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Old 27-11-2014, 13:00   #1
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What's my Budget?

Note: I know there is no answer to this question other than "It depends," but I thought I would ask it anyway as a learning exercise.

So in all the multitude of threads of people looking for a boat the most frequent question is "What's your budget?" And for people who are reasonably versed in boats and the buying and selling there-of, it is a rather sensible question. But for people like me who have sailed on other people's boats (e.g. charters), the basis for comparison is a tough one.

I could afford to fork out $40,000 cash and throw in another $15000 for upgrades on a YachtWorld special or I could visit my banker and probably qualify for $200,000+ in financing to buy a new Beneteau. Or one of many, many variations in between. What I can't find is my sense of personal balance in a field that I have no experience in. I mean I know what I am getting if I buy a $3000 car and how that compares to a new $40,000 one. Or if I decide to move to a $130,000 60-year-old house vs a brand new $400,000 suburban wonder.

It's not about square footage or location or bells and whistles (ok well it is, but you can ignore those for comparisons sake), it's about what you are comfortable with and what you need. The costs and risks are known factors.

For example, I picked out three boats that show up on YachtWorld just searching the last 7 days in the PNW. All things being equal, I would be happy with any of them. All I really want is the ability to be confident while I gain skills and learn enough to actually know what I am doing. Which means keep the major traumas to a minimum. The current parameters aren't much more than finding a fairly dependable boat that I can sail up to 3 months at time, that won't need too much work (and I mean time rather than money) before I can begin to enjoy her. Resale becomes a factor the higher the initial outlay is, but I am not in it for an investment.


1988 Catalina 36 Sail Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com
1988, $55,831

1993 Hunter Legend 430 Sail Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com
1993, $99,256

2004 Beneteau 393 Sail Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com
2004, $159,000

These are, of course, just a quick example. I haven't looked them over closely or have any real desire to acquire these particular boats; as we all well know there are literally thousands of boats to choose from. The fact I could find three even in the ballpark from a 7-day search just depresses me.

So... I have no idea what my budget should be. Do you?
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Old 27-11-2014, 13:44   #2
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Re: What's my Budget?

I can only give the advice based on my recent experiences.

1. The first thing I did was decide on an amount of money I was comfortable with throwing away. Thats right, I assumed I was getting nothing back (no resale). This was the hard and fast driver for my budget, it set a hard amount that I simply would not or could not go over.

2. I would be living on the boat, but I needed to decide what I was going to do with my boat (coastal or offshore). This is a tougher question since I really didn't have a plan. Basically get out there and see what happens. In the end I didn't want to be limited so I decided offshore capable was required.

3. I decided how much space I would need, and ultimately what length(ish) I needed.

4. Finally I checked with the boss (wife) to find out what she wanted. Her only response was "It must be a Cat! I'm not living life healed over".

Armed with that information, I narrowed it down to 4 boats and started my search. The final key is a GOOD SURVEYOR! Not the surveyor suggested by your broker. Find a surveyor that comes highly recommended by other buyers.

The key to the answer for you is #2. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO WITH THE BOAT. You need to figure this out before you can even start coming up with a budget.
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Old 27-11-2014, 19:23   #3
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Re: What's my Budget?

I believe just like a car, the newer the boat, the more depreciation is going to hit.
At some point anything is essentially depreciated out, and then value becomes based on condition more than age.
I went through exactly what your going through and ended up with an older, but better made boat than I first started looking for, my original plan was 10 yrs old max.
I ended up buying a boat that was 27 yrs old, after the 10 yr old one failed survey on a couple of structural issues, issues that the older boat doesn't have.
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Old 28-11-2014, 08:54   #4
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Re: What's my Budget?

Quote:
Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
I believe just like a car, the newer the boat, the more depreciation is going to hit.
At some point anything is essentially depreciated out, and then value becomes based on condition more than age.
It IS exactly like a car. All these years later, I now know by looking at a car if its likely to survive a 1000 mile road trip or if its going to last me the next 3 years. But my dad helped me buy my first few cars and I went through a lot of lemons after that. Somehow I'm reluctant to trust a broker to teach me as much about buying a car as my Dad did
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Old 28-11-2014, 09:58   #5
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Re: What's my Budget?

I've run through the budget machinations many times and in the end it seems the answer lies somewhere in buying the best boat you can afford.

For me "best" boat is defined by (in no particular order):

How happy I'll be when seeing it, either as I approach it or am departing from it. I want to look at the boat and feel one with it.

The quality of the craftsmanship. When you board a well made boat, you can feel the craftsmanship. Fine joinery gives me goosebumps. I want to feel a lot of care and pride went into making the boat.

Condition relative to price. If it needs work and the price the owner is willing to take reflects that, I'd be okay with the purchase.

Also important is rate of depreciation. Some boats depreciate so fast it's scary. It's not standing in the shower tearing up $100 bills, it's tearing up $1,000 bills. Scroll through the listings on Yachtworld and it's easy to spot these boats. I can't afford that.

The boat has to be right for the sailing I intend to do. I have a NEED to sail to places. Taking the boat out for day sails all the time would leave me frustrated. So the boat has to be very seaworthy, preferably bluewater.

And of course, it has to be a boat my SO and I agree on. Still working on that...
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Old 28-11-2014, 10:12   #6
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Re: What's my Budget?

You can get a well kept older boat that will do coastal cruising for not that much. The key big items are:
Fuel Tanks
Sails
Rigging
Engine/propulsion
Keel Bolts (if any)
Hull and deck (no cored hulls)
Bottom condition/core condition.
Electronics
If you can find a boat that you have confidence in with most of the above knowable, or predictable you should be OK.. It's like buying a car. Some desgins are just trouble. Figure that out ahead of time. (you wouldnt buy a crème puff Yugo for that cross country trip right?)
For the PNW an Islander 36PH would be a great boat. I've seen original owner one of those that sounded like it was pampered for under $40k
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Old 28-11-2014, 18:02   #7
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Re: What's my Budget?

Around Edmonton a combine might work better than a boat?
My thoughts are, if it's your first boat, you might be happier with something without a hefty mortgage, an older boat you can buy outright. That way if you decide it's not the boat for you, then you're not going to take a big hit in depreciation. Own it and sail it for a year or two and you will have a much better idea of what you're looking for.
Maybe even spend half your budget, leaving money on hand for the upgrade if you decide to make it, or to upgrade the boat you bought if you decide it's a good fit. You can get a pretty solid used entry level boat for $25000-30000.
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Old 28-11-2014, 18:07   #8
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Re: What's my Budget?

Wow that is insane... I never noticed the OP is from Edmonton... Me too...

Hey OP if you want to sit down and shoot the ****, PM me... I'm out of town next week, but anytime after that. I can share my experience with buying a cruising cat in a distant location (cuba). Our planned departure date is next September (we are a family of 5).

P.S. It wouldn't be a combine around Edmonton, it would be an oil rig.
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Old 29-11-2014, 00:34   #9
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Re: What's my Budget?

What about a "budget" for planning, training, experience and organising?

Sure it's possible to buy a boat and go but the chances of "success" are going to be much higher if all your ducks are in a row first.
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Old 03-12-2014, 10:00   #10
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Re: What's my Budget?

Quote:
Originally Posted by travellerw View Post
Wow that is insane... I never noticed the OP is from Edmonton... Me too...

Hey OP if you want to sit down and shoot the ****, PM me... I'm out of town next week, but anytime after that. I can share my experience with buying a cruising cat in a distant location (cuba). Our planned departure date is next September (we are a family of 5).
I've been following along... I was particularity struck by the visual image of herding kids on a 5 hour bus ride through a Guatemalan jungle, with everything you own on your back :-)

I'll send you a note.
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Old 08-12-2014, 18:36   #11
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Re: What's my Budget?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Macblaze View Post
I've been following along... I was particularity struck by the visual image of herding kids on a 5 hour bus ride through a Guatemalan jungle, with everything you own on your back :-)

I'll send you a note.
Ahhh yes.. Those plans have definitely changed. We have decided on the much more sane plan of starting from Florida. Our deal continues to march forward and if everything works out I will be moving our boat to Florida in May.

Anytime to want to chat, just let me know. I don't get many opportunities to talk sailboats with people in Edmonton.
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Old 08-12-2014, 19:09   #12
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Re: What's my Budget?

Buy cheap.
Owe nothing.
Go cruising.
Works for me.
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Old 08-12-2014, 19:23   #13
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Re: What's my Budget?

There are a number of good old monohulls you can find for $40K. Just scan the numerous cheap boat threads here for a sample.

Buying a boat is a bad financial decision...why make it worse by financing it?

Pay cash and keep more freedom in your pocket.

In terms of market value depreciation, boat depreciation is not like car depreciation. Whereas cars depreciate to essentially nothing in a few years, boats tend to depreciate to a less dramatically lower plateau and stay there indefinately if well maintained.
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Old 08-12-2014, 20:31   #14
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Re: What's my Budget?

I see that yourself and Macblaze are from Edm'tn. I am from Calgary. Sorry. I am just starting the process of doing this cruising when i retire. A quick question is where would i find information about boat insurance.
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Old 08-12-2014, 20:55   #15
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Re: What's my Budget?

besides boat insurance . What is health insurance like? Any different from Alberta now?
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