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Dirt Free
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I am not allowed to play with the cheque book so when we bought our boat I told my wife "if you give me a year and $10,000.00 I'll get her perfect (the boat not the wife)".

I did everything myself and spent at least $10k per year for the next 15yrs and never did get her perfect (her either). No regrets, loved every minute of it.

What would I do differently ... save more and buy one closer to perfection to begine with.
 

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Normally the refit costs for a second hand boat are estimated as as 30-35% of the purchase price. You better estimate 35-40% if she is neglected.
 

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Well as a guy doing machine repiars for over 35 years there is USED and there is USED-UP


And while even USED-UP can be bought back to life it usally cost way to much money


Last fall i passed on a FREE 1974 Saber 28 with a non-running atomic 4 ,it had to be removed from the yard and transported to my house becasue the yard KNEW nobody could afford to pay them for the repairs and they did NOT want another dead boat taking up money making space

As best as i can guess i would have been into the FREE boat for about 2K buy the time i had it hauled washed ,moved and bought jackstands :eek:NOW i did look around at used ones on yachtworld and found boats in good overall condition in the 15000 dollar range


Going buy the money i have spent on my J24 which was in pretty good condition i am kind of scared what the saber would have cost to bring back to life
 

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An interesting post indeed! We're in the process of doing exactly that - if all goes to plan, we'll be the proud new owners (parents? slaves?) to a ~1974 Swiftsure 24' that we're purchasing for $2000. I figure about another $2500 will be put into her over the next two years. This is after going through each project and listing associated costs. This is also on the understanding that this is what it will cost to make her presentable, safe and stretched into a more comfortable weekender. We intend on doing all of the work ourselves, and buying used when possible.

Then again, who knows how much in the red we'll be when these projects are complete!
 

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We bought our 1985 45' Hirsch Gulfstar and have spent about $50,000.00 on dual chart plotters, dual a/c's, reefer system, inverter, stove, vhf radio's, stereo system, dual radar's, wind system, new furler, standing rigging, sails, canvas, water maker, batteries and general engine fixing up. Now we are finishing up with the cosmetics 3 years later, because you can sail an ugly boat. We have done all the work ourselves because to hire the work out would have been way too expensive. So for us the refit was about 75% of what we paid for the boat.
 

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Telstar 28
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If you're not going to do the bulk of the work yourself, you really can't afford to buy a boat that is in need of refitting. Having a boatyard do the work is very, very, very expensive.
 

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Old Salt
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27 Posts
Having just completed “most” of a very MAJOR refit, from auction derelict to better than new I can tell you my thoughts on everything I did. Who knows if it was right or wrong. Your individual experience will more than likely vary quite a bit. To preface let me give you my stats; I am a Merchant Mariner working two months on/two months off and my “belief” was that I couldn’t afford to buy a “completed” boat but that I had six months a year to work on one and six months a year to pay for it all. I’m not sure I did it right, but I did it my way and it’s working, more or less. I paid under 10k for the boat, a 1978 S2 9.2c. The boat had been neglected for a while and had been vandalized but the hull and decks were solid and the engine (Yanmar 1 lung 12hp raw water) ran and the sails were good and I really liked the cabin layout. Those were all the pluses. The negatives, or opportunities as we like to call them were actually pretty vast. Structurally, the floor frame under the compression post had rotted due to bad chain plate beddings, which had rotted the chain plate bulkheads also. The “running” engine quit doing that very well and was woefully under powered. Upon hauling, prior to peeling the bottom, I ground out 330 blisters. Those were the biggies. So, what did it all cost? Well, eleven months on the hard, bottom peal, new bottom, barrier coat, bottom paint; about 15k. New Yanmar 3gm30, new prop, cutlass and everything else to make the engine room acceptable; about 9k. New dodger and enclosure; about 3k, new paint; about $700, new head, lectra-san, holding tank and stuff to complete head; about 2k. New standing rigging 3k (and I got ripped off). New running rigging (most of this I got at work). ground tackle; about 1k… I could go on but I just realized it wouldn’t stop. I hope I didn’t turn you off to the cause or anything. In the end, it takes all of my money and I don’t care.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
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I don't discuss my member
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Bought the boat, trailer, and outboard for $1200.
Needed bottom paint, re-core, a couple stays, lots of cleaning, some hardware, and a bunch of other stuff. Doing all the work myself, I've easily spent an additional $2k on the boat. Pals in comparison to some others, but honestly, there's no way we can tell you what it'll cost.

I've found a simple formula to work well. Itemize your costs, and your time for each project. Then go ahead and double the amount of time and money, and you'll be pretty close to the real costs.
 

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Telstar 28
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His total costs were over $30,000. Of course, a 1978 S2 9.2C is decent shape probably would go for less than this refit cost as seen here.

That is generally the case. If you have a choice between a boat in decent shape and the same boat in need of a major refit, the boat in decent shape, while it will cost more initially, will generally be far less expensive overall.

Cheap and free boats are very, very rarely worth the money. That's a major reason I wrote the Boat Inspection Trip Tips thread. It helps people avoid getting a survey on a boat that isn't worthy of looking at any further.

Having just completed “most” of a very MAJOR refit, from auction derelict to better than new I can tell you my thoughts on everything I did. Who knows if it was right or wrong. Your individual experience will more than likely vary quite a bit. To preface let me give you my stats; I am a Merchant Mariner working two months on/two months off and my “belief” was that I couldn’t afford to buy a “completed” boat but that I had six months a year to work on one and six months a year to pay for it all. I’m not sure I did it right, but I did it my way and it’s working, more or less. I paid under 10k for the boat, a 1978 S2 9.2c. The boat had been neglected for a while and had been vandalized but the hull and decks were solid and the engine (Yanmar 1 lung 12hp raw water) ran and the sails were good and I really liked the cabin layout. Those were all the pluses. The negatives, or opportunities as we like to call them were actually pretty vast. Structurally, the floor frame under the compression post had rotted due to bad chain plate beddings, which had rotted the chain plate bulkheads also. The “running” engine quit doing that very well and was woefully under powered. Upon hauling, prior to peeling the bottom, I ground out 330 blisters. Those were the biggies. So, what did it all cost? Well, eleven months on the hard, bottom peal, new bottom, barrier coat, bottom paint; about 15k. New Yanmar 3gm30, new prop, cutlass and everything else to make the engine room acceptable; about 9k. New dodger and enclosure; about 3k, new paint; about $700, new head, lectra-san, holding tank and stuff to complete head; about 2k. New standing rigging 3k (and I got ripped off). New running rigging (most of this I got at work). ground tackle; about 1k… I could go on but I just realized it wouldn’t stop. I hope I didn’t turn you off to the cause or anything. In the end, it takes all of my money and I don’t care.
 

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Old Salt
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Yeah, I know I could never get the money I put into this boat back if I were to sell her, I don't plan to, but anyway... but for me, financing even a 30k boat woould have meant 50 after the dust settled, then you still have to make her your's and that takes cabbage. All that while paying for a place to keep her... I have seen many great boats for much less than I've put into mine (i'm not bitter anymore, much) but I made my bed so to speak.
 

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I picked up a 1976 Ericson 32' for a steal of a price, lots of scrubbing, a new starter, carb rebuild, new batteries, re-bedding all the ports and hatches, installing a diesel stove in place of the CNG for heat and she is well on her way, very worth it in this case but i did practically steal the boat. She still needs some things: sails are a little dirty for my tastes and the hull is a pretty oxidized and has some small patches that no longer match. aswell as a re-finish of the hatches, coamings and grabrails and some interior refinishing. electronics update (from loran). Eventually she will get alot more goodies (dodger, self tailers, radar, newer roller furling etc).

All in all I am still waaaay under (1/5 or less) average asking price for that boat, but i got lucky. I had to pass up about 5 other similar deals because they were too much work before i found this one. (rot in the bottoms of bulkheads, hull pitting, stuff like that)

And as said earlier, it will never work out if you don't do most of the work yourself.
 

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Irrationally Exuberant
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I can't speak about a 30-some-year-old boat, but I'll give you our story. Ours was a mid 80's (so 20-year-old), somewhat neglected 28 footer. Good hull, good decks, good engine. But, leaking portlights, broken toilet, smelly holding tank, broken shower, flaky depth sounder, so-so batteries, original mainsail, original running rigging. In fact, pretty much everything original.

The boat was basically sailable after fixing a fuel leak. Yet somehow we've spent--hold onto your hat--$4,500 (about 25% of the cost) in a year and a half on improvements/fixes/equipment/service etc. It's been a blast improving and sailing.

We didn't plan to spend that much. I thought I had my eyes open as far as repairs needed. But all the small stuff adds up more than I figured. The important part: We're happy for what we have for what we've spent, because we now understand much better the insidious nature of the ongoing costs of taking care of a boat, and even more, the cost of trying to get it back to where it should have been.

The "problem" is that you might find that the more work you do, the more you see the potential your boat has. And then you want to get it there. You're happy to spend the money. You're in love. A microcosm of this phenomenon can be found in polishing gel coat. When it's dull, it is what it is. But then you polish it some, and whoa! there's some shine there. So you go at it, and whoa! Looking good. But those lifelines now look crumby next to that nice cabin, and they are 20 years old, so we better replace them. Dot dot dot

Here's some of what we've got for our money (almost all work done by us)
* New Chart plotter & depth sounder
* New guard bar around steering pedestal
* New running rigging
* New rope clutches
* New blocks for furling line
* New life lines
* New toilet & hoses
* New sail & winch covers
* Lifesling
* Gas grill off the cockpit
* Solar fan for ventilation
* New head faucet
* Propeller balanced
* Many, many new hoses in engine compartment

And a whole lot of non-exotic replacings, reseating, refinishing, polishing, and basic engine maintenance.

And there will always be more to do, and more to replace.

Just know that a whole lot of stuff has hit its service limit at 30 years, so if your 70s era boat is full of original everything, you've got some $$ to spend.

Enjoy!
 

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Telstar 28
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1,000 Posts
If the boat's hull, deck and spars are fundamentally sound, and the engine is in servicable shape, and the head works, then buying it to liveaboard and slowly refitting it while living aboard it may very well make sense. Especially if the cost of insuring the boat and having the slip is considerably less than your rent and utilities would be—since any difference could be used towards repairing and refitting the boat.

Standing rigging isn't all that expensive, if you're willing to do much of the work yourself. That's also true of 99% of everything else on a boat.

One thing to consider though. What would you do if you had to haul the boat and could not live on it for a period of time, say due to repairs?

SD
I read your inspection tips thread; it was very good in telling what to look for, and I absolutely believe you in saying that a boat needing a refit will cost exponentially more than a boat that has already been refitted by another. I am in a pickle though, and I suspect that there are many others in my shoes as well. Being a college student, I can't afford to buy a boat that is ready to go; the only ones that are even on the same horizon as my budget are going to be the ones that need to be brought back to life. Now, Having had a reputable (and very picky) surveyor look at a boat, he found many of the points mentioned in your thread.
The hoses are single clamped and are vinyl reinforced, as opposed to metal.
The electrical was probably compliant to 1970's European standards, but not compliant with ABYC (though the boat has yet to spontaneously combust).
The rudder steering cables need to be replaced.
I would not feel comfortable sailing the vessel without pulling the chain plates and replacing them.
The sails are ugly, but have some life left in them.
I have never had a furling headsail, but this boat has a Profurl... I have heard that it's a good brand.
The engine mounts will probably need to be replaced.
The list will undoubtedly continue far below what is known, and take the shape of a precariously floating ice berg... intent on sinking my already foundering bank account.
Now... If the boat is a Contest 31', with not a wet spot to be found by a knowledgeable surveyor in the deck, do all of these factors add up to a deal breaker? In my situation, I could save close to the price of the boat just by buying the damn thing and moving aboard for a year and not paying for my rent and utilities. That way, I could begin crossing minor details off the list slowly but surely, and at the end.. I'd have a boat to sail off in after I graduate, instead of flushing cash down the drain every month to apt. rent!
Now, as good as this sounds... I need to have info to do a cost/benefit analysis and determine if this is really feasible. My goal in starting this thread was to hopefully have some people who have been there, done that to share a break down of how much various upgrades cost. For example,
"I spent 5000000,000000000 refitting my 1917 Catalina 22, 1000 of which was spent on standing rigging" :)
Thanks...
 

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Refit costs

About 6 months ago I purchased a simply outfitted 1969 Discovery 32 that had been re powered in 1997. The boat was sail-able, but had a very worn out interior and lots of deferred maintenance. I paid $8,000 for the boat. I have currently spent $3,000 doing the following:

1. Improved DC wiring (wires, panel, etc)
2. Totally new shore power system
3. Dual automatic bilge pumps
4. Depth finder+GPS combo unit
5. Onboard battery charger
6. Engine maintenance stuff (oil pump, filter wrench, etc)
7. Lots and lots of caulk, paint, varnish, screws, latches, etc

I plan another $3,000 for the interior (some paint and wood work, but most of the cost comes from new cushions and covers) and $4,000 for some work for which I need a boatyard. That will bring the total cost to $18,000 -- but the boat will then finally be in good shape. I have been pretty happy with the project, but I would advise a couple of things:

A) Buy a boat you can sail: Its gets boring real quick if you don't get to take the boat out once in a while! Maintenance is far less fun than sailing. :) I would have gave up long ago if I didn't take the boat out fairly often to 'renew the motivation' to fix it up. I am glad I ruled out any boats that had problems that would have prevented their use as they were being refit.

B) Surveys are worth it: The one I got told me exactly what needed attention, and caught many things (like a leaky chain plate) I may never have noticed on my own (or not until more damage was done)

C) 'Upgrade' after you 'refit': If I gave in to my desires to upgrade things and get RADAR, a nifty chartplotter, a newer VHF and all the other great stuff at the boat store the project would likely never be finished and would already be way over budget. Did I mention I would like a bigger headsail and an Asymmetrical spinnaker too? I decided shortly after I started to finish 'putting the boat back in its original condition' before I started upgrading, and that has kept me sane.

D) Avoid 'big problems': May of the boats I looked at in the sub-$10,000 range had major problems -- like a dead saildrive which was being substituted for by a bolted on outboard, or major fiberglass damage someplace. At my level of boat knowledge, I couldn't even guess at what level of cost those things represented to repair, and ran away from the boats with such problems even if they were attractive in other areas.

Initially I had guessed the final cost would be double the purchase price -- which I thought was generous, but even given that it looks like I will go about $2,000 over (not to mention slip fees, the value of my time, etc). I have been happy with the boat, however, because I have been using it the whole time, and the initial purchase price was conservative enough that I haven't felt too bad about pouring money into it. Would it have made sense to spend the $18,000 directly on a boat in better shape? Possibly -- but many of the pricier boats I looked at weren't in much better shape, and I would have been much more hesitant to make a larger initial investment (it gets a little easier to open your wallet every time you go sailing...)

Good luck!

--
Joe
 

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We bought a 1985 Endeavour this last May. Survey rated it "above average".
We're at 20% additional cost and not quite done yet. I'm doing most of the work myself but not all.
I suspect I'll be at 30 to 35% when I'm done with the initial refitting.


Let me add, a lot of what I'm doing is stuff I WANT, not what I need. There can be a HUGE difference in expenses if you have a lot of wants that add onto your needs. My guess is that half of the costs so far are wants.
 

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I do not like using % amounts of cost. Heck, even some folks could spend 20-30% of a new boat cost at $100-500K! Depends upon what is there, what you do yourself etc.

My boat was 22K for the boat, reasonably good shape overall but some glued on vinyl liner was falling off. Got a quote to have it done at 10K. Did it myself for about $2000 see here

New running lineseck hardware etc, has been $4000-5000 I have gotten rid of ALL staset and went to a higher tech XLS Extra, along with adding a spin and 2nd jib halyard, upgrade vang, reef points, spin/whisker pole topping lift, along with adding adjustable line control genoa carrs, 2nd set of jib tracks for 110 and smaller inside and forward of the 110 and larger tracks.

New main at 3500, could have done basic dacron at 1500 or there abouts, 155 carbon for racing also 3500, new cruise 140 1500, lightwt reacher at 800, 110 at 1800, spin at 1800. Now I can get rid of the original 25 yr old main and 135 that were blown out.

New cushions on the interior with coverings, matching pillows, ~12K, that was wifes deal!

Put in new Raymarine ST60+ depth, knot meter and wind gauge, as original knot meter did not work, 2500 installed or there abouts! Redo Iron keel, as epoxy had gone bad! $2500, new waterline and boot stripes, 1500, redo name in vinyl 350.......

Not sure where I am at in comparison to overall cost. She is a pretty boat, no matter how I slice her!

marty
 

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My 2 cents..

I was new to sailing about 3-4 years ago. Took 2 lessons, loved it, and bought a solid little 1983 Seafarer 23', with trailer and outboard for $6500.

Sailed her for one season, really enjoying it, but wanting to take more friends / family along, and have more space. I did maintenance such as taking apart / lubing the bronze seacocks, cleaning / oiling teak, etc.
Even had a section welded in trailer, to make it longer / tow better.
Got 2ft, or make that 7ftitis, and began the hunt for a larger boat.
Sold the 23'er for roughly what I paid.

Found a solid hull 30 year old Seafarer 30', with a reliable diesel, zero blisters, no soft spots in deck, good rig, etc, for only $4000 more than I sold the smaller boat...... and that's where the hole in the water started. (the $4000 quickly became $7000 with taxes crossing border and moving bill)

Since then I have likely spent another $15,000 on the following repairs / upgrades, last winter (completed myself, with some help from girlfriend and her dad, who enjoys having a beer, and watching work being done!!! Occasionally joins in!!

-Built a custom heavy duty tandem trailer
-removed engine to clean/paint engine and engine compartment
-4 new engine mounts
- new depth sounder
- new Raymarine c80 chartplotter ****LOVE IT****
- new chain and cables for wheel steering
- opened up, scraped out, resealed, and throughbolted hull to deck joint
- replaced forestay and backstay
- small sail repairs
- new custom skeg hung rudder gudgeon
- new teak&holly cabin floor
- removed, sanded / varinshed almost all interior and exterior teak
- removed, inspected, resealed chainplates (added backing plates and all new bolts
- removed / resealed all deck hardware
- removed / welded / repaired any weak stantions,and pullpits
- added new lifelines
- new lavac head, and all new hoses, 2 y valves
- added deck fill for water tank
- 2 new deep cell house batteries
- new 45a Iota battery charger
- epoxied over 1 unused through hull
- bottom sanded / painted
- sanded / painted hatch frames
- new acrylic for hatches
- new acrylic portlights / deadlights
- moved winches back (built new epoxy bases& matched gelcoat)
- added rope clutches
- new water heater
- new zodiak


*** I am tired just thinking about it all***

This winter, I am really not doing much work except:
- now in process of rebuilding rudder (which didn't need it, but I didn't know that, before I opened it up to see the inside....)

WHAT I HAVE LEARNED... I really should have continued to sail the much less expensive 23'er for a few more years, and put up with being a bit cramped. It was self launching, stepped the mast with no crane, and kept at a mooring. It now cost me about $2000 more / year to maintain the 30'er (dock rental, launch in/out, meat step/ unstep, etc)

But, I do not regret the purchase of the larger boat now. ( I would have to jump off a bridge, if I did regret it). I know the boat inside and out, and it's major components are all very solid. It is even starting to look better!!

I would advise new sailors / potential buyers to enjoy racing / sailing on other people's boats, while you save your money - cause yo uare going to need it!!!!
You are far better off paying for a more expensive, and well maintained boat, than looking for a real bargain (fixer-upper), especially in todays market.

To see pics of my refit, try this link:

Northeaster's Images - Cruisers & Sailing Photo Gallery
 

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Telstar 28
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1,000 Posts
This winter, I am really not doing much work except:
- now in process of rebuilding rudder (which didn't need it, but I didn't know that, before I opened it up to see the inside....)
Hindsight is always 20/20... :)

WHAT I HAVE LEARNED... I really should have continued to sail the much less expensive 23'er for a few more years, and put up with being a bit cramped. It was self launching, stepped the mast with no crane, and kept at a mooring. It now cost me about $2000 more / year to maintain the 30'er (dock rental, launch in/out, meat step/ unstep, etc)

But, I do not regret the purchase of the larger boat now. ( I would have to jump off a bridge, if I did regret it). I know the boat inside and out, and it's major components are all very solid. It is even starting to look better!!
When you're miles from help and something breaks...this may very well save your life. :)

I would advise new sailors / potential buyers to enjoy racing / sailing on other people's boats, while you save your money - cause yo uare going to need it!!!!
Also, it'll give you a good idea of what you're looking for in a boat, before you buy one—making it far more likely that you'll buy a boat you love. :)
You are far better off paying for a more expensive, and well maintained boat, than looking for a real bargain (fixer-upper), especially in todays market.http://www.cruisersforum.com/gallery/browseimages.php?do=member&catid=member&imageuser=10458
Yup... this is very, very good advice. The cost of restoring/refitting/repairing a boat is generally far more than the cost difference of getting the same exact boat in much better shape to begin with.
 

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midlife crisis member
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975 Posts
Not sure if you have seen my project boat thread. I bought my 1973, 20 foot boat for $750.00 and will have spent about $1500.00 more to get her in sailing shape (used bowrail, sternrail, new paint, used outboard, new running rigging, some standing rigging, plus lots of nickle and dime stuff).

Once sailing she will still need all new interior, new mainsail.

yeah, it's cheaper to buy a boat thats already been fixed up. I would do it all again tho.

Eric
 
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