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Thanks for any advice in advance. I'm trying to buy a boat for cruising the Chesapeake with family on board. Wife is skeptical about cost and comfort. Looking at several mid to late 1970's boats in the 27 to 36 foot range that need work to keep initial cost down. All seem to share fact that their inboard diesels don't work ("toast" as one seller described it). Most interiors need cleanup and cosmetic attention and all hulls need a coat.

I intend to pick one and hire a surveyor but would appreciate any independent guidance about how much it might cost to have an engine rebuilt or, alternatively, to have a rebuilt engine installed (there seem to be a variety of Yanmar's for sale from $3,000 to $4,000).

The most extreme project involves a 36' hull without a mast or any rigging. My first call to a spar shop resulted in an estimate of $14,000 to put up a mast, shrouds, and halyards. But used masts seem to be about $5,000. What's a good price to expect to have one installed, with new shrouds, stays, and halyards? It also has a chainplate that rippped its bulkhead clean off the hull during the dismasting. Is that even repairable?

Thanks for any help,

Mike
 

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Project boats can leave you penny wise, and pound foolish. In my opinion, it is less expensive to find a basically sea-worthy vessel that floats, sails, and runs, and work on minor and primarily cosmetic improvements to make it your own compared with restoring a clunker to seaworthy condition. Boat values are down and there are some good buys out there. Parts and labor remain expensive. Although a skilled and devoted do-it-yourselfer can save significant dough by putting in sweat equity compared with hiring help, and by using consignment shops instead of retail marine suppliers, there will be many jobs that are beyond most do-it-yourselfer's capabilities. When you start taking apart an old boat, you should expect to find more problems than are visible on the surface.

Good Luck!
Chuck
 

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If you buy a 5,000 dollar boat and spend a year of hard work and 15,000 dollars to make it into a boat worth 10,000 dollars, will you be happy with your decision? I have invested time and money into project cars and project boats and I assure you it will not happen again!
 

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Recently, a similar 1975 O'Day 27' in super top condition was listed locally for $7,500 and sold for $5,500. This is a boat that needed no work. There are great buys out there - keep looking and make some low offers. Sellers may take you up on the offer as things aren't selling quickly.
 

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baDumbumbum
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Sure -- it can be done. But how successfully has more to do with the person (you) than with the model or condition of the proposed noble craft/rough diamond/listing hulk. How much time you got, and how much do you value that time? Can you sort out wiring, repair fiberglass, sew sails, splice line, fix engines, apply difficult paints? Got a space to do all this in?

I'd say forget about the notion of saving money, when all is said and done; the reason to buy a project boat is so it is set up to your priorities & you know it inside and out -- and because you really really love restoring boats. We got our SJ21 for $2k; I've already put that much more into it, plus hundreds of hours, and it still needs a deck recore. I could have bought one with newish sails, a solid deck, and fresh paint for $3500, so the 'savings' is false economy. (We had very few to choose from w/in 800 miles, tho. So we bought the beater with eyes open.)

What concerns me most is actually your user name: MikeWannaSailSoon. That's where the red flags go up. If you buy a serious project boat, MikeAin'tGonnaSailForThreeYears.:eek: Sorry. That's how the story inevitably goes. The input-to-reward is so skewed, it can beat you down. Most 'project boats' were projects when the seller got them, and they ran out of steam -- often never even sailed them. Don't be that guy.:(

I strongly agree with Chuck: buy a boat that is at the minimum in sailable condition right now. If the sails are skanky & blown out, fine; they are wear items anyhow. (Make sure you get the full suite, however.) Needs new running OR standing rigging pretty soon, fine. Engine work, that's a harder issue: as you note, a pro replacement will double the cost of many older boats. Aesthetics are, of course, not on the table. If a boat has good mechanicals and fits my needs, I don't care if it's banana yellow with scuffed decks and gouged gelcoat. Oh hey -- that's MY boat!:D
 

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Thanks for any advice in advance.
You're welcome :)
I'm trying to buy a boat for cruising the Chesapeake with family on board.
How many children do you have and how old are they ?
Wife is skeptical about cost and comfort.
Bad omen - you need to get her on board or else the maintenance costs will turn into a sore point between you.
Looking at several mid to late 1970's boats in the 27 to 36 foot range that need work to keep initial cost down.
Don't buy a project boat. You will not spend time sailing - you wil spend money working on her.
All seem to share fact that their inboard diesels don't work ("toast" as one seller described it).
This is a 12 to 20 thousand dollar repair. You have to buy the engine, pull the boat out of the water, install the engine, reattach the drive shaft, etc., etc. etc. Then put the boat back in the water. Don't try to fool yourself into thinking that you can do it cheaply - you can't.
Most interiors need cleanup and cosmetic attention and all hulls need a coat.
This is doable on a budget.

I intend to pick one and hire a surveyor but would appreciate any independent guidance about how much it might cost to have an engine rebuilt or, alternatively, to have a rebuilt engine installed (there seem to be a variety of Yanmar's for sale from $3,000 to $4,000).
See above - the engine itself is only part of the cost.

The most extreme project involves a 36' hull without a mast or any rigging. My first call to a spar shop resulted in an estimate of $14,000 to put up a mast, shrouds, and halyards. But used masts seem to be about $5,000. What's a good price to expect to have one installed, with new shrouds, stays, and halyards? It also has a chainplate that rippped its bulkhead clean off the hull during the dismasting. Is that even repairable?
It will cost you about 100 thousand to put the boat in the water in sailable condition, and about 200 if you want to put the boat in the water in nice condition. You will never recoup your investment.

I don't know how much you have to spend and I don't want to seem like a wet blanket, but it doesn't sound like you have a lot of experience and there is nothing inexpensive about boats. My advice would be to buy the smallest possible boat that can carry your family safely - look at a Catalina 22 or similar. Buy the best example of that boat that you can find and take good care of her. Teach your wife and kids to sail and let the magic of the wind and waves do the rest. Then - once you have a couple of years under your belt, and a spouse who is a willing and active participant, look at a slightly bigger boat.

Good Luck ! :)
 

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i dont know if its the market but in texas you wouldnt spend more then 4000 for a project boat. but also before you buy one take a sailing class and charter a few with your family to figure out the size of the boat you may want. then go into decideing what boat you may want to buy
 

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Irrationally Exuberant
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What they all said. :)
 

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there is/was a hunter 27 for sale in rock hall for 4900 iirc. they are a solid boat that will hold 4 for a weekend, i have done it. it has a real head to keep the wife happy. i dont know the condition of the boat but it might be worth looking for it on craigs list.

where on the bay are you?
 

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Bombay Explorer 44
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There is a good thread here on how to buy and fix a bargain boat.
http://www.sailnet.com/forums/gear-maintenance-articles/34617-confessions-bottom-feeder.html

There is also a web site that carries free and low cost boats Good Old Boat - Fixer-Upper Sailboats

But there is nothing like poking around in the backwaters and boatyards asking about boats that look abandoned. People are walking away from boats that they can no longer afford all across America. We are down in Florida on a boat hunt [ 40 - 45 ft with a centre line bed in aft cabin ] and have seen a number of boats that might be had for the yard fees.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Everyone, thanks mcuh for the great, sincere, and tactful advice! This is a great community. Can't argue with a unanimous chorus of wisdom from those who know from experience. Now considering a smaller boat in better condition that will get us on the water soon and serve as a lure and teaching/learning platform. There was this fine-looking 1980 C&C 24 that appeared to have been well-maintained and equipped for the same price as the spongy Catalina 27 salvage jobs I was crawling all over last weekend. She might be a nicer bet to get out there this fall and try to hook the gang on what I've experienced for the last few years and advance my/our skills before tackling something larger. The Sailnet thread on that model speaks well of her and the price allows room for repairs as needed. The size also permits cheaper slips.

Thanks all! Happy sails!
 

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The C&C 24 is a great boat. Also look for C&C25 if you can find a good one for same price.

A project boat is basically a sound boat with one or two manageable problems. A wreck is a boat that has numerous problems of the same dimension as the one problem on a project boat. The only reason to restore a wreck is if it is a collector item that is no longer available in sailing condition and you are a romantic.

We recently bought a J27. As with most J boats the deck had wet core - BUT DID NOT FEEL SPONGY. It also needed the bottom redone (cosmetic) and the sails were older but servicable.

The hull was in very good condition. The mast, boom and rigging were in very good condition. The outboard motor was in very good condition. The sails were newish but cruising cut and the racing sails were older but decent. There was no cradle and the boat was in a different country 1400 km from home.

I took the selling value of a decent J27 and subtracted sail costs, transport costs, deck repair costs, cradle costs, etc... and made a low offer. By doing this my initial investment was low so with repairs and new sails, etc... I was essentially buying the boat over time and spending sweat equity.

There was not much wrong with the boat. I recored the deck in several areas, repainted the non skid, rebedded windows, stripped/barrier coat/etc.. bottom, upgraded some instruments, etc.... and now have a boat that could be sold for the average selling price of the model and cost just barely under the same price for all the upgrades - with my labour (over 200 hours) valued at zero. If we sold tommorrow we might make $2000 over the purchase and upgrade costs.

I would do it again provided this was a way to get the boat I want and provided there was very little wrong with the boat in the first place. Things like engines are foreign mysteries to me and cost too much to bother with. Sails are also expensive to replace and masts and rig are a deal killer. Minor deck repairs are easy as is painting - but these are time consuming tasks.

Would I do it on a 30 foot plus boat? Not likely. Too much boat to fix. The simpler the boat to begin with the easier the project. If you want a cruising boat but cant afford more than a Catalina 27 dont even look at 30 footers - buy the catalina ....

Enjoy your C&C 24 - it is a great choice and a whole lot of boat for your money

Mike
J27 #150http://users.eastlink.ca/~mhoyt
 

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By any chance do you if your J-27 is the old 'Fast Forward' from Annapolis? I know they all look alike.

Jeff
 

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It was purchased from J Boats April 22 1987 in Newport RI by Ronald Sebring and Dan Nalepa and named Lickety-Split. Ronald and Daniel resided in New Jersey

On March 28, 1994 it was sold to Dave Boffill Marine who then sold it to Paul Bisberg on April 8, 1995. It was renamed "Reckless Disregard" out of Phillidelphia. I believe this owner then spent money on new sails which are the ones we raced last year.

The boat was sold to Stillman Brown of Stonington, CT on August 17 1999. Stillwell renamed "Nut Case" which is the name we have kept and primarily used as a day sailor with no interest in racing.

On January 10, 2008 we became the official owners of this boat.


How is that for good records? Stillman gave me a file with the boat that has all original bills of sale and much more.

If you are at all interested check out the web site I keep at J27 #150 You will note that recently the boat became the proud papa of a new North kevlar AP#1 and a new Doyle racing main as well as a brand new stereo system last weekend to keep the crew happy

Mike
 
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