Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: New Orleans Louisiana
Thanked 103 Times in 97 Posts
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Re: How old is old
Part of the problem is that as a boat reaches her 20 birthday a lot of the major systems are getting due for an overhaul, or a complete top down inspection. Since a lot of owners don't do this regularly the new buyer really should, but often doesn't inspect this stuff. This is why insurance gets harder to get ( unless you can show you have done the work).
Just an example of some major systems and their expected reaplacement interval...
1) Most rigging companies suggest dye testing after 8 years, with full x-ray inspections at 15. This means everything from the turnbuckles to the wire needs to be removed and inspected professionally. Often it is cheaper to replace it.
2) Electrical systems even tinned wire eventually fails. I don't have recommendations, but somewhere in the 20 year age range base load stuff starts to need replacement. Things like shore power cables, engine wiring, ect will all be soon due for replacement if they haven't been done already.
3) chainplates should be removed and dye/x-ray tested at 20 years. Replacement is often suggested even if they are otherwise fine. Due to the cost of pulling everything out. Good practice is to do this while doing the rigging work from 1.
4) engines don't last forever. And somewhere around 29 years is when major parts start to fail due to age, if not hours. Things like heat exchangers, pumps, gaskets, ect...
5) Electronics, and nav instruments tend to fail around this same timeline.
6) Keel bolts also can fail, and after 20 years of a hard life, it probably isn't a terrible idea to have them inspected too. Just remember it is much easier to do so while the rig is out... So all at once you are looking at new rigging, chainplates, and kneel bolts...
Of course in any particular boat some of these things will be pristine, and other things will fail, but 20 years is a long time to ask mechanical things to keep working without problems. And often by the time you price pulling the old out, repairing it, and reinstalling it, the additional cost for new isn't that much more (it can be less). Generally this all happens around the 20-25 year mark.
Certainly there are boats and systems that will work long past this timeline, and I don't mean to say everything will be gone at this point. But 20-25 years is when all these things start to come up for inspection at a minimum. And this adds to the cost of ownership, unless the previous owner has already undertaken some of the repairs.