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jarcher 05-17-2009 11:27 AM

At what point is enough enough?
So I bought a 32 year old boat last September and made big plans for it, with the biggest single expenses being replace the moldy cushions ($2,000), soda blast and apply a barrier and new paint ($1,900), replace much of the running rigging and upgrade the electronics.

But now I find this rot in the foredeck that has completely shaken my confidence in the survey that was performed and in the boat itself. I realize that this one section can be fixed but I'm worried that there is more and other problems not yet detected.

I have put the soda blasting on hold and can probably cancel the cushions, although I think the fabric is ordered.

The electronics can come with me to the next boat, but other than that, it looks like this boat either has or will have no value. I was hoping to keep it for the next 8 seasons and look at a new boat then, but if the cost of maintenance is going to exceed the cost of the payments, I am probably just wasting money.

At what point do we just pack it in?

Mimsy 05-17-2009 11:36 AM

I think the answer lies in the reason you chose this boat. Is this the perfect boat for you for the next ten years? Did you purchase it because you LOVE this boat? The way it sails, the lay out, etc? If so, it might make sense to spend the money to save her and sail the pants off of her for the next ten years, then sell her to someone who can appreciate the love and attention you have lavished on her. Even if you were to buy a brand new boat, you will still have expenses for maintenence, outfitting etc.

On the other hand, if you bought this boat because the price was right but you don't really love anything else about it, then you will never be happy with the end product no matter how much or how little you spend.

No one can give you a definitive answer because a boat is always a silly financial investment. You will never get your money out of a boat. What you do have to look for is a way to get maximum joy for your investment.

brak 05-17-2009 11:42 AM

:) doesn't sound like it's been all that expensive.

I bought a boat that is now 37 years old. I usually estimate that for any boat I would spend the same amount I paid for her in improvements in the next few years. In this case I was off by a factor of 2 :) I spent twice what I paid for her so far (and I paid quite a bit for a boat too, it wasn't one of those junkyard cheapo deals).

It's got to be something you enjoy doing and don't feel bad about paying for. I do not - it's something I like and I like spending money on my boat. If you do not - then it's pretty much a given that any amount spent will make you unhappy.

Buying any boat is rarely a good financial decision. Buying an old boat is *never* a good "financial decision".

pdqaltair 05-17-2009 11:45 AM

When you buy a 32 year old boat, the first question you have to ask yourself is...
do you really enjoy messing about in boats? Fixing thing. Figuring things out for yourself. Being a sailor is as much understanding the boat and repairing the boat as it is understanding sailing.

I had a 30-year old boat, sold it in much better shape than I bought it, but really didn't spend much. But did learn the boat inside and out.

Not to save money, though, if the above is true and you are, or can be come good a the above crafts. It should be to enjoy the process. If you are going to pay others, perhaps the battle is lost.

Really, the surveyor should not have missed the deck issue. That is what you paid him for. Perhaps a second inspection of some manner is in order, just to get the major issues on paper.

Can you sew? Can the cushions be cleaned? Can you strip the bottom? Do you need to, or can you paint over it with minimal sanding? Most do. A hand-held GPS, depth sounder, and VHS are all you NEED, and the VHS is the only real need, since the others didn't exist 30 years ago in any practical sense. Sail repairs can be done by hand or at minimal cost.

And I am sorry for the rude awakening, but buying a 30-year old boat with payments was a misstep. New boats have payments and few repairs. Old boats have no payments and many repairs. You'll be OK. You just have a learning curve.

tommays 05-17-2009 11:47 AM

I have seen some pretty big messes with NEW boats :)

Pretty much everybody i know has and older boat (many who could afford anything like the J44 guys) and unless its really horrific just deal with a bit at a time.

You can do a WHOLE lot of work for 1k+ a month new boat payment over 20 years

arf145 05-17-2009 11:48 AM

As Mimsy says, Do you like the boat? Like sailing it, looking at it, etc? If so, I'd start at planning to keep it.

But if you don't trust the survey that was done (was this by a surveyor of your own choosing?), why not do a survey of your own at this point to help decide? Look thru Sailingdog's tips for inspection. Check some fittings other than the baby tang to see if they've had water intrusion. Do a complete plastic hammer tap test of the deck (and I can't believe you surveyor missed the 'thunk' that would have occured on your rot!). If the surveyor was yours, maybe you should give him/her a call and suggest that they owe you a good tap and moisture test of your deck, since they missed something so large.

I don't think the money we put in during ownership of a boat--including upgrades--makes the boat worth more necessarily, just worth more to us. The calculation of worth is all yours, but I'd get a new baseline on just what you have.

jarcher 05-17-2009 12:20 PM


Originally Posted by pdqaltair (Post 486807)
And I am sorry for the rude awakening, but buying a 30-year old boat with payments was a misstep. New boats have payments and few repairs. Old boats have no payments and many repairs. You'll be OK. You just have a learning curve.

Oh I didn't finance the purchase of this boat, I just paid $11,500 outright. I have no payments. I'm told its now worth $9,000 but right now is very different then even last September for boat values. If I spend another $10,000 on repairs now AND the boat does well for me for the next 8 seasons with minor repair and ordinary maintenance I'll be okay with that. Yes any boat is a bad financial move, but some must be worse than others.

My worry is what lies ahead. The suggestions that I get a better evaluation of the deck and probably the hull to make sense. Then at least I'll know what I am in for.

As for whether I love the boat, not really, but I don't hate it either. I thought I liked it when I bought it. I thought it was odd that the engine was in the middle of the cabin. The six weeks of sailing I got in last season convinced me that having it there really sucks, as its hard to squeeze by it and there is no leg room to sit and such. Then I learned that someone moved the engine from where it belongs to the middle of the cabin!

sailingdog 05-17-2009 12:33 PM

Just remember, that boat maintenance, as a rule when done properly, gets lower rather than higher. If you do the preventative and proper maintenance, the big costs generally are avoidable. Bringing a boat up to spec, after a long period of questionable maintenance takes some doing, regardless of what boat it is.

I would highly recommend you read the Boat Inspection Trip Tips thread I started, as it will help you get a real baseline on what is needed with your current boat.

If you like the way the boat performs, sails and looks... there's no reason not to go ahead an invest in the boat, provided she's basically sound to begin with.

Looking at a boat from a purely financial perspective is ridiculous...since any financial perspective is going to say that not owning one is the only thing that makes sense. They are a financial strain any way you look at them, even if brand new.

tommays 05-17-2009 01:04 PM

"Then I learned that someone moved the engine from where it belongs to the middle of the cabin!"

A LOT of boats have the motor there even good ones like a Tartan 372 which is why we were now have a LOT of saildrives

brak 05-17-2009 01:40 PM

I know every person is different, and personal expenditures differ too. That said, 10K doesn't sound like that much money to me in terms of boat costs (relative to what many boats and boat repair jobs would cost).

That's not to say that you should just throw money away. However, I do think that if sums of this scale make you cringe - it will be difficult to deal with any boat, since sums like these come up pretty much all the time even if the boat is new and you are a DIY kinda person.

You know that boat is now, due to inflation, is renamed BOATT - bring out another ten thousand :) It is a joke, but it's only funny because it is true.


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