Would you recommend buying a new or an older boat?
Sue and Larry respond:
As we read your question, we shouted out in unison, NEW! Actually, the question of new or old is a very good one. We sold our 2.5-year-old boat and bought an older one for two reasons. First, we wanted to have less money invested in a cruising boat, and secondly, we like the look and style of some of the older models.
Having experienced the joys of cruising in a new boat, we knew we wouldn't be happy with an older boat if various systems and equipment were breaking all the time. Our approach to buying a 23-year-old boat has been to invest time and money up front by updating equipment and renewing all systems to hopefully, eliminate those "extra maintenance requirements." This has been an extremely long, drawn-out process and an expensive one too. We've worked on our boat literally every day for over a year now. If you put a price on our labor, it would probably be cheaper to buy a new boat.
If you have the time, the inclination and the ability to "do-it-yourself," an older boat can certainly be fixed up. An added bonus is that you'll know exactly how every system is run. If you'd rather be sailing sooner, definitely look at new or newer boats. If you buy an older boat and just leave, chances are you'll have a lot of problems along the way. We feel that boats that are less than five years old can be a good buy. They are less expensive than new, and usually still in pretty good shape mechanically. At about 10 years of age, a boat can start to need its systems renewed.