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Old 19-06-2007, 14:30   #16
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Originally Posted by starfish62
A new boat will not eliminate the work, by any means. I was in a marina with my 1976 Pearson and had the pedestal torn apart and was trying to fish out some things I had dropped inside that I really needed (picture lots of sailorly lanuguage), when a guy with a shiny, new Hunter 46 (or so) docked in the slip beside me. He had just finished his shakedown cruise, and his list of problems--some serious--was much larger than mine on a brand new boat he had just paid over $300,000 US to buy..
Starfish,

The good thing about the new boat is that the manufacturer will fix the problems.
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Old 19-06-2007, 14:31   #17
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I'll vote for Sluissa's answer, if you don't have it you don't have to repair it. There is a tendency 9particularly in your part of the world) to fill a sailboat with "stuff', nearly all of which is not absolutely necessary. Get the mast, sails rudder good, then go sailing
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Old 19-06-2007, 14:41   #18
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Option #2 for me... but I have a flat learning curve

I buy & rehab houses ... I buy old Pontiacs..... I now buy old sailboats


For me it was knowing that after the refit is done (sung to the tune of Joe Cocker's "After the Magic Has Gone.....") I will know every system and every shortcut I might have taken.

I hate surprises at sea... almost as much as I hate reworking other people's household plumbing mistakes...
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Old 19-06-2007, 15:14   #19
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Maddog ---Amen brother

Let's face it. You have to love your boat, and deep down inside and not mind terribly the work you have to put into her. It's difficult to describe the relationship between a man and his boat, but I know that the group of guys in this thread already know what I'm talking about, so I won't even try.

When you start feeling it's all work and no play, definately option #3

Rick in Florida
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Old 19-06-2007, 16:36   #20
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Kenny, there's no magic bullet. Boats are like cars and having no luck with used ones that suffer from invisible neglect, I bought a new car last time around and have simply (ha) kept it up.

With old boats it is harder to know what you are looking for or at. There's no way to tell how good the maintenance on many things is, even if you are experienced at doing it. I know one fellow who bought a 25-year old boat from the PO, who was an engineer that kept meticulous maintenance logs. (We'd call him a bit beyond compulsive.) But, the boat really had been kept up. That's the exception to the rule.

What you can figure is that things will get easier as you go forward, knowing that every time you fix or replace something--what you have left is a more reliable boat. There are some things that fail simply because we haven't been trained to do the preventive maintenance on them, i.e. it is only recently that word is going around that standing rigging simply needs to be replaced from time to time (10-20 years) and that stainless steel seems to fail from crevice corrosion in all sorts of odd places like turnbuckles and chainplates, that traditionally were supposed to last "forever".

So, whatever you've done, at least that's less to worry about. It SHOULD really get more reliable from here.

The other thing to remember is that "**** Happens". That's an official motto among all navies around the world. When the engine quits and the wind dies and you're stuck ten miles away from nowhere...You hvae to shrug and say "**** happens" and know that there's nothing you CAN do, so you might as well relax and wait for the wind to come up, because sooner or later it will. When IT wants to, no matter how frantic anyone else is.<G>

Buying a new boat...well, that's one option, but personally I'd say "buy a boat with less stuff on it and there'll be less broken stuff on it." Except, you've already got a lot of sweat equity in yours. Might as well keep it, and enjoy the better days to come.
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Old 19-06-2007, 20:38   #21
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Right On Maddog.

I have just bought a 6 yer old boat that is basically in good shape, but has not had timely preventative maintenance. I have a whole bunch of little and often dirty or hard toget to projects that I must do or it will soon not be in acceptable shape. However most can be done while I am cruising, my shakedown cruise. I know that everything will take 3 to 5 times longer than on shore. But I'll be having fun tearing up those $100 dollar bills in a cold shower.

Seriously, it will be a challanging time deciding what systems are really needed and what I can simplify. I'm getting to be an old fart and do not want to camp on water, but you are not going to have all the conveniences of home.

I will be turning to this forum for advice as I discover how much that I don't know and whether I bit off too much.
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Old 19-06-2007, 23:57   #22
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What I've Learned

"What I would like is some sound, specific advice. How does one own a boat and spend more time sailing than fixing? "

Take a look at my post elsewhere titled, "What I've Learned"

If you have the means it might mean buying new. If you don't have the means and are stuck with a used boat here is what we are doing.

When something fails. Fix that something and everything else that looks like that something. It took us a while to learn that but it seems to be working and we are starting to get ahead of it.

We had bad toilet seacocks. By the time we finished we had changed the seacocks, all the plumbing and the toilet. The system was failing a "week" at a time so we had this problem for about 3 weeks.

We had a traveller break - we changed the traveller. The mainsheet block broke we changed that. We had a Genoa pulley break. We changed all the remaining pulleys and blocks on the boat. We started to learn.

We had a chain plate break. We changed all the chain plates, forestay and backstay fittings and will change the shrouds at the August haul out.

When something in an "old" system breaks you can bet everything else in the system is coming due.

Anyway - that's our strategy and we feel over the last couple of weeks that we are finally getting ahead of the boat. To that point my partner and I put $300 a month each into the boat fund. If something hasn't broken and the funds are built up we are going to change things that haven't yet broken all the way up to and including new sails and so on. We decided that a pay as you go strategy will be less painful than having the big bills show up and having to dig the money up at the time.

Good Luck!
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Old 20-06-2007, 01:03   #23
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Well said Ex-Cal. This is the way to do it.
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Old 20-06-2007, 05:39   #24
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Ex-Calif sounds like you're doing a rolling refit

Rick in Florida
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Old 20-06-2007, 05:58   #25
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"Ex-Calif sounds like you're doing a rolling refit"

Or a floating one ;-)

Actually, I like what the wooden boat guys say. Start at the bow and start fixing, sanding, painting and varnishing. When you get to the stern carry your tools back to the bow and start again.
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Old 20-06-2007, 07:48   #26
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if you dont like working on the boat find a job you do like and use your wages to pay some one to do the work,
or dont buy but charter.
both of these options will solve your problem, but when s**t happens you wont know wether to go for the spanners or the life raft. thers no substitute for knowing your boat when theres a problem. or no better boost to your ego when you have fixed it.
you knew the answer when you posed the question,its your choice. (sorry to preech)
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Old 20-06-2007, 09:02   #27
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Originally Posted by kennykroot
3. Get the hell out of sailing because what I'm asking for - an acceptably low rate of equipment failure - simply is not possible.
Depends on what you term "acceptable" - if you mean never breaks / stops / falls off and that everything always works the same as it did straight from the factory then you probably don't want a boat.........maybe an RV?

A Marine environment is harsh on all equipment, coupled with my suspicion that much equipment designed for leisure boats go towards the looks, lightness and ease of use side of the equation rather than longevity - as the latter is often obtained by being built like a brick outhouse, with the looks to match as well as a weight / performance penalty........not to say that this is entirely wrong - I also do not want a 100 ton 30 footer, even if her and her equipment will see me through to the next millenium

IME you either fix things yerself after they break, or preferably try and anticipate when something will need replacing (and learning how is always useful) or pay someone to fix / replace things for you (yikes $$$$$$$!!). I would guess that most folks fall somewhere in between........depending on budget / enjoyment of the work.

I think your post does touch on a valid point about boats, I get the feeling that perhaps many folk do have a tendency to either skip some maintenance (surely no one here??!!) or to at least try and maximise the lifespan of equipment / systems (moi??!!) simply due to the costs and time involved in replacing early.........and therefore it is perhaps not surprising that things do now and again stop working at inconveniant times......plus when boats are sold it is often a year or 2 after the owner has lost his original interest in her and cuts back on the TLC / preventative maintanence..........or has done his sums on what needs doing and how much it will cost against how long he wants to keep the boat.............so perhaps no great surprise that s/h boats do always seem to need work done on them............

Finally, always remember that a "cunning fix" is someone else's "cowboy bodge".
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Old 20-06-2007, 09:09   #28
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Touched a nerve?

25 replies in less than 24 hours. Have I hit upon a sensitive topic here or is this forum just unusually active?

Very good advice all around. I am pleased that the gist of the discussion seems to be - "No, boats are never as trouble-free as a Toyota but, yes, you can bring the failure rate down to an acceptable level. "Acceptable level" being conservatively defined as one that doesn't result in said boat owner requiring the services of a mental health professional or a good divorce lawyer.

It's nice to know that I don't have to off-load an enormous bag of cash on a new boat since these do not gaurantee problem-free sailing. But doesn't that beg the question - How in the hell can these manufacturers put out such steaming piles of six-figure fiberglass and get away with it?!?!

As far as used boats and the constant fixing they require I offer the following theory. The reason that sailboats have such a bad reputation for reliability is that the allure of sailing is so strong that it attracts FAR more people to it than can actually afford the time and money that it would actually take to make the boats reliable. It's not that boats are inherently unreliable. It is only that they are inherently prohibitively expensive for most people to make them reliable. Spend enough money and time and you would have a boat that doesn't break very often.

Doubt this? Take a look at another transportation device that operates in a hostile environment - the airplane. They're quite reliable. They also demand extraordinary amounts of money to make them that way. Someone also pointed out the necessity of systematic and regimented maintenance routines. This is exactly how airplanes are maintained.

Any other thoughts and/or advice? I'll even take the smug and sadistic variety now.
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Old 20-06-2007, 09:11   #29
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Lots of good advice,

If I were you the first step is to make the boat sail and motor. That's it. Then go from there on your refit. Then you can get in some good sails while you work on less important systems/ Aesthetics.

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Old 20-06-2007, 09:28   #30
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A whole new can of thread-like worms

Okay, now let's open it up to some wild speculation and shameless opinion mongering. I'll give you my specific project.

First, forementioned 30 year old boat is going to someone with a bit more maintenance know-how and at least 1,259% more patience.

I'm in Southeast Asia where labor costs are low. I've located a rather tired 20 year old 43-footer. They want $55,000. I've budgeted another $50,000 for a complete re-fit. Rebuilt engine, new rigging, new deck hardware, new electronics, new plumbing, ....well, new EVERYTHING.

Will that $50,000 give me a reliable boat?

Go.
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