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Old 29-01-2007, 03:28   #16
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If you are wondering what boats I have been searching for here we go; CSY 44, Islander Freeport 41, Morgan 41, Gulfstart Independence 52, and Bruce Roberts Ketch 45.
You might do well to seek out the owners users groups on the Internet for selected boats. Not that I think you should buy any particular boat but if you are doing any type of research you would do well to learn about the details connected with them. I would say the boats in your list seem quite diverse. Since my wife and I own a CSY 33 this link is for the CSY owners list. I know they are a nice group (most are). They all love their boats and jump at the chance to talk about them.

You can look at the list contents and since there is no requirement you could join the list for a time without owning a boat. There are many such lists out there for many boats old and new. Joining a list for a time affords you the most favorable impression along with the problems and faults. Combined with the resources here you will expand your search.

A second place to check out is Boat and Yacht Sales, Buy Boats and Yachts - it's the most complete Internet list of boats for sale. Plugging in various attributes will let you look at listings with all the details about them plus get a feel for how far you money can go. Everyone has a budget and it's best to get a sense on what you can afford. They have more pictures of the ins and outs than any other place I know of.

This also makes an interesting winter activity. It's never too early to get the whole family involved. No boat is big enough when the entire crew is convinced the captain has dragged them off to sea in this stupid boat to for the sole purpose of make them miserable. It's the perfect storm you won't weather. It helps to bring them all along through all this too. You need some family excitement to get this project off the ground.

Paul Blais
s/v Bright Eyes Gozzard 36
37 15.7 N 76 28.9 W
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Old 29-01-2007, 07:03   #17
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Not to throw cold water're talking about 30-40,000 lb boats here. What sailing background do you have, how many hours do you and your family have racing, cruising, sailing? How familiar are you with marine systems, these may very well be system rich boats.

I've seen many boats sitting on the hard or up for sale because the project proved to be too daunting or to expensive. I've also seen boats sitting because one half of the family does not enjoy it.

Maybe buy the cheapo Pearson 26 and do a few weekends during the summer cruising to see if you and the family really enjoy it?

Good luck.

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Old 29-01-2007, 12:38   #18
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As Joli suggests, nothing will take the fun out of boats, more than extended boat-work.
There’s a reason it’s called “work”; and it gets tiresome after time.
I spent 10 years repairing & refitting boats, and having lost all respect for boatbuilders (as a result), I’m now the last person to ask “what’s a good boat?” – there really are none without serious flaws(IMHO). Previously, I would have enthusiastically suggested that the boat “ya got” is a great one.
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"If you didn't have the time or money to do it right in the first place, when will you get the time/$ to fix it?"

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Old 29-01-2007, 13:46   #19
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I have to agree with the post about getting in your sailing experience. It is probably more important though less tangible than the boat. I started taking the family out on a Capri 22 on the lake. This got the whole family in the notion that sailing is fun. BTW I always let my 8 and 10 year old kids bring friends along. From there I started chartering boats in warm climates. For us with airfare and everything Florida worked out to be the best value. The kids learned to snorkel and I loved the climate and just being on a boat. I also learned a bit -- kids don't like to be on boats for days on end. From there I am teaching them to fish (hard to do since I can't fish worth a darn). The more activities that they have the longer they will stay aboard.

The next year we chartered a smaller boat. We realized that it was too small for extended cruising. On this trip I made sure that there were daily stops including renting bikes, snorkelling, shelling, and other adventerous(sp?) activities.

When I bought my boat I made up a list like you are and found a price point that would allow me to buy the gear that I wanted to have and could afford on the boat. I made sure that the kids and the admiral were involved in the purchase of the boat and steered them toward the boat that I wanted. It was there choice on the type of boat I picked the individual one. Admiral named it and now I have to work on it.

It was very heart warming to me when I was watching tv with the family and there was a segment on surfboards. My daughter piped up and said -- Daddy we better buy our surfboards before the price goes up. (I told them we could learn to surf in Mexico) Another day I was layin in bed reading Cruising World and my son said, "Lets go there Dad! Look how clear the water is."

Its easy if its just you going but to get everyone to buy in to the dream is a lot harder and takes compromise. In the end I'm hoping that having the family along cruising will allow us to bond tighter than running here and there in the rat race.
Fair Winds,


Between us there was, as I have already said somewhere, the bond of the sea. Besides holding our hearts together through long periods of separation, it had the effect of making us tolerant of each other's yarns -- and even convictions. Heart of Darkness
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Old 29-01-2007, 13:56   #20
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Thank goodness I'm not the only one who thinks you should start small before getting such a huge boat, huge debt, huge workload. Even after you get a small boat and try her out for awhile I don't think anyone really "needs" a boat over 36 feet LOD unless you charter. Not to say that they aren't nice to have if well maintained its just that it is not needed.
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Old 29-01-2007, 16:19   #21

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Most Americans have heard the tale of a young George Washington chopping down a cherry tree (bad George!) and being so honest he admitted to it and took his punishment. From which we get the story of George Washington's Hatchet which can still be seen on display someplace, supposedly.

Is it the real hatchet? Kids ask. Of course it is. The head has been replaced five times and the handle three more, but it's still the original hatchet.<G>

Fiberglass boats are like that, you can rebuild and replace forever. The only question is, at what point does it pay to walk away and spend less to just buy a whole new one? If you have a job that pays $7.50 an hour, or $250/hour, or you've just got lots of free time and space and enjoy being covered in fiberglass grindings...the economics differ. Even a hole six or eight feet square in a 40' hull can be economically repaired...sometimes. At the right price. Two 30" holes? Same thing, it all depends on how much work has to be done and what the prices (of the wreck, and the repaired boat's worth) will be.
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Old 29-01-2007, 21:51   #22
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Truth or False?

I can not give enough thanks to the wounderful people in this room for their genius and humble input. Mr. Alan Wheeler, I'm 42 years young and my lovely wife is 37. My daughter's are 11, 7, and 6. My midle girl is already making a list of names for the boat and the other ones are continuously asking me "Dad can we also go to Africa? I would like to get a baby monkey and bring her with us in the boat". We are all exited about this adventure, and there is not one day that goes by that I don't think about sailing with my family. So I have no doubt that we all are going to be involved in this new challenge.

Mr. Chris31415, we live outside of Portland Oregon, about 25 miles south of the city. And I live on a flag lot, which allows me to have a long RV parking place and that's where I plan to have my boat and little by little we can work on it and get the boat up to standards. My long drive way is about 200ft long and about 15ft wide, with the exception where the front of the house is which I have more room.

Our family plan is to take the girls out of school, rent or sale our house and sail to the ABC islands, Bahamas, Colombia, Venezuela, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and few other places, and stay in that area for two years. Then we will set sails to Europe, The Red Sea, Greece, Italy, Spain, and Portugal stay in Europe another two years and then head back home, if the family is ready to come home. However, before we decideto sail away, we are planning to do alot of sailing here in the Northwest, Catalina Island, perhaps the Sea Of Cortez, Hawaii, Canada, and the San Juan Island here is Seatle Wa. That way I will get more experience anyway and dont't put my family into harms way. There is no such a thing of too much sailing correct?

Mr. Chris31415, I took a long look at your website and I must tell you it's a great site. In fact I add your site on my favorite list to have my wife and my 11 year old girl to take a look. Your site is full of rich and very useful information that I will take into consideration and often review when I start working on my boat. Thank you Chris31415, for sharing all your hard work with all of us. You are a true handy man.

I'm looking very closely at a 1976, 52" GulfStart Independence. You can go to and type the model of the boat and you will be able to see it. The boat was damaged during hurricane Katrina, and for what I have read so far it need a lot of work. At this point I can only assume how much work it needs. I also need to do more research about how much it will cost to fix it.
The other problem is that I live in Oregon and the boat is located in NC. I have no idea how much it will cost to bring the boat to Oregon by land. I'm guessing $10.000 maybe more.

Mr. David_Old_Jersey, thank you for all your advice as well. I think you have a very strong point and a lot of things you have said make totally sense to me. I'm getting mentally and emotionally ready for the challenge and folks in this room are helping me to understand what it takes to fix a boat and the challenges that come with it. Thank you all once again. God Bless!
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Old 29-01-2007, 22:14   #23
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We are all exited about this adventure, and there is not one day that goes by that I don't think about sailing with my family.
Then my very best wishes are with you all and I hope if you get down this way, you will look me up.

For God so loved the world..........He didn't send a committee.
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Old 30-01-2007, 00:13   #24
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I've never had the luxury of a perfect setup for serious maintenance on a boat but I would try for the following:
Get a digger if you can and dig a hole in the ground for the keel. This will reduce the thousands of in and out trips by 4 or 5 feet. It makes a difference, reduces the need for scaffolding, improves safety and speeds up the whole project. Fill in the hole when finished.
Proper safety gear makes working more comfortable and faster.
Have the mast on proper supports next to the boat.
Good covers over the boat and fans inside will make working easier.
It sounds like you are looking at a 2-4,000 hour project. With the boat next to your house (no travel) you could average 4 hrs a day, say 3 years. If your boat was on a marina you would be looking at 36 months at (say) $1000 per month. This is the cost of bringing the boat to your house and returning it to the water. Focusing most on local boats will also reduce projected transport costs.
Fibreglass boat quality seems to be age related. While there have been many comments that the older boats have thicker hulls and are better I would expect that the quality of resin and glass has improved over the years so, all things being equal, newer boats will be better than older boats.
And finally don't rush. There are lots of large overpriced boats out there. The owners need to sell them more than you need to buy them. Every month of planning and preparation will reduce your project time by about the same amount, while a cool dispassionate approach will reduce your costs and improve the final outcome.
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Old 30-01-2007, 02:41   #25
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Whilst of course you have to make a decision on what to buy based on your needs / wishes and not those of folk here, when you find something of particular interest feel free to post up details here for comments / suggestions............or just to satisfy the nosiness of folk like me

Good advice here from Chris:-

And finally don't rush. There are lots of large overpriced boats out there. The owners need to sell them more than you need to buy them. Every month of planning and preparation will reduce your project time by about the same amount, while a cool dispassionate approach will reduce your costs and improve the final outcome.
It is very easy to get emotionally involved with a boat, delude yourself about costs and time involved and even to feel that you have to buy something / anything to get started. Learning and building up knowledge from Books, Websites, viewing boats and talking to owners is "starting" and can save you time and money in the long run.......but at the end of the day of course it will be you who has to make (and live with) the decision......and not anyone here. And remember that no boat is perfect, they are always a compromise.

Of course it is always easier to spend someone else's money .......but if taking on a project that will be sitting outside your house for a year or two, I would be tempted to also buy a small (and very cheap) sailing boat, both to keep your and the family's interest but also as a good learning tool - doing this before committing to the big vessel may guide your decision or at least give you some more questions!
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Old 03-02-2007, 13:11   #26
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Two kinds of sailors

There are those who are going to sail when they have built their dream boat or when they retire and those that are actually sailing. I have seen many dreams turned into nightmares.

What you want to sort out for yourself is whether you are a sailor or a boatbuilder.

Life is about now. Make up your mind and get on with it. Having your own boat is not necessary if what you want is to sail. There are plenty of opportunities to crew or help a friend who has a boat but not a willing wife.

Believe me I know. I have built three boats, two of which I sailed.
I was lucky to have enjoyed both the building and the sailing.

Now I sail on a boat that was bought from new and there is still plenty to do to her just to keep her in shape.

And there is this story of the Engishman I met in the Cyclades at some point. He had spent five years building his own yacht in order to sail in the Greek islands, which was his dream.

Having realised his dream he was not a happy man. He found the islands were all disappointingly dry and bare. When he spoke of the time he was building his boat he was a lot more entusiastic.

So my advice to you is to decide which kind of sailor you are.
The one that sails or the one that is going to sail when...

But so as not to make too strong a point here I will repeat that I have been both and regret none of it.


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Old 03-02-2007, 14:14   #27
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Assuming by the questions, you have relatively little experience in boat building, then I'd suggest you either buy what you want, or if you truly wish to save money and do have time, then go build a new boat from scratch.

The beauty of buying is you get sailing quicker. And there are lots of bargains out there when you really go looking.

The beaty of someone inexperienced buiding a new boat from scratch is you learn gradually over a period in the kind of right order and can save money over buying a production vessel. You also get to know what you are going to be sailing away on.

A GRP hull and deck are actually easy for anyone to build if you have a mould.

It takes longer to learn the tricky bits like cutting & welding stainless, installing engine etc, but you'd be surprised how straightforward it is provied you've the time to learn.

IMHO building from the 'bottom up' you do actually learn step by step along the way. If you are just starting, I'd be hesitant to take on refixing say a loose keel - or cutting out sections that may have delaminated and re-fairing a hull.

This is all the kind of stuff you'd have to consider doing on a badly damaged vessel......and its not the kind of stuff you really want to practice with.

So good luck whatever you do - whatever it is - do let us know.

Don't take life too seriously. No ones going to make it out alive......Go see our blog at
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