Some basic economics…

So, about that Westsail 32 project question…

  1. Buy the $50K boat and sail off into the sunset.
  2. Buy the $30K boat do the needful TLC and sail off into the sunset.
  3. Buy the $30K boat do a major refit to the tune of a few years and $66K and sail off into the sunset.
  4. Buy a cheap fixer-upper W32, fix what’s needful and sail off into the sunset for around $25K.
  5. Look at boats that are cheaper with the same qualities of the W32 and sail off into the sunset with a lot more cash in your cruising kitty.

From where I sit the obvious answers are 1, 4, and 5. The first option for those with money buying a ready to go boat makes sense. Options 4 & 5 (as well as 2) makes sense for those with more time than money. Me being cheap and one who enjoys working on boats you already know I’d be all over the cheapest seats option.

That said, what about the third option? What the hell kind of sense does that make?

Well, none actually…

The thing is, I read a lot of blogs of people fixing up sailboats to go cruising because I like to see how others tackle problems and I learn quite a bit as a result because education is a continuing process (or should be). In doing so I’ve encountered an alarming trend of boat projects as a consumerists wet dream with the out of control Westsail third option project is just such a beast.

All boat projects are going to cost money and, more than likely, a bit more than we would prefer… It’s a given. On the other hand, if you’re going to build a shrine to the consumerist faith it’s a whole different ball game.

Boats are a commodity and while the prices of used/new boats fluctuate, most boats actually do have a perceived value. Using the Westsail 32 as an example, my maximum valuation of a well equipped W32 in near perfect/pristine condition is somewhere close to $50K. With that number in mind we can do some simple math and figure out what we should be spending on our boat project…

Let’s say you’re thinking of buying a W32 for $30K just how much money should you budget for the refit? Since a boat that doesn’t need work and is as near perfect as a boat can be costs $50K it’s a pretty easy equation…

50 – 30 = 20
So that’s a maximum budget of $20K wasn’t that simple? Truth of the matter is, done right, you should actually be able to do it for a lot less.
While we’re doing math, let’s look at how that third option W32 looks…
50 – (30 + 66) = -46
Sure looks like someone spent $46K too much somewhere. Sadly this is such a common thing in most folks fixing up a boat experience, it’s become very close to the norm.
Next up we’ll be talking about how to tell the difference between needful, less than needful, and just plain stupid expenditures where rehabbing a boat is concerned…

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1 thought on “Some basic economics…”

  1. Or do a combo of Chris Morejohn and Hans Klaar: find a inexpensive waterfront build site, preferably in amerika the jaded, or in the third world (like HansK in Africa), build prime Morejohn type flattie strip planked of locally milled wood (way cheap as I can attest to her in Chiapas, Mex), throw on ply overcoat bedded in roofing tar, cheap chinese lugsail rig on local grown pole mast, roll into water on local propane bottles (per Klaar). One of the few ways to get a shoalie for bargain bucks before "bucks" become meaningless bits of toilet paper. Or do the same in a port that has a ship breaking operation and buy said steel black market style. Veracruz and Lazaro Cardenas come to mind here in Mexico.

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