Now that you have a couple of ways of comparing costs of boats, we can start talking about actually acquiring your VolksCruiser.
I’ve noticed over the years that where the buying and selling of boats is concerned, the words “RIP OFF” are not as uncommon as they should be. More often than not, it’s the seller who gets the blame but in truth most of the time it’s the buyer ripping him or herself off.
How do you rip yourself off when buying a boat?
Well, for a start, you don’t know what the boat is worth, don’t know what it will cost to make its problems right, and while you’re inspecting the boat in question you’re either thinking where you’re going to install that brand new watermaker/integrated instrument system you’re itching to buy or thinking about being at anchor on the boat in some tropical paradise… Faced with such a buyer, the broker/owner of a boat simply has to stand aside and let you rip yourself off.
So, for a start, you have to know what the boat in question in turnkey condition is worth. For example let’s take a look at another boat…
The Irwin 37 is not a bad boat and a whole lot of people really like them. Irwin built a bunch of them in a variety of versions so there are a lot of them for sale at any given time. Because there are a lot of them for sale the price range is pretty wide but, it is safe to say, you can find a turnkey boat somewhere in the $29-49K area.
Since we’re talking about Volkcruisers, I expect, we’re only interested in the $29K sort and only then to use as a comparison to figure what that fixer-upper you’re considering is actually worth.
Irwins and the Irwin 37 in particular, while good boats in general, do have some known issues and just off the top of my head chainplates and centerboards jump to the top of the list. The chainplates because they were glassed in and have been a cause of rig failure so NEED to be replaced if they have not already been and the centerboard because a lot of Irwins are missing their centerboards and as a result sail to weather like a pig.
Either issue is not a reason to avoid buying the boat but should be factored in as issues needing to be budgeted into the overall equation. The chainplates are easy to fix and would only cost a couple hundred dollars in materials but it is an ugly time consuming interior disrupting job so you’d need to factor both materials, the actual work time and a couple of days in cleanup to fix the leftover carnage (angle grinder + glass fiber + interior of boat = one hell of a mess). The centerboard issue if missing or glassed in is more serious stuff but doable by anyone approaching handy but I’d rate the job at $7500 worth of costs/hassle factor.
I happen to know of an Irwin 37 for sale and the guy is asking $12K… Cheap huh? It does have its centerboard but like more than a few Irwins a previous owner has glassed it in. It has its original rigging including glassed in chainplates so that needs fixing and as the rigging (wire, etc) is far past its sell by date, that needs to be replaced as well. The interior needs a lot of work and the electrical system is downright dangerous that needs to be dealt with and there is still a lot of stuff we haven’t looked at…
The killer is that the engine does not run nor has the current owner ever had it running. In that sort of situation you really have to factor in a completely new motor/transmission ($12K sounds about right). Ouch!
Do the math…
All of a sudden that $12K boat is not looking so cheap and, even if you fixed everything and did a bespoke job doing it, at best you’d still only have a boat worth $29K. In spite of the fact that you’d be at least $39K or more out of pocket when the dust settled.
Of course, if you were to think outside the box it might actually be a worthwhile project but we’ll get into that later…