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Seems like for many (not all) of us, there are three routes forward concerning cruising boats.

1) Stay with the boat we have, which may be paid off, but is likely smaller and older than we would like to cruise in. Benefits: known quantity, bigger cruising kitty, possibly less expensive over time (because of smaller size and age), likely less comfortable, but ready to go on short notice (in case job changes in next five years).

2) Order a new boat, sell current boat, make payments for 3-5 years, end up with a much newer, somewhat larger cruising boat. Benefits: newer design, gear, hull, sails, warranty. Likely less maintenance cost for first years of cruising. More comfortable. Better resale value in future. Possibly much smaller cruising kitty. Possible longer wait for cruise (at least until boat paid off, or nearly). Possible financial mistake to invest so much net worth in a boat.

3) Buy a larger, used sailboat, but sell current boat. Benefits: more comfortable, and possibly more safe if well designed. Most likely it won't be ready to cruise, some or a lot of rebuild may be necessary, depending on age or condition. 1-2 years of work and rebuild investment needed, adding up to a third to one half of purchase price. Somewhat larger cruising kitty compared to new sailboat, but more chance of maintenance issues in first years of cruising. Worse resale outlook, since most of rebuild investment won't be recovered.

As far as I can tell, Sailnet members have gone all three routes. I think we've had fewer new boat cruisers, and more large boat owners, but also the time frame for most here have been pretty long (or still in progress).

One question: the more I look at older, larger boats (40 to 46 feet), the more I become concerned about rebuild and maintenance costs. Large boats come with large costs, and in some ways having a new or newer boat might dodge some of the bigger risks (of time and money and resale).

The other thing that concerns me is having a big boat while also just living and working. If one isn't ready to cruise, having even a new boat mostly sit in a marina or on a mooring for 3-4 years doesn't make sense, but the discipline to save up a couple hundred thousand for a new boat (cash on barrel) and buy it just before departure seems pretty tough, especially given the need for a cruising kitty...

Anyway, that's the ramblings for this morning...
 

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I think you underestimated the depreciation of the new boat.
The fourth plan would be to buy a 5 to 10 year old boat that has suffered the depreciation hit but not the wear and tear yet. Problem there is that most of them are way overpriced! Now is probably the best opportunity to find such a boat in a distress sale.
 

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Xort's point about the depreciation is an excellent one, and one you'd be foolish not to consider.
 

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if your idea is to have the largest boat possible then buy new as that will keep you from cruising for some time if that is your real goal.if u want out of the race then go with what u have as soon as economicly feasable...many people have not a clue as to how to manage life without a job,finacialy as well as mentally
 

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Agreed. Let someone else buy the cruising boat of your dreams, take a few years depreciation while rarely leaving the dock, and sell it for cheap. I ran across the boat I would buy if I won the lottery the other day. Normally a 2 year waiting list, and I've only seen 2 others come up for sale in the last 5 years. This boat is 1 year old, made the trip from Canada to Tampa and was parked. 100K off list price, and the best bonus for lottery winners; no wait.
 

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Plan #5: rethink "larger=more comfortable" assumption. That lets you focus on somewhat smaller, somewhat newer, somewhat cheaper boat and still have enough of a cruising kitty to go sooner.

At least, that's what we decided. Met with our financial advisor last Friday and he said we're on track to GO next autumn, yeah, even in this economy :D The down side is that the boat doesn't have a spare cabin for friends to come for long visits while we're in exotic ports. Hmmm, or maybe that's another up side.
 

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Agree totally with Eryka. Boats are like computer hard drives, in a way. No matter how big it is, you'll fill it up and tell yourself you need a bigger one.
 

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Recheck depreciation....

Buying new is good to get latest developments. Buying 5-10 yr. old is an excellent way to get most of the latest features without paying the current new boat price.

But depreciation, as far as I can tell, having had 4 new sailboats (22-32 ft.), is not really a factor if you are considering buying new. When one looks at the price of a 5-10 yr. old boat and determines that, for the same model, a new one is a lot more expensive, that is price escalation or inflation that you see, not depreciation. Do your homework and check to see what the original owner of that 5-10 yr. old boat paid for it. In most of the cases that I've seen (following the resale value of my boats), the price that is being asked for the 5-10 yr. old boat is close to what the buyer actually paid for it. Therefore, depreciation, which is the decrease in the value from what the original purchase price was for that particular boat, is not a big factor. Depreciation is not what you would have to pay to get a current new boat over the price of the 5-10 yr. older boat.

If anyone is not buying a new sailboat boat because of suspected high depreciation in the first few years, you are making a mistake.

I have also a 19 ft. motor boat and depreciation based on book/resale value vs. original cost does seem to be significant for motor boats, probably due to fact that those boats take more of a beating and the engine (a large part of the cost) runs all the time and wears out.
 

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I'd not be comfortable with your "wait till you're ready,buy new and go"... I think a couple of years experience with any boat is important before heading offshore - they all need some tweaking, added gear, and you need time to sort out how to handle her in a variety of conditions.. preferably with bailout plan to begin with.
 

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Jim H, I bought a new boat in 1973 and kept it for 12 years. I bought a 1973 boat of the same make, but larger, in 1985 and I have it still. I always had a list of wants and projects while owning both vessels and I still have wants and projects,- for me, the used boat was the better buy. 'take care and joy, Aythya crew
 

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2) Order a new boat, sell current boat, make payments for 3-5 years, end up with a much newer, somewhat larger cruising boat. ...
I want to know how to pay off a new cruising sized boat in 3-5 years.

Which lottery ticket do I buy?

My boat was 168k (I added on a lot pre-purchase) new in 2007. I'm not exactly under-compensated, but even if I doubled payments to 2600 (round number) a month it would take 7 years to pay off.

The only way buying a new boat pays off, respective to depreciation, is if you quit seeing a boat as a investment. They are not, and never will be.
 

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I think you're skipping a rare but very viable option...and one I intend to take up when its my time to slip away.

On occasion, there are refits taken over the course of years where a prior owner will put in a substantial amount of time and money into fitting out a boat for cruising. Equipment like new watermakers, windvanes, solar, upgraded electrical will go into a classic like a Valiant 40. Often, the refit can cost as much as the book value of the boat itself.

Then, for whatever reason...plans change. It could be that the wife wants to go land cruising, or health of the owner causes a change. But either way...a very well equipped bluewater older boat with a complete refit enters the market. Then, subsequently sells at full list price because the cost of repairs plus new equipment depreciates nearly immediately...but the value is in the fact that the listing is fully ready to go. While not completley turnkey...they're awful close. I see about 2-3 of these vessels come up every year. Someone always says you overpaid...after all, there are Valiant 40's for only $50k on Yachtworld.

But the proud new owner knows what a bargain he got and goes out, keeping his time for cruising rather than boat refit projects.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Xort's point about the depreciation is an excellent one, and one you'd be foolish not to consider.
Dog, are you calling me foolish again.... :)

Thanks to everyone for the all the replies so far. It's great to see a range of opinions.

I might rephrase the three routes forward in this way:

1) Go small, go cheap, go now. (The Lin and Larry Pardy advice.)

2) Buy new and sail and resell approach. (Which I see in John Neal's advice, despite his own start on an Albin Vega 27.)

3) Buy used, rebuilt and learn, then sail. (This could be called the "Sailing Forum" way, since many of us here have used boats we're really proud of or happy with.)


I'll admit that I've followed the third route, and done rebuilding and engine work and heads and glass work and re-bedding, etc. However, as I look at older, larger sailboats, some sort of weird and unnatural common sense kicks in. I remember how long it took to re-bed everything on a 20 footer as I look at a 44 footers, and I don't like the math. (Nor the unheard of concept of paying someone else to do it-- the Bob Bitchin approach).

Anyway, even in this thread, there is disagreement about depreciation of new cruising boats. I think depreciation is a real issue with a lot of production boats, but newer cruising boats are a pretty rare breed, and supply and demand kick in.

Here's a quote from John Neal's site about choosing a used or new boat;

Example: if you purchase a 15 year old boat for $80,000, spend $50,000 replacing engine, sails, wiring, tanks, rigging, electronics and epoxy bottom job using 1-2 years of potential cruising time in the process, you end up with a 17 year old boat, probably worth around $90,000.

A better choice might be a new boat that costs more initially but returns closer to 100% of your investment. You will be out cruising 1-3 years earlier with fewer mechanical breakdowns.
Source: Mahina Expedition - Offshore Cruising Instruction

Here's another example: we just looked at a new Ovni 395. The current list price for the base model is around 230,000 euros (including VAT). One could add another 30 to 40k in add-ons pretty easy (insulation, heater, full batten main, etc.). If we bought late enough in our Europe sojourn, we might be able to sail back to the states sans VAT (15%), but that would assume we could pay off the boat very, very quickly (like in a year, ugh.)

A quick search on Yachtworld reveals 15 Ovnis in the 395 and 385 range for sale. If I look at only ones six years-old or newer, the price range is 250,000 to 216,000 euros. They have more gear on-board than a new Ovni, but they also have at least three to six years of use. Thus, I personally don't see a lot of depreciation, until I get back to a 12 year old model for 119,000 euros.

In a similar size and age range, I could have a Halberg Rassy for 315,000 to 340,000 euros.

Now, of course, used boats don't typically sell for their asking price, but it is also common for a boat loan to be a bit higher for a used boat than a new boat. I'm not saying that new boats don't depreciate or cost quite a bit to commission and set up for cruising, but sometimes I wonder if the difference might be closer than we think.

(All that said, my 34 footer is in great shape for '73 boat, with recent rebuilds of all major components. With a water maker and piles of freeze dried food, we could be outa here, Lin and Larry style!)

Thanks, everyone.
 

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What is a cruising Boat?

I am not sure in the OP's context what defines a cruising boat, or for that matter, what defines cruising. Some assume it is offshore blue water or world travel of some sort. For me it is the coastal area of the PNW, San Juans & Gulf Islands therefor route #1 makes the most sense. I will never cruise offshore, I have no interest in it. I prefer the scenic sailing area of the PNW and will likely spend all my years of sailing in this area. I looked at the poll page and see the majority of boats are under 36' and more than 20 years old if that indicates anything. Many folks have too many land ties to embrace a cruising life abroad and instead enjoy the seas of their geographic area. With a bit of extra $$$ (lotto) I would choose #2 just to make my current sailing style more comfortable but still no desire to sail abroad. I would also wait until my wife & I were both fully retired so that we can invest the amount of time in a new boat that is required to equal the finacial investment. Makes no sense to me to have a big expensive boat that I have neither the time or money to enjoy. There is a lot to be said for small and simple.
 

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Plan #5: rethink "larger=more comfortable" assumption. That lets you focus on somewhat smaller, somewhat newer, somewhat cheaper boat and still have enough of a cruising kitty to go sooner.

At least, that's what we decided. Met with our financial advisor last Friday and he said we're on track to GO next autumn, yeah, even in this economy :D The down side is that the boat doesn't have a spare cabin for friends to come for long visits while we're in exotic ports. Hmmm, or maybe that's another up side.
Mmmmm... Eryka... how many kids going on that boat with ya?? Eh???

The equation is: Bigger is not always better - unless you have kids (then bigger is always better)!!!

- CD
 

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Can anyone suggest how much to allow for unanticipated problems on a 10-20 year old 45-50 footer. I calculate the cost of adding or replacing things I know we will do, but need a good fudge factor for unanticipate pumps, switches, and other surprises. We are going to start cruising 6 mo's per year next year, continuing to work the other 6. We expect to be island hopping, not doing long distance blue water sailing.
 

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"Example: if you purchase a 15 year old boat for $80,000, spend $50,000 replacing engine, sails, wiring, tanks, "


Replacing a 15 year old engine??????? BS

Mine is 27 years old and is just getting broken in. We're not talking sport fishers here.
 

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Agreed. Let someone else buy the cruising boat of your dreams, take a few years depreciation while rarely leaving the dock, and sell it for cheap. I ran across the boat I would buy if I won the lottery the other day. Normally a 2 year waiting list, and I've only seen 2 others come up for sale in the last 5 years. This boat is 1 year old, made the trip from Canada to Tampa and was parked. 100K off list price, and the best bonus for lottery winners; no wait.
And what boat would that be?
 

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Bear...once you have fitted out the boat and addressed ALL survey items and the boat is in ready to go condition...then I think 10% of your investment in her a year is a reasonable amount to set aside for repairs and maintenance. Some years you will beat that and others will kill you before springtime...so it is good to set aside the amount and let anything unspent carry over for future issues and the "bad" years.

Note that fitting out a 20-30 year old boat that has surveyed reasonably well can easily cost 30% of the price paid to begin with. Don't expect to buy and go for less than 20% more. I spent 35% outfitting my Irwin44 and 50% more outfitting my Tayana which I bought knowing full well I had significant issues to address and had the purchase price adjusted accordingly.
 

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Mmmmm... Eryka... how many kids going on that boat with ya?? Eh???

The equation is: Bigger is not always better - unless you have kids (then bigger is always better)!!!

- CD
What kind of moron takes their kids with them? Oh, oops, I just saw who posted this. Bigger docks are definitely better, agreed. :p :D :eek:
 
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