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Old 06-11-2012, 02:41 PM   #61
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This is one of the main reasons I have chosen to build my own boat, with my own stumpy little hands.I have total control of every inch of the layout.If I have an issue with it,I can change it before it becomes a nightmare.If after the boat is finished,and I have an issue,I will have to take myself out behind the wood shed.
Once I started working full time in the marine industry...I was shocked and saddened by the lack of expertise and quality control you find across the board.

I have met stellar individuals and have the highest respect for many...but it is a speck in the universe compared to what you hear, see and get out of the industry in many cases.

There are true experts all over the place...but go one degree outside their expertise and their input on your boat is worthless.

Every day I spend hours investigating something I have heard or have seen and try and come up with the best solution...that concept is lost on many in the marine fiels and they will just install in their own little vacuum which for many boats is why the have issues down the road.

No one can know it all...but trying to make an effort to keep things in the middle seems to be a rare find. The huge yards with across the board experience seem to be the safest bet but are 1 in a 100. If you can't go to them....research...research....research.!
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Old 06-11-2012, 05:29 PM   #62
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In my experience with my 3rd liveaboard and 8th boat...and having worked on hundreds of others...

Many owners and the vast majority of yards install stuff with NO thought on how it's gonna be repaired/replaced/checked etc....and put it wherever convenient FOR THEM so if you want to add a system....you wind up undoing the stuff already installed to add the new so it fits/works/all can be accessed in the future...

No thanks....the frustration/money spent doing myself pays off big dividends in the future.

Now if you can't do the work yourself for whatever reason...then yes...if a boat was well equipped from the start...you might be better off.
While I tend to agree with you on the quality of work performed by some so called experts I still must stand by my statement that from a financial point of view, working with a limited budget you are better off to buy a boat with as many of these features installed by someone else as you can. The difference is that you don't have to fork out the thousands and thousands of dollars to purchase the equipment. Yes you may need to modify some installations but that is your labor and at a significantly reduced cost over starting a project from scratch.

You are in the industry, I use to be. I had many things available to me as a result of being in the industry that reduced costs over the average boater. This includes access to used, new and rebuilt along with all the parts and where needed special expertise from fellow workers.

But if you are already strapped for funds, looking to purchase a boat and make it a home then you need to start off with as much going for you as you can. You only need to apply your labor from that point. A lot easier than having to fork out $14K to install a heating system or $10K-$20Kk for a generator system.

I don't necessarily disagree with your point, but it all depends on each persons situation. In the case of the OP and others looking to buy a boat on a limited budget and make it a cruising home, it may make more sense to get as much as you can, provided it is serviceable and in good working order, when you buy a boat and then work to make it right should you need.
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Old 06-14-2012, 01:05 AM   #63
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In the best of worlds

In the best of worlds it would be nice to think everything installed on a boat( whether by the factory or an owner) But that is not always the case, in the case of electronics, fire suppression, most electrical additions or modifications. Having a real survey, not one designed to justify the sale price of the boat for a lender and buyer is critical. Both of you have good points. If you can find a boat that is clean and has most of the systems installed properly, you are way better off getting a boat with all the features. Your going to buy these features at a huge markdown. If they are installed wrong or poorly thought out. Or maybe obsolete and replacement parts are no longer available, you not only have the cost of replacement you have the labor to remove the poorly installed or old system. This is where you really need to do your homework and since none of us are experts, hire one to do your survey and ask questions of. Do a mechanical survey and spend time with the surveyor, ask the surveyor what he thinks of the systems and there installation, whether parts are available. Ask questions boats can become total money pits. What kind of fire suppression system, Co2, your insurance carrier will probably want it replaced. It cuts both ways, The adage buy the best used boat with the most features you want and can afford is still the best way to get the most value for your money, You just have to make sure you are getting the best boat. The older the boat the trickier the slope. Don't blindly fall in love with a boat. I bought a 36 year old boat that surveyed great and had been maintained by professionals and for the most part everything was done right. However things become obsolete and wear out, I've got better than $30 k in replacing obsolete electronics upgrading a waste system repairing old air conditioning systems with parts hard to get or no longer available. I have a water maker to repair that's 36 years old, I don't know whether it's better to tear it out or struggle with getting it going. I have a life raft to have repacked and certified, will I be replacing it as well? Just because the boat has the equipment, it doesn't mean that it's usable.
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Old 06-14-2012, 03:09 AM   #64
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Unless you are an expert,and maybe not even then, you never really know a used boat(maybe even a new one, eg Coot) until you own it for a while. You may only completely understand some systems when something goes wrong and you have to fully explore it to get a fix.
Pre purchase,I`ve used a "survey" check sheet of my own. Apart from making me look at things,it helps later comparing boats. Once I`ve chosen,I get a surveyor to check,and run, the boat; in Australia you get a written report; if you can be there for the survey, and the surveyor welcomes that, you learn a lot more.
I was surprised by posts in which courageous TF members report undertaking a long delivery voyage immediately after taking delivery. Despite survey and inspections,you won`t know your boat well until you`ve put some hours on it. You don`t want to discover the hard way the reason the owner sold it at what you thought was a bargain price. I have friends who undertook the long delivery voyage immediately after purchase of an older 40ft Columbia sailboat with a very good(far too good in fact) survey report,but in deteriorating weather got into so much trouble with multiple defects they needed a Coastguard rescue and tow, despite having a very experienced yachtsman on board who was basically kept busy keeping the boat afloat.
The second hand boat which is as perfect as you think at the time of purchase probably exists,but only rarely in my view.More likely anything you buy will have issues despite careful checks; you would be wise to expect some surprises and expense and to factor it into your total purchase cost expectations. BruceK
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Old 06-14-2012, 06:40 AM   #65
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Way more critical than a surveyor..is a person with experience in your model boat.

They can point out issues and areas of concern that a surveyor would never know about. The surveyor is good at picking up some of the stuff...but they usually miss a lot. Their "moisture meters" are often inaccurate (partially due to the limitations they face with the survey), they can't do destructive testing or "open things up"...etc...etc..

The bottom line on any boat new or used is "if it breaks...can you fix or replace it yourself?"....if you can't, the costs start to spiral out of control.

To bring my $57,000 dollar trawler up to almost new standards would take around $50,000 in parts but probably $150,000 in labor. At those prices it would have been better to look at new or almost new. But by doing the work myself, the boat will be better than new in some ways, the way I like things and I will know it like the back of my hand.

One limitation that buyers need to look at closely that can be the "point tipper"...if you run into a project you can't do yourself or the boat is a size that you just never catch up on major projects...then a fixer upper is a bad idea....go newer because it'll cost the same or you will become the yard queen..
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Old 06-14-2012, 10:41 AM   #66
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We are sort of between both worlds in that sense. We got a great deal on an older trawler that was pretty well-appointed (radar, chartplotters, diesel heat, genset, inverter, autopilot, dinghy, fuel polishing / filtratration syste, vacuflush heads, large house bank, etc) and now we can upgrade to new as we see fit.

Getting the basics in place lets you decide when old technology is "good enough" and when outdated stuff is worth upgrading while buying time with what you have in place.

Buying bare bones would be a spendy way to go. I think I agree with Papa Charlie on thise one. Let the PO pay for the toys and then use your duckets to upgrade them as the budget allows.
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Old 06-14-2012, 10:50 AM   #67
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Getting the basics in place lets you decide when old technology is "good enough" and when outdated stuff is worth upgrading while buying time with what you have in place.
A piece of advice we were given years ago and that has served us very well so far has been "Never replace anything on a boat unless it fails and can't be economically fixed or no longer does what you need it to do."

The point being that it can be very tempting to get into a continual "get the latest and greatest" buying spree when the reality is that one doesn't really need the latest and greatest to do what one wants to do. Boats are expensive enough as it is. Why make it even more so by replacing gear that doesn't need replacing?
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Old 06-14-2012, 10:52 AM   #68
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We are sort of between both worlds in that sense. We got a great deal on an older trawler that was pretty well-appointed (radar, chartplotters, diesel heat, genset, inverter, autopilot, dinghy, fuel polishing / filtratration syste, vacuflush heads, large house bank, etc) and now we can upgrade to new as we see fit.

Getting the basics in place lets you decide when old technology is "good enough" and when outdated stuff is worth upgrading while buying time with what you have in place.

Buying bare bones would be a spendy way to go. I think I agree with Papa Charlie on thise one. Let the PO pay for the toys and then use your duckets to upgrade them as the budget allows.
I find many cruisers get along without all the toys..not the dock sitters though...they never seem to get underway because something always needs fixin'...polishing...

My example would be the vacu-flush system...I loved'em when they first came out...but I would never own one now. I'm glad my sanitation systems were shot...allowed me to put in simple, inexpensive, easy to work on and way quieter than anything on the market that I have experience with. If my boat HAD another system...I would have felt obligated to keep fixing it till no longer an option...
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Old 06-14-2012, 11:12 AM   #69
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Why make it even more so by replacing gear that doesn't need replacing?
Simple. I figure I paid mere cents on the dollar for what the original owner purchased.

Autopilot is a good example: Old Encron system worked and would hold a course... but that's ALL it would do. The new Garmin GHP10 adds functionality like;

- Auto course generation
- Collision avoidance (MARPA/SOLAS
- Full N2K compatibility
- Pattern courses
- MOB auto-return capability
- Wireless remote
- MUCH more accurate course holding and corrections
- AIS and Radar integration

So... by making do with other systems that work, I can spend my money on systems I want to upgrade. I wouldn't have been able to discount the cost from a bare-bones boat, nor one that had a generation of electronics only 5 years older to justify the upgrade.

Some systems I believe are nearly essential to my boating preferences.
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Old 06-14-2012, 11:14 AM   #70
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Wisdom

Way more critical than a surveyor..is a person with experience in your model boat

One limitation that buyers need to look at closely that can be the "point tipper"...if you run into a project you can't do yourself or the boat is a size that you just never catch up on major projects...then a fixer upper is a bad idea....go newer because it'll cost the same or you will become the yard queen..

I find many cruisers get along without all the toys..not the dock sitters though...they never seem to get underway because something always needs fixin'...polishing...

A piece of advice we were given years ago and that has served us very well so far has been "Never replace anything on a boat unless it fails and can't be economically fixed or no longer does what you need it to do.

"Getting the basics in place lets you decide when old technology is "good enough" and when outdated stuff is worth upgrading while buying time with what you have in place.

Realistically know your limitations, both time and skill. Egos sometimes lead trouble.
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Old 06-14-2012, 12:14 PM   #71
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Autopilot is a good example: Old Encron system worked and would hold a course... but that's ALL it would do. The new Garmin GHP10 adds functionality like;
You've made my point. The autopilot that came with your boat did not provide the functionality you require. So it no longer met your needs, therefore it made sense to replace it. Other systems currently on your boat apparently do meet your needs, so you are retaining them which allows you to focus your funds on those items---- like the autopilot--- that need upgrading in order to provide the functionality you don't have but need.
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Old 06-14-2012, 12:28 PM   #72
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...if you run into a project you can't do yourself or the boat is a size that you just never catch up on major projects...then a fixer upper is a bad idea....go newer because it'll cost the same or you will become the yard queen.
Good points. Mechanical systems are examples of this in my own experience. I can get away from the dock without 90% of my electronics, but how I get to spend the funds available depends on what's left after buying the boat.
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Old 06-14-2012, 02:13 PM   #73
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I think for 40K, you might be closer to the 34' size. After 2 surveys gone bad in under 15 minutes I gave up on even looking at an older boat with a teak deck. I know a lot has to do whether it was in a covered slip or not and how well the deck was looked after, but I swore off of any old one with a teak deck. In both cases, it wasn't just the deck, it was the rotted fuel tanks underneath them. Main thing is just get a good surveyor.
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Old 06-14-2012, 03:41 PM   #74
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I know a lot has to do whether it was in a covered slip or not and how well the deck was looked after, but I swore off of any old one with a teak deck. In both cases, it wasn't just the deck, it was the rotted fuel tanks underneath them. Main thing is just get a good surveyor.
But if they're still in good shape and assuming the boat has lived under cover, they can sure be nice. Fortunately mine has been under cover for the last 17 that I know of and the survey results found no wet or rot. Ironically the only damaged wood I have is from a window leak on the forward stbd wheelhouse dash.

Lots of nice old trawlers out there and even with teak, if you get them under cover they'd be great liveaboards.
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Old 06-14-2012, 03:50 PM   #75
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Other systems currently on your boat apparently do meet your needs, so you are retaining them which allows you to focus your funds on those items---- like the autopilot--- that need upgrading in order to provide the functionality you don't have but need.
Had I not bought the boat fully outfitted though, I would be forced to spend monies on those more basic functions though.

Buying new... or bare bones doesn't save you that much. I still say letting the PO pay for those items puts you dollars on the dime ahead.
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Old 06-14-2012, 08:57 PM   #76
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A piece of advice we were given years ago and that has served us very well so far has been "Never replace anything on a boat unless it fails and can't be economically fixed or no longer does what you need it to do."
Why make it even more so by replacing gear that doesn't need replacing?
True. You could walk on board most boats and see something which could be repaired or redone,but an owner,exercising reasonable judgement,could well know the "something" has not yet reached the repair or replace point, taking into account current boat usage, and the risk of consequential damage.
That said,any boat owner should have a plan for contingency expenses,especially on a "new" secondhand boat. BruceK
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Old 06-14-2012, 09:11 PM   #77
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Greetings,
I fully concur with all the points made thus far regarding equipment replacement and preventive or deferred maintenance. That being said, the last time out my Garmin 530S went POOF so now I am without a depthfinder. I'm more nervous running without a depthfinder than without a GPS as I am still in the habit of using charts more than the electronics, Just have to pay close attention to my course and hope for no new shoals. Going to have to save up the pennies for a replacement unit so I will defer the purchase until a later date.
The antique Wood Freeman autopilot is still working well and even though it doesn't communicate with anything else, it still serves my purpose and I have no plans to replace it.
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Old 06-14-2012, 11:55 PM   #78
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I'm late to this thread, but I think it's wandered a bit from the original ask, which was for A) liveaboard that could B) cruise. Autopilots, electronics, depth instruments...all of these are for mission B - and if they aren't working, then perhaps you don't cruise that weekend. But for mission A, if you can't do that 24/365, you have a real problem. Besides that, I think we've all seen live-aboards that literally never left the dock - it's a lot harder than you imagine to make that happen.

FWIW, my boat (when I acquired it) was exactly that - a live-aboard for a female psychologist in Des Moines who removed all the electronics, the dinghy, the davit, essentially anything for mission B. And then installed household 120v appliances and was happy as a clam for 10 years. She reportedly did pay someone to start it up and take it out a couple of times a year so that the running gear wouldn't freeze up from disuse.

So...I'm going to suggest starting with the best live-aboard boat period. Let all the other features (diesel engines, twin engines, electronics, and - yes - teak decks!) go to people with other intentions. Here's something that could work:
45' Uniflite Yachthome (twin gas, but just look at that livability!)
1984 Uniflite Yacht Home Power Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com

There was one of these in my yacht club (on Lake Washington) that regularly cruised the San Juans and Gulf Islands.
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Old 06-16-2012, 10:46 AM   #79
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It usually costs a heck of a lot more to re-do an older boat than most people would think.
Having 're-done' several older boats I can tell you that the first few were pure losers. Put more money into them over a period of time than the boats were worth. The worst part about it was that one of those boats was never even used for fun and travel. Back in those times I had limited budgets I could do a lot of things that didn't cost much, just a lot of time. Then when the biggie finally comes up, like an engine rebuild and I didn't have the money, well, that,s when I realized I had a dock condo.
It took a few tries to finally learn my lesson.
From then on I found that the best boat for me (at the time) was one that I could sail and motor from Day 1. If you actually use the boat for it's ultimate intended purposes, even if in small doses, you will be more inspired to work on it and throw more money into it.
In conclusion, the last 3 boats I owned, including my present one, all had to have the same basic criteria before purchase: I could motor and sail from Day 1 and most importantly, the engine and hull, including the superstructure, has to be in very good condition. With this as your purchase criteria all the rest can be addressed as time and money allow. My best buy, was my Catalina 30 sailboat. The hull looked really good and the engine was great and the sails were in pretty good condition. Aside from that, nothing else worked - water pump, A/C, waste system, etc. were all toast. I had budgeted myself for $30K. The owner only wanted $15K because nothing worked and no one wanted a boat where nothing worked. I bought the boat for $15K and used the other $15K for immediate work. New A/C, new cushions, new bimini and dodger, new everything. When done, I had spent the original $30K budget and within 2 months, almost everything was new.
My new old boat was purchased with similar intentions. I bought the boat for the right price and still have enough $$ left over to rebuild/replace most everything with new stuff. Looking at yachtworld prices, with the purchase price and the additional money put into it, it will be worth at least what I have invested in it, if not more.
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Old 07-01-2012, 06:19 AM   #80
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Autopilots, electronics, depth instruments...all of these are for mission B - and if they aren't working, then perhaps you don't cruise that weekend.

Nonsense, A chair at the wheel is less fun than an AP , but does work.

Electronics ??? for ??? Depth sounder???

Use a paper chart , a pencil, and $50 hand held GPS and all the other trash is redundant..

To not go out on a great weekend for a lack of redundant twinky winkeys is rather silly.

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