Join Date: Aug 2007
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I purchased a 1971 Dufour Arpege in October 2006, spent the winter months renovating her and have been happily sailing in the Solent (UK south coast) this summer.
I am new to sailing, having recently completed the RYA day skipper course.
My decision to purchase the Arpege was based upon a number of positive reviews from various sources. The main attractions to me were: inherent sea worthiness (mini blue water), low purchase price (£10K) and reputation (1,500 made, regarded as a classic)
I had the boat surveyed which showed all to be sound. However, the engine was original and unserviced, the sails (all nine of them) were very old with a roller boom and no genoa furling, the electrical wiring was a birds nest, depth, windspeed and direction instruments were not working.
So from an inital low purchase price of £10K, I have now spent a small fortune, nearly twice as much again. I take my kids and friends sailing with me so safety and reliability is a high priority. The list included: new engine, main and genoa sails, roller furling and boom, wiring, instruments, sail covers, cockpit cover, guard wires, ropes, windlass and anchor chain. I also had to kit out the boat with safety equipment including life jackets, waterproofs, danbouy etc. I also spent the winter scrubbing, painting, varnishing, cleaning and spent lots of money on sundries.
I launched her on 1st April, looking beautiful and all ship shape. Unfortunately the new engine failed on the second outing due to a manufacturing fault which meant she had to be hauled out and laid up for three weeks to make repairs. Between May and August I have taken her out several times, despite appalling weather and work commitments. She sails beautifully and is great fun. Of course there are a number of small improvements to make and bits of maintenance, but that can wait for the winter lay up. The only real shortfall is that with the narrow stern, typical of older boats, the cockpit is a little cramped. But I understand, that in more modern "caravan" boats built for comfort, they don't handle as well in rough seas?
My advice to you, wise in retrospect, is to very carefully estimate how much you will need to spend to bring up to spec, and then probably add a 50% contingency. You will not get your money back over and above the purchase price. Best of all is to buy a boat from someone like me, who has endured all of the cost up front. Except I am not selling!
I hope that I have not put you off. Good luck