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Old 18-07-2020, 23:30   #1
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5 year old or 10-15 year old cat?

Hello, I've been researching best catamaran to buy and some people say it is better not to buy new (warranty issues, rapid depreciation, etc.) and to buy a cat of 4-5 years old. The idea is to use it for 2-3 years and then sell it while it still has good value/price and this cat age is not a money pit yet.

I also noted that some people buy a 10-15 old year cat.

Of course, a 4-5 year old cat costs much more than a 10-15 year old cat.

What is your experience or feedback? Is it truly better to pay more for a 4-5 year old cat or is it okay to spend less on a 10-15 year old cat? I can be figure out how to fix things, etc., but if in the end the cumulative price (more for a newer model or less for an older model + repairs) is approx the same, it probably makes sense to look at a 4-5 year old cat?

We are just a family saving up for a boat/cat and hope in the future to get sailing. It probably sounds cliche, but with kids, we think the best option for us is a cap of about 45 feet. So far all information I've seen says to stick to well-known cat brands like PF, Lagoon or Leopard. We are at the very beginning of this journey, so please be gentle in your responses
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Old 19-07-2020, 00:08   #2
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Re: 5 year old or 10-15 year old cat?

I don’t have much experience with cats, but if the thing is falling apart after just 10-15yrs, that sounds more like the build quality you’d expect in one of those cheap RVs, not something you’d trust out of sight of land with your family aboard.

Good mx and a well designed and built boat means much more to me than model year
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Old 19-07-2020, 00:42   #3
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Re: 5 year old or 10-15 year old cat?

Gday Vasilly,
A good but tough question. We are now onto our second Cat. being a Lagoon 440. Our first cat was Lagoon 2004 410 which we bought in 2015. It was an ex charter four cabin model. Yes it needed work but at the same time it was in good condition given its life as a charter vessel and enabled us to cruise in comfort while we bought the boat up to our requirements.
Being second hand and also a ex charter we accepted the boat with its issues and had a ball sailing and doing the required maintenance while also learing about every thing on the boat and finding all the nooks and crannies. We bought the boat cheap and sold with a very good profit after all our work.
We then upgraded to a late model 2007 Lagoon 440. Very lightly used by her private owners. There were some minour issues with the motors and saildrives which we new about prior to purchase which was factored into the purchase price. The 440 just had all of the old eletronics replaced, new main. a new custom made hardtop and covers plus a host of other goodies. We have not owned this boat for two years and currenlty cruising the east coast of Australia and having a ball.
We have friends going through the same dilemma as you are at the moment. They were looking at a new 46 but are also looking at good second hand cats as well. The savings between new and second hand are obvious. Your cruising kitty will also be a lot healthier if you buy right. New is awesome but sometimes getting a new boat right can take a year or longer for you needs.
As the end of the day you are the only one who knows what boat will suite your purpose and what you want on it. If a ten year old boat will do the job then why not. Lots of excellent models out there to choose from.


Greg H
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Oz
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Old 19-07-2020, 07:50   #4
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Re: 5 year old or 10-15 year old cat?

I think the two most important questions/factors (after your experience level is known) are:
What is your all-in budget?
What is your expected use?


Your budget will be the biggest limiting factor in what you buy. If you're rolling in it, of course get the newest boat you can afford.


Next, how do you expect to use the cat/boat?
Live-aboard? Limited or extensive crossings? Heavy sailing use, or primarily motoring?
The condition of the engines, sails (rigging), and systems are more important if you will be far off shore and off-grid more.
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Old 19-07-2020, 08:05   #5
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Re: 5 year old or 10-15 year old cat?

-Things beyond the basic hull etc, from pumps, to accessories, appliances and electronics tend to start failing at maybe 8 years +/-. So whether the boat is 15 years old or 5, the main difference is how long ago was that stuff new?
-Rigging is said to be near replacement at 10 years, sails likely also. So it is highly dependent on the condition or age of those. Sails are expensive.
-One of two rudders was water logged at 7 years on a cat I bought. Ditto for 7 years on a mono I bought also.
-Tanks are a problem some times on older boats. Plastic windows on cats deteriorate readily. These are a couple things that a newer boat may have an advantage with.
-Engines may be suspect on an older boat, but it may have the simpler more reliable shaft drive instead of the modern drive legs.

An older boat can be a good thing if the owner has fastidiously kept it renewed, and a bargain; his loss , your gain. But it also seems to me that the saying "you can't make a silk purse out of a sows ear" holds true also. Sometimes a renewed boat will never quite be like a new boat. You just reach a point of diminishing returns in restoration.
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Old 19-07-2020, 08:08   #6
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Re: 5 year old or 10-15 year old cat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ozsailer View Post
We have friends going through the same dilemma as you are at the moment. They were looking at a new 46 but are also looking at good second hand cats as well. The savings between new and second hand are obvious. Your cruising kitty will also be a lot healthier if you buy right. New is awesome but sometimes getting a new boat right can take a year or longer for you needs.
As the end of the day you are the only one who knows what boat will suite your purpose and what you want on it. If a ten year old boat will do the job then why not. Lots of excellent models out there to choose from.
Oz
Thanks for the insight Greg. We are likely not going to buy a new cat for the reasons noted above. It appears to be like a new car: as soon as you of a dealer's parking loss, it's already lost value. Plus warranty issues we've read about.


For your 440, it is now 13 years old. Did you by chance go through this kind of analysis (as what we are trying to do) when you bought it? After all upgrades, repairs, etc. did you save anything buying the "older" cat compared to, let's say, buying a 440 which is 4-5 years old?


I realize that any boat is not an investment but even with any costs, one can spend more or less.



Quote:
What is your all-in budget?
What is your expected use?
We don't really have a budget set per se. We are probably some years away (at least 5-6 years) before we can do this. We've got some savings, but want to work more now to get the savings balance higher so when we do this later, we are free not to return to work ever (if we choose to). But ideally, we don't want to go over $300K-$400K (I think, still learning about numbers for this). Again, this is just a rough idea at the moment. If we can get something cheaper, even better as it means more money left in our investment accounts. We have three kids (pre-K to 4th grade in the US) so we need to factor in things like their college, etc. Lots of variables.


The goal is to get a cat/boat and start sailing until we get tired of it. Going around the world and spending at least several years doing that (if not more - see above about not returning to work). So the cat will need to be ready (or upgraded) for such sailing.


Our experience level with boats is zero now, but we are starting early to learn things. Will likely sign up for classes at some point, maybe join a sailing club to get more experience, etc.
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Old 19-07-2020, 08:15   #7
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Re: 5 year old or 10-15 year old cat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
An older boat can be a good thing if the owner has fastidiously kept it renewed, and a bargain; his loss , your gain. But it also seems to me that the saying "you can't make a silk purse out of a sows ear" holds true also. Sometimes a renewed boat will never quite be like a new boat. You just reach a point of diminishing returns in restoration.

So it appears that no matter how you skin the cat , it is still a bit of a gamble. If what I am gathering from replies is correct, I should be looking at (a) the age of the boat vs (b) what upgrades (and when) have been done. Probably means I need some kind of spreadsheet comparing various upgrade costs and whether they have been installed on a particular used cat vs buying a newer one.
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Old 19-07-2020, 08:41   #8
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Re: 5 year old or 10-15 year old cat?

New is the biggest financial hit...you have the highest level of depreciation and you have the full cost of outfitting the boat.

4-5yr old boat will likely be a bigger financial hit over an equivalent ownership life-cycle (compared to older boats) as that's still in it's primary depreciation period. Theoretically, it should be in good shape with most of the original equipment still fully functional...but if get an owner who doesn't keep up on maintenance, a boat can go downhill very fast.

At 10-15yr old, there is still some depreciation but it's slowing down. This is balanced out by some long term maintenance coming due but that's hit and miss. Also, it depends if it's something you care about.

I'd say at around 20yrs, boats are depreciated to their underlying value...if everything is in good shape and functional, the value really won't change much (inflation can even cause it to increase in value relative to the original sales price)

If you can find a 10-15yr old boat with everything in good shape, all the extras you want are already installed and systems that need it refreshed, this is probably the sweet spot as those updates rarely translate into significant difference in sales price but provide a lot of benefits.
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Old 19-07-2020, 08:48   #9
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Re: 5 year old or 10-15 year old cat?

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Originally Posted by valhalla360 View Post
4-5yr old boat will likely be a bigger financial hit over an equivalent ownership life-cycle (compared to older boats) as that's still in it's primary depreciation period. Theoretically, it should be in good shape with most of the original equipment still fully functional...but if get an owner who doesn't keep up on maintenance, a boat can go downhill very fast.

If you can find a 10-15yr old boat with everything in good shape, all the extras you want are already installed and systems that need it refreshed, this is probably the sweet spot as those updates rarely translate into significant difference in sales price but provide a lot of benefits.

Helpful info and breakdown. Are there cases where people buy 4-5 year old cats, sail them for 2-3 years, sell and buy a different 4-5 year old ones. Is that financially a better decision than getting a 4-5 year old cat (or even 10-15 year one) and keeping it for longer?
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Old 19-07-2020, 08:57   #10
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Re: 5 year old or 10-15 year old cat?

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Originally Posted by vasiliy View Post
Helpful info and breakdown. Are there cases where people buy 4-5 year old cats, sail them for 2-3 years, sell and buy a different 4-5 year old ones. Is that financially a better decision than getting a 4-5 year old cat (or even 10-15 year one) and keeping it for longer?
I'm sure you will hear people claiming that they make money doing this...but you also get people claiming they beat the market...yet they aren't billionaires.

You might get lucky and get a great deal that translates to little loss but in terms of annual cost, buy and hold is likely the cheapest option.

This is particularly true for someone who doesn't have a lot of experience buying cruising boats.

One exception would be someone in the industry (say a boat surveyor). They see lots of boats, they know what sells and what is a doesn't. They also know how to find problems without paying for assistance. They are more likely to come across the old guy getting out of cruising who under priced the boat and are in a position to jump on it. Since you asked the question, that probably isn't you.
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Old 19-07-2020, 09:48   #11
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Re: 5 year old or 10-15 year old cat?

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Originally Posted by valhalla360 View Post
You might get lucky and get a great deal that translates to little loss but in terms of annual cost, buy and hold is likely the cheapest option.

Thanks, that makes sense. Transaction costs are there for each sale.
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Old 19-07-2020, 10:33   #12
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Re: 5 year old or 10-15 year old cat?

I would rather buy an older boat with either worn out systems or very few systems at a good price than a older boat with newer systems. This way you get to put the systems you want on the boat instead of dealing with someone elseís choices.
Also donít get stuck in the top 3, Lagoon Leopard and FP. There are many other manufacturers of cats and quite a few in my opinion that put out a far superior product, both in design and build.
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Old 20-07-2020, 02:54   #13
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Re: 5 year old or 10-15 year old cat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by vasiliy View Post
The goal is to get a cat/boat and start sailing until we get tired of it. Going around the world and spending at least several years doing that (if not more - see above about not returning to work). So the cat will need to be ready (or upgraded) for such sailing.


Our experience level with boats is zero now, but we are starting early to learn things. Will likely sign up for classes at some point, maybe join a sailing club to get more experience, etc.
Since you're in early planning now, the most important thing for you to do is get some experience on the water ASAP. Learn to sail, then sail as many cats as possible from as varied a range of years, makes, and models as possible. This is what my wife and I will do. I have some sailing experience (and many years at sea in the USN) and she does not.
Get your family out on a cat for an extended period of time, first with Captained supervision, then on your own. THEN make your decision about which cat is best for your family and for you as far as price, performance, piloting, upkeep, maintenance, and livability.
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Old 20-07-2020, 09:55   #14
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Re: 5 year old or 10-15 year old cat?

Rule of the road. The older the better built.
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Old 20-07-2020, 12:51   #15
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Re: 5 year old or 10-15 year old cat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by smj View Post
I would rather buy an older boat with either worn out systems or very few systems at a good price than a older boat with newer systems. This way you get to put the systems you want on the boat instead of dealing with someone elseís choices.
Also donít get stuck in the top 3, Lagoon Leopard and FP. There are many other manufacturers of cats and quite a few in my opinion that put out a far superior product, both in design and build.
"Also donít get stuck in the top 3, Lagoon Leopard and FP. There are many other manufacturers of cats and quite a few in my opinion that put out a far superior product, both in design and build." Yep, my opinion exactly. The reason you hear so much about the "Big Three" is that they're mass produced for the charter market which is mostly in the Carib. And they perform well there. Anyone considering crossing oceans on a regular basis would opt for something else. Consider some of the lesser known brands that produce fewer boats per year - they tend to be better built.
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