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Old 06-10-2010, 07:26   #1
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Question Steel Hull Sailboat

I am interested in purchasing a 70' steel hull sailboat built in Holland in the mid 1940's. She has not had good care for several years, took on water a couple of times due to through hulls and rain water. Currently in the water floating, should I run away, or is a fair project.
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Old 06-10-2010, 07:50   #2
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Not enought information to really decide. We have no idea on your skills to rebuild steel, nor your mechenical skills to repair the systems on board. However, if your asking the board, I'd say your skills arn't that good, your pockets arn't that deep, and you should walk away from this one.

A "new" 70' steel hulled boat costs in the order of ~2 million. That means when you go to rebuild an engine, your rebuilding an engine for a 2 million dollar yacht. The parts and will cost as if it was such a yacht. When you go to re rig it, your re rigging a 2 million dollar yacht. If the vessel has taken on sigificant amount of water, basicly the entire interor is ruined. That means your rebuilding a 2 million dollar yacht interoir. And as anyone that's ever done a project knows, it almost always costs more to rebuild an old boat, than it costs a factory to make a new one.

And that doesn't even start with replacing plate. More than likly at least some of the steel hull plates will be rusted up. To replace the steel hull plates you'll have to have the yacht lifted onto the ground. I'd guess that the boat is going to way somewhere between 60 and 120 tons. Yacht lifts for more than ~85 tons are rather difficult to find. They also are much much more expensive, and not as flexable as travel lifts for smaller yachts. Also, many, if not most, lifts for vessels this size require insurance. Insurance for vessels of this size typicaly requires a captain with a high degree of experence. Well, at least a year or so owning/operating a vessel of at least this size.

And then there is trying to find a place to keep it. Most marinas for vessels of this size charge quite a pretty penny. After all, it's basicly a mega yacht. Most people that can afford to buy one in the first place can also afford a captain and crew. They can afford to drop a couple of grand a month in marina fees. They can afford insurance, and all that that entails.

The costs for vessels that large REALLY seem to snow ball in a hurry. You can sometimes get a vessel for what seems like an exceedingly reasonable price, but find out that the real value of the vessel is actualy negetive. Some of them arn't even worth attempting to scrap out for the steel in the hull. In any case, such a project isn't for the faint of heart, limited skills, or shallow pockets.

I have not attempted such a rebuild. Like most people, I love the idea of owning a large boat. I looked into what it would take to try to fix one up. In the end, I decided it was way too much project for myself.

I wish you luck.
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Old 06-10-2010, 07:51   #3
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Depends on what you intend to do. Are you buying it for scrap? If not you will have a lot on your hands. A good surveyor is what you need.
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Old 06-10-2010, 08:12   #4
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The biggest issue will be that the weld material is slightly different to the plate material. If she hasn't been looked after then one or the other will have electro-migrated. One of the first stainless Steel Yachts fell apart after a year for that reason. An ultra-sonic thickness machine will show the plate thickness remaining, use that as your first inspection tool. Readily available through 'weld inspection companies' who will also give you some sound advice if they are marine orientated.
A normal yacht surveyor may not have those particular skills but will provide info on general seaworthiness of the systems as installed, particularly the state of engine cooling, sea cocks and the like. It is going to be a very long list of defects.
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Old 06-10-2010, 13:23   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ViribusUnitis View Post
A "new" 70' steel hulled boat costs in the order of ~2 million. That means when you go to rebuild an engine, your rebuilding an engine for a 2 million dollar yacht. The parts and will cost as if it was such a yacht. When you go to re rig it, your re rigging a 2 million dollar yacht. If the vessel has taken on sigificant amount of water, basicly the entire interor is ruined. That means your rebuilding a 2 million dollar yacht interoir. And as anyone that's ever done a project knows, it almost always costs more to rebuild an old boat, than it costs a factory to make a new one.
I agree with ViribusUnistis. It sounds that your prospect is likely to need a complete rebuild. For the same cost you can get a new one. Unless you really have an extra $2 million and the boat is a unique historical piece worth of full restoration, just run away from it. Based on the little you have told us about the boat, it think that is would be quite unrealistic to assume that she would ever safely sail again with a reasonable amount of money spent.

Let's assume that you do not have all that money, but that you have some money and you are skilled enough to do most of the job by yourself and you even have the time for it. Even on that case, I would tell you to run away from it. If you have the skills, tools, and time, why would you not build a new one?
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