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post #1 of 31 Old 06-26-2012 Thread Starter
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Refurbish or scrap?

I'm interested in knowing how some of you veterans decide when it's time to scrap a boat and when it's worth fixing up. What tips the scales for you?

We just bought a "project" Newport 27 on a really nice trailer. We pretty much bought it for the trailer, figuring we could scrap the boat if it was in bad enough shape, and at least we'd know the trailer would work for the boat we want - we can go buy one in better shape for more money if we have a way to tow it home.

The boat and trailer together were $1600 (not including the outboard motor, which we purchased separately from the boat owner). We figured the trailer's worth $1,000 at least (probably more, now that we've seen it; it's really nice) and the lead in the keel probably has at least $600 scrap value so we didn't waste a lot of time going over the boat. There were a lot of other interested parties and we didn't want to miss out on that trailer. We need a different hitch on the truck to tow it home so we haven't brought it home yet, but the boat is now ours.

The boat was purchased as a fixer by the seller's husband and put under cover, but then the husband died and she was left with this boat. It was later taken out from under cover, unfortunately, and the cabin was ankle deep in water. It doesn't look like it's been that way long; no obvious signs of rot or anything. It looks very dirty and smells a bit musty. Most of the cushions were stored indoors (ranging in condition from poor to fair but at least not nasty or unusable) along with the sails and rigging. There's a leak around the mast, the hatch is broken, and something else (I forget what) which has been letting in water. I expect all the electrical stuff is shot, which is fine since my husband is an electrician with marine experience and wants to re-wire any used boat he would buy to make sure it's safe. There's no head, and no cooking facility of any kind. The inboard motor is long gone. On the plus side, the deck and the hull appear sound and the basic structure in the cabin also appears sound.

The Newport 27 was on our short list of boats we wanted anyway, so there is that. If we scrap out the boat it will probably be to go get another one just like it to put on the trailer. If we fix it up, we'll have the boat we want. At what point does it make more sense to just take what we have (basically a hull and sails) and turn it into exactly what we're looking for, vs. going out and buying something that's a little closer to our end goal?

I'm not even sure exactly what I'm asking... just looking for some general advice from people who've been there.

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post #2 of 31 Old 06-26-2012
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Re: Refurbish or scrap?

Brigala, the only way to figure it is with a pencil and paper. Tear into the boat, see what is rotted, what has to be replaced, how much material and labor is needed. Put a price of at least $10/hour on your own labor. More if you can earn it with OT on your job.

Now add it up. The boat is worth $600 as scrap? less, what, $200 as a dumping fee at your landfill? So it might be worth $400 to scrap it. $5000 might replace it. (Maybe less, I don't know) The question is, if you put $4000 into it, will you have a boat comparable to what you can buy for that money? I'd say if the price of fixing (which will always go higher than you expect) is even close to 75% of the price of replacing, scrap it and replace it. A lot depends on how you value your labor, and how sure you are that you won't be surprised along the way.
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post #3 of 31 Old 06-26-2012
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Re: Refurbish or scrap?

Lead is about a buck a pound. The outboard has value as does the aluminum spar.
Maximize your scrap value when you do your calculations to help weigh the argument objectively.
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Re: Refurbish or scrap?

Thank you! That helps a lot. It is not far off what I was thinking.

The place I called said $0.35-$0.60 / lb scrap value on lead, depending on the purity. Maybe I should call around some more.

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post #5 of 31 Old 06-26-2012
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Re: Refurbish or scrap?

scrap lead is selling anywhere from $.40- $.70 per lb.
Right now, you're about break-even.

I'm not a big fan of adopting an abandoned project. You often spend more time redoing badly done, abandoned or half-finished work than before proceeding further...so you're starting behind the starting line so to speak. An untouched derelict is often a better proposition.

Having said that, you've already got this boat. So, here's what I would do to test whether it is worth the time and effort to save it or scrap it. Take a screwdriver and start poking at the stringers and frames in the bilge and at the bottom of the bulkheads. Poke around the mast step. If you find more than three soft spots, stop, get up, walk away.
An O/B powered Newport 27 is a $5K boat in the real world today. If you need to rebuild the mast step, tab in new bukheads and remove and replace stringers, before you even get to wiring and cosmetics and the hull and rig, you won't be sailing for a while and you'll quickly be upside down in materials.
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Re: Refurbish or scrap?

I don't see any sign that the boat's had any work done at all. Part of what's attractive about it to me is that we can do the work from the ground up and know exactly what we're getting into. We could spend $3500 instead on a "light project" or $5,000 on a "ready to sail" only to find the same problems later and not have enough money to fix them.

That said; I think you're right. If there are multiple soft spots or any other significant structural issues, we'd be ahead to scrap it. There may be a few parts worth salvaging, and if we can get $0.40/lb for the keel that's $1,000 right there.

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post #7 of 31 Old 06-26-2012
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Re: Refurbish or scrap?

The worst possible thing that could fail in a sailboat is the standing rigging.
If the chain plates are rusted, RUN!
The next most critical issues are the thru hulls, and keel fasteners.
If the above prove serviceable, keep the boat.
Good luck.
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post #8 of 31 Old 06-26-2012
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Re: Refurbish or scrap?

The Newport 27 was on our short list of boats we wanted anyway, so there is that. If we scrap out the boat it will probably be to go get another one just like it to put on the trailer. If we fix it up, we'll have the boat we want. At what point does it make more sense to just take what we have (basically a hull and sails) and turn it into exactly what we're looking for, vs. going out and buying something that's a little closer to our end goal?


Check your dump fees as here it's 5 cents a pound for old boat

The lead has to be clean (I scrap a lot )

The tipping point on my Cal 29 was that despite the boat being screwed in everyway Possable and someways one would not think Possable


The boat had a bunch of new stuff
1.hood stoboom/mainsail system
2.profurl R250 with 100 jib new and 150 50% used
3.170 drifter new
4.lewmar ST30 winches

If was not for the above the boat would be glass dust and it was a huge factor as all the east coast 29s had crap sails

1970 Cal 29 Sea Fever

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If a dirty bottom slows you down what do you think it does to your boat
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Last edited by tommays; 06-26-2012 at 08:37 PM.
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post #9 of 31 Old 06-26-2012
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Re: Refurbish or scrap?

If you want to go sailing right away then scrap it for what you can and invest is a better boat. I have just finished bringing an old boat back to life. The trailer and motor where worth pretty much what we paid for the boat.

Points to consider: It will likely cost twice as much as you budget. It will likely take twice as long to finish the project. If you can't do the work yourself on the boat ( ie not the motor ) then the costs will go up immensely. The time you put into restoring it is FREE ie don't count on getting paid back when its time to resell. Our project was a 22 foot swing keel. The hull and cabin were ok structurally. Everything else was pretty much toast except the quarter berths.

Now we did change ALL lighting both nav and cabin over to LED'S and replace all the electronics and electrical. Also installed a new MSD with seaside pump out and added a 20 gallon water tank. Most of the standing rigging was re-used although we did have to buy new turnbuckles and clevis pins etc as well as new sheets for the jib and anchor rode etc. She also required new paint top and bottom side. The sails are in reasonable shape as well.

Below are the before and after of the cabin and the outside is similar.

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post #10 of 31 Old 06-26-2012
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Re: Refurbish or scrap?

If you do decide to scrap the boat, remember that there are a lot of reuseable/sellable items on it. Winches, mast/stanging rigging, blocks, lifeline components, outboard bracket, on and on. There is a market for these items. I buy everything I can used. A lot from Craigslist. Good luck, which ever way you decide to go.
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