Is it worth it? A nearly free Albin Vega 27' - Page 3 - SailNet Community
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post #21 of 129 Old 08-25-2009
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The Vega is a good boat - several have circumnavigated and they have many ocean crossings to their credit (John Neal started his sailing with a Vega from Seattle to South Pacific and back). But I'd definitely give that one a pass - it's too far gone. As to the hull - IF the basic hull isn't compromised you will have to grind, fair, grind, fair many times before you paint (not gelcoat) with good two part marine paint (meaning expensive) if you expect it to last. The rigging will need replacing after all these years unless you just daysail near home. I don't think an outboard would work well on a Vega as in any kind of sea it would be out of the water half the time and still won't charge batteries worth a damn - an inboard is much better. I admire your desires and am currently doing the same myself on my 8th boat, but I started with a sailable boat with few problems and good equipment. I would guess it would cost many, many hours and $10.000 to get this Vega to the condition of the one advertised for $6,000. There are too many affordable or almost free boats available to take on a losing project. If you had an indoor shop, lots of money, a high skill level, lots of money, and a lot of time it could be restored - but why when there are so many better options? Cruise Craigslist for a better bet.
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post #22 of 129 Old 08-25-2009
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I have to applaud your chutzpah. You have heard advice from a number of knowledgeable mariners, yet you keep pushing back. Hey if you want that kind of a project that much, go for it. It's your life, your time, your money - what the hey!

My advice - forget that boat - spend your time surfing the web and looking for a better deal. I just did a quick search in the past couple of minutes, and guess what? Free boat.

(I just joined the board and can't post the link I wanted to) Google "sailboat take it away"

Fix up something like this, and then trade it in a year from now. Maybe you'll get $5K toward your next project.

Spend a few weeks - you'll do better without all the inherent risks.

Good luck - would love to hear what you decide.
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post #23 of 129 Old 08-25-2009
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Another idea just occurred to me - go to The Plastic Classic Forum • Index page
There is a fellow named Peter that's a regular. He is in Sooke, B.C. where he has a Vega 27 he has brought up to a high standard. Ask him his opinion as he knows these boats very well. Most of the members of plastic classic are rebuilding something in this size range and the previously mentioned Tim Lackey of Glissandro owns the site. Almost all are able to give good advice regarding this boat. If you want to see what you're really in for to do it right, as that's the only way to do it, go to Tim's commercial sight for a look see at how a derelict is really rebuilt step by step.Northern Yacht Restoration | Tim Lackey:* One Man, One Boat at a Time
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post #24 of 129 Old 08-25-2009
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I'll probably get a lot of heat for this:
Go engineless! (add a solarpanel for power, keep electronics to a GPS and a VHF).
Make your own sails, but buy a kit for the first set (SailRite or others)

Still, keep your eyes open and look for other possibilities than just that Vega.

Edit: mitiempo's advice seems great.

Watch great footage about the story of one manís slow odyssey around the UK:
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Last edited by JomsViking; 08-25-2009 at 01:00 PM.
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post #25 of 129 Old 08-25-2009
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Originally Posted by paradoxbox View Post
I'm 23, soon 24. The reason I have no savings and don't want to right now is because I wasted my younger years working full time and realized what a waste it is to spend my youngest most active/healthy years slaving away for the profit of someone else. It might be the responsible/adult style, but it's not my style.

I quit my decently paying full time job 2 years ago and moved to Japan and have been adventuring here ever since. I love it here but I want to go sailing and see some more of the world, and more of Japan. Buying a boat is better done in North America where prices are much cheaper. I'll sail whatever I buy back to Japan once it's ready. I'm willing to stick in one place for a few months if I need to save up a few grand but I'm not going to go back to the old grind, it's not for me.

As to why everyone keeps saying run away from this boat: Are there any specific reasons why? Details please. Not trying to be argumentative, it's just that I recall about 10 years ago I stumbled on an old salvaged power boat in similar shape, though the gelcoat crazing was not as widespread. Anyway I managed to restore that by myself, including a big hole in the fiberglass, and the boat as far as I know is still in use today.

What's so bad about this boat that I'm missing and everyone else is seeing? Dirt and bad paint make a boat look a lot worse than it is, I'm not seeing what everyone else is.

Keep in mind that this boat, while not quite free, is nearly so, and a Vega in poor to barely fair condition sells for 6-7000. A Vega in decent condition goes for over 10,000.

I had worked out the restoration costs like this. Everything will be DIY, there is no point in paying people to fix a boat this rough:

Sanding materials, solvents, clear or white gelcoat, bottom and topside paint, interior paint, antiskid paint: Approx $1,000 to $1,500 (This is realistic for materials, I priced it out online and allowed for 2gal of extra paint/waste)

New woodwork: Approx $1,000 materials cost. Decent but cheap marine plywood is good enough for me. White formica overlays. I think I will enroll in a college woodworking course to gain free access to the shop facilities, either that or get a job at a furniture manufacturer until the woodwork is done. A lot of the wood already in the boat is savable but needs new formica.

New through hulls, sink, stove, misc: $1,000 to $1,500. If I can find used stuff I'll take it.

New electrical: Not sure. Anywhere from $500 to $1500. Replacing the wiring can't be that expensive even with high metal prices these days, but you never know. $1500 max. I have some electrician friends who can help me out with this for a few cases of beer.

Sails: Don't know. I will need to buy used or make my own, new sails cost too much. I see heavyweight dacron on sale online for under 25$ a yard for 54" rolls. I used to work in the high end printing industry where we use material like that for heavyweight banners so I can probably get some dacron from my old suppliers for way cheaper than retail price. I also have a heavy duty sewing machine already and know how to use it, but I can handsew if my machine can't handle the material. The boat comes with the old sails so I can copy everything.

Engine: $500. If I can't rebuild the current engine cheaply I will look for a used similar engine for cheap, hey it happens. I can do all the engine work myself, rebuilding is not a problem. If I can't find a cheap inboard I'll haul it out and put on a small outboard. The boat actually has a bracket already but I don't like it so I'll get a friend to fabricate one if necessary. Beer payment for that.

Storage space: Surprisingly the most difficult hurdle. I'd love to bring it down to Florida where my family has some property but I can't work in the US (I'm Canadian) so it's no go. Similarly working in -20c weather in the Toronto winter is impossible. I'm still looking around for tall heated garage space that's not too expensive.

Anything I'm missing?
Not at all, it seems you got it all under control. I think your post is more an opportunity to share your dreams than listen to people with real experience.

Stop talking about this...go for will deserve the results.
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post #26 of 129 Old 08-25-2009
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Originally Posted by paradoxbox View Post
P.S. I don't count my own labor as costing money. I'm not planning on paying anyone to do any work on it, it defeats the purpose. And I definitely don't think of a sailboat as an investment. Vehicles of any kind almost never appreciate in value. I consider it something to throw money at in exchange for a higher quality/enjoyment of life.
Good for you on that, seen too many people who feel that the time they spend working on THEIR boat has the same dollar value as marina labor rates.

The best way to assign value, is to look at how many hours you would have to spend at work to pay an hours labor at marina rates. For most people it comes out to an extremely unfavorable exchange, often two (or three) hours spent at the job to pay for one hour of marina labor. It's great if it works out the other way.

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post #27 of 129 Old 08-25-2009 Thread Starter
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Again, thanks for all the replies guys. I'm sure many of you noticing and hating my rebellious, must-go-against-the-grain side in here already, haha. But I really appreciate the info / opinions. I'm not commited to buying this project, nor am I going to give it up. But if I am going to back away it would need to be for a good reason - if the hull is not sound that's a good enough reason.

I hear from people here that crazing could let water into the glass which results in a weak hull. And I'm also hearing here that the crazing on this boat is more severe than they have seen before. However, what I see elsewhere is that this kind of crazing is typical of 1960's fiberglass boats. I also haven't seen anyone mention hull crazing resulting in water damage. So while I believe people in both camps I think it's worth investigating a bit more in depth and not just making a kneejerk reaction based on how dirty and grimy it looks.

Something that keeps coming up in this thread is Glissandro, the old Triton boat that was restored to fantastic standards. I have been following that site for a long long time. I recently found the plastic classics forum too and started searching for gelcoat crazing.

I found a post by one of the members and included in the post was this photograph. Followed by the owner of Glissandro who mentioned that this kind of thing is extremely common (I think he said it was universal actually) on old fiberglass boats and appeared because the gelcoat was laid on too thick at the time of manufacture.

So while I am hearing from people here that crazing may result in hull damage, I'm hearing from people over there that it's probably minor, and I'm seeing Glissando's owner also say it's a minor issue. His boat had pretty gnarly crazing when he bought it, you can see it on his website.

Thanks again for the link to the plastic classics forum. I hadn't checked it in a while and it reminded me to go back there.

I thought about doing the engineless thing but in my experience especially in the Pacific Northwest you can often get weeks of solid cloud cover or no wind which eventually would kill all my electricity and leave me with no way to navigate (can't even use a sextant if you don't have sun or stars to do it with).

Keep it coming with the posts. I'm sure there are a thousand others out there just like me who will stumble onto this thread with google sometime in the future and will appreciate the info contained.
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post #28 of 129 Old 08-25-2009 Thread Starter
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No need to call names or get defensive - I am not looking through things with rose tinted glasses. I just don't make decisions either way without a good reason. It's not like I am insistent on buying this boat! I just don't want to walk away without knowing why I should walk away. Also, I started writing my last post before you posted so I didn't see the info you had written. I do appreciate and understand what you are writing.

Anyway, here is a photo of an area under one of the pads. I understand what deflection is but I don't see it. If there were deflection wouldn't there be a circular spiderweb pattern around the pad areas?

In the second pic you posted, what differentiates regular crazing with crazing that lets in water and affects hull integrity? What am I supposed to be looking for?

The third pic you posted does look like a fiberglass repair would be needed.

Anyway since cardiacpaul has said he won't post anymore in here, anyone else who can elaborate please feel free to do so.

Last edited by paradoxbox; 08-25-2009 at 02:26 PM.
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post #29 of 129 Old 08-25-2009
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Hmmm .. I guess I have to ask this question next.

Why this particular boat?

There are other Vega 27 that a 10 minute search showed at 3200 and 4500 for sale in decent condition. There are over 3400 of these boats manufactured.

This one boat seems to have not one single system in working order. The hull is a problem or at least a major project, the rigging is probably bad, the boat has been neglected, the sails although not on the boat are mouldy - what kind of storage is that? Everything about this boat says the owner does not care about it or is dead or terminally ill for the past ten years.

There are so many others around that I can only conclude that this is an intellectual exercise and not a serious consideration.

There is a Tanzer 22 that sits in our boat yard. I know the previous owner who sold it in 2000 to buy his current boat. It was one of the nicest Tanzer 22 in the area when he had it. Lots of really nice gear, nice outboard, decent sails, road trailer and all the rest. The guy who bought it used it one year and then hauled it - leaving everything in the boat and the sails not even folded.

The boat looked neglected the first year, grimy by the second and now has a tree growing in the cockpit. It takes very little time for a boat on the hard to fall apart if not regularly maintained in some manner. The one you are looking at has been neglected for up to 10 years. The lead in the keel (supposing it is lead) has some value. Anchors are a lot cheaper than the time it would take to remove the inbord engine so it is not even useful for that purpose.

Have fun looking. that can be fun. I don't think you have seen this boat in person and the boat has probably been cleaned prior to these pictures.

You have been advised by many to look elsewhere as the problems on this boat while they may be fixable are too numerous to count. There are a LOT of boats very cheaply available - many of them Albin Vegas. I think it is pretty clear that the good advice says look at those.

If this was your grandfather's boat and he became sick and could not care for it and you grew up sailing on it then I would understand your desire to fix it. Even if the hull is toast you could possibly rebuild it although I doubt it would be as strong as before. It would be nice to have your grandfather's pride and joy restored for nostalgia.

Of course if it just belongs to someone who didn't care and left it and let it rot then why bother?

Boats rot when left on the hard unattended.

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post #30 of 129 Old 08-25-2009
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albin vegas are excellent boats. they ar rblue water boats. gelcoat crazing from sunburn is no tgoing to kill the boat. the interior looks ok under all that dirt and black mold. there are 2 albin vegas near me in san diego on moorings--both men who own them would never buy a different boat--they swear by them rather than swearing at them. you have a project, yes, but a worthy project. leaves the cal you didnt get in the dust. they sail well and are very very well built. have fun with your project and smooth sailing. btw--one of the men who own them near me just finished painting his hull with an epoxy paint and it is absolutely awesome......yopu did not make any mistakes, sir--you done good.....donot give up--is an excellent boat.....
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