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Old 08-07-2011, 11:24   #1
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Is this Project Feasible / Worth it ?

Hi everyone,

I'm new to this forum, so first of all, hi there and thanks for helping me with my question!

I don't know much about sailing, but I want to learn, and a potential opportunity has come my way that I was hoping to get some info on. A friend of mine let me know the other day that a Catalina 25 sailboat sunk/grounded in about 4 feet of water near his home about two months ago (it's in one of the sounds on the Outer Banks of NC). The original owners came, stripped the boat of the engine, instruments, etc, and promptly left the boat, telling my friend that anyone who wanted to go to the trouble of pulling out and refitting the boat was welcome to it.

I checked out the boat the other day. It has been sitting about halfway submerged in water for a few months, including the interior, but from what I can tell there doesn't seem to be any immediately apparent hull damage. Obviously I won't be able to tell for sure until I raise it and try to pump/bail the water out, but that's my immediate assessment. The boat needs an extremely thorough cleaning, and I'm assuming that the interior is going to need to be pretty much entirely replaced. I don't know about the state of the wiring but I'm assuming that's pretty much shot also, as well as the boat missing its mast, sails, engine, instrumentation, and rudder.

My question is - from the information I've given (I would give more but that's about all I know), do y'all think that it's worth attempting to save this boat?

I have a lot of background in carpentry and construction, and have done a lot of fiberglass work on small hulls (jet skis, etc). I'm pretty confident that I can do a lot of that type of work myself - redoing the interior, fixing minor hull damage, etc (unless there's major structural damage to the hull that I can't see right now, in which case obviously the boat is a write-off). The major obstacles, in my mind, would be rewiring and replacing necessary electronics - I don't do electrics so I'd have to pay somebody for that kind of work.

I'd love to hear any thoughts/comments/suggestions y'all have. Thanks for the help!
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Old 08-07-2011, 11:28   #2
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Re: is this project feasible/worth it?

I owned a Catalina 25 once, and it was a great boat. You could buy one complete and ready to sail for around $5k or so, maybe even less. I'm not sure the vessel you described would be worth the hassle and money to get it back into sailing shape.
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Old 08-07-2011, 11:30   #3
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No! Unless you want to sink 10k into a boat worth 5k
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Old 08-07-2011, 11:34   #4
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Re: is this project feasible/worth it?

I would say no. A boat that has been down even a few weeks, let alone a few months is going to require that you go down to bare hull and start over.

Here is a list of the things that are likely to be encrusted with barnacles and/or 80-100% buggered by water:

-- All wood interior
-- Engine
-- Entire electrical system
-- Sails
-- Running rigging
-- Some or all standing rigging

You would easily spend more than $5k redoing all this and for that - as pointed out - you could get a boat that hadn't spent any time on the bottom.
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Old 08-07-2011, 11:35   #5
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Re: is this project feasible/worth it?

I'd say it depends on what you want to use her for and what condition her rigging is in. Would she be used for an afternoon of sailing, a second home, primary home? Being that you're handy you could most likely make her sail again with a few hours labor and some extra hands for floating and cleaning.

Sailboats don't have to be floating mobile homes, at least floating.

my opinion should be taken with an ounce of saltwater.
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Old 08-07-2011, 11:38   #6
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Re: is this project feasible/worth it?

Run far, FAR away as fast as you can. The owner can be stuck with the salvage and disposal bill that you would become liable for as soon as you touched the boat...
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Old 08-07-2011, 11:40   #7
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Re: is this project feasible/worth it?

G'Day pjm,

This sounds like a loosing proposition to me.

First, there really aren't many of the expensive parts of the boat left! All you will be getting is a hull and deck in questionable shape, possibly a workable rudder. We don't know if it is a fixed or a swing keel, but there is certainly possible damage there as well.

Second, if there wasn't significant hull damage, one wonders why the owner didn't salvage her himself... he was handy enough to strip her of useful stuff... if the hull was sound it would have been less work to raise her and tow her off.

So, to me the "free boat" is a means of loosing a lot of money and time and effort, only to come up with a commonly available boat with a shady history when it comes time to sell her onwards. I'd be surprised if you couldn't come up with a better deal.

Ya know, there ain't no free lunches around these days!

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 08-07-2011, 11:42   #8
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Re: is this project feasible/worth it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sneuman View Post
I would say no. A boat that has been down even a few weeks, let alone a few months is going to require that you go down to bare hull and start over.

Here is a list of the things that are likely to be encrusted with barnacles and/or 80-100% buggered by water:

-- All wood interior
-- Engine
-- Entire electrical system
-- Sails
-- Running rigging
-- Some or all standing rigging

You would easily spend more than $5k redoing all this and for that - as pointed out - you could get a boat that hadn't spent any time on the bottom.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hillbillyfunk View Post
I'd say it depends on what you want to use her for and what condition her rigging is in. Would she be used for an afternoon of sailing, a second home, primary home? Being that you're handy you could most likely make her sail again with a few hours labor and some extra hands for floating and cleaning.

Sailboats don't have to be floating mobile homes, at least floating.

my opinion should be taken with an ounce of saltwater.
Hey guys, read the OP a bit more carefully... the boat is STRIPPED of everything including all those things that you are worrying about

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 08-07-2011, 11:43   #9
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Re: is this project feasible/worth it?

So basically we are talking a hull.

1) I don't know the legality there of salvage and you better check on that. Can't just pull the thing out without doing some active discovery on that front else you can get yourself in a lot of trouble - environmental; state; federal laws;

2) You either better have lots of money to invest or have access to a lot of cheap or free parts. In either case, you better have lots and lots of time.

Outside of this, cant make that decision for you. DIY boats - been my experience that spending 5 years fixing up a wreck and spending lots of money and time is not worth it, and most people never get to a point to use it, or give up. Some people also just like the build and work on boat for years and then just sell, but loose money. Finding something closer to sailability and spending the same amount of money but more in the purchase will get you out sooner and have a greater chance of success.
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Old 08-07-2011, 11:44   #10
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Re: is this project feasible/worth it?

You could get a Catalina 25 with the instruments and motor for $2k. It's going to cost you several hundred dollars and many hours just for new marine plywood to cut access panel covers and new bulkheads. Add on a couple hundred for an outboard, a couple hundred for new rigging, a couple hundred for instruments and wiring, a couple hundred for sails, sail covers, companionway boards, etc, etc, etc.

It might be a fun project, but it's not going to be cost effective compared to just buying an old Catalina 25.

Then there's all the legalities required for titling and registering it. Not sure how that would even work unless you can get the previous owner to sign it all over to you.
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Old 08-07-2011, 11:55   #11
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Re: is this project feasible/worth it?

I'll agree with SaltyMonkey on checking on the legality. You will want a clean title and ordinarily I'd agree with rest of his post but..... I've seen it done. Some years ago our marina had a DIY yard and someone had abandoned a boat about the size you're talking about. The marina owner offered the boat to a guy for free if he'd get it out of there. No engine, no sails, interior was trash, and there was hull damage. Anyway, he gutted the boat, repaired and painted the hull, rebuilt the interior and eventually launched. He got a lot of stuff from nautical flea markets and even from the yard dumpster if he felt he could re-furbish whatever it was. They found abandoned bimini bows that he modified to fit while his wife made up a bimini top and a sail cover to go with a used sail.

Anyway, to cut to the chase, he later told me he had about $400 in materials plus his labor invested. A year or so later, he sold the boat for $4k. The name of the boat was "Lil' Repo".

So I'd say it was feasible but will involve a lot of work and searching as SaltyMonkey says. Hopefully, you have some means of transporting the hull to someplace where you can work on it without paying yard storage. Like your driveway. Storage fees would eat you alive.

Just my thoughts,
Rich

Edit: Just read Jetexas's post and he makes a lot of sense too. Although I believe it can be done, it may not be the best way to get into sailing.
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Old 08-07-2011, 11:56   #12
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Re: is this project feasible/worth it?

then it's a moot point anyway.
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Old 08-07-2011, 12:00   #13
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Re: is this project feasible/worth it?

I'm with Jetexas, as cheap as boats are right now, I think you'd end up spending more money rebuilding yourself than buying used. The most important thing is your time.

You can trust me on this one, I've been doing a rebuild for over 2 years now and the time involved is amazing. (Particularly if you are learning as you go, like me.)
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Old 08-07-2011, 12:00   #14
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Re: is this project feasible/worth it?

Note: We have duplicate threads going at once here, so we may want to close this and move here:

Is this Project Feasible / Worth it ?
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Old 08-07-2011, 12:04   #15
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Re: is this project feasible/worth it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by pjmpirate View Post
My question is - from the information I've given (I would give more but that's about all I know), do y'all think that it's worth attempting to save this boat?
No.

...
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