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post #17 of Old 01-25-2003
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Project Boats -- Where Do You Find Them?

I think Jeff is probably on the mark here regarding the financial aspects, and his advice certainly concurs with that of other experts like Don Casey (see an article of his about this exact topic somewher in the SailNet archives). It is important to do your research and really know what you''re getting into when acquiring a project boat. But I wanted to ennumerate some possible rationales for going the project boat route despite the finances:

1. It''s the project that interests you even more than the prospect of eventually sailing the boat. We all have our hobbies. (Restoring boats is NOT one of mine. Really! ;-)

2. You''re trying to help protect the environment by keeping all that plastic and lead out of the landfill by making it useful again. (What DOES happen to old plastic boats that nobody wants anymore?)

3. The boat is a family "heirloom" (if I can use that term) and has some kind of special sentimental value. (But if that''s the case, how come the family didn''t maintain it properly in the first place!)

4. You have some special requirements that just can''t be met by any existing boat on the market, and you want to short-cut the custom build approach by starting with a stripped-out hull of a design that''s close enough. (Why buy an already fully fitted-out boat if you''re just going to rip out the interior and replace all the systems anyway?)

5. You KNOW your project boat, when all is said and done, is going to end up costing you more than a Hinckley maintained at the Hinckley yard, and you''re ready to commit to that, but you just can''t come up with the scratch up-front and you don''t want to pay the banks all that interest on top (or, maybe they won''t let you). So the project boat allows you to spread your costs over time. A long, long time.

There are probably other rationales, too, I just can''t think of them right now.

(FWIW, my boat restorations so far have involved replacing the mast-step in a Laser, and re-coring the deck -- virtually the entire deck -- of a San Juan 21; you can see these at

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