Originally Posted by Terra Nova
Pretty much what he said. It is almost impossible to rationalize the cost of a thorough refit
on something like this, no matter how skilled one is. So they wind
up becoming cheap
live-aboards, where allowed. Boats like this are regularly abandoned by their down on their luck owners, and auctioned by the dock
master, with the provision that it be immediately removed.
Originally Posted by skipmac
I think this is focusing exclusively on the negatives and downsides to a project boat
. Certainly there are plenty of dreamers that abandon project
boats but there are many that do not. Those are the ones you don't hear about because they fix up the boat
and go sailing. I personally know of more successful projects than failures and I've been in boating
for a while.
The point of a boat like this is for someone with little money
but time and skills to get a decent boat. Doesn't mean they should jump in without first checking, very carefully, what the boat will need and making an informed decision on the condition of the boat and whether or not it is fixable.
And to condemn all potential boaters that might buy a fixer-upper as cheap
liveaboards that regularly abandon the boats to be auctioned? I am not advocating for allowing derelicts to fill up the harbors. I've seen the downside to this, but in the real world lots of boaters cannot afford to buy a nice new or newer boat and keep it at an expensive marina in an upscale neighborhood. Should cruising be reserved just for the well to do?
We are currently doing a complete refit
(and I mean COMPLETE) on a 1982 Cape Dory
33 that we got for a very low price
but had been sitting basically abandoned for the past 6 years. Some folks might think we're crazy. This is not the first time either, so we obviously have learned nothing from the previous refits we have done of derelict boats. And one of them even had a rotted deck!! We must be candidates for the insane asylum for sure.
I will admit that we didn't know the full extent of the work
needed by this boat, but now that we have had it for a couple of months and have been through everything, and even though we know the time/money will be a bit more than first estimated, we are still happy we bought it.
older boats, even if you buy one in "sailaway condition" (a subjective term if ever I've heard one) you can be assured you will still have things to replace, repair and upgrade. Unless the previous owner just finished a complete refit yesterday (for which he will want top dollar) you are still buying
an old boat. Yes, it gives you time to do it in a more leisurely fashion, but you will still be spending $$$ additional to the initial higher price
you paid for the boat because the previous owner considered it ready to go, by his standards.
We have also found that what some
people consider good boat work
and what we consider good boat work is two different things. So, unless that previous owner had his repairs
and upgrades done professionally you are trusting that he actually knew what he was doing and did quality work. Not that I am saying there aren't plenty of skilled, knowledgable people out there doing great boat work. Certainly, there are. But we have found from experience that this is not an assumption you can safely make if you aren't familiar with the skills and work habits of all previous owners. We have found some really jury-rigged repairs
done on boats by owners who thought they were really "fixing things up."
We spent $15K for our Cape Dory
. Our best estimate right now is that all said and done we will probably put about 2 years of work (during at least part of that time she will be sailable) and $40K to get her done. The 40K is still in the ballpark, even on the low side, of what you would pay for a Cape Dory 33 in good condition, except that everything will be new for us from day one. And, although I know there are many boats that we could have been happy cruising on, this particular one wasn't just "a boat," it was "THE
We do nearly
all our own work. This is key. The other key is that we actually enjoy doing the work. For us that has always been a huge component of our boating
experience. Most of our boats have required some level of refit, several of them complete. We consider this added value in several ways. First of all, when our boats are done we know them intimately, inside and out. Knowing them intimately inside and out leads us to trust them. We sail with confidence knowing that the boat is as good as we were able to make her. We know it's no guarantee against failure, but we know we've done our best and that everything we've done has been with the safety
of the boat, ourselves, and our guests in mind.
There is also that little added value of pride from knowing that the beauty, safety
, and comfort of the vessel is due to your own hard work. And we are happy to prolong the life of a classic
vessel. When these fine old boats are gone...they are gone. I know some people who aren't fans of these old designs don't see the downside of that, but we do. I love all kinds of boats but the ones that cause my head
to turn are the classic
traditional designs. Knowing that they are older, have a history
, and are being lovingly maintained as opposed to just rolling off the assembly line causes me to appreciate them even more.
It's a very personal thing and obviously not every one has the time or desire to undertake a project like this, but to just discount it as a project unworthy of doing isn't fair either. This might be "THE
boat" for someone who has all the skills, time, money
, and desire to make her beautiful and functional again.