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Old 11-08-2010, 18:13   #1
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Is Free Too Expensive ?!

Thought I would throw this out to the community.

Got a decision to make. A gentleman wants to give me a 1977 30' Hunter. Obviously it is not in good shape. It has typical Hunter problems like leaking chain plates and rotten bulkhead as a result. Engine is dead and looks like it might have been underwater. Soft deck around the aft hatch and possibly one other spot further up. Paint is shot. Biggest problem is it is in a small remote marina, 25 to 50 miles from various harbors that could haul it out. Probably have to be towed. Most of the interior is rough, but savable. Only reason I am considering it is that I understand the hulls on these old boats were well done.

BTW, I am capable of doing a good portion of the work. Ultimate goal is to have something that is decent to live on and jaunt around the area to see if I enjoy the lifestyle, at which point I would probably sell it and get something a little more solid and interesting.

Trying to decide if this is a case where free is not cheap enough. Guess what I am wondering is would it cost significantly more to bring back to useful condition then it would ever be worth?
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Old 11-08-2010, 18:21   #2
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My opinion is, yes, it will cost you more than it will ultimately be worth.

You have to ask yourself if you want to sail or work on a boat?

If you tow it and haul it you will start paying a yard for storage, unless you truck it to a property you have.

You could figure out what it costs to get it in "sailing" condition and then compare that to other boats for sail that are already in "sailing" condition.

My boat cost around $10,000 and we started sailing right away as we have been on a continuous running refit. In 4 years we have spent over 1.5X the purchase price on repairs and upgrades but we have sailed almost every weekend and many 1 week+ vacations.

It is a personal preference but I would never get a project boat that I couldn't sail.
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Old 11-08-2010, 18:22   #3
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On yachtworld they are listed between 10K & 45K. Seems to me like you could pay $0 and regret it later and still be able to get out without taking it in the.... Then again, I have been drinking
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Old 11-08-2010, 18:24   #4
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Run away from that as fast as you can. It's tempting but it's a trap. There are piles of boats out there that are cheap, of the same vintage, and not in terrible shape.
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Old 11-08-2010, 19:03   #5
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Its his way of getting out of environmental fees etc for scrapping the thing, and he's passing those expenses on to you disguised as a FREE DEAL! ACT NOW!
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Old 11-08-2010, 19:31   #6
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On yachtworld they are listed between 10K & 45K. Seems to me like you could pay $0 and regret it later and still be able to get out without taking it in the.... Then again, I have been drinking
on ebay, Cherubini Hunter 30's are selling for well under $10K and there is apparently little wrong with them. It's a fine boat in that size range, but I would definitely avoid this "free" one.
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Old 11-08-2010, 19:34   #7
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The hull is not the most expensive part of a boat. Everything else is.
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Old 11-08-2010, 19:46   #8
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Thanks for the replies!

These are the same thoughts that keep dancing in my head, but I hate to see a good boat die of neglect and I love a project so the "well maybe it could make sense" demon keeps whispering in the other ear.

Didn't mention it is 3 hours away from me and I would have to transport it here. Told myself that worst case, it is a $175 a month beach house that I could go work in on weekends till I was ready to get serious. My luck, next hurricane would put it on the bottom!

Already in the middle of redoing a nice little Catalina 22 which will keep my project demon busy. Guess I will pass on this new fiasco. Knew I could count on ya'll to provide a balance of reason and mild spanking for my over optimism.

Thanks again,
Dennis
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Old 11-08-2010, 19:53   #9
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I bought a 1977 Soverel 33 about 4 years ago for $2,000 thinking I could fix it up with a friend and sell it at a profit. The only problem was the engine had not been run and it wouldn't start. We towed the boat about 20 miles to a marina where we were going to work on it. Then after tearing the engine apart, we found it needed a new engine. Well, we found a used engine and used it instead. Then, we went to take it to the boat yard and the engine quit about 300 yards from where we started. So, we worked on it some more. Then we went to take it to the boat yard to haul it out, and when we put it in reverse, the propeller fell off as the prop shaft broke. Well, we towed it to the boatyard and hauled it out. Then we found it needed a new rudder. So, we had to rebuild the old one. Finally, after about 300 hours of work, and putting an additional $4,000 into it we put it up for sale. No bidders. So we dropped the price. Still no bidders. So the yard bills piled up, higher, higher. Finally, we ran an add "Free boat: Just pay yard bill." Two people walked away when they saw the bill, the third one took the boat. Moral of that story. If its a boat, and it has issues, just add on about a dozen issues you don't know about. Then, pile on top of that a few thousand dollars you hadn't expected, and about ten times the work. In the end, you end up with a boat that is no better than one you could have bought for a few thousand more that actually did not have problems. Guess what I learned? . . . The more expensive boat was actually cheaper.
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Old 12-08-2010, 11:05   #10
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Great story, TEE. Good lessons learned.
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Old 12-08-2010, 13:34   #11
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would it cost significantly more to bring back to useful condition then it would ever be worth?
Yes.

By a country mile. in both cash, time, sweat and tears.

But these things are nice to daydream about
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Old 12-08-2010, 14:20   #12
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I have been given 2 free boats. First a Catalina Capri 16 that was in generally decent condition, but needed new running rigging and sails. Also had to replace the bunks on the trailer and do mods to trailer as it was not fitting the boat right. All I have now is refresh the paint and redo the teak. It is a great little boat that I can probably get 4K for it if I put it up for sale. Also, A friend gave me a Ranger 28 tall rig (Gary Mull design) probably one of the last ones built. I will have to pay to have it transported over 500 miles which will run 1700 or so, or buy a trailer which will run me 6k. The trailer is the better option as I am going to be in hurricane territory and need to be able to pull the boat at the drop of the hat. This boat is in generally good condition, just needs batteries, a little sail repair and a couple delams repaired. Will be washed and scrubbed along with new hull paint and it's ready. So, not all free boats are bad.
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Old 12-08-2010, 14:41   #13
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Here is my perspective. Do not use boat and investment in same sentence. Boats are a hobby. They are a fun and expensive hobby. I calculated on my 32 footer that I spent over 100K over the 20 years I had her. Bought for 25k and sold for 12K. The good part about starting from scratch is you will know the inside and out. Strengths and weaknesses. I think that is worth something.
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Old 13-08-2010, 00:34   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SaltyMonkey View Post
Its his way of getting out of environmental fees etc for scrapping the thing, and he's passing those expenses on to you disguised as a FREE DEAL! ACT NOW!
Quote:
Originally Posted by David M View Post
The hull is not the most expensive part of a boat. Everything else is.
Until as Salty points out you need to dispose of it. Then the hull gets expensive again - LOL...

Quote:
Originally Posted by WillJacocks View Post
I have been given 2 free boats. First a Catalina Capri 16 that was in generally decent condition, but needed new running rigging and sails. Also had to replace the bunks on the trailer and do mods to trailer as it was not fitting the boat right. All I have now is refresh the paint and redo the teak.
I would say free dinghies makes sense (understanding the 16 is not technically a dinghy).

But 12-15 foot dinghies are cheap to get parts for, fun to sail and learn on and if it doesn't work out not hard to store at home or dispose of.
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Old 13-08-2010, 01:05   #15
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I would peronally stay away from that particular boat, as others have already stated. I bought a "fixer upper" and it was a pain in the buttocks. Really got to know what you are getting yourself into and all the cost you will likely to incur with your "free" boat. I will be on the market for a boat in another year or so and will be looking for boats with a much more realistic view than I did the first time around. Shopping around for simple boats maybe lacking some systems but sound otherwise is a good avenue to pursue as systems can be added as you go.
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