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Old 13-12-2011, 22:45   #61
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Re: Refurbing / Refitting an Older boat - Advice and Ideas

Joli' Elle is vessel #7 for me. 2 of them were steel built from scratch that I sold before the even hit the water. 1 I found in the Barstow desert which I lived on and sailed for 5 years and was recently in the South Pacific. I have made some money on my boats and I have lost some. Last year I crunched the numbers and pretty much broke even. This, of course, is not everyones experience.
I have been doing this as a hobby for over 30 years. I started young. What I do know is this...
1) I live in moderate climate. What I can't do on the boat due to weather, I can do projects for the boat at home. I can't imagine living in the snow belt and doing this and my hat is off to those doing it.
2) Discipline, discipline, discipline. The minimum work week on your boat has to be 10 hours. 15 hours is better and 20 optimum.
3) Buy a Costco pack of post-it notes to be efficient and not forget the list of do's on the boat.
4) Rebuild a unit if you can instead of buying new. Nothing will kill a project quicker than a huge outpour of cash in a short period of time.
5) Know your limitations. Is it better to buy a 40 ft. boat because you "think" you need the room and never finish the project or is it wiser to buy a 34 ft. boat and go sailing in 2 years?
6) Lastly...If you have a spouse, they MUST be totally into it and understand the under-taking. I know...I'm single now...(and happier).

I bought Joli' Elle for 1/3 her market price. I rebuilt the engine (I did alot of the labor) for $3200. New (old stock) prop off ebay for 1/5 of the price and found LCD radar from a gentleman that did not care about making money off used equipment. New Alder-Barbor Unit still in the box for 1/2 price and the list goes on. Other than the rigging and sails, I have gone through most of the boat. So now she is worth 1/2 of market value. I'm doing ok. I love this hobby and that is why I do it. As far as heart...yes...I think with my heart. I don't know any other way to do it. Would I do it again?....I always say no but I always do.
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Old 13-12-2011, 22:56   #62
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Re: Refurbing / Refitting an Older boat - Advice and Ideas

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I think it's less about experience and more about psychology. Many people haven't the stamina or the attention span for a project that takes a few hours, let alone a few years. That's one of the reasons there are so many derilect boats in the first place.

If you happen to be one of those people described above, don't attempt this at home, as they say.

Now this should be written in stone and placed at the gate of every boat yard!
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Old 13-12-2011, 23:07   #63
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Re: Refurbing / Refitting an Older boat - Advice and Ideas

How the Chore List Works

-1 from top
+2 to the bottom
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Old 14-12-2011, 00:02   #64
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And people wonder why it takes 2 years to refit a boat
Excellent.

Do one or two jobs
List them down
Check them off
Reward myself for staying on task and completing the list
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Old 14-12-2011, 00:11   #65
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Re: Refurbing / Refitting an Older boat - Advice and Ideas

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Excellent.

Do one or two jobs
List them down
Check them off
Reward myself for staying on task and completing the list
If that's the extent of ones ambitions, so be it.
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Old 14-12-2011, 00:44   #66
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Re: Refurbing / Refitting an Older boat - Advice and Ideas

On the KD 860, the designer quoted 1200(?) hours, which comes to about 3 years part time.

The major items on a boat that size may not be all that expensive.

I took about a year to built a ply 6.5m centreboarder a long time ago and did just that. All fittings were new. I don't remember it costing that much money.

It does look very nice, probably worth the extra.
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Old 14-12-2011, 02:23   #67
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Re: Refurbing / Refitting an Older boat - Advice and Ideas

I completed a full re-build on a $20,000 AU 37ft 1980s yacht. She took me 2.5 years full time on hard stand and close to $90,000 including mast,rigging,sails,trucking,slipping and my wages......unfortantly the downside is that insurance companys value on replacment age only and no 1980s boats I have viewed come close to a replacement for my girl.
The good side is that the re-build leaves me with more time to relax and enjoy the boat with just general maintance.
At half the price of a new boat and more than likelly a better build Im happy I completed the project.
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Old 14-12-2011, 02:34   #68
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Re: Refurbing / Refitting an Older boat - Advice and Ideas

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Originally Posted by southace View Post
I completed a full re-build on a $20,000 AU 37ft 1980s yacht. She took me 2.5 years full time on hard stand and close to $90,000 including mast,rigging,sails,trucking,slipping and my wages......unfortantly the downside is that insurance companys value on replacment age only and no 1980s boats I have viewed come close to a replacement for my girl.
The good side is that the re-build leaves me with more time to relax and enjoy the boat with just general maintance.
At half the price of a new boat and more than likelly a better build Im happy I completed the project.
Looks great. Good job. Gotta love them flush decks!
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Old 14-12-2011, 02:36   #69
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Re: Refurbing / Refitting an Older boat - Advice and Ideas

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Looks great. Good job. Gotta love them flush decks!
Oh and I forgot to mention the complements you get !!! haha
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Old 14-12-2011, 03:35   #70
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Re: Refurbing / Refitting an Older boat - Advice and Ideas

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Even though I've learned a ton about boats and enjoyed a lot of the process (though certainly not all) there is no way that I would go in for this again.

At the same time I wouldn't trade the last few years for many of my previous years of life.
I was going to write something similar (but your version better ) - I suspect a fairly common thought............but maybe it's like the giving birth thing, who in their right mind would do that once? - let alone again (and again?!).


On a general note, I would say that of course it makes no financial sense overall (at least not short term) and on it's own is probably not enough reason to get many through to the end. IMO folk really do need to get "something" out of the process........even if that not always enjoyment . But a sense of accomplishment can go a long way

One of the benefits of buying older in need of refurb is the (pre-purchase) history / reputation for that specific model to explore from owners and PO's for common faults (all boats have them) and fixes (the good, the bad and the ugly ) to give a heads up on what to look for and where (and to cost up).

Nowadays the internet can provide guidance on just about anything boat wise that is not specific to a model / maker. and those with a decent owners group can do same......will help massively in doing pre-purchase costings (won't ever be 100% correct - but need a way to judge (in terms of cash / time / skills) whether (for you) a boat with a couple of new sails and a sagging mast is better than one with a new mast support and older (but still servicable) sails.

The nightmare scenario is to spend the extra on a "good" boat - and only find out afterwards that it wasn't really (simple age catches up with both sailors and boats ).....that extra 5 or 10k (plus?) would go a long way on a refurb......


In my case the common faults / weaknesses (specific to Seadogs) were:-

a) the Mast Support (undersized) = saggy coachroof

b) Fuel tanks (rusting out after 30 odd years - engine needs to be removed).

c) Aft cabin main bulkhead rotting through at the base (design flaw in hatch allows fresh water to drip drip through - after 30 years results predictable ).

d) The below decks autopilots going kaput (designed and built in the early 60's - but nowadays reaching end of life, with folk who can fix 'em mostly now dead ).


In the end I bought a boat that had a) and b) already sorted (new mast support and new fuel tanks).

c) had already been fixed (entire new bulkhead installed) - but had not been finished off cosmetically - the big plus on that is I could see how well the job had been done.

d) The autopilot was already kaput . But a (fairly!) easy thing to replace, and at least I knew was not working before purchase - rather than it went kaput after

Obviously another squillion general boat things to also put into the equation, but for me fitting a new autopilot out of a box and doing some cosmetic finishing (on Aft Cabin bulkhead) were well within my capabilities (skills, time and budget), whereas Mast Support, new fuel tanks and an aft bulkead were not.


FWIW, the warm fuzzy feeling I get from working on the boat is (for me) priceless and the process has helped me through a few of life's troubles over recent years (even if that slowed down the refurb)..............of course that warm fuzzy feeling could simply mean that I need more ventilation when using Epoxy
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Old 14-12-2011, 03:58   #71
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Re: Refurbing / Refitting an Older boat - Advice and Ideas

Even though I bitch and moan about having to work on the boat I often wonder if there is such a thing as a truly step aboard and sail away purchase - I.e. todo list = zip??
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Old 14-12-2011, 05:46   #72
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Re: Refurbing / Refitting an Older boat - Advice and Ideas

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In my experience, there are "boat builder" types and " boat sailor" types. the first enjoys the whole prospect of the build and doesn't really care about actually sailing. The second should just buy a boat and go.

Dave
This reminds me of the joke that there are two kinds of people, people who place people into two categories and those who don't.

And drastic oversimplification, in any case. Sure, there are people that fit those extreme stereotypes, but most of us don't.

There's one guy in particular in my marina that has this god-awful boat. Cosmetically, she's a wreck -- looks like dumpster fodder. He usually gets her going with "chewing gum and bailing wire" and because he typically goes to the end of the river and back, no big deal. He sails her every chance he gets. More power to him.

There is also the opposite extreme -- but you see these people with their cars and motorcycles, too. They put so much love and attention in them that they're afraid to actually commit them to battle. Like McCleland and his Army of the Potomac.

As for me, I enjoy working on my boat, but given the choice, I would rather sail her. Since she's been laid up for major repairs the past few years (now finally ready to venture out again), I have reverted to sailing OPBs. Those other people pester me to sail with them -- they need good crew and they know I'm good crew.

So, I fit in neither category. Sorry to disappoint.
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Old 14-12-2011, 06:41   #73
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Re: Refurbing / Refitting an Older boat - Advice and Ideas

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Originally Posted by David_Old_Jersey View Post
One of the benefits of buying older in need of refurb is the (pre-purchase) history / reputation for that specific model to explore from owners and PO's for common faults (all boats have them) and fixes (the good, the bad and the ugly ) to give a heads up on what to look for and where (and to cost up).

Nowadays the internet can provide guidance on just about anything boat wise that is not specific to a model / maker. and those with a decent owners group can do same......will help massively in doing pre-purchase costings (won't ever be 100% correct - but need a way to judge (in terms of cash / time / skills) whether (for you) a boat with a couple of new sails and a sagging mast is better than one with a new mast support and older (but still servicable) sails.
This is a great benefit for someone not looking to do a complete refurb

Thanks to the internets, I was armed with the knowledge of all the known weak points of the boats I had on my short list. I knew exactly what to look for when I was shopping around, and I knew what would be involved in fixing those things.

For example, the Tartan 30 has a known weakness in the starboard chainplate/bulkhead. It was one of the first things I looked for on these boats. Not surprisingly, the one I decided to buy had been fixed years ago, and done well... Also, the PO had a new fuel tank and entire new fuel system installed, new prop shaft and prop (because he let it galvanicly corrode), and it had other features, like a keel stepped mast, which I found to be a better way to negate the very common deck/step compression issues on a lot of the other designs I was looking at. And the fact that he only fixed things when they broke, meant the deck was left untouched for over 30 years, wich resulted in good solid coring with no delam I've yet to encounter any major surprises...

Saved me a ton of work and money. Obviously I'm a big fan of buying an older boat, but it's not only because of the cheaper initial investment. It's also because the ability to shop around and mitigate your concerns before they even happen, and NOT get into a major refurb, is priceless, IMO.
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Old 14-12-2011, 07:31   #74
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Re: Refurbing / Refitting an Older boat - Advice and Ideas

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The first thing among the "must haves" I would cross off the list are electronics. Chances are great they are already outdated when you purchased the boat, and guaranteed they are completely outdated by the time the refit is finished. Nothing wrong with outdated electronics -- I have a 20-year-old radar that seems to work just fine -- but don't assume any of them will have any monetary value by the time you start cruising. You're either going to use the outdated stuff that's there when you bought the boat or replace part or all of it with new-fangled gizmos. Either way, there is no value to the electronics suite you get when you buy a refurb project.
The electronics on my boat are probably close to twenty years old at a guess. (Anyone know when Humminbird stopped selling NS10 GPS Plotters?) but as you say, that doesn't mean it's not good, it just means it has no significant resale value. The VHF and 27mhz radios are probably ten to twelve and the echo sounder is so old it's one of those spinning light things. I really wanted radar for the long haul home, so, largely because I couldn't find anything better that I can afford right now (s/h radar is very scarce for some reason and even 20 year old CRT stuff goes for seven hundred bucks or more.) I bought a 1976 Furuno FR160. It's a dinosaur even amongst CRT dinosaurs, but it was working when pulled and stored, so if there's anything that's expired over the time in storage, it's probably something I can fix. Importantly, it was only $100, including having it packed on a small pallet for shipping by the seller (he charged $25 to do that).
Given the 20 year old radar that sold for over $700, it seems that some items ARE worth bucks, no matter how old they are.
This one's worth a lot more to me, it's old, basic and probably not a fabulous performer, but as long as it can see a couple miles further than me after dark, it will do nicely for now.
I see the 'obsolete - replace it' a lot with computers. I have systems at home doing useful work that date from the nineties and a few that are older. They might not be worth spending MONEY on, but my time is essentially my own these days, and I have a lot of it, but not a lot of money. So if if my radar need fifteen hours of desoldering and replacing a hatful of 50c electrolytic caps, I can afford the time, but not $1500+ for a new radar. Naturally not everyone would be comfortable doing that themselves, but then I wouldn't be comfortable trying to make a sail so...
There are always means to save money, they are different for everyone...

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Old 14-12-2011, 07:35   #75
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Re: Refurbing / Refitting an Older boat - Advice and Ideas

So, callmecrazy, you are one of those folks that somehow avoid the major rebuild! Well done.

On the topic of there being two types of people, those that sail and those that work on boats, I've been told that a few times and it seemed a little derogatory since it was coming from "sailors". It was as if I was choosing for the boat to have issues that had to be fixed, or that I should decide to either pay the professionals to swoop in and fix everything quickly or go buy a different boat. That's probably not how it was meant since most sailors know the modern stories of those who have sailed the most. The successful long distance sailors that I've read about have also spent years of time building and/or refitting boats. I wonder if Slocum heard the "sailor or builder" phrase from folks as he built/rebuilt Spray, or how many times the Pardey's heard it as they built and refit their cutters, or Chichester, etc. etc. etc.?

The other broad generalization however, that b.o.a.t. means Bring Out Another Thousand, seems much closer to the truth in my opinion!

Thanks for the thread and for all of the great input and opinion on this topic. Whenever I get the refit blues again I plan to return to this thread to for a fix on the realities of boat restoration and hopefully a better perspective for the next days work. For now I better go climb the ladder and see if I can check off a few more tasks before leaving for the Winter (need to add climb ladder to list!).

Jonathan
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