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Old 24-02-2009, 18:15   #1
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I found a project boat

Hi - I am new to the forum but have been watching and reading a long time. Relatively new to sailing (5 yrs) some ASA courses but mostly racing off of Chicago (some long distance).

Anyway, I have the inside scoop on a project boat - sort of a repo deal. I have only seen pictures but this is how it looks to me and what I know of it.
  • 1984 37' custom, hull from Travernius (sp?) Fl and finished in Ft. Lauderdale - afloat (that's good) at dockside
  • Cutter rig with Hoyt boom and staysail
  • Wind generator
  • Radar (with really ugly arch)
  • A really corroded hatch
  • Badly weather teak handholds on the deck
  • Roller furling headsail
  • Really ugly, homemade hard dodger that needs to be cut off
  • One missing port
  • Engel portable refer, assume boat refer doesn't work
  • Instrumentation panel open, wires hanging out
  • Engine - looks like diesel, needs cleanup, don't know if it runs
  • Bilge seems dry
  • Sail condition unknown but I assume poor
In general needs a bit of refit and lots of cleanup - she has clearly been neglected. I am going to look at it this weekend and so, hence my question.

What should I look for that would cause me to walk away from the deal no matter how cheap. I looked for boats in this price range on yachtworld and there were none, when I went up in price some there was one 35' that washed up on a beach, had been holed and was without mast and engine.

My wife thinks this will be a money pit (of course it will) and thinks it is really ugly - thus I told her the new boat name should be "Ugly Duckling"

Thanks for any insights you may have. As I said I have been reading this forum for a long time and know I will get some good thoughts - and a few not so good
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Old 24-02-2009, 18:45   #2
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Depends on time a skills. Hire a new engien put in and you are looking at $20k, Sails new upwards of $5k. If you can rebuild the boat the parts are going to be expensive.

Look at Don Casey's book Inspoecting the Aging Sailboat. Read it a couple of times till you understand everything, Self inspect the boa, then if it iworth carrying on look at hiring a pro surveyor to do another inspection.

Good Luck with whatever you decide.
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Old 24-02-2009, 18:53   #3
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Hi Duckling,

If the idea is to find a long term expensive project, It sounds like you've found it. If the idea is to go sailing, I'd keep looking.

Having said that, if you have lots of money and time to get this in shape, I'd make sure I had, at least, a sound hull and rig, and a working engine.

How Strong is your marriage? If your wife thinks it's ugly and a money pit and doesn't see " potential" then this project will be all on you...and she may not step foot on it, until it is a.... Swan.
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Old 24-02-2009, 19:27   #4
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Unless you have owned and maintained boats before, its very difficult to understand all the work and money it takes just to maintain a boat..much less restoring a boat. Unless you are very familiar with the whole process, its usually best to buy a boat in working condition. I see and hear all the time of examples of people who have taken on similar projects. Almost always, it costs them much more money and much more time than they had ever anticipated. I'm not saying don't do it. I am saying that you need to very careful not to get into something that you might very well later regret. Also, don't figure on ever getting a dollar for dollar return on the money spent. Boats are the anti-investment with unbelievably high negative rates of return.

Do you have a picture of the boat you can post?
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Old 24-02-2009, 20:03   #5
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Here are a couple of pictures (If I attached them correctly,I said I am new here). I owned a small 18' Bucaneer day sailer when I was younger, no real upkeep to speak of. I am handy, an engineer with good knowledege of electrical circuits, plumbing and engine work. Looked through Nigel Calder's book and understood it all. Have a wood working shop in my basement. Please keep the questions/suggestions/concerns coming.
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Old 24-02-2009, 20:14   #6
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What works and does not work on the boat? Just from the picture, it does not in horribly bad shape.
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Old 24-02-2009, 20:15   #7
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From your brief description it sounds like this boat has two strikes. Any one of several other issues would put it out in my book even if the boat were free.

First, you don't mention (unless I missed the fine print) what the boat is made of so I assume fiberglass.

1. Soft deck. Most glass boats use some sort of structural core in the deck. Could be plywood, foam, end grain balsa. If water has gotten into the core through any of the screw holes in the deck and the core is wet, deck glass delaminating from core it will result in solt or springy areas on the deck when it reaches an advanced stage. If you see this RUN AWAY!!!

2. Hull blisters. Water penetrating the hull giving bumps, and again delamination. A mild case you could fix. Bad case, forget it.

3. Rig. You very likely have a dead engine considering the condition of the boat. If the fittings, wire, mast, winches, etc are not in very good or repairable condition then figure some more thousands into the money pit.

Add up all the items you need to fix and add 50-100% (it always costs a lot more than your estimates), add to the cost of the boat and compare this to other boats on the market. Don't forget to add every spare afternoon and weekend for the foreseeable future.

Now in case you think I am a total pessimist and buzz kill, I have a contract pending on a 1985 boat that will be my project for the next couple of years so I have already gone through this thought process myself.

If logic and good sense fails you, I know a really great surveyor in S FL. About 35 years in the business and does not cut corners. Not sure about rules for posting in public so if interested send me a PM and I will give you his contact details. (No I don't get a kickback, just like his work).
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Old 24-02-2009, 22:22   #8
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I don't think anyone can advise you to go forward or not because we don't know your money budget, your time budget or your sailing goals.

Consider a great 36-37 foot much newer boat can be had for $80-$100k - That's my money budget.

I want to sail not fix a boat.

Engine Fix - 4-8 weeks
Rigging rerig - 4-6 weeks
Dodger removal and boat refinishing - 4-6 weeks
Wood work and interior work - 8 weeks to 6 months (depending)
Electronics and nav gear repair/replace - 2-3 weeks

Stuff I haven't thought about. And the above is stepping on the gas and working full time. Many jobs require two hands - do you have a willing and able apprentice?

Considering concurrent tasking 6 months - 8 months - Way beyond my time budget.

Sailing goals - 8+ hours of sailing for every hour of maintenance. This boat is way too little sailing for my sailing goals.

Money budget -

Bad stick (cracked etc) - $20k
Bad Engine - $20k
Electronics - $10k
Sails - $6,000 minimum
Soft Deck - $6,000-$12,000
Blistered Hull - $6,000-$15,000 - Plus up to 8 months dry out
Standing Rigging - $5,000
Running Rigging - $3,000
Miscellaneous - $2500

Your total exposure can be upwards of $90k for this boat.

It honestly doesn't look that bad (except the ugly dodger) so in my limited view of the condition of the boat, for my standards I would plan on a minimum of $50-$60k. If I got this boat for $10-$15 I might consider except my personal deal breaker is that I like to sail not work on boats.

I personally would look for a much nicer $70k boat and upgrade stuff on a rolling basis.
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Old 25-02-2009, 01:05   #9
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Respectfully disagreeing with Ex-Calif...

Quote from Ex-Calif :-
"Engine Fix - 4-8 weeks
Rigging rerig - 4-6 weeks
Dodger removal and boat refinishing - 4-6 weeks
Wood work and interior work - 8 weeks to 6 months (depending)
Electronics and nav gear repair/replace - 2-3 weeks"

My experience indicates that the numbers are about right, just replace weeks with months.

I agree (roughly) with his monetary figures.

My limited experience with old fibreglass boats is that they need an extended period on the hard (to dry out totally) before they can be fixed.

Fixing rudders and chainplates is difficult, messy and expensive, but cannot be neglected.

If I was magically transported back in time I would buy 27' trailable yacht.

Once the local sailing was all done I would use the money saved to buy a young "creampuff" and happily sail off into the sunset.
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Old 25-02-2009, 14:13   #10
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How bad is she...really?

g'Day Duckling

Well, it seems to me that Excal & co. may be being presumptively pessimistic here.

In your description of the boat there is no mention of a mast in such poor shape that it would require replacement. There were no soft spots in the deck mentioned, nor osmotic blistering, nor ratty chainplates either. And so on...

PErhaps I've missed something along the way, but so far it seems like there are some definite cosmetic issues, a questionalble engine, a hatch and a port that need replacement, wiring projects, and so on. If you are handy as claimed, and willing to work your ass off, a lot of those big scary numbers either vanish or shrink somewhat. And, you never do mention just how bloody cheaply you can get the boat, so it is hard to guess how much would be reasonable to further invest in her.

You imply that she is a one-off, and built by an individual or a custom yard. Some knowledge of the sort of work the builder(s) have done on other projects might be useful -- a reputation for quality, or for cutting corners -- might lead you to some conclusions as to the likelyhood of deepseated problems such as inadequate chainplates or low quality resin in the layup.

I guess what I'd like to get across is a need to have some of those issues resolved so that you can decide just what items will really need big infusions of money. Dare I suggest getting a surveyor to do at least an in-the-water survey, and a mechanic to evaluate the engine? Might just make your decision a bit more objective in the long run.

The issues with your sig other might be the deal breaker... only you and she can work that one out!

Cheers and good luck,

Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II lying Gladstone Qld Oz
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Old 25-02-2009, 14:42   #11
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Run, do not walk away...............

Even if they scream after you, "I'll pay YOU to take her"....don't stop.

As a previous poster said, unless you've been there and done that, you have NO IDEA how much work and how much expense and how much time is involved. And, your wife seems to have sized this one up pretty well.

JMO,

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Old 25-02-2009, 15:16   #12
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If you are seeking a bargain boat: it must be structurally sound, but will have cosmetic issues, put away wet and left dirty, have dirty dishes in the sink, left unscrubbed, and unused for some time. The seller will be motivated.

If the boat is sound and can be bought right it is worth a look. If you have abilities to make repairs so much the better. It is OK to buy a boat with cosmetic issues and go sailing. Paint, cushions, electronics, and so on can be deferred. We only work on our boat in the off season and try to plan the work ahead of time for the following year staging materials ahead of time.

Absolutely get a good surveyor to make sure the hull, rig, and engine are sound.
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Old 25-02-2009, 15:30   #13
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I don't see any 'run away' problems from what's been posted but of course sight unseen all boats look good.<G>

The engine will be an expense. The rigging, being 20+ years old, simply needs to be redone, again that's just an expense. Ditto the sails, which may or may not be in shape to use as bedsheets. Just keep adding up costs of time and money.

The hatch, more money, no big deal unless the coring has gone rotten because where ever a hatch or portlight isn't sealed properly--water will get into the core materials. Structural problems with the keel, core, chainplates and bulkheads, those are killers. Anything else that can be unbolted and replaced, is just a question of your time and money.

And then there's that extra dodger...curing that is either going to mean getting personal with it, or hiring out for glass work.

Never heard of that hull...You might want to check the HIN and confirm just what it is. Your other big loss can be a zero resale value--if that boat is not known, or even worse, has a bad reputation.
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Old 25-02-2009, 15:30   #14
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Been there done it: I have to say that when we bought our boat, almost seven years ago it looked worse than Wanderer in the first scene in Capt Ron. My wife and I both laugh every time we see that scene. The boat was our dream boat and the price was right, and we already did a refit on the boat we owned before. What I can tell you is yes it is a lot of hard work, but if your like working with your hands and your wife is willing to put the time in, it can be worth it. Our boat sat in our yard for five years as we rebuilt it, and it was a lot of hard work but believe it or not as you see the whole project comming together the satifaction is unreal. When we finally got the boat in the water we were proud as new parents. Was it worth it? You bet it was, and if you read my post about when it was rammed we were crushed. I only mention this because the work that the boatyard did to repair it was only about a third of the work that we did but the cost was probably 3 to four times more than it cost us to do ourselves.
I guess what I'm trying to say is it can be done but it is a total commitment and hard work, but the feeling you can get when it is finished is worth every cut and bruse sweat you put into it. We may never get back all the money and time we put into it BUT I know we would never own our dream boat if we didn't do it.
Just my 2 cents worth
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Old 25-02-2009, 15:40   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ugly duckling View Post

What should I look for that would cause me to walk away from the deal no matter how cheap. I looked for boats in this price range on yachtworld and there were none, when I went up in price some there was one 35' that washed up on a beach, had been holed and was without mast and engine.
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Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
g'Day Duckling

Well, it seems to me that Excal & co. may be being presumptively pessimistic here.
Many apologies if I sounded pessimistic. I agree with others that it is hard to tell from pictures. I started to respond to the actual question, "What should I look for that would cause me to walk away" and I got carried away.

There are many project boats here. Generally the current owners think they are great but even if had for free they will end up costing more than their market value when finished.

A boat can be rebuilt from the keel up so tecnically there are no "deal" breakers. It's all about what the buyer can tolerate. My personal list of deal breakers include any of all the items I listed.

We had a decent boat here on the hard. Only a few people knew the mast was cracked. The owner was entertaining offers and not disclosing the defect. On this boat the stick is worth more than the market value of the boat.

Whatever OP does, he should get a survey but more importantly he should heed the admirals wishes. That's the test that counts, not us - LOL...
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