Re: Full refit or Partial
Even if you buy new, unless you buy a real high-end boat, it is unlikely to be fit to sail off into the wide blue yonder straight from the builder. So you will be adding ground tackle, extra sails, water-makers, solar panels, electronics - the list goes on.
A well equipped used boat that has some real ocean miles under her keel in the hands of an experienced owner will most likely have most of the really important gear plus most of the bugs ironed out. It would be better to do a refit of the essentials - such as rigging, possibly wiring and plumbing and replace stuff that is obviously worn out or getting close to 'use by' date. That way you will learn the systems at your leisure and you can set out with some peace of mind. Better than being in some foreign port - or worse at sea in a storm - and having to find out what does what the hard way.
Going the whole hog on a sound boat that is, say, 10 years old and has been obviously well-maintained, is probably overkill. If the boat was 20 years old, a more extensive refit would likely include replacing chainplates 'just in case' and quite likely the engine and stern gear. At that age the hatches could be in need of rebedding and the porthole plastics crazed. And so on....
As for value, my boat had her 50th birthday this year. The previous owner did a total refit and restoration just before I was lucky enough to acquire her, but I still had to upgrade the batteries and solar system to meet my cruising ambitions and I went for heavier rigging 'just in case...' But even if I have to spend half her current market value over the next few years on big ticket stuff that is now wearing out (sails, mainly) the nearest new boat would set me back five times what I have invested and probably would still not be as good a sea-boat.
So, find a boat with a good sailing track record and a history of proper maintenance then go for partial refit using the IRAN method - Inspect and Replace As Needed.
Last edited by arvicola-amphibius; 02-03-2014 at 06:52 AM.