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Old 23-06-2009, 08:33   #1
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New or Pre-Loved: Which Is Better?


The plan is to buy a boat in the 35ft to 40ft range [+/-], live onboard for say a decade, then sell it. The first question is how fast do [say] 38ft production type Catamaran depreciate and loss value ?

. . . By the way: What holds their value better: Monos or Cats

I am able sell up and afford a new boat, but is that smart – out of my 100% capital investment in the boat, what would I hope to get back ?? 30% ??

It seems wiser to keep a percentage in things that will accrue capital gain, and buy second hand. Which bring up the second question: As with all things, buying new or close to new will give the first few years low [or lower] maintenance cost. How far along the time line do you think things would start to fail and major repair costs are incurred?

. . . Does anyone have an approx schedule of maintenance [ie: when should you - anti-foul, engine service, sail replacement etc]
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Old 23-06-2009, 08:45   #2
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Those are some pretty tough questions to answer because there are no firm guidelines for boats. With cars, yes you can get somewhat of an idea what your costs are going to be and what your depreciation is going to be because there are millions of cars from which to gather those statistics. Not so with boats. With boats their value will be determined partially by the market ten years from now. Their value will also be determined by how well you maintained and upgraded the boat. Their value will also be determined by how much you used the boat.

Both monos and cats lose value over time. Unfortunately there is no rule for how much they lose their value. As for bottom paint, again that depends. New bottom paint every year to two years is pretty typical. There will be other costs associate with haulout as well.

Major costs could occur at any time. There is no time line for those.

I think what you will find is that based on a percentage of value, your yearly costs will be higher for operating a boat than a car...and the same applies when compared to owning a house. I'm talking percentage based on on value, not overall costs.

If you end up buying a cat, make sure you can stand up all the way below deck and on the bridge deck. It gets old having to crouch all the time.

I'm sorry I could not give you any hard statistics or figures, but that's just the nature of boats. If it were a car, I could give you some more definitive numbers.
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Old 23-06-2009, 09:15   #3
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Personally, I would never buy brand new for two reasons. First, I haven't yet read of a brand new boat that didn't have teething issues, some pretty significant and at minimum a pain in the butt. Let some other guy deal with that. Second, let him also eat the depreciation that's going to be highest in the first few years. While we could buy new I just don't see the value in it. Keep the money you save by buying used invested and earning income. Pre-loved is the only way we go.
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Old 23-06-2009, 09:37   #4
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Personally, I would never buy brand new for two reasons. First, I haven't yet read of a brand new boat that didn't have teething issues, some pretty significant and at minimum a pain in the butt. Let some other guy deal with that. Second, let him also eat the depreciation that's going to be highest in the first few years. While we could buy new I just don't see the value in it. Keep the money you save by buying used invested and earning income. Pre-loved is the only way we go.

I second this statement.....i2f
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Old 23-06-2009, 12:03   #5
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This is an interesting discussion. I bought new 24 yrs ago and the boat was ready to sail but not for serious cruising or offshore work. In the beginning it was all polishing and cleaning and no repair or replace and of course there was the new gear which I added - refer, autopilot, heater, windlass and that list continues. The first five years were all the upgrades and learning to sail the boat and nothing but cleaning.

After 8 years I began to replace gear, pumps, electronics, running rigging, cushions, dodger, sail covers and the cleaning continues, but takes more elbo grease as the surfaces are now a but UV degraded - gelcoat needs wax, teak takes more time. New dink and OB

At 16 years or so I began to replace things like hatches, ports, standing rigging, sails, anchor chain, head, pumps, engine injectors, new dink and OB and cushions upholstery, dodger, instrument upgrades, repaint boot stripe, and the cleaning takes more effort and time.

So depending on how well maintained a used boat is... and how OK you are with the gear and rig etc. will depend on how much work you are taking on.

You can look at some older boats in bristol condition and tricked out with everything working.... and others are handyman specials and everything in between. Boats which are sailed a lot may not be as well maintained as they are on the dock being lovingly cared for.

In the end you get what you pay for and if you can find used which is tricked out to your liking you buy a lot of value and save time... as opposed to paying new and adding that gear yourself.

I am happy with my decision to buy a boat larger than I could deal with at first and a blank enough canvas to paint to my liking which has been loads of fun. But in those 24 years I did lots of sailing too and know the boat and her systems like the back of my hand. There's something to that you can put a value to.
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Old 23-06-2009, 13:12   #6
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Those that say never buy a brand new boat have obviously never bought a brand new boat. I have bought three over the years, a CS30, a CS36M and a Beneteau 393, and have been very happy with every purchase. The beauty of a new boat is that everything is brand spanking new and under warranty. Also you start with a boat that's equipped to your liking. A very important factor if you intend to cruise. There might be a few bugs, after all it's a boat but a good dealer will fix them all. And buying a new boat is not like buying a car. You should be in it for the long run so the initial depreciation aspect is not significant. I still have my CS36M after 21 years and my "new" boat, the B393 is already five years old. By the way, I have had no significant issues with the B393 for the last five years, just care-free cruising.

When I bought the last one I felt that I knew enough about boats to buy a used one and fix it up to my liking but in the end opted for a new one because I did not want to spend two years of my precious cruising time fixing a boat, and believe me, any used boat will have some surprises.

Now, RubyBishop, I think you're going about it all wrong. Buying a boat is not a dollars and cents proposition and should not be viewed in that light. Buying a boat is essentially an emotional decision. You say you're going to live aboard for a decade. I take this to mean you're going to go sailing because if you're buying a boat to live on a dock for ten years you're wasting your money. Stay in real estate. If you're serious about a boat, buy what's within your budget and no spreadsheet is required. It is in no way an investment. You will end up pouring more money into it than you ever thought but hopefully you'll have had a helluva time!
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Old 30-06-2009, 09:44   #7
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. First, I haven't yet read of a brand new boat that didn't have teething issues,
Second, let him also eat the depreciation that's going to be highest in the first few years. .
Thanks for this. Although, with your first point I would have to argue there. I have some real good stories from Seawind owners and also Lightwave.
Your second point, is a good one – I guess the trick is to workout or guessimate that spot in time when depreciation slows, just before things need to be replace so maintenance cost go up.
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Old 30-06-2009, 10:01   #8
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Now, RubyBishop, I think you're going about it all wrong. Buying a boat is not a dollars and cents proposition and should not be viewed in that light. Buying a boat is essentially an emotional decision. You say you're going to live aboard for a decade. I take this to mean you're going to go sailing because if you're buying a boat to live on a dock for ten years you're wasting your money. Stay in real estate. If you're serious about a boat, buy what's within your budget and no spreadsheet is required. It is in no way an investment. You will end up pouring more money into it than you ever thought but hopefully you'll have had a helluva time!
Vasco, thanks you gave some good info snippets. However, your post is a little sanctimonious, with the statement sailing and not being about money. But then you turn around and give the advice ‘buy what you can afford’.

A boat that is going to cost $300k plus; in my world, is a money decision and will be a major asset. Buy what you can afford, is good advice and what I intend to do hence this post: is it better to buy new and have low maintenance Or, buy older and cheaper but know you will be up for some expensive. And if you buy older, where along the time continuum is it most optimal to do so.

There are some excellent post that detail [approx] cost of ownership, showing expenses for mooring, maintenance, and other associated cost [one guy listed booze]. Having an idea on cost, plus the estimated difference between the boat’s present value [affordability] and future value [recoverability], gives me a good indication on what this little venture will cost and where on that outlay continuum I should aim to fit in.

You should not presume your circumstances [nor pockets] are similar to mine. You don’t know what is going on in my life, and the almost need I have to do this before it is too late. However, I have to keep level head, the facts are with this diseased out body of mine, I know: I only have one crack, and once I start this venture I will not have [or the chance to have] an income ever again. So, what I recoup is important.
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Old 30-06-2009, 10:09   #9
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depends .. I like getting into a new boat but they cost a lot more than pre loved. depending on the dealer you can get some pretty good deals.
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Old 30-06-2009, 12:41   #10
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RubyBishop,

I'm afraid you might have misunderstood my remarks. Buying a boat for personal use, especially cruising, is not like buying a rental property or making an investment. You intend to live on this boat for ten years. Therefore you should buy what you like (this is the emotional part) within your budget, not what some spreadsheet tells you might appear to be the least likely loss. And it will be a loss in monetary terms as you will not get all your money back. I cannot envisage buying a boat "by the numbers" and living on it for ten years. Ask yourself this question first "what do I like?" If you do not know what you like then you should start looking at boats and getting out on them to get some idea of your preference. As to what you can get back on your outlay after ten years, nobody can tell you. As most investment people will warn you "past performance history is no guarantee of future performance".
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Old 02-07-2009, 08:44   #11
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RubyBishop,

If you do not know what you like then you should start looking at boats and getting out on them to get some idea of your preference. As to what you can get back on your outlay after ten years, nobody can tell you. As most investment people will warn you "past performance history is no guarantee of future performance".
I understand and agree. Catamaran [full stop]. I also have a stop/go list of thing I feel are needed [ie: it has to be beachable [dryout] and thing that are needed but I can add [ie: autopilot].

I have seen some that are a good match to the ‘list’ but didn’t like, for whatever. – As you say there has to be that feeling, that buzz. But with ever boat I see I take; pictures and notes, I see things that work well and things that didn’t and it builds a more solid idea of the boat I want [or will buy]. Having said that, I know I will not get a 100% fit and I know I will not buy a boat unless I get that buzz.


But money is an issue in so far as I have a budget and I need to maximise every dollar
. . . I have to say this site is excellent; as there are a lot of people like me and asking better question about finance and costs.
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Old 02-07-2009, 12:05   #12
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let me jump in and add my 0.02, if you can find what you like (I agree it all comes down tl liking) in a used cat you will most likely be ahead financially, however if you can not then you have some more flexibility in customizing a new (non production line cat). I have grown up with never buying new and I will probably buy a 5-10 year old Cat but I am allocating 20-35% of my total budget to upgrades/retrofits. My plan is sail her AS IS for 1 year and then make the planned changes as I may add or remove items after I feel her in real life.

In terms of hard numbers I have done a LOT of research and most (there are exceptions) Cat's are roughly 50% after 8-12 years, as their life span is typically 20-30 years with proper TLC I figure I can get 10 years enjoyment (and way more value for my money) in a used Cat.

And Rick buying a house for most people should not be an investment as you have to like living there as well (the notion that you will make money is a secondary issue as if you hate your house you wont stay!)
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Old 02-07-2009, 12:42   #13
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And Rick buying a house for most people should not be an investment as you have to like living there as well (the notion that you will make money is a secondary issue as if you hate your house you wont stay!)

I never mentioned buying a house. If you read my post you'll see that I spoke of buying a rental property which definitely should be viewed as an investment, although for some who got into this in the last couple of years the return on that investment has not been as expected.
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Old 02-07-2009, 13:21   #14
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my first boat was a project - dumped $10K over 4 years to get her right, broke even when I sold. Current boat was bought new - I think I will go somewhere in between on my next one - hopefully a lightly used and well equipped sailboat. Depends on the length if I go new again too
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Old 02-07-2009, 13:33   #15
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Rick, you are correct and I apologize.
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