How much does it cost to fix an old sailboat? 2

Well, such a loaded question. As you may have already heard, you can spend as much as you have or as little as you need. When we were deciding on whether or not to buy a new(er) boat in great condition, or to buy an older boat to fix up, we considered several things before making the decision on which we wanted to buy.

On a side note, if you decide to buy boat that requires a lot of work or a complete refit, the advantage of that is that, not only do you learn all the systems of the boat and where all the wire/pipes are, you also have the advantage of becoming an “expert” in those systems.

First of all, you want a boat that floats. That said, you need a good hull and through hulls that are in good condition. Hauling out to replace through hulls and paint can be costly, so that has to be factored in.

Beta 60 being installed

Secondly, the engine needs to be considered. This is second because of the expense in repair or replacement. We spent quite a sum of money replacing the old Volvo that was in our boat. We went with a Beta 60 from Beta Marine primarily because Beta Marine is still building their diesels using tried and true old-school technology. Their Beta 60 can be bought for just over $19k as of the date of this article and they are great engines.

Rig inspection

Third on our list is the standing rigging. This can also be an expensive repair or replacement. We have not had to replace any standing rigging probably because our Morgan was a liveaboard for so many years and the previous owners didn’t sail her very often.

Cold plate

In addition to those items, there are other areas that might need attending to. Buying new sails is just under the cost of replacing the rigging, so check your sail inventory and condition! Refitting the galley was a big expense for us. The previous owner had cut out part of one of the cabinets and put in an apartment-sized refrigerator. Needless to say, that had to go! We had the cabinet rebuilt and we installed cold plate refrigeration as well as a drawer refrigerator, then installed a new stove.

In Summation: 

By the time we were finished with the most expensive parts, we had spent in excess of $75k. Although that whittled away a bit at our retirement, in the end, we considered the expense to be part of renovating our home. When you think of it in those terms, it really makes sense. We didn’t want to go into debt, so we paid for (self-financed) everything ourselves. To go into debt would have gone against everything we have worked for since the 2008 crash. So, you can spend as much as you want, but you really should spend as much as you need to get the boat into a safe condition for sailing her in the waters that you plan to sail in.

Please feel free to post questions. We love to help others get out there and sail!

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About Captain Tom

Over 10 years sailing and over 3500 miles under our keel. Was an engineer (EE) for over 30 years, then after moving into management, decided that the corporate world was no longer for me. Ran my wife's law office for 15 years and recently retired. Now we live aboard and sail the California coast, soon to leave for the Sea of Cortez.
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Gary Green
5 years ago

75 grand ?

Sail Before Sunset
5 years ago
Reply to  Gary Green

Yes. We bought everything new because we knew it would all have to last us the rest of our lives.