Dont forget it isnt just the hull and sails that age. Masts dont last for ever and certainly engines and rigging and winches and other deck hardware have a finite life. And they are the major part of the cost of a new boat - the equipment not the hull.
I am in this exact situation right now.
I purchased a Halcyon 27 back in 2008 when I moved from the US to Europe which was very much in sail-able condition although with the original SABB engine. It was my idea to upgrade her over a couple years and then go for some extended cruising and possibly a transat back home.
As it worked out, the engine didn't last as long as I had hoped, only made it from Essex to Boulogne sur Mer, so I replaced that, first with an outboard and then a Yanmar 15hp back in winter 2009/2010.
I have found that in reality I prefer sailing her more than working on upgrades in port so I have made due with a boat that is functionable but not always the most convenient as far as creature comforts for the time being.
I have managed to save a bit of cash over the past couple years so I am cuurently looking for a decent boatyard to get some of the more critical essentials - rigging, sails, ground tackle, replacement fuel tank etc - taken care of before an extended cruise starting spring of next year. Of course the upgrades I pay for to have done versus the upgrades I tackle myself when I have a bit more time will depend significantly on the cost estimates of each item.
Could I justify this method with anyone with financial sense? Absolutely not, I will probably have put into the boat 2-3 times the amount that I could ever imagine getting out. Sometimes I consider selling her and combining that with my "upgrade fund" to buy something bigger/newer/nicer/better prepared etc etc. But then I figure there would still be some expensive items to be added/changed/replaced in order to be cruising ready and I wouldnt know the boat as well as do my current boat. So I stick with my classic plastic - she's slow, she's not always confortable, she's not very spacious...doesn't do much of anything better or faster than newer boats (well, maybe heave-to) but she fits my needs quite nicely and I'm pretty happy with that.
I was lucky. I bought this: http://www.internautica.de/lysander/ from some friends for £16k.
She was berthed where I wanted her, sensitively restored with all the bits and pieces which may warmer climate living aboard for two just right.
Might need new engine £4000 or so
So approx £7000-10000 plus your own time. More if you need to pay engineers and shipwrights.
Of course you might also need/want new upholstery and headlining, sprayhood or cockpit enclosure, fuel, water and holding tanks, tender and outboard, topsides respray, new spars, coloured sails, bottom blasted and epoxied, fenders and lines, etc
Last edited by Twister_Ken; 20-04-12 at 10:24.
Next time, it'll all be different.
I've owned 7 boats and only one was new. My favourite boat was Adriana, a 32' Pearson designed by Phil Rhodes, in many ways not unlike a Nich 32. She was built in 1967, one of the earliest fibreglass production boats. She already had a new Yanmar 3GM30F and an electric windlass and good ground tackle.
She had no structural issues - this is very important.
We refitted the interior, added a fridge, bought a new main, painted the hull and mast, redid some of the electrics.
I paid $25,000 for her, spent about $10,000, and she provided the basis for a three year full time cruise. Had I needed to put more money into the boat I couldn't have spent three years in that life changing, hedonistic pursuit!
If you don't get too ambitious the way to go sailing 'now', instead of 'when we can afford the right boat' is to do up a good old boat, no doubt in my mind.
I repeated the exercise a few years later with a 41' ketch and took another 3 years out - same deal, I couldn't have made it happen if I'd had to spend a huge sum on the boat.
Most recently I bought a Compac 19 for a song and it's provided loads of mini-adventures on Lake Windermere and the canal system (with rig removed and bigger motor added).
IMO it depends on whether you want to spend your time and money doing DIY or going sailing!
One thing to be said for the DIY route is that you get a refurbed boat set up how you want it. The problem with that is that you will not really know how you want it till you have been out living with the boat for a couple of years.
I lived with a 'small' (23ft) boat for 16 years all the time dreaming and planning what I would like when I could afford it, so when I changed I new exactly what I was looking for. Obviously you would be more than lucky to find a boat that you could afford that ticked all the boxes, but I found one that ticked about 85%, so over the first couple of years of ownership I added the electronics that were missing then in the last 10 years changed and added other bits. All this additional cost was manageable as it has been spread over 12 years and in that time I've had 12 years of good sailing.
Which takes me back to my opening sentence
I bought my Vega for £10k, a bit over the odds in the current climate but she had a newish Beta engine, 8 sails, self-tailing winches, headsail furling, folding prop. I have spent in the region of £2.5k so far, on:
Navik windvane steering £400
Chart Plotter £500
VHF DSC £100
HH VHF £100
Partial rewire £150
Reinforce mast support beam £100
I think for what I've spent compared to what I have now in terms of what the boat is capable of is fantastic. If I was thinking of doing serious ocean crossing I would do the standing rigging, that would be another £500 and think about the windows (only a rubber seal holding them in). I think if you choose carefully a decent boat capable of serious work with at least a replacement engine and a decent set of sails can be had for significantly less than £10k, spend another couple of grand and you should have a boat fit for pretty much anything...
Last edited by V1701; 20-04-12 at 19:05.
I have an old 26fter, an Invicta. She was a bit rough when I bought her five years ago but she managed to get me from Cardiff to the West Coast of Scotland.
She was a bit less rough, new standing and running rigging the next year when she got me from the West Coast to Edinburgh.
Less rough again the next year, a bit of internal decoration, a new stove, and she carried me to Norway and back.
And the next year, more sailing, a few more improvements and so on.
The windows still leak a bit but thats not the end of the world.
If the boat is basically sea worthy then that's enough to start with. There's an awful lot of stuff that people put on boats these days that you really do not need...............refridgeration .....in Britain?
I think Fascadale has nailed it. 'If the boat's seaworthy ...'
After that it's preference and personal priority. I've been upgrading my boat for a cruise to Shetland this summer - a lot of the expense has been to give my partner peace of mind, as I'll mostly be singlehanded. So I've bought a liferaft, and upgraded my electrics - fitted an inverter and invested in a towed/wind generator. The towed bit is so I can run the autohelm (rather than investing in a windvane), the wind bit is so I can keep the battery topped up at anchor to run the inverter to charge the phone so I can call home ....
But then I've had her 20 years, so have done the standing rigging, the running rigging (some of it more than once), replaced the log, the scratched to the point of unreadable compass, and the stove, installed a cabin heater - attended to the sailing necessities and then the comforts required by increasing age. Just start with the seaworthy.
Last edited by Sidedrum; 20-04-12 at 22:17.