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Old 06-01-2006, 20:33   #16
Kai Nui

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For the short term you intend to keep this boat, an $8000 or $9000 investment will be very hard to recover. The value on your boat averages around $12000.00. Investing $9000 in a $12000.00 boat that you intend to sell in 3 years does not make alot of sense to me. That being said, the piece of mind could be far more valuable to you.
Were it my boat, I would have a mechanic specifically familiar with A4's do a very thorough inspection and teardown. In the process, the head can be resurfaced, and new top end gaskets installed, assuming the teardown does not show any major issues. These are things that will be a benefit, and well worth the cost if you keep the engine.
I will admit that I tend to lean toward the "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" school, and I have had flat heads that ran, long past their mechanical soundness, but I have also done roadside repairs on flathead Harleys that would send chills down your spine. I had a 51 dodge flat head with over a million miles on it, and it still ran around town just fine. After the 4th head gasket in 2 months, I found 3 wrist pins had slipped and gouged the cylinders. Only used about 2 qts of oil a day.
As for point vs electronic ignition, I would stay with points. I have had very bad luck with electronic. That is just an old Harley mechanic's opinion, but the first thing I would always do when I bought another engine to put in a bike is get rid of the electronic ignition. An A4 can be hand cranked in an emergency, but not with electronic ignition.
Just opinions, and they may not fit you situation, but the recoverable cost should be a real consideration.

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Old 07-01-2006, 09:40   #17
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Kai Nui once whispered in the wind:
For the short term you intend to keep this boat, an $8000 or $9000 investment will be very hard to recover.
That's just the math I was thinking of, but then again we're not supposed to apply math to sailboats, right?

The picture is broader than appears. We have some friends who would like to buy the boat with us and share the costs 50/50 on ownership and maintenance. The boat size is better for them (more of a couple than a family of four), and the general plan is that they might buy us out after 3 years and keep the boat on their own. Thus, if the worst case happended with the engine, at least I'd be exposed to only half the cost, and their decision about keeping the boat long term might determine how the rebuild or repower is done. I would feel better about doing something expensive if I knew they would benefit in the long run.

Alternatively, as you recommend, our initial survey and analysis of the engine might suggest the internal condition of the block is good, meaning that relatively affordable work is on the general horizon. This could reduce our risk exposure siginificantly.

Two last boats we'll look at this weekend include the '76 Islander 28 (14 hp Volvo MD6B, unknown hours) and a 1990 Catalina 30 (21 hp diesel with only 500 hours). I'm not thrilled about the idea of owning a Catalina, but we wouldn't be taking it to the south seas and having more space, a '90 hull and low hours diesel might reduce risk exposure and result in a boat we could use longer with two growing kids along. (The cost would be about double the C&C, however).

The C&C is a remarkable turn-key boat, however, and the odds are still on it.

Thanks for the feedback!

Jim H

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Old 07-01-2006, 10:03   #18
Kai Nui

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Jim, my opinion is not the most popular here when it comes to the Catalina 30's, but I feel they are a great boat. Best in their class.
You have lots of room for a 30 footer, lots of usable deck space, and a proven design. You also have a boat that will sell fast if the time comes. That wold be my first choice for a plastic boat in that size range. In fact, when my mother mentioned that she wanted to get a boat to do some coastal cruising, that is the only boat in that size range that I recommended.
I also suspect that the 8 or 9000 figure is conservative once you add all the unexpected nut and bolt stuff that comes with any repower, such as modifying, or replacing the fuel tank, increasing the size of your starting batteries, replacing the fuel fill, replacing all of the hoses, posibly replacing the exhaust thru hull to a larger size... you get the point. These are maybes, as I do not know how this boat is set up, but they should be considerations.
A repower I was involved wit on a Newport 30 cost about 15000. The owner sold the boat a year later for 12000. Even if your friends are considering buying you out, you still may have a 12000 dollar engine with a free boat wrapped around it. Of course, the C&C's are a good solid design, and from what little I know about them, will probably be better in a passage than the Catalina, but the Catalina will be far more comfortable lying at anchor.
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Old 07-01-2006, 10:09   #19
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I believe Kai may be right. I'd personally go with the Catalina 30 myself.

I plan to buy a Catalina or equilivant for my first boat. To get used to sailng a boat. And go to a different boat from there.

"Those who desire to give up Freedom in order to gain security, will not have, nor do they deserve, either one." - Benjamin Franklin
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Old 07-01-2006, 10:16   #20
Kai Nui

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Good choice K. You should be able to locate one with a live aboard slip out here in the $15000 range. Well equipped. Head to Mexi for a year, and find out what cruisin is all about. Let me know when you are ready to start the search. I tend to follow the Cat 30's when they come up for sale.

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