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Old 22-04-2008, 07:31   #1
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Older boats as projects?

Prehaps, this is better posted in the "Dollers and Cents" forum, but I figured I would start here.

First off, i've been a long time lurker, and have caught alot of great information from here.

My question is this, I have my eye on a mid 60s Cheoy Lee 30' Ketch. The hull is in great shape, but she needs some TLC. What, in your experience, is the advantages/disadvantages to restoring, or even purchasing an older hull, and "modernizing" it.

Reasons "I" am personally considering this ... To know the boat, from stem to stern. There is something to be said for doing most of the work, and knowing that when your out on the water. It also gives me a chance to continue a 9 to 5 putting money away for that day when you can set your sails and not look back, as well as a project that parallels your (read my) dream. In a sense you "are" investing in your future.

Those that have done this, is it worth it or is it cheaper just to "buy new"?
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Old 22-04-2008, 07:40   #2
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Redoing our boat made sense for us but it can very easily cost much more than you think to redo a old boat. If you figure your time has value then you would likely save money buying the best boat that you can. What ever project that you are thinking of doing you need to at a minimum double the time that you think it will take and just to be safe double what you think it will cost.
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Old 22-04-2008, 07:45   #3
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Working on boats can be very rewarding but I'll ask as I always do, would you rather sail or work on a boat?

We bought our boat and have been doing a "rolling" retrofit. We have done lot's of upgrades but have left a couple of big jobs yet to be done. A new interior would be really nice but we know it will take time, time we would rather spend on the water.
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Old 22-04-2008, 07:47   #4
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Having done this I do know if I would do it again. It's much more work than you think, it will cost you more than you think.

On the upside you do end up with a classic boat which will turn heads everywhere you go. You know the boat inside and out, if something does not work right - it's your own fault and you know how to fix it.

Financially - it's a loss. There is no way you will recoup your money if you ever sell it but then again it is a boat. On our boat after 4 years of work, having the boat surveyed and re-appraised I will break even but all my labor was worth squat. So if you consider that your labor is in the end worth nothing and you want to do this as a project and an achievement then go ahead and do it. Your pride of ownership is something you will not equal from a new boat.

To get an idea of what you are in for check out this link, it shows just about everything we did and you can get an idea of what you are in for.

Renegade Cruisers &bull; View topic - Invitation - Scott & Juli's on going project & dream
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Old 22-04-2008, 07:59   #5
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I will echo the others, having done two older boat projects the last boat ( and the one I now cruise and live on) I bought as a sailaway- she still needs a lot of work. you will do much better off by saving your money and then buying a non project boat. IF you want to get to "know" your boat the best way is to pull it apart and put it back together.
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Old 22-04-2008, 08:10   #6
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Thanks for all the great replies. Being in my mid 30s (and with the market being as crappy as it is) I still can't "up and sail away". However being a solitary person (read no SO, pets, or family left above ground), I need a project to detract from 80 hour work weeks.

Finances aren't that big of an issue (no not rich, but well off), and I didn't have the intent of making a profit as much as "turning heads".

Thanks for the read Scott (By Invitation I assume?)!

Nowell
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Old 22-04-2008, 08:28   #7
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We have a 1972 far east mariner ketch. Hull was in great shape, however, everything else had been gutted, including the engine. We feel in love with the boat, and over the past 4-5 years put in a new engine, re ran wiring, plumbing etc. Including the new engine we have spent around $35K. Probably still another $5-8 more to go... We have spent many, many hard, hot, and frustrating hours doing the work. But for the most part we have loved it , we love the boat and I know her inside and out. It is not for everyone.... I still turn and walk backwards off the dock when we leave here... She is beautiful, sound and safe... Next year we hope to take her, or she will take us down the ICW and into the caribbean....
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Old 22-04-2008, 08:55   #8
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I am considering the same conundrum, and surely it simply comes down to what you can afford, and what time and skill you have. I’m 65 this month, (don't worry, you will get there eventually), and considering retiring on one of the circa 1980 fifty foot Taiwanese boats, so time is not on my side. Time is a commodity you must have for project boats, along with skill, and of course a good helping of optimism. If you don’t have the skill and know-how to do most things yourself a project can become much more than buying a better maintained boat in the first place. But if you don’t have the ready cash—well, that’s usually why people buy projects.
So I am presently arranging my finances, (anyone want to buy a Rolls Royce Silver Cloud), before I go for a well maintained vessel; heaps more than a project but within my budget. I dare say it will still need attention and personalizing, but I have the skill and know-how, and look forward to ‘pottering,’ as opposed to rebuilding the whole darned thing.
There is definite merit in having to replace things with more modern efficient products, thereby learning your boat intimately. But again, if you can’t do it yourself, costs rise disproportionately and you don’t learn a fat lot either.
So it really comes down to personal circumstances.
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Old 22-04-2008, 09:36   #9
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Hi,

I think you need to carefully consider the actual type of work that needs to be done. Everyone who has been there will tell you that it will almost certainly cost more to refurbish a boat than to buy one already in fine condition. The trick (for your situation, I think) is to buy a boat that is only a minor project, that you can enjoy (sail) as you are working on it over time. Sure it'll cost more in the long run, but I strongly advise against letting your 30's slip away boatless! Cosmetic refurb is cheap enough (until you consider your time!). Also you might want to consider that for a 40+ year old glass boat, you may well be her last owner.

I made the mistake of looking for a boat with little to no instrumentation. My thought was 'why pay for obsolete (or nearly) instruments?' However, I've since learned that 'extras' (like autopilot, speed ins, wind ins, hot water heaters, dinghies, etc) cost pennies (or nothing!) on the dollar when included in a purchase price vs buying new. Look for a boat with extra goodies if possible. Too often we get our heads turned by a hull and a price, if you know what I mean.
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Old 22-04-2008, 10:08   #10
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Unless you know what you are doing it is probably not best to take on a project boat. If you decide to do it, make sure you have bids from pros to repair everything to make the boat sale-able. If you don't know what is wrong hire a pro to go through the boat with you.

Here's the biggie MAKE SURE YOU HAVE ENOUGH MONEY TO COMPLETE THE PROJECT. If the project is not complete then you stand the risk of loosing a large chunk of your investment. Walk around the back of a few boat yards, you'll see.

That being said it can be done and good deals are out there but plan very carefully.

S/V Joli

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Old 22-04-2008, 10:10   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nowell View Post
Thanks for all the great replies. Being in my mid 30s (and with the market being as crappy as it is) I still can't "up and sail away". However being a solitary person (read no SO, pets, or family left above ground), I need a project to detract from 80 hour work weeks.

Finances aren't that big of an issue (no not rich, but well off), and I didn't have the intent of making a profit as much as "turning heads".

Thanks for the read Scott (By Invitation I assume?)!

Nowell
I have to wonder how you plan to refit the boat with that 80 hour work week. I have been there and can tell you that can kill the enthusiasm quickly.
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Old 22-04-2008, 10:13   #12
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It needs to be a labor of love: a lot of small project end up expensive in time and in money, but reaping satisfaction once the job is done is highly motivating stuff.
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Old 22-04-2008, 10:14   #13
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Given you are still working and not ready to take off cruising, I see no reason not to to use some of your spare time to fix up an older boat. Provided you do what others have suggested concerning time and money and not seeing your boat as an investment in order to get a positive return on your money.

Nice looking boat Joli! You are flying two US flags?
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Old 22-04-2008, 10:20   #14
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I want to use the project as an excuse to stop the 80 hour work weeks! The advice has been great, and really made helped me flush out some areas of my plan (yes I write it out in a logbook!). The information will help me make an accurate decision. Thank you all again for the info, this has been a great site for info and honest opinions.
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Old 22-04-2008, 10:35   #15
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Nice looking boat Joli! You are flying two US flags?
Not proper but on the 4th of July our philosphy is the more the better. We always fly the ensign from the stern at anchor or sailing in daylight although not when racing. And yes, the next destination always seems to be dead upwind.

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