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Old 31-01-2013, 09:11   #1
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New Boat or Slightly Used (better) Boat?

Once we have all our ducks in a row, we're planning on buying a boat for liveaboard retirement/semi-retirement and will most likely be on the east coast. We'll coastal cruise, do the Bahamas and Caribbean and maybe even make the trek over the pond and spend some time in the Med or head down toward SA. I've read San Blas is gorgeous!

We've been all over the map on boats, from fixer-uppers to newly refit but never considered new boats. After making the Annapolis and Chicago boat shows we began to wonder if we weren't missing out on the advantages of having everything new but it would mean going with a production boat.

At the Chicago show last weekend, the Catalina 445 caught our eye, well not so much me but the SO loved it. Last night I ran across a 2007 Najad 405 on the net for about the same price as the Cat. I really loved but it had only one head. In this family, two heads are needed if we plan to living aboard in peace.

If we do the liveaboard, there will be some financing involved. From what I've read it seems lenders start to get skittish once a boat reaches a certain age. Some say there's no problems up to an age of 5 years, some say 8-10.

I've seen some gorgeous bluewater boats built in the mid-80's in our price range. I had never checked out Najad until I ran across the 405 last night but I know they are great boats. And it's only 6 years old. But only one head...

I've never sailed a recently-built production boat. Some swear by them, some swear at them. In the mid-90's, I raced a 1986 Hunter 35. It leaked like a sieve, among other problems.

With our plans and other factors, which would be the better choice, new or slightly used, better quality?

Thanks,
Julie
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Old 31-01-2013, 09:39   #2
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Re: New Boat or Slightly Used (better) Boat?

I would go with slightly used. Actively being cruised is a plus. New boats have their own set of headaches. Let someone else deal with them. We decided on our Caliber 40LRC because it is from the late 90s and was actively being cruised and lived aboard. We actually sent the folks home to Texas from Maine. They were on their way back down to Beaufort to list the boat with a broker so they could start their new adventure of being ski bums in Colorado.

That being said, Caliber can make you a new boat and the excitement of watching your boat being built has some advantages. Being able to make some customizations just for you is also a plus.

http://www.caliberyacht.com/

BTW, newer used boats also have their issues but very minor compared to older ones.
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Old 31-01-2013, 09:59   #3
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Re: New Boat or Slightly Used (better) Boat?

We went through the same thought process you are now having to go through....

We have owned three Catalina Sailboats, the first two were 20 years old when I bought them and the last and current boat was new.

Our thought, after spending thousands of dollars on the first two boats, upgrading them and correcting the mistakes of the past owners, we decided to buy new for our fulltime cruising boat.

We justified this knowing that we would be living on the boat a minimum of 15 years and would start with our own problems.

With that said, we also live aboard fulltime for four years before we retired and started fulltime cruising. That allowed us to work the bugs out before we left and equip the boat with things we found we wanted our needed.

I think that the choice comes down to how long you will own the boat and what you plan to do with it when considering new or used vessels.
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Old 31-01-2013, 10:09   #4
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Re: New Boat or Slightly Used (better) Boat?

Welcome to the forum!

We struggled with the same question. First several boats were used, the last couple were new. The bottom line question is whether you'd rather own a boat that someone else screwed up, or screw up your own boat from scratch.

We lived aboard boat #4, our first new boat, for eight years learning how not to set up a boat. I learned things like how much I hate water-cooled refrigeration compressors, salt-water flushing heads, shower sumps with rotary pumps, et cetera. These are liveaboard lessons that racers and weekenders never get to learn. The day we sold that boat was one of the happiest of my life.

Either way, when you buy a boat, you're making a goofy economic investment.
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Old 31-01-2013, 10:24   #5
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Re: New Boat or Slightly Used (better) Boat?

No Magic answer - but given that budget not a great restraint I would go for something 2 or 3 years old and spend the difference (against new) on upgrades / equipment for your trip and on a good surveyor to inspect before you buy.

My thinking is that you let someone else cop both the depreciation and the de-snagging of a new boat (always "stuff") - plus you can buy on condition as is, not as promised and unless the PO (first owner?) has been a complete moron will simply not have had the time to bugger the boat up!, at least not in ways that are not obvious (at that age point I would expect the engine to still be nigh on immaculate, and with a service record). The odds are that she will also come with a few toys above standard. Toys iz good!
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Old 31-01-2013, 12:13   #6
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Re: New Boat or Slightly Used (better) Boat?

IMHO I'd buy well cared for used with the features you like. Well cared for is the key and age doesn't matter unless your insurance company says it does.
Good luck in your search.
kind regards,
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Old 01-02-2013, 14:39   #7
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Re: New Boat or Slightly Used (better) Boat?

Thank you for all the helpful advice. The talk of new has subsided a bit since my last post. We looked at the Caliber. Nice boat! Every day I'm reminded I know more about sailing than I do about boats on the market.

We're still hashing things out but every bit helps!
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Old 01-02-2013, 18:37   #8
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Re: New Boat or Slightly Used (better) Boat?

If you can afford it buy new from a dealer with a reputation for good support and service. Can't be beat.
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Old 01-02-2013, 18:48   #9
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Re: New Boat or Slightly Used (better) Boat?

I have never been able to beat the new car smell
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Old 01-02-2013, 23:13   #10
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Re: New Boat or Slightly Used (better) Boat?

JULIE, you wrote, "In this family, two heads are needed if we plan to living aboard in peace."

I'm sure you think that's the case, but you might find that either or both of you are more flexible about such things once you're living aboard. I've been living aboard since 1986, and none of our sailboats have ever had more than one head. Simply maintaining two marine heads is going to make twice as many groveling, unpleasant head repair hours. While you're living aboard in marinas, there are generally acceptable ablution blocks for showering, etc. While you're cruising, even if you live on the hook, it is rare that both of you need to spend much time in such a tiny space. You may find that you prefer to dress in the saloon, or even where your bunk is. You can buy a mirror if you want to check your make-up and clothes, if that's an issue. In the whole 27 yrs. we've been cruising, there was only one time when only one head could have been a problem, and we were fortunate that when we had the Victoria A flu, it eventuated that although we had urgent needs for the head, they happened at different times. So, it's possible that you might find more flexibility on this issue than you expect. I'd say go with the better boat; it'll take better care of you both.

Good luck with it.

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Old 02-02-2013, 00:20   #11
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Re: New Boat or Slightly Used (better) Boat?

Ann, in a perfect world I would say you were right but this family has a history of "head-hogging". I'm Ms. Metamucil and I'm in and out. But my SO likes reading War & Peace, or at least it seems so.

I could state it more graphically but...

The same goes with showers. The real problem is one of us has never had any experience living aboard. I think it's in my blood. My first time on a sailboat was in 1970. I took to boats like a monkey takes to a tree. And when I later had an full month of living aboard, I was home.

Relationships filled with love and respect are wonderful but there are always kinks to be ironed out. And this kink has to do with heads.
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Old 02-02-2013, 02:07   #12
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Re: New Boat or Slightly Used (better) Boat?

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Originally Posted by Julie Mor View Post
Ann, in a perfect world I would say you were right but this family has a history of "head-hogging". I'm Ms. Metamucil and I'm in and out. But my SO likes reading War & Peace, or at least it seems so.

I could state it more graphically but...

The same goes with showers. The real problem is one of us has never had any experience living aboard. I think it's in my blood. My first time on a sailboat was in 1970. I took to boats like a monkey takes to a tree. And when I later had an full month of living aboard, I was home.

Relationships filled with love and respect are wonderful but there are always kinks to be ironed out. And this kink has to do with heads.
I say go a little older and better with all the toys. It will not matter what you end up with, because within 1- 2 seasons you will be coverting a larger lady ....there is no perfect boat.
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Old 02-02-2013, 02:26   #13
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Re: New Boat or Slightly Used (better) Boat?

Living on a boat will cure the long shower issue. The hot water heaters aren't large enough to take that long.

If the money is an issue, don't be fooled by thinking a new boat purchase price has anything to do with the sail away cost. For a large sailboat it isn't unreasonable to think you could spend 50-100k more than the purchase price in first outfitting costs. Thinks like bed sheets, kitchen ware, all the random stuff that doesn't come with a new purchase adds up quick. And when you start talking about semi-customizing, and the "well it's only an extra $1,000 might as well do it right" stuff, a new boat is going to typically be much more expensive than a 2-3 year old boat with all the stuff already added. Plus you don't eat near the same depreciation.

I would go 3-5 years old.
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Old 02-02-2013, 05:27   #14
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pirate Re: New Boat or Slightly Used (better) Boat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SimonV View Post
I say go a little older and better with all the toys. It will not matter what you end up with, because within 1- 2 seasons you will be coverting a larger lady ....there is no perfect boat.
+A1....
Hi Julie... there's nothing that wrong with the production boats like Bene etc... every boat is a compromise.
Having sailed a couple W>E across the Atlantic I know they sail well and are pretty comfortable to live aboard on the hook or marina where you'll be spending 90% of your year... unless your voyaging... check out the boats that Moorings and Sunsail are de-commissioning at 5yrs old... some great deals and layouts you need to be had. You can then spend the savings in St Martin kitting her out with new stuff...
EG; in 2006/7 I picked up a 2001 Bene 331 from Moorings in Tortola for $60,000... another $10,000 had her fitted out with a new custom S/S solar arch/davits/windgenerator/solar panel/dinghy/5hp outboard and a coupla other odds n sods...
So... A great boat for just $70,000 and only 5yrs old... down side is the charter boats often have slightly undersize engines and high hours..
But if you sail as opposed to motor everychance you get..
no big deal
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Old 02-02-2013, 06:19   #15
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Re: New Boat or Slightly Used (better) Boat?

It is hard to make any generalization about a used boat; some (no matter the age) are in great shape and everything works. On the other hand even a one year old boat may need completely new running rigging, new sails to replace the old ones that have been ripped and repaired, and the motors/props have been damaged by hitting solid things just for starters.

As others have pointed out there may be an advantage buying a boat that has been actively cruised, especially if the owners are straight about any issues. But even this will not prevent all problems.

Of course none of this addresses the issue of how well the boat fits you. Just because a boat is well fitted out does not mean you will not bump your elbow on the stove every time you will open the fridge.

Bottom line is that no matter what you do before living/sailing on a boat will turn up things you will have to deal with.
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