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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I recently discovered a very cheap late 60's Albin Vega 27'.

It has apparently been out of the water for almost 10 years and has extensive gelcoat crazing. From what I could see in the photos the crazing is from sunlight, not structural issues, and that's what I'd expect since the early Albin Vegas were built extremely tough. Mildew has grown into the crazing so it looks pretty weird but I think I could clean it up with acetone. With crazing that extensive it may not be worth it to redo the gelcoat, and instead just paint over it - I have seen some people here do that without issues.. What do you think?

The boat is covered in grime and dirt from all these years of neglect. The interior is really bad, I'd guess maybe about 30 to 60% of the wood is restorable, maybe more, but a lot of stuff will need to be redone to suit my taste. The interior paint is peeling and there's mildew everywhere inside. Clearly the interior needs work. I think it would look a lot better if it were just cleaned thoroughly with some bleach.

The cushions and etc are all toast but I know how to make cushions and it costs next to nothing to do so that's not a big deal.

The owner said the inboard engine worked the last time it was in the water, it's not much of a big deal to me, I can fix engines and I'm not even sure if I'd keep the engine if I get this boat, I might just put a 10hp outboard on.

That being said, according to the owner the hull is not rotten/crunchy and doesn't think the deck needs to be recored.

There are sails but they look to be in really bad shape. I think new sails would be a necessity. I don't know if I could make them myself or not, never tried. My machine might not be heavyweight enough to handle several layers of sail canvas.

Normally, I would not really consider a project that big. But this is an early thick hulled Albin Vega and it's up for pretty cheap. The cheapest Vegas I've seen that are still sailable are around 6-7,000$ but at that price they all have issues with mildew in the cabin and would require painting both inside and out just as much as this project boat needs it. The woodwork on those boats is usually heavily worn or damaged as well..

I figure if I do everything myself I can probably get the boat ready for sailing in 1-2 years with about $7,000 of wood/paint/wire/other materials.


About me: I have no savings and have no patience to save more than a few thousand dollars at a time, saving 20k to buy a boat ain't gonna happen. A project or cheap boat is basically my only option. I pulled the trigger on a Cal 27 about 2 years ago only to find the owner had sold it hours before to someone else. Damn.

What do you guys think? Worth it for an Albin Vega?
 

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Yikes!

I think an awful lot depends on what boats cost in Tokyo. If you can buy a nice Albin Vega for $6-7K then this one would be pretty steep if FREE.

If that trailer is decent and IF you have a place to work on it once you tow it there there may be something. If you have to drive to work on it each time forget it.

If you are really meticulous with your work and love restoring junk to something decent then maybe. If you are not meticulous you may end up with painted junk that you have wasted $5000 or more on and still is worth ZERO.

You need to determine first if the hull problem is cosmetic or if it has compromised the structure of the hull. Gelcoat protects the hull from water and UV and in this boat that may not be the case. Hire a surveyor and go from there.

Assume the engine is toast and if you can make it work then that is a bonus. A 10HP outboard is $3000 new and even an old one working well is $1000 - and you would need a bracket, etc... that costs $$$

Things to check. Hull integrity, rigging, mast, etc.... You will need all new halyards and lines as the ones left out for 10 years will likely be rotted. Sails you will have to buy from a used sail swap place - determine the measurements and then start looking - I,J, E, P are the numbers to look up on Mauri Pro or US Sailing PHRF site. New sails are more expensive than the boat is worth.

Inform the current owner that you love boats. That you think of the Albin Vega as a classic and would like to see it restored to the condition it deserves. Let the owner know the boat in excellent condition is worth less than 10000 and that average condition is 6-7000. Let him know that you expect to require replacemnt/restore of engine, rig, hull, deck, cushions, etc... and replacement of sails. Let him know that you have researched these costs and thy exceed $7000.

After all of this if the owner does not give you the boat forr free then walk away. The only two initial costs you should pay are for a survey to determine if the hull is even worth saving and transport to put the boat near you so you can work on it.

Look up Glissando a Pearson Triton 28. There is an extensive website on the restoration of that from a wreck into a stunning classic boat. Make no mistake that this Vega is a wreck. There is nothing really redeeming about it except perhaps the trailer - and looking at the condition of the boat I have serious doubts about the trailer.

I am not trying to be negative. It is possible to restore a boat in this condition. It will take YEARS between two and five depending on how much time you devote. The materials are not cheap either so be warned.

Good luck with your project should you take it on. Consider posting progress and pictures on a web site.

and most importantly remember one key thing - YOU WILL NOT SAVE MONEY BUYING THIS BOAT. By spending LABOUR (your own) and working on it over a year or two you are buying a boat over time but still paying at least as much and maybe more.

It can be worth it but you certainly should be aware what you are getting into.

Mike
J27 #150
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
How can you tell that the crazing is not just cosmetic in this case?
I mean, if I removed the crazing and resurfaced with new gelcoat, why is the boat still toast?

I should have mentioned, I live in Tokyo now but the boat is on the US Atlantic coast and I will be moving out in that general direction some time in the next month or two.
 

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Assuming that the hull is still.....

somewhat structurally sound, my guess is that your looking at a $30-50K to get to get it decent looking again. You're going to speed around $10K alone just to clean, recore, re gelcoat, and repaint the boat.

Bottom line: I'd pass

DrB
 

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Wow. The boat should be in the Boats of Shame thread.

I guess that it depends if you want something to work on or something to sail. It'll be a really long time before it's presentable.

That boat is a wreck and the owner should be ashamed. Paul's right. The boat is toast. Strip it and sell the parts? I think that I'd puke if I went below. :(
 

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As I said - only if you feel the Albin is a Classic and you really like restoring antiques.

The Hull probably is toast or near toast. You would need to do an awful lot of stripping off, inspecting and rebuilding and if you are not experienced in that sort of work it is likely beyond your current capabilities or will look awful after completed.

And that is just the first project.

---

Check out Pearson Triton #381 Glissando | Restoring, Maintaining, and Cruising a Plastic Classic on the Coast of Maine for the restoration of the Pearson Triton. I am sure that Tim spent more restoring than the boat is worth. However it looks extreemely nice now and he used it to build a reputation for his current business.

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One rule of thumb with old boats. The stuff you do see is usually a very good indication of the maintenance levels on the things you do not see - especially when the things you see are neglected.

There are a lot of nearly free boats on Eastern US coast that are in far better condition. Also a lot that are newer such that the gear on them may be salvageable.

Mike
 

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Paradox,

Run, don't walk, away from this boat. It's horrible. If you want to buy an older sailboat, there are hundreds, if not thousands, to choose from in the US. Buy one that you can go sailing on now....not years later.

As to not having savings, or trying to have savings, why? I don't know how old you are, but old age comes quickly. A day is coming when you won't be able to work. What will you do then? One doesn't need to be rich, but one does need a certain amount of money...otherwise, life is going to become difficult (I guess there is always some form of welfare, but there are restrictions even there). Take the advice of an old man....from every pay check, set aside a little for a rainey day (and don't touch it except in extreme circumstances). Whatever your income is, live within that. And, please, don't waste it on this junk boat or on a similar one.

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
I'm 23, soon 24. The reason I have no savings and don't want to right now is because I wasted my younger years working full time and realized what a waste it is to spend my youngest most active/healthy years slaving away for the profit of someone else. It might be the responsible/adult style, but it's not my style.

I quit my decently paying full time job 2 years ago and moved to Japan and have been adventuring here ever since. I love it here but I want to go sailing and see some more of the world, and more of Japan. Buying a boat is better done in North America where prices are much cheaper. I'll sail whatever I buy back to Japan once it's ready. I'm willing to stick in one place for a few months if I need to save up a few grand but I'm not going to go back to the old grind, it's not for me.

As to why everyone keeps saying run away from this boat: Are there any specific reasons why? Details please. Not trying to be argumentative, it's just that I recall about 10 years ago I stumbled on an old salvaged power boat in similar shape, though the gelcoat crazing was not as widespread. Anyway I managed to restore that by myself, including a big hole in the fiberglass, and the boat as far as I know is still in use today.

What's so bad about this boat that I'm missing and everyone else is seeing? Dirt and bad paint make a boat look a lot worse than it is, I'm not seeing what everyone else is.

Keep in mind that this boat, while not quite free, is nearly so, and a Vega in poor to barely fair condition sells for 6-7000. A Vega in decent condition goes for over 10,000.

I had worked out the restoration costs like this. Everything will be DIY, there is no point in paying people to fix a boat this rough:

Sanding materials, solvents, clear or white gelcoat, bottom and topside paint, interior paint, antiskid paint: Approx $1,000 to $1,500 (This is realistic for materials, I priced it out online and allowed for 2gal of extra paint/waste)

New woodwork: Approx $1,000 materials cost. Decent but cheap marine plywood is good enough for me. White formica overlays. I think I will enroll in a college woodworking course to gain free access to the shop facilities, either that or get a job at a furniture manufacturer until the woodwork is done. A lot of the wood already in the boat is savable but needs new formica.

New through hulls, sink, stove, misc: $1,000 to $1,500. If I can find used stuff I'll take it.

New electrical: Not sure. Anywhere from $500 to $1500. Replacing the wiring can't be that expensive even with high metal prices these days, but you never know. $1500 max. I have some electrician friends who can help me out with this for a few cases of beer.

Sails: Don't know. I will need to buy used or make my own, new sails cost too much. I see heavyweight dacron on sale online for under 25$ a yard for 54" rolls. I used to work in the high end printing industry where we use material like that for heavyweight banners so I can probably get some dacron from my old suppliers for way cheaper than retail price. I also have a heavy duty sewing machine already and know how to use it, but I can handsew if my machine can't handle the material. The boat comes with the old sails so I can copy everything.

Engine: $500. If I can't rebuild the current engine cheaply I will look for a used similar engine for cheap, hey it happens. I can do all the engine work myself, rebuilding is not a problem. If I can't find a cheap inboard I'll haul it out and put on a small outboard. The boat actually has a bracket already but I don't like it so I'll get a friend to fabricate one if necessary. Beer payment for that.

Storage space: Surprisingly the most difficult hurdle. I'd love to bring it down to Florida where my family has some property but I can't work in the US (I'm Canadian) so it's no go. Similarly working in -20c weather in the Toronto winter is impossible. I'm still looking around for tall heated garage space that's not too expensive.

Anything I'm missing?
 

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Big Chicken Baby
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As to why everyone keeps saying run away from this boat: Are there any specific reasons why? Details please. Not trying to be argumentative, it's just that I recall about 10 years ago I stumbled on an old salvaged power boat in similar shape, though the gelcoat crazing was not as widespread. Anyway I managed to restore that by myself, including a big hole in the fiberglass, and the boat as far as I know is still in use today.

What's so bad about this boat that I'm missing and everyone else is seeing? Dirt and bad paint make a boat look a lot worse than it is, I'm not seeing what everyone else is.
I think you have gotten some very specific reasons why from some very experienced sailors. The crazing has probably allowed water to penetrate into the hull structure. This means that the hull is probably not structurally sound.

Correct me if I misread you, but are you seriously considering a trans Pacific crossing in this? Seriously?

If you do not have the patience of fortitude to work long enough to save money for a boat, how will you afford to buy the materials for the needed repairs? Will you have the patience to do the work properly, or will it be a slap dash job? If you are planning on doing any blue water sailing, how will you be able to save the money for the bare minimum of safety gear?
 

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Splashed
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1. You've been giving sound advice on the state of the hull - TOAST!
2. You cannot "re-gelcoat", you need to paint. But that won't add anything structural. This makes it hard to believe that You've refurbished another hull successfully (sorry for being direct)
3. I cannot imagine what happened to that Vega. Have seen an example that has been abandoned for 7-8 years that looked fine on the outside after some heavy cleaning and polishing.
4. You can find better hulls for free or only a few $, so keep looking
5. A Vega is a great boat - find another or something like it.

Contrary to popular belief, I know from experience that it is possible to refurbish an old boat, and get a fine and cheap boat for a small amount - However it requires a lot of hard work and stamina, as well as looking around for the right deals - this is not the hull to start with, though.
 

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As to why everyone keeps saying run away from this boat: Are there any specific reasons why?
What's so bad about this boat that I'm missing and everyone else is seeing? Dirt and bad paint make a boat look a lot worse than it is, I'm not seeing what everyone else is.
Main reason is that most people see a boat as an investment. As such, requiring a lot of work really ruins the investment value by reducing the profit margin.
Gell coat is used by manufacturers mostly for appearance and ease of building, many boats are sailing with the gell coat removed that have barrier coat and bottom paint as the only covering. Any of the quality paints will work above waterline. So don't let the crazed gell coat scare you.

Another issue is how much of the work you will do yourself. If you are paying to have the work done, it cn easily be four times more than the cost of materials. (which will also be substantially mrked up)

If you are willing to put the work into it, and willing to wait to sail it next year, it's a good project. If you want to sail NOW look elsewhere.

Best move in my opinion would be to get the exterior in overall seaworthy shape and ready to sail condition, then move on to the interior while it's in the water where it can be done at a more relaxed pace.

I'm one who works on boats (cars,bikes,trucks too) simply because I enjoy it, so I don't look at them as investments. That boat, would be sitting in my yard right now if I could get it at a low cost.

Ken.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
How are you guys able to identify that the crazing depth is so significant that it is affecting the structural integrity of the hull?

Is it not just possible to sand down until the crazing is gone? You could then spray on a new coat of gelcoat, sand it smooth then paint.

I'd like to THINK that better hulls could be found for free or cheap, but in the case of Albin Vega's I have never seen one and I have been watching for the last 4 years. The next cheapest Vega I have seen was over 5,000$, located in Sweden, and it still was not in good condition (Though it was better than this one, it was going to need a restoration too)

P.S. I don't count my own labor as costing money. I'm not planning on paying anyone to do any work on it, it defeats the purpose. And I definitely don't think of a sailboat as an investment. Vehicles of any kind almost never appreciate in value. I consider it something to throw money at in exchange for a higher quality/enjoyment of life.
 

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While I tend to look at it and think 'run away', that is just my initial reaction. I have a question for those who are concerned about the hull. Is it really a concern that there are structural cracks in the fiberglass? That there may be cracks in the fiberglass where there is a balsa core and that has rotted out. If the fiberglass is not cracked, is it possible for the hull to be compromised? I was always under the impression that Gelcoat was really cosmetic ... that a fiberglass hull would be fine without it but it would be a bit disconcerting from the inside as light would penetrate it and it would be unattractive from the outside.

Now, regarding taking this boat across the Pacific on sails that I sewed ... yikes!
 

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Splashed
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Paradox,

You're right, we cannot be sure that it is structural. BUT I will tell you this: It seems rather extreme, as I've seen a large number of Vega's that has lived a tough life and still have the original gelcoat - And I've never seen anything like that. The deck and superstructure on the Vega is sandwiched, but the hull is not IIRC, so you may be able to do as you propose, but it is close to impossible to add gelcoat and get a nice finish - You will have to paint! The hull is well laid-up, so maýbe - just maybe - you can get away with grinding and fairing (times 100). How's the rigging on the boat, if that is in a similar condition, you're facing even more work and expense.
For the record I've done this on two of my own boats, and helped several others!
If you're looking you can find better hulls for free or less - also in Sweden, but they're typically not advertised.
BTW I know where you can get a fully functional, in sailaway condition, International Folkboat for less than 6k if you care to buy it in DK: Kongelig Dansk Yachtklub

Keep looking AND don't give up - You are on the right track here!
 

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Cardiacpaul is a marine surveyor. I would listen to his advice.

I am more of the opinion that you are better off spending more money up front and getting a good, well cared for boat, then the latter. However, I am not qualified to help you on whether the hull is in good shape or not. I would listen to CP who just said no-thanks.

But hey - if you have lots of time and want to play around on this boat, it is your life. Who knows, maybe she will clean up better than it appears she would. I just wouldn't sail it from the dock further than I could swim back.

- CD
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
Thanks for keeping this thread interesting guys.

Yeah, I did notice cardiacpaul is a surveyor so I took his words into consideration. But I do have to wonder if his advice was meant more for a casual shopper than someone who's willing to take on a big project? I mean it's not every day that you see a boat in this roughed up shape so maybe his words were more of a reflex?

For what it's worth this boat has never filled with water. And I really do think that most if not all of that crazing is from after it was put up into storage. I don't think that it was like that the last time it was in the water.

I am waiting on some more detailed photos of the crazing, but I bet that it is mostly only on the side that has not been shaded by trees, which are probably also the cause of all that dirt and grime. I had a car that looked almost that dirty from less than a month sitting in a driveway underneath a tree that spewed pollen and other crud over everything below it. Had to start parking on the street to keep it clean.

The thing with the $6-10,000 Vega boats is, they almost all have something wrong enough with them that's going to require haul out and restoration costing at least what I figure this project boat would cost me to get into sailable condition. Plus in the above case it's got wheel steering and it's a 1975 version which has a weaker hull than the older Vega's.

Anyway, according to the guy the rigging and mast are all OK. The sails exist but are covered in mold or mildew or something. Usable in a pinch but new sails are going to be needed. Most of the other hardware is apparently OK but if it turns out to be shot I will have to scrounge up some old used stuff. No big deal.
 

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Paradox

I think the "Something you are missing" is simply experience that you will eventually get.

There are A LOT of used boats in that size range dotting the coast and many in decent shape being given away at very low prices. The Exoperience is that you are looking on a major project with many chances iof not succeeding in place of purchasing another boat for less overall cost and a much higher chance of sucecss.

The hull? Well if the gelcoat is cracked I wonder if it was actually paint and not gelcoat? If gelcoat then has water penetrated thru the gelcoat into the underlying hull and if so has it frozen and caused further damage? Osmosis is a problem where water penetrates the fibreglass hulls and it is serious - this hull looks like it could be a lot worse than that. You need to have a very knowledgable surveyor look at this to know for sure.

The outboard bracket on the back may be another warning sign. To me it says that 10 years ago the engine was not reliable. less chance now.

I have bought a boat sight unseen but well described and with many issues. It was dirty from sitting one off season and the deck was wet and needed repair in a number of places. The sails were old and there were a few more things. The broker actually told me to sail it for two years and then cut it up with a chainsaw if anything else broke. However I did know most of the issues and it was easily fixed over two seasons. None of it was the hull though - just the deck.

The expensive parts on a boat are the mast and rigging. If that is shot it will cost more than the boat to replace it.

This boat has been sitting 10 years. The hull itself will take a LONG time to repair and you have stated you don't really have any place to do the work?

I don't know. The boat is restorable in my opinion but will take a LOT of time and a lot of money. I think your material estimates are low. MArine paint can be expensive - especially for barrier coats and other things you need to seal the hull below the waterline. If you did this job and took the proper time the boat could look quite nice. I would not make your own sails because they may look lnice and sail horribly - but you can easily find used sails at any one of a number of used sail shops that can be acecssed on line for as little as 200 each. (expect to pay more).

North Sea boats are reputed to be very sturdy. However I don't believe the Vega 27 is designed for open water sailing that you have expressed an interest in. You should be looking at something like a Contessa 26 which is also a North Sea boat and have had many single handed ocean crossings.

Other things to think about are where you will store this boat on land and moor it in the water. I would think having any access to a boat on the water in Japan could be very expensive - probably as much as the boat is worth annually.

There is a lot of sound advice on this board. The boat may be restorable but the sound advice is find another one in better condition cheaper. A lot of people donate boats to charities and simply get tired of paying for storage on boats of such low value. Why pay $2000 + per year for storage on a $7000 boat sort of thing - so they basically give them away.

Best advice you have had is KEEP LOOKING. Also don't get stuck on the Vega.

Mike
 

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Big Chicken Baby
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WHile I applaud your can-do, diy attitude the thing that gives me pause is your description of yourself. You said you were not patient. Even with the funds to not worry about the cost of materials, restoring a boat in this condition takes an enormous amount of patience.

What you think will be a simple, 3 hour job often turns into a 2 day job and oh while you are there, you will notice something else that you previously missed that needs attention. This is inevitable.

Then there is the cost. You should add at least 25% to any of your cost estimates for supplies, though 50% will be more like it. I don't know why this happens, but it does. It happened on every item we've done so far and bargain shopping is my superhero power and my husband has access to just about any machined item you could want at wholesale. Still, every job thus far as exceeded our researched budget by at least 25%.

The final issue for me is time. You've said that you want to hurry up and go sailing. Restoration that you think will take 2 years will quickly morph into 3 or 4 years. As I stated earlier, every job you think will take longer than you think. The added expense of parts and supplies will force you to work in order to purcahse them which will cut down on the amount of time spent restoring this boat.

Yes, a $6,000 boat in better condition will still need work and money but at the end of it, you will have a vessel that is NOT an investment ( I don't think any boat is an investment) but a sea worthy vessel that can take you where you want to go SAFELY.

If you really want to find a project, you can find one in better shape for not much money which will put you ahead of the game. I'm not saying you shouldn't pursuit your goal, just that there are better vessels out there to help you accomplish your goals. Good luck.
 
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