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Myself and a friend are looking to buy in the $15,000-$20,000 range (~$20k budget for purchase, repairs and outfitting). We are wanting to buy the boat in Florida to live-aboard and cruise around the Caribbean. What would you buy for a similar situation?

Also, if anyone has some suggestions as to specific places to look, specific brokers to use in Florida, or any other helpful hints they would be very much appreciated!

(New to the forum but as this purchase looms closer and then our adventure begins I imagine it could become a very significant part of my life :) )
 

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You will have to pick a size you think you can live on as when boats get bigger the 15 to 20 does not buy you much
 

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I'm thinkin' cruise tickets. Maybe Carnival?

But seriously, in that range, you get squat. You'd need to be darned savvy and handy, and a heck of a scrounger to pull it off. Assuming you want to be reasonably safe out on the water. And if you have to ask what to buy, then maybe you don't have those attributes currently?

Sorry, tellin' it like I see it. Either increase your budget, because at minimum you want a well found 30 footer, or decrease your cruising expectations and boat size.
 

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I disagree. In this economy I've seen perfectly good 30 foot boats go for peanuts. Last spring my storage yard let a 32 foot Islander in nice condition with a 1 year old diesel go for $4K (in CT), basically back storage charges owed to the yard. It is plenty big enough to live on in a warm climate, althought the draft was a bit much on that one. There are plenty of people out there willing to dump a boat just to get rid of it right now. I think you should be able to find a decent something for $10K and then use the extra money for a few extras. Very doable on $20K.
 

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I just bought a 30' 1978 Hunter in Glades for $6,000. It was full of mud daubers and covered in mildew. Within 5 days or 5 people working we were able to get her in the water and head out to Ft.Myers. There was a continual list of jobs to get her through the sea trials and back, but we got a great deal.

Spend alot of time calling marina's, and getting to know the boat you're going to buy. The Florida climate is not forgiving to paint, wiring, or anything else, so be mindful of the time you're going to have to be on land working in a high priced work yard.

My boat is done except for the deck paint, and back in storage until next winter. Bahamas bound!
 

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Myself and a friend are looking to buy in the $15,000-$20,000 range (~$20k budget for purchase, repairs and outfitting). We are wanting to buy the boat in Florida to live-aboard and cruise around the Caribbean. What would you buy for a similar situation?

Also, if anyone has some suggestions as to specific places to look, specific brokers to use in Florida, or any other helpful hints they would be very much appreciated!

(New to the forum but as this purchase looms closer and then our adventure begins I imagine it could become a very significant part of my life :) )
So what inquiring minds want to know is how handy are you?
Another way to go that I think could be more fun would be checking all the on-line venues for berths.

These opportunities include:
You pay the captain
The captain pays you
You pay expenses.

With 20G you would be wealthy crew rather than being a broke captain.
If you did that for a couple of years you would have some real knowledge and adventure under your belt and maybe some money left over.

What do you know or have:
Cooking
Sailing
Repairs
Medical
Computers
Strong back and willing to work.

If you know all there is to know about sailing and sailboats and have a year or two and a lot of luck and patience and a good job for living expenses and tools and a place to work on the boat you may be able to find a cheap boat and fit it out safely.
If that is not your profile you could be crew and have a great time and get the experience and maybe even keep a lot of your money.
 

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My bet is that Islander wasn't turn-key ready to go to Caribbean and the new owner probably spend $8-10k getting it up to snuff.
 

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Would everyone agree that for starters any 30 plus year old boat that was going to be used the way the OP plans should have the following done if it has not been done in the last 5 years and good evidence that it was done right.
1. Drop rudder and inspect and or replace bearings and all linkage.
2. Replace chain plates
3. Replace standing rigging
4. Replace running rigging
5. Check ground tackle and get spare
6. Check sails and get spares
7. Check electrical and make sure lights, pump work.
8. Autohelm

That sounds like 10k minimum assuming some of the above is OK and some needs doing.
 

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David

The list makes sense but if the work is not hired out nowhere near 10k.

A quick check at Jamestown Dist shows rigging wire (3/16"), turnbuckles, and mechanical fittings for both lower and upper comes to about $1400. Chainplates need inspecting and possible replacement - figure $500. Running rigging - 3/8" Sta-Set at 1.12/ft - say 400' for $448. Autohelm about $500. Anchor rode - 1/2" 3 strand line .98/ft so $450 gets a main rode and a spare. Anchors are available used as are sails. That is $3300 plus used anchors, sails, and some yard time. If any of the above should be in a larger size add a few dollars. Still well under 10k.

Now if the op has to pay someone to do much of this it is a different story.
 

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I would say that finding a boat on that budget is totally doable and I say this from experience. I've done it twice. My first boat was an S2 9.2 and cost me roughly ~$14k including repairs and refitting a lot of the boat. My second was an Ericson 29 at about the same cost. Keep in mind that I did ALL of the work myself. It was hard but rewarding.

Find a good boat with a solid reputation and foundation. Do the research and only consider boats that have been well cared for. You will pay for other peoples mistakes. And lastly, look at a lot of boats! This will give you an idea of what you want or don' want in your boat.

Good luck in your search and if nothing else, you will learn a lot.
 

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David

The list makes sense but if the work is not hired out nowhere near 10k.

A quick check at Jamestown Dist shows rigging wire (3/16"), turnbuckles, and mechanical fittings for both lower and upper comes to about $1400. Chainplates need inspecting and possible replacement - figure $500. Running rigging - 3/8" Sta-Set at 1.12/ft - say 400' for $448. Autohelm about $500. Anchor rode - 1/2" 3 strand line .98/ft so $450 gets a main rode and a spare. Anchors are available used as are sails. That is $3300 plus used anchors, sails, and some yard time. If any of the above should be in a larger size add a few dollars. Still well under 10k.

Now if the op has to pay someone to do much of this it is a different story.
So using your numbers with just a little rounding to make adding easier:
Chain plates: 500, Standing Rig: 1500, Running 500, Anchor setup: 700, Sails: 1000, elect: 500 and we are already at 4,700.
We still may need to deal with: Engine, Reefing, thruhulls, hoses, rudder, dock lines and that's just for the boat. Oh and a cheap boat will almost certainly need a bottom job with barrier coat and paint figure $300. And then there is sandpaper and tools if he doesn't have everything already which is likely based the OP question.
Now we need to add charts, life jackets, foul weather gear, gloves, boots and GPS even if it is a hand-held. What about binoculars, hand-bearing compass, extra fuel containers, extra water containers.
Now you still have to provision the boat food etc.
Don't forget a dinghy and unless you like rowing a whole lot a motor.
All of this is not going to happen overnight. We have yard charges for at least a year and that could be anything from 2,000 to 5,000 depending on where he is. And insurance and taxes not too much usually maybe $500. Might as well add in TowBoat insurance while you are learning: $100

Even if you buy everything used and discounted you are still trading time for money. It takes longer to find deals than to buy retail. And some deals typically end up costing more than you think they would especially for the inexperienced.

Anything wrong with my numbers?

The thing that beginners get wrong is not the numbers. Anyone can look up the price of 100 feet of rode. What they get wrong is the number of numbers.
Ever go a supermarket and fill up 4 of those mini bags they have now and not buy anything more that 3 bucks and be shocked that the total is over a hundred dollars.
 

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I would say that finding a boat on that budget is totally doable and I say this from experience. I've done it twice. My first boat was an S2 9.2 and cost me roughly ~$14k including repairs and refitting a lot of the boat. My second was an Ericson 29 at about the same cost. Keep in mind that I did ALL of the work myself. It was hard but rewarding.

Find a good boat with a solid reputation and foundation. Do the research and only consider boats that have been well cared for. You will pay for other peoples mistakes. And lastly, look at a lot of boats! This will give you an idea of what you want or don' want in your boat.

Good luck in your search and if nothing else, you will learn a lot.
How long did it take?
Did you bring them up to condition where you would be comfortable taking them offshore.
 

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I just sold a well cared for 30 ft boat of reputable manufacture, for under 10K that had newer standing rigging, running rigging, roller furling and usable sails and spares. Also, the engine ran great and it came with a pilot dinghy.

The sailboat market is in the toilet right now. Many lower priced boats are going for 50% 60% of their "book value" or "list price".

Of coarse there will be weekly trips to the chandlery that are foolishly expensive. But somehow those never seem to end no matter how long you own the boat :D
 

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David

If the budget is limited at X and he spends a third for the boat he just has to prioritize. Barrier coat is out - slap a coat of bottom paint on and after checking the through hulls its good to go. Everything can be bought used except rigging related items. Engine - if it runs well just buy spare filters, belts, and an impeller.
Engine for dinghy? Rowing is healthy. Yard charges for a year? Except for checking the rudder, prop, cutlass, and through hulls there is only bottom paint. What are the other 11 months for?

Good thing you weren't around in Columbus' time - he would have stayed home.:D
 

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David

If the budget is limited at X and he spends a third for the boat he just has to prioritize. Barrier coat is out - slap a coat of bottom paint on and after checking the through hulls its good to go. Everything can be bought used except rigging related items. Engine - if it runs well just buy spare filters, belts, and an impeller.
Engine for dinghy? Rowing is healthy. Yard charges for a year? Except for checking the rudder, prop, cutlass, and through hulls there is only bottom paint. What are the other 11 months for?

Good thing you weren't around in Columbus' time - he would have stayed home.:D
Your right I forgot about:
Engine spares, cutlass bearing, Prop
Prop that reminds me, wetsuit and goggles to dive on the prop.

We all have read many stories of folks who buy and old boat, fill up the tanks and head for open water. For some reason either a chain plate pulls out or the rudder falls off or the wind gets scary and someone wants off the boat.

I figure it this way. If I can scare this fellow off this idea by bringing up stuff he didn't think of and he decides to get more experience first I probably saved the Coast Guard a few thousand.
If he is determined to go anyway maybe he will research a few of the things I've mentioned and actually make it. If he really has a lot more experience than he is letting on then that changes the story.


To bad most of these folks don't come back on the forum and say what happened. I hope they didn't all get their boat take off and drown.

I had a guy put on offer on a 36' Morgan then change is mind at the last minute and bought a motorcycle after I told him what the carrying costs were going to be on the boat.

So your right I'm probably the problem:confused:
Course if I retire and become a yacht broker my story will change.
 

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Would everyone agree that for starters any 30 plus year old boat that was going to be used the way the OP plans should have the following done if it has not been done in the last 5 years and good evidence that it was done right.
1. Drop rudder and inspect and or replace bearings and all linkage.
2. Replace chain plates
3. Replace standing rigging
4. Replace running rigging
5. Check ground tackle and get spare
6. Check sails and get spares
7. Check electrical and make sure lights, pump work.
8. Autohelm

That sounds like 10k minimum assuming some of the above is OK and some needs doing.
The key phrase there is "If it has not been done in the last 5 years" If it hasn't, then that should be accounted for in the price of the boat.

This is where a GOOD surveyor is worth his weight in gold.

In any event, any boat that needs everything replaced is likely not a candidate for the OP anyway.

This is where an argument could be made for the purchase of a freshwater boat. A clapped-out, bearded hull Oday 32, for example, might fetch 12K in Florida. The same boat on Lake Michigan or Lake Erie might fetch $15K. even figuring in the cost/time to transport, the fact that the freshwater boat will be in arguably better shape with no saltwater exposure and half the in-water time could make it the cheaper boat. Sails, rigging, rudder, will have half the cycles and sun exposure of a saltwater boat, and the bottom will likely be in much better shape.


There are lots of $15-20K boats out there that will satisfy the OP that don't need $10K worth of work.

The problems arise when one buys a $35K boat for $20 K. If it sounds too cheap...it is.
 
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