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Old 13-09-2016, 12:19   #1
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Which Path to Take?

We're putting the finishing touches on our plan for next summer. We know we want a cat in the 38-42' range for our family of 4. I've read extensively about used boats, including the ex-charter vs private owner debates. I see the pros and cons of each choice, and I am not partial to one or the other, because I see challenges either way.

We're happy to consider at any boat in our size range (or larger). FP, Lagoon, Leopard, other. Now imagine 2 boats, which are completely hypothetical and for illustrative purposes only. Imagine both hypothetical boats each about 39', and for sale in the BVIs

Boat 1: $200,000. It's 5 years old, 2500 engine hours, just leaving big name charter company, reportedly will have thorough phase out and all survey issues addressed. I'd want to add solar, a dinghy, possibly replace aged batteries with Li power, , new chartplotter, plus I'd need tools, linens, kitchen gear, fishing tackle, etc etc.

Boat 2: $250,000. It's 10 years old. Maybe it was in a charter back in the day, maybe it was privately owned. It has 5000 hours on the engines, but has had maintenance; the sails are older, the rigging is 10 years old, but things have been replaced as they wear out. It has some solar, and a wind generator, and is "turnkey family ready" with a fully stocked kitchen, some spares, even a SUP for my wife to paddle on.

Question 1: which boat, and why?
Question 2: considering the starting price, what will each boat have ended up costing 1 year in? Which was the better deal?

Any and all opinions welcomed! Your answers will help my justify future choices to my wife, so don't screw this up!

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Old 13-09-2016, 12:32   #2
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Re: Which Path to Take?

Don't buy an ex charter boat.

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Old 13-09-2016, 13:19   #3
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Re: Which Path to Take?

In my opinion, newer boats are better for many reasons. Cruising cats are relatively new as far as design changes go. Every year they increase safety, stability, ease of handling, and general live-aboard comfort. For example: For a long time people made curved sitting areas. They looked nice, but were just ergonomically crappy. You can't lay down on them. You can't sleep on them, etc. Now they're all squared off. Much better. Higher freeboards mean less slamming. Separate heads and showers, or even glassed-in showers make life better. Not to mention, better sail plans, one-handed rigging, etc. etc. etc. Newer boats are generally (not always) but generally better. Also, the environment of the ocean is exceedingly harsh. More years equals more wear. Look at any ten year old car. They're mostly junk. Which would you prefer? Does the older car have Halogen lights? GPS? Bluetooth? Side Air Bags? Lane Assist? Head's up Displays? Rear Camera? Parking Radar? Also, there's a curve for value that basically tapers off and older cats aren't any better as a deal. And lastly, there are a lot of people here who are fully against cats that have been in charter. I think that's shallow thinking. They are right that the cats can get some bad wear, but they also have a very fast repair system in place, especially for big companies like The Moorings. I took out a 46 Leopard last year and broke the traveler. They drove out with a brand new one and had it fixed in an hour. Each boat you buy requires heavy due diligence and really good surveying. All things being equal, I'd buy the newer boat.
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Old 13-09-2016, 14:02   #4
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Re: Which Path to Take?

Build a spread sheet of what you want in a boat, both in terms of qualities, as well as boat gear, plus toys. And you also need to delineate most of the boat's systems in said document. So that when you go to look at boat X, & Y, it's relatively easy to plug them into it & see what it'll cost you to get them up to your specifications.

Age is a factor in what will need replacing, upgrading, or adding. But you need to be realistic in that most boats that are used will need a sail or three, as well as some rigging work, & some TLC for her other systems. Big & Small.
You'll need to hire a professional eye to inspect all of her big systems. Which for me, on any boat of size, is just part of the process of getting her surveyed. Meaning, get a; Standard, General Survey. A Rigging Survey, an Engine & Mechanicals survey, with Analysis done on the Engine & Transmission fluids. Generator too if she has one. A Sails survey, perhaps. And the same on any other big ticket items which you may not be qualified to inspect. Which for me personally, includes a large/complex electrical system, for example.
And of course with all of this is a haul out, as well as a test sail or two. Including a good running of the engines through a checklist, & ditto for everything else of consequence onboard.

Lots of stuff? Yep. But it ain't like buying a car or house. Since the systems onboard are a lot more numerous, & operate in a pretty harsh environment. With unknown levels of wear & tear, & the same with regards to their maintenance.
So it's a lot of $ too, in order to see that a boat's "properly qualified", but you get a lot of peace of mind. It saves a lot of time & money in her tuning up, refitting, & outfitting. And you know that she handles appropriately, prior to signing that big check at the end.

Some boats can be weeded out via leg work via the phone, & internet. Others via guided, live, video walk throughs & perfunctory inspections. Or, if you like, you can hire a captain/project manager to do much of this. Even to include setting up surveys, & vetting local resources for your outfitting locally, etc. But given the stakes, you'll want to be there for a large percentage of the above.
And I've never skipped out on being present for any of it when buying a boat myself. Or when acting on the owner's behalf. There are just questions that will come up when various steps are transpiring, that I'll want answered. And unless you're there...

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Old 13-09-2016, 16:13   #5
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Re: Which Path to Take?

Disclaimer, I'm a novice boat buyer as well. I'd take the advice given. A nice spread sheet or a simple pro vs. Con list.

Linens, kitchen gear, SUP? all used and out of date as well? can easily be had cheaply on Craigslist, thrift shops, or new from anywhere? Don't even consider them as assets when considering a boat purchase!
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Old 13-09-2016, 17:43   #6
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Re: Which Path to Take?

Originally Posted by Gadagirl View Post
Linens, kitchen gear, SUP? all used and out of date as well? can easily be had cheaply on Craigslist, thrift shops, or new from anywhere? Don't even consider them as assets when considering a boat purchase!
Well said. So far the advice given has served to validate my thinking:
1-new is better
2-be extra thorough assessing an ex-charter boat
3-a spreadsheet of costs will answer my original question
4-on a 10 year old boat, just about everything could be 10 years old so I should just get my own new batteries, kitchen knives, and SUP, in addition to sails, rigging, etc

So unless the older boat is a screaming deal and actually surveys well...
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Old 13-09-2016, 17:50   #7
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Re: Which Path to Take?

Something to consider - hull construction has changed quite a lot for the better in the last decade/half decade. Most good builders have moved to vinylester resin, weaved fiber and vacuum infusion. Not saying there's anything inherently wrong with chopped spray/poly - but overtime, odds are that moisture related maintainace will be lower in the newer hull.

I'd rather pay for newer rigging and hardware than someone else's personalized junk.
We are sailors, constantly moving forward while looking back. We travel alone, together and as one - to satisfy our curiosity, and ward off our fear of what should happen if we don't.
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Old 13-09-2016, 19:53   #8
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Re: Which Path to Take?

mr. miller,

Look again at Uncivilized's post. He wrote much of what I was thinking about.

Anything you do that will clarify issues for your wife is a good deal. Lots of women understand comparative shopping.

Imho, you will want to replace a lot of *stuff*, but the important part is having the boat liveable, and for most, that will mean new linens, and possibly new upholstery as well.

At ten years of age, (by the way, the picture of a 1968 care with one many 10's of years newer was an exaggeration, to make a point, and not really relevant), many underwriters will not insure you if the rig is that old. So, better figure in the re-rig cost, either way.

For the 10 yr. old boat, the quality of the maintenance is prime. It shall have hopefully been adequate for the charter boat.

Re-rigging, re-engine-ing, and replacing sails are all big dollar items. New electronics, and especially autopilots and chartplotters, too. A good new dinghy can set you back 7 k. And don't forget the o/b.

You'd be wise to figure in an annual maintenance budget, too.

Buying a boat to travel in is not like buying an SUV. The boat has to be able to take care of you in a seaway, and the differences between them may be a lot greater than in cars, so as you get into the boat search process, you'll find that you and your good lady will start developing preferences. Heed them.

Good luck.

Ann & Jim, U.S. s/v Insatiable II, SE Qld, for a while
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Old 13-09-2016, 20:16   #9
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Re: Which Path to Take?

Originally Posted by Kenomac View Post
Don't buy an ex charter boat.
I've seen as many maintenance and abuse horror stories on privately owned boats never in charter as I Have ex charter boats. I have also seen professionals in the marine industry screw up equally as bad as the guys "maintaining" charter boats. I think most charterers don't want a hit on their Credit cards so take some care in driving. Plus many areas are seasonal so the boats use, may be equal too or not far from a boat that's spent its entire life in say Florida etc.

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Old 14-09-2016, 07:58   #10
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Re: Which Path to Take?

Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post

many underwriters will not insure you if the rig is that old.

I am not aware of any underwriter that will insure any boat without a survey. Part of the survey is to assess the condition of the rig and while the age of a rig is a factor there are plenty of boats with old rigs that have insurance.

At the price range you are considering I doubt you would buy any boat without a survey. Not only will a survey tell you the condition of the rig, but lots of other things as well. I probably should condition that on the survey being a good one. On the other hand even someone with limited experience can look at a boat and notice things like rust stains on the hulls around the chain plates that can be a sign of the need of closer inspection.

The question you are asking can be answered in theory by saying a newer boat should have fewer problems than an older boat. Problem is you are not dealing in theory; but in reality. One thing I have noticed in buying a boat is that what ever the age of a boat if it is being used it is often in better shape than if it has been sitting at a dock. While a survey will tell you a lot day to day living on a boat usually turns up things a survey has missed.

There are plenty of 10 year old boats in better shape than 5 year old boats; and vice versa. No way to answer your question without spend time on both boats. Even then it is quite possible something unexpected may turn up.

Your real question seems to be how can I minimize problems with the boat I buy. The answer is to know as much as possible about the boat before you buy it.
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Old 14-09-2016, 09:20   #11
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Re: Which Path to Take?

#1 Buy the most waterline you can afford.
#2 Out of presented senario new boat for 200k

Trying to be concise :-)

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Old 14-09-2016, 09:53   #12
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Re: Which Path to Take?

If you are doing a summer/12 jaunt why not buy a new boat use the time you get yearly in the summer, low season, let moorings maintain it and buy it at the end of the lease, or earlier, at a much lower cost for a boat you know the history very well.
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Old 14-09-2016, 10:31   #13
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Re: Which Path to Take?

I know there is a lot of sentiment about buying a previous charter boat. My opinion, not having had experience with it, the newer boat sounds like a better deal if in fact survey issues are addressed. Your surveyor with no connection the charter co.. Purely a business viewpoint.
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Old 14-09-2016, 11:47   #14
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Re: Which Path to Take?

1) I am too with the 200k 5 y.o one. Because newer and because cheaper. Because it loses less $ in a year too.

2) The 200k boat: 180k in a year. The 250k boat: 225k in a year.

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Old 14-09-2016, 14:36   #15
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Re: Which Path to Take?

no one can tell you what to buy sight unseen and all boats will cost you money a year down the line, if you have to justify buying a boat to someone else then buy a hobi cat or something like that. Your the one who is spending the money, so it all lies on you. no one else can be blamed for your own choices.

You didn't ask about cruising cost and live aboard cost Those can be advised. But weather to buy one or the other sight unseen????? even off the show room floor you take your chances.


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