What To Take Into Account When Considering A 40+ Year Old Sailboat? - SailNet Community
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Question What To Take Into Account When Considering A 40+ Year Old Sailboat?

What are some serious considerations to take into account when thinking about buying a 40+ year old fiberglass sailboat, in decent overall shape?

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Re: What To Take Into Account When Considering A 40+ Year Old Sailboat?

The age of the standing rigging including the chain plates.
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Re: What To Take Into Account When Considering A 40+ Year Old Sailboat?

Many details to consider. As an owner of a 41-year-old boat I would say you need to start with the design and build specs; you want one with good bones to begin with. Then I would look to the quality of the maintenance over the years. A good old boat that was well designed and built, AND has been well maintained should still be an excellent option.

Other than that, the list is long: Big things like standing rigging, water intrusions into the deck (most old boats with balsa decks will have some), deck/hull joint, mast step, engine, thru hull integrity… Any hard groundings in its past? Has she ever sunk? How old is the electrical? Etc...

Why go fast, when you can go slow.
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Re: What To Take Into Account When Considering A 40+ Year Old Sailboat?

Boat maintenance and even building new costs are surprisingly spread out. Boats cost $$$ not because of any one thing, because of a million items. They all add up. From engines to standing rigging to water intrusion into FG or cores to pumps to winches to... Not a good answer to your question.

In buying used boats we've found that the single most important question is who owned it? If you can, vet the owner.

I'd prefer a 40 year old boat that's been well taken care of to a 10 year old boat that's been neglected. I'd prefer a boat that's fully in commission to one that's been sitting on hard rotting for a few years.

One other trick. The first thing I look at is the bilge and engine. Clean? Keep looking. A mess of wires left over from multiple rewiring, dirty bilge, oily engine, old hoses showing rot, walk away.
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Re: What To Take Into Account When Considering A 40+ Year Old Sailboat?

How's the keel attached? Amazing to me to see how many 40 year old sailboats have their original keel bolts. Mine are being replaced this winter and are 14 years old.

I had a buddy with an older Pearson, but can't recall exactly which model. He's passed away. It was a ketch. He had issues with the deck seam separating from the topsides. I can't say if it was his boat, the model or a Pearson thing.
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Reviews that I have read say that Pearsons of that era experienced osmotic blistering on the hull. Repairs can be quite expensive, so that would need to be factored into negotiations for the sale price.

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Re: What To Take Into Account When Considering A 40+ Year Old Sailboat?

Thanks, everyone, I appreciate the help.

On its dollar value, is it true that sailboats made before 1980 are not considered high value due to their age?


How do you gauge a sailboats true value being that old?
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Re: What To Take Into Account When Considering A 40+ Year Old Sailboat?

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On its dollar value, is it true that sailboats made before 1980 are not considered high value due to their age?

How do you gauge a sailboats true value being that old?
Age is one factor in pricing a boat. Older designs may no longer be in vogue, so this will be another factor. But many quality older boats have reached a stable price which mainly varies with quality of maintenance and perhaps locality.

Not sure what you mean by gauging a boat’s true value though. Mine is worth $x according to my surveyor and insurance company, but she’s priceless to me .

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Re: What To Take Into Account When Considering A 40+ Year Old Sailboat?

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Age is one factor in pricing a boat. Older designs may no longer be in vogue, so this will be another factor. But many quality older boats have reached a stable price which mainly varies with quality of maintenance and perhaps locality.

Not sure what you mean by gauging a boat’s true value though. Mine is worth $x according to my surveyor and insurance company, but she’s priceless to me .
What I mean is, the NADA Guide, is that what is used to give you the true value of a boat?

I don't know if there is a Kelly Blue book for boats.

I was told by a recent 'seller' of a boat I was interested in that in all his many years he's never heard of anyone using the NADA to get the true value of a boat, yet to contradict that I've been told by some that it is used by insurance company's to give the true value of your vessel if its ever totally lost in say a hurricane...
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Re: What To Take Into Account When Considering A 40+ Year Old Sailboat?

The problem with "blue books" for sailboats is both the broad differences in condition, as well as how they are equipped. Good, fair, etc, just don't cut it for boats. The specific condition of decks, rigging, engines, etc, create huge differences on value. For some smaller boats, if these are in poor condition, they have theoretical negative value, as the defects cost more to replace than other functional hulls cost. Insurance companies and banks are playing the averages overall. They win some and lose some. That's probably not how you're looking at it.

Another thing to take into account on such an old boat, is it's only getting older. Once you're ready to sell it, as a 50 year old boat, it may be much harder. Hard to say.


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