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Old 01-02-2016, 19:40   #16
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Re: When to give up on a good old boat

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Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
You can lesson risk by not having a bolt on keel. etc etc.
Didn't the OP mention a $10K repair after discovering water all along the encapsulated lead keel?
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Old 01-02-2016, 20:26   #17
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Re: When to give up on a good old boat

I guess it's a matter of priorities. If your goal is to just sail - any old boat within your budget and without major structural issues will do. If you absolutely need to sail a Bristol shape envy of all your marina neighbors beauty queen - than yes - be prepared to either fork over some big bucks or spend some sweat equity and time bringing her up to shape or both.

I think philosophically it is the same question facing many a spouse after years of being together. And just as in these situations the key is to make the right choice in the first place.
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Old 01-02-2016, 20:35   #18
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Re: When to give up on a good old boat

Age

Condition

Price


Pick any two ONLY

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Old 01-02-2016, 21:14   #19
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Re: When to give up on a good old boat

J.M., we are right EXACTLY where you are, and can feel your pain, believe me.

We bought our Cape Dory 33 in 2014. We knew it was in distressed condition, especially in regards to a non-functioning engine, and we felt the price we paid justified the money we knew we would have to spend. But....for every one thing we have crossed off the list that we knew about we have had to add three more that we didn't. Add to that, we paid about $11K to a yard that didn't do what they were supposed to do with the engine (and took almost a year at that), so now our engine is with another mechanic for a full rebuild at an additional $7K. Everything is taking three times as long and costing twice as much as we thought it would. The total cost will easily be double what we had estimated.....but beyond that is the TIME!!! Holy heck.

Now, 2 years later, we are hoping to retire at the end of June and we are really sweating whether the boat will be "done enough" to take it south in the fall, but we're certainly hoping we can get it there by deferring as many of the "non-essential for operation" items until after we get to Florida and finish them next winter. And we're more than willing to do that.

Now, to your question.... The notion of giving up just isn't on the table at all for us. Fortunately we haven't discovered anything that is structural in nature, and that's a huge plus. The only restoration we ever "gave up" on was because of structural issues.

At the same time we were looking at this boat we were offered an opportunity to buy back our CD28, which we had done a very nice restoration on. At a point they actually offered the boat to us for less than they paid us for it and they had done additional upgrades including a new cruising main. We have had moments (many) when we have wished we could just turn the clock back and gone that other way. If we had, we would have a smaller boat, but it would be a boat we know everything about, we know it is absolutely fit to go anywhere we want so we could have retired, stepped on board and sailed away. We have had that coversation a couple of time and it is depressing, but we have to take stock of what we are gaining by the decision that we did make, which is a much more livable boat, which may in the end make a very large difference in how much we enjoy living aboard and cruising long term.

There are also the practical financial considerations involved in giving up. Regardless of how much we have already invested, a boat that is basically disassembled and unable to sail without several more months work is not going to be worth much to anyone else so the $$$$ and two seasons of work we have already invested would be lost. Yet if we continue and do even the minimum that would be required to get it sailing so it could be sold we would be past the point of wanting to give up on it. When you're in retirement's door is not the time to start throwing away large sums of cash. Feeling that I had wasted two years of work would bother me just as much.

We try to focus on why we bought it in the first place, because it is a beautiful boat, a design that we find aesthetically very appealing, by a designer we admire and built by a yard we respect. Even in her current unfinished state she still makes my heart flutter when she comes into view. We love the way these boats sail, and when I am inside her I just know I could be happy living on her for a very long time. And taken as a whole that's why the notion of giving up just isn't on the table. We have even discussed what we might do if she isn't ready to make the trip south this fall and we have agreed that we would find something else to do over next winter, maybe an extended camping trip in warmer climes, or a seasonal rental in Florida, then come back next spring and finish her. That's the level of our resolve.

I don't know if that helps you at all, but if misery loves company you can love us.
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Old 02-02-2016, 08:51   #20
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Re: When to give up on a good old boat

I'm in to one of those projects. I bought the boat because I loved her lines and have spent the last year replacing everything except the hull and the masts. The thought that this was one of those boats that was "used up" instead of just being "used" has occurred to me many times as every little thing I touch proves to be crap.
The problem with my project is 1.) I love her lines which is unusual and 2.) I love the process. I do all my own work because it's what I do and because I don't want to have to depend on anyone to work on my boat. Plus, I couldn't afford the hourly rate.
If you love the boat and you love the work (it is a labor of love) and you know you're never going to get the value out of the boat on the sale, you're ok. If you're deluding yourself that it's an investment, donate the boat now and take the tax write off and join the masses of (smart) people who would rather spend their time sailing than grinding fiberglass...
It's a labor of love, you gotta love it.
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Old 02-02-2016, 09:22   #21
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Re: When to give up on a good old boat

Just went through a similar dark time last Fall when after much, much work for nearly 2 years wanting badly to sail her before the Winter locked us out a survey with bogus faults killed our first sail. I'd had it. By the time issues were addressed it was time to winterize. I was well and truely ready to sell, took photos and wrote up for the ad. Wife was upset because the boat (Cape Dory 31) looked beautiful. Sailing friends ganged up and pressured to not sell. Step back a bit and chill. Still have Renata and looking forward to Spring for our first sail and learning how she handles before heading North to the San Juans. Going from a Newport 28 sloop fin keel on the Columbia River to the Cape Dory 31 full keel cutter rig on the Pacific NW is going to be a whole new world.
The point is one must persevere to get to the good stuff and when you get there the boat will be an intimate part of you sailed with the joy and satisfaction from all your efforts.
Keep going, you'll get there.
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Old 02-02-2016, 09:32   #22
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Re: When to give up on a good old boat

well put, Xthewater! Almost like raising teenagers...
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Old 02-02-2016, 09:34   #23
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Re: When to give up on a good old boat

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I'm in to one of those projects. I bought the boat because I loved her lines and have spent the last year replacing everything except the hull and the masts. The thought that this was one of those boats that was "used up" instead of just being "used" has occurred to me many times as every little thing I touch proves to be crap.
The problem with my project is 1.) I love her lines which is unusual and 2.) I love the process. I do all my own work because it's what I do and because I don't want to have to depend on anyone to work on my boat. Plus, I couldn't afford the hourly rate.
If you love the boat and you love the work (it is a labor of love) and you know you're never going to get the value out of the boat on the sale, you're ok. If you're deluding yourself that it's an investment, donate the boat now and take the tax write off and join the masses of (smart) people who would rather spend their time sailing than grinding fiberglass...
It's a labor of love, you gotta love it.
You are so very right on this point, Rick. We never have considered any boat an investment and never will. Whenever any naive soul has suggested to me that they are planning to make some money by buying an old boat and fixing it up, once I pick myself up off the floor and stop laughing, I always advise them that there are better ways.

We also love the process and find taking a beautiful classic boat and giving it a new life rewarding. We have always thoroughly enjoyed our restorations in the past but we never imposed any time constraints on ourselves. It was always "when it's done, it's done." I think with this one we're just tired over all, and we are feeling the pressure to have it done by a deadline, this fall. That makes a HUGE difference.

In addition to working on the boat we've also been working on our house for the past year trying to get it ready to sell. We're just ready to get on with it.

As far as the money goes, we know we probably won't even recover half of what we've spent on this boat when we sell it, maybe not even a third. The payoff will be in what we gain by the use of her, a paid for home and a method of travel, beautiful freedom. You have to put it in perspective, even in terms of your sticks and bricks home. We've paid about $130K in mortgage interest on our current home during the 12 years we've owned it, but because we bought it when the market was pretty much at it's highest point, and then spent the next 10 years upside down, we'll be lucky to walk away breaking even, we have lost principal as well. So, how great an investment was that? How many people ever earn back enough to cover that mortgage interest? We takes our lumps and move on, considering the non monetary benefits, or whatever we have to tell ourselves in order to sleep good at night. Losing money on the boat is going to bother me a lot less in the end than what I lost on the house.
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Old 02-02-2016, 10:39   #24
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Re: When to give up on a good old boat

I bought Skylark, a 1973 Pearson 36-1 against the surveyor's recommendations. The only "new" things about her were her Awlgrip and Yanmar. I probably invested as much as I paid for her, but in the end I have a boat that is better than new. I also am personally acquainted with every screw, bolt and nut.

I prefer to sail rather than renovate, but I take pride in Skylark's appearance and sleep better knowing what her problems are and the urgency of those problems.

I am sure of a couple of things, 1.) I will never sell her and 2.) with all that I have invested, I couldn't buy a better or newer boat for that amount.
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Old 02-02-2016, 10:41   #25
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Re: When to give up on a good old boat

[QUOTE=Liam Wald;2033437]Personally I would prefer to sail a boat as opposed to working on it. Of course all boats require a certain amount of time spent working to keep things right.
That said, I believe that it is best to find a boat model that you really like and then go out to locate one that is 1-2 years old, wait until a rainy day in January and make a low-ball offer.
I bought my current boat 13 years ago. It was 1 year old at the time I bought it on a rainy winter day. The original owner had spent a good deal of $$$ on gear and had sailed the boat only a few times. The boat had never been slept in or the galley used and there were almost no hours on the engine. Everything was just about perfect.
I bought the boat for almost 40% less than it originally sold for. I have sailed it thousands of miles with very little maintenance and zero gear failures.
I am absolutely convinced that had I bought an older boat for half the price it would have probably cost the same $$$ by the time I had made it right and I would have spend months if not years working instead of sailing.[/QUOTE]

That has been my experience for sure. It's very easy to convince yourself that you can "just fix this and that" and be sailing. Unfortunately things take 4x as long as you thought and in the process you discover 2x the problems you noted. Work some over time and be sailing now.
Whether buying older or newer you need to itemize what the boat needs, what the risky parts of the design are, and go with the one with "little needed".

The actual difference in your life can be HUGE.
A) Project boat:.. after working all week, you go to the damp cold boat and try to figure out where to start. What tools? Where to get the materials? By the end you hae made no progress and half your weekend is done.
B) Turn key boat: Pack up the cooler and go sailing.
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Old 02-02-2016, 10:45   #26
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Re: When to give up on a good old boat

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well put, Xthewater! Almost like raising teenagers...
Thanks Rick
We raised two teenagers as well so can relate.
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Old 02-02-2016, 10:52   #27
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Re: When to give up on a good old boat

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Just went through a similar dark time last Fall when after much, much work for nearly 2 years wanting badly to sail her before the Winter locked us out a survey with bogus faults killed our first sail. I'd had it. By the time issues were addressed it was time to winterize. I was well and truely ready to sell, took photos and wrote up for the ad. Wife was upset because the boat (Cape Dory 31) looked beautiful. Sailing friends ganged up and pressured to not sell. Step back a bit and chill. Still have Renata and looking forward to Spring for our first sail and learning how she handles before heading North to the San Juans. Going from a Newport 28 sloop fin keel on the Columbia River to the Cape Dory 31 full keel cutter rig on the Pacific NW is going to be a whole new world.
The point is one must persevere to get to the good stuff and when you get there the boat will be an intimate part of you sailed with the joy and satisfaction from all your efforts.
Keep going, you'll get there.
Glad you stayed the course. I don't think you'll regret hanging onto such a nice boat. But then....I am rather partial to Cape Dorys.
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Old 02-02-2016, 10:56   #28
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Re: When to give up on a good old boat

The thread is a good example why it is best to do a little research before buying an old boat and refitting/restoring it.

My experience was 15 years sailing catamarans with two of my four boats being new. I did very little maintenance. ( plus 8 old power boats)

The Atom Voyages website though was where I got much needed information

The last paragraph in his list of good ole boats is as follows:

A final word of advice to the novice sailor - resist the temptation to undertake a major refit and extensive modifications on your new old boat right at the start. It's best to make only the obvious repairs needed and go out and sail locally and on some coastal vacation passages to learn exactly what is and what is not needed for you. Otherwise you may end up spending years and many thousands of dollars more than expected modifying your boat and then find out on your first ocean crossing that the boat is not right for you or those great ideas you had during the refurbishment did not work out that well at sea.

Atom Voyages - Good Old Boats List

This is why I have around $8,000 in my new old boat and have mostly been sailing it for the last 5 years having bought it in 2011 for $2,000.

Items purchase/work done by me over the 5 years:

2 bottom paint jobs
1 topside hull paint job (used excess paint on the cockpit sole)
1 cabin sole paint job
1 old diesel
1 new outboard/bracket
1 new mainsail
140 watts solar
3 inverters
65' of polyester/dyneema for lifeline replacement (tied on)
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Old 02-02-2016, 11:07   #29
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Re: When to give up on a good old boat

"...but the time wasted is something we canít get back."

I think you have already made your decision in your gut. You just need a way to rationalize it in your head.

It boils down to what you want to spend your time doing. And the older I get, the more important the time is vs the money.

Do you want to spend your time working on boats, or sailing them?

And just how bad is it? As others have suggested, maybe you can just launch it and go. See how far it gets you. Is it really going to fall apart because it has a little water in it?
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Old 02-02-2016, 11:10   #30
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Re: When to give up on a good old boat

I think Ann hit the nail on the head. "Mid winter blues". I got 'em too. I look at some of my friends on FB posting pictures of gin clear water, a palm tree or two all framed between two snotty looking feet with flip flops on.

It's enough to make you spit as an old farmer friend of mine used to say.

We are 1.5 years into a 6 month refit. We are supposed to cast off in June (notice I didn't say which June). To date we have invested about double the purchase price (which was low for this type boat) but that includes living expenses too. We live aboard. We only have one more major project and then it's cosmetic jobs. The 30 year old Herculon fabric will have to be good enough because we could spend the rest of our lives here on the dock trying to make it perfect. Or.... we could go sailing.

Make sure all boat operating systems are working and you know how to work them. Make sure electrical systems are working and as safe as you can make them. Make sure rigging and sails are sufficient to your needs. Make sure you have charts, electronics, communications to get you safely where you want to go.

Then go.

Good luck - we're right there with you.
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