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Old 09-06-2019, 04:59   #1
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Buy a boat that is ready to sail or Renovate one

I am new to sailing and looking for suggestions on my first boat. Would it be better to buy a "ready to go" boat or buy cheaper and renovate over a couple of months?

If I buy a project boat, I will surely learn everything about the boat as I am renovating it, allowing me to pretty much fix everything myself.

If I buy a boat that is ready to go, it could take me quite a while before I learn everything and there is no guarantee that I will be able to fix it myself without paying an expert. ie. the repairs might be more expensive overall

Does anyone wish they renovated instead of buying RTG?
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Old 09-06-2019, 05:09   #2
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pirate Re: Buy a boat that is ready to sail or Renovate one

Well.. I have bought a few fixer uppers in the past..
Lost a lot of sailing time so took up deliveries and lost lottsa fixing up time..
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Old 09-06-2019, 05:11   #3
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Re: Buy a boat that is ready to sail or Renovate one

Thanks for the laugh, “renovate over a couple of months” that’s hysterical. Most readers on this forum would consider 2 months barely enough time to get a “ready to go yacht” ready.
I would go for a reasonable yacht that has a good rig and engine. The rest you should be able to fix yourself.
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Old 09-06-2019, 05:22   #4
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Re: Buy a boat that is ready to sail or Renovate one

Quote:
Originally Posted by Conradb View Post
I am new to sailing and looking for suggestions on my first boat. Would it be better to buy a "ready to go" boat or buy cheaper and renovate over a couple of months?

If I buy a project boat, I will surely learn everything about the boat as I am renovating it, allowing me to pretty much fix everything myself.

If I buy a boat that is ready to go, it could take me quite a while before I learn everything and there is no guarantee that I will be able to fix it myself without paying an expert. ie. the repairs might be more expensive overall

Does anyone wish they renovated instead of buying RTG?
I too have bought older boats and lost lots of money and time and effort . Buy the newest possible boat as age and disuse really ruins a boat. There will be plenty of things to "fix" on every boat--an immense number of things to fix on a older unused boat.
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Old 09-06-2019, 05:42   #5
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Re: Buy a boat that is ready to sail or Renovate one

I guess my answer would be, it depends. If you can afford it then buy the best boat you can, in your price range. If you can't really afford it and you have a high level of skill working with your hands then buying a fixer upper might be doable as long as you can scrounge parts and do all the labor yourself and you have huge amounts of spare time to pull it all off.
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Old 09-06-2019, 05:42   #6
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Re: Buy a boat that is ready to sail or Renovate one

How capable are you at home renovations? Have you ever replaced a dishwasher? Did it leak the first run?

The dishwasher example is because it has both electrical and plumbing connections, and a leak is a bitch especially when found months later. Small spaces too.

If you are confident and capable then renovations will be simple and you will learn a lot. If a dishwasher replacement causes you concern then renovating a boat will be a lo g and miserable process for you.

YMMV
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Old 09-06-2019, 05:56   #7
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Re: Buy a boat that is ready to sail or Renovate one

The core of the issue is "I am new to sailing..."

At this point you need to learn to sail and determine that you do indeed like sailing. Leave serious boat repair work for after you've developed the drive to the goal of your dream boat. Right now, get something ready to sail at minimal cost (since you'll never recover cost) for the type of sailing you think you'll enjoy. If it's cruising, that is the 27' overnighter or thereabouts. Have a really good time on her, and develop what you would like for the next step.

Go for it, and welcome.
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Old 09-06-2019, 06:22   #8
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Re: Buy a boat that is ready to sail or Renovate one

Yes, I am new to sailing. However, I have spent 8+ years working on cruise ships and one or two yachts as a photographer/videographer. I love the ocean and have lived in my car for a while traveling so I am not too worried that I will be able to live on board.

In my house, I am the general handyman and can fix anything from a car to a computer, and yes, I have fixed at least two washing machines, no dishwashers yet but I understand your point Dogscout.

I think Fore and Aft has a good suggestion by buying something that is as close to ready as possible while focussing on newish engine and rigging.

I will probably spend at least 6 months to a year getting ready to sail before going anywhere other than day trips while I get used to different sailing conditions to get my experience up. Fortunately, I live in Cape Town so there is plenty of weather out here to give me a feeling of some rougher conditions.
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Old 09-06-2019, 08:18   #9
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Re: Buy a boat that is ready to sail or Renovate one

While I'm sure you can get it fixed, but...
  • You will not understand why things broke and how to fix them correctly. Often the original design was insufficient.
  • There will be plenty to fix on any used boat.
  • If you wait you will be able to fix them the way YOU like. Most boats are custom.
  • Boat parts are many times more expensive than house or car parts.
Most of us are dedicated DIYs, and we wouldn't wish a project on our worst enemy (well, maybe...). There are plenty of almost-ready boats around. Resale value or projects also tends to be less.
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Old 09-06-2019, 08:36   #10
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Re: Buy a boat that is ready to sail or Renovate one

Far and away the best “value” in any boat is a boat that might have a higher initial price tag, but has been lovingly cared for, and continuously upgraded by an active owner.

There are no “bargains” in the boating world.
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Old 09-06-2019, 08:42   #11
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Re: Buy a boat that is ready to sail or Renovate one

Buy a boat that you can sail today. Many fixer uppers never make the water as it all becomes too much. Go for it and learn on the way.
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Old 09-06-2019, 08:48   #12
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Re: Buy a boat that is ready to sail or Renovate one

I bought a big project boat thinking I was going to save money doing much of the work myself. I spent years in a major overhaul of everything and honestly three times more money then expected but....... in the end of course it would have been faster and cheaper to buy something more ready to go yet I learned so many valuable things that paid me back over the miles I sailed, I know the boat very well, I was able to choose the what and hows of the refits, most systems are new and much better then the stock options. So today would I do this again ? My answer depends on one thing. If your going to cruise offshore long distance then YES what Ive leaned and have is beyond price, but if I was to just be a weekend local sailor then perhaps your much better to just buy something more ready because your not far from home and all the security with that. Always remember... when sh#t happens out there, (and it can) in that moment your going to want more skills and boat then money in the bank.
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Old 09-06-2019, 08:50   #13
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Re: Buy a boat that is ready to sail or Renovate one

the more I read up about it, the more I come to realize that buying a project boat is the quickest way to be one of those people with a boat that lives in their backyard
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Old 09-06-2019, 08:51   #14
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Re: Buy a boat that is ready to sail or Renovate one

Depending on the boat, there’s really nothing too tricky to fix. You’ll end up spending the money anyway, but over a longer period of time with no sailing. If you get an “pretty much ready to go” boat, you’ll get repair experience and be able to focus on the important things- like how to sail.
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Old 09-06-2019, 08:52   #15
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Re: Buy a boat that is ready to sail or Renovate one

Few boats are “ready to go” and those that are close need minimum of 2-4 months of 60 hrs. a week to get them ready, a project boat could take a year or more, if your good at a multitude of skills. Its about time and money.
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