Is it worth it to buy a damaged boat?

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by Hebron Watson, Jul 13, 2007.


Is it worth it to buy the boat you'll read about below?

  1. Yes

    11 vote(s)
  2. No

    10 vote(s)
  1. Hebron Watson
    Joined: Jul 2007
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    Hebron Watson New Member

    Obviously it would depend on how damaged the boat is and what kind of deal you're getting on it, but what is your personal preference with fixing up a damaged boat or buying the pricier, in tact boat?...

    I am asking because:
    I've found a thirty foot sailboat for $11,000 on the internet. What's the catch? A fire started up in the kitchen once and the entire cabin has endured smoke damage. Also, the owner says that he can't give a statement on the condition of the engine and that it is the buyer's responsibility to check it out, which I swiftly interpretted as: the engine is either hardly working or dead.

    Do you think it would be worth it to fix the problem or would that be a bad choice?

    Thx to everyone reading this!!!:)
  2. timgoz
    Joined: Jul 2006
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    timgoz Senior Member


    Post some images & more details. Hard to make a choice when there is not enough info to properly evaluate the boat.

    Welcome to the forum.

  3. Raggi_Thor
    Joined: Jan 2004
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    Raggi_Thor Nav.arch/Designer/Builder

    Then the boat has to be special in some way, because there are so many other boats for sale. What about the smell, will you get rid of that?
  4. Bergalia
    Joined: Aug 2005
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    Bergalia Senior Member

    Is it worth it to buy a damaged boat

    Both Tim and raggi ask the essential questions. Pictures would help. From a 30 foot sailing craft the engine can't be too big to haul out and work on...if it's worth working on. Even so a second-hand or recon marine engine isn't going to cost that much.
    But the biggest question for me would be has the fire damaged any part of the hull structure. What is the fabric ? Timber, glass or steel. has the heat warped the fabric (steel) or in the case of timber produced 'brittle' patches, or blisters in the glass.
    The smell Raggi ? Well having spent my working life aboard a diesel powered fishing boat...And now working with goats, The nose soon becomes 'blind' to the smell....which will eventually disperse anyway. :)
  5. mydauphin
    Joined: Apr 2007
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    mydauphin Senior Member

    I have seem a couple Bar-be-qued boats before, they can be repair so it looks like nothing has happened. Engines where better than we thought, had to replace hoses and such but otherwise ok. However, I would never buy them - if hull got black on inside. Simple reason fiberglass lost HARDNESS, the top layers got cooked off. If would repair by sandblasting and reglassing with roving and epoxy. But then is that worth it. Also how are sails? Cost of sails and rigging more than engine.
  6. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    With a substantial investment in a "fix-er-upper", it would be nothing but wise to have her gone well over by a surveyor.

    I wouldn't recommend this type of "project" boat for anyone, who didn't have a healthy budget, a fair sense of humor and the ability to wait. If you are jobbing out the majority of the repairs, then it likely wouldn't serve you to take on this yacht. If you are able to perform many of the repairs yourself, you may find success. Many more of these types of projects are started then ever completed. Planning and keeping to a budget are the keys to success.
  7. stonebreaker
    Joined: May 2006
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    stonebreaker Senior Member

    I voted yes, because I get as much pleasure out of fixing things as running them. If you don't like fixing things, then it won't be worth it.
  8. charmc
    Joined: Jan 2007
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    charmc Senior Member

    It all depends on the extent of the damage. If it's truly smoke damage only, then, yes, it might be worth fixing. Auxiliary engines are pretty rugged, not too difficult to repair, unless the owner ran it without oil or cooling water for any length of time. Worst case; buying a used or rebuilt engine isn't too bad an expense if the hull and deck are sound.

    If there is damage from exposure to excessive heat or actual flame, then it's probably not worth the work and cost to repair well enough to restore hull and/or deck integrity.

    The answer depends on the results of a thorough inspection, maybe a full survey.
    1 person likes this.
  9. SamSam
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    SamSam Senior Member

    I asked somewhere before and can't recall getting an answer. It was stated that cured epoxy heated to 180 degrees or so was ruiness to it's chemical and actual structure. I wondered what the temp was for polyester. If a fire is enclosed, even a small one can heat up a small space to temps way above 180 and I would think things like bulkhead tabbings would become suspect if not the hull and deck itself.
  10. timgoz
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    timgoz Senior Member

    It would be nice if Hebron could provide more details & some images.

    He seems to have dropped out of his thread. :)

  11. USCGRET/E8
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    USCGRET/E8 Senior Chief

    I would not pay 11K or anything near it for a fixer-upper, unless it was only a few years old. The year was not posted.
  12. LMannyR
    Joined: Jul 2007
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    LMannyR Junior Member

    I enjoy fixing things. So I would say if you have the dough, why not?

    I'm doing one now.. a 1983 Wellcraft Aft Cabin with a blown 5.7 merc.
  13. Kaptin-Jer
    Joined: Mar 2004
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    Kaptin-Jer Semi-Pro

    If you need a "therapy" and you are really motivated and you don't have any time restrictions , re-building a damaged boat or restoring a heritage boat is the most self satisfying thing I can think of to do. Contrary to some of the posts I have read, you don't need a lot of money, and the money you will be spending will be spread out over a long time. (possably as much as 5 years if you only have the week-ends to work.) I started out with a 26' project that I bought for $800.00. worked on it for 4 years, gained a great deal of experience and with the help of the very knowledgeable people on this forum competed the boat. I sold it on Ebay and with the money I made I purchased my current boat, a 38' Benny that was cracked in half, sunk and rolled during a hurricane. I have worked 2 years on it so far, I figure another 2 to "finish". I have been offered $40,000.00 for it already, and only the top side is complete. but this is my retirement boat and not for sale. If your dream is to have a yacht that you can't afford, like to work hard and get very dirty on the week-ends, this is the way to go.
  14. RHP
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    RHP Senior Member

    If the fire was bad enough to damage the engine then you'd have to worry about the integrity of the hull especially if GRP. $11,000 is a good price based on what? mast, sails, anchor and chain as by the sound of it you'll have to replace everything else - interior, wiring, electronics, engine, galley, plumbing etc... Would it be fun - possibly, would it be a good deal? No. Bucketload of work for emotion gain only. Go find something that needs TLC and not a complete rebuild.

  15. Ramona
    Joined: Feb 2007
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    Ramona Senior Member

    Epoxy will become soft when heated but regains its strength when returned to normal temperatures. Obviously there is an upper limit to how much this applies.

    I have a friend whose 48 foot yacht was still in the mould when a bush fire ripped through the area, destroyed the factory building etc. The mould was 2 foot from the building wall on the outside. The insurance paid the boat building company out for the damages but when it came to this hull they made the company do core samples to check for any effect of the fire. This was a fibreglass resin hull and very thick. It was found to be in excellent condition, the company doing the tests actually made the statement that the hull had cured better than normal.
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