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zboss 08-13-2010 12:21 PM

Refitting Interiors

I am casting a wide net when looking for a boat, including some quite older boats that - outside of the usual issues for an older boat - might have some pretty dated cabins. If I were to find a boat with "good bones" (known via survey) at an excellent price but has a gaudy interior - I am entertaining the option of refitting the cabin.

While I am OK with a saw and hammer, there are a lot of skills I simply don't have to do this myself without it taking several summers to do. However, I can demolish with the best of them.

My inclination would be to leave the bulkheads intact, maybe the cabin sole, but rip out all the old laminates that were so popular at that time; then have a professional craftsman or yard complete the woodwork. I am very good with electronics and can do plumbing but I would want them to potentially replace or improve the water/fuel/holding tanks to modern standards.

So, my questions are:

1) What is the name of the profession that refits cabins?
2) On the Chesapeake, are there vendors which excel at this type of work?
3) What about individual craftsmen/women?
4) For the length of boat (we are looking at 35-37 feet) what ballpark costs have you seen for this type of work?


sailingdog 08-13-2010 01:20 PM

I would point out that having a professional do this kind of work is going to be fairly expensive—$80-100 PER HOUR at a minimum.

A shipwright or boatwright can generally do what you want.

zboss 08-13-2010 01:37 PM

Saildog - Thank you.

That is pretty much what I was expecting. However, I think the results would probably be far superior to anything I could do on my own.

I wonder what the cost would be in Mexico or Honduras for the same type of work.

sailingdog 08-13-2010 02:15 PM

I'd point out that getting a slightly more modern boat that has an acceptable interior may cost far less than buying an older boat and refitting the interior. Unless you have an overriding reason for buying an older boat, I would recommend you not do so.

Capnblu 08-13-2010 06:55 PM

As a person who bought a 42' boat like you are talking about, and redid the whole damn thing... I recommend buying the nicest boat you can, and go sailing.

zboss 08-14-2010 01:34 PM

Sounds advice all around.

Like I said, my wife and I are casting a wide net. The issue from my side is that, frankly, I could happily cruise around on a 27 foot but she... no way. So, in the range of about 35-40 feet we are financially limited to classic cruisers if we want to depart on schedule in the spring of 2013. If we can find a decent boat that does not require a lot of refit - that is my preference BUT I am keep my options open.

I am setting aside 10K for refit as needed at the time of purchase, then 10K maintenance per year thereafter. Assuming the sails have some life left in them, we will send them out for refurbishing, same with the engine. However, unless the plumbing is in great shape, at least a large part of that 10K will be to pull all the plumbing/head and update it and de-stinkify.

No offense intended on anyone here who has a classic boat with burled laminates - it's not for me. I much prefer traditional woods. I did see some very nice classic boats that had their interiors improved using bamboo which looked incredible.

blt2ski 08-14-2010 02:23 PM

You will not need 10K to pull the plumbing and destinkafy it! If what you get is anything like my 30'r, you will need about 15' of sewer hose, $2-3 ft, head $125-500 depending upon type, bowl size etc. The best bang for buck is a raratran phII, IIRC I paid $300 for a house sized bowl, a boat bowl, smaller is about 20-50 less. Spouse's are happier with a bigger bowl! You can do this in a day by youself. Now if you need to replace the tank.....figure a few more $$.

Cushions depending upon the quanitity, fabric, do you need foam, are you having someone else do it, figure 2000-15K from a cover only you do it yourself, to they do everything. I was around 10K for 18 cushions, some matching pillows etc. Wife went full bore with piping, buttons, formed foam etc. Probably could have been done by some one else for as little as 6-7K.

I ended up redoing the foam back vinyl on the hull and top, took about 40-60 hrs, 2-3G in materials. along with another 20-30 hrs varnishing everything too. My 85, was easy to pull things out, take home and do in the garage.

I did this one room if you will at a time. Sailed in the meant time. Even the new instruments were 3G including labor on this one. I was not climbing a mast to install an anemometer, fishing the wires thru etc.

You may find 10K for a refit to be on the low side, depending upon the refitting you do. I also have not gone into the cost to redo the lines, or sails. This is a 30' boat mind you!

This took me about 3 yrs to do everything. I still find a few things to do......


here is a link to how I did the aft berth area, with alink at the bottom to the head area
Headlining Replacement

Then same site, but a link to a GOB article on the boat, with new cushions etc.
Arcadia 30

puddinlegs 08-14-2010 03:43 PM

Cool boat! Liked the article and will have to keep an eye out for you guys on the Sound... one question though, I don't think I've ever seen so many line clutches on anything under 50'... what's the story? is everything clutched rather than using cam cleats on stuff like foreguys, cunningham, etc...?

mitiempo 08-14-2010 03:51 PM

Refitting the interior makes sense IF you are handy enough to do it yourself and if you like that kind of work. If you hire it out expect it to cost tens of thousands. In a boat you can seldom change much without disturbing many other things like electrical, plumbing, etc. If you just want to change the laminates and cushions that is one thing but to do much else can add up fast. And the more you remove the more you find you want/need to change.

Marty is right, even a complete new lavac head, holding tank and associated plumbing would only set you back 2k if you do the work yourself. But installation at 80 to 100/hr will add up if you hire it done. If you are going offshore it is best you learn not only how to do this yourself but learn your own boat. This will make any repairs in the future easier to deal with.

surelyujest71 08-14-2010 04:33 PM

Here's an idea; I'm not sure exactly how well it might work out, but it's a thought. First, take lots of pictures of the interior. Measure the size of cabinets, countertops, etc. Then, go find a regular cabinetmaking shop that does work of high enough quality to meet your standards. Tell them what you want, and invite them to come into the boat to take measurements, etc. Perhaps you could get a better price on cabinetry/installation this way, and then just have a little work with headliners when they're done - and there are always plenty of places that do auto headliners who would like a little extra work.

I'm new to all this, myself - how's it sound to the rest of you?

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