Just curious if anyone still makes a living fixing up old sailboats - Page 4 - SailNet Community
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post #31 of 41 Old 08-15-2016
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Re: Just curious if anyone still makes a living fixing up old sailboats

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I've known several reputable boat yards, up and down the coast. There are too many to mention here.

In my area there's good yards in Camden, Rockport, Rockland, Belfast, Thomaston, to name some of the bigger yards.

If I knew what kind of work you expected to need, I might know of a specialist.

Then there are boat yards inland that get their work delivered on hydraulic trailers. Some of these yards can be a better deal than those right of the water.

If a yard does low quality work, word gets around - fast. They don't last.
Depends on your area and size of your checkbook. Brooklin has one of the best reps if you can afford it, but I second that there are many that are very good depending on where you are looking.

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post #32 of 41 Old 08-16-2016
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Re: Just curious if anyone still makes a living fixing up old sailboats

Like many of the good yards, Brooklin Boatyard list their service rates on the website.

Sand, Paint and Varnish: $60.00/hr
Awlgrip: $66.00/hr
Cleaning: $48.00/hr
Carpentry, Fiberglass and Rigging: $62.00/hr
Electrical and Electronics: $66.00/hr
Mechanical and Refrigeration: $66.00/hr
Machine Shop and Fabrication: $66.00/hr
Yard: $60.00/hr

In comparing marine rates to home construction, they're not too much higher. In some instances, on par. But unlike many trades that work out of vehicles and offices, they have an expensive facility. Indoor heated paint sheds, construction shops, machine shops.

I use the machine and fabrication shop at my local boatyard/builder, Rockport Marine. There's always some part that needs replacing on my old boat. But I've found they can often repair broken blocks and fittings, in bronze and stainless. And they'll listen to you, give some thought to what you want, and aren't afraid to say, "You'd be better off buying a new one". Plus they're always busy, there is no incentive to take longer than they need to do the work. Even at 60-70 per hour, you can save money.

The cleaning rate seems a little high. But then again, I can't find people to clean houses around here (I manage some properties), and no one will do a thing for less than 30/ hour. And that is a sole biz. owner with no attached business costs or facility.

Back to the OP, using these rates, I can't see any margin left in boat rehab.

Tom Young sailing a 1961 38' Alden Challenger, CHRISTMAS out of
Rockport, Maine.
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post #33 of 41 Old 08-16-2016
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Re: Just curious if anyone still makes a living fixing up old sailboats

Envious of the rate schedule, Tom. Imagine how badly the math would work here.

While not a big spread on your schedule, I also appreciate seeing different rates for different skills. Work on one's diesel or electrical panel, should not cost the same as the guy who bottom paints. However, around here, that is common.


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post #34 of 41 Old 08-16-2016
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TomMaine View Post
Like many of the good yards, Brooklin Boatyard list their service rates on the website.

Sand, Paint and Varnish: $60.00/hr
Awlgrip: $66.00/hr
Cleaning: $48.00/hr
Carpentry, Fiberglass and Rigging: $62.00/hr
Electrical and Electronics: $66.00/hr
Mechanical and Refrigeration: $66.00/hr
Machine Shop and Fabrication: $66.00/hr
Yard: $60.00/hr

In comparing marine rates to home construction, they're not too much higher. In some instances, on par. But unlike many trades that work out of vehicles and offices, they have an expensive facility. Indoor heated paint sheds, construction shops, machine shops.

I use the machine and fabrication shop at my local boatyard/builder, Rockport Marine. There's always some part that needs replacing on my old boat. But I've found they can often repair broken blocks and fittings, in bronze and stainless. And they'll listen to you, give some thought to what you want, and aren't afraid to say, "You'd be better off buying a new one". Plus they're always busy, there is no incentive to take longer than they need to do the work. Even at 60-70 per hour, you can save money.

The cleaning rate seems a little high. But then again, I can't find people to clean houses around here (I manage some properties), and no one will do a thing for less than 30/ hour. And that is a sole biz. owner with no attached business costs or facility.

Back to the OP, using these rates, I can't see any margin left in boat rehab.
Yeah. No margin on rehabbing boats. The inland yard I used to use had a similar rate schedule, but always rounded down the time it took and undercharged for loyalty. They retired.
Have enjoyed Belmont and find them quite reasonable. Their rates are within 5$ of Brooklin. Most of the expense in Brooklin is getting there, but the work I've seen them do is top notch. For rigging and sails you can't beat Pope. There are plenty of others of similar quality around as well.
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post #35 of 41 Old 08-16-2016
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Re: Just curious if anyone still makes a living fixing up old sailboats

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Envious of the rate schedule, Tom. Imagine how badly the math would work here.

While not a big spread on your schedule, I also appreciate seeing different rates for different skills. Work on one's diesel or electrical panel, should not cost the same as the guy who bottom paints. However, around here, that is common.
There's history of designers like Alden and S&S in biz with Maine yards. Designers in Boston, NYC, RI would send their work to yards like Paul Luke, Hodgdon, etc.

Not only did they get a better price out of their area, but there's documented history stating they got a higher quality boat. I'd say there is still some truth to that as boats come from around the world to Maine for work and builds.

I guess the lack of disparity in the different skills is partly due to the actual cost of the workers (taxes, insurance, etc) to the yard, not varying that much. Then the building cost to do the work is the same. And I would bet (knowing a little about the family), that they pay a living wage. That pays off; people stay in the position and supply experienced workers; that yields a higher quality product.
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Re: Just curious if anyone still makes a living fixing up old sailboats

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....I guess the lack of disparity in the different skills is partly due to the actual cost of the workers (taxes, insurance, etc) to the yard, not varying that much.......
Actually, those rates do show some variability, which was refreshing. There are a ton of fixed costs in the hourly wage, so I understand the actual variance in wages between the trades would not move the total by as big a percentage. Around here, yard rates are $90-$100/hr and it seems to apply equally between a trained and certified diesel mechanic, as the entry level dude that is rolling on bottom paint. Marina costs, benefits (I do know they get them here) are fixed per employee, but I'll bet the paycheck of the mechanic is double the hull painter.

Actually, here's a kick in the pants. I hired the electrician to go up the mast to repair an antenna problem. Naturally, he needed someone at the winch, to haul him up. I paid the same rate for each of them for the two hours. I get the kid had a big responsibility on the winch, but anyone with half a brain could learn his task in a few minutes.

I will need new teak decks and standing rigging one of these years. My plan A is to take a late season cruise in Maine and leave her there for the winter. Beyond the cost, I think the quality of work is superior in Maine. I've ordered some remote work up there over the years and had nothing but good experiences.
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post #37 of 41 Old 08-16-2016
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Re: Just curious if anyone still makes a living fixing up old sailboats

We've worked with boat yards in RI, MA, and Maine. In general, the Maine yards charge less per hour, and have better trained staff; although I cannot say I've had 100% positive experiences in any geography. I've got one yard I like in RI that I'm working with now (Minnewaska PM me if you want to exchange notes) where I'm getting the quality, but I'm paying the south coast price.

What is interesting is if you go under the business plans of these yards and meet the owners, a number of them are relatively wealthy guys who are not making money on their boat yards, but have enough other income sources not to care. Hobby businesses, and expensive hobby at that.

As much as it feels like your hanging upside down with money dropping out of your pockets when you get the bill .
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post #38 of 41 Old 08-16-2016
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Re: Just curious if anyone still makes a living fixing up old sailboats

I have been thinking of the guy that worked all year for 9000. If this is true, there is no hope for shipwrights... they will pass on to the lore of history.

Integrity and honesty mean more than money and fame.
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post #39 of 41 Old 08-16-2016
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On the same thread theme: What's the success rate on old boat rehabs?

I think the success rate is pretty good, if the boat isn't too neglected. Many of us buy boats like that. And most of us know what we're doing.

But we're seeing more 'basket case' boats that people are coming onto Sailnet and asking about. Good sized boats, 30 to 40 feet or so.

Unused for several years, some have sunk or been flooded(the Ohlson 38 in another thread), and need new interiors, need engines. Some don't have their rig.

For these boats - that cost little or nothing up front - I've seen few that pulled it off. In fact, some of them are on their second hopeful 'rehabber', or third.

I've seen sister ships of my boat bought by hopeful owners that end in broken dreams. Then the boats are up for sale again. For these severely neglected boats that need tons of work and $ in parts, the success rate is dismal.

These advanced project boats, are growing. Further, advanced project boats appeal - often - to inexperienced buyers. After one or two rehab attempts, these boats are pretty well done.

Hopefully people will chime with a less gloomy forecast for these boats.

Tom Young sailing a 1961 38' Alden Challenger, CHRISTMAS out of
Rockport, Maine.
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Re: On the same thread theme: What's the success rate on old boat rehabs?

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Originally Posted by TomMaine View Post
Hopefully people will chime with a less gloomy forecast for these boats.
If they do they are lying or ignorant.

I see it all the time in my business 1 in 1000 junkers are brought back to life, the rest break families and bank accounts.

The hysterical laughter you hear as you drive a way in your"new" boat ..... is the seller.
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