"Fixer Upper" Nightmare or dream-come-true - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 63 Old 09-26-2010 Thread Starter
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"Fixer Upper" Nightmare or dream-come-true

It seems all the posts recently that have made an impression with me have been one of two subjects "Never sailed before, should I start with a 40 footer? Could I solo it home?" or "I have $10k to spend but I want a $100k boat, what do you think of this boat?"

I think I see a consensus that buying a big boat for your first boat is not a good idea. How about buying a boat in need of work because you wanted that kind of boat but could not afford it in a ready to cruise shape? I would like to hear stories of the fixer uppers.

Whether you bought a decrepit old boat ready for the landfill and took off a year later on your circumnavigation after some hard work, or the story of the guy two slips over that died of old age after working for decades and never leaving the slip.

I am looking for any stories happy or sad of the dreamer sailor tackling that dream project.

FYI the only boat I have saved from an early landfill was a sunfish.

Jordan
West Wight Potter 14 "Lemon Drop"
Oceanside CA
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post #2 of 63 Old 09-26-2010
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All depends on the skill sets and interests you bring to the boat... and your wallet. If you can do most of the work, have the time, enjoy the work, and really understand that you'll never get a proper financial return from your investment of time, labor, money, and love, nothing wrong at all with a project boat. There are certain boats that I'd happily take up the challenge, and in fact, dream that one day I'll have the opportunity. Big boats? Call me stupid, but I'd love to restore an old S&S swan. It's just out of my budget and time frame. Small boat? Something like a Santa Cruz 27 or a Moore 24, but at the moment we're all too happy sailing our current boat.
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post #3 of 63 Old 09-26-2010
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Life is a lot easier when you start out with something in good condition. That rule applies to everything I can think of, not just sail boats.

Years ago I lived a few blocks from a marina that allowed owners to work on their boats. I rode my bicycle through the yard just about every day for 10 years. Many of the boats stayed, the owners changed. It was all too predictable. At first the whole family was there every weekend. After a few months it's just Dad and Son, a few months later just Dad. Soon the paint that was fresh is pealing and a few months later ..... whole new family.

The people who did pull it off had the benifit of knowing their boat and how it was put together.

DB
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post #4 of 63 Old 09-26-2010
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IMHP it only pays IF you want that specific brand boat and there are no better ones to pick from

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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post #5 of 63 Old 09-26-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirtboy View Post
Life is a lot easier when you start out with something in good condition. That rule applies to everything I can think of, not just sail boats.

Years ago I lived a few blocks from a marina that allowed owners to work on their boats. I rode my bicycle through the yard just about every day for 10 years. Many of the boats stayed, the owners changed. It was all too predictable. At first the whole family was there every weekend. After a few months it's just Dad and Son, a few months later just Dad. Soon the paint that was fresh is pealing and a few months later ..... whole new family.

The people who did pull it off had the benifit of knowing their boat and how it was put together.

DB
This is a story seen all around the developed world.

I think that it works if you are in the boat building trade and can purchase gear cheap & have the time to built it.

Otherwise - buy it ready to sail away! - or you wont!


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post #6 of 63 Old 09-26-2010
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What do you consider a project boat ? I bought 24' Trojan a few years back for $750. She needed some work but I was able to sail her away that day. It's not allways fun but I have learned how work on every part of my boat. Next time I buy a boat it will most likely not need so much work but if it needs a little this or that I won't be intimidated. Many people post how they learn how to sail and I never see any one post anything about fixing up boats as a good way to learn how to sail.
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post #7 of 63 Old 09-26-2010
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My first shot at sailing went up in smoke in my back yard. Not literally but the same results. A 1975 22 ft Catalina I bought for $800 bucks in descent shape put 500 gallons of sweat and about 1000 dollars in it never made it to the water. Sanded everything off the bottom repaired blisters two barrier coats three anti fouling coats, sandblasted the keel and repainted like the bottom. New top side paint, pulled all rigging off resealed with 5200 well you get the idea worked my butt off for the first year and a half got the boat in ready to sail shape. Then it came time for the trailer had all the parts to build it but know nothing about welding thats my brothers specialty. It sits for the next two years becoming a fixture that you mow and weed-eat around till the wife finely says whats up with the boat there Walt. I'm not sure baby think I'll sale it and get a bigger one, thats OK she says I,m tired of drinking Martinez and sailing to far away places in my back yard. I put it on Ebay gone like smoke I now have a C30 on the hard that only needs to be commissioned to be ready to sail-away and it is out of my wifes sight. Now I only have to learn with some good friends how to sail the baby before my wife will go with me. Seriously I don't know if I enjoyed the time working on the boat so much that I was not so worried about sailing it or if I got tired of the project and wanted to move on. Theres so many things in life I would like to do but only so many things I will have the time and money to do you all know what I mean. Later Walt
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post #8 of 63 Old 09-26-2010
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The majority of yachts older than 20 years will be "Fixer Uppers" it's merely the degree that you will spend working / repairing compared to sailing (unless you have plenty of money and pay someone else to do it.) For one in really good condition you may spend 20-30% repairing and 70-80% sailing. In really bad condition it will be 70-90% repairing and 10-30% sailing. I suspect for most people doing their own maintenance the figure would be around 50/50.

Like other posters have mentioned, it really depends on how much you enjoy working on boats. I recently sold a 45ft 30 year old ketch and probably spent 60% working / maintenance and 40% sailing. For me this was fine and meant I knew the yacht inside out and could easily fix things on long trips.

I'm now looking for a 32-34ft yacht & will probably go for something in a bit better condition. My guess it will average out 40% maintenance and 60% sailing. That would be fine for me.

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post #9 of 63 Old 09-26-2010
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what's interesting or not.. Size of the boat (car, house, truck, race car etc) It's not hardly ever about the size of the project.

I used to be into building and restoring wooden canoes. many were easy to find found that sat around for years because someone was going to "restore" them.

People just loose interest.

Denise, Bristol PA, Oday 30. On Tidal Delaware River, Anchor Yacht Club.
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My last project!
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My boat is sold!
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post #10 of 63 Old 09-26-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ilenart View Post
The majority of yachts older than 20 years will be "Fixer Uppers" it's merely the degree that you will spend working / repairing compared to sailing (unless you have plenty of money and pay someone else to do it.) For one in really good condition you may spend 20-30% repairing and 70-80% sailing. In really bad condition it will be 70-90% repairing and 10-30% sailing. I suspect for most people doing their own maintenance the figure would be around 50/50.

Like other posters have mentioned, it really depends on how much you enjoy working on boats. I recently sold a 45ft 30 year old ketch and probably spent 60% working / maintenance and 40% sailing. For me this was fine and meant I knew the yacht inside out and could easily fix things on long trips.

I'm now looking for a 32-34ft yacht & will probably go for something in a bit better condition. My guess it will average out 40% maintenance and 60% sailing. That would be fine for me.

Ilenart
That is why I lean toward buying a new boat or better yet get a 2 to 3 years old boat with everything on it. Buying an old boat, it is harder to commit so much time over the course.


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