Project boat cost, value and risk. My thoughts

Sep 3, 2012
Hunter 285 Grand Rivers Ky
Boat value and Risk. (Just my opinion)

All boats have some risk and some value.

When owning boats (sail or power) I learned an important lesson for internal happiness. Get a good quality ledger book for costs, just don't quite let the pencil actually touch the paper.

It seems people who monitor actual costs start looking at their pride as an investment And not a source of learning, challenge, and happiness. Some people are happy just sailing, others are happy working with their hands. And some like both. If you like working with your hands, get the project and be happy. When it stops being fun and rewarding, get rid of it.

If you want a boat you can just sail now, get one that sails now. If you want a project to work on, get a project. You can always part it out and sell the keel for scrap when the price of metal goes back up in a few years. If you want something to become proud of, get a project and actually complete it! Most people never finish projects. I recommend do it in stages. Get the boat repaired enough as quickly as possible to be safe in the water even if it looks bad. Put it in the water in an early stage and trial it. Perhaps then back on a stand and do more work and repeat. Enjoy the work, the figuring out how to do this and that. Embrace this experience in life that will never come again. Note of caution, don't expect others to understand. And don't expect to get it sailing in a month. Consider working on it then sail it while working on it in steps. Knowing that you can sell it later and have knowledge and memories that are valuable... Don't worry about taking less than the money you have in it. The experience is surely worth the money paid.

this quote: "And then there is the most dangerous risk of all -- the risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later." Randy Komisar

Don't wait, get a boat and get busy, well, unless you want to stay at work, earn lots of money, then your next of kin will waste it after your dead.... Just my opinion, thats all on a stormy rainy day...
Sep 20, 2014
Rob Legg RL24 Chain O'Lakes
Scope creep is your worst enemy.

My first monohull had issues, but I never intended on keeping the boat long term. This limited the budget, and forced me to not enlarge projects just because they would be neat to have. It was surprising how many things I would have like to have done, but forced myself not to, because of the limited budget. I did the jobs complete, and did them right, but just disciplined myself to not let them get out of hand.
Feb 29, 2016
Oday 25 NH
I think I lucked out. I bought a project boat that I was told was 80% finished. I have not spent much on this boat at all so far. Many of the things I thought I would have to buy, I found below deck. Still going to cost some money but not as much as I first thought.
Oct 22, 2014
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
Know the experience. Took the mast down because I was concerned about the wood spreaders (original 1974 equipment - which turned out to be rotten and collapsed like a sponge when squeezed ). Once down I could see other issues and ideas that would be "neat to have". And it started. Became a restoration project along with some update ideas.

Replaced all the wire rigging. New terminals, new aluminum spreaders, added a stay sail halyard and rigging to give me a cutter option, all new rope running rigging inside mast, added 2 self-tailing winches to mast, new LED lights and wiring, refit internal conduits, removed/refurbished mast step and re-bedded, new in mast thru hull wiring design for VHF/Electrical/Radar cables, Chainplates - removed pitting cleaned up - polished and passivating of stainless, refurbished boom, changed outhaul rigging, simplified reefing system to match Main Mast halyards, internalized lines, added small winch and outhaul camcleat. That's most of it.

All this will make sail management easier and safer. The rigging age was unknown and while it looked ok most of the turnbuckles and terminals appeared to be from the late 70's.

Safe and known is always better than oops.
May 24, 2004
CC 30 South Florida
We all have different approaches. My challenge for a project boat would be to test my abilities to get it back in the water as quickly as possible for as little money as I'm able and then put a for sale sign on it. If I want a boat to sail now I would purchase one in good condition and ready to go. If I wanted to restore a boat I would hunt for a boat model that is desirable and worth the effort when finished. I certainly do not believe in a long drawn out project to restore a nondescript production model with no special appeal.
Sep 2, 2011
Hunter 27 Cherubini Alum Creek State Park
I'm currently doing exactly as you describe. It was seaworthy when I got her, but nothing to look at, and several systems needed major upgrades. At the point now of prepping the top sides for a repaint, then get her back in the water for a summer of sailing while I work on prettying up the cabin.
Next winter I'll add AP, and Navigation gear in prep for taking her to the East coast and years of sailing. This is my 3rd, and hopefully last project boat.

Love the work, but want to see some of the world while I still can.