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Old 24-04-2016, 10:15   #16
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Re: My Costs Of Refurbishing An Old Boat

We have now spent an additional 50% of the purchase price (close to it at least) we paid for our new-to-us 1988, I think you'd be hard pressed to find people who buy used boats who don't end up putting a bunch of money into them if they want them in good condition. Best advice I received was to have a war chest of cash for after the purchase, and I don't think it would have worked the other way (i.e. if instead of $35k boat plus $15 in work we'd bought a $50k boat, I bet we still would have had loads of additional expenses afterward). Plus now you have it the way YOU want it.

That being said, to prioritize my must-do-now list I went with "will it sink me" or "will neglecting this repair cost me lots more later"... the rest of the stuff (other than heat for the admiral) waits until cash dictates.

And I don't think you can justify anything about boats... that's one of the pleasures of them, they're completely ridiculous
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Old 24-04-2016, 10:49   #17
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Re: My Costs Of Refurbishing An Old Boat

A chart plotter is something I strongly recommend=----just make sure it is set to the correct position when you start. Paper charts are great and I have all that stuff--but in the wheelhouse the chart plotter is a must have for me--especially at night with the anchor watch facility.

Another must have for me is the hydraulic autopilot--as good as having an extra crew person.
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Old 24-04-2016, 10:52   #18
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Re: My Costs Of Refurbishing An Old Boat

Newer boats over time become older boats. When we bought our boat in 1999 it was ten years old and needed a few things done. Now it is twenty-seven years old and still in good shape but over the years we've fixed, repaired, upgraded and spent as much as we would have if we bought an older boat. Of course all the systems we've renewed are younger.

My point is you pay now or you pay later...AND you pay later. If you buy a newer boat or if you completely upgrade an older boat you need to plan for the need to put away resources for eventual significant upgrades and repairs.


S/V B'Shert
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Old 24-04-2016, 11:07   #19
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Re: My Costs Of Refurbishing An Old Boat

I have never understood the mindset of a person who would get a basically worthless item i.e. a boat requiring more repairs in terms of $$ then one can get for it once it's fixed, and putting even more $$ into it.

Granted many (most?) of us probably ended up dong it with our first boat we fell in love with or could afford but why keep doing it when there are literally hundreds (thousands?) of boats for each one ready and able buyer.

My first boat 10+ years ago was a 27 footer, 23 years old at the time which required $4-5K of boatyard's worth of repair. I certainly would never consider buying it under those circumstances. But a friend directed me to a very knowledgeable all around "boatyard guy", who also turned out to be a diesel mechanic, who incidentally to my request for a repair estimate, did a quick survey and pronounced the boat OK, other than the repair needed and he offered to do the work for $2,000-2,500, including materials. Considering the prices of similar size and condition boats at the time that made sense but only if I could get the boat for under $1,000 including transporting it to a friend's backyard.

As the boat's asking price was dropped to $1,100 (from initial $4,999 a year or two before and $1,400 when I took my boatyard guy for a look) I started looking for haulers' quotes. The first one was Brownell's - $900. I came back to the seller and explained to him my reasoning for my total of "$1,000 to be spent" offer which would only leave him $100. He countered with an offer to find a cheaper hauler and to keep the difference. So his own hauler quoted $450 plus $100 rental fee for the stands. As the seller wasn't including the stands we split the difference and I ended up paying him $400 for the boat. (Looking back with the knowledge that I have now, today I probably would have talked him into him paying the hauler for me to take the boat off his hands and that would be generous as that hauler would have charged him at least $1,000 to junk that boat)

Now by the time all this took place my initial boatyard guy had to move across the country and could not do the work I was counting on. I frantically started visiting boatyards to get a quote but most laughed me out of the office figuring I'd never hire them at their regular rates for that type of work on that type of a boat. So I turned to craigslist and started looking there for a "boatyard guy" to do that work on his weekend time. Incidentally I had an old sports car there for sale for which I was asking $5K but the best offer in 3 months was $1,500 and that was from a tire kicker. Lo and behold I get a reply to my boatyard guy search and at the same time same guy is emailing me re: my car for sale. Needless to say, we have struck a deal where he got that car in return for fixing the boat. And everyone walked away happy.

Of course that boat was not in any kind of "Bristol shape" but for the training 1st boat it was more than fine. The head worked, the diesel worked (at least the first 4 seasons), the sails worked (kind of, the main had to be replaced into the 3rd season so I got a one from craigslist for $80 from Cal30 and used its 1st or 2nd reef points to attach to the boom). My 1st sailing season the boat took a hit on the rocks at 3-4kts and came out with flying colors - just a small dent in the keel lead and about 5 degree bend of the shaft which I left alone and just filed and re-glassed top portion of the rudder to keep it from touching the hull. I didn't even haul it out until the end of the season but when I did my boat building buddy after seeing that boat for the first time and inspecting that damage pronounced the boat "built like a brick outhouse".

So the point of my long post is this - if you want to sail and have a limited budget - get an older but still solid boat and sail her as is. If you want to putz around that old boat until it is "Bristol condition" - go ahead and do that. But in the first case you will sail for relative peanuts and in the second case you will have a never ending money pit. Your choice.

PS I got 4 full seasons and 1 half season out of that boat and sold her for $1,100.

PPS. As an added bonus that boat's somewhat rough shape below decks and lack of amenities (mismatched home cushions, 2 burner camping stove, etc) have conditioned my g/f to be tolerant of those things so that my next boat, which was in good but also not Bristol shape, seemed outright luxurious to her (and to me).
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Old 24-04-2016, 11:34   #20
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Re: My Costs Of Refurbishing An Old Boat

I sail a 54' cutter rigged ocean cruiser of 26 tonne displacement out of the S&S board (1989).

This is the kind of boat I always wanted.

I wouldn't trade it against any brand-new boats, Baltics or Swans included.

Yes, I am doubling the purchase price and over the first two years I had much more dock works than sailing... yes... but I come out having the boat I want.

I check it thoroughly, insulated it all around, and upgraded it to a level (imo) unparalleled by any boat (ceilings are in silk fabrics...etc.) and tables are being built by an ebanist.

Btw I do not believe any new boat would be as fitted as I want (2 battery chargers, 2 house banks, 160A alternator,solar system (flexible), domestic Hi-Fi equipment...)

I visited an 80' footer carbon fiber boat just launched (4.5m eur).... I don't like the square shaped furniture in IKEA style.... :-)
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Old 24-04-2016, 11:53   #21
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Re: My Costs Of Refurbishing An Old Boat

Let me throw in my two sense. After reading your original, I would say you have the right mind set. I have been down that road in houses boats and RVs. As a kid (service brat), I grew up refurbishing houses as my father opted to buy the worst old home in a nice neighborhood and bring it up to standards. When we moved, he always sold for a handsome profit (I did not wonder until much later how much he actually made vs what he invested but I'm still sure he cleared enough to keep him at it - he was smart enough not to have kept at it if not). At any rate, it must have rubbed off as I have been at it in some form or another for the past 40 years. I started buying and selling houses the same as my father and then got into boats and RVs. I did buy one brand new home just to check that scenario - I believe I invested as much in "perfecting" it as cost for refurbishing the others. The point is; it is all one's perspective on the purchase to begin with. For myself, I have bought houses boats and RVs that I wished to make our home. Yes, we have lived aboard, been full time RVers (still are presently) and house to home owners over longer periods of time. My perspective, if it is your toy, buy the new shiny that will fill your needs til you tire of it. If it is your full time home, you will need to invest in it to make it what you want regardless of what you purchase. If you are satisfied with what you get for what you paid and willing (perhaps even wanting to) do the work on it, there you are. We are in process of refurbishing our motor home it's been our full time home for the past 6 years - (we live aboard). And now we are in process of purchasing our latest boat for $12,000 - time for another project/adventure. My list of projects for immediate attention are about equivalent to the purchase price and the "wants" list is probably half again as much at this point. As our boat is older, I am suspect I will spend more than what she may return if/when I sell her but that does not matter as I am confident (from past experience) that it is money well spent in making our house our home and would have been spent regardless. We all have a certain comfort level, be that what it may, and tend to aspire to it. Good luck with your purchase and refurbishing. Fair winds and following seas!
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Old 24-04-2016, 15:10   #22
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Re: My Costs Of Refurbishing An Old Boat

I bought a 39 year old 38' boat in a boatyard on Long Island, spent 3 weeks making it what I thought would be sail worthy, took it up to Newport for a few "final Fixes" and sailed it to Bermuda on my way home to St Croix. I got to Bermuda without a working autopilot or Binnacle light and slightly shredded a bit of sail being a hair slow in accommodating an abrupt wind shift.

10 days and 3500.00 spent on sail repairs, a new autopilot and some hand work, I sailed her home to St Croix and am spending money as needed to seal with issues that arise. The cosmetic stuff, for the most part is on my do it later pile. I love sailing this boat and do't mind spending a bit of money and a ton of energy fixing her up but my priority is to sail her and do what is necessary to let that happen.
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Old 24-04-2016, 15:23   #23
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Re: My Costs Of Refurbishing An Old Boat

Boats are toys that give us pleasure, which can defined in any number of ways. Enjoy! Life's too short to worry about resale value.
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Old 24-04-2016, 16:08   #24
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Re: My Costs Of Refurbishing An Old Boat

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Originally Posted by kennyarmes View Post
I bought a 1975. 33' Morgan outisland in 2006 paid 14000 for it. Total new engine replacement, rewired a.c. and dc all new electronics, new head, new paint, new Windless, new sails new rigging, peal job, have 130,000 into it and yes it is for sale
How much are you asking for it?

I did a major upgrade on a 1973 Cal 35 (had about $100K into it) and sold it for $19K.
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Old 24-04-2016, 16:27   #25
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Re: My Costs Of Refurbishing An Old Boat

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Originally Posted by Mike Banks View Post
A chart plotter is something I strongly recommend
Yeah, a chart plotter is nice.

My $2,000 boat also had a chart plotter and was setup for the entire east coast of the US including the Bahamas

The PO had made his last sail in that area.......he did this over a couple years

Point is there are lots of boats available these days.

There isn't a lot of reason to restore one unless that is what you like to do.

The sailmaker that repaired my jib and dodger is going out of business in about two weeks after 40 years in business. That after another sailmaker here in Norfolk went out of business a month or so ago

Next time I'll have to go to Deltaville, VA for sail repairs
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Old 24-04-2016, 16:32   #26
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Re: My Costs Of Refurbishing An Old Boat

As I read these it seems everyone is touting that they could buy a much newer boat instead of upgrading an older hull! Therein may lie the reason you want the older hull refurbished, age. Older hulls were built much heavier than newer ones, you will find no flex in the freeboard of boats built before the 80s. My 73 Pearson is built like a tank compared to newer boats. I sail offshore I want something that can stand up to heavy weather.
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Old 24-04-2016, 16:33   #27
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Re: My Costs Of Refurbishing An Old Boat

After reading all these stories of sailors pouring lots more into older boats that are worth far less than invested I now don't feel so BAD!lol
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Old 24-04-2016, 16:55   #28
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Re: My Costs Of Refurbishing An Old Boat

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After reading all these stories of sailors pouring lots more into older boats that are worth far less than invested I now don't feel so BAD!lol
Well we know you shouldn't treat boats like a business with a bottom line on a balance sheet or you wouldn't buy one in the first place. There is the other side if it wasn't a boat would it be an RV or classic European car?

Perhaps the smart move would be buying boats someone has already invested heavily in and then puts up for sale. The only downside is did they do it properly and you don't get to choose the bling items.

Perhaps the answer to old yachts is back to basics. Do you need a water maker, A/C or an ice maker? the latest 20" chart plotter ?

Sailed with a retired chap last year who put a ford diesel 1.6L car engine into a Westerly Pentland 31ft yacht. Little on the large size but nicely done at a good price. He asked me what I thought of the Genoa after we had been sailing for a couple of days. Said it looked great, not that I am an expert, but if it looks right it probably is in my book. Then he told me he made the tri radial Genoa himself sewing every single panel together over the winter in the club conference room. Just a superb effort and he was justified in being very proud of his efforts.

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Old 24-04-2016, 17:18   #29
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Re: My Costs Of Refurbishing An Old Boat

Old? 1980? ah just a spring chicken! But you are maintaining a great, beautiful, older boat and keeping her sailing. I am on a shoestring with my old boat, but she still sails very sweetly (when the mast is up! Doing some work on it right now...) and as long as you don't let the perfect (or bristol) become the enemy of the good and sailing, I am confident you'll feel the joy and all the pay off of your hard work, long before she is all "done."
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Old 24-04-2016, 17:19   #30
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Re: My Costs Of Refurbishing An Old Boat

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There is the other side if it wasn't a boat would it be an RV or classic European car?
Hah, I should print this post out... my brother likes to buy and restore late '60's / early '70's Alfa Romeos and he thinks my boat habit is frivolous To each their own disease I guess.

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Perhaps the smart move would be buying boats someone has already invested heavily in and then puts up for sale. The only downside is did they do it properly and you don't get to choose the bling items.
Yep, that's the rub right there, was it done right... only thing worse than buying a boat you know needs fixing up and fixing it up is spending more to buy a boat you think is all set and finding you need to fix it up again but right this time.
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