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Old 16-02-2012, 01:29   #1
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Another New versus Used Perspective

I am in the middle of the heaviest boat repair year ever

In the last year I have replaced windlass motor & gearbox, autopilot hydraulic pump, and tons of other stuff. Now I just discovered I had to replace my entire bow thruster drive leg (thousands) and my cutlass bearing is shot.

I'm starting to think about new sails (tens of thousands) and I will absolutely have to replace my entire electronics suite this year (tens of thousands) if I pull the trigger on my prospective Iceland voyage this summer.

Standing rigging is probably nearing the end of its life (tens of thousands). Propulsion and decks (the two most expensive things on board) seem to be ok so far, but for how long?

I bought my boat three years ago. She was about eight years old, lightly used (830 engine hours; 160 hours only on the genset; 7000 miles on the log; no ocean crossings). It seemed to me to be a good age to buy a boat -- still pretty modern, still in pretty good shape.

But for whatever reason, a boat that age seems to cost about the same as a new one. At least, what I paid was not far off of the original invoice price. I guess a new one actually costs more because of all of the gear the boat is not delivered with it, but the difference is not that great. Maybe prices have gone up since 2001.

Now I am starting to think that I made a mistake not buying a new one. I would have an average 10 years of useful life in all of the major systems and components, compared to everything starting to wear out, as I am experiencing now.

It's not just the cost, it's a huge headache replacing all of these failing systems all the time. I love my boat and don't really plan on ever selling her -- maybe I'll be buried in her Viking-style. But if I ever did, I think I might go for new next time. Just imaging how nice it would be for every system to be new with a lot of life left. It seems to me that it would greatly increase the sailing hours to maintenance hours ratio, at little additional cost when you add everything up.

Any thoughts?
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Old 16-02-2012, 03:15   #2
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Re: Another New versus Used Perspective

Quote:
It's not just the cost, it's a huge headache replacing all of these failing systems all the time.
That's the key issue for me. We bought our Island Packet new. Well, not completely new--it was a dealer's boat show boat. They had installed some gear over and above what the factory had put on her. The engine had 50 hours on it. They gave me a 10% discount off the list price, which was nice.

It was great to be cruising and not have to worry about things breaking. The only problem we had in the seven years we had her was the anchor windlass, and that was replaced under warranty with no arguments, twice.

There are too many unknowns to write an equation, but could it be that...

Cost New = Cost Used + cost of repairs & replacements

with the added benefit of not having the hassle of dealing with repairs and lost cruising time?
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Old 16-02-2012, 03:45   #3
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Re: Another New versus Used Perspective

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. . . with the added benefit of not having the hassle of dealing with repairs and lost cruising time?
During my month-long summer cruise through North Brittany and the Channel Islands, I hardly participated in any of the interesting touristic activities of my guests in these wonderful places, because my crew and I were constantly working on the boat on non-sea days, fixing things, dealing with problems, trying to buy or order parts, etc. Although my boat looks virtually new, she ain't

I guess the other approach to buying new would be to buy a boat which has just had a big refit.
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Old 16-02-2012, 04:17   #4
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Re: Another New versus Used Perspective

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Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
Now I am starting to think that I made a mistake not buying a new one. I would have an average 10 years of useful life in all of the major systems and components, compared to everything starting to wear out, as I am experiencing now.

It's not just the cost, it's a huge headache replacing all of these failing systems all the time. I love my boat and don't really plan on ever selling her -- maybe I'll be buried in her Viking-style. But if I ever did, I think I might go for new next time. Just imaging how nice it would be for every system to be new with a lot of life left. It seems to me that it would greatly increase the sailing hours to maintenance hours ratio, at little additional cost when you add everything up.

Any thoughts?
Precisely the reason that I decided to go new, although as a one off semi-custom that has yet to be launched, it has not been without it's frustrations. I used to own buses, some purchased new and some second hand. The main advantage of new is that there were far fewer maintanence suprises and they didn't start until the vehicle was 10 years old. I'm hoping that the same logic works with boats. When I owned a mechanical workshop (cars), we came across people who had purchased exotic 2nd hand cars at "bargain" prices. They soon learned that if they couldn't afford to buy new, then they could afford to maintain them second hand. I don't think this directly correlates to boats but there are some lessons there.
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Old 16-02-2012, 05:31   #5
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Re: Another New versus Used Perspective

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Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
Any thoughts?
Sounds like the work has mostly been around bolt on and off bits rather than any more substantial works (have you checked your deck core? ). Unfortunately they do seem to be expensive bits .

Maybe being lightly used contributed to the long list of replacements? - some stuff does like to be used.....but I nonetheless I do think you are on the mark with the 10 year lifespan thing - probably the reason why the PO sold .

I personally think the "value" is in a 2 or 3 yo boat (de snagged and with add equipment) - that is sold when 8 to 10 years old....or bought older if much of the OE has been replaced / updated (in recent years)........well, so says the fella with a 42 yo boat .

But the good news is that you should end up with a boat that is good for another 10 years . What was that saying about £10 notes and cold showers?
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Old 16-02-2012, 05:43   #6
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Re: Another New versus Used Perspective

I have bought three boats in my sailing life, all new. I still have the second one now 24 years old. Still in pretty good condition. The third one is 8 years old now (how time flies) and I replaced the windlass motor this season because I could not find brushes for the Scottish motor. That's my first big item. Boat is sailed six months every winter. I think the main point is that you will look after your boat like no other owner. There are many out there that just sail them and do not look after them. Buying new you know what you're starting with.
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Old 16-02-2012, 06:25   #7
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Re: Another New versus Used Perspective

Dockhead,

Thanks for sharing your experience. It seems at 5-10 years a boat runs into a steep wave of maintenance "consumables" - pumps, valves, electronics, etc. I guess this makes sense, since everything on the boat is the same age. Hopefully after that it settles into more of a steady stream of maintenance, as some components are original and some are newer replacements. Of course, then the big items begin to crop up - standing rigging, cutlass bearing, etc! It sounds like you're hitting both of these trends at once.
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Old 16-02-2012, 18:52   #8
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Re: Another New versus Used Perspective

‘I guess a new one actually costs more because of all of the gear the boat is not delivered with it, but the difference is not that great."

G’day, mate. I have to differ, the cost difference can be quite huge. I took a quite look at a few newer examples of yachts in your range on YachtWorld:

2011 Amel 54 -$1.25USD million
2010 Hylas - $935,000 USD
2011 Shannon 52 - $1.1 USD million
2010 Island Packet 48 - $690,000 dealer demo – as you said, will need additional money to fit with all the gear.

There are many quality older boats on the market for SIGNIFICANTLY less than this range that will give owners many years of satisfaction without having to spend anywhere near these figures in maintenance.

I’ll give you one specific example in regards to your windlass. I have a Mason 53 and needed to replace my windlass (should be the same size you would require) a year ago. The total cost to do the job was a reasonable $2,900 USD. There are many factors that influence one’s maintenance costs including; ability of the owner to do the work, prior upkeep, location of the boat, how the boat is used any quality of the initial build, to name a few.

All the best with your projects, Cheers
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