Join Date: Jul 2000
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Your list of desires is completely possible. Look at early 80''s and older boats. You can find older boats that are well cared for, well equipped, affordable, sail well and capable of off shore passages. Every once in a while you can find a fixer-upper thatís a great deal if youíre willing to do some of the work yourself. Before everyone says otherwise let me give you an example of what I''ve done in the past few years.
In 1997 I bought a 1981 Jeanneau Sun Fizz. It came with 11 sails and lots of new equipment. She had a PERF rating of 98 according to the paper work that came with it. I paid just a touch over $15,000 for it. The catch was that it needed a new keel (it was cast iron and had cracked in half, no damage to floors or the hull so I figure it was a bad casting that 20 years of freeze-thaw had finally cracked) and the house top core was bad. Cosmetically it needed a lot of TLC too. I had a surveyor check out her out just in case I missed something, and had a mechanic do an engine check.
In the 5 years since I replaced the keel with a locally available cast lead one (paid a NA to do the calculations) and replaced the house top core. In addition I''ve replaced the hull liner, recovered the over head panels, recovered the cushions, pulled the diesel and had that rebuilt, replaced the standing rigging and generally upgraded all of the systems. All this was after getting her back in the water 4 months after I bought her so Iíve been able to use her all of that time too.
I now have a perfectly reasonable yacht that sails well and I know is in good shape despite her age. As it''s an older Jeanneau it''s pretty strongly built. All of the bulkheads and cabinets are tabbed in and I have no problems with taking her offshore. I plan to take her to the Caribbean this winter. Two people can handle her with no problems. My girlfriend and I have taken her to Maine a few years back and then Nova Scotia this year from Rhode Island. Sheís not shoal draft as she draws 6í6Ē.
It takes a lot of looking but deals are out there. You have to be ready to pounce on them as soon as you see them as thereís a lot of guys like me looking too. And you have to be willing to do a lot of the work your self. Almost all of the work Iíve done, except for engine rebuilding, rigging and the cushions. I figure I have a perfectly reasonable yacht for less than half of the cost of buying one that didnít need lots of work. Additionally I know this boat from mast truck to keel and that everything has been gone over.
Start looking in the yards in your area, check out Soundings and all of the web sites. Ask around.