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Old 07-06-2023, 06:14   #1
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OLD vs NEW boats. Contradictive experts' opinion.

Hello, everyone!
I have exciting observations and questions for you.

there are two opinions about a boat purchase.
(in particular about the first-ever boat purchase)



1st opinion
I see that some experts/bloggers (for example well known "Chasing Latitudes") keep saying that it is better to buy a boat that is not more than 20 years old, because of some problems that are caused just by the boat's age, and because of the insurance policies (maybe only applies to the US, I'm not sure). They say that I need a 2003+ boat (costs 50k+EUR) to not have the problems of older boats and have no problems with insurance. It will allow us to spend time actually sailing, not years fixing and refitting.

2nd opinion
Other bloggers/experts recommend buying older, 40+ years old boat (the 70s and 80s) because they were made by the technology of that time (hot melting of FG or something like that) and they are much more robust, their hull has lived for 50 years and will live for another 50 years. Also, there is a saying that there are no old boats, only poorly maintained boats. The related advice is to buy an older boat cheap in Norway/Finland/Sweeden and then sail to Med or wherever you want. the 70s-80s boats are much cheaper there. and there are options for 5k-15k with new engines and sails.

So please tell me your opinion!
What are the problems of the older boats that I need to be aware of?
What are the cons and pros to buy a 40+-year-old one?
what are the cons and pros of buying a less than 20-year-old one?

I personally like Moody 33/34/35/36 because of the CC, but I'm still confused what are the hidden risks of being the old boat...

For 50k I can buy an old 40y.o. CC Moody or 20y.o Beneteau/Jeanneau/Bavaria (not CC but newer)....

But still considering something simpler for up to 10k somewhere in Norway...
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Old 07-06-2023, 06:29   #2
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Re: OLD vs NEW boats. Contradictive experts' opinion.

I would actuallly say neither are right.

At least in the US getting insurance on a 20+ year old boat is pretty trivial unless you are looking to get a 60 foot cat as first boat with zero experience. What is tough is getting insurance on a 40+ year old boat. That may not be an issue in your location though but I would get some quotes ahead of time to avoid pointless searching.

There is no perfect boat. My guess the guy saying you MUST buy a boat <20 years old just so happens to own ... a boat less than 20 years old. Likewise the person with a >40 year old boat also just so happens to own ... <can you guess it> a boat that is >40 years old.

One thing I will say is older boats tend to be a lot more variable. A 40 year old boat could be a complete money pit because it has 40 years of neglected maintenance, standing rigging which is 5 years overdue for replacing, and an original diesel with 6,000 hours which is going to need a rebuild/repower two months after you buy her. On the other hand there could be a 40 year old boat where the only things that are 40 years old are the hull, mast, and rudder not really items that need replacement. It could have new engine put in 7 years ago, standing rigging replaced five years ago, full electronic replacement 10 years ago, added water maker, new windlass, large LFP battery bank, dinghy davits, large solar arch, etc. Very little of it is 40 years old and it may be in much better condition and better equipped than any 20 year old boat in your budget.

Some issues which may be more of a concern on older boats but can also be an issue on newer boats as well would be:
age/condition of standing rigging (insurance company may require replacement for policy if older than 10 years)
osmosis issues in the hull
age & hours of engine
obsolete electronics/instruments/radar
older vessels tend to be heavier/sturdier/slower in light winds
more limited interior space & more traditional style

One thing I would caution is the purchase price is just the entry ticket into a lifetime of cost & work. No matter what boat you get it is going to need work. Even if you do the work yourself the materials & dockyard time & haulouts have cost. Don't buy a "perfect" newish boat using up your budget and thinking it is near zero cost because you will be in a world of hurt.

Side note: there are a lot more than two opinions though. Ask 10 sailors which boat is ideal for your situation and you will get 11 answers.
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Old 07-06-2023, 06:54   #3
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Re: OLD vs NEW boats. Contradictive experts' opinion.

To add to what Statistical said...

Either approach might be right for you. Either approach might be wrong for you. Each person's situation is different, and you have to figure out what works for you.

10 years old, 20 years old, 30 years old, or whatever -- if the boat has been well-cared for it will need minimal work (though, as Statistical said, it WILL need work). By the same token, I've seen boats that were LESS than 10 years old, that were in HORRIBLE shape and in need of a HUGE amount of work, because of the complete neglect they had suffered. It's just not nearly as simple as two options.
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Old 07-06-2023, 06:54   #4
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Re: OLD vs NEW boats. Contradictive experts' opinion.

One rule of thumb I've heard is: boats made in the 60's are very overbuilt and extremely strong because they used fiberglass thickness like they would have used wood. In the 70's they figured out they could use much thinner glass in some areas and save a lot of weight, but the resin formulation used had some problems causing blisters and osmosis. In the 80's they got better resin and also ditched the extreme overhangs inspired by the old CCA and IOR rating rules.
In the 90's, production costs were cut to stay competitive and you started to see more liners than stick built which continues today in boats that are largely glued together fiberglass molds. These production boats are perfectly fine for most people and certainly coastal cruising, but are poo-pooed because they don't have the sturdiness of hand built boats.

There are of coarse, lots of exceptions. The value of any boat more than a few years old depends far more on the care and maintenance more than anything else.
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Old 07-06-2023, 08:03   #5
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Re: OLD vs NEW boats. Contradictive experts' opinion.

I think people often just say what they have is better.

They make arguments to try to justify what they bought.
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Old 07-06-2023, 08:23   #6
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Re: OLD vs NEW boats. Contradictive experts' opinion.

Anton:

Why would you conceive that "bloggers/experts" are in a position to offer you advice? Or that you should pay attention to what they say?

Start from this premise: A "frozen snot" hull - a "fibreglass" hull - is indestructible. So why pay for a "new" one when you can buy an "old" one for far less money?

EVERYTHING in a frozen snot boat that is NOT the hull itself is merely a "bag hung on".
Standing and running rigging, canvas - all "bags hung on". Engine and associated clobber - "bags hung on". Navigation gear, particularly electronic doodads - "bags hung on". Continue this list into the realm of finer and finer detail and it always reduces to the same thing: "Bags hung on".

Each kind of "bag hung on" has a fairly well known "expected life" after which it must be replaced. There is little cost differential in doing so regardless of whether the bag is hung onto a new hull or an old one.

So any raw "cost advantage" lies with the old boat.

HOWEVER, over the last half century, when every Tom, Dick and 'Arry, has had to be a seafaring man, the ARRANGEMENTS ("accommodations") of sailing yachts have changed drastically because it isn't Tom, Dick or Harry that makes the ultimate decision as to what to buy - it is Tammy, Deanne and Holly. And women to a far greater degree than men want to be surrounded by conveniences that permit them to forget that they are aboard ship.

It must also be remembered that sailboat RACING can be very exciting. But being "on passage", however, is for the crew, when the skipper does his job right, utterly boring most of the time. There may be interludes, nevertheless, when the boredom is replaced by utter terror. Many men, and more women, then exhibit quite atavistic behaviour :-)!

The conveniences and "luxuries" that women want are much more readily found in "new" boats because the few designers and builders left in the world design and build with women in mind. That is where the market, and therefore profits and survivability as a business, lies.

So ignore the "experts"! Define WHERE you are going to sail, HOW you sail (i.e. your "skippering style") and WHO is going to be sailing with you. Then buy a boat, new or old, that will give you the biggest bang for the buck when those desiderata have all been accommodated. If you have the bux, all good and well. If you don't, you are not yet ready to own a boat.

Coming back to the "bags hung on": If you buy an OLD boat, on the day you pay for it, place a sum equivalent to the purchase price in a dedicated bank account to allow for any "bags" that need immediate attention. If you buy a NEWISH boat, a boat in active use, you might be able to skip that step. If you buy a BRAND NEW OUT OF THE BUILDER'S FACTORY boat, you cannot skip it, tho' you might be able to reduce it to, say, 25% of the purchase price. Every month thereafter, if the boat is a 30-footer, put a thousand bux into that account. If the boat is a 40-footer, make that monthly deposit two grand. Then, after a longish period of ownership, say ten years, you will find that all that money will have been used up in "ownership expenses".

Bonne chance :-)!

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Old 07-06-2023, 09:14   #7
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Re: OLD vs NEW boats. Contradictive experts' opinion.

Whatever is in the best possible condition. You can have a new or old boat so beat up/not maintained that it's a safety risk. On the other hand any old or new boat will be great if it was properly maintained.
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Old 07-06-2023, 10:43   #8
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Re: OLD vs NEW boats. Contradictive experts' opinion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anton Tokar View Post

For 50k I can buy an old 40y.o. CC Moody or 20y.o Beneteau/Jeanneau/Bavaria (not CC but newer)....
Assuming you have looked at both in person and they are currently in the same condition..............................GET THE ONE YOU LIKE BEST!

IF one is only in a little worse condition still GET THE ONE YOU LIKE BEST EVEN IF IT IS THAT ONE!
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Old 07-06-2023, 11:30   #9
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Re: OLD vs NEW boats. Contradictive experts' opinion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TrentePieds View Post
Anton:

over the last half century, when every Tom, Dick and 'Arry, has had to be a seafaring man, the ARRANGEMENTS ("accommodations") of sailing yachts have changed drastically because it isn't Tom, Dick or Harry that makes the ultimate decision as to what to buy - it is Tammy, Deanne and Holly. And women to a far greater degree than men want to be surrounded by conveniences that permit them to forget that they are aboard ship...

The conveniences and "luxuries" that women want are much more readily found in "new" boats because the few designers and builders left in the world design and build with women in mind...

TrentePieds
One way out of this apparent dilemma is to wait until your potential First Mate no longer has strong feelings about boats (not universally true, but age helps... more age, more help...) and then buy what you want (within budget/reason...)

Forty years ago I tended to skipper boats that were twice the displacement and 15 feet longer than my heart really wanted... most recently I bought a smaller boat (actually, the second time I've had one of these...), a little more austere, insurance took some shopping as its 50 years old, but I'm having a great time "making it mine..." Not free, but fun again...
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Old 07-06-2023, 11:39   #10
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Re: OLD vs NEW boats. Contradictive experts' opinion.

I've owned four boats for seasonal coastal cruising (northeastern USA). They ranged in age from 14 to 24 years when I bought them. I kept the first 3 between 8 and 12 years each, and sold them for 75-85 per cent of what I paid (sold them all without a broker, so maybe I didn't get top dollar).

They were well maintained when I purchased and I did my best to keep them that way. The trick is to find one that has not been "used up" and act quickly, because they tend to go fast.

Newer boats were out of my budget, and anything much older didn't appeal to my wife.

This is a very personal thing so don't put too much stock in anyone else's experience, just look at how you plan to use the boat, your budget, your DIY skills, your time line to put it in proper shape, etc. That said, for me the "sweet spot" has been either side of 20 years, where depreciation has already taken most of its toll and the boat is still in decent shape if properly maintained.
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Old 07-06-2023, 13:47   #11
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Re: OLD vs NEW boats. Contradictive experts' opinion.

I like older boats because they're:

1) A lot cheaper, even after considering the work I need/want to put into them -- My Albin Vega cost me $15K and was rock solid, and my Westsail 32 cost me $25K, and all her faults are purely cosmetic and easy to fix
2) I personally like the older, full keel, heavy displacement boats, that they just don't really make any more.
3) They have well-established reputations, and it's easily known how they handle bluewater, what their weaknesses are, etc -- most of these will have turned up after 20 or so years on the water, at least for a GRP hull.

Even if I had the money, I would never purchase a brand new boat that was just going to immediately depreciate. I'd take that money and buy either an extremely well cared for, prime example of an older boat, or something built with in the last 10 years.
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Old 07-06-2023, 13:48   #12
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Re: OLD vs NEW boats. Contradictive experts' opinion.

I might add there can be ups and downs in boat condition versus age. Not so much to do with the hull, but individual systems instead.

10 year old boat, maybe everything that was new still works.

15 year old boat, maybe original equipment is starting to fail (freshwater pump, ACs, fridges, freezers, microwaves, etc.) and any electronics are past their sell-by date.

20 year old boat, maybe a lot of stuff has already been replaced, so aside from the hull it's back to almost new.

Et cetera.

Throughout all those ups and downs, the engines were either (well?) cared for... or not. Age not necessarily the concern here, usually just treatment over time.

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Old 07-06-2023, 14:51   #13
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Re: OLD vs NEW boats. Contradictive experts' opinion.

And the one item that doesnít change with age is slip fees
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Old 07-06-2023, 15:11   #14
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Re: OLD vs NEW boats. Contradictive experts' opinion.

(almost) any boat is worth buying...if the price is right

age...condition...set-up...imho anything is workable depending on the price

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Old 07-06-2023, 15:40   #15
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Re: OLD vs NEW boats. Contradictive experts' opinion.

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And the one item that doesnít change with age is slip fees
it does acturally as there are marinas starting to not allow the older boats
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