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Old 09-03-2016, 11:50   #1
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Customization Decisions Now vs. Later

Hi, this is my first post on the forum after following and researching it for a few months. I apologize if these questions have been asked many times before. I did not found them on the search results!

I’m thinking of buying a new custom-built or slightly used 38’ cruiser from the make Junneau, Beneteau, Hanse or Bavaria. Then keep it for 7-10 years before probably selling it. I hope to sail and explore 1-4 months out of the year (less in the beginning, more in the latter years). Likely a mix of 1/3 or more anchoring, 2/3 or less marina slips. First few years likely in the Caribbean but later in the Med (especially Croatia, Greece and Turkey but eventually all the safe countries)

1. Add-ons on new-built seem overpriced relative to the sailboat. I guess this is where they make the highest margins, similar to the auto industry? But still, is the high customization cost due to labor or just a “luxury tax”?!

2. Which items are key to installing by the manufacturer when ordering a new boat vs. adding later? I’m guessing that air conditioner (and heater?) should be installed by the manufacturer while building the boat for fit and finish, time and installation cost. What about the rest of items: Autopilot, electric winches, bowthruster, electrical toilet, water maker, extra batteries & water tank, etc. Which ones can I wait to decide if I really want it and add it later at a reasonable cost and avoid the "luxe tax"?

Thanks,
Frank
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Old 09-03-2016, 13:02   #2
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Re: Customization Decisions Now vs. Later

Frank,

Generally as you have noticed getting these items from the builder can cost far more than doing the work yourself. The problem is that when the boat is built you have to have something there.

Just as an example... If I were going to buy a new boat I would want 3 speed primary winches installed. At a cost of about $5,000 (guessing at prices), the reason I haven't installed them on our current boat it that I already have $3,500 in winches as a sunk cost and no good way to offset that.

So what's the answer.... Well for me I would buy a boat with no winches at all and install my own at commissioning. This is true for a lot of installed systems, but it also means I would assume a six month fit out process for me to buy a new boat, and I can do most of the work myself.

That being said there are some things I would have the yard do, even if they cost more.

-Generator. It's a big dollar item, their markup tends to minimal on them, and. I want the factory warranty on it, not a warranty from a local yard. But note that these days the large builders pre-run the wires and hoses for a generator even if the boat isn't specced for it. So later instal is a real option.
- AC - again most boats come with all the hookups installed no matter what. But I would have the builder install the units as well.
- Autopilot and the complete electronics package - it would depend on price, but certainly have them run conduit and chase lines for the wire.
-electric winches - as mentioned I would go three speed, and I would never accept the marginal sized winches they try to sell as standard. I would likely install my own.
- bow thruster - spend a year without it, unless the boats over 65' they really aren't necessary
-electrical toilet - love them if I really wanted one I would have them do it. I hate plumbing work.
-water maker - have the manufacturer install the wiring and hoses at least
-extra batteries - at a minimum they need to install boxes and wires for them. Retrofitting a larger bank can be incredibly difficult
-water tank - really all tankage must be installed before the interior goes in. This should be a manufacturers job


The other thing I would point out is that I would at least enquirer what the manufacturer would charge to install the gear I wanted and compare that to what I figure it would cost me to do. Then if I think their number is too high make a counter offer.
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Old 11-03-2016, 08:46   #3
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Re: Customization Decisions Now vs. Later

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Originally Posted by Stumble View Post
Frank,

Generally as you have noticed getting these items from the builder can cost far more than doing the work yourself. The problem is that when the boat is built you have to have something there.

Just as an example... If I were going to buy a new boat I would want 3 speed primary winches installed. At a cost of about $5,000 (guessing at prices), the reason I haven't installed them on our current boat it that I already have $3,500 in winches as a sunk cost and no good way to offset that.

So what's the answer.... Well for me I would buy a boat with no winches at all and install my own at commissioning. This is true for a lot of installed systems, but it also means I would assume a six month fit out process for me to buy a new boat, and I can do most of the work myself.

That being said there are some things I would have the yard do, even if they cost more.

-Generator. It's a big dollar item, their markup tends to minimal on them, and. I want the factory warranty on it, not a warranty from a local yard. But note that these days the large builders pre-run the wires and hoses for a generator even if the boat isn't specced for it. So later instal is a real option.
- AC - again most boats come with all the hookups installed no matter what. But I would have the builder install the units as well.
- Autopilot and the complete electronics package - it would depend on price, but certainly have them run conduit and chase lines for the wire.
-electric winches - as mentioned I would go three speed, and I would never accept the marginal sized winches they try to sell as standard. I would likely install my own.
- bow thruster - spend a year without it, unless the boats over 65' they really aren't necessary
-electrical toilet - love them if I really wanted one I would have them do it. I hate plumbing work.
-water maker - have the manufacturer install the wiring and hoses at least
-extra batteries - at a minimum they need to install boxes and wires for them. Retrofitting a larger bank can be incredibly difficult
-water tank - really all tankage must be installed before the interior goes in. This should be a manufacturers job


The other thing I would point out is that I would at least enquirer what the manufacturer would charge to install the gear I wanted and compare that to what I figure it would cost me to do. Then if I think their number is too high make a counter offer.
Thanks so much for your remarks and advice, very helpful!
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Old 11-03-2016, 11:10   #4
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Re: Customization Decisions Now vs. Later

Some of the production builders do not want to deal with any other equipment other than what the offer as up grades. Have to ask yourself what you really need/want. When we order our boat I had the factory do extra water and fuel tanks AC/heater electric winches, vacuflush toilets and genset. Had them run wires for washer/dryer electronics and put in separate thru hull for water maker intake and discharge. It is mcuh easier for them to run hoses and wires while building the boat than it is after the boat is fully assembled. We did not put a bow thruster in. On your list I would have them do the
1. AC/heater running all of the duct work may require removing much of the interior.
2 Electric winches running the large cables may be difficult after all the furniture is in. Also the individual breakers on the panel.
3. Genset /inverter much easier to set up wire so it works well together.
I would also have them add the extra batteries which I did not do and am sorry I did not.
We installed the water maker all instruments and commissioning still took 3 months.
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Old 11-03-2016, 11:31   #5
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Re: Customization Decisions Now vs. Later

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Originally Posted by Plutoi View Post
I hope to sail and explore 1-4 months out of the year // Likely a mix of 1/3 or more anchoring, 2/3 or less marina slips.
Forgive me for wondering out loud, so to speak, but for a boat you plan on using no more then a couple of weeks/months a year, and will be in marina's most of that time too, do you really need a watermaker etc. etc.? And a bowthruster on a 38' boat?

The thing is, the more luxury items you add, the more items you need to keep the ones you want running. If that's OK with you and your budget then no problem of course
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Old 11-03-2016, 11:50   #6
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Re: Customization Decisions Now vs. Later

Unless you are going to do most of the labor yourself I feel it is overall going to be less expensive to get as much stuff as you really know you want installed at the factory. When I say factory I mean at the factory, not at the dealer!

But by far the less expensive deal is to not get a new boat. It is to get a 5-10 year boat that already has the stuff installed on it that you want.
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Old 15-03-2016, 09:11   #7
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Re: Customization Decisions Now vs. Later

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Originally Posted by Lizzy Belle View Post
Forgive me for wondering out loud, so to speak, but for a boat you plan on using no more then a couple of weeks/months a year, and will be in marina's most of that time too, do you really need a watermaker etc. etc.? And a bowthruster on a 38' boat?
Probably don't need either a bowthruster or watermaker, you are right. Just wanted to list as many options worth considering depending on plan changes.
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Old 15-03-2016, 09:15   #8
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Re: Customization Decisions Now vs. Later

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But by far the less expensive deal is to not get a new boat. It is to get a 5-10 year boat that already has the stuff installed on it that you want.
Indeed i see a few 1-3 year old sailboats for sale in the Northeast. Buyers remorce? They don't seem to sell either and prices keep coming down. Worth checking out.
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