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Old 11-08-2019, 04:35   #1
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Looking at the Amels, Swans, Hallberg Rassys - long term value?

Hey everybody!

May I introduce myself as another poor soul, helplessly in love with sailing yet still required to work for my money

Chartered many boats since for more then a decade, with every trip there is a louder voice telling me I must get my own boat. Guess what, just came back from a beautiful trip in Sweden...

The latest idea is buying a boat somewhen in the next 3-4 years, move it slowly (limited by the time we get off work) around the Mediterranean and Europe for a couple of years and eventually, after maybe 10 years or more, spend some years onboard, crossing the Atlantik and even further. When it comes to the boat itself, I am in clear favor of owner-oriented (or premium, or is there a term for these?) brands such as Amel, Swan Hallberg Rassy (and many more). I like the center cockpits, the deck saloons, and much more important the attention to detail these boats offer. I think the Beneteau and Dufors as you can find them in every charter fleet lack character.

Yes I know there is a billion questions and culprits attached to that. We are very early in the process. Right now I am investigating around one question in particular:

How long can one sail a boat (with reasonable maintenance (cost)). Is it realistic e.g. to buy a 20 year old boat (of the above brands, lets say a 2000 Super Maramu in excellent condition) and assume it will be ocean-going for another 20-30 years with ongoing maintenance. Or will we likely get to a point where investments (not talking about cumulative but single investments) will exceed the cost of a newer boat?

E.g. there are Super Maramus for sale in the range of 150-250k$ build between 1995-2001. Lets say I buy one, build 2000 in excellent condition for 200k. Is it realistic with a yearly spending of avg. 10% of the price for another 3 decades, I will have an ocean-going yacht in excellent condition? That would be an investment of 150% of the buying price of 30 years.
Or will it be a wreck by then per definition? E.g. whats the lifetime of a hull (thinking of the largest component irreplaceable)

Looking forward to hear your thoughts,

Thanks,
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Old 11-08-2019, 04:52   #2
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Looking at the Amels, Swans, Hallberg Rassys - long term value?

For long term ownership the boats you mention will hold up better and probably be a better choice. IMHO boats that cost more initially are due to more substantial build quality including layup schedules and glassed in bulkheads. Those hulls in theory have no end lifespan for typical non extreme cruising.
Itís possible to also find good build quality in cheaper production boats. But since most glassed in liners canít be inspected failure of this secondary bond could cause the hull to reach the end of lifespan.

My boat is 31 years old and the structural part of boat and hull is still pristine. Cosmetically itís also pristine because I maintain it, use a winter cover, etc. Components need to be replaced on a schedule and that is no different for any boat.

But consider that most peopleís first boat is not their last. Usually because thatís how you learn likes and dislikes which are personal and tough to predict. So a starter boat can be a good choice
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Old 11-08-2019, 17:48   #3
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Re: Looking at the Amels, Swans, Hallberg Rassys - long term value?

Iíve read where well constructed fiberglass hulls are as strong or stronger after thirty years as they are when built. Iím sure this depends on being well cared for including hull prep, bottom painting, attention to hardware attachments, etc. Ongoing maintenance and replacement of standing rigging and hardware is a given, particularly in a saltwater environment.
With that said, your post attracted my attention because my list of potential boats includes Amels, Hallberg-Rassys, and Hylas. However, I am definitely in ďbuy modeĒ. I want to be sailing in early 2020. Iíll keep you posted!
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Old 11-08-2019, 18:05   #4
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Re: Looking at the Amels, Swans, Hallberg Rassys - long term value?

Old HR, Amels and Swans keep value well. New boats get rapidly cheaper over the first 5 years, then slow down between 5 and 15. Older than that, HR and Amels are (too) expensive and difficult to sell (HR mostly because of teak decks, Amels mostly because of lower priced newer boats around).


There was a funny thing that happened to the ex-Amel 50 footer. I do not know why, but they were discounted very heavily two maybe three years ago and we got one for our client then. I can't say why the discount hit but there was a reason.


The newer 50'er from Amel is all sweet bananas. I would buy one today if not that I do not have enough money to dock it. ;-) I was onboard fitting stuff and then helped at a haulout. Awesomenessssss - especially the cockpit are under that hood.



Now SWANS ...


An old Swan of the right kind is probably the best bet if you want you boat to lose least value. In some cases, it may gain value (buy the right boat, restore, re-sell).


The reason is that Swan's are closest to 'collectable item' of the three.


They also seem to be the worst sailors of the three (unless you compare viz a very old HR).


Newer Swans are spectacular in the sailing department and tend to be high maintenance cost too.



To sum it up, none of them is the worst choice from the point of view of their re-sale value.


DISCLOSURE: I am biased and vested. and yes, I nearly bought a Swan too. Hence quite some Swan related research in my portfolio.



Cheers,
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Old 11-08-2019, 18:46   #5
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Re: Looking at the Amels, Swans, Hallberg Rassys - long term value?

It's a tricky one. The trouble is, many of these "name" brand boats are more expensive than they might be purely because of the name. People ask (and other people pay) way more than the boat might otherwise be worth just because of the Swan or Amel or HR logo.

Don't get me wrong -- these were very good boats and many of them still are. However, older ones (you're talking about boats between 20 and 40 years old) can easily have all the problems of an older boat: historical leaking and lack of maintenance leading to structural problems, teak decking laid with screws, some of the really expensive hardware (masts, engines, chainplates etc) getting beyond their sensible life. All of these things affect quality brand boats just as much as they would higher-volume production boats (or one-off custom builds, for that matter). The engines, rigs, winches, electrics, deck fittings and so on are all exactly the same brands.

Production boats build down to a price for the charter market or budget-conscious buyer. At the smaller end of the market this is reflected in build quality, but higher up I'm not so sure it's true. My cheapo plastic tub, for example, has a very well laid-up hull that's almost 2" thick solid fibreglass near the forefoot. Every bulkhead is 18mm marine ply heavily glassed into the hull all around, even those that don't appear to be structurally significant. Post #2 above seems to imply that this only happens on "quality" brand boats, but that doesn't seem to be true.

I would avoid any boat that has an inner hull liner, because the structure there is pretty much impossible to discover and future purchasers will be similarly suspicious. Whatever grid or structure strengthens the hull must be entirely visible and its glassing to the hull similarly so. That way you can see immediately when and where there has been any damage (if there is any), and how beefy the build is.

One reason the quality brand boats are more expensive than higher volume production boats is because their kit is specified higher to start with. Many production boats start at a very low price, but that includes very little equipment. Upgrade all the winches a size or two, add some electric ones, and then keep going. Amels often have electric furling, which is a very sizeable expense to any boat. If you add all the relevant equipment to any boat you will close the gap fairly significantly. Much of this additional hardware should be depreciated faster than the boat itself, as it will need replacement sooner or later.

In my experience, one of the most significant differences between lower and higher priced boats (apart from the obvious ones such as equipment, charter vs. owner costs) are that the interiors are fitted out to a much greater extent. In my boat, for example, there is plenty of stowage but many of those stowage spaces are behind a cupboard door and have the internal structure covered in flowcoat or something else. In a high-end boat those spaces under the bunks or under the vanities would have internal timber liners, shelving, perhaps even insulation. These things are extremely expensive in manufacturing labour (particularly when considering an older low-volume boat where that labour is very much hand-making these timber items). Those of us who know and appreciate that the back corners of a drawer in a Rival are always dovetailed might or might not want to pay the appropriate extra cost of that. When standing inside of the boat in the boat show not much of this is immediately apparent.

And of course it goes without saying that any boat built in significant numbers in a modern production line is going to be cheaper to build than its equivalent in a lower-technology low-volume boatbuilding facility. I've had boats in various points of this scale and am not at all certain that the overall build quality varies directly with the price.

These are just things to be aware of when looking at the reasons why some boats are more expensive than others.

Elements such as being a centre cockpit, deck saloon or whatever are your personal style and you should certainly go with a boat you like. I'm not entirely sold, though, on worrying about depreciation and buying a much older boat because of its name. If, for the same money, you could buy a much newer boat with a less cool brand name, then that may well end up costing you far less in maintenance and depreciation than an already old boat that needs much more work and money spending, then ends up being a 40-50 year old boat which has very little value left in it for the next purchaser.
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Old 11-08-2019, 23:53   #6
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Re: Looking at the Amels, Swans, Hallberg Rassys - long term value?

Wow, so much good input, Thank you all!

In response to you @Tillsbury and @barnakiel: You seem to be worried most about the value in reselling. Thats not how I think about it currently (maybe that will change...): I am more thinking like a "project boat" but one which is ready to sail and which I can, gradually, build out in the way I want. Eventually I hope I will have the time (and money) to life aboard and travel the world

Honestly, my usage profile for the upcoming years will be more of a charterer. However I become more and more unhappy with the available charter boats. I want to be able to equip my boat with whatever deems me useful. If I wanna have an AIS I will simply get one, if I wanna have proper sails I will buy ones, if I wanna a have a hook right there next to the companionway, I will put one there. Charter boats are often so rudimentary equipped that they are really nothing more than a motorised bathing platform.

So my idea is like buying one now, maybe do some long term charter or similar and use it occasionally through the year and then, finally be able to live on it... (I knew a couple who have been "lend" a boat from a befriended owner. They partially lived on it and had their own business running on it by taking customers out for cruises. The deal was they could use the boat for free but were in charge of maintaining it. Could imagine something like that)

My worry is that by the time I will be able to spend much more time on the boat, it will be worn out and beyond repair.
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Old 12-08-2019, 00:10   #7
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Re: Looking at the Amels, Swans, Hallberg Rassys - long term value?

Its not going to cost you anywhere near 10% of the purchase price per year to maintain a quality boat unless you buy a cheap POS to begin with; then... it might even cost you more.

It’s an often repeated myth here on CF by people who purchase older boats. Over this past year, the money spent on our 18 year old boat for upgrades amounted to 1% of the purchase price. Purchase a quality boat to begin with along with quality products in order to keep your ongoing costs low.
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Old 12-08-2019, 00:10   #8
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Re: Looking at the Amels, Swans, Hallberg Rassys - long term value?

This was exactly our situation a few years ago, looking for an older seaworthy boat with character that we liked. After a ton of research and looking and sailing we settled on a 1991 Amel SM. Absolutely the best decision of my life. As far as older boats in general, think about how most systems need to be replaced or updated every decade or so. Sails, rigging, electronics.... You can find a charter boat 10 years old just out of service all day long, but everything at the end of it's life, or a 30 year old boat owned privately and updated continuously (we did) and be far ahead. As long as the hull is sound, it'll last 50 bazillion years. We have yet to board another boat I would trade her for, and intend for this to be our only boat, but I believe that piece by piece, year by year, little upgrades and replacements will make that possible for a very economical price. Oh, one great thing about Amels, is NO TEAK. Repaint the deck, restripe it over a weekend, and it looks great, with no worries about a rotten deck.

One thing: I think your prices are low for Amels. If you find a 2000 SM for 150 or even 200k (euros or USD either way), I'd run. There is something wrong with her. A good 2000 year or redline SM around these parts is 350k euros, and that's usually without solar or wind or extended dodger kinda stuff... In your price range (like ours was) look for the older SMs. They're pretty much the exact same boat, except without the ridiculous blue flooring of the later SMs
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Old 12-08-2019, 00:16   #9
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Re: Looking at the Amels, Swans, Hallberg Rassys - long term value?

Davi,

Don’t forget to mention the part about checking out the engine.
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Old 12-08-2019, 00:23   #10
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Re: Looking at the Amels, Swans, Hallberg Rassys - long term value?

My advice would be somewhat different


* Don't think about the resale value at all. All the money you spend on a boat, including the initial purchase price, is essentially money down the drain -- pure consumption. Don't spend money on a boat which you expect or need to ever see again. If you decide to later sell, whatever you get, if anything, will be a windfall.


* Don't buy a project boat. See the point above. Buy a quality boat of whatever age but which was owned by someone who spent money and labor freely and kept the boat in top condition. This is ALWAYS the better buy than a boat which needs work, even if the initial price is higher.


* If you buy a real quality boat and spend significant money and labor EVERY YEAR, and 10% of the price every year is not far off, then you can use the boat as long as you like, for decades.





Quality cruising boats don't wear out. But what is the boat? The hull? A cruising boat is more like a collection of parts, all of which need to be regularly replaced. If you keep up with the replacement of all the main elements, then the boat will always be in good condition, will always give pleasure, and will always be (relatively) reliable.


Big replacement items:


Standing rigging (every 10 years or so)
Running rigging (every 5 years or so)
Sails (every 5 to 10 years)
Deck, teak (every 20 years)
Main engine (every 20 - 25 years)
Underwater fittings (every 5 to 10 years)
Pumps, tanks, etc. (as needed)
Electronics and sensors (maximum every 10 years)
Upholstery and cushions
Rudder bearings, autopilot, steering gear elements (10 to 15 years)
Windlass motor (in my case every 3 years )
HVAC (10 to 20 years)
Refrigeration (15 to 20 years)
Various finishes
etc
etc
etc




Generally after 10 years you start doing one big thing every year. Keep up with it, and the boat will be fine indefinitely.
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Old 12-08-2019, 02:01   #11
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Re: Looking at the Amels, Swans, Hallberg Rassys - long term value?

I’m not going to diagree point by point, item by item, but there’s no way any of those repairs or replacements need to be done on an Oyster with the time table presented above. You can pretty much double the timelime for replacements except for the refrigeration and pumps as needed.

Regarding your windlass issue.. our 16 year old Lewmar Ocean 3 crapped the bed a year ago, so I replaced it with a Lewmar V5 fit fo up to an 70ft boat. The best decision, it worked fantastic yesterday when I really needed it, no more overheating or thermal shutdowns.
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Old 12-08-2019, 02:09   #12
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Re: Looking at the Amels, Swans, Hallberg Rassys - long term value?

It’s nothing to do with the brand, as almost all those items are bought in. I’d say the timetable was about right for a very heavily used boat, but perhaps you would be looking at twice the time for something more lightly or carefully used.
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Old 12-08-2019, 02:12   #13
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Re: Looking at the Amels, Swans, Hallberg Rassys - long term value?

It depends on how much you sail. Oyster rig is the same Selden and Lewmar stuff as HR, Moody, etc. with the same lifespan.

If you sail a lot you'd better not extend much past timelines like what's in my table.

If you do less than 5 or 6 thousand miles a year, or if you motor a lot, then you might extend a bit, but standing rigging wears out even just standing around, so not that much.
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Iím not going to diagree point by point, item by item, but thereís no way any of those repairs or replacements need to be done on an Oyster with the time table presented above. You can pretty much double the timelime for replacements except for the refrigeration and pumps as needed.

Regarding your windlass issue.. our 16 year old Lewmar Ocean 3 crapped the bed a year ago, so I replaced it with a Lewmar V5 fit fo up to an 70ft boat. The best decision, it worked fantastic yesterday when I really needed it, no more overheating or thermal shutdowns.
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Old 12-08-2019, 02:35   #14
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Re: Looking at the Amels, Swans, Hallberg Rassys - long term value?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tillsbury View Post
It’s nothing to do with the brand, as almost all those items are bought in. I’d say the timetable was about right for a very heavily used boat, but perhaps you would be looking at twice the time for something more lightly or carefully used.
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It depends on how much you sail. Oyster rig is the same Selden and Lewmar stuff as HR, Moody, etc. with the same lifespan.

If you sail a lot you'd better not extend much past timelines like what's in my table.

If you do less than 5 or 6 thousand miles a year, or if you motor a lot, then you might extend a bit, but standing rigging wears out even just standing around, so not that much.
Maybe some of it does have to do with brand, because everything on our boat is way overbuilt and oversized compared to other boats of the same dimensions. There is nothing Selden on our boat, it’s Hood, Lewmar or custom. I know the rigging is custom done right at the Oyster rigging shop in Ipswich.

However, our boat is lightly used, at less than 3,000 NM per year and mostly functions as a wind assisted trawler in the Med.
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Old 12-08-2019, 03:45   #15
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Re: Looking at the Amels, Swans, Hallberg Rassys - long term value?

The trouble with posting lists of expenses and unrealistic timetables for replacements, is that prospective buyers then waste a lot of their time and sellers’ time by expecting the seller to cover the costs of all these future expenses.

I’ve had buyers come along and make bids on our boat with totally ridiculous discounts expected when they hear from supposed experts that items like a perfectly good Yanmar 100hp with only 2400 hours and no smoke or oil consumption needs to be replaced before they can use the boat, simply because it’s 18 years old. They want the mast and boom repainted, curtains replaced, generator replaced, rigging replaced, decks replaced, etc, etc., when there’s absolutely nothing wrong with any of the items. They’ve simply just read somewhere on line that these things should be done, then expect it.

Basically, they want the seller to buy a new boat for them for the price of a used boat, based on what they’ve read online.
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