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980 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was looking at several sailboats and started wondering how old is really too old to offset the price of fixing it up??? There are alot of people getting rid of their sailboats including giving them to charities.... I guess my question from more experienced sailors is when does a sailboat start to cost more to fixup than buy??? I know some of it it will be based on the owners maintance but some will be based on items such as sails just getting too old to really keep on using. Any thoughts from those that know much more than me????:confused:

4,304 Posts

I dont think they get to old as mine is 28 and just getting broken in :)

BUT i looked at plenty the same age that were to far GONE from neglect :eek:

My most recent no-way was a free Saber 28 that had to be removed from the boat yard and taken to my house which could have happened

BUT a quick look on yachtworld at saber 28 prices and doing a basic budget showed i could buy one in sailaway condition for less that even thinking about bringing the free boat back to life ;)

1,139 Posts
Treatment is way more important than simple age; as is original construction quality.

Many older boats are in better condition than moderately used newer boats.

5,600 Posts

condition and care is everything. I bought a 1985 that was in pretty good shape. some of the other 1985's & newer were so bad it would have cost double the value of the boat to bring back. There were others of my kind in excellent condition...and the price reflected it.

There are some models/years that are just born with trouble. So some research is in order.

93 Posts
+1 the above.

And to add, boats of poor initial build quality or ugly design are good candidates for the scrapheap. Beautiful boats of high initial build quality are frequently worth a lot of maintenance or even resurrection. Think older Alden Challengers, Tartan 37's, Bermuda 40's, or older Concordia's.

171 Posts
I think the consensus is that there is no such thing as 'too old' There are too many variables for age alone to be the driver. The oldest fiberglass boats were way overbuilt. It took a while for the manufacturer's to learn just how little material they could get away with. A really old boat will likely have had many things replaced.

All other things being equal, a 40 year old boat that had a major refit 20 years ago could theoretically be stronger and more seaworthy than a 20 year old boat.

515 Posts
Agree, knocking on both my triton and Ariel knocking on oak, a friend has a very nice newer boat, knock on the hull of that and you can see if deflect, it's just plain soft feeling.

As to whether it's worthwhile fixing up a cheap boat, it's a completely individual thing, it depends entirely on YOU.
One person can look at a boat and their first thought is "I wonder how much it will cost to have it painted" The second guy can look at the same boat and say " Hmmmm, I can have it looking good in less than a week"
For the first guy a 'bargain' boat at $2000 less is not worth it, because it will cost more than that to have it painted, for the second guy it is.

If you won't be happy without A/C, refrigeration, heating, pressure water, and a diesel, and the boat comes with none of that it's far better to look for one that has it already. If you don't want or need that stuff, why buy a boat that has it?

If a boat has all the goodies, but they're all outdated, or versions/brands that you're not happy with, why pay the premium for having it if you plan to replace it anyway?

Myself, I really enjoy working on boats, and I always buy boats in the fall so I have plenty of time to go through them. So for me a cheap boat that needs a few things is great. If you want to hit the water as soon as the papers are signed, or don't enjoy doing the work, any kind of project boat is not worth it.

Another thing to look at is transportation costs, if the better boat costs $2000 more than the one that needs work, but is also going to cost $2000 to transport, it's $4000 more expensive. so if you put that $4000 into the cheaper boat, could it actually become better than the other one?

My Ariel, I paid $2000 for, dirty and a little rough but solid with good sails, other boats I'd looked at for around the same price were actually in a lot nicer shape, but were all up to 1000 miles away so transport costs would have had to be added that could have easily doubled the cost difference. For half the overall cost difference, I can easily make this boat twice as good as the others I looked at.

For the $2000, I got the boat, the cradle, the 10,000lb flatbed trailer it's sitting on, AND had it delivered to my door.
Before I found out he would transport it, I was quoted $600 to drop it in my yard, and since I have a standing offer of $1200 for the trailer if I decide to sell it, the total cost of the boat (if I sell the trailer) is $200 Not bad at all for a winter project.


Edit: corrected spelling

Unpaid Intern
992 Posts
Just jumping on the bandwagon--the only thing that matters in condition, condition, condition!

I saw a 35 year old boat for sale recently that had been completely refurbished 2 years ago. Seriously, the boat looked brand new, had all new systems, etc. It was on the market for only 3 days before someone bought it.

That might be an extreme example, but illustrates the point. For me, age was only an issue because I found that there were design/layout innovations in the late 70s--that meant that most (not all) 70s and earlier boats weren't quite what we were looking for--not as a rule, it just worked out that way. The 80s were the sweet spot for us, but that was only because what we were looking for in a boat showed up in a lot more early 80s boats than 70s.

That said, if we'd found a 70s boat that met our needs and was in our price range, and also in good condition, we'd have had no problem buying it. Condition, conditon, condition.

Spam, Food of the Seagods
212 Posts
I was looking at several sailboats and started wondering how old is really too old to offset the price of fixing it up??? There are alot of people getting rid of their sailboats including giving them to charities.... I guess my question from more experienced sailors is when does a sailboat start to cost more to fixup than buy????:confused:
This a hard question to be truthful. :p

Many factors are involved. I like to play with boats and I also like to experiment. :rolleyes:

My woman ask a few months ago a question similar to yours; "When is the boat too old to be cost effective to fix?" :confused:

I have not ever met a boat I not like, though I have met a few uglier than others. :eek: But, we all pretty in our on way when people care enugh to look inside. :p

I try to keep my posts short, but, also, people sometimes not understand as I not go into deep detail.

Here the list of buying a $4,000 USD boat (plain jane) and fixing her up into a world class cruiser! :laugher

This was a list I made over one year ago to show my woman how things can add up depending on what we want.

Sure, we can buy with many of these things already on the boat, but, IMHO, cost go up, what is installed is used and I talking new "OR" self made (another thing I enjoy to make stories longer) :laugher ! But, I never met a boat I not like or ......... was too old. It depends if it a hobby and fun to spend my time and money, etc.:cool:

Boat $4,000
Radar $2,000
Brass Bell $ 50
VHF Radio $ 150
Wood Stove $ 450
Air $ 500 This fans, A/C, backup heat, etc.
2 Anchors $ 150 Bruce & Delta Plow (Delta Fastset $122, Manson Supreme $240) 22 lbs.??
Sea Anchor $ 300 Parachute (Para-Tech 25' boat Dia.9')(Fiorentino 30' boat @10,000 lbs. Dia.6' @$457.00)
Chain $ 200 ??50' of 1/4" G-4 High Test??
Ropes $ 300 **Various Sizes**
Rigging $ 500 **Various sizes and hardware**
Rigging Tools $ 300 %Crimping and Cutting%
Compass $ 100
Fenders $ 105 4 @ Commercial 6"x25"
Barometer $ 100 Weems & Plath?? or other
Canvas $ 300 Approx. $3 per square foot 9.5 oz. w/grommets
Sewing Kit $ 50 **Estimate** sail repair, needles, twine etc.
Cleats $ 100 Extras Various Stainless Steel
Boat Hook $ 35 Adjustable 54" to 12'
AGM Battery $ 400 This vary, try for 2 batteries limited to the $400
Battery Monitor $ 50 This may need to be home made
Oars $ 150 Home made, 2 rowing and one Sculling. This include Oar Locks
Solar $ 300 Shop around
Generator $ 300 BlueWind w/voltage regulator
Wind Vane $ 150 Tiller Steering. Possiable home made, may cost more to buy
Zincs $ 50 This depends, may not need
Deck Prisms $ 40 2 @ large. Be cheaper for small 2 @ $20
Kerosene Lights $ 300 Vermont Lanterns (Anchor, Masthead, Port/Starboard)
Sextant $ 575 Astra III B Deluxe Can buy a nice Plastic Davis for $170-240
Plumbing $ 300 This depend on what needed. Think; head, shower, tanks. **Sewage Treatment $1,000?
Water Maker $2,000 Katadyn Manual Water Maker
Fire Ex. $ 100 This 2 plus extras that may be needed.
Safety Flares $ 50 Depends on what used
Tethers & Vests $ 500 This extras for guests. Lines, vests, tethers, netting etc.
Hardware $ 500 Optionals; Blocks, wind direction, etc. Just whatever as little add-ons.

Total $16,305

Vinyl Graphics; Graphics $200??
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