I'll add a tip: Of course check out the hull as thoroughly as you can, but don't stop there. A much larger part of the value of the boat is represented by the rig, fitout, propulsion
system, and gear
. A boat of that age and price
will only be a buy if it can be used hard without major fitout, so there needs to be a lot of useful life left in the major systems. I would not even consider a boat like that (leaving aside completely the question about whether ferro is a good idea or not), for a circumnaviation, unless the standing rigging
has been replaced fairly recently, unless the sails
are in very sound condition, and propulsion
system is good.
Replacing any one of these things will already put you a negative value position. You might be able to knock around a coast somewhere with 10 year old (or 30 year old) rigging
, baggy, fragile sails
, and a wheezy motor
with 6,000 hours, but you will really not want to be crossing oceans. Plumbing
, electronic systems can also really bite you in the behind -- the cost of fixing and upgrading them adds up really fast.
Whether or not any older boat is a buy or not depends entirely on the life left in systems versus price
of replacement versus value in refit
condition. The numbers very often don't add up. The best buy in older boats is nearly always one which someone loved and just did a cost-no-object refit
on without realizing that he would never recover the cost.
One way to look at it is this: To totally refit a worn-out 45 foot sailboat would probably cost around $100,000, give or take $25k -- repower
, new rigging, new sails, new electronics
, new plumbing
systems, refinishing etc. The average life of those systems is probably around 10 years. What is a totally refit 25 year old 45 foot sailboat worth? Well, it depends of course -- a Swan or Hinckley is going to cost different from an old production boat, and an old ferro boat different again. But hardly any of these is going to be worth $100,000, other than the Swan or Hinckley or similar. So when you buy a 25 year old sailboat, you're buying
the residual value in all the different systems which are depreciating every year. This is much more important than the hull. And since a major system will likely not be worth replacing at all on a boat that age, the useful life to you of a boat like that will depend very much on the remaining useful life of the weakest major system.
Boats are not like houses -- there is no underlying real estate and no inherent value. At some point, they get scrapped, other than the 0.1% of boats which have such intrinsic value that they are worth restoring over and over again. How far is a given old boat from the scrap heap? That's the real question to ask when considering paying any money
at all for one.