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garrettav8or 07-15-2004 07:52 PM

TLC vs. Almost new
Hey Gang,

Looking at my first boat purchase, and keeping an eye out...looking at Catalina 22 or so....

Just want opinions/experiences...what is better, buying and old one and restoring/fixing it up, or buying newer and paying upfront...


mmccoy 07-16-2004 03:06 AM

TLC vs. Almost new
If you have wads ''o money why would you want to buy an old boat and work on it?

Then again, you might (like me) prefer the older boats. If you have wads ''o money you could always get a shipyard to do the work.

Then again, you might not have a wad ''o money.

Then again, you might like doing such work yourself. While some of it can be ''grunt work'' it can also be theraputic, relaxing, satisfying, etc.

Doing it yourself always means you have an intimate knowledge of the work done, level of quality, etc.. As an added bonus you learn about how your boat is built. It doesn''t hurt to know the boat ''inside out''.

However, you really need to honestly assess your skills before undertaking a project. You really don''t want to buy a boat that needs some glasswork and you''ve never worked with fiberglass before. Got the right tools? Some things are better left to the experts (standing rigging, etc.)

Also, sometimes (depending on the boat) it can take years to complete.

Bottom line, how much $$$ you have vs the shape of the boat vs your skill set vs how long you want to wait before you can sail are all factors that apply in deciding between a new vs old boat.

Jeff_H 07-16-2004 04:05 AM

TLC vs. Almost new
I don''t think that this is a question that has one single right answer. Ignoring the financial aspects which generally favor buying used by a long shot, there is the time issue. Fitting out a new boat can require a lot more time and effort than buying a used boat that was well set up and is in good condition. To some extent, you need to pick every single of non-standard gear and manage getting it installed properly. Replacing my boat''s electronics after the lightning strike has proven to be an extremely time consuming seven week process even with a boat yard doing most of the work. That is but one small piece of fitting out a new boat. Back in the 1970''s I had a job commissioning boats for a company that sold new boats. The boats were very simple back then but commissioning even these simplier boats was a huge job, perhaps a larger job than bringing back a boat that was in moderately good condition.

The other issue that comes into play is one of taste. For some there just is not a boat that is in production that is as right for them as some older model. For others there is no older model that suits them as perfectly as some specific newer design.

I typically feel that only very experienced, very wealthy sailors, with lots of time on their hands and very specific needs that cannot be met in the used boat market should buy a new boat. For the rest of us, buying used is a pretty compelling case.


Sailormon6 07-17-2004 11:57 AM

TLC vs. Almost new
If you''re buying a boat that you will keep for a long time, then a new boat will provide trouble-free service for many years, and you can amortize the depreciation over a long period, making a new boat, by far, the better way to go.

If you are more likely to sell within a shorter period of time, then buy a used boat, on which the original owner has taken the big depreciation that occurs in the first few years. If the boat isn''t too old, it will still provide several years of relatively trouble-free service, and still be in reasonably good condition when you sell it after a few years.

capttb 07-17-2004 06:57 PM

TLC vs. Almost new
I prefer a fairly new boat (4 to 10-12 years or so) unless an older boat is in really good shape or just a really good boat. And I spend first 6 months to a year going thru all the systems etc. Replacing any hoses, clamps, hardware, pumps, impellors etc. that I don''t feel good about, doing the routine maintenance (when did PO really change oils, belts & filters?) lubing all the hardware above deck and checking for bent, broken, corroded stuff. Obviously I just don''t feel comfortable till I''m real familiar with everything on board.

Jeff_H 07-18-2004 05:39 PM

TLC vs. Almost new
Capttb, Don''t you end up doing almost every bit of that on a comparatively new boat. When you talk about the list of tasks that you go through on an older boat,(hoses, clamps, hardware, pumps, impellors etc. doing the routine maintenance such as changing oils, belts & filters, lubing all the hardware above deck and checking for bent, broken, corroded stuff) that is pretty much annual maintenance. Wouldn''t you do this on a boat that was as new as a year old? And having commissioned a number of boats, haven''t you found missing hose clamps and winches that were not lubed at the factory, etc on the new boats that you have purchased?

It seems to me, when you buy a new boat you have all of the usual things to go through that you would when buying a used boat, plus you have the massive exercise of commissioning a new boat. At least with a 4 or 5 year old boat, you have a chance to see if there are manufacturing issues that showed up during the first owner''s tenure and to duck the commissioning and new boat depreciation. After 4 or 5 years the prices of most decent quality boats seem to level off.



capttb 07-18-2004 07:10 PM

TLC vs. Almost new
Guess I was unclear because I think we are in agreement, let me rephrase: I like a boat somewhere between 4 & 10-12 years old for all the reasons you mention, including the PO having to deal with any problems found on commissioning. And you are correct that I would do just as much maintenance etc. on a new boat (maybe more) as one 5 years old. I''m thinking your more common production boats here. Now for a really well made boat I could see getting something older if it was in appropriate condition. I think we also agree that depreciation for the first couple years and commissioning costs of a new boat are best avoided unless you just have too much money.TB

JeffC_ 07-18-2004 09:39 PM

TLC vs. Almost new
Saturday @ 12 usable hours + Sunday @ 12 usable hours = (+/-) 24 weekend hours.
How many of those hours do you want to spend working on a boat, and how many do you want to spend sailing?

Know yourself. I''m not much of a "putterer." I understand there is constant maintenance to do and improvements to make, which can be satisfying in themselves, but if the work/sail ratio tips in the wrong direction to far or for too long, I begin to see the boat as a burden instead of a vehicle of recreation and self-discovery.

Other considerations being equal, at purchase time, I''d rather spend what I can actually afford (try not to be unnecessarily stingy) than a project. My motto would be "penny wise, recreation foolish."

But that''s just my personality, and me knowing my own limitations. Each sailor derives his satisfaction his own way, and you might be completely different. Some guys are happy spending weekend after weeekend sanding, varnishing, replacing, tinkering, rebuilding, etc. I see them as I motor in and out of my slip. I never see them out on the water.

Thinking about how you approach maintenance on your car may be helpful: I''ll turn a wrench now and then, and changing oil and plugs, or even installing a stereo, is enjoyable. But I''m way past the point in my life where I think dropping an engine is anything close to "fun."
Now I write checks to my mechanic, and I''m happy to do it.

A boat requires much more and much more constant attention than any car you''ve owned.

hamiam 07-19-2004 07:22 AM

TLC vs. Almost new
Im not going to get this exactly right but, hopefully, you will get the gist; you can buy a boat for $10,000, put another $10,000 into it and have a boat worth $15,000 at the end of the process. If I had to guess I would say that the depreciation on a new boat is even worse than that of a car. With a used boat you neither want a boat that was never used nor one that was used extensively and in trying conditions. I think the best bet is to buy a used boat that has recently gone thru a mechanical/sails/rigging upgrade cycle.

BarryL 07-21-2004 06:10 AM

TLC vs. Almost new


Last year, when I was shopping for a C22, I saw boats that were made in 1980, and boats made in 1990. Believe it or not, the boat I ended up buying, a 1981, was in better shape than many of the late 80''s boats. Once a boat is 5+ years old, the maintenance it receives will be the difference in the condition.

My advice is to only look at boats that are in ''excellent'' condition. IMHO, you are better off with a 20 year old boat in sail away condition than a 10 year old fixer upper. I paid $4500 for my 1981 with a 1994 trailer, engine and sails. I had to NOTHING to do except sail it. In the spring I tuned up the engine, sanded and painted the keel and launched it. When bigger-boat-itis set in, I sold the C22 for $4000, and the new owner absolutely loves the boat.

Take your time, look at lots of boats, and when you find ''the one'' you will know.


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