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Buying First Boat as I Retire

Discussion in 'General Yachting Discussion' started by Pirate23, Jul 29, 2014.

  1. Pirate23

    Pirate23 New Member

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    I aM RETIRING SHORTLY AND WANT TO BUY MY FIRST BOAT. I will probably move to the Hilton Head area but am open to going farther south if the boating advantages are decidedly better. I hope to cruise perodically up to two weeks at a crack.
    My questions: What are the parameters I should use in selecting a boat?
    1. What is a good size to learn on and make my rookie mistakes? 38-42' has been suggested.
    2. Age? I want to buy used. I would like to stay below $300K but don't know what that gets me. I can go higher
    3, Quality or Quantity? Quality or size?
    3.5 Aft cabin or express, etc? I like going fast on toys but my wife is more subdued
    4. Resale: if I wake up in 2-3 years and discover a new hobby, what original purchase limits my downside and lets me sell my boat in a reasonable amount of time? I would expect to take a hit but a wise original choice might limit the damage.
    5. How much boat would I need to cruise to the Bahamas?

    I want to give myself a good initial experience so as to maximize the chance of making this a lifetime hobby.

    I am sure these newbie questions have been asked many times. Any help or direction to other posts/sites would be appreciated.
  2. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    1st boat

    There's no substitute for quality. Besides reliability, it comes back to you at resale (at the least by being easier to find a buyer). Your size sounds good from the plans you describe, and the price is reasonable. Now determine how fast you'll want to run (speed costs money), and how you'll use the boat. Will it for cruising with friends, fishing (what type), day trips or extended cruising? How many overnight guests do you expect? Will you be staying on the rivers and bays or heading for the ocean and expecting to encounter rough water regularly?

    Each question you ask yourself will lead yourself closer to your ideal boat.
  3. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    NYCAP has good advice and I too echo looking for quality. You really need to figure out how fast you really want to go, and what activities you really want to do (fishing?, snorkling? etc), and what basic style you're looking for. I'd also try to go with a diesel boat if you can.
  4. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    Only if they can be answered
  5. PacBlue

    PacBlue Senior Member

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    +1 on staying with a known quality brand.

    $300K can do pretty good on the used market today, but remember boating is more a lifestyle acquisition rather than a return on investment. If you are not mentally or financially prepared to see that $300K value drop to $150K after 3 additional years on a used boat, the experience may not meet your expectations.
  6. Pirate23

    Pirate23 New Member

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    I fully expect the value of the boat to be cut in half over three years. I would like to spend time primarily on the ICW and coastal cruising. What amount of range and speed are necessary to occasionally cruise to the Bahamas?
  7. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    I'll second that diesel. Once you hit 38 feet you don't want gas. It sounds like you might look toward something like a sedan bridge style.

    You'll want a minimum range of 200 miles as there are places that far apart between good fuel stops.
  8. Caltexflanc

    Caltexflanc Senior Member

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    Try before you buy. There are plenty of charter operations that will also provide instruction. This gets you on the water sooner rather than later and cuts down the mistakes dramatically... both in buying the right boat for you and in handling it. (or deciding that maybe boating is not for you after all).
    You really can't answer the critical questions correctly until you've had some experience.
  9. PacBlue

    PacBlue Senior Member

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    Knowing how much your annual operating budget would help to dial-in a suitable boat - how much are you planning on spending per year?
  10. Capt Bill11

    Capt Bill11 Senior Member

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    I agree with George. Charter a few times first.

    I do know of a boat you might find interesting. It's a 1985 42' Grand Banks sportfish model with 3208 CATs in it. So while you can run it at displacement speeds, you can also cruise it at 15 knots while it will top out at 19-20 knots. They only made about 12 of this model. Very capable of going to the Bahamas. It makes a great two person boat with occasional guests. And can be had for a very fair price. As in well under your $300,000 top end limit and you should not be looking at losing 50% of your investment over 3 years of ownership. It's in very nice condition with a fresh $10,000 bottom job. And could be chartered but with a captain only.

    PM me if it sounds of interest to you. And no I am not a broker.
  11. Old Phart

    Old Phart Senior Member

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    I dunno
    Is this the boat?

    "Raffles" Grand Banks 42' Yacht for Sale - YouTube
  12. Pirate23

    Pirate23 New Member

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    My uninformed budgeting was something like $30K for fuel. $30K for maintenance, insurance, etc. But this is without experience or a reference point.
  13. Pirate23

    Pirate23 New Member

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    Without a reference point I was thinking $30K fuel, $30K maintenance, insurance, etc., $8K marina.
  14. ddw1668

    ddw1668 Senior Member

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    There is a 97 model 47' Sabreline in CT that is right in your 'wheelhouse'...............(no pun:D) Appears to have had good care and upkeep over the years. I am sure that you would not lose half the value in three years on this boat.

    NOT a broker:eek:
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2014
  15. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    All these figures are extremely variable based on how much you cruise, at what speeds, and whether you dock in a back woods boatyard or a fancy resort marina. Maintenance will also be the luck of the draw. You may do not much more than winterizing, spring commissioning, oil changes, etc. or you could end up rebuilding a motor a week after buying the boat at a cost of
    $30K to $60K or more. One figure I do want to challenge however is that 50% depreciation. If you're dealing with a 20+ year old boat it shouldn't depreciate except for condition, but instead follow the economy. The economy is currently on the rise so it could theorhetically sell for more in a few years. (Please don't count on that however. Buying a boat should never be considered anything but a way to get rid of your excess money.)
  16. PacBlue

    PacBlue Senior Member

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    My suggestion of 50% depreciation was a gut check for some one new to boating based on a few things:

    While the economy may be trending up, the glut of used boats has contributed towards a buyers market. Larger than usual loa are available in the $300K range, but finding buyers is not as easy. It is surprising to see the sizes/types of boats that fall into the $150K range and less, never before have we seen name brand used 50' - 55' boats show up in this category.

    Depreciation for boats is a wild ride, and does not follow the economy exclusively. Since it is a buyers market, I would not advise him to purchase a 20 year old plus boat in that price range unless it has just left a reputable yacht with a comprehensive refit. It would be better to find that sweet spot where his $300K matches up with the latest model vessel in his size/capability requirement.

    For anyone to say that this boat or another (especially one older than 10 years) will have a future resale value of no less than some fictitious $$$ should share his crystal ball so we can all take it to Wall Street and turn it into boating money for the masses.
  17. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    The crystal ball is history. I've watched the boating industry die in virtually every decade since I started boating (1956). Every time it seems dead forever until one day you turn around and find you have to give bribes to get a slip, and the day after a boat is listed it's sold. During the first 3 years a boat dumps a huge amount of value including not only the boat, but the equipment added. Then depreciation tends to be more tollerable. After 20 years the price tends to be more affected by the general economy rather than depreciation. 2008 was a devastating economic shift. Boats were all but given away. That leaves room for growth as the economy improves. Those who bought older boats in 2009-10 should be in a good position when they sell if the condition is maintained.

    P.S. I'm talking about the small boat market. The big yacht market is often driven by many other factors.
  18. Old Phart

    Old Phart Senior Member

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    I dunno
    An 8oo pound gorilla says the economy will tank before three years.


    P.S.- End of statement; continue having fun. ;)
  19. PacBlue

    PacBlue Senior Member

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    Lots of the posters on this forum have decades of experience in the marine industry, I tip my hat to your nearly 60 years.

    But to remotely suggest, even "theoretically" , that buying a 20+ year old used boat today and reselling it 3 years + down the road and you can make money without a refit does a disservice to the OP, it just won't happen that way.

    But the more interesting attribute to the OP's search is to match a vessel that will meet his requirements, given a $30K fuel budget (call it 6,000 gallons per year at $5/gal). Factoring in ICW runs at low speed (75% of time) and good fuel economy (let's say 1nm/gal) and then high speed runs (25% of time) at lower fuel economy (0.3nm/gal) will give you an average fuel burn of approximately 0.825nm/gal, factor in generator use and call it 0.725nm/gal you get an annual usage of 4,350 nautical miles (roundtrip). Disclaimer - actual usage may vary ;) Another way to look at it is that is roughly 10 round trips a year at 435 nm.

    Depending on how ambitious the OP's cruising schedule is, that can get consumed pretty fast based out of the Carolina's (with trips to the Bahamas)and I would venture to say that Fuel Economy would drive the choice to more trawler than SF or Express?
  20. Old Phart

    Old Phart Senior Member

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    I dunno
    You may also desire to consider the second home option, so you may take a tax deduction.

    Might ease the pain of the boat's depreciation.