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Old 02-12-2010
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The age factor -- The future in 10 years

I have been looking at boats for several months and am drawn to those with terrific craftsmanship and materials below deck: Hans Christian, Passport, etc. I'm not sure why, but it hadn't really dawned on me until today that a boat in reasonably good shape at 20-25 years might not be doing so well at 30-35 years without A LOT of expense and effort. I don't mind the effort as much as the expense. Most of these boats have had a fairly flat price curve over their entire life (not adjusted for inflation). But, what about the future.

I would like to hear thoughts on the trade-off. Let's say that you're ready to spend $90K-$120K for a 35-40 foot boat. You can buy Hunters, Catalinas, Beneteaus less than 10 years old or HC, Cabo Rico and Passports that are 25 or more years old. When in ten years you look back, what will you have spent or lost in depreciation, repairs, and maintenance with these two "types"? Don't worry, you won't be held liable for the prediction.

I understand that there are many variables, especially the individual variation of any one boat, whether you are crossing oceans, etc., but let's consider typical examples that are used by 1 or 2, sometimes 4 people for weekends, day-trips and occasional coastal sailing. And, that comfort is at least as important as sailing efficiency.

To get the ball rolling, I will attach an earlier caution from Jeff H.

I should note that like any boat this age and condition, you could easily spend many times that putting a boat like this into reasonable shape. Its not hard to imagine that you could end up addressing some combination of:
∑ Sails, chain plates, mast step and associated supporting structure, standing and running rigging that are beyond their useful lifespan,
∑ an engine that is in need of rebuild or replacement,
∑ worn out or out of date deck, galley, and head hardware,
∑ worn out upholstery,
∑ Non skid in need of renewing,
∑ Out of date safety gear,
∑ electronics that are non operational, or in need of updating,
∑ electrical and plumbing systems that need repairs, upgrades to modern standards or total replacement.
∑ Thru hulls and seacocks in need of replacement,
∑ Blisters, fatigue, rudder, rotten bulkheads, failed tabbing, or hull to deck joint or deck coring problems
∑ Keel bolt replacement (bolt on keel) or delamination of the hull from the ballast for a glassed in keel.
∑ And perhaps a whole range of aesthetic issues.
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This concern is one of the reasons I choose an Island Packet. I'll go over some of the specific issues with this boat but many apply to other boats as well. Jeff H has a nice list so I'll use that:

Sails, chain plates, mast step and associated supporting structure, standing and running rigging that are beyond their useful lifespan,

On the IP chainplates will outlast the boat provided the proper mtce had been done, or it saw little salt water use. The mast step is at the keel and should last as long as the mast. All riggining needed replacing when I got it and I hope to have to do it all again in a decade or so.

∑ an engine that is in need of rebuild or replacement,

I actually expect engines to be replaced at some point and can access the engine easily. I am sure I can R/R it myself.


∑ worn out or out of date deck, galley, and head hardware,
Most, but not all of this stuff is easy to get at. Some stuff will last the life of the boat, much will not.

∑ worn out upholstery,
Yep already needs to be done but everything is cushions and new ones are still avialable from factory.

∑ Non skid in need of renewing,
Yep though it is in such good shape not likely in the next ten years. Many boats we looked at had this concern.

∑ Out of date safety gear,
Thats normal, like changing oil.

∑ electronics that are non operational, or in need of updating,
Yep but the boat had very few to begin with. All of them failed within the first year. Since I get to install new ones I am trying to do it with min damage.

∑ electrical and plumbing systems that need repairs, upgrades to modern standards or total replacement.
Yep and this boat is no different. I've already started on these items. They can last decades so some boat die before they need to be done.

∑ Thru hulls and seacocks in need of replacement,
Yep eventually all will be replaced or removed. Some boats we looked at had stuff build around the thruhulls such that I'm not sure how they could be removed or plugged if they failed underway.

Blisters, fatigue, rudder, rotten bulkheads, failed tabbing, or hull to deck joint or deck coring problems
Almost all the boats we looked at had such issues. Of course IPs have a below average problem with these issues and we looked for a model that had the bottom treated as the factory recommended.

∑ And perhaps a whole range of aesthetic issues.
This is a big one and I think ends up being the most expensive if you take it seriously. I think it is better to do good clean work and not spend that extra 90% effort and money to make a show boat. That said I just purchased a stainless steel thruhull so it would match the rest, LOL.

Many boats we liked had teak over balsa cored decks. The IP uses plastic as a filler (polycore) so that is not a concern but all these boats will at some point need major work. The only one that might not was the one stored inside most of the time. This was the number one reason we stopped looking at boats I liked and started looking at boats I could like.

When you do the work yourself be sure to get a boat small enough and with some thought in the design so you can do all the work yourself.

With that in mind this IP and I think most models have tanks that are built in. The holding tank is easy to get at but the water and fuel require the sole to be completely ripped up. It will only need to be done once and does appear do able but that was a big knock against this boat.
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Last edited by Architeuthis; 02-12-2010 at 10:29 PM.
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Old 02-13-2010
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While all of these are valid considerations, you will probably have to do a lot of maintenance on any boat during ten years. Money spent on your boat is not a financial investment, it's a personal one. Don't worry what your boat will be worth in ten years (what will your wife be worth in ten years?). Buy the best suitable boat you can get for your money.
Oh, and when you said "age factor",I thought you meant us. I'm more worried about my sailing condition in ten years then the boat's.
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Old 02-13-2010
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Being the day before Valentine's Day, I'm can't seem to get past the question about what my wife will be worth in 10 years. Talk about hijacking a thread!

The obvious answer is, "Priceless," but I was hoping to have an objective discussion about the contrast between young and low maintenance and more mature and higher maintenance. I am confident that boats are opposite of women when it comes to those factors.

Of course, I am only assuming that a young woman would be higher maintenance -- I would have no way of knowing. I suspect that my more mature wife would become remarkably high maintenance if the facts were otherwise -- well, actually it would be moot point as I would be as dead as lead ballast.
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Well why is OK for a 35000 dollar car to be almost worthless in 10 years ?

From a owning a 1970 and 1981 boat POV

MOST of the NECESSARY high dollar REPAIRS on the boats have been caused by the lack of 50 bucks worth of caulking and some labor

A lot of the other stuff is like a car

Things like tires wear OUT and i will go through 3 grand in tires and brakes on my truck in 10 years EASY
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Old 02-13-2010
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Look, I know Jeff is kind of the Ultimate Word around here (along with a couple of others) but it doesn't have to be that way. If you know what to look for, you can find an older boat that was properly maintained and doesn't have most of those problems.

Several times Jeff mentions "outdated" this or that. Well, that's up to you. Are you a "latest & greatest" kind of guy who's always keeping up with the Jones's or is an older, slightly less convenient galley layout acceptable to you?

There's definitely some valid points in there, but not every old shoe is a disaster waiting to happen.
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Old 02-13-2010
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Originally Posted by BubbleheadMd View Post
If you know what to look for, you can find an older boat that was properly maintained and doesn't have most of those problems.



There's definitely some valid points in there, but not every old shoe is a disaster waiting to happen.
Not all old shoes are bad but many are. Sadly those old boats in great condition are few and far between and sell very fast when they hit the market. I call them 2% boats (the top 2% of condition). The only boats that I regularly see maintained to a high sail-away condition, in decent numbers, are the ones most can't afford anyway such as Hinckley's, Morris, Lyman Morse, Swan etc.. I even see the mid to high level boats such as Sabre, Tartan & Bristol used, abused & neglected.

This is not just old shoes though. Even boats less than 6 years old can be trashed. The guy that bought my 2005 looked at every one on the market from Florida to Maine. He was horrified at the condition of the other six two year old boats. Price was not an issue, he wanted condition, and my boat sold for the highest price for its two year old age, even when one of them was asking 20k less than mine. I think it is a matter of time/committment. People seem to have less time and less inclination to commit to the maintenance required.

I have owned too many boats to count and bought both brand new and used. You STILL spend lots of money on a new boat just as you do old but just for different things, but only for a few years.

The only way to combat this is to arm yourself with as much knowledge as you can and become your own expert on the boats you are looking at.

If you don't know what you are looking at with boats, you stand a high chance of getting raked over the coals future expense wise. Surveys tell you little about how long a gear box may last, and engine, a fuel tank, internal water tanks, rigging (very few buyer pay for a rig survey/inspection) chain plates, wiring etc. etc. so it is still always a crap shoot. I have seen 400 hour engines need a re-build and 4000 hour engines in like new condition..

You CAN find good old boats in sail-away condition but be prepared to whip out the check book quickly as they don't last long.

The best boat, IMHO, regardless of age, is the one that has recieved only the best maintenance and upkeep..
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Old 02-14-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SPC View Post
Being the day before Valentine's Day, I'm can't seem to get past the question about what my wife will be worth in 10 years. Talk about hijacking a thread!

The obvious answer is, "Priceless," but I was hoping to have an objective discussion about the contrast between young and low maintenance and more mature and higher maintenance. I am confident that boats are opposite of women when it comes to those factors.

Of course, I am only assuming that a young woman would be higher maintenance -- I would have no way of knowing. I suspect that my more mature wife would become remarkably high maintenance if the facts were otherwise -- well, actually it would be moot point as I would be as dead as lead ballast.
OK, sorry my humor failed. I'm glad your wife is priceless, but that was my point. You don't get either a wife or a boat as an investment, but for the pleasure of their company. There is no clear line of maintenance costs. Sixteen months ago I bought a forty year old boat, changed the oil and filters, added some gear and stores, and took her to sea. I don't expect to spend any more on her than I would on a ten year old boat. And I'm sure I'll spend more on my fiance over the next few years than on the boat.
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