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Old 24-02-2016, 10:03   #1
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Old and maintained vs Older and retrofitted..

Hi everyone,

I am looking at buying my first sailboat and would like to hear some thoughts and opinions on two options I have before me at the moment.. I figure someone on these forums might have something constructive and interesting to say :-)

On the one side there is the option of buying a 1976 well maintained boat.. but mostly still with original parts.. (engine, transmission, etc).. and relatively new to middle aged main sail and genoas. A lot of nice extras etc, all in the US$35.000 range. She is a good cruising boat with a good reputation for sea kindness and built to last. I wish to omit the specifics to avoid biasing and focusing on the dilemma which is the focus of this question and not really "which boat to get".. so bear with me pls :-)

On the other side there is the option of buying a 1973 boat interestingly enough of the same make but a previous model.. actually the direct predecessor to the boat above. This boat has been extensively retrofitted by her owner.. who appears to know his stuff.. new (completely different) engine, transmission and shaft, lots of hull work (hell, as far as I am concerned, the boat has been completely rebuilt from scratch :-) .. one could even say it is now a "custom" boat.. but alas, the base is the older version. Price is about the same.. similar equipment and sail condition, etc. Maybe a bit older sails, but not too bad..

So my conundrum is.. the 1976 model, which is of a more modern design than the 73.. is quite a looker. But still has the old engine on it. The 1973 older ship shows the aged design but with a new engine and transmission and lots of hull work.. however ist not that attractive as the 76...

Now what is important for me?.. well.. this is my first sailboat so I need to gain experience. I do not want a project boat.. (I know, I know.. all boats are project boats.. but you know what I mean). Which option would be the safest bet for an unexperienced owner you reckon?. I guess I am afraid that with the older boat I might be buying somebody's project boat.. but a new engine and standing rig and overhauled hull etc, etc sure sound good... vs a boat that has none of that but looks damn good and has a nicer design and a bit more comfort.. (and yes.. I know both options would have to be surveyed, etc).

Your opinion is most welcome!.. Thanks!
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Old 24-02-2016, 10:21   #2
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Re: Old and maintained vs Older and retrofitted..

These boats are over 30 years old, there's nothing modern design about either one. If this is your choice I'd go with new engine. Is that new engine 5 years old or 20 years?
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Old 24-02-2016, 10:31   #3
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Re: Old and maintained vs Older and retrofitted..

No easy or right answer on this. I doubt that (barring specific damage/issues, etc.) that you would notice much difference between the hulls, rigging, etc. But that depends, as there are sometimes major changes between years for various reasons - change in designers, different builders, different quality control policies/management, different materials, etc. etc.). For instance, the materials used in the same models from the same builder were changed in the 70's in the US (not all builders) to make them more fire retardant. The fire retardant materials caused significant blister problems. They were changed again a few years later with much improvement.

So you can't make a global statement/comparison, in general, just about the older boat being a worse selection. And, in my experience the well maintained, including well retrofitted, boats take care of some of the major "potential" projects. But a well-maintained older engine might outlast a less maintained, or poorer designed/made, newer engine.

All other things being equal (and they never are) I would go with a retrofitted boat that has a solid foundation of good original design, etc. I would look at the potential projects (you'll never catch them all and lucky to get most of them before you own the boat) not only in terms of money, but impact on your labor and downtime on the boat. A new engine can be a much more painful to install than a new suite of sails even though (in some cases) the costs might be similar. Replacing woodwork is always painful. New decks are a major pain and expense.

Make a list of all the major systems you think you need and those that are essential on any boat. Then review each of the boats against that list. If you want a chartplotter, then one might be there but old and almost useless. The other might be newer or there might not be one at all. Then estimate the costs of each project for each boat and add those to the price of the boat to you.

On the other hand, depending on how you want to use the boat, each of them may be more than adequate for what kind of sailing you want to do.

If this doesn't sound easy, it isn't. In the end, you'll make a decision and you'll never know if it was the absolute "best" decision. Too many variables and too much you won't be able to tell even after a good survey. And since you are new to this you will underestimate the need for various things and the quality of the systems that come with each boat. I was a boat electrician and bought a boat which had had a fire/scorching of the AC innards behind the panel which needed a screwdriver and some effort to remove the panel covering it. Neither the surveyor nor I caught it. It was not a huge issue for me but would have been for someone who had to hire someone to replace it all. I still was out for the parts though.

Good luck. Talk with some experienced friends. Show them both boats. Sleep on it. Read about how to survey a boat. Look at lists of equipment that is "good to have" on a boat for how you want to use it. Do you analysis. Then make a decision on your gut feel which may be opposite to what your analysis says. And then be happy with your new boat.

Good luck.
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Old 24-02-2016, 10:47   #4
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Re: Old and maintained vs Older and retrofitted..

Thanks for your quick replies!..

@Paul L : sorry I guess I didn't word that clearly enough. The slightly newer boat is of an updated "more" modern design as the direct predecessor which is the older boat.. The difference between a design from the 60s and one from the late 70s does make a difference.. even if both of them are nowhere compared to a more modern design. I was talking in relative terms. Either way, my point is it is not just the year difference.. there is a design difference and on the "newer" boat .. and it shows... compounded by the fact that the newer boat has had a lot of nice comfort upgrades (in terms of upholstery and wood work, appliances, etc.. it just looks nicer :-)

The new engine of the older model only has a few hours on it.. so it is "really" new.

@exMaggieDrum: Thanks for your extensive reply.. that was quite helpful for my thought process .. I totally get what you are saying about "gut feeling".. I guess my problem here is that my gut feeling is telling me to go with the nicer equipped better looking and reportedly well maintained boat with the original engine vs. the older boat with the new engine and transmission, etc.. but my head is telling me the opposite.. :-)

I know .. in the end.. it is all a gamble.. it does help to hear different perspectives though. Thanks!!
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Old 24-02-2016, 10:52   #5
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Re: Old and maintained vs Older and retrofitted..

What do you plan to use this boat for? Which of the 2 designs is a better sailing boat?

What old engine is in the newer model?
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Old 24-02-2016, 11:18   #6
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Re: Old and maintained vs Older and retrofitted..

Having just come out the other side of refitting an older vessel a 1977 model. I can say that if the person that has performed the work on the older boat was knowledgeable and thorough, then I would go with the rebuilt one. I have put a year into my refit and many thousands of dollars and I am still not done, but I feel that I now have a solid vessel and can take it anywhere. I also have a complete understanding of all of my systems. It is not a process I would care to repeat.
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Old 24-02-2016, 11:39   #7
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Re: Old and maintained vs Older and retrofitted..

That is a difficult question for you to answer and even more difficult for us who know next to nothing about you and the boats under consideration. I'm sure you have gotten some worthwhile responses and you'll probably get more.

When it comes down to an A-B decision for me, and I can't decide, I flip a coin. If the result of the coin toss makes me feel mentally uncomfortable, I know that the other choice is what my heart desires. If the other choice also makes me uncomfortable, then I drop 'A' and 'B' from consideration and look for a choice 'C' that find I find comfortable.
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Old 24-02-2016, 11:40   #8
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Re: Old and maintained vs Older and retrofitted..

Hi Paul,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul L View Post
What do you plan to use this boat for?

Which of the 2 designs is a better sailing boat?

What old engine is in the newer model?
We will be living aboard and sailing for a few months at a time.. initially just around the mediterranean to get to know the boat and solidify our experience and then on to the canaries and in a year or two on to the caribbean...

They are both reputedly solid sailing boats from the same maker.. I am sure either one would be a great choice for a cruiser. I am not really worried about that at this point.

The old engine is a Yanmar 20HP Diesel .. the newer one was retrofitted with a Solé...
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Old 24-02-2016, 11:41   #9
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Re: Old and maintained vs Older and retrofitted..

which one makes your heart beat faster?????
THAT is the one you want.

ps yanmar 20 hp engines are awesome.


oh, btw--you NEED to post pix..... is easier to heckle ye with pix....
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Old 24-02-2016, 11:48   #10
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Re: Old and maintained vs Older and retrofitted..

I bought a 1969 model 45ft ocean racing boat and paid it off to the owner interest free in instalments. Id never be able to borrow the money i offered on a boat. I have in the past 5 years taken the cold molded mahogany back to its bear timber and fixed the hull its now as new condition. Then the old perkins blew up replaced the entire driveline. Then new mast and rigging and sails.. It owes me more than its probably worth or not. I dont know as it cost me 70 thousand usd/euros for the refit. 10 grand spent on Andersen winches. I still have a 45 year old RORC shaped hull of that era with top of the range everything. What would one get for 200 thousand euros/USD. But bearing in mind ive saved and upgraded as ive had the cash. Id rather this over a new 45ft benetau or Janeau. Shes fast, strong and light and looks sleek.
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Old 24-02-2016, 12:00   #11
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pirate Re: Old and maintained vs Older and retrofitted..

You might get more 'Hardcore' information if you named the Marque.. there were some great boats built.. and some seriously ***** boats.. doubt you'll give the game away if you said something like Hunter.. Grampian.. whatever..
Each Marque has its own specific problems..
Feed the Hive...



or did I miss it somewhere.. Oppppsss
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Old 24-02-2016, 12:24   #12
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Re: Old and maintained vs Older and retrofitted..

Quote:
Originally Posted by captain58sailin View Post
Having just come out the other side of refitting an older vessel a 1977 model. I can say that if the person that has performed the work on the older boat was knowledgeable and thorough, then I would go with the rebuilt one. I have put a year into my refit and many thousands of dollars and I am still not done, but I feel that I now have a solid vessel and can take it anywhere. I also have a complete understanding of all of my systems. It is not a process I would care to repeat.

This as I feel sure you will spend more in a refit than the purchase price.
Do you want to sail or do you enjoy re-fitting a boat?
I'm in the middle of a re-fit myself, and I can assure you they cost more than you would believe, I am not keeping track of the cost as I do not want to, but even wiring and hoses will cost more than you can believe.

Course if it wasn't done right, that can be a nightmare in its self
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Old 24-02-2016, 12:42   #13
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Re: Old and maintained vs Older and retrofitted..

Quote:
Originally Posted by crankysailor View Post
Hi Paul,



We will be living aboard and sailing for a few months at a time.. initially just around the mediterranean to get to know the boat and solidify our experience and then on to the canaries and in a year or two on to the caribbean...

They are both reputedly solid sailing boats from the same maker.. I am sure either one would be a great choice for a cruiser. I am not really worried about that at this point.

The old engine is a Yanmar 20HP Diesel .. the newer one was retrofitted with a Solé...
The old Yanmar is a reliable engine and would not cost that much to replace. Beware of the comments here on how much the refit will cost for your intended purposes. Both boats of that age will require considerable.
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Old 24-02-2016, 12:56   #14
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Re: Old and maintained vs Older and retrofitted..

A new engine on a very old boat represents a big percentage of the total value and as time goes on it will be more. If there is a chunk of other new stuff onboard and my total in is in the 30 large range I'd be leaning towards the one with a new engine.
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Old 24-02-2016, 14:25   #15
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Re: Old and maintained vs Older and retrofitted..

Cranky,
On any used boat, your decision should be made based on how much you will need to spend to make the vessel safe and structurally sound for your intended purpose. The difference in years, in your case, is irrelevant. Once you buy the boat, you will undoubtedly discover many issues that were overlooked and need attention. Make your decision based on condition, not age. Good luck on your purchase and your coming adventures.
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