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Old 09-08-2013, 10:11   #1
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Should I or Shouldn't I?

Hi, I'm new to the forums and new to sailing in general. I've taken my lessons and am ready to sail. I'm thinking about purchasing a boat. I know many of you recommend not to purchase a boat at first, I've had recommendations to sail with others for a while. But I've run across a deal that I'm seriously considering. The boat is a 1974 MacGregor Venture Newport 23 (cutter rigged). The motor is a 4 hp Mercury (1998) in good shape. I can get the boat for $1500. It definitely is needing bottom paint. The standing rigging (shrouds) seem a little loose and the chain plate had very slight movement in it. Three sails included that are in decent shape. other than slight hardware and cosmetic issues, it seems like its ready to sail.

This is going to be for lake sailing. My questions are, is this a good deal? What other things should I look for that may make this not worth it? What are the benefits if any of a cutter rigged boat? Anything else I need to consider?

Thanks!
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Old 09-08-2013, 10:16   #2
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Re: Should I or shouldn't I??

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Originally Posted by SeaRags View Post
Hi, I'm new to the forums and new to sailing in general. I've taken my lessons and am ready to sail. I'm thinking about purchasing a boat. I know many of you recommend not to purchase a boat at first, I've had recommendations to sail with others for a while. But I've run across a deal that I'm seriously considering. The boat is a 1974 MacGregor Venture Newport 23 (cutter rigged). The motor is a 4 hp Mercury (1998) in good shape. I can get the boat for $1500. It definitely is needing bottom paint. The standing rigging (shrouds) seem a little loose and the chain plate had very slight movement in it. Three sails included that are in decent shape. other than slight hardware and cosmetic issues, it seems like its ready to sail.

This is going to be for lake sailing. My questions are, is this a good deal? What other things should I look for that may make this not worth it? What are the benefits if any of a cutter rigged boat? Anything else I need to consider?

Thanks!
Uh, based upon what you've described - especially the chain plate with movement - I'd plan on making some prudent repair before taking her for a sail.

Often, seemingly good deals where boats are concerned turn out to be financial night mares.

Is the boat on the hard where you can get a survey or at least examine for blisters? They often are not revealed until after a power wash...

Just saying...
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Old 09-08-2013, 11:53   #3
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Re: Should I or shouldn't I??

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Originally Posted by SeaRags View Post
Hi, I'm new to the forums and new to sailing in general. I've taken my lessons and am ready to sail. I'm thinking about purchasing a boat. I know many of you recommend not to purchase a boat at first, I've had recommendations to sail with others for a while. But I've run across a deal that I'm seriously considering. The boat is a 1974 MacGregor Venture Newport 23 (cutter rigged). The motor is a 4 hp Mercury (1998) in good shape. I can get the boat for $1500. It definitely is needing bottom paint. The standing rigging (shrouds) seem a little loose and the chain plate had very slight movement in it. Three sails included that are in decent shape. other than slight hardware and cosmetic issues, it seems like its ready to sail.

This is going to be for lake sailing. My questions are, is this a good deal? What other things should I look for that may make this not worth it? What are the benefits if any of a cutter rigged boat? Anything else I need to consider?

Thanks!
Find out from riggers what their estimate would rougnly be for repairing the chainplate, what they would do, and what they would farm out to the fiberglassing guy. At least these estimates can be figured in to whatever you offer on the boat.

You said the sails are decent. Did you personally check them for chafe, worn out thread, or used up fabric? They're history if you can tear the fabric by hand. If they are, consult a sailmaker.

A benefit of the cutter rig is that if the wind comes up unexpectedly, you can change down to the smaller staysail, which will ease things for the boat and yourself. If it gets up more, you'll want to be able to reef the mainsail as well.

Ann
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Old 09-08-2013, 12:03   #4
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Re: Should I or shouldn't I??

$1500 is about half of what it would cost you for a week of liveaboard lessons or a bareboat charter. If you're reasonably handy and prefer to "learn by doing" I'd say go for it, with the mindset that the boat is totally disposable. Ignore the cosmetic issues and spend the absolute minimum amount of money necessary to make the boat safe enough to last a couple of years but not a penny more. So what if she has blisters or needs bottom paint? I was in the same position you are a few years ago and bought a boat for $3000. I figured that the first month I spent aboard more than paid for the boat and everything since has been gravy. At this point I've put less than $1000 into maintenance and repairs and have cruised aboard for a total of about 30 weeks. Even if she sunk tomorrow my costs only comes to about $133 for each of week of use.
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Old 09-08-2013, 12:07   #5
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Re: Should I or shouldn't I??

Sorry but I can't see how can you get any decent cruising experience on a boat in such state. You will either spend lot's of money (at least 7k $, can be much more) on it till you're confident you can take her further, or.. will play around with her within 5 miles radius and it will become boring very soon. So you'll spend that money anyway.

At least that's how it turned out for me
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Old 09-08-2013, 12:11   #6
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Re: Should I or shouldn't I??

" The standing rigging (shrouds) seem a little loose and the chain plate had very slight movement in it."

I used to sail with friends who owned a MacGregor Venture 23. They kept the boat on a trailer and un-stepped the mast every time they hauled the boat out. To do that, it was necessary to loosen the shrouds to take the tension off. They had to be re-tightened after they stepped the mast.

The loose rigging you observed might be nothing more than a failure to properly tightened everything when the mast was stepped. That should be easy to check.

The loose chain plate definitely needs repair or you'll risk losing the rig.

Jim
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Old 09-08-2013, 12:14   #7
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Re: Should I or shouldn't I??

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$1500 is about half of what it would cost you for a week of liveaboard lessons or a bareboat charter. If you're reasonably handy and prefer to "learn by doing" I'd say go for it, with the mindset that the boat is totally disposable. Ignore the cosmetic issues and spend the absolute minimum amount of money necessary to make the boat safe enough to last a couple of years but not a penny more. So what if she has blisters or needs bottom paint? I was in the same position you are a few years ago and bought a boat for $3000. I figured that the first month I spent aboard more than paid for the boat and everything since has been gravy. At this point I've put less than $1000 into maintenance and repairs and have cruised aboard for a total of about 30 weeks. Even if she sunk tomorrow my costs only comes to about $133 for each of week of use.
In agreement here...especially for lake sailing. I won our wednesday night series in a $1,000 boat with new sails and a new bottom. Made all of those spendy guys mad. If you can afford to lose $2000, go for it.
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Old 09-08-2013, 12:30   #8
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Re: Should I or Shouldn't I?

IIRC this is indeed a trailer-sailor, so does a trailer come with it? If so, I don't see how you can go too far wrong at that price.

Re the chain plate: I have never been on board this sort of Mac boat, so don't know how the chain plates are anchored. On many small boats they are either through bolted to a bulkhead or knee, or (in the case of Catalinas of that size, just bolted to the deck). In either case, tightening it up would be a really easy DIY job, not something that you would turn over to a pro.

New bottom paint on a trailer sailor is not a difficult job... even doing it jacked up off the trailer (did this routinely years ago on a Cat-22).

"Loose" rigging, as another poster has mentioned, is not an issue. Getting a more experienced chap to show you basic rig tuning would be a good step, but it isn't very hard to get good enough to prevent unexpected failure.

Remember, you are not needing the degree of preparedness on your lake, with a 1500 buck boat, as if you were setting out in the ocean, even coastally...

Enjoy, and don't worry too damn much about finesse!

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 09-08-2013, 12:32   #9
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Re: Should I or Shouldn't I?

Thank you everyone for your replies. I'm going out for a test sail tonight before I purchase it. I should get a better idea of how the sails are. Here's a link to the CL ad. I think the motor value is enough to ease my pain if the boat were to be a total loss. I think its worth the risk. The chainplate movement was barely detectable. Could be loose fasteners or something?

23 ft. Venture Macgregor Sailboat
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Old 09-08-2013, 12:36   #10
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Re: Should I or Shouldn't I?

Buy it! Much cheaper than sailing lessons and you can go out anytime you please.
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Old 09-08-2013, 12:37   #11
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Re: Should I or shouldn't I??

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Sorry but I can't see how can you get any decent cruising experience on a boat in such state. You will either spend lot's of money (at least 7k $, can be much more) on it till you're confident you can take her further, or.. will play around with her within 5 miles radius and it will become boring very soon. So you'll spend that money anyway.

At least that's how it turned out for me
The trick (at least for me) was not to fall in love with the boat. she's not a yacht or a performance racer, she's a cheap learning tool. Don't pay anyone to do repairs. Do it all yourself, and plan to make mistakes. Never spend money on paint, wax, teak oil, stainless cleaner, etc, etc. Need to replace standing rigging? Use galvanized. Loose chainplate? Overbuild the repair using 2x4s. Outboard running rough? Take it apart yourself. Dock rash? Ignore it. Ripped sail? Fix it with duct tape or buy a slightly less used replacement online for $100. Every mistake you make on this boat will save you ten times as much when you move up to a bigger boat.
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Old 09-08-2013, 12:52   #12
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Re: Should I or shouldn't I??

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The trick (at least for me) was not to fall in love with the boat. she's not a yacht or a performance racer, she's a cheap learning tool. Don't pay anyone to do repairs. Do it all yourself, and plan to make mistakes. Never spend money on paint, wax, teak oil, stainless cleaner, etc, etc. Need to replace standing rigging? Use galvanized. Loose chainplate? Overbuild the repair using 2x4s. Outboard running rough? Take it apart yourself. Dock rash? Ignore it. Ripped sail? Fix it with duct tape or buy a slightly less used replacement online for $100. Every mistake you make on this boat will save you ten times as much when you move up to a bigger boat.
Exactly my thoughts. But since I have no experience, wanted to make sure there wasn't any flaws in my logic.
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Old 09-08-2013, 14:15   #13
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Re: Should I or Shouldn't I?

If you are handy with a few tools and are willing to give fixing stuff a go (none of it will be rocket science) then I say go for it.

Odds on you will spend some money on her, but don't go mad - the secret to happy ownership will be spending as little as possible, at least not on stuff you can't happily and easily take with you upon resale - either to next boat or to ebay! (but on this size and value of boat less is more - so don't confuse "would like" with "need"!).

Just be aware that a lake is not overall easier than the sea - each has own features and ways of killing ya! But like any body of water treat with respect and be aware of own limitations and will likely be OK.

Own boat will teach you a lot.........and starting with a pretty boat is always a good move!
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Old 09-08-2013, 15:08   #14
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If it all goes pear shaped in a few months your out $1500... but as someone said that's 1/2 the price of a charter and you'll learn a lot more... Go for it..
Would suggest if you know someone locally (apart from the owner) who knows boats.. have em wander by with you and have a nose..
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Old 09-08-2013, 16:10   #15
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Re: Should I or shouldn't I??

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Exactly my thoughts. But since I have no experience, wanted to make sure there wasn't any flaws in my logic.
First of all, it's a given that anyone who ever bought a sailboat was using flawed logic. That said, the boat looks nice, the lake on which it's located looks nice and you've been infected by an incurable disease. Bottom line? Buy the damn thing and go have a ball.

You will figure out what needs fixing and how to fix it and it won't cost you an arm and a leg. Even if you get into some trouble, the edges of Lake Ray Hubbard don't look too hard and if you wear your PFD you should be able to survive most anything that's likely to happen on that lake.

Welcome the company of all us happy idiots who love to sail!
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