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Date Posted: - Monday - 01/ 5/15 - 11:36pm
Author: Randall
Subject: Labor is the big expense...
In reply to: Colby 's message, "Looking at a Mariner 31-- Do I go for it?" on - Sunday - 01/ 4/15 - 1:54am

Hey Colby,

Couple quick thoughts about your potential purchase:

1. You should probably assume that, if the boat has not already been rebuilt, it will need it. If you are just going to lake and bay sail, maybe patching the decks, etc., is fine. But if you really want to visit the ocean, I'd consider redoing the boat as I've done. At this point she's nearly twice your age. Sea Otter looks to be a lovely, solid boat...but if she's been in the PNW all these years... well, you get it.

2. That said, DON'T think you must do ALL these jobs all at once or before you go sailing. I rebuilt Murre over 8 years. I'd sail the summer weekends, anchoring, playing around, pushing her hard, and then I'd put her in a covered berth in the winter and work-away...one project per winter, or every other winter. I sailed my imperfect boat FAR MORE than the vast majority of Hunters and Catalinas and what not, even with her spongy decks and half rotten bow sprit. This has implications re cost: i.e. you don't need to be able to afford her entire rebuild right now. The work will take time, and so will the expense. BOTTOM LINE HERE from my perspective, work with the surveyor to establish that this boat is plenty usable now. You need to be able to sail her, to have fun now, in order to stay motivated--it will see you through the rebuilding.

3. Rebuild cost is mostly labor. If you do the work yourself you will a) save a ton; b) learn a ton. I doubt I will ever know a boat as well as I know Murre, and that's because I spent many a winter afternoon wondering...literally thinking through...how she'd go back together and how I could make her stronger.

I never tracked materials cost. Should have, but would have made me weep. One thing you might consider is to look at the end of my two big write-ups on the deck and then the cockpit rebuild. I list materials I used there. You could price those materials out yourself at today's costs...plywood, resin, paint, cloth, etc., and you'd have a good estimation of costs.

There is a well-worn adage about boat expenses, something like "make a budget, check the numbers, be very precise ... and when you are sure you have the right figures, *double them* ... and that will be about the right amount for your boat project."

This is a nice way of saying that no, you can't afford to buy this boat. It it will always be a major expense item in your life; it will take all your money and may cost you a girlfriend or two. It is the same with ALL of us.

BUT while she will always cost you, she doesn't need to be super-expensive. Buy Annie Hill's VOYAGING ON A SMALL INCOME and give it a read. Lots of tips there on boat building and cruising on a budget. Also, consider buying a smaller, all glass boat to start with. My first boat was a 24 foot raised cabin Columbia, 1967 vintage. Cost me $2500; had terribly old sails, old rig, old cushions below, but I didn't care...she was bomb proof and we sailed all over the place.

There's another adage appropriate to you should you choose this boat. It was made famous by Bill Kranidis, patron saint of Mariners. To wit: If you have a hammer and a saw, you can repair your Mariner and make her strong.

BTW, you are asking the right questions and clearly thinking it through. It's best to assume you must do all the work yourself. If that doesn't excite or intrigue you, give it a good long think...

Hope that helps a little.

Best of luck,

RR

PS. Buying Murre was a terrible mistake. When I bought her, I entirely misjudged how much work she'd be. Murre changed my life. Murre was like a boat ownership university. Murre taught me everything I know, and then she took me safely and with great pleasure to Mexico, to Tahiti, Hawaii and Alaska. I'm not saying every sailor wants to tear his boat to pieces and build her back up again before sailing to paradise; I didn't. But it worked out just fine.

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Replies:

[> hard yakka but worth it for me -- Caleb Bloxham Ardea #115, - Monday - 01/12/15 - 3:32am

Gday, we also bought our boat in need of a bit of repair and upon digging found that replacement was more the word.

It cost us about $15000 nzd and 3 months of full time labour, blood, sweat etc.

We replaced the decks, rebuilt the mast step, replaced the chainplates (3 were cracked right through and the rest weren't flash) repainted everything and a whole heap of little items, one day soon when I find some time I will post a write up. We got an excellent deal and I would have happily paid twice the price for the deal we got. We pulled the rig and went in to a shed and lived on her the whole time!

Would I do it again? Still on the fence on that one. I'm in a situation where I should probably sell the boat due to career comittments getting in the way of our plans to sail the pacific for a few year, but as yet I can't find the heart to put her up for sale even though it would probably be best.

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