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Old 23-03-2009, 14:06   #1
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What is “too old”

We are looking to get back into sailing. For years we sailed a small (20') O'day on the local lake and now are moving up. When we bought our O'day in 92, it was me and the owner. Of course, the risk (even in 2009 dollars) was significantly less. Then we were looking at 20' where we now look at the 32-40 range.

In another forum the idea of “renting” a boat to ensure we liked it sounded very appealing and we plan to do that. However, it is unlikely that I can afford to buy what I can pay to rent.


This leads me to a few questions that require my bearing at least part of my soul – as it is – rather than as I wish it were. I am reading Marshall's book and still a little feedback would be helpful to ensure optimism aligns with reality. I am capable of repairs but would prefer not to do them. The thought of spending the weekend fixing that half inch fiberglass spot is not me. Tearing apart the engine is not my idea of a good time. I understand that some people love the “challenge” in this regard and look at it like hot dogs and hamburgers. Liking one is not a verdict on the other.


So...
- How old can we safely go back into a boat type and still avoid the “what did you think when you bought an “X” year-old boat? I presume it will be different for fiberglass, steel, wood, concrete, etc. And I know there are always exceptions but is there a safe rule?
- Can I really apply what I find in a 2003 boat with a 1983 from the same manufacturer?
- What can I really trust in a survey and at what point do I ask for one and at what point is it considered too old to be useful
- At what point is a test sail a reasonable expectation? As a boat owner would you allow someone to take your boat without you? If you are on board, when do you turn over the helm?
- Is it better to have a broker involved and why? If one is involved on the seller side, who are you dealing with?



Two final, interesting questions from the first mate and deck hands.
- Why do people take pictures of their boats with everything left in it? We see v-berths with sails and ropes, kitchens with dirty dishes, salons that look like they are lived in. All the things people would never do when posting their car or home pictures.
- If we are spending the weekend and want two cabins – one for the teen kids and one for the adults what have you found a successful layout/size/design?
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Old 23-03-2009, 14:49   #2
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- Can I really apply what I find in a 2003 boat with a 1983 from the same manufacturer?
No. It's all about condition. A well maintained and frequently upgraded 25 year old boat may well be in excellent condition. But, no matter who built it, any parts of it that are still 25 yrs. old are suspect - eg. engine, deck, ports, hatches, tanks, wiring, etc. - all those things that are unlikely to be issues on a 5 yr. old boat.
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Old 23-03-2009, 14:54   #3
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My experience is that at about 7 or 8 years old, most the systems on a boat start to fail. So once you are back to about 2000, you can probably figure it's no different than an '89 are far as "bolt on" systems hoses etc go. The older boat can have things like wiring and especially tank problems though..., then there is the engine equation.... Unfortunately, an engine/shaft system with too little use can be as bad as one with a lot of use..unless it was cared for properly....
Once you are interested enough to try to buy and settle on a price it's time for the test sail. Always seemed a little wierd to me.... the expectation that you would go forward as if purchasing when you haven't even found out if you like the boat at sea.... but I guess there is no other way. Your offer should allow you to walk from the deal regardless of reason.....
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Old 23-03-2009, 15:01   #4
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If you don't like fixing boats I would suggest you find a different hobby/lifestyle or stick with a smaller, simpler boat.

Surely you have heard the old adage that "cruising is just doing boat repair in exotic places"?

Having someone else do the fixing can get very expensive and will not be very fulfilling.

Knowing your boat inside out is a safety item.

Even a new boat will require a lot of work to make it seaworthy.
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Old 23-03-2009, 15:08   #5
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lotta truth in that.....
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Old 23-03-2009, 15:20   #6
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ditto what they said, maybe the sailboat thing isn't for you.
If I had to have someone else do all the work I do, I couldn't afford to go around the island.
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Old 23-03-2009, 15:29   #7
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I just moved from a simple 1979 27' boat to a complex 1997 32'...

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ditto what they said, maybe the sailboat thing isn't for you.
If I had to have someone else do all the work I do, I couldn't afford to go around the island.
And there is a lot more to fix on the newer 32' than on my well-maintained but older 27'. I'm glad I consider dock side fiddling to be therapeutic.
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Old 23-03-2009, 15:40   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kefaa View Post
- Can I really apply what I find in a 2003 boat with a 1983 from the same manufacturer?


Yes!
And I think your example of 2003 is perfect. Maybe just bring it back to 2000.

I am not very good with the repair side of boats (see some idiot posts I write when something goes wrong!)

But we have a 2001 boat and I think its on the cusp of how old a standard production boat wants to be when you buy it. I wouldn’t buy a 1990 Beneteau.
why?

Here is an example from a layperson... all the wiring that can get sea water on it gets sea water in it eventually.
The first time it happens the corrosion starts eating away at the wiring.
When you get a bad connection you cut off the bad inch and reconnect it.

On a 20021 boat the corrosion in the wires goes back a couple of inches

In a 1990 boat the corosion goes back past the easy to get at portion.

So instead of cutting off 1 inch you have to rewire the whole cable.

Get the point?

Someone says: "Rust never sleeps" in reference to a steel boat... well rust never sleeps on a fiberglass boat either! Corrosion and age gets in everywhere.
So if you get a boat thats only 5 years old you will have a better time of it than a 25 year old boat.

Now another comparison from a layperson: I would never buy a 20 year old car! If its a used one it might be 5 years old. Would you buy a 20 year old car? No. Why not? Because you think the thing is about to fall apart. Same with boats.



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Old 23-03-2009, 16:37   #9
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all i've heard is that to old is to old. welol speaking/(typing) quite frankly to old is only when the boat you are interested in is in such bad shape it would cost more money to bring it back to sailable condition than than the hull/boat would ever be worth in present/future. the boats built in the sixties and seventies were built before we had a firm under staning of the medium they were built with. that being said they were as they say today overbuilt to woodboat standards. because iof this many are still around and doingh just fine for their age. some will need to be completely refurbished while others will only need facelifts depending on owner maintinance over the years. being robustly built verses the new tech i will always go towards over builtand rehab
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Old 23-03-2009, 16:50   #10
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Kefaa..... actually just read this post: Cat Island to Black Point March 19-21, 2009
That is cruising. How much of a handyman do you want to be?
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Old 23-03-2009, 18:29   #11
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Sorry folks - I was not implying that I an unable/unwilling to do any work. Merely, I am one of those people who likes to sail. An analogy may help. I have a friend who owns a 1967 Mustang - he has torn the engine apart to - well the parts. The same with the body. He has only used original parts to rebuild everything. I admire he can love doing it - but I put gas in my car and drive it. I change the oil as needed and keep it cleaned and tuned. But the point is not the car - its the drive.

Cheers.
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Old 23-03-2009, 20:29   #12
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I think age is only one of many factors that affect a boat's condition or needed maintenance. I purchased a 1969 Westerly in 1997, a new Beneteau three years ago and a 88 Hunter this year. All seemed to hold up well. The oldest had no blisters what so ever. The much newer Hunter has many.
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Old 23-03-2009, 21:31   #13
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I have seen and been guilty of doing it myself, is taking an "older boat" and totally going through it. Many people, for example, like the strength of an older solid fiber-glass boat which in it's day (and today) has an outstanding reputation for quality. Then if the current owner re-powers, new sails, rigging and electronics, you are miles ahead of anything other than routine maintenance. That being said if routine maintenance is not your thing, then as mentioned, you may want to go to weather in a 747.
To answer your question about sails in the V-berth and dirty dishes in the sink is because the stupid broker is so lazy he won't even spend the 5 minutes it takes to clean the boat up to show it or sell it. They never said you needed to be smart to sell boats...just greedy and a license!
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Old 24-03-2009, 10:46   #14
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"Sorry folks - I was not implying that I...."
You make an excellent point. Many of us become so enamoured with outfitting the boat and forget to sail. I am very guilty of that over the years. This forum indicates it's an epidemic. You really dont need all the bells and whistles. (I had a great time on my 30 footer with a VHF, sat nav (didnt work), standard 35 amp alternator and a cold machine that was supplimented with Ice Blocks) A lot of gadgets means a lot of repair and maintenance. Now days I'm restraining myself by asking: "If I pay $2000 for that and use it 20 times a year will it be worth it?" My average boat is kept 3 years, so then I know it will cost me $35 every time I use it. It kind of puts things in perspective to what is really important.... some things are also!
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Old 24-03-2009, 11:41   #15
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I started in a westsail 42, I was able to swing a deal where the guy that originally bought it couldn't continue so I was able to finish the interior and woodwork, whereas the exterio was complete, sailable complete. I spent many nights with a coleman camp stove, a styrofoam icebox and a sleeping bag but loved every minute I spent at Catalina with my g'friend diving and living. Now, I have a vessel I plan on calling home, and I plan on taking it places where things may not be so civilized so I need those gadgets and things if I want a certain level of comfort and electronic attachment which makes life in general a bit easier. Read that, GPS instead of running a sight, read that as Having ice instead of planning on foods that dont require that type or degree of cold to keep fresh. Also is the plan of staying aboard for significant amounts of time, I will therefore need to know my vessel and its' inner workings in order to survive.
I suppose the answer is based on several variables. Having a landbased residence and going to the docks to "work on the boat" may be necessary at first, but in the end, the dock becomes a place to go ashore and reprovision. Maybe pick up some spare parts, maybe make a landbased activity, (like drinkin and partyin withfriends) and then it's back out to explore and travel, like traveling the USA in a BIG RV. The two people in the above example are both "boat people", sailors in their own right, but with different attitudes about sailing. Kinda like a long-haul trucker that calls their rig "home" and a local driver that looks at his rig like a job, letting the mechanic at the shop fix it while he goes home to dinner and a movie. One works on his rig to make it unique and knows every piece in it, fixing what he can because of necessity and cause, maybe restoring it if it's old, but still intimately sharing the journey with his vessel. The other is content to enjoy the fruits of their landbased labors and let others repair or upgrade or whatever while he enjoys life to the fullest and simply is satisfied with driving it and not working on it.
does any of that make sense?
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