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Old 25-11-2008, 19:42   #1
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What Would You Choose?

This is too much fun. I have to watch that it doesn’t become an addiction.

Here’s a budget hypothetical:

I want to convert my land assets and move onto the water, within 3 years. My assets are currently down to $500,000 because of the RE market. I expect to retire in 3 years and will have about $2,000 clear monthly retirement income from an IRA. I also expect somewhat of a recovery, but for this hypothetical assume $0.5M is all I have up front to invest in the boat, the gear and any reserve funds.

I have moderate coastal cruising experience (2.5k miles). I intend to cruise the Caribbean, with a one-time pilgrimage to the south pacific. I need a boat that is rigged for single-handing but comfortable for 4 people from the occasional 1-2 week visits. I much prefer the anchor to the dock. I have my eye on some boats in the 38’ – 44’ range. No project boats. As you see I gravitate to more heavily built passage makers, in the cutter configuration. I’m a big guy myself.

1995 - 2001
Cabo Rico
• Valiant
Cape Dory
Island Packet

1985 – 1995
• Tashiba
• Hans Christian
• Shannon

Given the budget and the goals above, how much would you devote to the boat? How much would you devote to the rehab and upgrades? How much to the cruising fund? What additional boats should I consider? Why? Why? Why? And why?

Thanks you old salty dogs.
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Old 25-11-2008, 23:51   #2
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I'd lean toward the Valiant. Better all around sailor with more circumnavigations than any other design. Haven't priced them lately but think you should be able find a full up, ready to go one for less than $150,000.

As far as cruising funds, it all depends on you. We spent a year and a half cruising French Polynesia and Hawaii. Total expenditure was $1300 1970 dollars including boat stuff for the cruise. Boat was heavily provisioned before we left and that cost not in the cruise cost. We didn't eat out and only occasionally hit a bar. We ate well, if you can call lobster every night eating well. We didn't play the bar/restaurant scene largely because there weren't many of them in the out of the way places we went to.

I've heard of people who do what I call California Cruising complain about spending $10,000 or more a month. If you have a big boat with lots of electrickery and refrigeration that have to be kept running by hired help, eat all your meals out, get falling down drunk at the bars every day, you can blow through buckets of money. I suggest you keep careful track of what your expenditures are as you are living now. Take out any expenses that won't be happening while cruising like rents, car payments, etc. but add in boat expenses and then budget for the amount of expenditures that are left. I know that I could live nicely on your $2,000 monthly income.

Peter O.
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Old 26-11-2008, 04:12   #3
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Are you including boat and health insurance in your budget? I also assume your $2k/month is after-tax dollars. It's never about the income; it's always about the expenses. Good luck, mate!
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Old 26-11-2008, 09:58   #4
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No more than half for the boat, for me. I'd expect to have new dresses and a major refit in store, and 2k per month would be a moderately tight budget for plotting out regular refits over a long and glorious retirement.

(I'm in negotiations with sailmakers at the moment, and am told sails can expect 3500-4000 hours of useful work life. In heavy cruising terms, that's about 2.5 years, or about 5 for 'normal' cruising. So if you're retired and cruising for 20 years...)

I think I'd try to keep about 1/3 of the money to beef up my monthly budget slightly, and in case I get two-footitis after the market recovers or I find the perfect dock to purchase someplace warm and sunny.

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Old 26-11-2008, 11:43   #5
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intend to cruise the Caribbean, with a one-time pilgrimage to the south pacific. I need a boat that is rigged for single-handing but comfortable for 4 people from the occasional 1-2 week visits.
There really is nothing wrong with any of the list of boats you have but in the end not all of them will be for sale at one time. None of them will be in comparable condition or price. Shopping for boats by brand name may work better when talking about new boats rather than used boats. Used boats have the one quality that makes them all similar and almost equal - you don't know completely where they have been or what was done or not done to them until well after you buy them. The brand name won't fix the boat or reduce the amount of work you have to do. The work is directly proportional to the length and actually more like geometric rather than linear.

Given your budget I would devote as little as possible to the boat. Bigger boats cost more to maintain and add up in terms of both cost and time. You have artificially added a lot of money in terms of insurance and maintenance costs by going with a boat far bigger than your requirements indicate for a single hander with limited experience and I think limited budget. The few times you have a few people on board are going to eat up a large part of your $2,000 / month. It means you'll spend at least an extra few weeks a year doing work instead of sailing or not sailing. There will be higher costs like bottom paint and other items that are all "by the foot" times the beam in price. Six extra feet of boat takes a lot of money to purchase and maintain.

You really don't need a boat to take other people sailing. Get a smaller boat and charter a really big one when you need a week or so. If they won't see you now they sure won't travel far to see you later. It's the basic things about people that don't seem to change.
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37 15.7 N 76 28.9 W
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Old 26-11-2008, 12:08   #6
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The Caribbean, and then one time in the South Pacific? I would think if you plan on staying with the boat, or selling it after the S.P. would be a HUGE factor in your decision.

When we live on the hook for extended periods of time. We easily live on less than $500.00 a month. If you leave in a well founded boat that will need little, or near zero maintenance. Then you need little more than the cost of food. There will always be something that unexpectantly break, or wears, but that is what the storage area is for.....EXTRA PARTS!

I sailed from S.F. Ca. to Puerto Vallarta Mexico, and back.The parts I replaced along the way were. Autopilot, because I was sold one too small. Instead of $400.00 I should have spent $700.00. Head gasket after motoring through huge pools of baby langunistas, and blowing the gasket. Rebuild kit for my water pump">raw water pump on the Atomic motor. A bolt for plugging a hole in the motor's inspection plate before blowing the head gasket.

Of course other bad things can happen along the way that are very expensive. It's not much different than driving a car. You drive the car hard, and more things break. Make sure you get in many months of sailing the vessel bought, so you will know the boat's faults, and workout the bugs before you leave. If you have the bugs worked out. There will be very few surprises along the way.

Don't let the doom, and gloom scare you away. If you can't fix things yourself. Then it can be overwhelming, and extremely expensive. Changing the head gasket cost $12.00 diy, and paying someone else might be $500.00....just an example.....BEST WISHES in seeking out a new life....IT IS ADDICTING!!!!!!!!.....i2f
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Old 26-11-2008, 13:36   #7
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With 500k I would spend 200k on the boat, 200k on some sort of income property and 100k in reserve. Then I would live on $2k.

Exit strategy is selling the income property and/or the boat.
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Old 30-11-2008, 23:26   #8
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You seem to have an eye for classy models. That's great, but IMO you might wind up paying disproportionately more. If seaworthiness and budget outweigh class (to you), you might want to look at an ericson38, a tayana37 or a tartan37. All can be bought and outfitted for well under 100K.
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Old 02-12-2008, 00:38   #9
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Thanks for the tip. I've been looking at the 3 boats you mentioned and in the age range I prefer (newer than '85), there seem to be candidates in the <$150k price range. These are now on my list.
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Old 02-12-2008, 15:30   #10
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You're welcome, and best of luck. Another thing to consider is that I've never really heard a convincing argument about what gear wears out in 30+ years that hasn't worn out in 15-20. I understand the allure of new boats (<10 years) but I'm not sure there's much difference between 20, 30 or 40 besides owner upkeep and price (which often reflects upkeep).
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Old 02-12-2008, 16:37   #11
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I would try and find a boat for $100k. Spend $10k fixing her up. Sail the boat for a year or so. Spend another $40k fitting her out with your new found understainding of what you really need on the boat. People on this forum tried to tell me this but I didn't listen to well. From there with the $350k I would try and find a safe investment (ha ha ha ha hah ah ha ha laugh laugh laugh cry!!!) If there is such a thing and then see how your $2k works as a budget.
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Old 03-12-2008, 04:16   #12
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Thumbs up Getting Closer


In my eyes, you have the winning answer. I think I can find a boat I can love for $100k and apply half more to a considered and planned blue water fit-out.

In my research I have found that you really need to think about pre-Vinylester blistering say '78 ><'85. Also rotted out tankage seems a problem after 25 years, with some being real monsters to replace. Even a well maintained engine gets pretty tired after 25 years. All and all the boats I've looked at 25 years and older just seem to be a little soft decked and tired around the edges. I'm less concerned with 15 year old electronics, sails and rig, as I would just as soon replace them at the end of their useful life soon after I purchase the boat. $50k maybe a little tight for the re-fit.

Based on comments from anotherT34C and others, I have broadened my search and agree that a slightly lighter faster cruiser, with less teak, makes good sense, both financially and for crossing water. I'll admit, I do like the B. Perry cutters. As for my investments, has anyone tried to cash gold in, off shore, or is that illegal? Another wards, if I were to bury some gold in a strong wooden box somewhere in the Caribbean, where nobody new; and I drew a map of it...? I better just sit tight; they say things will come back before we know it.
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Old 03-12-2008, 04:51   #13
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Old 03-12-2008, 05:24   #14
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I would look for a well found hull with no blisters with a comfortable accommodation plan. Then of course you need to consider the type of sailuing you intend to do. Are you going to basically live on the hook in the tropics? or do lots of blue water cruising?

If you are going to live on the hook and do most coastal type cruising I would use your retirement to do the refit AS you live aboard. Unless you can borrow to get the boat project going before you get out of real estate, then you need a boat that you can live on WHILE you do the refit. This work can extend to years depending on what projects are required and desired. You certainly can leave the cosmetics for last, focusing on the most basic projects at first - thru hulls, plumbing systems, power, sterring,wiring, communications, ground tackle, standing rigging, running rigging and sails, navigation gear, on to creature comforts like refer, hot water, A/C, safety gear, entertainment, unholstery, tender and does the list of projects end? The point being that doing and therefore learning intimately about all the above are enjoyable and makes you a better sailor/ skipper / owner and give you plenty to do in your retirement.

That's a plan!
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Old 24-01-2009, 22:15   #15
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Thumbs up Get the Valiant

I wish I had your budget! I would buy my cruising/live aboard dream a Valiant. Dollar for dollar they are still almost impossible to beat.
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