The Offshore Voyaging Reference Site

An Interesting Boat Decision—Buy or Walk?

Member Rob left an interesting comment a few days ago that got me thinking:

I have a boat on offer and am considering backing out of the deal.

The standing rigging is 41 year old rod, the rudder is wet, mold in v-berth, small leak in hull/deck joint, autohelm removed, small anchor locker (not sure how it could hold required rode) safety gear missing, no tender, no outboard, original DC panel, some “cosmetic” cracks in floor.

The following is not working: wind speed, radio, knot meter), stuffing box clamps need replacing, engine insulation needs replacing…

I am looking at 100% above offer price in updates. I would have a boat that is worth half of my investment. The uncertainty of insuring an old boat is concerning also.

At survey the batteries and water system was not hooked up and therefore all those systems could not be tested.

I think by writing this down I have made my decision. I thought this was the one and am not happy to let it go. It looked great and is from a reputable builder but was not updated where is matters most.

Here are my thoughts:

Your comment reflects the reality for so many who are considering an older boat.

My first reaction was that none of that should necessarily disqualify a boat if the basic structure is good.

In fact, sometimes getting a boat where all the kit is busted is a good thing as long as we get some price adjustment to compensate. This can be a better deal than buying a boat with a lot of older gear that still works, but won’t for long, but that the owner still wants to get paid for.

I don’t even see the rudder as a deal breaker, given that most older boats with fibreglass rudders on metal stocks will be in that situation and there is a solution. Many prospective buyers stick their heads in the sand about the rudder, so good on you for not doing that.

Also, most boats of this age will need the purchase price spent on them a second time on a refit. That’s just the way it is, as is the depreciation of that expenditure to near zero as soon as it’s spent. So good on you again for recognizing that.

All that said, I think you are right to walk away because of the too small anchor locker, since a decent anchoring setup is a fundamental need for cruising.

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