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bob-m 02-18-2003 12:35 PM

Project Boat vs Bare Hull
After reading the posts under "project boats - where do you find them", I think one other avenue would be worth exploring. When you find a true project boat you will end-up replacing almost everything (assuming you want to bring it to a seaworthy level). When finished you will have a new boat built around a 20+ years old hull. Does this really make sense?

I know several couples who explored the "project boat" idea but eventually decided on having a good yard build a "new" hull and they finished the boat, under the theory that they would save the labor costs and it would be built the way they wanted it. One boat turned out magnificent while the others are so-so.

Based on their figures (and they are in no way verifiable), they saved about 20-30 percent of the cost of a new boat.

They felt it was worth it for 3 basic reasons:
1)the cost savings
2)they know the boat intimately
3)the cost was spread out over many years

Any comments?


paulk 02-18-2003 03:22 PM

Project Boat vs Bare Hull
Depends a bit upon what you''re looking for in a boat. If you want a Concordia yawl, you''re not going to find a new hull (unless you build one yourself using a friend''s as a mold - no timesaving there!) If you want all new and have unlimited time to devote to finishing out a hull, great. I had a friend, a carpenter, who built his own 35'' ketch from scratch in his front yard. It took him about five years of weekends, evenings, and vacations, and he was an efficient and speedy professional with all the tools and friends he needed. In his books on boatbuilding, Ferenc Mate in does not spend much time discussing how long it all takes, and in completing a hull, you have to wait until it''s completed before being able to go anywhere. With a project boat, if its not too much of a project, you may be able to do some sailing between flurries of sawdust. Every boat''s a balancing act. Welcome to the circus!

Jeff_H 02-19-2003 04:14 AM

Project Boat vs Bare Hull
It rarely makes economic sense to build your own boat from a hull up. There are some very good reasons why someone might choose to buy a bare hull and build it out themselves but economics rarely works out to be a valid one.

If you look at the economics of a production boat, the hull and deck are roughly 15 to 20% of the overall cost of the boat. The other 80% to 85% is everything else. Labor is something less than 50% of these remaining costs and in a modern production boat, labor can be as little as 30% of the overall cost of the boat.

When you consider that most ''kit boats'' sell for something approaching 40 or 50% of the cost of a new boat of similar design and quality and that boat manufacturers can often buy the hardware, equipment, plumbing and electrical components at 30% to 40% of what we as a general public can buy them for you can see that there is a very little savings potential in building from scratch.

Beyond that kit boats, or even boats that were professionally constructed to a design that is known for construction by amatuer builders, can often result in a decreased resale value, so not only isn''t there much of a savings but you can really get clobbered at resale time.

On the other hand, if you are looking for something unique, you can live with something that is simple (and simplier than normally available on the market) and you really enjoy working with your hands and are good at all of the trades necerssary, building your own can be a good way to go.


ian6460 02-19-2003 05:07 AM

Project Boat vs Bare Hull

You make very valid points, but I can also see what bob-m is saying. We have seen several boats that would fit our needs, but by the time we replace sails, running rigging, electronis, over-haul the engine, etc, etc, etc, we would still have a 15-20 year old boat. Is it really economical to spend 20-30k fixing up an old hull? We''re wrestling with this dilema now. I would love to hear some more thoughts on the subject.


928frenzy 02-19-2003 05:24 AM

Project Boat vs Bare Hull
As a boat gets older, it depreciates less. A 15 to 20 year-old boat may have reached the point were it no longer depreciates or is doing so at a very low rate. If this is basically correct, then putting some (and I realize this is a relative term) money for upgraded equipment may not be a "throwing good money after bad" situation.

From a personal point of view, I''d rather be sailing an older boat, needing occasional repairs and upgrades than a "new" boat that I have to build or finish. At least in my case, I''d be sailing. ;^)

~ Happy sails to you ~ _/) ~

slipacre 02-19-2003 06:40 AM

Project Boat vs Bare Hull
A couple of things to add.
First a lot depends on what you can get the 15 - 20 (or older) boat for. If you pay too much and put a lot into it you will never recoop your investment.
But then again boats are hardly good investments. I bought mine as a vehicle to an enjoyable lifestyle. I am sure thre are those who actually ''make money'' fixing up old boats - of course not sure what they end up making an hour and there are probably fewer of them then those wishing to make money in resale.
For me it was a matter of a limited budget - buying an old boat that can go sailing now but needs this and that. which I will do as we go along. In the end it will cost less than had I bought a newer boat and had the resale price drop as I used it. I may spend more time fixing though - at least in the beginning.
Also rember that one man''s project is anothers routine maintenance.
Todd V

devildad 02-19-2003 06:56 AM

Project Boat vs Bare Hull
There is a good article on this at sailnet, they comment about how the $ is a wash but you get what you want.

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