View Poll Results: Rebuild, Convert, or Turnkey?
Refit, or rebuild from scratch 6 20.00%
Convert a commercial vessel 2 6.67%
Find a turnkey boat 26 86.67%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 30. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 08-06-2014, 01:17 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ski in NC View Post
The point of all this is DO NOT underestimate the scope of a project boat. Be it a new build or restore. In fact, I think a new build is way easier, nothing is rotted, scope of project does not grow during build, everything is new, etc.
Point taken. :-)

It's taken me 3 years to finish building a 10' sailing dinghy in my garage. I know I wouldn't be successful doing the work all myself. I also don't have the skill or equipment to do some other things (like a repower).

Thanks everyone, though, for the replies. It's been very interesting.
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Old 08-06-2014, 01:28 PM   #22
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I went the total refit route

Allot of good comments so far.

I'll share my story, so that perhaps others can learn. I'm including some of the financial parts because in a refit or a project boat its all about finances.

In august 2011 I purchased a neglected 2001 Bayliner 4788 from Key Bank. The owner still owed over $300,000 when he quit making payments.

At that time, in the PACNW current "market" value of this model in average condition was around $200-225K. Boats in pristine condition seemed to be somewhat higher perhaps $250K. Asking prices were of course much higher than that.

I was in the market for this exact model when I caught wind of the boat failing a mechanical survey with high blow by on one engine.

Upon my inspection of the boat I found that the interior looked great, but the mechanical systems looked like they hadn't been worked on much. Not just the big things, but smaller things like the doors not sliding smoothly told me that the boat just had not been maintained.

I made a deal with the bank contingent on sea trial and survey at $130,000. We arrived at that price based on based on my quotation from a good shipyard for two factory reman Cummins engines installed at $50K.

The survey didn't point out anything that my personal experienced inspection didn't reveal so I closed on the boat without further negotiation.

I was in Alaska, so I hired a captain to take the boat to North Harbor Diesel in Anacortes, Wa for refit. I did not have a budget per se, but I guesstimated that the complete refit would run around $100K. We agreed on a schedule of completion by November 1, 2011.

North Harbor Diesel is a large repair facility with a cross disipline team of technicians. My agreement with them was to start with the repower, and a complete laundry list of repairs. They agreed to bill me based on time and materials with a "large project" labor discount.

I made an initial deposit into their account of $50,000 to get started with the agreement that I would pay as work tasks were completed after that. Invoicing was to be on a task basis so I could keep track of the expenses and make sure I stayed on track with my goals.

My boat was materially complete on the due date we set of November 01, and at that time I spent a week on the boat and sea trialed it with the new engines. During this week I came up with another laundry list of things I wanted done to finish out the refit.

In the end my refit cost me right at $140,000 paid to North Harbor diesel, and approx $25,000 I paid for materials that I am a dealer for. I used a open checkbook policy of trust. I trusted that North Harbor were honest. When they called and sent photos of something they didnt like, I almost always approved that repair.

I have not taken the time to quantify the cost of the actual refit vs the cost of upgrades to the boat, but I'm guesstimating that I'm into the upgrade part at something around $50,000

What I got was a 2001 boat with brand new under warranty engines, a new generator, new almost everything else, etc... Basically a new boat built based on all of my years in boating, with the systems I wanted. I bought the very best of everything and didn't scrimp on anything.

Mu total out the door cost, before I ever drove the boat (except at sea trial) was $130K + 140K +$25K or $295,000.

I cannot compare that to any of the "used" boats that were on the market. It would not be fair. My boat was basically brand new.

The total time in the shop was from August 2011 to April, 2012. The boat was actively being worked on all that time.

Now for the advice.

First, in order to be successful at undertaking this sized project you have to hire a single ship yard you trust. Based on that trust you have to take their professional advice.

Next you have to be financially prepared. Remember the refit cost of $165,00? That has to be paid out of pocket.

Another part is that as a owner you need to not freak out over the unexpected several thousand dollar issues that will come up. It is almost impossible on a boat this size to know in advance everything you will find. You just have to let the project flow, knowing the outcome will be worth the effort. Arguing every time your project manager calls with another issue his team found will not move the refit forward.

My advice to DIY'ers or folks that buy the lowest price boat of that model on the market thinking that you're getting a great deal...

Do not even think about it. There is no way that I have the man hours to have completed my refit. Heck, they had over 200 man hours just in cut, polish, and waxing my boat. I do not care if you have the skills. I have the skills too. I'm telling you you do not have the time to ever complete the project and still work, and have a family, etc...

As far as buying the cheapest boat on the market..Well these folks are delusional as to the real costs to bring a boat up to par. If you are happy with a boat where you have a never ending list of defered maintenance, then thats OK, as long as you are honest with yourself.
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Old 08-06-2014, 01:58 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by mattkab View Post
Honest, and naive question.

Is this the case? I haven't done a full cost breakdown, but even assuming a complete repower and a deck core project, done by a yard, there should still be money left from the initial $100k. No?
You can sneeze and spend $10K in a yard. A diesel re-power can exceed $50K before you can say "boo".

The thing is, you can't just budget a re-power and re-core (re-core could be as bad as the repower by the time they rip everything out. You will start to "just" repower and find out that while your engines can be rebuilt, some parts in the cooling system are no longer available and you have to go to a custom or aftermarket replacement. Those things come at a premium, so now your rebuild is approaching 85% of a new engine and you still have old technology. So you decide to go with the new tech for a small premium and away you go. When the engines arrive, they go to drop them in and find that they mount differently than the old ones being longer, taller, fatter, skinnier or something that just does not go right. Might as well drop in new transmissions, but you find that the new transmissions have a different down angle than the old ones. One thing leads to another and you wind up putting in a different configuration of stern tube, shaft log, strut and well hells bells the shafts are now 1/4 inch too short so just replace those too. The engines spin at a different RPM so throw in 5 or 6 grand of props too (Would you like back up props?, cruising long distances?). Harumph. Oh, ring ring, "we started to replace your fuel return line today and surprise the coupling on the fuel tank is going bad, so we pulled the backing away and guess what we found...blah blah blah". Harumph.

I guess what I'm saying is that the scope of the work will expand the more you do. You almost have to plan a "complete" tear out of everything, I mean everything, and start over. It's the only way to plan with some certainty. Plus, since its a custom job, YOU get to be the one to find/figure out how a particular combination of parts works together in your boat. add 10% for that alone.

Look at the post of the guy who did is Bayliner, awesome job, actually pretty sane budget overall, but you might note it cost more than a "turnkey" boat. Might even be cheaper when 10yrs of maintenance is considered. Will he get to sell the boat at a premium, maybe. Maybe not, because in 5 years the bloom is off the rose and its just another "used" boat competing with other boats that have a lot of maintenance. He won't get all his money back out, projects never do. I'd sure like that boat though.

Keep in mind, when was the last time you saw a yard remanufacturing old boats on their own initiative. Hey, they have all the skill and could keep busy in the off times doing this. They even know when good boats come available. I've never seen one. That's because they already know how the math works.
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Old 08-06-2014, 07:51 PM   #24
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Mu total out the door cost, before I ever drove the boat (except at sea trial) was $130K + 140K +$25K or $295,000.

I cannot compare that to any of the "used" boats that were on the market. It would not be fair. My boat was basically brand new.
Except for the fact that it was ten years old and cost more than what similar models were selling for at the time. This is fine if you like the boat and keep it for several years. If for whatever reason (divorce, illness, death, etc.) you were forced to sell it during the first few years after the refit you would likely have a big loss. If it was totaled by accident, fire, sinking, etc., you would likely not get your investment back from the insurance company.
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Old 08-06-2014, 08:13 PM   #25
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I haven't done a full cost breakdown, but even assuming a complete repower and a deck core project, done by a yard, there should still be money left from the initial $100k. No?
No.
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Old 08-06-2014, 08:44 PM   #26
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Here is a video that has been posted here before to give you a bit of an idea what can happen in a re power. It's about 40 minutes long.

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Old 08-06-2014, 09:30 PM   #27
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Except for the fact that it was ten years old and cost more than what similar models were selling for at the time. This is fine if you like the boat and keep it for several years. If for whatever reason (divorce, illness, death, etc.) you were forced to sell it during the first few years after the refit you would likely have a big loss. If it was totaled by accident, fire, sinking, etc., you would likely not get your investment back from the insurance company.
You cannot justify a major refit for financial reasons, any more than you can justify buying a brand new boat for financial reasons.

That is part of the point I was trying to make by sharing my experience. I beleive that many people buy a boat needing a repower/refit thinking they are saving money, when that is just not true.

What you get by undertaking a repower/refit is avoiding large maintenance bills for a period of time. I knew that during my retirement I would not be able to afford to repower a large boat. So I did it during the last decade of my working years, knowing full well that I can drive my boat during retirement and not have the huge expense of a repower.

I also did it because I wanted a boat the way I want it. When you buy a used boat you are buying not only the boat, you are buying all of the previous owners opinions on how to fit out a boat. I havve been boating long enough to know what I want.

For example, and this is just one pf many things... I wanted forced air heat. I did not want hydronic. So when I put in a heating system I put in forced air.

I wanted zero time engines. I wanted a Northern Lights Generator. I wanted Furuno electronics, I wanted Satellite Commuunications. I wanted goost and EGT gauges. You get the idea, the list goes on and on.

As far as your other reasons, Divorce, illness or death...

Divorce , and I'm living on the boat, and cruising the coastlines of the americas.

Illness and well, the boat sits.

Death, if she goes, refer to the divorce scenario. If I go she is well taken care of and will possibly eventually sell the boat, but I wont care

Boating/cruising is not a short term hobby for me. I am only tied to land because of the love I have for my wife.
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Old 08-06-2014, 11:18 PM   #28
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I did the re-fit and sure like the result but I'm sure it did cost me more than it would have to buy an equivalent boat on the market. But the likelihood of actually finding such a boat on the market were nil.

And also I saved money many ways that fell into my lap or were the result of the domino effect. In my favor. The yard wanted to get their new mechanic started in re-powers and the mechanic was a shade tree mech from Oklahoma (cars) and needed to learn the marine trade. My fuel tanks were bad and the combination of jobs were much less money the each would have been. Many mistakes were made by the mechanic and I haven't found them all yet. But they did nice things that occurred to them that I liked and don't think I paid for. My new engine was less than $6K (40hp) and I rebuilt the BW gear. There was only a low buck fish finder in the boat so I was able to buy all new electronics, batteries, batt tender (Xantrex). Spent money on what I liked and saved money excluding things I wasn't fond of. Passed on a fridge and kept the ice box. Did my own hydraulic steering w/o AP. Anchor winch (capstan) was less than $500.

You get the idea. There's re-fits and there's re-fits. But for us the - buy a good sound boat for cheap and re-fit - worked quite well. Didn't cost much more than buying on the market but almost everything on the boat is as I like it. That means a lot to me and I'd probably do it again. But if the right boat turned up next time I'd me just as likely to buy what I could find. But finding that right boat would probably be against the odds. My three favorite boats are the GB 32, the NT 32 and the Eagle 32. In reverse order. I would want to re-power all three.

There's so many variables and many aren't predictable so that's a question that can only be answered assuming average buyers, boats, access to goods and service average ect ect ect. Then the answer is that the most economical way to buy a boat is'nt buying a project but buying close to a top of the market boat in excellent shape w most of what one wants for equipment and features. Not a compromise financially but a compromise re the end result.

Also if you buy a boat that nobody has pumped money into you're getting short changed. The best buy boat has been updated by several owners w different areas of interest. Gets re-powered by a gearhead, rewired w lots of electronics, another gets new interior decor and High end painted ect ect. Then you come along and buy it for just a tad over market value.
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Old 08-07-2014, 01:17 AM   #29
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Thanks for the great topic. We are currently in the beginning stages of searching for a 48-52 trawler/cruiser and re-power was a question I asked in another topic "RV's to Boats". I saw a 48 Defever w/twin Harvester diesels that is substantially cheaper (30k ish) than most others I have seen. After reading this topic-I think my idea of trying to re-power that boat was a bad idea. Thanks for the help :-)
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Old 08-07-2014, 02:48 AM   #30
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Would you be at all interested in buying a boat that you then put on the hard, spent a year completely gutting and refurbishing specifically to your tastes and desires?....Or would you simply spend the time boat shopping until you found the right turnkey boat?
When we decided that one of the first fiberglass GB36s made would suit our needs and budget, we paid the expenses for a good friend with decades of experience in the marine industry to go California with us when we inspected, sea trialed, and had the boat surveyed.

After we'd completed everything we went down to do and the engine and hull surveyors had done their thing, my wife and I had to make the buy-no buy decision. While we felt pretty good about the boat, our totally objective friend (he didn't care if we bought the boat or not) gave us the deciding statement:

"This boat needs a lot of things done to it, no question, but it's a boat you can start using and enjoying right away. As opposed to a boat that you need to spend a year working on before you can use it."

Which is what we as newbies to this type of boat wanted to do: go boating.

This was some sixteen years ago and while the boat has been a continuous "project" since the day it came off the truck, we have always been grateful for our friend's opinion. Because throughout those 16 years, we have been able to go boating whenver we wanted on a year-round basis because the boat always works regardless of what cosmetic, toilet rebuild, brightwork, canvas, or other project we're in the middle of.

We are in the process of replacing our boat with a new one and it will be interesting when we finally take delivery to see what it's like to have a boat that not only works every time, but doesn't have a mile-long to-do list right off the bat. Will we miss the little challenges our current boat has continuously thrown at us or not?

We know a few people who enjoy the working-on-it aspect of boat ownership far more than the using-it aspect. That's great--- they've become very, very good at it, and it provides them with a terrific sense of accomplishment. But our objective in boating has always been to be out on the water, not standing in the yard looking at it.
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Old 08-07-2014, 08:54 AM   #31
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the repower stories are sobering. we had a terrible experience with what should have been a simple repower of a 30' boat because the only yard that was geographically close misrepresented the credentials of their only 'diesel mechanic.' turned out the guy was a bit of a flybynight who had worked at 'several' shops before starting the month before at this one. i came to find he had never installed a diesel, ours would have been the 1st. fortunately i was visitng the yard daily and noted the following:
1) solid fiberglas engine bearing stringers 'the mechanic' had unnecessarily hacked off , leaving portside 1 inch higher and 2 inches longer than starboard side;
2) resulting in wrong down angle for propshaft, which required max 6 degrees,
3) no install manual for the engine in sight,
4) wrong size thru hull installed , too small and not as spec'd for raw water supply, and made of cheap plastic not bronze

after observing 1 through 4 i confronted the shop manager and asked to see the install manual for the engine ''so we could go over some things''. (I had ordered my own shop and service manuals from the manufacturer before deciding on this particular yanmar engine, which is how i knew they were screwing up certain things.. ) shop man said o it must be in the shop, i said fine let's go get it, i want to check the dimensions on your jig. by the way where's the jig? it turned out the yard had saved $25 by not ordering a shop manual. and had no clue why a jig would be helpful...

the yard was upset when i told them they had already screwed up 1 to 4 and that w as the end of their work. the new engine went out of that yard still wrapped in plastic, the boat was towed to a different yard, highly recommended but much further away. the new yard of course did not get the profit from the engine order , so my repower was at the bottom of their to-do list. we lost the whole s eason, from may to september, as it took till after labor day to get the repower done. (once completed, it was a magnificent job, the boat hit her power curve on the 1st sea trial...)

so there is no doubt in my mind : i would NEVER buy a boat expecting to have to repower or do major work of any nature whatsoever. I did not like having to ride herd on a mechanic, and be contrained by boat location to very few yards, only one of which was capable of doing excellent work. I might add that i'm a retired engineer who did failure analysis work for a living, and that engine repower was on the list of frustrating experiences.
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Old 08-07-2014, 09:12 AM   #32
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There is no such thing as Turnkey , as so many choices are very individual.

If you will just be cruising there is still a set of choices.

The Marina to Marina folks will want bow and stern thrusters , onboard dink storage,
the anchor out folks will be far more interested in endurance, silently on the hook.

Even if the boat is 90% just what you want it will still be big bucks and time to obtain the other 10%

Remember the 90/90 rule,

90% of the work takes 90% of the time,

the remaining work ALSO takes 90% of the time.

If boat building is your hobby , get a fixer up and be happy for 5-10 years.

IF cruising is the goal , get the boat , get underway and in a year decide what isnt working for you.

Yep. I can't vote, because there is no such thing as truly turnkey, and the other two offered options aren't attractive.



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Honest, and naive question.

Is this the case? I haven't done a full cost breakdown, but even assuming a complete repower and a deck core project, done by a yard, there should still be money left from the initial $100k. No?
No, I don't think that's reasonable. You can maybe make a boat sufficiently operable to suit your standards, but that probably wouldn't ring my chimes. I base that on the amount of upgrade money we have invested in a boat initially (to us) twice your theoretical budget. In our case, it came with no electric windlass, no swim platform, no dinghy lift/mount, etc.. and needed engine tune-ups (and new hoses, aftercooler service, turbo service, etc.), freshwater and washdown pump replacements, blah, blah, blah... I could do much of that, so saved labor where possible... but the end result wouldn't fit inside your budget envelope. And I don't think of our boat as anything especially fancy...

Speaking specifically about repowering, I know of a couple boats near here that were repowered -- at about 100K each -- for a change to twin Cummins B engines and a genset.

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Old 08-07-2014, 09:37 AM   #33
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And 120% of TF said

View Poll Results: Rebuild, Convert, or Turnkey?
Refit, or rebuild from scratch 4 20.00%
Convert a commercial vessel 2 10.00%
Find a turnkey boat 18 90.00%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 20. You have already voted on this poll
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Old 08-07-2014, 09:43 AM   #34
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My lowly 27' Owens will cost better than $30k for the diesel re power part of the planned refit and that is doing the work myself.

Twins AND re-core for $100k?
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Old 08-07-2014, 10:23 AM   #35
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What dinghy did you build ? I have the plans for a 8 ft nutshell pram. I've had the plans longer than it took you to build yours, I just can't seem to get started
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Old 08-09-2014, 10:14 AM   #36
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Thanks everyone for the input. This has been a fun thread to follow.

Quote:
What dinghy did you build ? I have the plans for a 8 ft nutshell pram. I've had the plans longer than it took you to build yours, I just can't seem to get started
I built the V-10 from Bateau. Currently it's simply a rowing dinghy, and I still have plans to build the sail rig and use it to teach my daughter how to sail. I also want to get a small trailer for it to take it out to area lakes.

I LOVED the process of building a boat from raw materials. In fact I've recently been looking into building the 3-person kayak on Beateau as well, to mount on the flybridge rail.

But to keep this post somewhat on-topic, even at the level of this little dinghy, the cost effectiveness of building vs. buying doesn't really exist. All told, I probably spent close to $700 on materials and tools. Not much less than a store-bought hard dinghy. Oh, and did I mention it was a 3 year project and I still can't sail it?

Here's the last blog post on the project before I abandoned that blog and moved updates over to facebook to keep friends and family updated
Fiberglassing. And a nasty little pattern. | Matt's space
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Old 08-09-2014, 10:21 AM   #37
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Quote:
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Yep. I can't vote, because there is no such thing as truly turnkey, and the other two offered options aren't attractive.
Out of curiosity, what other options could have been added that you would have selected?


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No, I don't think that's reasonable. You can maybe make a boat sufficiently operable to suit your standards, but that probably wouldn't ring my chimes.
No, me either. I am more intrigued in the stories by @ksanders and @manyboats where they got exactly the boat they wanted for a relatively similar budget. This is more the intent of the question.

I'm absolutely not convinced it's a project I would take on. And if I did, I'm still not convinced it'd be successful. :-)
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Old 08-09-2014, 10:30 AM   #38
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Out of curiosity, what other options could have been added that you would have selected?
I think a choice for "pretty good boat that's immediately usable but will probably need some immediate fixes as well as service/maintenance and probably gradual upgrades in order to become completely suitable..."

Or something like that

And even that probably presents a long sliding scale of acceptability, with some leaning more toward "doesn't need much work" and others leaning toward "affordable enough to acquire immediately even if it does need future improvements."

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Old 08-09-2014, 01:55 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FF View Post
If boat building is your hobby , get a fixer up and be happy for 5-10 years.

IF cruising is the goal , get the boat , get underway and in a year decide what isnt working for you.
Exactly. There's plenty of work to be done on a boat without buying a project too.

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Keep in mind, when was the last time you saw a yard remanufacturing old boats on their own initiative. Hey, they have all the skill and could keep busy in the off times doing this. They even know when good boats come available. I've never seen one. That's because they already know how the math works.
If fixing boats were profitable boatyards would be in that business instead. They aren't and for a reason.

But buying a boat isn't about finances. It's happiness. I knew Seaweed was okay when I bought her, but with some tweaks she's gotten better over the years. There's more to do of course.

Spending years in a boatyard is craziness. And all too often I've watched couples relationships implode as launch date nears. I suspect it's a combination of Fear of the Unknown (too many sea stories?) along with leaving the familiar confines of safety and a network of fellow boatyard denizens.

Buy what you can afford and use immediately your boat.

Six months (or a year) later, make your laundry list of what is unacceptable and have at it. But use whatever you buy as is immediately.

In my opinion.
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Old 08-09-2014, 07:09 PM   #40
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