Someone had pm'd me about older boats. I thought I would post my response here:
Is 30 years too old for offshore? No, not at all. In fact, the further afield you travel, the older it seems the boats become since this allows cruisers of more modest means an opportunity to live their dreams, rather than make boat payments. I had some sailing friends that took their late '60's Pearson
around the world - their only complaint was that they should have taken four years rather than the three years they did it in.
For any boat you might consider, the condition, as determined by a competent surveyor
, will be the determining factor. I would much prefer a well-loved and maintained 30 year old boat than a neglected and/or abused 5 year old one [not that I couldn't love a brand new boat
]. There are life cycles for every item on board. A seven year old boat is probably looking at its first new set of replacement sails
, while the twenty year old boat likely has its third set. You don't avoid maintenance
on any boat. I'm re-varnishing the interior
of the heads this week for instance.
Bristol I own has a cabin sole
built from 3/8" (unvarnished by the way) solid teak
, laminated to 5/8" marine plywood
. Try to find any recent boat that has more than a paper thin veneer used for the sole. As a matter of fact, many boat builders, including good builders like Hallberg Rassy
, are now building their interiors from less desirable woods than teak
. And most builders now use fiberglass interior
structural grids, rather than framing the boat the traditional way. Saves time for the builder
, but creates real headaches for access in the future, and you are relying on "super glue" to hold things together.
When it comes to interior function, many newer boats (my friend's Beneteau
46 for example) sacrifice storage
for open interior space. This works great for entertaining at the dock, but not so much offshore - when you are needing to go forward and there are no hand holds from the companionway
until the forward bulkhead. I have tons of storage, so much so that I have to have a treasure map to remind me where I have stowed things.
I have also watched as boat designs have moved to much wider sterns as manufacturers have tried to include larger aft cabins in their designs. As the boat heels, many of these designs develop strange handling characteristics, especially when going to weather
. The Bristols have a very comfortable motion in a seaway, something that will be appreciated by you and your crew.
My advice, look for a boat that you find pleasing to the eye. One that is suitable to your realistic needs
. One that has been well maintained and has made some successful journeys. Figure a reasonable maintenance budget
(5% of your purchase price
for annual costs - 10% if traveling extensively offshore). Get to know your boat and trust it. It will see you through the rough times if taken care of.
If possible, get a chance to spend some time underway on some of the older designs.