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post #4 of Old 07-25-2011
Jeff_H's Avatar
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I appologize that this is mostly cribbed from an earlier post that I had written for an earlier similar discussion on this topic. It all depends on how much you love this boat. Fixing up an old boat, especially if you have a yard do all the work, almost never makes economic sense. The value of an older boat is generally limited by the the fact that there are a lot of them out there for sale cheaply, that the design is percieved as being 'out of date' and no matter how much you do, there will always be 30-40-50 year old parts which can fail.

Your list of tasks far exceeds the value of the boat even in a very strong market, and your list does not include adding up-to-date sails, new upholstery, rewiring and updating the electrical system and electronics, and perhaps an engine rebuild, which these boats often require to be in 'like new' condition.

But many of these older designs also have merits which in certain applications or for certain owner's tastes offset their liabilities. Your Pearson 35 for example sails reasonably well and offers shoal draft, and so would be appealing in a venue where there was decent breezes and extreme shoal draft like the west coast of Florida.

Whether to 'restore' a boat like the Pearson 35 or buy a newer boat is a very personal question. If you have some predominent mix of the following:
  • You really love the Pearson,
  • Money is not important,
  • you intend to own the Pearson for a very long time,
  • You are very handy and enjoy working on boats as much as sailing them
Then restoring the Pearson 35 may make sense. But if you have no real committment to the Pearson 35, then put the old girl back together, clean her up, sell her, and find another candidate to win your heart strings.

Perhaps off the point, in your original post you said that you re-engineered and replaced the rigging. Whether you keep the boat or sell her, I would like to suggest that the Pearson 35 was pretty well engineered. Upgrading and updating hardware and the deck layout is one thing. Re-designing is quite another. Many boat owners think that they can improve on older designs by rearranging the interior or restructuring the standing rigging. These so-called improvements may suit your needs, but they rarely add value to the completed boat.

My take away recommendation is that if this is a boat that you intend to keep for a long time, and which uniquely suits your needs and tastes, and you can afford to look past the economics of restoring the boat, then there is no reason not to restore the old girl. But if you are like many of us with older boats who like our boats and find they suit our immediate needs, we enjoy tinkering with them, but don't have the resources to fully restore them to 'like-new', then the right answer may be to simply do the things which make the boat reliable, and safe, then, do the deferred maintenance items which are necessary to keep the boat from deteriorating, and then, when you have the time and money, do the things that annoy you most. And finally if you own the boat long enough and have the resources, do the aesthetic items when you have the time.

But if you are like most of us, give up the idea of making a new boat out of the old girl; do the very least to her that you can to make her safe, reliable, and meet your needs. And then simply appreciate her for her wringles and age spots and admire her for her wisdom which came with age.


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Curmudgeon at Large- and rhinestone in the rough, sailing my Farr 11.6 on the Chesapeake Bay

Last edited by Jeff_H; 07-25-2011 at 09:09 AM.
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