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Old 21-03-2009, 01:36   #1
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Advice/Ideas/Options for boat purchase

The Sailboat Project
My overall plan: I plan on purchasing a project boat in the next 2-3 years and then allotting 4-6 months to make her sea worthy
I would appreciate any opinions ideas etc in regard to what I have written below, nothing is set in stone as far as what is within my budget. I am more than happy to hear different thoughts and am glad to gain knowledge and insight. I would much appreciate your help recreating my plan and accomplishing it. Much of the plans success relies a lot on my personals skills (ones I possess and ones I will gain through experience and study) to complete the boat and my ability to choose: quality surveyors, a good boat with potential, sound workers that will be doing the work that I am not qualifed to do persistence and the desire for the freedom, of the seas.

Things I am aware of: There are some good non-project boats out there that can be cheaper in the long run compared to project boats. But I am a ďstart from scratchĒ (or as close to as budget allows) type of person I want to know the insides and outs of the boat, I want to be familiar with her.

What I am leaning towards now and why:
Length: 45 ft
Why: comfortable cruising size
Things I am aware of: more boat more maintenance, higher upkeep costs
Keel : Full keel
Why: Strength, shallower draught compared to the other option that I am looking at -fin-keel. I plan on going to uncharted waters. Feel at ease that when: she is hauled she will not have to rely strongly on the pads and if I ran her aground.
Things I am aware of: can be heavier and less maneuverable than fin keel.
Hull Material Steel
Why: Strength, personal preference, I prefer working with metal over glass and donít feel: wood, aluminum or ferro-cement is an option. I feel I would prefer working with rust opposed to osmoses.
Things I am aware of: importance of the initial coats (interior and exterior) for: rust deterrent, hull longevity and ease of maintenance.
Rigging: factional rigged sloop
Why: ease of sailing, simplicity
Things I am aware of: less sail options.
What boats I have been looking at: 45 ft range Bruce Roberts
Why: Price, and availability, the boats I have looked at have been striped in the inside or unfinished, so I would be more able to see hidden problems.
Things I am aware of: home built boats can have many short comings such as poor: welds, paint/zinc/epoxy application, material used, inexperienced ideas or designs.
What I will be doing with it: Cruising many destinations on the seas. No singular venues. Destinations of interest: Island hoping, south pacific, blue water, open seas, coastal, northern and southern latitudes and the Med.
How many people will be sailing it: For the most part 2. But I would like her to have 6 comfortable berths.
My skills (in order of expertise): woodworking, mechanical, plumbing, metal work, electrical
Budget: $50,000
A boat similar to this one is what I have in mind: Bruce roberts 44 Pics pictures by jacerabe - Photobucket
I was weary of the bilge rust and the fin-keel
Overall things I am weary about with my choice of boat so far:
A.Initial coats/sealings how to tell how well they were applied and with what material.
B. I donít mind having a slower boat I am not out for speed/racing. But I certainly donít want an unmaneuverable slug like motor sailor!! I would like to rely on the motor as little as possible.
Random info: I would like to have a sailing dinghy.
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Old 21-03-2009, 22:53   #2
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You are very optimistic. I think, for the size range you are considering and the timeframe to achieve 'seaworthiness', you are overly optimistic.

A well-found boat - not a project boat - will probably take 4-6 months to make ready for sea for a new owner.

In addition to preparing the boat, a new owner will need to learn how to operate the boat and all its systems, and actually practice with the boat: some of this learning may take place during the early stages of the cruise but it must be considered before heading to remote destinations.

It is my personal opinion that your plan, as written above, suggests you have somewhat limited sailboat ownership experience. I would strongly encourage you to be less specific about both time frames and initial costs, and that you develop your sailing project more as goals (what you want to do) and less as methods (how you want to do it.) As has often been said, the view from the deck of a dinghy and a gold-plater megayacht is pretty much the same; it's the cost and time to get it/maintain it that's different.

(btw: we share the dream, and I really respect that you're acting on your dreams!)
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Old 21-03-2009, 23:43   #3
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D'Leroi

Not to be rude, but as a project boat person myself, I'd have to say you're getting in way over your head. It'll be a breaking sea after awhile. A 45' boat, let alone steel, will break you in a short time unless you own a fabrication shop and it's parked in the lot.

As a metal-smith myself I still prefer plastic. I've chipped/cleaned away more iron oxide then I care to mention. A new boat maybe fine but someone else's nightmare would be HELL.

If you want the experience, pick up a smaller boat <30' that is almost free with a decent survey, rebuild it, then sail it awhile. There you'll find your mistakes and move onto bigger and better things.

But to jump into a large project like a 45' steel hulled ship is nuts. It took me 6 months and $10K just to rebuild my cockpit. Once you open that can-O-worms you either abandon it or dedicate your life to it.

So, if you're really after advice I suggest you listen to these old salts that are about to chime in here.

To offer some constructive advice: a 45' sloop takes 2-3 people to handle. A ketch with smaller sails would be EZer to handle. A full keeled boat would not sail well as a sloop/fractional rig.
And $50K would hardly cover the costs of a new masts and sails if you were to buy a naked boat. a new motor and trany would be $20K for a 45' boat. I'll bet I've spent $1000 just on nuts, bolts and screws in the last 5 years.

It's time to hit the sack so I'll leave some more advice to the rest of the crew here.
..........................................._/)

BTW- You should only post this once. It will most likely get MERGED with your other post.
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Old 22-03-2009, 04:21   #4
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I have a friend who bought a 45 ft project boat for $30,000 who now has $70,000 in a boat worth $40,000! And he has spent a whole year working on it! There's at least 2 yrs work in the boat in your pictures.

I bought a big boat that the surveyor classified as near perfect and it took me 4 months of hard work learning the systems, perfecting rapid reefing proceedures, re-rigging,fixing things and rigging some real anchors before I was happy to go out in the big blue water (the shakedown cruise was 1750 miles off-shore) and I spend my life sailing and fixing boats. I also spent an additional $25,000 on liferaft, dinghy, outboard motor, engine parts, sails, rigging and anchors...all of which I was aware of when I bought the boat.

Also if you are inexperienced you will be happier sailing a 35-39 ft boat. Big sails, especially jibs, become unmanageble very rapidly in squalls. I had the roller furler jam out on a 1000sq ft jib, in a squall, at night and getting it down and stowed was like coralling an angry elephant.

The only valid reason I know of for a steel boat is bumping into ice: your supposed to navigate well enough not to bump into rocks.

Good luck Phil and Nell... who start their circumnavigation next week after a year of preparation.
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Old 22-03-2009, 05:59   #5
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I am very pleased and happy with all of your advice and opinions.
A.When you all refer to time working on the boat do you mean it in terms of the person working on the boat would/did work on the weekends and free nights etc. Or actually 7 days a week 8hour a day etc? From what you all have said my estimate will still be overly optimistic but my plans were to not have additional work during the time I will work on the boat. I should have stated that better.

“A well-found boat - not a project boat - will probably take 4-6 months to make ready for sea for a new owner.”

”But to jump into a large project like a 45' steel hulled ship is nuts. It took me 6 months and $10K just to rebuild my cockpit.”

“I have a friend who bought a 45 ft project boat for $30,000 who now has $70,000 in a boat worth $40,000! And he has spent a whole year working on it! There's at least 2 yrs work in the boat in your pictures.”

B.
s/v Moondancer Would you mind telling me about what you paid for your boat?
“I bought a big boat that the surveyor classified as near perfect and it took me 4 months of hard work learning the systems,”

C.
“BTW- You should only post this once. It will most likely get MERGED with your other post.”
I am still learning to navigate around the web-site. I was a bit confused at first, well still amJ Thanks though.
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Old 22-03-2009, 07:25   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ditch Leroi View Post
My skills (in order of expertise): woodworking, mechanical, plumbing, metal work, electrical
Budget: $50,000


A boat similar to this one is what I have in mind: Bruce roberts 44 Pics pictures by jacerabe - Photobucket

Yeah, that's a pretty tall order. On the other hand, I think Brent Swain holds that you can actually build a new one for that much in a fairly short period of time. I haven't seen any of his boats in person (I believe 200+ have been made). There is some dispute about their construction, and near religious zeal I've seen in his arguments for method seems both interesting and off-putting at the same time. But if you can get past the massage, you might find the message to be compelling.

But I would research it for your general edification and consider all sides carefully. You might, separately find he has some good things for your consideration other than the hull (e.g., furler, watermaker).
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Old 22-03-2009, 08:13   #7
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Ditch Leroi: My time estimate of 4-6 months assumed working on the project full-time, with a minimum of 4 weeks living aboard before departure.
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Old 22-03-2009, 23:28   #8
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I understand your suggestions fully, 1 being metal’s preparation on a “project boat can be a horror, 2 why not go smaller/cheaper. The benefits that I am looking for between 45 and 36 is room and the fact that I will be doing long term cruising. I also would like to ask all of your opinions about these 2 scenarios A. purchasing a 36’er (give or take) in glass and getting her sail worthy (time + money) and sailing her for a couple of years then getting a bigger boat for longer more comfortable cruising and again putting time and money into it .B. or sticking to the plan posted above. What would be the pros and cons of either.
Another point I would like to make is that I also agree with all or your opinions that it is better to start small and cheep, in life and many of the things one encounters in life this is sound advice-especially because of the overwhelming examples of unfinished projects whether it be a Ford mustang, a get away cabin or additions on a house, a marriage(s)J the bathroom sink or even a 45 ft B Roberts. But I will reach my goal which is to feel free on the sea. I am not saying that I will stick to an unbalanced plan which at this point (my above plan) very well could be but what I feel is important to me, is to attain my goal by being flexible with my plans. I plan on doing this through experience, study, hands on, and by putting the knowledge that the old salts here have gained and shared to good use.
ThanksJ Ditch

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Old 23-03-2009, 15:52   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ditch Leroi View Post
I understand your suggestions fully, 1 being metalís preparation on a ďproject boat can be a horror, 2 why not go smaller/cheaper. The benefits that I am looking for between 45 and 36 is room and the fact that I will be doing long term cruising. I also would like to ask all of your opinions about these 2 scenarios A. purchasing a 36íer (give or take) in glass and getting her sail worthy (time + money) and sailing her for a couple of years then getting a bigger boat for longer more comfortable cruising and again putting time and money into it .B. or sticking to the plan posted above. What would be the pros and cons of either.
Ditch, I gotta tell that's a really tough font to read.

1. Project (steel) boat option -- IF you can either totally gut it or it comes that way I would say ok. The other option is to know how the builder made and the method is up to speed. For example: Builder is selling his 1/2 completed steel project. The hull was pre-primed and has been epoxy coated. That would be fine.

On the other hand, owner bought a used boat of steel and has it 1/2 taken apart. You get the rigging, engine, sails a ton of parts and a hull of indeterminate condition. That means it had better survey very well. So well that you know you can finish it or sell it for a profit. The reason I say at a profit is that you will only break even at best after you pay for the title transfer, storage, your time, etc, etc, etc.

2. Start small and go big later. Generally the better choice if cash is an option and you don't plan to live on it. If you don't mind I am going to reference a post I wrote some time back on a Pocket Cruisers. The reason will be plain to see.

Quote:
My point is the cost of the boat is not merely what you pay to the seller. You have to include the inevitable taxes. But more importantly you have to include for maintenance. If you donít you end up with boat you may or may not be able to sail and certainly of decreased or no value.

I had a friend who bought a San Juan 21 a couple of years back. He just wanted something fun. Most people canít sleep on them but he and his girlfriend glassed in some points to hang hammocks. It was like camping but they went sailing about 2-3 times a month around the Chesapeake -- sometimes locally, sometimes driving to a place and sailing from there. I donít think they ever painted his boat because when the trip was done it went back on the trailer. They had never changed their zincs. They easily checked the lights before each trip. They didnít get any doodads for it other than the GPS and mountaineering stove which were camping models they used while camping in the winter. They loved that boat right up until some idiot parked his SUV in it.

I also had a friend years ago who bought a decent sized Hunter that he could barely afford. Everything that broke was a pain to him. He dreaded every time he had the boat hauled. He also did all the work himself, but on the cheap. He had radar and GPS but didnít want to drain the batteries because he worried about the cost of replacement. He only sailed with the jib because he didnít want to have to replace two sails.

Who had more fun?
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Old 31-03-2009, 17:02   #10
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Steel project

Why so huge. 45 ft is much larger than you need.
Keep it under 40 feet and you won't regret it. You can do it on a very small budget if you keep it simple, do all your own work, and use as much salvaged material as possible. We are awash in used sails and sailing gear in excellent condition, at a fraction the new cost. My rig cost me under $200. I have bought enough rigging wire for a 36 footer for $24. The mainsail I just wore out after two trips to Tonga and back , one to Mexico and back and nine trips to the Charlottes and back , cost me $100 in 1980. How many miles per gallon does that work out to?
We are awash in used plywood and other building materials.
All you need to get underway is a$100 GPS and a $100 depth sounder. The rest can come later. Put conduit under your insulation and do the wiring later. Kero lamps will work for the first couple of years. They worked for the first 20 for me and the first 10,000 for those who sailed before electricity.
Paint is free in some recycling depots.
Your experience suggests that you could do it for a cost so low it would shock many of the "consumer "religion.
My 31 was sailing, and I moved aboard , for under $6,000
Keep up the optimism. Optimists usually go over budget, but still get things done for a fraction the cost and time of a pessimist.
Brent
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Old 31-03-2009, 18:58   #11
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Brilliant, Brent thanks for your optimism and thriftiness. I am a big saver and a miser. I was really happy to know (from your post) that others live a similar life style to mine but on the ocean. I have recently been looking at fiberglass boats in the 27-33foot range and feel happy about: being on the water faster and the smaller sale price and less amount of time and money spent on maintenance. I would love to hear about some of your cruises; Tonga and Mexico are places I have thought about sailing to.
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Old 05-04-2009, 17:37   #12
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I have heard news stories about huge numbers of boats being abandoned on the US east coast, due to the recession and the high cost of moorage there. Could be a good place to check out. Buy a dirty boat and, due to the lower asking price , you will make $thousands just by washing it.
Don't be intimidated by people foolishly assuming that you will be buying everything new from West Marine.
Tonga is great for a couple of months , After that it gets a little stale. Mexico is great cruising in winter. I wouldn't want to be there in summer. I have recieved mail from clients, shortly after arriving in Tahiti, saying they are homesick for Mexico already.
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Old 06-04-2009, 19:01   #13
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I too have heard about boats on the East coast that are being abandoned, fortunately I am on the East coast, unfortunately it is the East coast of China ha-ha. Thanks for your encouragement to buy used stuff; I have a bit to learn about the quality of used sailing equipment etc. so I donít get taken for a ride.
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