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Old 18-10-2010, 16:43   #1
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Older, Higher Quality vs Newer Production Boats

A continuation of my wife and I tying to figure out what to buy;;

We are wanting to buy our first boat. We want a 32 foot boat, and plan to spend 80-100K. We are trying to figure out whether we
should by a newer production boat (Catalina, Hunter, Beneteau), or an older higher quality boat (Island Packet, Pacific SeaCraft).

Just by looking at, I can find about 25 of these production type boats with this price range and length. The age of these boats
are only between 2-5 yrs old.

I can only find a handul of the higher quality boats in this range. The trouble is, they range from 17-20 years old.

We are interested in longer range coastal crusing (east coast, Carib and maybe South America).

I know the Island Packet and Pacific Seacraft are much better boats. But, how old to really too old? 17 - 20 years old seems like a lot to me.
I would prefer something higher quality, but is something this old something that should really concern me? What kind of crusing life
can I expect from something already 17-20 years old? Or, this is really an issue at all as long as it is maintained properly?

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Old 18-10-2010, 16:57   #2
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20 years old is new. Or so it seems to me. This 28 year old 1982 Santa Cruz 50 seems factory fresh. Of course many of the moving parts are much younger: rig, plumbing, electronics. The other boat, a 1965 Cal 36, seems a bit old at 45, At night in heavy conditions aboard her I sometimes wonder about all the cracked stainless steel bolts that I have yet to find - the bolts holding the deck on may just give up all at once and leave me staring at the night sky.....

Those older boats you are considering would be a far better choice. Figure you'll need to update some things. But you'll be ahead of the game and way happier with the better boats.

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Old 18-10-2010, 17:02   #3
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I think it all depends on whether or not you actually LIKE extensively working on a boat. Some folks enjoy extensive, hands on refitting while others would rather just do routine maintenance.

So if you gain a great deal of satisfaction on working with your hands and doing it more often than you imagined- go older with a better "pedigree".

If you don't get enjoyment from intensive labor, go newer production.

There is no right answer, only the right answer for you.
S/V Ceol Mor
42 Nassau Undergoing refit in Kemah, Tx
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Old 18-10-2010, 17:13   #4
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No doubt, the older boats really depend on the maintenance and ongoing expenditure of the owners? Not too hard to look at the inventory and recent upgrades. Kind of explains why some hold their value or might even seem over-priced? If you are lucky and the owner had a similar mindset and intentions to you they might have really tweaked the boat into a total gem full of all sorts of nice surprises?
Life is a shipwreck but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats. - Voltaire
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Old 18-10-2010, 17:50   #5
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this is worth the look

needs some inside work, I know 2 people looking at it this week

38' Beneteau IDYLLE
Year: 1986
Current Price: US$ 8,000
Located In Dania / Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Hull Material: Fiberglass
Engine/Fuel Type: Single Diesel
YW# 75839-2267815
outside and hull have been redone,,,, just the inside,, it is partly finished
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Old 18-10-2010, 17:59   #6
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If you really plan to cruise the Caribbean (and most who say they want to, never do) then go with the older and better built boat. Once you get there, look around the harbor and see how many H, B, C boats you find. Plenty of PSC and IPs but not too many H, B, C boats. Wonder why?

BTW, the Caribbean and S America is not long range coastal cruising. It is serious, blue water cruising.


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Old 18-10-2010, 18:11   #7
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Mimsy posted some sage advice. Here's the deal:

1-5 years, wax, change the oil and zincs, and only fix things that break.
5-8 years, scheduled preventive maintenance, replace wear items.
7-11 years, replace major items such as sails and running rigging, engine PM may require a mechanic (e.g. timing belt), standing rigging needs careful annual inspection and may require some replacements... Wear and tear on finishes may require some major maintenance such as compounding, painting, stripping and varnish, bottom paint and underwater fittings may need major attention beyond simple sanding/slapping on a new coat, etc.

So you can see that once you get beyond 10 years all bets are off -- everything needs to be updated, repaired or replaced on its own schedule. It doesn't matter whether it's 10, 20, 30 years -- it's all a question of how well the prior owners have kept the boat and updated its systems.

A 10 year old boat that hasn't been kept up could be lot worse than a 30-year-old one that's been lovingly cared for. There are a lot of 8-10 year-old boats on the market that need EVERYTHING to be updated and maintained, needing a major refit. Watch out for those, and don't judge a boat strictly by its age. One more thing -- UV takes its toll on polyester between years 5-8 so anything with dacron (dodgers, sails, sail covers, running rigging) need maintenance or replacement.
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Old 18-10-2010, 18:33   #8
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I would vote for an older stronger well-built well maintained yacht coming off a major cruise totally outfitted and ready for another voyage.

If you are going to voyage offshore, I can only see doing it in an extremely strong and proven vessel.
Dave -Sailing Vessel Exit Only
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Old 18-10-2010, 19:00   #9
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Remember a lot of the newer boats are built to a pricepoint. They are built for weekending etc. The hull, rigging, fittings were not built with offshore use in mind. You may find that that 5 year old boat may require more repair and upgrades than a 20 year old purpose built boat. I don't count electronics having any value on price unless its brand new. After 5 yrs it's out dated or suspect and you will want to replace anyhow.
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Old 18-10-2010, 19:09   #10
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Agree with Maxingout. Maintenance is the key. The wealthier the prior owner, the better.

And I wouldn't limit myself to Pacific Seacraft or Island Packet. I'd buy Vigor's "20 Small Sailboats to Take you Anywhere", and Greg Nestor's book "20 Affordable Sailboats to Take You Anywhere." Those books will suggest some additional options.
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Old 18-10-2010, 19:23   #11
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We made our choice and are happy with it. We are indeed going through and upgrading ... new standing rigging, new running rigging, new electronics, new "you name it". We'll end up with an overbuilt hull and rig with known good performance and fairly classic lines.

Our choice was lovingly cared for as far as we can tell and mainly day-sailed (by a grandmother who only sailed to church on Sundays). We'll still put more into the upgrades than we paid for the boat and to us it was the right choice.

Senta II -
1977 Ericson 39B -- Hull # 216
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Old 18-10-2010, 19:27   #12
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Is newer reallty any better?

After working for a yacht charter company repairing charter boats I really wonder if newer boats are up to the rigours of cruising.

Issues such as:

weaker fittings than should have been used
wrong placement of deck gear causing breakages
cracks due to too thin GRP
sails that ripped after little use
constant problems with furlers
electrical faults due to production manufacture causing wires to be damgaed by fitting of screws (saving money ie using inexperienced workers)
keels that fell off
rudder skegs that cracked due to weak construction
co nstant problems with new gear not commissioned properly

I could go on as the list is endless. I will never ever buy a production type yacht. I own an old 1988 built GRP cruiser and it is built so strong i doubt you could crack it with a 10 ton hammer!!! The hull is so thick that any form of osmosis will be well visible before it becomes serious yet with modern boats the hulls are not very thick so osmosis of any form can get out of hand. Most of the gear has been replaced by various owners and myself so i know everything is functional and relatively new and done properly.

I know a guy who will never sail again as his boat overturned and three people were trapped inside and died. Why? The keel dropped off and then the boat stayed upside down. I will never buy a boat with a bolted on keel. I will only have a fully encapsulated keel for cruising. I also know another boat where the owner found serious cracks in the leading edge of his bolted on keel after spending good money for a late model boat. The surveyor never picked it up. After 2 years fighting the surveyor he has now got compensation but it cost $100,000 to fix the damage.

My advice to you is firstly accept that you are planning to undertake serious cruising in real offshore waters. Get a strong boat and take your time to find her and make sure you have inspected her time and again before buying. Do not get carried away with the passion and romance of owning a yacht. Check her out thoroughly and if you find something wrong be honest to yourself and say should I really buy this nice looking boat with a possible serious problem?

Get an Island packet or Pacific Seacraft or any of the many other well known well built yachts designed specifically for offshore cruising. Do not buy a round the buoys mass production yacht. Make sure the motor is reliable and powerful as you WILL use it and probably more than you think. When you have a lee shore in storm conditions having a powerful motor to help you clear a headland or get out of a leeshore anchorage might just save you and the boat.

Well that is my advice anyway. I am sure there are others here who have had no problems with their production boats and laugh at us when they sail past in light winds and we are still waiting for a decent blow to sail with. Good luck with whatever you buy!
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Old 18-10-2010, 19:32   #13
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I am leaving in a couple of weeks from the Chesapeake going to the Caribbean on my Caliber 33. Yes, an older but very well made boat. I looked at quite a few beat up older but well made boats before finding this one on a fresh water lake. It was in amazingly good shape for a 20 year old boat but even then it needed quite a refit - sails, electronics, head & hoses, running and standing rigging, etc. I am very happy with the result and will be much happier on the passage than I would be in a newer boat not built as solidly. But dont underestimate what you would need to put into ANY 20 year old boat no matter how well kept it is.
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Old 18-10-2010, 19:46   #14
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Let me see if I can sum this up:

If you buy an older boat, it WILL require more (much more) maintenance than just about any more recent production cruiser. Believe me. We own a very well built, high performance cruiser. A wonderful boat. But, we spend way more time and money maintaining this boat than friends with a 9 year old Catalina do. Frankly, not even close.

Yes, if you take a typical production cruiser and put it into charter service, a bunch of stuff WILL fail. It gets used WAY more than the 50 days a year a typical boat gets used.

HOWEVER, a 20 year old, well built boat will suffer very little depreciation, compared to the newer production boat. Depreciation is THE SINGLE LARGEST BOAT EXPENSE.

Look at it this way: A new 40' production cruiser costs $250K. In 10 years, it will be worth $125K. That's $1000 per MONTH of depreciation ALONE.
Bill Streep
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Old 18-10-2010, 20:10   #15
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Excellent feedback and advice everyone. Yeah, maybe serious Carib cruising is a pipe-dream. But, If I'm gonna drop 80-100K, I at least want to have that option someday.

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