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Old 26-07-2016, 10:04   #1
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Used Boats

I have a question for those of you who have purchased used boats. I'm going to also post this in the monohull forum as we have been looking at both monos and multis.

Since we will be live-aboards, one of the important things we've been looking for is a boat that is in good shape on the inside. (this, of course comes after safety and performance). What I am finding in used boats, is that most of them look like crap on the inside (at least to my standards). I'm not talking about boats that have been severely neglected, or abused. No derelicts. What I mean by that is 10-15 year old boats with filthy cushions and mattresses... damaged interior woods, worn counter tops, appliances that look like they are FAR older than the boat they are on, bathrooms that are outdated, with questionable sanitation, etc. and very stinky!! I'm not so concerned about the appearance of the outside of the boat, but, this will be my home, and I want it to be clean, and attractive, and not disgusting on the inside. If some of these boats were homes, we would have to remodel 75-100% of the inside to bring it up to our level of comfort, sanitation, and pride of ownership. I have all the skills to do that for a house (as we've remodeled our current house from the studs to the roof and everything in-between) , but remodeling a boat is daunting.

Has anyone bought a boat that was in the condition described above, and were able to a remodel it without gutting it? are there easy repairs for worn wood? how easy (and expensive) is it to replace counter tops, sinks and appliances? What about the fiberglass walls on the inside? What are the steps involved to painting it, and maintaining the beautiful gel coat like finish, without it looking painted? what about cushions, and matresses? and of utmost importance, sanitation, and that awful smell that comes from an old boat?

Any advise from you all would be greatly appreciated...
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Old 26-07-2016, 10:09   #2
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Re: Used Boats

You are describing poorly maintained boats.

Simple things like zero diesel leaks, oversized holding tank vents, and good ventilation go a long way too.
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Old 26-07-2016, 11:01   #3
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Re: Used Boats

Well, let's see - yep, I'm qualified to answer. We bought a 35 year old boat that had been neglected for 15 years and then "chartered" (sucked the life out of) for four years and then sat at a dock and didn't move for 4 years. No expense spared in 1981 and then....nothing more spent on either mechanical or interior.

We are in year 2 of refit. We are tackling the mechanical systems first so we can get off the dock and go sailing. This is what I've done so far interior-wise: conquered mildew, stopped leaks into cabin, torn up galley floor and replaced, torn out two marine toilets and replaced with composting, painted interior of all drawers and cabinets with mildew preventive primer and latex (so I can see what's inside and it doesn't smell), painted forward head, replaced mattresses, replaced some lights with LED, new faucets throughout, emptied every single locker, drawer and cabinet and reorganized and inventoried contents. And I'm sure I've forgotten a lot. I haven't even addressed the 35 year old Herculon upholstery (we have acres of it) because after many many boat dollars I know I can't afford it yet. I'll start in Oct. Yes, it's old and threadbare and I hope it doesn't smell but it probably does.

We have also redone the decks, new sail covers, engine work, etc.

I guess my long winded point is that we didn't pay much for this boat in the beginning so we're paying for it now. I'm OK with that, because I will know every inch of the boat when we decide to stop (it's never, ever done). The esthetics are not as important to me as getting out there so I make the compromise and that's OK for me. If, in order to feel at home and love this life you need to make it more esthetically pleasing you are absolutely entitled to - BUT - spend more money up front and buy a boat you like right off. Trust me, you will spend far more later. Have an honest conversation with yourself and your partner and just find the boat that pleases you - it'll be your home. If it costs $10,000 more - spend it now because it will cost more of everything (money, time, labor, aggravation) later. If you're a DIYer and enjoy rehabbing, go for it, but your post indicates otherwise. You have standards and are entitled to them.

There are too many "divorce" boats out there. Ours has come perilously close once and it ain't fun. But I enjoy making a silk purse out of a sows ear - always have.

Lots of luck, just be honest and realistic. The whole point is to be happy in this life!
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Old 26-07-2016, 11:43   #4
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Re: Used Boats

AS Redhead and Paxfish have noted, poorly maintained boats are HUGE workprojects ,potentially very expensive - time,money,nerves,relationships etc etc (as Redhead has detailed)
If you want a quality maintained used boat with a pleasing non "Stinky" interior you will have to hunt for it and you will typically pay top dollar for it.
I looked for the most lightly used, top shape example of my boat that I could find and I paid TOP dollar for it... and it has saved me most of the negatives I noted above.
However to keep the boat in good shape, performing well, up to date and a decent example of pride of ownership still requires huge amts of my time and money and this is certainly related to size and type of boat. I knew this was going to be the case before we bought the boat and I have been around and owned all types of boats my whole life.
But I really enjoy working on my boat as we are cruising (my wife not as much ) and we do ALL our own work with very few exceptions. These are factors that I am sure you will be or are considering.
New boats are a whole other challenge in so many ways but ongoing maintenance, pride of ownership etc is the same.
Upgrading and replacement of "stuff" is reduced or not a factor for the first years but creating a "Cruise Ready" boat is a significant factor of time and cost and potential headaches that must be considered.
m2cw...

Bob
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Old 26-07-2016, 13:22   #5
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Re: Used Boats

Any boat you buy will have several projects that need to be done . Some more than others .
I bought a 2010 leopard from moorings . the boat was in good condition but had a lot of up dates that needed to be done --40K later we have the boat we always wanted
Solar panels ,electric winch, gen set ,air , micro wave , tv and added a lot of cordage
we had actually planed to spend 50K for up dates .
The biggest thing about heads is after you scrub then down with bleach always have the males sit to pee! That is a main rule on my boat! This will insure a fresh smelling head.
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Old 26-07-2016, 14:01   #6
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Re: Used Boats

For me, it was the smell of mildew that drove me nuts when looking for a used boat. Not much choice in boats around this part of the world. I did all that you feared you might have to do to bring it up to your standards. It was a lot of work and I would have gladly paid more money for a cleaner boat. No choice however. Fresh coats of paint and varnish can make things freshen up quite a bit. Be sure to paint the inside as well as the outside surfaces. The upholstery-no chance, just replace it. Nothing will get the stink out. Wiring was all replaced on my 44y/o boat as preventative maintenance. And to the old adage that "it will cost 2x as much a 2x the time estimated" is just simply incorrect. Its 3x at least. Cheers
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Old 26-07-2016, 14:11   #7
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Re: Used Boats

We bought a 20 yo boat. Beautiful interior, clean, no smells. There were and are lots of projects updating old systems and dealing with some deferred maintenance. The basic boat is great. We paid what we think was a fair price after having looked at a number of boats that advertized well n the internet, but upon inspection came far short of our expectations/standards. You can find your prince (we did), but you've got to kiss a lot of frogs.

Cheers,
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Old 26-07-2016, 14:23   #8
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Re: Used Boats

Quote:
Originally Posted by scarlet View Post
I have a question for those of you who have purchased used boats. I'm going to also post this in the monohull forum as we have been looking at both monos and multis.

Since we will be live-aboards, one of the important things we've been looking for is a boat that is in good shape on the inside. (this, of course comes after safety and performance). What I am finding in used boats, is that most of them look like crap on the inside (at least to my standards). I'm not talking about boats that have been severely neglected, or abused. No derelicts. What I mean by that is 10-15 year old boats with filthy cushions and mattresses... damaged interior woods, worn counter tops, appliances that look like they are FAR older than the boat they are on, bathrooms that are outdated, with questionable sanitation, etc. and very stinky!! I'm not so concerned about the appearance of the outside of the boat, but, this will be my home, and I want it to be clean, and attractive, and not disgusting on the inside. If some of these boats were homes, we would have to remodel 75-100% of the inside to bring it up to our level of comfort, sanitation, and pride of ownership. I have all the skills to do that for a house (as we've remodeled our current house from the studs to the roof and everything in-between) , but remodeling a boat is daunting.

Has anyone bought a boat that was in the condition described above, and were able to a remodel it without gutting it? are there easy repairs for worn wood? how easy (and expensive) is it to replace counter tops, sinks and appliances? What about the fiberglass walls on the inside? What are the steps involved to painting it, and maintaining the beautiful gel coat like finish, without it looking painted? what about cushions, and matresses? and of utmost importance, sanitation, and that awful smell that comes from an old boat?

Any advise from you all would be greatly appreciated...
Personally, I have never been able to afford that home I want. So we often look for those diamonds in the rough and roll up our sleeves. This allowed us to make some good money later on.

I think it depends on the person - if have friends the exact opposite that don't want to lift a finger when moving in. Sounds like you looking in the wrong price bracket for your expectations maybe?
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Old 26-07-2016, 14:56   #9
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Re: Used Boats

We bought our boat last May and it needed lots of tlc inside and out. My wife tackled painting the inside and redoing all of the upholstery. We replaced the salon and cockpit tables as well as converted all interior and cockpit lights to led. Lots of other projects like solar have been tackled also. It took a lot of work to get the interior looking good but not that much money. We bought the bought for a good price and made it ours for less than a cleaner boat. Interior was torn blue vinyl.
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Old 26-07-2016, 15:11   #10
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Re: Used Boats

Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilRabbit View Post
Sounds like you looking in the wrong price bracket for your expectations maybe?
This is my fear.....
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Old 26-07-2016, 15:57   #11
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Re: Used Boats

Hi Scarlet,
like some of the replies before mine I can readily relate to what you require as we have done this to the last three boats we purchased. We dont mind bringing boats back to life and in fact quite enjoy work. One of the things that we will not compromise on is being ablet to use the boat from day one and do jobs on the go. Yes sometimes we have to lay up to do a job but its nice doing it in some other location.
Our present boat we have replaced counter tops, doors, re-trimmed the edges of doors, added extra electronics, replaced cushions and curtain Etc. So far we are 2 and a half years into ownership of our Sunshine our Lagoon 410. In that time we have sailed apporximately 5000 NM, all the time enjoying the boat, seeing new destinations and renovating as we go.
A big part of our decisions to purchase is cost versus renovations. We bought cheap and the cost of the upgrades still see's us ahead of a other similar catamarans. We do a lot of the work ourselves which saves an awful lot of money but do not hesitate in getting in a proffesional when our skills are not sufficient.
Yes we still have some things on our list of things to do but we are enjoying the journey at the same time.



Greg and Sue
SV Sunshine
Lagoon 410
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