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Old 17-02-2008, 13:23   #16
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on building or re building

VVO]2M: There's some good stuff here, and it sounds as if you're already aware of most of reasons for and against. Having spent a very long time building a 50' boat from scratch, my advice would be to go with a pedigree design from a well known designer, whether you decide to rebuild or build new. The amount of effort (and money) will be the same, but the end value will vary depending on whether the boat is a pedigreed classic or not. Refitting a 25 or 30 year old Valiant 40, for example, would make much more economic sense than spending the same amount of time and dollars on a 30 year old (insert production plastic boat name here). Likewise, if you decide to build from scratch, be aware that the price of the plans is a very minor percentage of the total cost, and thus it is well worth paying for the designers' name in order to have something worth at least what you've got into it at the end.
One of the biggest problems is organizing the building space and tools for such an undertaking, and since you already have that, I say go for it... as long as you're aware that it will take longer, and cost more, than you thought. It's a very rewarding and satisfying thing to do, but don't forget to get out on the water every minute you can while you're doing it.
Hope this helps, Best, Bob S/V Restless

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Old 17-02-2008, 14:12   #17
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Sounds like you have already made the decision that you want to rebuild a boat and now you are trying to decide what boat to rebuild. I respect your decedsion but the question that you are asking is very difficult to answer. I think that a size of 45' or less is a good idea. From there it may be best to start researching what characteristics you want in a boat. I like the website that Mahina has put up Mahina Expedition - Offshore Cruising Instruction. On review it sounds like there are two different questions here. 1) what boat to buy 2) what broken parts would kill the deal. The second question may be easier to answer. Make up a spreadsheet of the different parts of a boat arrange it by cost and then see which projects you are willing to take on.

Fair Winds,


Between us there was, as I have already said somewhere, the bond of the sea. Besides holding our hearts together through long periods of separation, it had the effect of making us tolerant of each other's yarns -- and even convictions. Heart of Darkness
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Old 17-02-2008, 14:14   #18
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Originally Posted by bob kingsland View Post
VVO]2M: ... my advice would be to go with a pedigree design from a well known designer, whether you decide to rebuild or build new. The amount of effort (and money) will be the same, but the end value will vary depending on whether the boat is a pedigreed classic or not... S/V Restless
Perfect advice (which means I agree with Bob ),not only with the quote but all of his post.
I think some of the comments against a "project" may depend on the definition of a "project".
IMO, a project boat should be capable of sailing in safely in protected waters but you would not want to go off shore before the work starts.
As VVO asks - what are the deal breakers and what might break the bank.
Still, it is good to listern to all advice and then decide which advice to follow and which to discard.
All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangereous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. T.E. Lawrence
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Old 18-02-2008, 11:27   #19
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wow a lot of good info here! thanks everyone for your comments
The link to Mahina is interesting. I have been going over the information there and there really is some useful is a nice tool to help keep a boat search on track and organized.

First I should probably more clear about what I am in the market for...maybe I was a little overzealous in the initial post about what I would be willing to spend to start out. I think something 10-30K would be a reasonable amount to spend on a project boat to start out. You don't get much for that price but you can at least get something that isn't going to break apart (hopefully!) if you get it out on the water....but something that isn't going to be very presentable and may have a couple of issues that would be "deal breakers" to all but the most enthusiastic buyer.

I have a lot more to add but I shouldn't be surfing the web at work!
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Old 19-02-2008, 10:16   #20
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Biggest deal breaker for me would probably be some undisclosed major structural defect that I notice before purchase – would make me suspect the whole boat… second would be something involving the keel (for encapsulated keel boats). In recent years I’ve tended to shop near the bottom of the barrel, but try not to buy something I couldn’t at least trust in light weather… after going over with a fine-tooth comb… there is a yard near us with a dozen or so semi-derelict sailboats from the low 20-foot up to the high 40-s, but in the end I couldn’t pull the trigger… I’ve bought just about every do-it-yourself boatbuilding publication available in the 70s and 80s, and have owned Mete’s stuff from first publication, but…

The size of boat you’re contemplating, I think, I’d now find daunting… and it’s not for not having given it some thought… for nearly fifteen years I accumulated odds and ends and carted around a set of Bruce Roberts 53 plans I’d once purchased – just liked the lines of the 53 and figured I’d modify it slightly for shoal draft with a Scheel (sp?) style keel rather than center-board… but after a decade or so of maintaining a live-aboard mid-40 foot ketch, I decided I liked to sail on my own boat when I could (albeit casually) more than I like to be sequestered in a shop for five years… I enjoy the hand work, so not a lot is a deal-breaker for me, but my criteria now is only to knowingly take on projects that I can handle over the winter… yep, sometimes the esthetics suffer for a year or two while the structures and rig get spruced up one project at a time, but I still get to sail in the summer…

Worry: misuse of imagination…
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Old 19-02-2008, 12:32   #21
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I have actually backed down a little on my expectations as to what I would like to get into...Have been looking at a lot of 36" cruisers. I think that everyone would like to have something a little bigger in case of heavy weather, but yea every little bit you go larger than you need is going to cost you more "boat units" and yea...more work. also, buying a used boat is all about compromise...

anyone around here ever been on a 36' Cheoy Lee Luders? it might be a little more performance oriented than what i have been thinking about, but anyone have any thoughts?
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Old 19-02-2008, 13:35   #22
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Buy the best boat you can find, with the most parts that you want already installed. When attached to a boat, accessories/new sails/new engines sell for pennies on the dollar.

Time to earn the cash + Retail Cost + time to install... vs already installed and bought at a reduced price.

Take everything apart and get cozy/replace what your gut says to replace though!

You'll still end up re-wiring it, re-plumbing and replacing a ton of little parts. The big ticket items won't hurt as bad! Bonus points if all running rigging is lead aft, and the boat has more winches than you can shake a stick at.
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Old 19-02-2008, 13:38   #23
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My .02 cents would be cold molded, and build from scratch. Then you will know there are no hidden flaws...light & strong
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Old 19-02-2008, 16:20   #24
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Having fun...

I know it's not a real challenge but if I were in your place I'd buy a nice 20 year old 36' boat in very good working order. The cost should not be a lot more than one in poor condition.

Sail it for a season and then pull it out and put it in your barn.

Now you can refurbish to your hearts content knowing that you are only a few months away from a fully functioning boat.

If someone offers you lots of money to do real work you can leave the boat and it will still be manageable when you get back.

Any time you want you can put it in the water and cruise...
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Old 19-02-2008, 17:44   #25
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Project Boat

If buying a boat to restore/rebuild whatever, be prepared for it to take 2,3,4 or more time than you initially thought. Similar experience with costs.

For the first part of your project, you will go one step forward, 2 steps backwards as you uncover items/issues you hadn't either expected or identified as requiring attention. Even as you progress past this stage, occasionally you will find something you had overlooked, or needs to be done again.

The upside is that at the end you will have a vessel that you know intimately; you will be able to identify and rectify problems as they arise quicker and easier.

I know the above to be true, I have just spent 4 years going through the process.

Good luck what ever you choose to do.

Fair winds

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Old 20-02-2008, 16:17   #26
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Originally Posted by Steve Kidson View Post
If buying a boat to restore/rebuild whatever, be prepared for it to take 2,3,4 or more time than you initially thought. Similar experience with costs.

I've been restoring my boat for well over 5 years now...and I still have a list worth $30K+ to go.
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Old 05-03-2008, 21:05   #27
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I applaud your determination. If you are going to invest that amount of time and money, I think it's a good idea to buy a time-tested design that is in demand. Alberg 37, Concordia yawl, Bristol Channel Cutter, Bristol 40, et. al.

Think long and hard though because about 9 months from now, you'll be able to buy something in really good condition, for far less than it would cost to build it. You can spend the extra time and money on turning it into a showstopper.

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