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Old 15-08-2022, 09:50   #1
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Can project boats be worth it?

I am strongly considering buying a Passport 42 that will at the very least need the following:
  • Replace Teak Deck w/ Glass + Awlgrip.
  • Standing Rigging
  • Running Rigging
  • Nav equipment
  • Unmounting the Pulpit and bringing to a machine shop to have a bend righted. Fixing damaged fiberglass where pulpit mounts to deck.

I would plan to do all of the work myself with the exception of the standing rigging. I would certainly get a professional marine survey before purchasing the boat to ensure there are no other major projects (outside of the norm). The boat does come with a brand new engine (less than 40 hours), has sails in good condition, and has a good interior in need of some light finish work.

I am young, have experience working on and remodeling large yachts, and have a decent income. Passports with this type of work done often fetch $120k, this boat is a fraction of that price.

I am wondering from others who have taken on project boats - what do you wish you knew before taking on a project boat? I don't mind pouring in the time over the next year, but is it worth the money? This is a top 5 sailboat on my list and the discounted price for the work ahead is quite intriguing to me. I also feel that I could sell it reasonably quick if I feel over my head as it is such a sought after boat.

What advice do you all have?
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Old 15-08-2022, 10:19   #2
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Re: Can project boats be worth it?

The advice is simple and honestly I come from doing antique car restoration, but all the boat people seem to have the same experiences.

Money is the top of the list. How much will it really cost you to do the work????
Do you have the tools?
How much to keep the boat where you work on it?
How often can you get to it to do the work?
Are you actually good at planning and getting work done?
What does the yard let you do as far as work goes?

People often underestimate the tools or try to get buy with the wrong tools.

Money is simple come up with estimates of what you think it will cost, double it and add in a fudge factor. Then you might be close to right. Unless you are very experienced and know your numbers, too often in the car restoration side of things doubling plus some is fairly accurate.

Most car projects get to a certain point and stall. Takes too much time away from family and the costs are just too much. Keep in mind these cars are done in a garage a short walk from the house. Throw in traveling to a marina and now you have more to consider.

Any vehicle that is apart and needs work is often a tough sell. Also bear in mind the market might be coming down so selling and breaking might change.

Boats are a very expensive hobby. You have to be ready to get back out of the investment what you put in. That is you want a boat to go do things and use it. If you have $100,000 tied up in a boat and you use it only a few time, well that is some expensive fun. Plus there is high risk with costs or worse if something happens to it and you have to dispose of it.

That all being said....

You need to be honest with your wallet and your plans before you go forward. We can not tell you if it is worth it. You have to decide what you are willing to spend for your education.
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Old 15-08-2022, 10:26   #3
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Re: Can project boats be worth it?

If you LIKE building or fixing up boats as a hobby then, sure, go ahead and do it. But be aware that both the cost and the time commitment will likely be much more than you expect.

If halfway through you get tired and give up, you will likely be unable to recoup your expenses to that point. Hard to sell a half-built boat.

If you want to go sailing, find some way of buying a boat that does not need building or repairing (believe me, you will do enough repairing once you are under way). If money is a limiting factor (isn't it always?) then remember the Pardey's moto: "Go simple, go small, but GO!" Better a small boat that you can sail than a half-built built sitting in some boatyard somewhere.
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Old 15-08-2022, 11:18   #4
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Re: Can project boats be worth it?

Yes, if you’re having fun doing it. That’s the worth, imo.

If you get gratification from the work and like learning new things, it can be wonderful way to learn all about the boat as you go.

It helps extremely if the boat is useable and not immobilized on land or at a dock indefinitely. This way you get a lot more actual positive feedback. It also helps very much if the bigger repairs can stretched out over a few years. Does the deck need to be replaced immediately or can it wait a while? Is the rigging and pulpit ok for a non-purist to use for now? The Nav stuff meh- you just need a smartphone, a radio, and possibly a cheap fish finder on the end of a stick.

It takes a special kind of masochist to spend years fixing a boat that is not floating. But obviously they do exist.

The financial costs are generally high - but in my not so vast experience, not necessarily as high as some numbers that get thrown around on the forum. At least, there is often some wiggle room to tweak the balance of the Money/Work/Time equation. That is, you still have to drink all three poisons but you might get to vary the dosages a little.

It can be daunting. Moral support of whatever kind you can find, is important. Especially if it doesn’t lead to a divorce.
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Old 15-08-2022, 11:27   #5
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Re: Can project boats be worth it?

"Is it worth it?" That depends on what you are trying to value. If you think you are going to get a bargain boat, it is possible; but only if you value your time at $0. And that assumes you have a cost effective place to do the work. If you are planning on awlgripping the boat, you will need to do that indoors. So you will either have to build a temporary shelter, or build a containment system inside of an existing structure. Not cheap. But all that work sounds do-able. Just don't expect it to cost less than buying a ready-to-sail boat. Unless doing major boat projects is one of your goals, it is always cheaper and easier to buy something you can use now.
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Old 15-08-2022, 13:51   #6
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Re: Can project boats be worth it?

All of the above plus 100% make sure you have the family on side (be it spouse or partner) for the long slog and the cash pouring into it. In my business, I get to see quite a few half built projects get flogged off crazy cheap due to a divorce or settlement requiring an end to the project and cash out.


Good luck.
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Old 15-08-2022, 14:08   #7
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Re: Can project boats be worth it?

Probably not financially viable in the true sense, BUT you can spread the financial burden over a longer term.
You get to know your boat in detail, you may get to use it immediately for a low price and fix her up step by step.

Yes some will say they make more money in the same time when working their job, but to many working on their boat is fun too.

We went the project boat path, spent a number of very nice holidays on the project and are now long-term on board. In my eyes it was and is totally a viable way.
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Old 15-08-2022, 14:35   #8
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Re: Can project boats be worth it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by s.wooster View Post
  • Replace Teak Deck w/ Glass + Awlgrip.
  • Standing Rigging
  • Running Rigging
  • Nav equipment
  • Unmounting the Pulpit and bringing to a machine shop to have a bend righted. Fixing damaged fiberglass where pulpit mounts to deck.

I would plan to do all of the work myself with the exception of the standing rigging. The boat does come with a brand new engine (less than 40 hours), has sails in good condition, and has a good interior in need of some light finish work.

I am young, have experience working on and remodeling large yachts, and have a decent income.
There is nothing on your list that precludes a motivated amateur from doing those jobs.
The skill set and the tool list for those jobs is not particularly long either.
Get a survey.
However, be careful, simply stripping a deck is only the "pre-game show" if core materials are deteriorated under the surface glass work.
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Old 15-08-2022, 15:17   #9
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Re: Can project boats be worth it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bowdrie View Post
There is nothing on your list that precludes a motivated amateur from doing those jobs.
The skill set and the tool list for those jobs is not particularly long either.
Get a survey.
However, be careful, simply stripping a deck is only the "pre-game show" if core materials are deteriorated under the surface glass work.

This.


If that is truly all that is wrong, you're not really looking at a "project boat."


If, in addition to everything on your list, it also needs new sails, needs new canvas for the bimini, the engine is high hours and has a vibration at certain RPMs that can't quite be pinpointed, the portlights are leaking, the deck fittings are leaking, the cushions need to be redone because of the deck leaks, and the range is shot --- well, then you have a project boat.
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Old 15-08-2022, 15:49   #10
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Re: Can project boats be worth it?

Consider the dreaded boat pox with Passports.

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Old 15-08-2022, 16:43   #11
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Re: Can project boats be worth it?

Welcome to the forum. Everything on your list looks to me to be routine maintenance that comes along with owning a boat. If this is all this boat requires then excellent!

There is probably other stuff too. Maybe sand down the hull for new barrier coat and bottom paint, new sails I would guess. But again this is normal boat ownership stuff. The survey will be very helpful of course, but expect other stuff to show up after purchase too.
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Old 15-08-2022, 17:30   #12
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Re: Can project boats be worth it?

The only thing I’d not want to tackle is deck core. Aside from that, we are restoring as well. It’s more work than I bargained for, and progress is slow.

Fact is, I have to have projects. That’s just me, and an attribute that if I had a choice I’d dump. I bought a new car once, still have it, but it was well modified before warranty expired.

I’d say pick a boat that will be worth something when done. We’re doing a Hunter; our friends did a Pacific Seacraft. Same amount of work, except the PC had a ton of bright work too. I can’t say I’d do another Hunter, but I’ve always liked this model. Wife found a Freedom for sale….tempting.
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Old 15-08-2022, 17:56   #13
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Re: Can project boats be worth it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by s.wooster View Post
I am strongly considering buying a Passport 42 that will at the very least need the following:
  • Replace Teak Deck w/ Glass + Awlgrip.
  • Standing Rigging
  • Running Rigging
  • Nav equipment
  • Unmounting the Pulpit and bringing to a machine shop to have a bend righted. Fixing damaged fiberglass where pulpit mounts to deck.

I would plan to do all of the work myself with the exception of the standing rigging. I would certainly get a professional marine survey before purchasing the boat to ensure there are no other major projects (outside of the norm). The boat does come with a brand new engine (less than 40 hours), has sails in good condition, and has a good interior in need of some light finish work.

I am young, have experience working on and remodeling large yachts, and have a decent income. Passports with this type of work done often fetch $120k, this boat is a fraction of that price.

I am wondering from others who have taken on project boats - what do you wish you knew before taking on a project boat? I don't mind pouring in the time over the next year, but is it worth the money? This is a top 5 sailboat on my list and the discounted price for the work ahead is quite intriguing to me. I also feel that I could sell it reasonably quick if I feel over my head as it is such a sought after boat.

What advice do you all have?
firstly as a amateur repairing a yacht, it will not only scare away buyers but likely result in you discounting the boat considerably , people are not interested in buying a boat fixed by a " nobody"

removing a teak deck is a huge job and no doubt you will discover areas of core water ingress , resulting is huge more work , then you have to recreate a non slip surface. To build any value at all this job must look like a factory boat. you could be talking $$$$$ here

standing and running rigging are easy , one is a series of "ropes", the other needs to be professionally done , neither add much to a resale in reality


if you get in over your head, you could get roasted on a resale, zero people want to buy your mistakes

Again this assumes you have a covered temperature controlled location , adequate tools and most importantly adequate skills to create a professional job , if it looks amateurish you'll loose money

If this is for your own use , it depends , have you the time, etc have you the mojo !, if its a get rich scheme , forget it , try crypto !
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Old 15-08-2022, 20:03   #14
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Re: Can project boats be worth it?

Already done one 42 foot project boat.

Starting on a 44 footer now.

Still having a lot of fun and no regrets so far.

And frankly, I seem to sail both boats a heck of a lot more than most of newish boats around me in the marina.
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Old 15-08-2022, 20:17   #15
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Re: Can project boats be worth it?

Folks remove teak decks all the time. It's a big and dirty job but doable by anyone with hard work. You will probably have wet core to replace but that isn't rocket science. You may want to learn how to vacuum bag, it's a handy skill for repairing decks and other bits and bobs on a boat.
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