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Old 21-05-2008, 01:29   #1
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Expert Advice Needed on Budget Cruising Boat - Help !

Hello All,

I am a novice sailor, and this is my first post to the group, so bear with me.

My wife and I are looking to buy and liveaboard a boat for initial coastal cruising along the Gulf states (Texas), moving up to cruising the Caribbean, and then crossing the Atlantic into the Med...which is where we are living now.

We have a budget of around 100K to spend on a boat, and around another 10-15k to refit....we are minimalists so dont need a bunch of luxury items etc.

I have narrowed the available boats in my home area (houston, tx) to the following:

1. 44' CSY 1977 for around 60k + 10-15k for refit (according to broker)
2. 42' Tartan 1982 for around 95k unknown refit cost
3. 38' Cabo Rico 1982 for 72k unknown refit cost
4. 39' Finot steel hull custom for 60k unknown refit cost
5. 40' Endeavor cc 1984 for 95k

Any advice on these boats for the cost? I want something strong, reliable, and easy to handle, the wife wants room.

Again, we want something that can eventually get us just about anywhere...on a budget obviously!

Thanks in advance for all your help/advice!


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Old 21-05-2008, 14:58   #2
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Welcome aboard. While I cannot comment on any of the specific models/designs of boats that you have listed, I will say this:

All these boats are 25-30ish years old. Irregardless of how well they have (or have not) been looked after, the chances are that, if you intend to take them across the Atlantic (to get to the Med), that they will need some not inconsiderable refit. I therefore suggest that $10-15k might be a bit small of a kitty for refit.

In the absence of any compelling preference in design, I would go for the boat in the best condition. Make sure you get a professional survey on any boat that you seriously consider. Do not use a surveyor recomended by the seller. If you have friends who have bought boats, ask them for a recommedation for a surveyor.

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Old 21-05-2008, 17:22   #3
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I tend to agree, the cost of a used boat is just the beginning of your costs, especially if you intend to cross an ocean. It is almost always the case that you will end up spending more money to fix up a used boat than you initially estimated. Ask anyone in this forum who has done it.

Don't figure being minimalists is going to save you much money. Most of the money you will need to spend to fix up your boat relates to safety and reliability in one way or another.

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Old 21-05-2008, 18:44   #4
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A good place to look for a good boat, with a good history is to check out the charter industry.. Most of the boats are kept less than ten years and are kept in very good condition, they have to be to charter them.
And the purchased price can be vary good as they want to write the boat off over a period of time..If they make to much money on it selling it to you, They have to re-claim the amount as sold...
They keep a service record on the boats and all repairs that were done.
Being an ocean worthy boat has alot to do with the person sailing it.. And the best designed ocean cruiser, can go to crap in the wrong hands.
Good luck in your search......
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Old 21-05-2008, 19:23   #5
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Your list includes some good choices but condition is going to be the critical issue. 10K to 15K for a refit would be very lucky. If you add up things like life raft, new canvas and replacement items and spare parts you will have trouble staying inside that range. For minimalists I would try to look for shorter boats with younger lines. The younger the better. Brand names are only an idea. They all age the same way. That can balance the budget easier. You'll want tankage and displacement so in the shorter boats you need to look for the plump ones. It's about hauling lots of stuff - even a minimalist needs "stuff". Water and fuel are big heavy items and you'll want a lot. In a late 70's boat 30K does not go far without a full year or more of serious hard work. So much of this comes down to "$ per foot" so a few less will help a lot. Find the smallest big boat that works.
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Old 22-05-2008, 20:44   #6
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The boats that you have listed are certainly the right genre to take you anywhere, but I think you would do well to re-examine your financial planning.

These boats are all at the age where major things need to be replaced. Parts for big boats cost big money. Even after you have repaired and replaced the most obvious deficiencies, things will wear out and things will break. It cannot be avoided.

I think you would do well to look at boats that cost 50 to 75 K, and that are between 30 and 35 feet long. For 75K you can probably get something in good to very good condition, and you should be able to bring her up to bristol condition for 40 to 50 K.

You will find it costs close to twice as much money to run and maintain a 45 foot boat as a 33 foot boat. Before you do anything, price a new suit of sails, a mast, a boom and an engine.

I am not meaning to sound negative, but I think you'll find that you can be as comfortable on a 35 footer as a 45 footer, and I don't think that the term "on a budget" can be used with clear conscience when discussing boats over 35 feet. If they were affordable, a lot more people would be sailing them.

Good Luck ! Hope things work out well for you.
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Old 25-05-2008, 07:32   #7
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I Think you've received great advice here. I purchased my 1985 34' Sabre 3 years ago knowing that she needed to be updated. Since then, I've replaced the Main Sail, Headsail, both Halyards, lines and sheets, all interior cushions, New Dodger, Dinghy, Outboard, Heat exchanger, and related hoses and clamps,New Centerboard cable, New Anchor, chain and rode ( I added a plow to the danforth ), Rebuilt the head, reconditioned all the winches, refinished the cabin sole, New Chartplotter and I'm still going.
Many of these upgrades were of my desire to renew my vessel, I've sailed all three seasons, making the upgrades as I go.

The Hull had been barrier coated before I purchased her, and is sound, I'm sure I've hit 15 k already, The bigger the boat, the larger the bill.

In summary , I think your 15 k refit budget is very low for the size and age vessels you have mentioned. The other thing you need to consider is the ongoing operating costs, Insurance, slip fees, transit slips, Bottom painting, and general maintenence, They are all relative to size.

Best of luck,

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Old 25-05-2008, 07:57   #8
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You said you were a "novice sailor". If I take these words literally, I have to say that you really need to take a step back before moving forward with this liveaboard idea. As a novice sailor, I would be more concerned with gaining experience, learning, and maybe most important if the liveaboard idea is appealling to you... spending lots of time cruising and living aboard, but without making the commitment to buy just yet.

Have you done any chartering? If not, that is your first step. If you have, consider doing a lot more. Maybe for a month or so.

As others have stated very correctly, the financial purchase is just the beginning. Refit costs are almost always underestimated.

Anyhow, welcome aboard. I do not mean to dampen your enthusiasm. But in the long run, I think you will be much better off if you delay your purchase until you have gained more experience.
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Old 25-05-2008, 10:20   #9
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Chartering is the very best suggestion here so far. Go on a bareboat charter with some sailing friends, or a skippered teacing charter with one of the bigger companies. For you're chosen sailing areas, (and I'll say this quick before I duck behind that tree) try a catamaran.
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Old 25-05-2008, 17:19   #10
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Specifically for budget as the others have stated I would go for the CSY or the Cabo Rico. Haggle hard on the price. I think it is becoming a little more of a buyers market these days. Not due to any fundamentals, just because people are nervous.

Based on everything you don't know about the boat you will eventually buy, I wouldn't recommend spending more the 2/3 of your total available budget for the boat.

I would make sure the hull, mast, boom and engine were good through an excellent survey.

I would plan on replacing the standing and running rigging and the sails. I would load up on spares and if any money is left stick it in the kitty.

The fact that you plan to cruise nearby grounds is a good plan. You'll know after the gulf and the Carribean whether you want to cross the Atlantic.
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Old 25-05-2008, 18:18   #11
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I would have to agree with all the advice posted so far and I will add my 2 cents worth around the issue of space.
Think out (and research) your space requirements carefully.
Space adds comfort when livingaboard yet is not so necessary (and can become a hazard) when voyaging offshore.
Space (even unfilled space) costs money at an expontential rate as large spaces requires large hulls, decks, masts, rigging, sails, engines etc. There are many opinions on CF about "ideal" boat sizes FWIW, my opinion is "less is more" .

Finally my experience suggests that unfilled space does get filled with "stuff" - more cost.
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Old 31-05-2010, 10:31   #12
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Consider a Cape Dory 36 as an addition to the list. That said, everyone that I've ever talked to has different requirements regarding space and comfort creatures, once you've identified the sailing characteristics you want. That may be difficult if you are novices, as indicated. I agree with the comments about your refit budget - think more along the lines of $20-40K for the cruising you are dreaming about, plus the annual maintainence... Peace and Fair Winds, Bill
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Old 31-05-2010, 11:43   #13

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Old 31-05-2010, 13:51   #14
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Very good advice. I think this was already mentioned but want to expand, the newer boats have quite a bit of space due to advances in design. You may find that a beneteau 30ish has just as much space as a older larger boat. Newer the boat the less work will be required to get her ready to cruise, unless you buy a vessel that is already restored. I am in Clear Lake, I will keep an eye out for you two.
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Old 31-05-2010, 14:00   #15
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My advice would be to go and get on as many of this type of boat that you could find. See if the owners would be interested in a little day charter ... Sounds corny but I went sailing about 4 or 5 times in different boats before buying the one i liked. As for budget.....I'm sure there are a lot of people that started out with the exact same plans and budget as you... I would bet very few of them stayed under the plan.......that said there always comes a time to just stop and go sailing! Almost no matter what, double what you plan for renovating and it wont hurt so much...and if you don't spend it then you'll be able to go for longer!!!!!!!

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