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Old 13-11-2007, 09:33   #16
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Refit in Progress

I am in the process of a refit/rebuild, one of my life time goals has been to build a boat. This project is a compromise to that end as I am not starting from scratch.

By the end of my project on Lumia I should have about 130K invested including the purchase of the boat. When I started my main consideration was finding a boat that by the end of the refit would have more value than what I spent (not including my labor) it took me a while to find that boat, but Lumia should fetch 220-235K (low wages if I count my time) on the market after the refit. I am about 1 1/2 years into the project and with about another 1 1/2 to go.

I think you have to be really clear if you have the passion to under take something of this nature, basically my life is totally dedicated to getting ready to go cruising. I am lucky that my wife/partner is aligned as I regularly work on the boat at least 2 full days a week and it occupies most of my creative thought.

This project would make no sense if I could not do the labor myself, it would be way less expensive to purchase. Of course I have to admit that boat ownership does defy common sense, but I have the bug.

The hardest thing in my experience has not been the money but the under estimation of what some jobs really take to complete. If I can offer any advise to test your resolve in completing (there are allot of unfinished projects out there) a refit/rebuild, imagine you keeping finding more things not on your list and the things you do have, takes twice the time and money to complete, do you still have the heart to keep going, because you will be tested.


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Old 13-11-2007, 11:29   #17
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<my contribution will essentially be to get stuck in, making coffee and helping those more expert do what they do best…>

Having “participated” in several rebuilding projects, several of them unwittingly, mostly on land, but one or two marine, this is the only part that gives me pause… I no longer try to take on projects where I can’t do a considerable portion of the “dumb-work” myself. Inevitably there are unique technical areas that I’ll hire out – or areas I just don’t care to learn: tire mounting or sail-making has never appealed to me, rebuilding brakes and light motor repair does – but for the most part rebuilding is more expensive than just buying (whatever) in good condition needing minimal refitting… Someone else’s TLC, while it may run the asking price up a tad, almost inevitably seems to lower the frustration level and cost in the long run – unless, one is just fascinated with the project, for project’s sake – or, because the new owner of the project is either already qualified, or plans to get that way, to do most of the work…

Some years ago was party to a purchase of a former charter ketch – surveyed, had the work contracted out, mostly done professionally including the management of the project, by one of the better known “sailing” operations in one of the premier sailing centers in the mid-Atlantic… Survey was almost junk, the refit was inordinately costly and despite the seemingly peerless yard reputation, poorly managed and upon initial sail (thankfully, with the yard’s captain along for the weekend), the bilge-pump malfunctioned after a hose came adrift on a newly installed through-hull, the just refinish teak and holly (well, plywood) was flooded – another story, ultimately they had to do this three times -- and this was only after the mizzen jumper stay had parted and the restiched genoa split in about 8-knots of wind…

Over time almost all the electro-mechanical systems were replaced – but living aboard, I was in a convenient position to learn how to do them myself, or had someone take the time to talk me through it… Lesson: experts often don’t know as much one supposes, ya don’t get what ya pay for and don’t plan to be the coffee-maker… plan to do the bulk of the work yourself – if this isn’t possible, then perhaps one has the wrong project…

There is a guy at our marina who is bringing back a 40-footish Choey Lee… bought it for a song, but he’s done most of the work himself – he’s a tradesman – and the boat is becoming a thing of beauty… gorgeous boat, but would have been hideously expensive and frustrating had he not wanted a project, and/or had to contract out the work…

Having said all that, we just bought a little project boat (again) this past year – Hmmm… sometimes ya learn, sometimes ya don’t…

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Old 16-11-2007, 07:21   #18
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Having messed around for years with old cars into which I've pumped and, for the most part, lost money, I completely understand the thinking on project boats. That said, I kept on doing it cos it gave me a lot of pleasure; I also have to say that I've never heard of any cruisers getting their money back on any boat - surely that's something for the traders!

I'm considering it now cos it potentially allows me to get the sort of boat that I want for a reasonable price; if you search New and Used Yachts for Sale - for Tanton you should see what I mean. My concern in forking out top end money for an older boat is that I still end up with someone elses implementation of now ageing wiring, electrics, electronics etc etc

My initial thoughts are to find a vessel that is as near as damnit structurally sound but in need of upgrading and some TLC and then take on the project over a period of time. This should (yes, I know it's the most dangerous word in the English language) get me up and sailing (albeit locally) pretty quickly and allow me time to build up to blast-off - basically, Maslow's Hierarchy of needs but applied to cruising.

Put it down to simple bloody mindedness, downright stupidity and/or an inflated view of my own ability to achieve what others couldn't - it's not as if it hasn't been said before - I'm still interest enough to push on with creating some sort of general budget and, of course, finding some likely projects.

I will also continue the search for a ready to go, possibly smaller (project!!) boat at the right price - in this, of course, I am a bit more limited than most because of my interest in freestanding rigs - damn!

Thanks for your time, understanding and, hopefully, continuing help.

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Old 16-11-2007, 11:05   #19
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Aloha See ya,

Moving from basic needs to self-actualization (Maslow's hierarchy) can be split seconds different while out cruising. First you are flooding then find the thru-hull that's leaking, fix it, pump out and off you are sitting in the cockpit relaxed, working with navigation solutions and the world is your oyster again.

Good luck in whatever decision you make.

Kind Regards,

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Old 23-11-2007, 14:20   #20
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Re-fitting :

There is certainly a lot of good advice in this thread. It seems that for doing any re-fit it pays to know what your up against, and then plan for a lot worse. You need to know that your financial, time, and technical resources are sufficient to handle the challenges. Twenty-five years ago I did a re-fit on a 35' wood boat, but that was a mistake. The project demanded more resources than I could rally. One aspect of it was that my wife was not particularly gung-ho about "my" boat. However, we are now 3 years into re-fitting a much larger fiberglass boat, and its not "my" boat, its "our" boat. Having the buy-in of a spouse can really boost your ability to tackle a large project. The reason we decided to buy a boat that we knew we had to re-fit was because she really liked the sister boat to ours, when we did some cruising on it. The decision to buy, or not to buy, was left up to her. Her enthusiasm for the boat has made the thousands of hours of hard work a very rewarding experience for me. There is a lot of satisfaction that comes from working on your own boat, and knowing that when you take it somewheres you were able to do so because of your own abilities.
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Old 23-11-2007, 23:51   #21
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Aloha Bill,
Well said!! Good that your spouse is enthused. My wife actually picked our project boat too. I asked her if this is the only boat she would be happy with. Her answer was yes so she has a bit of ownership in the project and doesen't resent me working on the boat.

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