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PAULCR1 10-17-2012 02:26 PM

New(er) vs. Old(er)
We've been looking at lots of boats in the past couple of years and we want to go cruising before we are too old to do so. Being on a fixed income we have been looking at older, more affordable, for us, boats with the intent of living aboard and working on a boat to the point where we feel comfortable with taking journeys.
I just got finished reading a blurb by a surveyor that stated that only a 3 - 10 yr old sailboats should be purchased. Not newer, not older. The reasoning being that any manufacturing problems will show up in a new boat within 3 years and after 10 years the inherent age problems may become exponentially cost prohibitive.
All well and good for those out there with abundant funds. What do those of us do that have limited resources but still want to go cruising? Are older boats that much more of a headache or are they like a car in that if reasonable care and maintenance are performed they will age well? Everything wears out, including us, but that is to be expected, however, what we really want to know is if an older boat is cost prohibitive when it comes to time/maintenance?

Faster 10-17-2012 02:45 PM

Re: New(er) vs. Old(er)
If you haven't already take a gander throught this thread currently running:

I suspect many of your questions may be addressed here.

Tim R. 10-17-2012 02:51 PM

Re: New(er) vs. Old(er)
Generally speaking newer but not new is better. There are so many more factors to consider though. Electronics, sails, rigging, ground tackle, off-shore gear, etc. A 10 year old boat is probably due for new sails and rigging. Older and very well cared for can be fine.

We bought a 13 year old boat and are very happy with it. But it was fully outfitted for long term cruising. We bought it from a couple in the middle of their cruise. However, it did need new sails and rigging.

padean 10-17-2012 03:06 PM

Re: New(er) vs. Old(er)
This question seems to come up frequently. The thoughtful responses are as varied as the available boats are, and are almost always correct (both sides).

I look at this in the same way you would look at a house purchase. There are many very fine, sturdy, old homes with lots of character and many fine amenities added over the years by attentive and experienced homeowners. There are many immaculate, new, shiny homes that with a few winters behind them will certainly show significant flaws and weaknesses. There are many luxurious, beautiful new or nearly new homes with all the "bells and whistles" that are available - for a whole lot of money.

If you are a fixer-up-er and appreciate character and value in a low priced package, go for the older home of your dreams. If you have the cash (credit?) and can afford the McMansion with all the trimmings, good for you. If you are somewhere in between, like most of us, look for the most character, quality, condition for the price you can afford and enjoy it.

In this regard, boats are more like homes than they are like cars, which generally are dependent on engine and part wear and tear, and have a limited life-expectancy even if cared for well.

There are many great new boats, and many great old boats (mine is over 20 years old and looks almost like new). There is significant upkeep with any boat - continuously from the day it is purchased! An older boat that has been well maintained is probably a better "value" than a new boat, but if you want an out-of-the-box new boat that won't need much attention for a few years, get the newer boat. Either way, as mentioned in nearly every thread on purchasing a boat, put a significant percentage of your "boat money" away for maintenance and upkeep/expenses and you will probably be happy with your purchase.

jameswilson29 10-17-2012 03:16 PM

Re: New(er) vs. Old(er)
That kind of absolute statement, that only a 3 - 10 year old boat should be purchased, is nonsense.

Read "This Old Boat" by Don Casey so you will know what you may be getting yourself into if you decide to buy an older boat.

Many folks are happily cruising on older boats, some quite older than 10 years. You may derive additional satisfaction from doing the work right on your older boat and knowing your boat and its systems inside and out.

There are incredible deals out there now on some older, well-made, boats.

BTW, there is no shortage of people in the boating industry trying to sell you unnecessary shizzle by every unethical sales tactic known to man....

chucklesR 10-17-2012 03:56 PM

Re: New(er) vs. Old(er)

Questions like that have been asked and answered many times - the ONLY definite answer is "what do YOU want".
Read through the threads for examples, including in the thread linked to above.

ScottUK 10-17-2012 04:46 PM

Re: New(er) vs. Old(er)

PCP 10-17-2012 05:01 PM

Re: New(er) vs. Old(er)

Originally Posted by PAULCR1 (Post 934904)
I just got finished reading a blurb by a surveyor that stated that only a 3 - 10 yr old sailboats should be purchased. Not newer, not older. The reasoning being that any manufacturing problems will show up in a new boat within 3 years and after 10 years the inherent age problems may become exponentially cost prohibitive.

Have you got a link for that? I would like to have a look.



chef2sail 10-17-2012 05:10 PM

Re: New(er) vs. Old(er)
So I bought my boat when she was 10....she will turn 30 this year. So in the twnety years I have had her I have upgraded, changed out continued improving as well as annual maintainence.

So now shes a piece of s..hit. I think not.


PCP 10-17-2012 05:32 PM

Re: New(er) vs. Old(er)

Originally Posted by ScottUK (Post 934978)

Very interesting:

"Buy an older and a bit rundown but fundamentally decent boat and refit it. But does it really work? To explore that important question, I have a true story to tell you.
Over a couple of years Bob spent a lot of time looking at second-hand boats and finally settled on a 15 year old Fastnet 45, a racer cruiser from the reputable Dutch builder LeCompte, that was in her day perceived to be right up there with Hinckley and Nautor’s-Swan on the quality scale.

The boat was a bit beaten up by her years of offshore cruising and racing but everyone he asked assured Bob that he was getting a great buy at just US$65,000. And that included a huge amount of gear, from electronics to some 15 bags of sails…

The boat did need rewiring, but on the other hand the engine had just been rebuilt and the mast and rigging was replaced just five years before, after a dismasting.

The interior was not really set up for cruising that well, but Bob is a handy kind of guy who figured he could convert the stripped forward cabin to a really nice owner’s cabin with double berth.

Of course Bob had the boat surveyed, and she passed, with only the issues noted above highlighted.

Bob took delivery and over the next three years ploughed every dollar he could afford and most of his weekends into the boat. Bob painted and varnished, cleaned, replaced and repaired. As Bob laboured on his boat he learned some hard truths….

All in all, Bob spent another US$50,000, not including annual maintenance costs, over that three years. But even so, he was happy. After all he now had a great 24,000-pound, 45-foot cruising boat for just US$115,000.
But soon, despite Bob’s meticulous preparations, things on his boat started to get unpleasant and a bit scary too:…

 Over the years the boat had done maybe 20,000 miles, not really that much, but enough that the hull had softened, and it started to work. On port tack the doors to the aft and forward cabins could not be closed.
 Ominous creaking came from the bulkheads.
 Every port and and hatch on the boat leaked water as the working of the hull spewed out the fifteen year old sealants.
 The rig started to loosen ominously.

When they got back to Bermuda, Bob decided to fix his boat right. Over the next three years he ploughed almost every weekend and most of his vacations into:

 Removing most of the interior and redoing the tabbing of the bulkheads into the hull, which had failed in many places due to the secondary bonding problems that many fiberglass boats experience, even those from reputable builders. The surveyor had missed this problem. But then again, how many surveys include removing half the interior to access all the bulkhead to hull joints?
 Reinforcing the two main bulkheads with laminated ring frames.
 Rebuilding the mast step that was slowly compressing. (That was why the rig got looser.) The surveyor had missed this too, but in his defense, it was impossible to see the problem without un-stepping the mast and removing a water tank.
 Removing every single fitting, port and hatch and re-bedding them in new sealant.

After all that, the by then 20 year old gel coat looked tired, so Bob had the boat completely repainted from stem to stern.

And most of that great gear he got when he bought the boat was now obsolete and/or broken. So Bob re-equipped the boat with the best: all new electronics, windlass (she had never had one), anchors, batteries, up to date charging system, and on and on the list went.

All in all, even though he did all the work, except the painting, himself, he spent another US$50,000. He now had some US$165,000 in the boat, not to speak of some 5000 hours of his own time. (An average of ten hours every weekend for six years and at least four two week vacations.)

“Oh well”, said Bob, “it was a life experience, and now at last I have a great offshore cruising boat”.…

As he and his wife lived on the boat they realized that she really was not a very good cruising boat. The interior, designed for a big crew, was awkward for just two. Ditto the deck layout and cockpit. They met other cruisers in more modern purpose built cruising boats and envied them.

Still More To Do
…deep in his heart of hearts Bob knew that there was still more that needed doing to his boat, much more:
 The rudder had never been off the boat in over 20 years. Ominous drips of rusty water from the rudder blade, when the boat was hauled, told a tale of deterioration of the stainless steel web that would require a new rudder to fix right.
 The external lead keel was attached with bronze keel bolts. What condition were they in? The only way to find out was to drop the keel. Not fun because the bolt heads were under the water tanks and engine. And if the bolts were corroded, replacement would be a nightmare.
 The stainless steel chain plates were inaccessible behind cabinetry and encapsulated in fiberglass. Bob knew that water had leaked into that area for years. No question, they should come out and be replaced.

At the end of the six month cruise, Bob sold the boat for $85,000, taking a $80,000 loss, and bought a four year old purpose built cruising boat."

That's in accordance with what I think. Of course you can buy an old boat, live on the boat, sail only occasionally and locally only when the weather is fine and there are no much wind hoping that that all old things that should have be substituted in its time stay in place. An old boat would probably be alright for those that use the boat that way and represent a good deal.

But for the ones that want an offshore boat for really sail offshore with all weather, if they want, as safety demands, a seaworthy and safe boat, a big bill and lot of work is waiting for them if they are buying a 20 or 30 years old boat.

The funny thing is that many of the guys that buy old boats that once were seaworthy boats like to piss guys that buy brand new boats about the seaworthiness of their new boats:rolleyes:

For them a 20 years old standing rigging, 25 or 30 year's old chain-plates are perfectly alright because they carefully check them out visually.



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