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  #31  
Old 10-14-2012
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Re: Buying a 30-40 year old boat - your opinions

You Bristol is a fine boat. The 45.5 and the 41.1 are on my short list as well as a Mason 43/44. The IP never made it as i doesnt sail as well and I also like the fit and finish of both the Bristols and the Masons, Catalinas never crossed my mind for our last boat. Not bashing them, just not what we wanted syle wise.

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  #32  
Old 10-14-2012
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Re: Buying a 30-40 year old boat - your opinions

I am new to boats and sailing. A year ago I never set foot on a sailboat. My wife and I bought a 37 year old Schock Santana 30. Its been AMAZING. Overbuilt. THICK fiberglass. Its got a smaller main than most modern boats and gets alot of power from its headsail...So I have to reef alot less in bigger winds. In light winds she is still pretty quick for an old boat. Its stable, fast, easy to sail and I can single hand her with ease. Its been VERY well kept up and in the first year of ownership I have done very little other than sail. I bought a new (used) headsail, and recently replaced a bilge pump...and replaced a battery. Thats all the repairs I have done. An older boat thats well cared for is not bad at all. I also drive a 1976 BMW...so I have a soft spot for the classics! The wife? Not so much...lol. She drives a 2013 Audi and loves the new Beneteaus!
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  #33  
Old 10-14-2012
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Re: Buying a 30-40 year old boat - your opinions

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Originally Posted by JulieMor View Post
It was when, at the boat Annapolis Boat Show this year, I found myself inside the Sabre 456, an absolutely gorgeous boat and probably my favorite there, that I asked myself, "How would you feel if you owned this boat?"

Outside of being able to own a boat like that, I looked at the boat being my home on water. Surprisingly, I thought something wasn't right (outside of the fact I couldn't afford it ). I then realized I would need to break it in first, give it some experience, some history on the water, before I could feel comfortable on it. But when I think about the older boats I've been on, I never felt this way.

Pam Wall was staying at the same B&B as we were. We got to meet her Friday morning at breakfast. When she said you have to feel some chi with a boat before buying it, I knew what she was talking about. I couldn't feel chi with any of the new boats at the show. I guess I like older boats.

I know there are a lot of negatives about buying an older boat and that a thorough survey is a must. On maintenance and repairs, I can handle much of that. I'm an electrician and an avid woodworker. I have a pretty good mechanical aptitude. And I like the satisfaction of fixing things myself.

On my dad's boat I installed all the electronics, repaired the generator, did most of the oil changes, repaired the heads, maintained and rebuilt the pumps, sanded the entire bottom (once) and painted it, season after season. I even did some gelcoat repairs.

But it's the structural stuff that concerns me. A boat 30-40 years old, especially one that's been well sailed, could have hull or rigging problems that are only another storm away from failure. That's where my apprehension begins.

For those of you who have made the plunge and bought an older boat, what has been your experience? What are the pitfalls? What have you had to pay for and what have you been to fix yourselves? And what boats really hold up that long?
I love these questions you've asked. My Alden Challenger(glass hull and deck) is finishing up season 51 in a week or so. I still marvel at the fact that the hull and decks have needed nothing more than paint over that time. And all other related structural areas have been more than up to those 51 years, and I don't know if even the half way point has been reached.

But a boat as a whole, is a sum of a zillion parts. Many of those parts have been replaced on my boat. It's on it's 3rd engine, countless sails, some rigging(I haven't replaced any in 12 years of ownership), and countless other parts. Yet, I'm amazed at how many parts on the boat are original today.

That is a testament to the designer and builder. This is a peculiar boat(half wood, half glass) that's not for most people, but the same quality was built into all Alden boats and other quality builders you've mentioned.

Take the time to evaluate the individual parts on the boats you consider, their quality, usefullness and remaining life span, as well as the sum of the whole boat. You may end up paying a little more for these better parts, but in the long run, the extra investment will return over and over.

Our son had a docking mishap this year that laid one stanchion flat on the deck, and reshaped an adjacent gate stanchion.

The decks(solid, odd, I know...) took no damage. I took the solid bronze stanchions off and to the local marine metal fabricator. He gave me a doubtful look but said he'd give it a try. He was able to bend the thick solid bronze back to original, and I slid them back into their bronze dovetailed sockets, through bolted and heavily back plated,... 80 dollars later.
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  #34  
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Re: Buying a 30-40 year old boat - your opinions

Don't touch an old wooden boat. The maintenance is enormous and on-going. This reduces sailing time and eats your cruising budget.
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  #35  
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Re: Buying a 30-40 year old boat - your opinions

Quote:
Originally Posted by CalebD View Post
You can always learn.
I know stripping, dyes, stains, shellacs, lacquers, varnishes, etc. That's how I know I don't like doing it.

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Maybe I'm not that crazy about doing brightwork either!
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  #36  
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Re: Buying a 30-40 year old boat - your opinions

Deciding to buy a boat after attending a boat show is kind of like deciding you want to get married after watching a dating reality show - the two have virually nothing to do with each other.

If you want to see the reality of boat ownership, don't go to the boat show, go to a marina. Notice that 90% of the boats sit unused for weeks on end. You may, however, see people working on their boats - fixing the engine, oiling/varnishing the brightwork, repairing the systems.

The boating industry is a victim of its own success. The heyday of sailing as a family recreational activity was in the '70s and '80s. The industry has been in decline ever since then. Many wonderful, well-built, dual purpose sailboats were made during the heyday of sailing, and they have lasted far longer than anyone anticipated.

In its heyday, sailing was often introduced to the family by the father, who became the de facto decision maker in the purchase of the boat. As a result, boats were designed for racing and cruising, with fairly spartan interiors. Interior accommondations and comfort in the marina or at anchor were secondary to performance.

Since the number of new boats built has declined, builders have had to differentiate their products through specialized purpose and realize a greater profit margin on each boat built. Consequently, there are mostly larger, more expensive boats built, and usually built either for cruising, racing, or bluewater sailing. Cruising boats have become more luxurious and spacious belowdecks, usually at the expensive of potential sailing ability which could have been realized due to advances in materials, design and technology.

The result is there is a surplus of well-built, rugged, dual purpose boats which can be acquired for one tenth the cost of a new boat, and which only suffer in comparison to interior space and comfort features, aspects which have little actual bearing on the enjoyment of the boat.

The solution is to buy a 30-40 year old boat and learn to enjoy the maintenance as part of the package of admission to the best recreational activity on earth.
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Last edited by jameswilson29; 10-15-2012 at 07:22 AM.
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  #37  
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Re: Buying a 30-40 year old boat - your opinions

In the 70's, 80's and 90's, when I was sailing regularly, I had fallen in love with Swans. Most of the knowledge I gained about boats back then was from Sail Magazine and anything I could get my hands on about the racers and the racing circuit. Now, I'm much more a cruiser, though I have no problem going fast.

In the mid 90's I bought the book, "The World's Best Sailboats: A Survey" by Ferenc Maté. That's when I learned about what Maté considers the finest sailing boats made. Interestingly enough, he listed Beneteau in that book and cited the fact that, at least at the time, they used the same method for constructing their fiberglass hulls as did Swan. If I remember right, no other manufacturers used this method. Don't ask me. I can't remember what it was.

I lent that book out years ago but never got it back. I do remember scouring through it many times when I had it. It would be nice to have something like that for reference but it would have to be a bit more like "Best Sailboats For The Liveaboard"

I've read every reply thus far and it sounds like there's a good many older boat owners who are happy they bought an older boat. And, from what I've read, there's nothing telling me I would be getting in over my head by doing the same. I just need a better education of the boats out there that should be on my list. I think I also need to put that list in writing.
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  #38  
Old 10-14-2012
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Re: Buying a 30-40 year old boat - your opinions

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Originally Posted by JulieMor View Post
I couldn't feel chi with any of the new boats at the show. I guess I like older boats.
I went to a boat show in Kemah Texas the last couple years, the only one's I've been able to get to so far. This year, I went on the newer boats presented there and I had the same feeling as I did looking at the pictures of the new boats. I had a feeling I was walking into IKEA. Not saying the boats looked cheap because they were very beautiful but something about the interior finish didn't feel right to me. When I was looking for a boat, I was looking for something pre-1990 where things looked and felt better. My boat is a 1981 Norsea 27 and it felt right as soon as I stepped aboard. It needed some cleaning up and a few fixes but seemed well intact. I know I'll have some major projects to do but hope to get a year or two of use out of her before getting into the major $$ projects. This is my first boat so I'm learning a little at a time and I'm happy with my boat. Hopefully soon, I'll be able to get her into a slip and go sailing on a local lake.

I still look at some of the newer boats but still end up drawn towards the older ones.
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  #39  
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Re: Buying a 30-40 year old boat - your opinions

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Deciding to buy a boat after attending a boat show is kind of like deciding you want to get married after watching a dating reality show - the two have virually nothing to do with each other.
Nice analogy!

I have somewhere between 7,000 to 8,000 miles of sailing under my belt. And I know very well the reality of boat maintenance, care and use. We did a lot of sailing on my dad's Columbia 45, making the trek from Chicago to Mackinac and back every year. We even sailed into the North Channel and Georgian Bay on occasion. My dad took the boat through the Great Lakes and down through the Intercoastal. From there I joined him for sails to the Bahamas and down to the Keys.

But it wasn't all sailing. The first year we took it to a boat yard for haul out and winter storage. It sat in the water for over a month until one day one of the glass strainers broke when the water in it froze and the boat sunk - in the Chicago River!

The boat yard cleaned it up but there were problems on it for years after that. I did all of the repairs, including getting the generator to work again. That took me three seasons. Yes, I know boat repair reality too.

For me, the boat show was educational as far as seeing what's out there today. It was also a re-immersion into the sailing world and ended up being a motivator to fulfill my dream of buying a boat when I retire. Oh, and it was also educational in that I found Pusser's Painkillers!
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Re: Buying a 30-40 year old boat - your opinions

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I had a feeling I was walking into IKEA.
OMG! That's exactly what we said about many of the boats we walked through in Annapolis!
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