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Old 15-10-2020, 23:32   #1
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Gutting a 45' sailboat

Hello! I just bought a 45' bruce roberts sailboat for very cheap, an older man was selling her because he couldn't keep up with maintenance. The interior is infested with cockroaches and is very dirty. My plan is to gut the entire interior of the sailboat and re-do it myself. My main concern is with the size of this boat, it has air conditioning (don't think it works) and many other electrical equipment I'm not too familiar with. I would love to take out anything electrical, gut it, repaint / fix up anything that needs to be fixed, and start on doing the interior the way I would like. To live on of course. I have a time frame of about 3 years and was wondering what a normal time frame of gutting a sailboat is? Thanks for the help!
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Old 16-10-2020, 00:22   #2
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Re: Gutting a 45' sailboat

check out saillife on youtube and decide if you'd like to proceed-its definitely a labour of love!do you want to sail now or in a few years?
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Old 16-10-2020, 00:28   #3
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Re: Gutting a 45' sailboat

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Originally Posted by martinworswick View Post
check out saillife on youtube and decide if you'd like to proceed-its definitely a labour of love!do you want to sail now or in a few years?
Hi, if you have the money and time then continue on, the time is most likely in the 10 year frame and the money will be at least 3 times your estimate.
Good luck and may your God be with you.
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Old 16-10-2020, 01:29   #4
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Re: Gutting a 45' sailboat

I am nearing completion of my Roberts Mauritius 43 and I can assure you that Uncle Bob and Martinworswick are right on the ball.

Conventional wisdom is that once you have the hull and deck you are about a third of the way to finishing. (But of course you have the rigging/winches already.

What would the normal time be? That depends on the standard of finish you are aiming for.
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Old 16-10-2020, 01:34   #5
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Re: Gutting a 45' sailboat

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ketch79 View Post
Hello! I just bought a 45' bruce roberts sailboat for very cheap, an older man was selling her because he couldn't keep up with maintenance. The interior is infested with cockroaches and is very dirty. My plan is to gut the entire interior of the sailboat and re-do it myself. My main concern is with the size of this boat, it has air conditioning (don't think it works) and many other electrical equipment I'm not too familiar with. I would love to take out anything electrical, gut it, repaint / fix up anything that needs to be fixed, and start on doing the interior the way I would like. To live on of course. I have a time frame of about 3 years and was wondering what a normal time frame of gutting a sailboat is? Thanks for the help!
It’s not normally done because you have all the labor and expense of gutting it, then all the labor and expense of redesigning it and rebuilding it.

It’s often less expensive and less time consuming to build a new boat from scratch. Or even better, find one that someone gave up on building.

I’m going to say if you know boats, 3 years is a good estimate. If you don’t understand all the systems, make it 5 years.

As for cost, it’ll be whatever you spend. I wouldn’t even watch your money vanishing. LOL. Too depressing. Just make sure you can keep up with the money burn comfortably.
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Old 16-10-2020, 03:10   #6
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Re: Gutting a 45' sailboat

Hi there, Ketch

There's a great article in the Mar/Apr 2018 issue of Good Old Boat about a Vagabond 47' gutting and refit:
https://goodoldboat.com/shop/back-is...9-march-april/

and also an Irwin 37' refit here in the Nov/Dec issue:
https://goodoldboat.com/shop/back-is...mber-december/

You'd have to buy and download the issues (only $6 bucks USD each) but at least you'd have some inspiration!

Good luck - that's quite a project you're taking on.

Fair winds,
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Old 16-10-2020, 03:27   #7
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Re: Gutting a 45' sailboat

Time of project depends on too many variables for armchair guessing. Your level of handyness and commitment, how much work per day you're willing to do, and what standard of finish and equipment you want will be as big factors as how much money you can dump into it.
If you're going to gut, I say do it thoroughly. A clean sweep is easier than trying to work around leftover odds and ends.
For time: I gutted a 27' boat, fixed structural damage, built a new rudder, painted, re-rigged, cushions, furniture, new core, etc, and was sailing in just over a year.
Next I built a 31' boat from a bare hull--I installed everything starting with ballast and bulkheads, built decks and cabin, rudder, dinghy, rig--and went to sea three and a half years later. Both times I was working full-time.
If you have good skills and hustle, and know how to keep things simple, I see no reason this should take too long, unless there's hidden structural damage or serious re-building to do.
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Old 16-10-2020, 03:40   #8
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Gutting a 45' sailboat

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ketch79 View Post
Hello! I just bought a 45' bruce roberts sailboat for very cheap, an older man was selling her because he couldn't keep up with maintenance. The interior is infested with cockroaches and is very dirty. My plan is to gut the entire interior of the sailboat and re-do it myself. My main concern is with the size of this boat, it has air conditioning (don't think it works) and many other electrical equipment I'm not too familiar with. I would love to take out anything electrical, gut it, repaint / fix up anything that needs to be fixed, and start on doing the interior the way I would like. To live on of course. I have a time frame of about 3 years and was wondering what a normal time frame of gutting a sailboat is? Thanks for the help!

Just did this on my 42 foot Swanson. Back to bare hull as well as completely new decks and standing rigging, replaced the engine, built a big fridge/freezer and made all new upholstery, boom cover etc. All work done by me, absolutely no “professionals” or helpers other than my girlfriend helping with a myriad of minor tasks (most of which she tells me was finding lost tools, for which I will always be in her debt).

It has been about two and a half years of labour, part time, interspersed with studying my Masters and seeing my son through his final school years.

Aside from the vastly improved interior, the greatest benefit has been the approximately three ton weight loss. The boat sails immeasurably better now.

The big jobs, like the deck were done when I had a land base, I would not like to have done those while living aboard. The majority of the interior refit was done while living aboard. Regarding this, care and planning needs to be taken to ensure good air flow as many of the materials used are quite toxic to breathe. (Read up on epoxy allergies before you start.). If you are living aboard you cannot afford to sleep in a toxic soup.Click image for larger version

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Old 16-10-2020, 04:00   #9
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Re: Gutting a 45' sailboat

Ketch79

You would be very well served to spend some long hours reading this forum about other projects of this type.

A saying on the forum goes: "Some people like boats for the project, some people like boats to go sailing".
Its very important you do not have plans or interests in going sailing anytime soon. The project you are considering can easily fall into the 5,000 to 12,000 hours category. A year of full time labor at 40 hours a week is worth: 2,000 hours.

Take a look around the boat and count the sheets of plywood you need. Half inch marine ply near me is $65 a sheet. Not to mention the resin, glass, peel ply, consumables, paint, etc.
You absolutely MUST replace any bulkheads you remove they are a critical piece of the boats structure.

Cockroaches dont eat wood. A good bombing and then some preventative measures could easily rid you of their kind. Perhaps you can salvage the interior with some serious cleaning and painting action instead?

Take a walk around the boat yard. Every DIY yard I have ever been to is the proverbial field of broken dreams. Many a man has lost his savings and years of his life to fail at a boat rebuild dream.

The other saying that is a part of the marine world for good reason is: Cheap boats are never cheap. Or: Cheap boats do not exist.
The reason is that to make a boat ready for sea is a safe and seaman like manner requires either incredible amounts of time or significant investment of money. But usually a good chunk of both.

If you have never built a boat before you would be very well served getting a job building boats for 6 months to a year- this investment of time will pay for itself in many ways and I can promise you will come out ahead for doing it.

Other things to consider:
Where will you keep it?
How much does keeping it there cost?
What is nearby? Can you get supplied nearby or if you forget something is the day lost?
How far do you have to travel to it?
How much time can you commit per week? Month?
How much money can you spend on qualified contractors?
Are you capable of building a safe vessel, mechanically/electrically?
Do you need to take ABYC classes? Diesel mechanic courses?
Do you have a work season? Do you need climate control? (AC/Heat)
What does climate control cost?
etc. etc. etc.

Be honest, be brutal. Triple your time estimates. Double your cost estimates. If you your not willing to revolve your life around the project with a deep passion to succeed: walk away.
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Old 16-10-2020, 04:42   #10
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Re: Gutting a 45' sailboat

It is very easy to buy a $30,000 boat spend $100,000 and end up with a $40,000 boat!

Bomb the boat twice to kill the bugs, spent $100 on a good shopvac, clean the boat and see what you have...go sailing and decide if you like sailing or want to dedicate your life to boat fixing!

Personally it was the sailing and visiting interesting places that I liked...boat work was just to keep the boat going to get to the interesting places!

Good luck.
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Old 16-10-2020, 04:52   #11
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Re: Gutting a 45' sailboat

I am currently mid-project on a gut and refit that is taking longer than expected and the boat is only 21'. I would have rather been sailing more too...

If possible, I would exterminate the roaches and do a deep clean, using the time to study the boat and ponder the whole use/fix as-is versus gut and refit and catalog the good-bad-ugly as you go into a prioritized to-do list.

Are the electrical issues more of an understanding the existing system and/or a system that needs replacement due to poor choices made previously? My boat was easy to understand but had poor choices by previous owners of wire types and location of switches.

My last two air conditioner repairs (home and RV) were both 10$ starting capacitors.

All the best, I hope it is a fun project!
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Old 16-10-2020, 06:03   #12
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Re: Gutting a 45' sailboat

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If possible, I would exterminate the roaches and do a deep clean, using the time to study the boat and ponder the whole use/fix as-is versus gut and refit and catalog the good-bad-ugly as you go into a prioritized to-do list.

Are the electrical issues more of an understanding the existing system and/or a system that needs replacement due to poor choices made previously? My boat was easy to understand but had poor choices by previous owners of wire types and location of switches.

My last two air conditioner repairs (home and RV) were both 10$ starting capacitors.

Would agree w/others to bomb the boat, clean it out and see what/if you have for interior issues. If the cabinetry is well constructed, but dirty, a good cleaning/face lift would do.

When we purchased our boat, the deck had been replaced some work on the interior was already being done. The PO did good work, but was very messy. It needed to be cleaned up and we removed 5 contractor trash bags of wood chips. It was much easier to see what was going on after that initial clean up.

Not sure how much experience you have doing boat interiors or sailing, but if you want to change the whole interior of the boat, it should be functional as how you expect to use the boat. Are you just planning to live aboard and entertain tied to the dock or do offshore trips? While these are extreme ends of the spectrum, some thought/proper pre planning should be done for a functional interior.

The job will take a while and having the boat closer or even in your back yard will allow you to spend the amount of time needed to get the job done in your 3 yr. time frame.

Good luck on the job and post some pics if you get a chance.
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Old 16-10-2020, 06:26   #13
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Re: Gutting a 45' sailboat

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Hi, if you have the money and time then continue on, the time is most likely in the 10 year frame and the money will be at least 3 times your estimate.


Good luck and may your God be with you.



also .. due to lack of maintenance .. what else will you find
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Old 16-10-2020, 08:58   #14
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Re: Gutting a 45' sailboat

It is easy to gut a boat in a few days, but to rebuild might take years to fit in each one of those small pieces of wood, plastics, fiberglass and metal to the shape of your hull.
Be very careful about what you take out. You do not say what the hull/deck material is, but be very careful to block up and level and not have the hull change shape while you tear out the bulkheads, etc.
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Old 16-10-2020, 09:06   #15
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Re: Gutting a 45' sailboat

I have done two major boat overhauls and a couple of major refits. I can confirm from experience that boat projects like this will almost always end up taking twice and long and costing twice as much as your best estimate. And that is based on someone with experience in doing this. If this is your first project like this then it could be more than double.

My question, why gut the boat because of roaches. A whole lot easier and cheaper to fumigate. If you tent the boat like for a termite infection it will kill every living thing in the boat; roaches gone.
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