in the survey, okay so be it and I will have to deal with it, however I do not want to talk about the worst case possible as I know this can be a desaster, but rather at what is most likely to happen in regard to required maintenance and repairs.

And again I want to point out that I'm ONLY talking about maintenance and repairs here. I'm well aware of what docking and fuel costs will be as they are quite clear to calculate, just the maintenance and repair part is the big unknown.
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Old 01-12-2016, 05:44   #11
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Re: Maintenance costs/issues with a 90ís yacht

The 10% a year figure is just for annual costs related to running and maintaining the boat, not fixing it.

I think you do need to be prepared, within reason, to spend 50% of the boat's purchase price in the first couple of years on refitting/repairs. But it's impossible to tell in advance. You might find that boat that needs nothing, or one where a number expensive systems fail.

Very often these high costs are the result of "snowballing" costs where undertaking one project means it's a good opportunity to work on associated systems. For example, if I ever pull my engine for whatever reason, I'm going to replace my 30 year old fuel tank, whether it needs it or not, because the engine needs to be removed to get it out. Or you need new radar and that results in all new networked electronics.

So I would be prepared mentally and financially for that 50% figure, although it may not turn out that way.

Even a survey is not going to give you a definitive view into what your expenses will be. A surveyor spends 5-8 hours on the boat and misses a lot. Just how it goes.
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Old 01-12-2016, 08:11   #12
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Re: Maintenance costs/issues with a 90ís yacht

I will say, I've never seen a survey report that really captures whats going to go wrong a short while after ownership.

May I suggest buying something much smaller to "get your feet wet" and once you have that full hands on education, buying a boat with many more systems and complexity it won't be such a leap. Just a suggestion
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Old 01-12-2016, 08:29   #13
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Re: Maintenance costs/issues with a 90ís yacht

This question will result in a variety of answers that all will be right but dependant upon the respondents experience. My boat was built in 1994 and the total cost of my ownership to this point is boat payments plus a couple thousand dollars. In four years I've added a engine heater and new gps. Spliced some new halyards and bought a secondary anchor. Off course there's been oil changes fuel and food.
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Old 01-12-2016, 09:09   #14
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Re: Maintenance costs/issues with a 90ís yacht

As the owner of a 1965 Chris Craft for the past 20 years I think I can speak about maintenance costs for older boats. Those old Chris were built like tanks but stuff seems to need replacement/repair on a regular basis.Even an all fiberglass boat will need regular maintenance that can mount up quickly. I would never suggest an older wooden boat for for anyone other that a purist that knows and want the satisfaction of working on something all the time.
Several have listed items that regularly fail and need attention. Whether a new or used boat some of these things that fail would be the same - water pumps and the like. But with a boat 20 yrs old or so you can count on refrigeration, AC, and electrical things to begin to fail.
Because you say that you only expect to keep the boat for 3 -4 years or so I think you would be better off getting a newer - maybe smaller boat. The likely hood that you would end up making some significant repairs that you would get little use out of and be passing on as gifts to the next buyer.
I don't think older boats should be bought on a turn-around basis with just a very few exceptions when you get a real "steal" on it. If you add in the hit you will have to take when you do re-sale and add it to what you have put into just to make it usable I don;t think it will make sense.

My experience has been that if the boat were used regularly throughout the year the boat would be better off and the likelihood of major tings going wrong on the one major planned outing during the 8 weeks planned for all year would too high.
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Old 01-12-2016, 09:14   #15
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Re: Maintenance costs/issues with a 90ís yacht

@OXIMO
your quote: "I also want to point out that I'm not talking about living on the boat full time, but rather only using it for some 8 weeks per year which I consider rather light private use."

I suggest you charter to start. So you can stop whenever the family (and you) realize boating is not for you.

Much cheaper that way. Don't forget you have fixed expenses whether you use it or not:
-year long insurance.
-depending on location, maybe a yearly haul-out for bottom sanding/painting/inspection. (expensive with a 50' boat)
-docking/mooring/marina usage fees.
-oil & fluid changes yearly. Those big boats engines use lots of it.
-humidity/mildew control?
-out for the winter? Winterizing a boat is not just like a car.
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