/Refitting an Old Boat Can Work…For Some

Refitting an Old Boat Can Work…For Some

©John Stone

Many of you long-term readers know that, when the subject comes up of buying an old and tired boat and refitting it as a way to get out there ocean voyaging inexpensively, I tend to be a spoil sport and start throwing around a lot of cold reality.

The Down Side

My four main problems with this course of action are:

  • Many (most?) people who take on a major refit are new to cruising-boat ownership, which poses a problem since the only way I know of to get the experience to do a proper refit is…to do a refit—a Catch 22 if ever there was one.
  • Very often the owner selects, because of their inexperience, a boat that has poor bones or, worse still, will never be a good boat for their needs, so that  they are no closer to having a good offshore boat at the end of years of work than they were at the start.
  • In most cases, the refitted boat costs more than buying a newer boat would. And if the owner cranks in their own time, even at minimum wage, that’s pretty much a certainty.
  • Generally, the economics go like this: buy old boat for X, spend 2 * X on refit, sell refitted boat for ~1.2 * X. The sad fact is that even beautifully refitted old boats are not worth a lot more than other old boats.

How do I know all this with such certainty? I learned it from my old friend Poor Stupid Bob (see Further Reading below).

The Up Side

But every so often I come across someone who has made a refit work in ways that has both given them pleasure during the refit and resulted in an offshore boat they love and actually go places in.

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