Originally Posted by Kenomac
I was just going to write the same exact words, but Sailorboy beat me to it.
Buy a decent boat to begin with, and not someone else's failed dream... or nightmare. A 45-50 year old boat is going to bury you in wasted time, money and BS that comes up unexpected.... and it will come up.
But hey... most of the folks on this forum disagree with nearly everything I say. So, if what you're really looking for is validation and consensus.... follow them straight into the money pit.
I'd rather be out sailing, even if it means bumping my head once in a while.
Actually Ken, I agree with most of what you say on the forum. Well maybe a lot of what you say. Maybe I just agree with some of what you say but I do think you're occasionally correct.
In this case I may disagree. Certainly I have seen many, many project boats left and abandoned, someone's dreams down the toilet and the dreamer taking a big hit in the wallet. On the other hand, I have also seen the same thing happen plenty of times when a dreamer spent more on a better boat and still lost
it. In at least one case I know a buyer started with a brand new boat that he worked on for four years and never left the dock
. Finally sold it at a huge loss.
No doubt failure rate on old, run down, fixer uppers is definitely higher but a newbie buying a newer or even new boat is still no guarantee of success.
In my case I bought a project boat but for my situation it made sense. First and foremost, I wasn't ready to take off and go sailing again. Wife needed 6 more years to qualify for her full pension with the state and our savings were not what I wanted, due in a large part to the fact that I spent ten years of my prime earning years cruising.
So for me taking time to work on a boat was not taking away from my cruising time.
Second, I've been there and done that before (although not so much all at once on one boat) so knew what I was getting into. Based on my previous experiences I felt like I had the skills and resources to do it myself, and I have. Looking back at the results overall I think most the projects turned out as good or better than they would have from your average boat yard.
Another huge plus, I was able to bring the boat close to where I live and minimize the commuting time. I've tried to be a long distance boat owner and realized it's almost impossible to get any serious projects done on a boat 1000 miles away. Also, I've done some major boat project while living on board and that's a nightmare as well.
One more plus of a project boat, as someone mentioned, it allows you to spread the cost out over time if your initial kitty is smaller but you have ongoing income
. In my case I will end up with about 10-15% more in my boat when it's finished than I would have spent buying the same model but in much better condition. But for the 10-15% premium every major (and most minor) system on the boat except th engine will be brand new.
Bottom line, for the right person, with the right situation, skills, time and resources a project boat can be a great deal. For the wrong situation it can become a nightmare and a dismal failure. I totally agree that if the goal is to buy a boat and go sailing now then buy the most ready to go boat you can afford.
I also totally agree that BS will come up. I've had several on my project. Here's one classic example of a seemly quick, easy, simple job that turned into a nightmare.
Wanted to replace the hoses in the water
supply, especially the one in the tank that I could see was very old, cracking and nasty. It ended up taking me (with several friends helping and offering ideas) many weekends and a few evenings just to get the old hose out of the tank.
are glass, built into the keel
with a small inspection
and access port on the top. When Pearson
built the tank they made two little fiberglass
loops on the bottom of the tank and ran the hose under the loops to hold it down. The problem was they also installed a check valve in the end of the hose that wouldn't fit back through the loops so the hose was captured on the bottom of the tank.
First try, reach in an pull the hose to see if the check valve would pop off or break off the loops or something easy. No go. Next see if I could pull the end of the hose out backwards. The tank was too deep and the loops too far back to reach without cutting the top of the tank off. So, lasso the check valve and pull the hose out backwards with a line. After multiple attempts and techniques I finally managed to get a line around the check valve but the rear loop was so far back that the check valve was up against the back wall of the tank and I couldn't get the hose to bend around and pull out. Another failure.
Next I tied a line to the hose with a rolling hitch, ran the line out the tank inspection
port around a block tied to a forward bulkhead, out the companionway
to a sheet winch
in the cockpit
. Cranked down until the line was ready to part and no go. The hose and the loops held like they were made of titanium.
Next got a 4' crow bar into the tank and tried to beat the fiberglass
loops to pieces. This of course I had to do by feel since the access hole was just a little larger than my arm. Spent a few hours laying on the cabin sole
with my arm in the hole up to my shoulder whacking the loops. No joy. While I was at it I also tried to wedge the tip of the crowbar under the loop to lever down and pop off but that also didn't work. I'm starting to wonder if Pearson
used some secret, space age fiber to make those loops.
Next idea was to get some kind of saw into the hole and try to cut the loops. Went to Home Depot and found a small, extendable pruner with a saw blade on the end, a line operated clipper AND an articulating head. The clipper jaws were too small and light to cut the loops but gave me an idea.
I removed the saw blade and angled the clipper head to 90 degrees. Inserted the tool through the hole and was able to reach hose behind the second loop in the back of the tank. By touch and feel on the handle end of the tool (the loop itself was at least three feet further than I could reach with my hand) I was able to get the clipper jaws over the hose just in front of the check valve, pulled the line, cut the hose and pulled out the end with the valve (which I had previously tied to a small line) and then pulled the rest of the hose out forwards.
I estimated 30 hours just to replace a 4' section of water hose. Not the way of all boat projects but you can bet that things like this will occasionally jump up and bite you in the butt so be prepared.