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  #11  
Old 01-27-2013
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Re: Are Boats Built in the 70's Just Too Tired

After looking at so many boats that my head was spinning, then doing that over and over again, and then scrutinizing each boat I thought could be the one, I just had to walk away for a while and let my brain heal.

Yesterday we went to Strictly Sail Chicago. It's a far cry from the Annapolis Boat Show but it's only a 30 minute drive and a nice respite from the boatless harbors and lake.

We were seriously considering a '76 Sabre 34 a couple months ago. I got my water wings on a '73 Columbia 45 and logged 7-8K miles on it. I later raced and helmed an '86 Hunter 35 but never got comfy with the starkness of the boat. The Columbia had a good amount of teak, and it was all solid wood (except some panels) and not veneer. My hobby is woodworking because I love real wood. Good luck finding solid wood in today's boats that's not veneer.

So here I was, ready to resurrect a 70-something boat and do whatever it took to make it my home. I knew at best it would be a season away from being ready to sail away and at worst years. But I wanted a "classic, real wood" boat.

I reluctantly went to Strictly Sail because I really didn't want to see any more IKEA boats. Sadly, I had resigned myself to the realities of age, money and time. The best times of my life have been on a sailboat and I had given up the dream of ever owning my own.

It was when we were looking at the Beneteau Oceanis line that I realized if I compromised I could actually realize my dream and sail away as soon as the boat was delivered and sea trials were complete. That was a "wow" moment.

What I realized was, along the line was my need for the timeless, the "classic boat" meant I had to be ready for each and every breakdown, failure and unexpected catastrophe that is always inevitable as a boat ages, if it hasn't been properly cared for. And if it has been properly cared for a 70's boat would have seen a total refit or two, maybe three, in its life. And that's usually reflected in the selling price. If you can find that "newly retrofitted" boat for about the same price as comps, consider yourself blessed. Some do win the lottery.

After the Annapolis Boat Show I trashed the Beneteau Sense. Although it's not my taste, the design tools available today produced almost a full length chine that reduced the ideal healing angle by about 5%. I found when I focused on current design advances, I was impressed by the results produced by computer aided design. So many of the weak links were being minimized in even the production boats. It's become easier to produce a better boat for less. That's not to be confused with build quality though.

I'll be 62 in April. I designed and built my house. I designed the electric on a $500,000 data center and a 60 story high rise. I love design and I love building things but I'm not getting any younger. I want to sail. And I want to get back to the islands and hop from one harbor to the next, and get in a round of golf or two along the way. That's the way I want to go out.

So when I saw financing on a new boat being half of my present mortgage, I thought maybe I can tolerate IKEA or maybe I can take my woodworking skills and warm it up. Either way, I can sail away, and with a warranty. I think I can make the compromise.

That's me. Everyone has to decide what's most important to them. There is no one right answer. It's like walking aboard one boat and feeling, "I got to get out of here" and walking aboard another and thinking, "This is home."

But if you don't spend time on the boat, you will never know what's right for you. Make the broker work for you.
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Old 01-28-2013
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Re: Are Boats Built in the 70's Just Too Tired

The simple answer is NO. In your price range if you look hard you will get a good boat from the 70s.
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Old 01-28-2013
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Re: Are Boats Built in the 70's Just Too Tired

I own a '73 Pearson 30 that I paid $4,000 for.
I have maybe another $3,000 in upgrades sunk into her, and most of that is simply a new mainsail.

She's not a bluewater cruiser, but I'd sail her up and down the US east coast all day long without worry. That's 40 years old.
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  #14  
Old 01-28-2013
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Re: Are Boats Built in the 70's Just Too Tired

Hi Grunfeld, my path parallels your plans. We bought a 1977 Rafiki-37 three years ago. She is very much along the lines of the boats you are considering (all good choices I would say). We purchased for slightly less than your budget, but will probably have added at least $15,000 in upgrades by the time we cut the dock lines in 2014. Whether these upgrades are fully necessary is, in part, a personal choice, but that's what we're doing.

So, while I think it is possible to do what you're planning with the budget you've set, I do think the odds are against you. There are excellent boats out there, and older ones are sometimes discounted only b/c they are old, but I think your odds of finding one that is ready to sail away for $50K, are unlikely.

With regard to surveyors, I'd be cautious about relying too heavily on their analysis. Even the best surveyors can miss lots of things. Good surveys can be a excellent source of info, but don't expect them to uncover all the problems.
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Old 01-28-2013
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Re: Are Boats Built in the 70's Just Too Tired

Quote:
Originally Posted by JulieMor View Post
After looking at so many boats that my head was spinning, then doing that over and over again, and then scrutinizing each boat I thought could be the one, I just had to walk away for a while and let my brain heal.

Yesterday we went to Strictly Sail Chicago. It's a far cry from the Annapolis Boat Show but it's only a 30 minute drive and a nice respite from the boatless harbors and lake.

We were seriously considering a '76 Sabre 34 a couple months ago. I got my water wings on a '73 Columbia 45 and logged 7-8K miles on it. I later raced and helmed an '86 Hunter 35 but never got comfy with the starkness of the boat. The Columbia had a good amount of teak, and it was all solid wood (except some panels) and not veneer. My hobby is woodworking because I love real wood. Good luck finding solid wood in today's boats that's not veneer.

So here I was, ready to resurrect a 70-something boat and do whatever it took to make it my home. I knew at best it would be a season away from being ready to sail away and at worst years. But I wanted a "classic, real wood" boat.

I reluctantly went to Strictly Sail because I really didn't want to see any more IKEA boats. Sadly, I had resigned myself to the realities of age, money and time. The best times of my life have been on a sailboat and I had given up the dream of ever owning my own.

It was when we were looking at the Beneteau Oceanis line that I realized if I compromised I could actually realize my dream and sail away as soon as the boat was delivered and sea trials were complete. That was a "wow" moment.

What I realized was, along the line was my need for the timeless, the "classic boat" meant I had to be ready for each and every breakdown, failure and unexpected catastrophe that is always inevitable as a boat ages, if it hasn't been properly cared for. And if it has been properly cared for a 70's boat would have seen a total refit or two, maybe three, in its life. And that's usually reflected in the selling price. If you can find that "newly retrofitted" boat for about the same price as comps, consider yourself blessed. Some do win the lottery.

After the Annapolis Boat Show I trashed the Beneteau Sense. Although it's not my taste, the design tools available today produced almost a full length chine that reduced the ideal healing angle by about 5%. I found when I focused on current design advances, I was impressed by the results produced by computer aided design. So many of the weak links were being minimized in even the production boats. It's become easier to produce a better boat for less. That's not to be confused with build quality though.

I'll be 62 in April. I designed and built my house. I designed the electric on a $500,000 data center and a 60 story high rise. I love design and I love building things but I'm not getting any younger. I want to sail. And I want to get back to the islands and hop from one harbor to the next, and get in a round of golf or two along the way. That's the way I want to go out.

So when I saw financing on a new boat being half of my present mortgage, I thought maybe I can tolerate IKEA or maybe I can take my woodworking skills and warm it up. Either way, I can sail away, and with a warranty. I think I can make the compromise.

That's me. Everyone has to decide what's most important to them. There is no one right answer. It's like walking aboard one boat and feeling, "I got to get out of here" and walking aboard another and thinking, "This is home."

But if you don't spend time on the boat, you will never know what's right for you. Make the broker work for you.
Which ever you decide to do I hope it works out for you. I am happy for you which ever way you decide. Just a caveat Its easy to get impressed with the bling of the new boat. The financial ramificatuions are hidden by that newness. Excitement is ownership, I certainly understand that, and what I am about to say is like cold water on that, but I always talk about the elephant in the room no one else wants to.

You definately have made a radical change from buying a boat which you owned right off the bat to getting one which you will have to finance. One you werent going to finance vs one which you will not own for over 15-20 years. On most financed boats with 20 year payments you actually dont hit the boat value vs payments left ownership till close to year 13. So essentially you are renting a boat, with a potential large payout ( should you decide or are forced to sell early) by having to pay the difference between the depreciated selling point of the boat and what you owe on the loan. This is not like a mortage on a house at all. Houses over years tend to either hold value or appreciate in value are considered investments. ( This is a generalization I know). Boats are not investments at all. Immediate 20% devaluation at purchase with a declining value each year. You cannot compare a boat to a house. Boat sellers confuse you by using the term boat mortage and making it look like a mortage.

There are alternatives. It is actually more prudent to buy a slightly used boat 5-10 years, and take a loan out on a price which has already undergone that huge up front hit. YOou still get new and fairly used equipment

Let me also caution you on some of your assumptions. New boats have issues and problems. Anything going into the water in a marine environment will which has the torques and forces on it. All of us who own boats, including the new boat owners spend thousands each year on our boats. Whether it is upgrading, adding features, fixing broken parts, or our marina and slip fees. None of these go away with a new boat

As far as warrenties...to me that is also a double edged sword. There are two instances where warrenties arent potentially worth a hill of crap.

One, where the manufacturer goes bankrupt or does a bait and switch and goes belly up and reforms as another company. I beleive Tartan did this, although they were forces or the new owner chose to honor. The poeple who bought these new boats were forced to go through long protracted legal squabbles. In fact it became such a contentious issue on Sailnet that certain Sailnet memebers were censored here to prevent them from posting negative adds in 2009. In addition Hunter filed for bankrupcy this year. If it reporganizes are their 10 year wareenties valid. Ill bet not. So by the stroke of the pen thery go away.

http://cruising.stuffiminto.com/ever...-you-know.html

Secondly the warentey is most of the time only on the builders stuff, not on the stuff which they buy and subcontract out. For instance if you have problems with the Yanmar...its not Benetaus call. You have to deal with the Yanmar warrentee and their restriction.

So what I an talking about here is not the differences between designed boats which is prettier/ durable, but true financial decisions. We all have gone to boat shows and have gotten wrapped into the sales tactics and blings of the new boats, trust me. When someone can figure out a payment plan to fit into your budget it makes it so very appealing. boat salesman are the ultimate car salesman. It might be better if you were changing your mind from going to a paid off boat you already owned to one the bank owns to getting one where the value of the boat is actually closer to what you owe. Especially considering your age ( I am close too).

You could get approved for a loan from Essex for instance at a payment you can afford ( similar to theirs) and go out and look at boats which values are close to that payment. You will actually do pretty well. And the devaluatuon will have happened to that boat. That way if there is an emergency, your health falters, you loose your finanacial security, you will be able to sell the boat and almost cover the loan and not suffer a financial debacle.

In a way I am sorry to throw cold water on your excitement, and maybe you have already crunched the numbers and though about this. Look at other alternatives vs brand new and 1970s baots. Thats two completely different ends of the spectrum. There is a middle ground Take a deep breath here before jumping into the deep end of the pool with the sharks.

Hope we are still friends after this post.

Dave
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  #16  
Old 01-28-2013
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Re: Are Boats Built in the 70's Just Too Tired

You have to ask yourself how you are really planning to use the boat. Be realistic and honest when you answer.

My dream was to buy the quintessential 35-40' "blue water sailor" and explore world. I love harbor-hopping, and find it a thrill to go somewhere that I've never been before. I looked at several 80's vintage CS 36Ts, Passport 39 and 40, and a couple of Tartans.

While my dream still lives, I eventually came to realize that it wasn't gonna' come true; the admiral loves sailing, but not getting out of sight of land. I would like to take the admiral with me, and I can't comfortably dock or pick up a mooring on anything larger than 30'. I am also linguistically limited to a subset of English, so coming ashore in Croatia could be a problem... Finally, my financial wherewithal was limited (unless those lottery tickets ever pay off). I had to establish a "boat budget." I initially planned to spend ~70% on the purchase of the best vessel that I could find. I thought that I would spend 20% on refitting, and have the extra 10% "just in case".

The boat that I settled on, an '87 O'day 35, is a coastal cruiser. She was clean (no extraneous holes cut in her for Loran, Radar, refrigeration, or to mount instruments on the cockpit bulkheads - a pet peeve of mine), and in good shape when I bought her. The core in the cockpit floor, a weak point in many vessels, had been replaced with 5/8" aluminum plate, the keel bolts had been replaced, and the keel rebedded (look through some of my older posts if you are interested). Fortunately, this boat was closer to 50% of my "planned" budget. With the maintenance and re-fitting that I have done in the two seasons that I have owned her, I believe that I have spent about 120% of the plan, and I have done all of my own work (engine, electrical, plumbing, fiberglass), except for the new Bimini and Dodger.

Her hull will probably outlast me, if I keep her from running into things, so I have no concerns about her being "too tired." However the interior systems (electronics, charging, plumbing, head & holding, engine and driveline) are in constant need of maintenance and upgrading.

In retrospect, I am VERY glad that I did not buy that bluewater boat.
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  #17  
Old 01-28-2013
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Re: Are Boats Built in the 70's Just Too Tired

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arjen View Post
Other than those things and the sails i dont really see how the age of the boat could be so important.
As soon as we build it, Mother Nature begins to try to break it down. And when you are on the water, She's much more effective.

Hit a wave, stress the hull. Leave the tiniest pin hole unsealed, water will find its way in. Put up your sails and your mast bends and compresses, stays stretch. Moisture is everywhere and looking for equilibrium by working its way into dry places. Everything that left the factory in pristine condition begins to change once the boat enters the real world.

Certainly, good maintenance will slow the process and even halt it for a while but nothing can completely stop the aging process. That's why when looking at older boats you need to scrutinize it even more carefully so you know what you're getting into.

Almost anything can be fixed on a boat, but at what price? A wet balsa core in your deck could be prohibitively expensive to fix. Replacing the teak on a deck could run you upwards of $70,000, or more. A new engine for the Sabre 34 we were looking at was around $12,000 plus installation costs. Repairing the chain plates and rotted knee walls for that boat would have cost just as much or would have taken us months to do ourselves. So you have to know the boat or be ready to roll with the punches and open your wallet.

To the OP, if you have your eyes on an older boat, make sure you get a competent marine surveyor that YOU choose, not the broker. There are also some good books that will alert you to practically anything you need to look for such as Don Casey's Inspecting The Aging Sailboat and his once-you-own-the-boat book, This Old Boat. I own both and I learned enough to realize that Sabre was a bad buy and a terrible investment. I would recommend This Old Boat for anyone with an older fiberglass boat. Even after resurrecting a sunken Columbia 45 and doing practically all the maintenance on it for 8 years, there's still things in that book I didn't know.

Best of luck in your quest!
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Old 01-28-2013
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Re: Are Boats Built in the 70's Just Too Tired

You already have a lot of good advice; here is my less eloquent summary.

Any used boat, in good condition, is expensive. True blue-water boats doubly so.

If it was been well maintained, and recently refitted, there is nothing wrong with a 70s boat. It generally will tend to be a bit smaller and slower than a modern equivalent, and a bit cheaper than a more modern boat, but not a lot cheaper as the hull does not seem to age much. However the age is not as big a factor as how well maintained it has been; in your budget, the risk is that you will get and "older" boat, not in terms of years since the hull was laid down, but in the sense of years since it was upgraded - and *that* is the key consideration.

People have commended on how you want to use the boat - I think that is essential. I *love* the idea of a blue-water vessel, and frequenelty lust after them - especially Cabo Ricos - but like so many others the reality is I am coastal cruising. That changes the entire equation. I would actually prefer a 70's or 80's coastal cruiser, as their hull layup is often thicker and better than many modern cruisers!. (Of course, I am talking quality older boats here - Pearson, Tartan, etc). People I know took a modern 'Ikea' boat offshore into some rougher weather, and the hull flexed so much that internal bulkheads/cabinets came loose. Would not happen in my old Pearson.

In your shoes, I would look for an excellent condition roomy well-equipped coastal cruiser, which would be well within your budget, and kick around for a while in that. If you really want to cross the Pacific soon, ignore what I Just said....
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Old 01-28-2013
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Re: Are Boats Built in the 70's Just Too Tired

I would suggest that you can BUY a boat for $30k and finish refitting for $20k more, so you can get your boat for your price of $50k. But you are unlikely to find a boat that you can simply BUY for $50k because all boats have a ToDo list and the older they get, the more needs to be done. Unless someone has just done a refit and walked away (as rarely but sometimes happens) you won't find a boat with all the projects cuaghtup and done.

If you want to buy a boat that needs no work and just take off, I'd suspect you will be looking at a 3-5 year old boat and tripling your budget, and even then those magical words "blue water" mean you'll have to buy and add thing$.
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Old 01-28-2013
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Re: Are Boats Built in the 70's Just Too Tired

Just curious why with such a limited budget you are looking at three of the most expensive boats in your size, age range. Just a thought but why not drop it to say 30 feet give or take and get a smaller boat in great condition. A small boat in perfect mechanical condition is always safer than a larger neglected one. Regardless of what size price you choose, if you want it badly enough you will have it and if you don't it was never meant to be. Best of luck
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