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Old 04-01-2016, 22:03   #1
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Buy a "new" old boat or an "old" old boat??

Here's my hypothetical (and I'll admit somewhat simplistic) scenario. You're looking for a strong coastal or blue water cruiser, 38 ft.- 40 ft. You've done your homework and have identified that proverbial well crafted and "well found" boat. You have a working budget of $250K. Not enough to get a new (or nearly new boat). So the first option is to get a 15 - 20 yr. old boat for $200K, leaving $50K for refits. Second option is get a 25 - 30 yr. old boat for $100K,leaving $150K for the refit. Anyone care to lay out the issues along with the pros and cons for each option? All things considered which approach is better? TIA
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Old 04-01-2016, 22:11   #2
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Re: Buy a "new" old boat or an "old" old boat??

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Originally Posted by jimp1234 View Post
Here's my hypothetical (and I'll admit somewhat simplistic) scenario. You're looking for a strong coastal or blue water cruiser, 38 ft.- 40 ft. You've done your homework and have identified that proverbial well crafted and "well found" boat. You have a working budget of $250K. Not enough to get a new (or nearly new boat). So the first option is to get a 15 - 20 yr. old boat for $200K, leaving $50K for refits. Second option is get a 25 - 30 yr. old boat for $100K,leaving $150K for the refit. Anyone care to lay out the issues along with the pros and cons for each option? All things considered which approach is better? TIA
Well, how long is a piece of string? Sorry, but you will have to be more specifice than that. There are some 100 year old boats which are more perfect in all respects than many 5 year old boats. How much maintenance has been done? How are the decks? What problems may be hidden in places like cores? Have the chainplates been pulled completely out of the boat and all bolts replaced etc etc…

I would say the most important thing is to buy a boat that was originally well built, but above all, has been thoroughly maintained by a fastidious, conscientious, and slighly OCD individual. One is best. A chain of such individuals becomes less likely. But really, your personal survey of a boat you are really serious about should last several days and be extremely thorough. You will still be discovering things about it three or even five years after purchase…
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Old 04-01-2016, 22:16   #3
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Re: Buy a "new" old boat or an "old" old boat??

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Originally Posted by jimp1234 View Post
Here's my hypothetical (and I'll admit somewhat simplistic) scenario. You're looking for a strong coastal or blue water cruiser, 38 ft.- 40 ft. You've done your homework and have identified that proverbial well crafted and "well found" boat. You have a working budget of $250K. Not enough to get a new (or nearly new boat). So the first option is to get a 15 - 20 yr. old boat for $200K, leaving $50K for refits. Second option is get a 25 - 30 yr. old boat for $100K,leaving $150K for the refit. Anyone care to lay out the issues along with the pros and cons for each option? All things considered which approach is better? TIA
I suppose I would also want to say: you are looking to be buying near the shallow end of the depreciation curve. It is better generally to buy an older but exceptionally maintained boat, rather than one of middle age where the deeper problems may just be beginning to manifest, and the depreciation has not yet bottomed out. I would be somewhat inclined to go with your second idea in that way. Apart from anything else, you will learn a great deal about the boat (and yourself, and the patience limits of your spouse if you have one!) during the refit process, and will have more leeway to put it to a point you are personally satisfied with.
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Old 04-01-2016, 22:36   #4
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Re: Buy a "new" old boat or an "old" old boat??

If you're willing to do the refit (and have the time), you'll a) know what you've got, and b) know your boat really well by the end of it.

One thing I've noticed with a lot of older boats on the market is that the owner says things like "New rigging - 2005 and new sails 2006" People remember all the things they bought ten years ago as if it were yesterday, but some of those things are almost ready to be replaced again.
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Old 05-01-2016, 08:10   #5
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Re: Buy a "new" old boat or an "old" old boat??

Owning and maintaining a boat for a while will help answer those questions when it comes time to buy something bigger/ more complex like the rig you describe.

Learning how to mix epoxy, re-bed a fitting, replace core, rebuild a carb (or an injector), rebuild a pump. Having these experiences in your pocket will help you make a better decision.

Personally, I'd lean toward an older boat of good lineage that I have deemed to be properly maintained!
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Old 05-01-2016, 08:11   #6
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Re: Buy a "new" old boat or an "old" old boat??

Agree with the others. And windward princess- that is so funny you say that, as we had that exact same experience when we bought our 1976 Downeaster- the owner kept referring to so many "brand new" things and his wife would say "yeah, but that was in 2010!"
Just cause someone hasn't used something, doesn't mean it's still brand new. Especially on a boat.
I go with choice b) if possible. Because what if you can find a sturdy, well maintained boat, and then you have that much leftover.
They have to be out there- as our budget was 1/3 of your option B and we found a pretty great boat.


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Old 05-01-2016, 08:38   #7
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Re: Buy a "new" old boat or an "old" old boat??

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Originally Posted by Muckle Flugga View Post
I suppose I would also want to say: you are looking to be buying near the shallow end of the depreciation curve. It is better generally to buy an older but exceptionally maintained boat, rather than one of middle age where the deeper problems may just be beginning to manifest, and the depreciation has not yet bottomed out. I would be somewhat inclined to go with your second idea in that way. Apart from anything else, you will learn a great deal about the boat (and yourself, and the patience limits of your spouse if you have one!) during the refit process, and will have more leeway to put it to a point you are personally satisfied with.
I ended up buying a boat that I thought needed almost everything so I could fit it out the way I wanted. It turns out that it actually needed everything. Two biggest lessons around refitting were: 1. expect to spend much more than you expect to spend. 2. Don't worry when you find something new at the dock that needs fixing, better than finding it at sea.

I echo the sentiments of others, get a boat with great bones that is older and well maintained if possible. Investigate and understand what is involved in changing the chainplates, and the chain plate supports. It can be a surprise, but the cost is not infinite. No survey is going to uncover all of the problems. Knowledge is power and remember it's a boat, so it will consume every spare peso and minute, but can reward you in ways that money can't.
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Old 05-01-2016, 09:19   #8
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Re: Buy a "new" old boat or an "old" old boat??

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Owning and maintaining a boat for a while will help answer those questions when it comes time to buy something bigger/ more complex like the rig you describe.

Learning how to mix epoxy, re-bed a fitting, replace core, rebuild a carb (or an injector), rebuild a pump. Having these experiences in your pocket will help you make a better decision.

Personally, I'd lean toward an older boat of good lineage that I have deemed to be properly maintained!
Reading this my advice would be to buy the newest boat you can afford. The things that get the most use on any boat will be the same if the boat is 5 or 25 years old. The idea that engineering everything outside of those systems has gotten worse is just silly. Winches, engines, mast, rigging and all the others will be the same in many cases. You will be paying a premium for a hull that comes with the dirt and grime as well as the myriad other questions arising from the use and abuse or one or several others that have polished it appropriately to separate you from your money. Besides sailing is far more fun than crawling around with epoxy rebedding imperfections or problems. Get the newer boat.
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Old 05-01-2016, 09:22   #9
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Re: Buy a "new" old boat or an "old" old boat??

Quote:
Originally Posted by jimp1234 View Post
Here's my hypothetical (and I'll admit somewhat simplistic) scenario. You're looking for a strong coastal or blue water cruiser, 38 ft.- 40 ft. You've done your homework and have identified that proverbial well crafted and "well found" boat. You have a working budget of $250K. Not enough to get a new (or nearly new boat). So the first option is to get a 15 - 20 yr. old boat for $200K, leaving $50K for refits. Second option is get a 25 - 30 yr. old boat for $100K,leaving $150K for the refit. Anyone care to lay out the issues along with the pros and cons for each option? All things considered which approach is better? TIA
I feel unless you are planning extreme sailing conditions (and if you are you would already know enough that you wouldn't be asking a forum) that you get a 10-15 year old boat for 10-15 year old boat in good condition for $100k or less, do $10-20k of refit and upgrades and then have plenty of money left from your budget to have a good time.
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Old 05-01-2016, 09:30   #10
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Re: Buy a "new" old boat or an "old" old boat??

I guess it depends a lot if you have a daytime job, a commute, maybe kids etc. If you are retired or otherwise have lots of time available... great! Then buy the older boat and spend a year or two on your knees sorting it out. But if time is an issue, the calculation will look very different.

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Old 05-01-2016, 09:35   #11
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Re: Buy a "new" old boat or an "old" old boat??

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Reading this my advice would be to buy the newest boat you can afford. The things that get the most use on any boat will be the same if the boat is 5 or 25 years old. The idea that engineering everything outside of those systems has gotten worse is just silly. Winches, engines, mast, rigging and all the others will be the same in many cases. You will be paying a premium for a hull that comes with the dirt and grime as well as the myriad other questions arising from the use and abuse or one or several others that have polished it appropriately to separate you from your money. Besides sailing is far more fun than crawling around with epoxy rebedding imperfections or problems. Get the newer boat.
You are ignoring at least two things:

1. The steepness of the depreciation curve.
2. The fact that new boats will have plenty of problems as well. Sometimes more than well maintained old boats, whose previous owners have solved them, and kept them solved. I have met many an owner of new boats at their wits end with worry and problems and expense. I am currently looking after one which has just been built, at seriously great expense, and has been little short of a disaster.
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Old 05-01-2016, 09:40   #12
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Re: Buy a "new" old boat or an "old" old boat??

Is it not true that with questions of this kind, the answer seems to always come back to Don Casey?
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Old 05-01-2016, 10:45   #13
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Re: Buy a "new" old boat or an "old" old boat??

It's impossible to answer which is better, because it depends on your wants and needs.

But I would say with your second option (25-30 year old boat for 100k, leaving 150k for refit), there seems to be a presumption that you would have to spend that 150k on refitting. Maybe that is true if you have a yard do all the work, but if you do mostly your own work in my opinion it will be very hard to spend 150k. So the second option is really more like buy a 100k boat, refit for 50-75k, and save 100k leftover.

If you hire out all the work, you could definitely spend 150k, but it will still take quite a while and a good deal of work. In my experience you cannot hand 150k to a boat yard or refitter, come back in 9 months without any oversight or communication, and expect to have had a good job done. So, 150k of boatyard work is still a lot of work yourself in overseeing the projects and figuring out what you actually want to do. I would not want to undertake that amount of work.

But a 100k boat that requires 150k of work I would not consider a well found boat. So I would suspect in that price range you could find a 25-30 year old boat that requires much less than that.

In the end you have to go with what feels right to you. The newer boat with newer bells and whistles, or the older boat. Myself I would go with the older boat and save 100k for the cruising fund.
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Old 05-01-2016, 10:52   #14
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Re: Buy a "new" old boat or an "old" old boat??

I think this is an excellent question! At the very least it is one that I've thought about myself.

Either scenario can work well. You certainly learn a LOT about your boat and how to make boat repairs by doing them yourself. The downside to spending a lot on a refit, however, is that everything you buy brand new for a refit also has a brand new *price* associated with it and requires a lot of your time.

The best scenario is to buy an older boat with a high quality hull in the physical shape that suits your needs (both underwater and topside), that has *also* been refit within the past 5-10 years -- and the refit equipment meets your present needs as close as possible. You keep the refit cost and time to a minimum, but also pay less than you would if the hull newer.

My thinking is based upon these two thoughts:
-- A quality, well maintained, hull will depreciate in price far faster than it loses its usability.

-- Most equipment, after the first few years, will depreciate in price about the same as the reduction in serviceability.

The older hull will have been fully depreciated in value, but, if well maintained, is still just as usable as a ten-year-old hull (and fiberglass is readily repairable). You will be paying a lot less for the equipment on the boat than you would buying it new and refitting it to the boat yourself.

If you buy an older boat and need to add or replace a windlass, you might spend a couple/three grand on that windlass and many hours installing it, wiring it, etc. You *will* know an awful lot about that windlass (which is good!), but the cost to you is high (both time and money). If you buy a boat that has the kind and quality of windlass you need, in serviceable condition, you might be paying $1000 more for the boat because of the windlass. That is a lot less of your time and money to get the windlass you need. You might need to replace the used windlass while you own the boat, but then again, you might not!

That all said, we bought an older boat that had *not* been refit. I'm learning a lot! But it is very expensive. I expect that we will keep this boat for many years, but at some point we will buy again. And at that point I will look for something like I described above -- and be *very* picky!

Buying a boat is like getting married! You better make sure you know what you are getting into! And even then she'll continue to surprise you, positively and negatively!
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Old 05-01-2016, 11:20   #15
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Re: Buy a "new" old boat or an "old" old boat??

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Here's my hypothetical (and I'll admit somewhat simplistic) scenario. You're looking for a strong coastal or blue water cruiser, 38 ft.- 40 ft. You've done your homework and have identified that proverbial well crafted and "well found" boat. You have a working budget of $250K. Not enough to get a new (or nearly new boat). So the first option is to get a 15 - 20 yr. old boat for $200K, leaving $50K for refits. Second option is get a 25 - 30 yr. old boat for $100K,leaving $150K for the refit. Anyone care to lay out the issues along with the pros and cons for each option? All things considered which approach is better? TIA
These Help Me Buy A Boat posts are just plain stupid.


What do I know of what you like?


For that money there's a fantastic buy in the wooden boat of Carlotta. She's the first of the original Bristol cutter police boat still considered the fastest sail boats on the sea.


This is a classic, refurbished asking less than its worth.


With your budget it's the Best Buy on the sea right now. for a classic, fast, refurbished safe . . . no brained for me.


Bear in mind, you posted on my forum so you DID ask ME. 😆
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