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Discussion Starter #1
A decade ago - i think it was viable - don't think so anymore.
There was an old Endurance 44 in my marina in Florida 5 years ago- several years ago someone bought it , fixed it up ( a bit) and has been trying to sail it for the last 2 years -started at $39K now down to $31K I think he needs to go about 15K less to sell it. Great lines, just don't think there is much or a market for 30 year + and older boats unless they are classics like a Pacific Seacraft or something a long those lines
 

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Mario G. at Port Annapolis Marina is their top marine mechanic and in the process of restoring a 1968 Morgan 41 ketch, which he purchased in Baltimore's Inner Harbor a couple months ago. He and his lovely wife currently live aboard a 32 Endeavor, but hope to have the Morgan completely restored by the end of October to sail south to Florida where they spend most winters.

All the best,

Gary :cool:
 

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A handful of people do it - Tim Lackey has been doing it for years.

I've always made money when I sold my project boats (well except that once) but certainly not enough to live on.
 

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Not easy. Bought a Benford 38 Fantail September 2014 for $25k. Have spent 70k (all my own labour) on her and was just surveyed at $115k. I probably could get $80 - 90K for her. Thats ok with me since I knew the story going in.
 
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A number of yards do, but generally just to keep their employees busy during slow points of the year. As long as you are paying them to be there better to have them doing something productive.

Generally it has always been next to impossible to cover the labor of fixing up an old boat.
 

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arrgh!
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Seems to me.. you can't do it by flipping the boat (awkward pun). Like buying a cheap, fixer upper and fixing it.

My thought is it is because the labor cost is more than say a house... I don't know, and maybe if you need new sails, there is probably not many people who will make the sails themselves

I have a Designer's Choice 15 (I am sure most people are thinking 30 ft boats) an I paid $1,027.. I think someone w ho is more talented than I could said off the bad paint job.. fix the gel coat.. fix the bad fiberglass underneath where the self-bailer is and maybe sell it for twice what I paid.

But my guess is, if I had to buy sails... I would lose money.

On bigger boats I wonder who could do all the things.. well....

In the end, isn't it just a job. The work you do to make the boat worth something.. was your labor.. are you worth $10 an hour or $100?

And like a house, when you have to sub out the electrical.. then you are moving backwards.

I know guys who have made it a career of fixing up boats, but they don't work for themselves, they work for some rich guy...


 

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I think you're right, the window to make money refurbishing an old boat and reselling it, closed about 10 or so years ago(there are some exceptions).

I've been in the design building (home ) biz my whole working life and the last decade - especially, has seen new construction costs spiral.

I see the increase mostly in the labor market. Plus today there are newer more complex systems that require more specialists. With these factors (and others), the speculative market in new homes has just about disappeared in my region (New England).

You can tie the above into the marine industry as well. There's great potential for businesses that care for other peoples boats, to prosper but the owner of the boat will never recoup his investment of labor and material costs, never mind the business profit margin the owner is charged.

The boat speculator has to make money on his time - pay his expenses(building, tools, etc) - and end up with a profit to make the work worthwhile.

Boats aren't assets (like homes) and as the market has gone soft (and getting softer), you could lose a lot of money trying to rehab and turn over an old one today.
 

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This is a little off topic, but we took a fairly "worn" down east style power boat and refit it, making a working fishing boat a boat that doesn't do anything useful - - - the definition of a yacht. We hoped to spend 1X the purchase price on the refit, but like many refits we ended up way over budget spending 2X the purchase price. To be clear, the math at the end for total $$'s spent was: 2X purchase price + purchase price = 3X purchase price, 1/3 over budget.

We absolutely love the boat. I tried to buy something like this where someone else had been the "fool" and did the work, but could not find what we wanted...and we were very specific about what we wanted being old curmudgeons. We did not want a fake downeaster built to look like one for dudes out on a picnic. We wanted a rugged pickup truck 4X4 boat that could have in it's past picked up a 100 lobster traps, but cleaned up to either fish offshore or use as the family truck-ster on fireworks night.

There's the rub, if you are flexible about what you want, there are far more options. It's definitely one of a kind, and turned out exactly as we imagined. I'd guess it's market value is about 1/2 of the total money in. Doesn't matter, they are going to bury me with it. Love vs. money....love wins.

As for this site, we still spend most of our time sailing and we won't part with the sailboat until we are too old to pull on the strings, and hope to get buried with the sailboat too. Gonna need a big grave site I guess.

My guess is my experience on this refit would be typical of an older sailboat refit. Unlikely to be a lucrative business if you run it as a spec build; however, if you find a fool like me who wants something specific, and refit for that customer, I think you could make a go of it. Some people just want the old MG with wire wheels refit like new. There are certainly a few dummies like me.
I'd find the dummy first, then go jointly look for the boat.

Boating is a financially irrational activity. As soon as you accept that fact, it's like the end of the old joke: "we've established what you are, we are just negotiating price."
 

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I have to say.. of all the things that could be "flipped" to make some $ boats are the last of the list. Lately with all the high end car flipping shows on TV it's making the whole idea seem viable when it's really not.

CDY you going to be the "Richard Rawlings of boats? :)
 

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flipping vs maintaining--- flipping is difficult now, as it is still a buyers market...but maintaining ones own boat when it is in dire need of total repair is still happening.
i would not do this in usa where the labor is sooo bludi pricey, but, if you are in a reasonable place and can do some by self, it is still feasable.
 

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There are just too many decent, cheap boats flooding the market since the early 2000's for "flipping" boats to be a viable business that would put food on your table and a roof over your head. No need to pay a premium to some guy who slapped a coat of single-part, Interlux Brightsides on a hull and calls it a "refurbish."
 

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The one way it seems to me that it might work is location to location.

For example:
I have my eye out for a Wayfarer (or a CL 16) -- again a smaller boat. I have a google alert for them and one will pop up about every week.

One thing I notice is you can find ones that go for $800 (usually in Ohio) and those that go for $1,400 (New England). I would guess if you live in a $1,400 city, but often traveled. You could buy it in one place and sell it in another. And with the transportation and some repairs.. make a profit

Still dicey, but if you were regularly traveling in the right places...

As I was writing this, I had a thought why it doesn't work.. and it is related to the post that said there are a lot of cheap boats out there.

I need a house/apartment to live in and in most places a vehicle for transportation --- those aren't really luxuries

I like having a sailboat, but not as import. So when I wanted a Wayfarer, I didn't only look at wayfarer and -- consequently -- ended up with a cheaper/similar boat.

There might be a market.. to a select profile --Wealth group of sailors who like a certain boat. Like retooling VW Buses to a collector. I'm guessing not that many though
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Oh no, I don't have any interest in flipping boats - I just try to buy cheap and sell cheap - I try to buy boats fairly well equipped so not having to add a lot of stuff - but the stuff I need is pretty basic so never a big investment.
I see adds on CL for older boats that someone has sunk a lot of money into fixing it up they way they want it -and then wanting to get the money out of it they put into it - I don't care how nice you have fixed up a 1979 Catalina 27 - its not worth $17,000 maybe $7K.

There is a 1973 Westerly Padgett ( basically a 25 foot boat) on Sailboatlistings.com , plus it was featured in Small Craft Advisor magazine, the guy did an amazing job of redoing it to his needs - but he now has it for sale and he wants $45K for it - for a 1970's Westerly Padgett that would be lucky to fetch $4k in good shape without the mods.

I also see some who put the NADA value in their ad - the book says my 1970's era sailboat is worth $15K - on these older boats - it is only worth what someone else is willing to pay - if you have had the boat for sale for 6 months and the best offer has been $5k - that is what the boat is worth.
 

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arrgh!
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Oh no, I don't have any interest in flipping boats - I just try to buy cheap and sell cheap - I try to buy boats fairly well equipped so not having to add a lot of stuff - but the stuff I need is pretty basic so never a big investment.
I see adds on CL for older boats that someone has sunk a lot of money into fixing it up they way they want it -and then wanting to get the money out of it they put into it - I don't care how nice you have fixed up a 1979 Catalina 27 - its not worth $17,000 maybe $7K.

There is a 1973 Westerly Padgett ( basically a 25 foot boat) on Sailboatlistings.com , plus it was featured in Small Craft Advisor magazine, the guy did an amazing job of redoing it to his needs - but he now has it for sale and he wants $45K for it - for a 1970's Westerly Padgett that would be lucky to fetch $4k in good shape without the mods.

I also see some who put the NADA value in their ad - the book says my 1970's era sailboat is worth $15K - on these older boats - it is only worth what someone else is willing to pay - if you have had the boat for sale for 6 months and the best offer has been $5k - that is what the boat is worth.
one of the funny things about those ads..

come back in two weeks, reduced

then in September really reduced
 

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I just saw an ad for a 5 year old boat built by a local boat builder. The boat is in perfect condition, lightly used and very well cared for - like new.

The builder also has an in-house boat brokerage, and that's where I saw the ad.

One of the selling points was this: "Buy for a fraction of the cost of building new".
 

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There is a surefire way to end up with a million dollars by fixing up old sailboats:


















...start with two million dollars!
 

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I'm sure the closest way to "make a living" at this would be to hire yourself out to some rich dude, who bought an old collectible, and you're paid to restore it. i.e. it's not about making profit for the boat owner.

Of course, you would have to find enough of these jobs.
 

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I'm sure the closest way to "make a living" at this would be to hire yourself out to some rich dude, who bought an old collectible, and you're paid to restore it. i.e. it's not about making profit for the boat owner.

Of course, you would have to find enough of these jobs.
You've just defined a reputable boat yard with a history of satisfied clientele. There are a few examples of this in my area. They charge honest rates, make an honest profit, and have highly skilled people happily working for them.

For the yards with this type of history, they don't have to look for work, the work comes to them.

Even though they have all the parts and potential hulls, I don't see these yards rehabbing boats for spec. But some will build new and make a profit.

Boats are tough!
 

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