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jordandemoss 06-29-2011 05:55 PM

First Time Buyer/Owner
I'm looking to buy my first sailboat some time in the next year and eventually become a liveaboard. I'm looking for a fixer, something that I can work on as a hobby project on the evenings and weekends. Here's how I look at it. As long as the hull, masts, and engine/drive train are good then I'm looking forward to the challenge of working on everything else, ripping out, replacing, and putting things how I want them.

I've done plenty of mechanical and electrical work, I'm comfortable with that stuff. What I'm concerned about is what work needs to be done on the bottom of the hull. So, what I'm trying to do is compile a list of things I would need to do to an older boat that needs hauled out. Cleaning, sanding, and painting are pretty obvious.

Do any of you put any kind of special coating on the bottom to protect the paint or that provides reduced drag? Are zincs hard or expensive to replace? What about the shaft, are there any associated components that should be looked at? I'm sure the yard workers will be more than happy to give me a list of things that they could charge me for, which I'm more than willing to pay to get the boat in a good condition but I would like to have a good understanding of what to expect before doing it.

Advice is much appreciated.

DonScribner 07-04-2011 08:37 AM


If you're really going to do this, ask yourself a question. The same question that a friend of mine, author James L Nelson (buy his books!), asked me, when I was considering it. "Do you like standing in a cold shower peeling off $100 bills??? Then you'll LOVE sailing!"

First piece of advice; Don't look for TOO much of a challenge. You'll work forever, spend WAY too much money, then give it up in disgust. Some other guy will benefit from your hard work and money. There are a million boats in the $5000 or less range out there. A coat of paint, grease a couple of fittings and you're on the water. I just saw my boat (a Lancer 25) for sale, on a trailer, for $1450. The guy was sailing it last year.

If you haven't bought yet, I'd suggest a 22-25 trailerable. You get a good cost-to-sailing ratio and location flexibility that you won't find in the big girls. My Lancer 25 is moored in my drive way. Some marinas offer lot storage for trailerables too. Otherwise, a slip might cost $2500/year plus hauling and storage. Moorings are cheaper but still cost some.

Paint is a world of its own. Depending on the boat, use and storage, you can pay $60/gallon to $300/gallon. If you trailer and are in fresh water, VC-17M ($50/qt) or EasyPoxy ($110/gal - limited submersion) would probably be your best bets. If you're mooring, do some research before you buy, and ask the local guys what they use. Zincs are easy to replace and come in a zillion shapes.

I'd suggest picking up a couple of books by Don Casey. Don is the guru of sailboat repair, refit and rehab. Everything you need to know, he's written down and in easy, laymen's term. for about $10.

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