SailNet Community - Reply to Topic
Thread: Sailable projects? Reply to Thread
Send Trackbacks to (Separate multiple URLs with spaces) :
Post Icons
You may choose an icon for your message from the following list:

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the SailNet Community forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
Please note: After entering 3 characters a list of Usernames already in use will appear and the list will disappear once a valid Username is entered.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

  Additional Options
Miscellaneous Options

Click here to view the posting rules you are bound to when clicking the
'Submit Reply' button below

  Topic Review (Newest First)
08-27-2013 08:35 PM
Re: Sailable projects?

Another thing to keep in mind about project boats is it is often impossible to work on them while using them. Not only is it time consuming to fix up a boat, it is expensive if you also have to pay to store it.

Sadly, it is rare for a cosmeticly challenged boat not to have major problems lurking under the surface.

When I got my 40 yr old boat it was sound and safe, but had had no updates in years. The sails were old, cooktop and other systems out dated, but it could be sailed and cruised using camping gear. This allowed me to use the boat while slowly doing smaller projects and updates over a few years.
08-27-2013 07:22 PM
Alex W
Re: Sailable projects?

Coolers vary a lot boat to boat too. On my Catalina 25 the cooler would keep ice solid for a day or maybe two (reports from similar boats are that only 2 sides are insulated), on my Pearson it'll keep the same ice solid for 5 or more days. This is in days with 80 degree highs, 60s in the evening.

Most of the 12v fridges when installed into a good smaller cooler seem like they need about 25ah of power per day. That means a pair of group 24 batteries last roughly 3 days, or somewhere around 100-150 watts of solar panels can keep up with the daily draw.

Whenever I price it out I decide that ice isn't much of a hassle and a lot less expensive.
08-27-2013 06:59 PM
Re: Sailable projects?

Alex: Thanks for the info, I'm from Washington too and can see how one wouldn't need a refrigerator on a boat, but I live in Florida now and like my beer cold Coolers and ice boxes only stay cold for a day or so here. I guess the answer is to beef up the electrical system to allow for battery charging either from the outboard or solar panels. I understand some 12v/110ac reefers are made which have a pretty low draw.

hriehl: sailing and working both appeal to me, but I will almost certainly be buying a boat in the water and keeping it there as I don't plan to buy a truck also! Thats why I'm really focused on the hull and deck being solid, so I can limit my haul out time and expenses.

Appreciate everyone's advice, if I had the cash today and was to buy one of the boats I listed the Catalina seems like a much better choice as it is all there, just tired.
08-27-2013 02:35 PM
Re: Sailable projects?

I replied (below) in another thread whose theme was similar to this thread...

Greenhorn that I am, I just spent 2+ years refitting a 28-footer I bought at an auto salvage auction for $1,200. Now, approximately 300 hours of (fun) work and $6,000 later I have a boat that I know every inch of, with all-new electrics, plumbing, standing rigging, sails, barrier coat, exterior wood, etc.

Now it is in the water. While I love to sail and spend time on the boat, time will tell if the next 2 years will be as fun as the past two. The point being that, for some, boats aren't just for sailing. Buying a tired 45-year-old boat and bringing it back to life has been very rewarding; just like guys who spend way more time restoring cars than driving them.

So my advice is to define what appeals to you about owning a boat... working on it, sailing it or a little of both. Those answers will lead you to a good choice. That said, I would never recommend restoring a neglected boat to one who really just wants to sail. While I now have a very sound boat with only $6,000 or so invested, it would not likely fetch very much more if sold.

There are many good, ready-to-go boats at good prices out there so choose the path that will yield the most satisfaction.

PS: While refitting the keelboat, I had a trailer-sailor so was not entirely out of the water. That was important.
08-27-2013 01:52 PM
Alex W
Re: Sailable projects?

Finding a location to store a propane tank on a 22' boat is difficult. Your only option is probably the stern pulpit railing, which will likely already have your swim ladder on one side and access to the outboard on the other side. 22' boats are pretty small and you want to keep things really simple to make best use of the space.

You also need to add a fuel shutoff solenoid and sniffer. It is an expensive system when a simple unpressurized alcohol stove (Origo or one of the knock offs) works so well.

The danger with doing propane incorrectly (just using a camp stove in the boat for instance) is that propane is heavier than air and will collect in the bilge. You'll probably have a bilge pump there and when that turns on explosions can happen.

I live in Seattle (where 80F is hot and 40F is cold) and have never considered a cooling system on a boat, so I have no advice or experience there.
08-27-2013 12:51 PM
Re: Sailable projects?

c witch: thanks, good info! I am also intending to be as cruiser-ly as possible in a small keelboat. That's why I like the idea of a propane stove and fridge for long weekends.

tqa: thanks for pointing out the 'structural' issue, hadn't really thought of interior walls in glass boats as being load bearing. I am definitely looking for a boat I can enjoy the topsides of while I'm putting the inside together. Great article, bookmarked it!

Alex: Thanks, I really appreciate both your posts; honestly, if I can get into a boat for ~$2k (I would definitely offer less than the craigslist price for a boat I have been monitoring for a couple months online and in person) I am okay with spending ~$8k over the next couple years and never recouping it back, especially if I learn how to maintain my next boat better in the process. What about propane isn't safe in a ~22' boat? As long as the tank is above deck in a vented compartment and the gas line is sound wouldn't this be a convenient way to modernize the cooking and cooling systems?
08-27-2013 12:09 PM
Re: Sailable projects?

There is a good article on this here CLICKY

On the subject of interior work. Sure buy something with NON STRUCTURAL PROBLEMS and go sailing while you fix it.

I will always remember someone who had bought a boat with bulkhead rot. He disappeared inside with a sawzall and a grinder, appearing at regular intervals to fling bits of rotten plywood into a skip. He climbed down at the end of the day satisfied with his labours only to realize with horrer that his boat's hull now had strange depressions and hollows. He never got it back to being fair.

There is a good site on working on Plastic Classics here Plastic Classic Forum ? Index page
08-27-2013 10:41 AM
Alex W
Re: Sailable projects?

Originally Posted by Grunthrie View Post
All that said I would love for someone to chime in for the other side and list some of the pros of buying a blank canvas; perhaps some intangibles that might outweigh the financial cost of the repairs I mentioned in my first post
It sounded like your overall budget (purchase cost plus repairs) was quite tight, which is why I was steering you towards finding a boat in good condition. In general that is the least expensive way to go.

However buying a blank canvas has the benefit of you learning every inch of it. You'll get to make everything meet your particular needs and desires and when something goes wrong you'll probably know exactly why it went wrong.

It's just not the least expensive way to get into sailing. It is the least expensive way to buy a boat, but I'm convinced that the boat will always cost more than if you find a good one to begin with.
08-27-2013 02:05 AM
Re: Sailable projects?


We paid 900 for a fixer upper. I had figured on spending 1800 to bring her back to life. That came in closer to 2800 when all was said in done. New bottom job expoxy sealed and anti fouling. New topside paint and some major work in the cabin ie bulkheads galley etc. All new wiring plumbing etc etc. Much stuff didn't really have to be done but I wanted something of a cruiser even at 22 feet.

All lighting has been changed over to LED nav and cabin. New vhf and fishfinder/depthsounder. Mostly new sheets and turnbukles dock/anchor lines. New cleats etc. Standing rigging excluding turnbuckles is ok as well as the sails. New gas tank for the OB as well. This boat has both dockside pump out as well as seaside. Its pretty much setup- now for single handling as well.

08-26-2013 09:31 PM
Re: Sailable projects?

I'm not looking to 'make my money back' but rather to find a boat I can have a couple years of fun on while developing the skills I'll need on a 30+ foot boat. Some of the skills I need to learn are repair and renovation as I will probably never be able to afford a new boat and there are so many sound but ugly boats out there. I know that when I have a couple grand to spend I'll be able to find a Catalina or MacGregor 22, they are all over the Tampa Bay area within my price range, many such as the 1985 Catalina I posted above needing little to no work immediately. I really like the layout of the Kittiwake, most boats that size don't have a nav station or a full keel spade rudder that draws 3'. It's a little older than most of the boats I fantasize about, I generally try to stay in the late 70s early 80s fiberglass boats. I really appreciate everyone's input, I understand it's easy bite off more than one can chew when it comes to total renovation.

All that said I would love for someone to chime in for the other side and list some of the pros of buying a blank canvas; perhaps some intangibles that might outweigh the financial cost of the repairs I mentioned in my first post
This thread has more than 10 replies. Click here to review the whole thread.

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome