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Old 13-12-2012, 10:05   #16
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Re: Best Way To Go: Rebuild or Ready to Go

Ready to Go!!!!! I speak from experience.

My wife and I elected to refit our Prout 34/35 Snowgoose, which had served us well for nearly its entire life. Buying new made no sense, and buying used left us with the concerns we were facing with our Prout. Aging gear, i.e., engine, head, galley, refrigeration, wiring, and a long list of "if we ever redid our boat" items. On paper, it looked good with me doing the work in my retirement. A no-brainer ... but the reality has been nightmarish.

Despite two surveys of our own boat before we jumped off the cliff, we had some substantial glass repairs in addition to modifications and improvements: replacing the open teak aft deck with a solid (and lighter) one for a dryer deck; rebuilding the engine compartment and two FG fuel tanks, replacing a few bulkheads and stringers, hull blister repair ... well the list goes on. I am comfortable working with epoxy, paint and DC wiring, but the depth of this refit quickly superseded my initial skill level, so the work has been an education.

Working alone, dealing with Chesapeake winters and educating myself as required have all added to the time required to actually complete the various tasks. Moreover, I'm aging too, and my body's OEM gear is wearing thin and has required repairs. I'm using valuable cruising/living years in the boatyard while the full expenses of living on land continue.

Add to this the ongoing age of the boat. No matter what I do or how much gear I replace, it will be an old boat, which presents some challenging insurance issues in protecting my investment. Of course, the expense of ongoing insurance and boat yard costs have dragged on too. And despite the detailed list when we started, the little things like nuts and bolts, composites, electrical connectors, good quality tools, bits and pieces ... well all of these things have added many thousands of dollars to the anticipated cost.

I've done pro-level work on most projects and good work on the remainder, which adds to the time in completing the project. I know the ins and outs of this boat more than I dreamed possible.

In retrospect, I would not have taken this route. I would have chosen a much younger boat that had cruising years left in it ... and sold this one to someone who had my dream of refitting/rebuilding a boat ... and I already would have been cruising for a few years by now.

Of course, this is just my personal experience, but an extensive refit/rebuild warrants some very sound research. Talk with people who have done it, including professionals who do it every day before jumping off the cliff. This kind of project is not for the faint of heart. I have seen at least 15 refit/rebuild projects fail in the boatyard during the past several years. In a word, each person was overwhelmed by lack of time, lack of money, lack of experience, lack of commitment or all of the above. A couple of successes came out of the yard; two other projects remind underway. I believe only one has a chance of being completed, in addition to mine (and a few folks are betting against mine).

I imagine I have a another full year of work ahead of me before we get out of here, but the end is in sight. Whew.


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Old 13-12-2012, 10:18   #17
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Re: Best Way To Go: Rebuild or Ready to Go

I know nothing about that boat model - but my vote would be on the Project if she was a Keeper. Otherwise go for the "Buy it now" version.

In any event, likely that the timescale for the project will at least rival the delayed start you mentioned. at least........

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Old 13-12-2012, 11:25   #18
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Re: Best Way To Go: Rebuild or Ready to Go

Originally Posted by David_Old_Jersey View Post
In any event, likely that the timescale for the project will at least rival the delayed start you mentioned. at least...
Well, that's the thing about all such projects. They always take twice as long and cost three times as much as you expect. Even if you start out by estimating the project, and then double the time and triple the cost, it will STILL end up taking twice as long and costing three times as much as your "adjusted" estimate!
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Old 13-12-2012, 11:48   #19
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Re: Best Way To Go: Rebuild or Ready to Go

Originally Posted by denverd0n View Post
Well, that's the thing about all such projects. They always take twice as long and cost three times as much as you expect. Even if you start out by estimating the project, and then double the time and triple the cost, it will STILL end up taking twice as long and costing three times as much as your "adjusted" estimate!
My wife takes my project estimates of "hours to complete", multiplies by 2 and changes hours to days. Ends up being pretty close. It's amazing how long any project on a boat takes. It all depends on your skills and desire to do projects. That said, I personally am firmly in the "Good old boat" camp. I enjoy doing a really good job on a project. I enjoy engineering good solutions. I do think that picking the right boat is very important. It's gotta be a boat worth fixing. When all is said and done, I'll have a boat I can count on, that I know inside and out, and that I have great pride in. But those need to be things you value. If you're just trying to save a buck, forget it.
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Old 13-12-2012, 11:52   #20
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Re: Best Way To Go: Rebuild or Ready to Go

Originally Posted by Wavewacker View Post
(...) a good thing to buy a project boat and redo it to your needs and wants or take the compromise route and buy an existing boat reday to go? (...)

Buy a project boat if you want spend time redoing it. Buy a sailing boat if you want to sail it.

'Ready to go' is an advert slang or else it tells the buyer is a rookie.

If you buy a project, make sure you do have the skills required to do the project. If you hire people to implement your dreams, make sure your pockets are deep - VERY deep. I know because I sometimes implement other people's dreams.

BTW get a boat that you fall in love with - it will keep the flame going on longer - project, or ready to go.

PS IMHO 9/10 ready to goes are better buys.

Just my opinions, not facts.

Good luck and fair winds.
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Old 13-12-2012, 12:13   #21
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Re: Best Way To Go: Rebuild or Ready to Go

The answer to all of this is, "it depends." First, it depends where you want to go. "Ready to go" sailing around the lake is different from ready to go sailing around the world.
Secondly, there are projects and then there are projects. A boat that is fundamentally sound but needs cosmetic fixes, new electronics, new sails, etc. could be a real bargain in the long run.
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Old 13-12-2012, 13:15   #22
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Re: Best Way To Go: Rebuild or Ready to Go

All of the ready to go versions I see advertised need the same refit that the " fixer uppers" seem to need, they just cost more when ready to go
76% of statistics are made up.
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Old 13-12-2012, 13:47   #23
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Re: Best Way To Go: Rebuild or Ready to Go

I think I'm the poster child of the Rebuild end of the continuum...currently in the eleventh year of a two-year refit. I got myself a "bargain boat fixer-upper", for a relative song ($10K for a 59-footer), and as wise souls have warned above, I ended up pretty much gutting her and starting over. Perhaps I'm just too obstinate for my own good, but I never once considered ditching things and cutting my losses. I simply adjusted my goal to a longer-range scenario whereby I'd end up with a virtually brand-new boat that was exactly what I've always wanted, that can take me anywhere in the world when I semi-retire (figuring ~10 years from now). That's my story and I'm sticking to it. Proof of my pig-headedness can be seen in all its glory in the Member's Gallery.

Will it turn out to be a financial win, or even wash? Nope. When I'm done I could have bought a brand-new Cherubini, Oyster, Swan or Hinckley for about the same coin. But she'll be "my" boat in every way, and nearly every minute detail of her will be the product of my designs and dreams. I feel like I've karmically earned her in a way that I wouldn't have by writing a monthly check to a bank. She comes complete with a story. And, I've come to adopt Trinidad as my second home which would never have occurred otherwise. So, I'm at peace with how things shook out. I'm crossing fingers, toes and eyes that I've got enough years left on this planet to get to actually wander it once she's done, such that I don't regret having spent 11 years+ getting there.

So, I'm an extreme case...but I'll second what others have counseled:
1) You don't buy a boat, new or used, to make money. Most boat brokers I know don't even make much of that. You buy it to fulfill a dream.
2) Decide where you want to go and when first, then find the combination of age, build, design, creature comforts and price that fits that plan. I personally have an aversion to debt and that has certainly slowed down my cruising timetable; you may have a different take on boat loans, and as a result you'll probably go sailing sooner.
3) Take full advantage of the research done by some knowledgeable authors. For example, check out John Kretschmer's "The Best Used Boat Notebook" The Best Used Boat Notebook: From the pages of Sailing Magazine, a new collection of detailed reviews of 40 used boats plus a look at 10 great used boats to sail around the world: Jack Kretschmer: 9781574092349: Books John really knows his stuff.
4) Every sailboat, no matter its vintage is some degree of "project". Stuff will always need fixing, maintaining, adapting, re-doing, re-re-doing, and re-re-re-doing. Maybe powerboaters enjoy something like the "new car" experience at first, but I'll bet that becomes less true as time goes on too. Fix your face for a lifestyle of fetching tools and opening wallets in perpetuity.

Good luck with your decision process. You'll get out there one way or another if you really wanna!

"Give a man a fish, and he can eat for a day. Give a man a boat, and he can't afford to eat for the rest of his life."
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Old 13-12-2012, 14:09   #24
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Re: Best Way To Go: Rebuild or Ready to Go

As you did not state your total budget it is hard to give a solid opinion. While I have spent a month living on and sleeping next to an 18' decked canoe, I know it is possible to live on a 30 foot boat.

But if the the budget allows, there are some good value 34 footers. Before I bought my Tartan 33, I was looking at Tartan 34C boats. They are a decent size and have a centerboard, so they should check some of the boxes on your list. A 34c can run from 12-20 BB.

I picked the middle ground when I bought my boat. Cynosure was sailable the day I bought her. After 9 months of ownership and some weekends spent working on her the project list is down to upholstery, new cabin sole and the %^&! starboard water tank.

Obviously, the final decision is yours. Unlike a business decision there are no wrong answers-

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Old 13-12-2012, 14:10   #25
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Re: Best Way To Go: Rebuild or Ready to Go

I'm with ya, there are projects and then there are projects! I'm hoping it's just a project, the interior.

Seems what has been said about redoing boats is the same as rehabbing houses. Tear out a wall and find an old gas line. The ceiling drops further and the sheetrock hangs off. Jack a floor to fast and the joist cracks and breaks away from the rim joist or ledgers. One thing leads to another.

Is it a boat I love? Not really, but I guess I could if the inside was much nicer and it functioned well for me. At my age I look at the hotties but I know they'd kill me trying to keep up them. I'm planning on going slow and keeping my boat, I doubt I get any bow babes with my boat but if it gets me there I'll be in love with her. I doubt resale is much of an issue,if I do sell it, it will be like all my other boat deals where I lose money.

Time line for my projects are generally close, I add the fudge factor. I'd plan 30 hours a week. I've done interiors in vehicles, sorta similar and houses, but this is not a house nore would the techniques and materials be the same, I'd go for a light build and insulated. While my van was different, I did one years ago and it was unique, tastefully done with high end materials usually used in limos. I took it to get it fitted with a table base and the guy did customs for dealers. He asked where I had it done and I told him I did it and then he asked me if I wanted a job! I'm no yacht builder, but I'm pretty good with design, function and use of materials. I think if I humped it, three weeks to get the inside done, but say nine weeks inclusinf time to sit and ponder. I do ponder alot.
I can tell about how long it would take for interior work. My finish carpenter wouldn't have ten hours in there.

The boat I'm told comes with a 15 or 20 hp Johnson OB. It has a motor well aft and lifts up when not in use. Now, steering might take me a week to fabricate and set up!

I see just about all of my future boats with a hard doger built, I'm not counting that time. Some canvas too, but I'll have that done locally, I know a great shop and they have done my canvas stuff for years.

I have wondered about doing the loop with a 15 hp OB, most of it has been done while sailing some, I think I'd get a new one and might take the other as a spare. A diesel in this boat is out of the question, there is a place for it, but it's my wallet that's full of space.

Really, I have not seen it yet, I need some ponder time inside, I'll take a tape and notebook. I don't know if it has tanks, it should. It should be wired and plumbing should be there. If it is missing any of this I'd have to reconsider. I'm considering the salvage value here, not a boat so much even if it can be sailed when I get there.

Also, there is no trailer, that's something right off the bat, just to get it home! I know the broker builds trailers, the trailer was probably sold to get the owner out of the boat knowing any buyer would likely need one, sly marketing and dealing there. Good for them....

I think I was lucky with my ebay vehicle purchases. I drove about 600 miles round trip for one car, the gulf would be closer to 1000 miles. I just don't see myself seeing something on Yachtworld, driving down only to find problems not revealed, intentionally or not.

I need cash to do the talking when I get there too, more money up front means selling some stuff for cash in hand. More time. Getting a fixer is buy now, pay for it as I go until stuff sells and then go full speed ahead.

Seems all of the interior doesn't need to be done to sail it, I could lear about a boat as it gets a face lift. Come to think of it, that's probably a good idea, learning about the boat as I work on one.

Buy now and go, really means buy now, go practice for awhile and go later on anyway.

I don't think buying a boat, new to me, then taking off on a 5/600 mile voyage would be a good idea. Let's say I find one in Texas along the gulf. I don't live there! I need to get home, so that means a long trip to learn how to or have it shipped. I'm not paying 6 or 8k to ship a 15/20K boat to Missouri to my house or the lake and then have to ship it again to the big muddy when I'm prepared to do my looper trip.

If I got one ready to go down there, I'd need to spend some time sailing there and getting prepared for the great loop. Now I have living expenses pharting around in the gulf. Might be fun, but expensive too. I'd also need to go back and forth due to house stuff. Now I have a mooring.

You guys are in the right place already to buy larger boats, I'm just not. So, looks like I'm stuck with what is in my area. Slim pickens as they say.

There is a nice Hunter with an asking price of 35k I think, but at 35' the draft kills it for me.

As mentioned, the draft seems to be a fixed requirement, unless I trim off the keel, I'm not going to find a 36' sailboat with a 3' draft unless it's a catamaran and that's way too much.

Either I need to accept other sailing grounds or keep to what is required for my intended purpose. I'm pretty stuck on doing the loop.

Now, I would be happy to flip some coin to a good finder of my boat, knowing I had a deal further south, Fl through Tx. Still have the how do I get it here thing, anyone want to take a trip in a used boat up the Mississippi? Hmmmm?

I think I'm stuck! I'm rambling too...

I'll keep looking until I make an offer, doesn't seem to promising.
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Old 13-12-2012, 16:13   #26
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Re: Best Way To Go: Rebuild or Ready to Go

Center board boats are fine for offshore sailing, many have done the circle. Swing keel boats are not for anything but lake sailing. Most are in the 26' and under so you wouldn't be looking at those in any case.

That Luger's stern looks strange, almost like a power boat. I could see putting a 1,000 hours and probably way more into finishing that kit boat plus a ton of money. I'd walk away from it as it's doubtful you'd get $.05 on the $1.00 for the labor it will need to finish off. The one listed with trailer would be the way I'd go off if you wanted a luger.

Look for a center board boat like this Pearson 35. This one looks like a very good boat. One negative is gasoline engine but they are easy to work on and quite reliable if given proper care. At the asking price, there is plenty of room to stick a diesel in and still be able to get your money out of it.
Have done a TransPac in mine and getting ready to sail to Alaska

Look at the older Pearson, Tartan, Allied center boarders if you want an affordable thin water boat.
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Old 13-12-2012, 19:52   #27
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Re: Best Way To Go: Rebuild or Ready to Go

I'm sorry, but I have no experience with this type of boat, which is what you really wanted to know. That said, there are a few things you might want to consider.
Boat building and turning houses have very little in common. For instance; you said that you'd take out the arch over the door leading forward. I believe it is a structural member to support the deck which is probably why it's loose.
I knew a man 50 years ago who was a first class cabinet maker. He built the most beautiful sailboat with incredible cabinetry through out, naturally. First time he went sailing on a blustery SF day, the interior of the boat pretty much fell apart; cabinet makers used small nails (brads?) to hold them together, boat builders screw and glue.
In a way, a boat is a living thing; it heaves, bends, twists and the rig stresses them to some degree.
One cannot just build an interior into a fiberglass hull. There's more to it than that.
Either way you go, I hope you have a great experience.
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Old 13-12-2012, 22:03   #28
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Re: Best Way To Go: Rebuild or Ready to Go


I'm not familiar with that particular Luger model, but quite some years ago I was (briefly) interested in one of their smaller kit boats. Even in my naivete it was obvious that they were not very good boats. Strange design features, thin mouldings, bad hull to deck joints, bad rig design... in fact, there was nothing at all to recommend the one I was romancing.

And that bad evaluation was on a factory finished one! Add in amateur building and the likelyhood that someone using that approach to a boat would tend to cut corners wherever possible... well, I certainly would run away.

And for a trip where lots of motoring is expected, an outboard is not a great means of propulsion.

Really, mate, there simply MUST be a better choice for you, even in the Ozarks!

Good Luck

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s/v Insatiable back in MBTBC marina, waiting for next eye jobs to be done
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Old 14-12-2012, 05:55   #29
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Re: Best Way To Go: Rebuild or Ready to Go

Roverhi, thanks for your comments and I will put those suggestions on my short list, I have been looking at Pearsons, Tritans but hadn't noticed the Allied. Albins were of interest due to the reputation of the Vega and the motorsailors, I like the looks but not sure about them either.
The stern is squared off, I assumed it was heavily built and would support a monster swim platform, my lower patio. I feel like it would give more room under a camper top blending in to a hard dodger, hang the grill that may do more cooking than the stove.

As to gas, I have never owned a diesel anything. From what I have read they are oily, they smell and loud, most I pull up next to sound like they have loose rods and piston slap. On the plus side, they a lower power curve, tourque and I may not ware one out in my life time, that's a pretty good plus!

Gas is cheaper and easier to obtain along the loop, the lower mississippi is a problem roughly 500 miles, so while you can get gas delivered they don't deliver diesel any longer. Range is another issue and you may likely be sailing into head winds with the current, but adding a few more miles you could sail, LOL.

No need to get into gas vs diesel consumption, gph, with the price, I understand it's about the same money wise, using more gas.

That said, I'm not opposed to diesel, just someting else to learn and get dirty with.

Capta, thanks for the comments, you're right the header could provide support, even if it were not necessary. I meant the bottom of the header, top of the jam if a door were there, could be straight making a conventional door way but still supporting the roof. The other Luger listed that Roverhi mention is done in that manner. The clue to it not being too load bearing is that the entire upper bulkhead is in three pieces, that above the door is put in as a seperate piece, plugged in, stuck up there, if it were critical it should all be one solid piece with the passageway cut out, IMO.

There won't be any mobilehome construction techniques in any boat I end up with, dowels, screws with glue staying with customary boat building practices. I'd say home furniture is fine in a trawler or houseboat saloon, but I agree, not in a sailboat. I have not built a boat but have been studying details for several years, I'm no expert, but aware. I'd much rather redo an existing boat than start by building a 30+ foot build platform (can't think of what its called!). Yikes!

I'm no engineer, but have built some winning race cars (formula Vs/Fords) and those too are under stress from all directions, certainly more than a boat (bet that's an argument, LOL) but I'm aware of the movement to a basic extent, non-professionals that do projects I guess need some insight and approach the structure with prudence and hopefully common sence....I hope I have that when it gets down to it, LOL. I do have a high mechanical apptitude, not sure that's worth anything!

As a living thing, is that why we refer to boats as "she" and love them?
Jim, sorry your time was not well spent but perhaps a learning experience and to my benefit, thanks for the review. If I were looking for a bass boat I'd have it made here! I'll bet there are not 100 sailboats over 30' within 200 miles of me, many could be for sale but not listed, may have to knock on doors.

The budget; it's tight guys, 50k, not that I couldn't sell out and have much more, but this was not in my plan when I retired, so it's being squeezed out of checking and income, not investments or other assets.

The loop will probably cost about 15k, not including beer, eating out, trinkets, gifts, off shoot travels or surprises. I'm planning on it taking 9 months to a year being in no hurry.

15k includes fuel, moorings, food on board, boat maintenance, laundry basically. That is pretty thin. Pretty much why it has to be a sailboat and not a trawler with twin engines. I read`about a guy who had a fuel bill of 60K! Not for me.

I'm also understanding that fitting out, preping, repairs needed are going to cost about the same as the price of a rather cheap boat. Considering I'll probably need an engine, I'd think 15k should cover the before voyage expenses. Depends on the boat, it's initial state, so this is really unknown. What ever is not needed in this category can easily be shifted to cruising expenses.

Emergencies, 10k, is low, but will allow me to sleep. My father, while in great shape is elderly and there is the possibility of storage and air fare.

Looks like 10k for the boat, 15k if I have less in preperations.

My land expenses eat most of the income as we generally live to our means, but there is some going out, beer and misc spending just as there is at home. Selling a house would help but that is part of the future elder years savings too.

So, at that, I thought a 2k solid boat hull and deck and decent rigging could work out for me. Rigging and sail inventory needs to be safe and usable, not the best as 80% of this expedition is motored, but it needs to be solid.

Again, that Luger with the squared off stern has room for more fuel tankage and could hang cans on the swim platform I guess if needed.

I could turn into a liveaboard, serious consideration for me. As for future sailing/cruising I'd think it would be rivers and lakes, maybe the great lakes if the loop doesn't take it out of me. I will never be headed for Europe, 10% chance of that. The Bahamas maybe, if I did get that far I might consider Belieze, but that is as far as I'd ever get, probably not, the Bahamas would be a stretch for me. I do see the gulf, not too far out following the shores, the eastern ICW and the keys. I could go for ten years in these areas and never see or do it all.

Lastly, transport is an issue for me, the boat needs to go over the road without a semi. The Luger was made for the road. As much as I hate too, I would sacrifice living space for a transportable boat. I believe 9 maybe 10' can go with permits during daylight hours without escorts, so long as I could pull it myself I'd go with that if I need to. I understand that haulouts aren't cheap either, so a large trailer type may avoid those expenses.

Now, I guess you have it all, tell me what you think......please!
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Old 14-12-2012, 06:26   #30
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pirate Re: Best Way To Go: Rebuild or Ready to Go

Forget 'Ready to Go'... forget 'Project'....
Just buy a boat that has a sound hull and deck, decent engine, rigging and sails and go..... do the fixing/tarting along the way.... you know... something you'd happily spend a w'end on in reasonable comfort...
You could likely do it in a Macgregor...
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