Join Date: Aug 2007
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You need to ask a couple of basic, but very serious questions before undertaking rebuilding an inexpensive sailboat. (I am currently in the midst of doing my second wrecked boat)
1) DO you have somewhere you can work on it? A backyard, a shed, an old barn? Is it close enough to where you live to go over a number of times every week? (This rebuild will be a loud, messy process which will cause some inconvenience for any neighbours nearby.)
2) What do you have in the way of tools? At a bare minimum you need a grinder, drill, orbital sander, shop vac, and some basic hand tools (screwdrivers, wrenches)? May not seem like much, but I have gotten away with just those and a swiss army knife.
3) Have you put together a budget for the whole project? The boat may only be $2000, but that is the starting point. Every time you go and spend $5 on sandpaper, sanding disks, etc., it adds up. Have you priced bottom paint, lines, hardware? This is a major financial undertaking and the purchase price is the starting point for your budget.
4) Are you willing to undertake recoring the deck? If the core is wet, you will have to cut off the top skin on the deck, remove the rotten core, replace it, and reglass it (or replace the original skin you cut out). MAJOR JOB!
5) Are the bulkheads rotten? Another major job replacing these. Done right, 30 hours work (I am assuming you have never done this and will take a little longer than someone who has done it before) and about $300-$400 in wood, epoxy, and glass. It has to be done right,it is a racing boat.
6) Do you have available time to do this? In your post you state that you do not have enough time to drive to look at the boat. The boat does not repair itself once it arrives; it requires a huge dedication on your part to do the work and do it correctly. Make a list of all the jobs you think need doing, add up all of the hours to complete these jobs, and then TRIPLE this number. That should give you an idea of what is involved. When I bought my last boat, I told the guy I bought it from that it would require 250-300 hours of work. He thought I was just trying to bargain him down, as he believed with 20-30 hours the boat would be fine. So far , I have over 200 hours in and the finish line is not in sight yet.
Please, I am not trying to scare you away from doing this project, but I want you to be aware of the commitment of time and money required to do this correctly. Lots of people like the idea of reviving an old boat; go onto Ebay and you can find a lot of those projects for sale half completed! I think you have to love rebuilding the boat as much as you do sailing one.