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Old 06-08-2020, 12:10   #1
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When is a Sailboat too old to purchase?

I am a longtime boater, but finally decided to make the shift to sailing! I am looking at something in the 25-27 foot range. The model that has caught my eye is the Nonsuch 26 Classic. My concern is that it is a 1985.

When buying and selling used motor boats in the past, most are 5-20 years old, and after that mostly on their way out. But, it seems for sailboats, 20, 30 and even 40 year old boats are common and still hold substantial value.

What is the difference? And, am I safe buying a 35 year old boat - with new many upgrades to equipment - will I still be able to retain some value if I want to sell in 5 or 10 years?

Thanks for your thoughts on question - and my possible new purchase.
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Old 06-08-2020, 12:19   #2
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Re: When is a Sailboat too old to purchase?

For a 1985 boat all that really matters is the condition the boat is NOW in and the willingness to pay the price. It isn't all that uncommon for the only thingson a 1985 boat to be original is the hull and deck.
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Old 06-08-2020, 13:25   #3
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Re: When is a Sailboat too old to purchase?

Did a TransPac in my 50 year old FRP boat. Other boat is a youngster, only 44 years old, but still made the trip from SF to SoCal. How well the boat is maintained or how well it's survived the ages are the real factor. Stuff needs to be replaced in rig, electrics, sails, engine etc. but the hulls seem to do just fine with a little paint for cosmetic reasons occasionally. I feel much better with a 50 year old boat that is maintained than a 10 year old boat with poor maintenance and/or a bunch of equipment that is on it's last legs.
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Old 06-08-2020, 13:31   #4
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Re: When is a Sailboat too old to purchase?

Age doesnít matter
Upkeep does.

Iíve seen new cats pin ball down the dock with charter ďcaptainsĒ, Iíd wager that boat will be a complete mess after maybe 5-10yrs.

Iíve seen boats over 100yrs old that are more squared away than some factory new boats.


Sadly itís not just as linear as donít buy if older then X year
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Old 06-08-2020, 13:34   #5
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Re: When is a Sailboat too old to purchase?

An older small boat has depreciated 95%. If you keep it ten years you'll probably spend more on maintenance than the purchase price. You should be able to sell it for close to what you paid for.
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Old 06-08-2020, 13:35   #6
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Re: When is a Sailboat too old to purchase?

There are tons of strong boats close to 50 years old, but it depends on the particular boat.

Mine is a 1974 Bristol 27. It's a well build boat.

Here are more examples of well built boats.

https://atomvoyages.com/planning/goo...oats-list.html
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Old 06-08-2020, 13:41   #7
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Re: When is a Sailboat too old to purchase?

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Originally Posted by LLCoolDave View Post
An older small boat has depreciated 95%. If you keep it ten years you'll probably spend more on maintenance than the purchase price. You should be able to sell it for close to what you paid for.
That's right.

I paid $2,000 for mine and have put about $10,000 more into it over 9 years.
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Old 06-08-2020, 13:48   #8
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Re: When is a Sailboat too old to purchase?

They are rarer but there are some nice sloops out there pushing 60 years old. Older fiberglass hulls tended to be a lot more conservative. As others pointed out condition matters a lot more than age once you get past 10 years or so.

Depreciation is very low pretty close to inflation on a boat 30 years old so if you don't overpay you should be able to sell it for close to what you bought it for 5 to 10 years later. Of course you will be putting a lot into in terms of maintenance and likely upgrades so it isn't an investment but depreciation is your smallest cost on older sailboats.

I mean if you are looking to buy a boat that is 25 years old and curious what it will sell for in 10 years ... look at some similar listings that are 35 years old and then bump them up those prices 25% to 30% for inflation over the next decade.
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Old 06-08-2020, 13:57   #9
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Re: When is a Sailboat too old to purchase?

I don't think $10,000 over 9 years is much for maintenance and upgrades on an old boat.

Some folks spend that much on electronics and anchors not counting the maintenance.

My boat was loaded though. it was left near here after the Po's 2 year cruise from Massachusetts to Florida and the Bahamas.

The engine was about shot though which after it failed caused me to pull the 10 hp 352 lb beast, remove all associated hardware (tank, cooper fuel lines, prop shaft, muffler, motor mounts, etc), clean the filthy bilge and engine compartment then replace it with a new 2011 58 lb 4 stroke 5 hp outboard
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Old 06-08-2020, 17:12   #10
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Re: When is a Sailboat too old to purchase?

No one can guarantee you what a 50 yr old boat will be worth compared to a 40 yr old boat. It would depend on how well it has been maintained and on countless market issues.

I would say for local use, no overseas passages, it wouldn't make any difference, once the electrics, rigging, sails, and engine have all been renewed, just keep it up. But do not count on it being much of an asset. Sailboats do not gain in value. You, get value from enjoying them. It is sort of intangible, and you pay for berthing, insurance and upkeep, whether or not you're using it.

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Old 06-08-2020, 18:33   #11
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Re: When is a Sailboat too old to purchase?

This one:

https://eastnc.craigslist.org/search...20lee&sort=rel

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Old 06-08-2020, 19:37   #12
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Re: When is a Sailboat too old to purchase?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tor271 View Post
I am a longtime boater, but finally decided to make the shift to sailing! I am looking at something in the 25-27 foot range. The model that has caught my eye is the Nonsuch 26 Classic. My concern is that it is a 1985.

When buying and selling used motor boats in the past, most are 5-20 years old, and after that mostly on their way out. But, it seems for sailboats, 20, 30 and even 40 year old boats are common and still hold substantial value.

What is the difference? And, am I safe buying a 35 year old boat - with new many upgrades to equipment - will I still be able to retain some value if I want to sell in 5 or 10 years?

Thanks for your thoughts on question - and my possible new purchase.
The boat we cruise full time on is forty three years old, and as Sailorboy said, a good number of mechanical items on our boat are five or less years old. The hull, deck, mast and boom are original equipment and doing just fine. The nature of the beast on an older boat is that all the bits and pieces due to previous owner syndrome can sometimes be worn out from use or neglect. Its a labor of love... or so we tell ourselves. There are thousands of ďoldĒ boats happily plying the waters near you right now. So do due diligence before you make your purchase, itís not age, itís up keep and condition.

Fair winds,
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Old 06-08-2020, 19:39   #13
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Re: When is a Sailboat too old to purchase?

Thanks for all the great advice - and for the one to avoid Little Wing 77 !
Has given me more confidence to give this one serious consideration, while being careful not to overpay and ensuring a thorough survey. Buying this late in our Great Lakes season should help too.
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Old 07-08-2020, 08:20   #14
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Re: When is a Sailboat too old to purchase?

I had an 80's vintage Nonsuch 30 before our current boat (4 years ago) and loved it. They are well built and can last forever like any well built FRP boat.

Come to think of it, all of my keel boats (9 or so) have been late 70's and 80's vintage as I prefer the bullet-proof hulls from back then to the flimsy thin hulls of the modern designs.
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Old 07-08-2020, 08:28   #15
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Re: When is a Sailboat too old to purchase?

Quote:
Originally Posted by thomm225 View Post
There are tons of strong boats close to 50 years old, but it depends on the particular boat.

Mine is a 1974 Bristol 27. It's a well build boat.

Here are more examples of well built boats.

https://atomvoyages.com/planning/goo...oats-list.html
As an aside........I looked through the list, great info...BUT it is a travesty that the Muira 31 is not included. It is "old enough" and very arguably the one design yacht which has crossed more oceans than any other!! Even today that would be contestable. The design is legend for it's sheer cruising space and capacity, great handling in heavy weather, and uncanny windward ability in all conditions. It was designed as the minimum size to enter the Cape to Rio and tough enough for the Agulus Race, ...I had one in earnest as a young man, and now keep one as a pet :-) Edit the book :-) !
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