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Old 07-13-2007
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jwspin is on a distinguished road
fixxer upper?

so ive decided to buy a sailboat. im a 24 year old biologist with an appetite for adventure. i restored wooden boats for side work during college. im very mechanical (automobile and diesel mechanic) and i build or repair everything that i own. im pretty green to sailing. i would like a boat that is capable of leaving my house in upstate NY on the hudson river and going pretty much anywhere from there. i would like to be able to one man my boat. i live very simply out of a 200 sq ft cabin in the woods or my veggie oil powered pickup so a boat of minimal size is ideal. most of the time the boat will be housing my girlfriend, 35 lb dog, and me. i have just began my search but it looks like i can get a reasonable project for under $2000?
i'm basically inquiring on opinions of basic specs for my needs.
size? (27-35?)
type of hull?
type of sail?
any boats to avoid?
because im buying a "project" i will more than likely have to be pretty flexible on the make and model of boat but i would like a general idea of specs just to get me started on my search...
thanks for your time and help...

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Old 07-13-2007
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As someone who has been sucked into one "fixer-upper" too many, I can tell you that there are no "deals" under $2000 for a boat of the size you are describing. Costs tend to add up pretty quickly, and for the initial layout of $2000 plus all the inevitable extras, you're further ahead just laying out in the first place. Plus, you're going to want to sail it, and the amount of work a 27' boat under $2000 would require to even be seaworthy would keep you on the hard longer than you'd want to be.

Either increase your budget or decrease your expectations with respect to the length of boat. IMHO, you would do well to look at something around 20 or 22 feet. Don't worry too much about the condition of the cabin - sounds like you have the skills and tools to fix that up. But make sure her rigging and hull are sound, that way you can sail her while you're working on her.

Again - just my opinion, and I'd be thrilled for you if you found a solid 27 footer for less than $2000.
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Old 07-13-2007
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Do you have a place to keep it in the water? Or are you going to have to trailer it. Are you going to be sailing south of Albany where there's enough room to do so? These questions will help determine a suitible (sail)boat.
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Old 07-13-2007
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You could spend $100,000 on a sailboat, and you wouldn't be able to "take it anywhere." Go to, put in your specs, and see what you come up with. Might want to look at a fun little boat that will haul you and your girlfriend and dog up and down the Hudson. If you ever wanted to bust loose for a few weeks, you might want to consider a trip up or down the ICW. In any case, you're in for a great deal of fun.
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Old 07-13-2007
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I remember my first trip into a marine store about 30 years ago. As I walked out of the store I looked in my hand at the three small pieces of SS hardware and the receipt which was almost $100. Things have only gotten more expensive since. It is great that you can do things yourself, I am the same way. I will even make stuff at home if possible, but boats have a lot of unique and expensive parts. Even paint and varnish is expensive. I bought one boat for $10k and spent $20k on it fixing it up and doing the work myself.

I would agree that buying a trailer sailor, keeping it at home at no monthly cost and fixing it up would be the most economical. A low cost mooring is another option but makes it more difficult to work on.

The only way I see you coming close to this dream is to find a weird boat. Homemade and rather odd that no one else would want but might be somewhat seaworthy and have some equipment already. I found a boat like this for a friend once, home-built out of plywood and fiberglass. Dirt cheap at about $6k if I remember right. Very odd looking but it sailed OK and he enjoyed it for several years.

Unfortunately I don't think I can recommend anything particular as I think anything you might find would need to be judged on a case by case basis.
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Old 07-13-2007
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Want a fixer upper go to good old boats & see what they have , look in the classifieds & the fixer up catagory

Good Old Boat: The sailing magazine for the rest of us

good luck
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Old 07-13-2007
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Try contactinng the local harbors and see if there are any boats in your size/price range that are behind on slip fees. Often these boats can be had for a song. Just as often they will require more work and money than they are worth but you might just get lucky!
Here is the big deal maker or breker, can it be sailed right now with no work? Yea, the bottom will need cleaning, ect but if you can run the sails up and move it then it just might be that deal your looking for.
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Old 07-13-2007
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Find a big library, or mail order some books on boat repairs and old boats and systems. There's a LOT more to a boat than the hull. Even if you want to do things simply and without an engine (as the Pardeys wrote & did) you'll find your options limited and skills challenged if you try to build or scrounge the mast and rigging, which can cost more than the derelict hull you attach them to. Then there are the can sew your own, but it is a large project and the odds are what you sew will not perform as well as commercially made sails--which expect commercial rigging, or at least standard specs. Bottom any other ecosystem it is all connected and way more complex than a casual look reveals.

Don't mistake me for discouraging you--but you really want to look into the size of the project before you get started, it is all too easy to get buried and invest more in parts and labor than the boat will ever be worth, because a homebuilt boat will also have near-zero resale value, and may be impossible to insure as well. (And if you've put all that into it, you might want to insure it against catastrophic loss.)

Boats to avoid? Well...wood boats with extensive rot, and ferrocement, might be avoided.
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Old 07-13-2007
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What's your refit budget, I did a total budget of 10,000 for a boat that I still have and sail, did or doing most of the work myself, got new sails and a Merc OB, blah,blah,blah

Got the boat for 3 grand, spent 2 grand for sail and 1500 for the OB and went sailing, did and still doing cosmetic stuff, I'm still under 10 grand and I've been offered 8 for it ( it's not forsale ) only took 2 weeks to go sailing ( new OB was first ) and have been doing cosmetic stuff along the way.

BTW this is a 38 year old 26 footer, and it looks better than most newer ones
1978 Tayana 37
1955 Blanchard 51 Custom ( I got a woody )
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Old 07-13-2007
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Plenty of project boats here:Certified Sales Inc: Specializing In Yacht Sales, Power Boats, Sail Boats, Brokerage, online boat auctions, Motor Homes, RV's, Motorcycles, Snowmobiles, and Heavy Equipment although my opinion is that there's nothing more expensive than a cheap boat.
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