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njohnso6 10-12-2010 07:54 PM

1973 Seafarer 24'
Hello, looking for a little advice on buying my first sailboat.

I have experience on sailing smaller, open cockpit boats (laser, sunfish, etc), but since moving to Florida 4 years ago I have been really wanting to buy a larger boat with a small cabin for weekend trips.

I recently found a guy that has a 1973 Seafarer 24' that his handyman was fixing up to live on. It has been floating at his dock for two years, and then handyman moved away and gave this guy the title (in lieu of slip fees at his dock) so he could sell it. The guy who now owns it called it a "project boat" because it is missing the rudder and engine, so you wouldn't be able to sail it day 1. But really? Only down a rudder and an engine? It has the full compliment of sails, even a recently added spinnaker comes with it. Besides the barnacles needing to be scraped off the bottom, its in fairly decent shape. Its not perfect, but I want to work the boat anyway. Buying something seaworthy off the bat doesn't appeal to me in the least. But its been floating for 2 years without bilging so that has to count for something.

All he wants for it is $600, and I have done some research and seen similar condition models selling for $4k-$7k. But I have never purchased or maintained a boat on my own before, and although I am a very capable handyman, I don't know if I am just biting off more than I can chew. And to be completely honest, I can afford to buy it and put it in a wet slip but thats about it for a couple months. I will be in a much, much better financial situation in a couple months, when I was going to start earnest looking to buy something. But this deal just seems too good to pass up.

I would be willing to wet slip it and work on it for a while and be completely contented doing that, but I don't really want to have something I am going to dump $5k a year in maintenance on...

Need advice! Talk me into it! Make me come to my senses and talk me out of it! Help, help! :)

flwaterman 10-12-2010 09:20 PM

Hey dude, where in florida? On the subject of your potential purchase, I am sympathetic. Cheap and floating and I'm pretty handy. I was drawn in by the same lure. I have a seafarer 22 project and it's been fun and educational. But please be as objective as possible. Think about everything that you know you need on a fun overnight / daysailer and look carefully at what is there. Go online and price things you will need - like an engine and a most-likely a custom built or homemade rudder. Check out the deck carefully. Rot in the balsa core is a problem that you may have to deal with in the near future. Check the condition of the rigging and backing. Keep track of all the things you would need to replace or repair on paper and find as many cost estimates as possible for these items. If your anything like me you should take your repair time estimates and double them - but then again I'm lazy.
Not trying to discourage you - instead take these estimates and see what you can find with these costs added to the purchase price. That in mind seafarer built some solid hulls and if you take on the project - you will not be disappointed in the end - except for the time lost sailing.

johndotson 10-12-2010 09:41 PM

I have been in that same boat... no pun intended. I bought a 1964 Pearson Electra project boat and it has been on the hard for 2 years mainly because I do the work myself and save the money to do it the “Bristol” way. The following are a couple of things I have learned about project boats that need a “little” work.

Never take out a loan to buy a fixer upper you will need all the money you have to fix up your boat. Either take your budget and throw it out the window or use the rule of Pi, that is to say that if you really have a budget multiply your maximum budget by 3.14. Then you will have an accurate picture of costs involved.

Come to terms with the as it is boat know on the front end that it will take all of your time and money. If you are like me then you will become totally immersed in the project. You need to make sure your family can handle your new project. Once you get the boat if you do commit you will find out neat things about yourself (both good and bad).
You will want to haunt local boat salvage yards, marinas, eBay, etc. You may also want to post items you are looking for. Stockpile everything… if you don’t need it now you may be able to trade it for something you will need later.

All in all I say go for it!

You may want to read the following books:
Backyard Boat Building-George Buehler
Sailor's Sketchbook-Bruce Bingham
Gougeon brothers- West System book

The best of luck to you,

flwaterman 10-12-2010 09:55 PM

Well said john,
Go for it! the gaugeon brother's book is great for building and repairing with reinforced glass - also Don Casey has a number of great diy books my standard is "this old boat"

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