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Old 11-11-2007, 06:26 AM   #1
Peter Owen's Avatar
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Posts: 138

I am still agonising about a boat purchase and, with a limited budget, find myself considering what looks like the higher end of the risk spectrum - a project boat! In this my intent is to find an essentially sound sailing platform needing complete equipment renewal (as opposed to make do and mend) and a bit of TLC - at this stage, hurricane damaged vessels are not attractive but ....! At the end of the project, the boat should be safe and suitable for low end world cruising/liveaboard.

Having found a number of boats in 40-45ft overall range with freestanding rigs which seem essentially sound in terms of hull, mast, steering etc, I'm now trying to put an itemised budget together for essentially a renewal of everything from engine thru navigation gear to rewiring. Location could be US or Europe and, other than footing the bill, my contribution will essentially be to get stuck in, making coffee and helping those more expert do what they do best - lots of sweat, plenty of tears, I know but.......!

I know that it's a daft, open ended question but I have to start somewhere and I'd be very interested to hear the experiences or views of those who almost certainly know better.

Thanks for your understanding and help

See ya!

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Old 11-11-2007, 08:40 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Peter Owen View Post
The boat should be safe and suitable for low end world cruising/liveaboard.

Having found a number of boats in 40-45ft overall range with freestanding rigs which seem essentially sound in terms of hull, mast, steering etc,

Thanks for your understanding and help
Hello Peter,

The dilemma - the length of a piece of line.

It looks like you have identified some of your key requirements already. Starting at the beginning again,often helps to focus and reinforce these key requirements - eg .. :-

Sloop ? Ketch ? Yawl ? Schooner ? Cat ? Tri ?

Aft Cockpit - Centre Cockpit

LWL - Draft - Beam - Keel





Steering & Rudder

Ground Tackle

Now with the Dollar/Sterling Ratio really in your favour - East Coast Florida may be the best hunting ground.

When you say '40/50 ft with a free standing rig' - are you considering something like Gary Hoyt's Freedom 40 Cat Ketch - full keel ?


Where do do you want to cruise ? - how many on board ?

Noted that your intention is to get stuck in to complete the project - this is probably the most important objective that you have set yourself - knowing how everything has been installed and commissioned can only be great insurance down the line.

Buying a freestanding rig that has done some serious work over time, out in the elements, requires an expert survey of the rig from top to bottom.

I am sure others will also add ideas and options.


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Old 11-13-2007, 02:02 PM   #3
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I can understand wanting to get a project. I have also seen where someone has gone through a boat, and sold it for alot less than the money invested. I myself went through my 30 foot Columbia, and then life brought to me my Cat. I ended up selling the Columbia for about half what I had invested. I thought I was going to leave on the Columbia, but life has a way of changing everything....................
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Old 11-13-2007, 02:20 PM   #4
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Personally, "project boats" always worry me. I have so often seen how costs and time spiral way beyond expectation. I always say, leave the project boats to those boatyards that have the capacity to tackle them and know what they are doing in all aspects of the "project".

Just my humble opinion, so don't let it frighten you off.

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Old 11-13-2007, 04:13 PM   #5
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Having messed around for years with old cars into which I've pumped and, for the most part, lost money, I completely understand the thinking on poject boats. I also have to say that I've never heard of any cruisers getting their money back on any boat - surely that's something for the traders!

I'm considering it cos it potentially allows me to get the sort of boat that I want for a reasonable price; if you search www.yachtworld.com for Tanton you should see what I mean. My concern in forking out top end money for an older boat is that I still end up with someone elses implementation of now ageing wiring, electrics, electronics etc etc

My initial thoughts are to find a vessel that is as near as damnit structurally sound but in need of upgrading and some TLC and then take on the project over a period of time. This should (yes, I know it's the most dangerous word in the English language) get me up and sailing (albeit locally) pretty quickly and allow me time to build up to blast-off - basically, Maslow's Hierarchy of needs but applied to cruising.

Unless I'm badly mistaken, a survey and some intelligent asking around will tell me what I need to know to determine what I need to spend to get a sailing vessel that is basically seaworthy - by this I mean could be sailed but not necessarily driven anywhere. My choice may, of course, have some of the niceties but what I'm trying to do here is get an idea about the cost of any niceties that need to be added or replaced based on others experience.

I don't have enough knowledge or experience to even guess the cost of replacing a teak deck with a non-slip finish, a new carbon mast, a new or reconditioned 50hp diesel, re-wiring a 40-45 footer (including all the management stuff) and any one of all the things that you guys have done on your own boats. I'm not asking for receipts, just rough ideas what you guys have done, at what sort of cost and how you would do it different if you had to do it again!

Come on fellahs, it's not a lot to ask and I'm sure that there are others who might benefit from your inputs or from some clever collation of same. If you need a structure how about Task Description, Date Completed, Equipment Cost, New/2nd hand, Labour Cost, Duration, Comments

Thanks for your time, understanding and, hopefully, inputs.

See ya
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Old 11-13-2007, 09:26 PM   #6
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Hi Peter,

I guess the answer to your questions is similar to the answer to; 'How much will it cost to resurrect a 1950 Riley Pathfinder'? Even a good original will cost a fortune to repaint, reupholster and fit a new cloth cover to the roof. Depending on the outcome required, the cost could be anywhere between $1000 and $30000.

I have bought 6 project boats in varying states of repair in the past 20 years. All of them were sailable when I bought them and the worst result I had was a nett profit of 35%. However, I did not factor my own labour into the equation.

Each project was vastly different from the previous one. The smallest boat was 22 footer, one was a 30' trimaran, the largest was 36'. When I originally decided to buy a 'new' boat capable of offshore sailing, I bought a new hull and deck (bonded at the factory) and with all bulkheads, engine rails and rudder in place. This was in 1989. The cost of buying and shipping the whole caboodle 3000 miles was $21,000. The rig, including deck hardware cost me another $20k. The perkins 4108, gearbox, shaft and prop was another $7k. Lead ballast cost me $1800. To get the whole thing into the water and ready for offshore sailing including all the above costs, plus electronics (depth sounder, HF, VHF) fitting out (all my own work) cost me a grand total of $62k. It was then valued for insurance at $110k.I later added an engine driven refrigeration system, radar, pressure water, solar charging, roller furling, GPS. The only work I did not complete myself was engine/shaft installation, gas plumbing, installation of hydraulic steering and fitting the compression post.

To complete the task, I stopped work for 6 months (except for 1 hour per day) and worked for 60 hours a week from the time of delivery until the boat hit the water as a fully functioning unit.

It was, in all respects, a new boat when I first launched her and it required in reality little more work and money than a 'project' boat of the same size would have cost. In those days the total cost was equal to 18 months wages for the average mid level exec.

I would not do it again....but I learned a lot about boats!

Trim50 has refurbished a virtual wreck into a magnificent vessel. I think Lighthouse built his own, Gone Troppo, I think. also did the 'sow's ear, to silk purse' transformation. Everyone will have a totally different story to tell and a balance sheet to reflect that divergence.

If I wanted to create another capable offshore cruiser, I would start with a 40-45' cruising yacht in fibreglass, no older than 15 years. One which had neither been extensively raced, nor which had crossed oceans, and I would patrol areas in Oz such as the Pittwater, where yachting dreams have lapsed into coma on deteriorating swing moorings. Good, solid yet unloved boats which, with limited funds could be easily restored. Every country has such a place....every potential sailor currently skippering a reclining lounge chair has the ability to find and reanimate these yachts which, in the main, are not advertised for sale.

Use the commercial sales sites to get a good idea of what used boats are worth, don't be too selective when addressing your make/ model criteria, secure a good line of credit before you head off, then go hunting along the backwaters.

Just watch out for anyone called 'Stavros' who wants to sell you a five year old Bavaria which has been in 'light' charter along the Med or Baltic coast.

Happy hunting.

"if at first you don't succeed....Redefine success"!

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Old 11-13-2007, 10:51 PM   #7
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Hi Peter,

Having done the similar project work myself - I absolutely concur with other posts.

It will cost you a lot more than you bargained for - the positive side is the practical experience that is gained , that may be priceless - Mastercard says.

David's pointer to the Commercial yards is appropriate , check this example out :- At $72,000 US


(72,000.00 USD = 34,712.47 GBP

United States Dollars United Kingdom Pounds

1 USD = 0.482118 GBP 1 GBP = 2.07418 USD)

As one example, if this boat equates to the length of a piece of string then it would provide the option to a project with unknown future headaches and costs.

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Old 11-14-2007, 07:34 PM   #8
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Thanks for your thoughts in general and, in particular to Aussie for a very interesting peek into his boat finances.

Put it down to simple bloody mindedness, downright stupidity or an inflated view of my own ability to achieve what others couldn't - it's not as if it hasn't been said before - I'm still interest enough to push on with creating some sort of general budget and, of course, finding some likely projects. I will also continue the search for a ready to go boat at the right price - in this, of course, I am a bit more limited than most because of my interest in freestanding rigs - damn!

Not sure about Riley Pathfinders but I've had a lot of fun in the past with an MGA, a couple of Triumph Stags, a Middlebridge Scimitar and I'm now onto my second Citroen 2CV - my favourite car of all time! It's this fun/frustration thing which I find really interesting and Aussie's comment about learning a whole lot more about boats really would be a good thing for me; in fact, to paraphrase Dwight D:

"In preparing for cruising, I have always found that plans are useless, but dreaming and scheming are indispensible!"

which I've also been considering for my profile: it's either that or

"Tradition is what you resort to when you don't have the time or the money to do it right" Kurt Herbert Alder

Thanks again for your responses and advice (so far!)

See ya!

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