Click for Llebroc Click for CL Yachts Click for Cheoy Lee Click for Abeking Click for Nordhavn

Almost 50 year old boat, is it worth the project to update and refit?

Discussion in 'General Yachting Discussion' started by bernd1972, Jul 8, 2021.

  1. bernd1972

    bernd1972 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2011
    Messages:
    279
    Location:
    Flensburg, Germany
    Hi all, I am curious about your opi9nions. Is a 45 year old fibreglass boat, let´s say a Hatteras 58 Yachtfish, still worth doing an extensive refit, updating the electrics, full paintjob and redesigning the interiour (while keeping it mostly original of course)?

    Don´t try tot talk me out of that idea, it´s slightly too late, just jumped into it with both feet.

    However, let´s say a very original one without inadequate modifications like white painted walls, wallpapers and such disgusting stupidities, just more recent engines and, unfortunatelly, a slightly messy electric system with questionable details like breakers and fusses all over the boat in areas you would not even expect and inacceptable battery chargers and such. All repairs during the last let´s say 10 years, were done technically correct for themselves, however not in conjunction with the big picture and were done without a valid concept behind.
    The vessel had good times in the same family for 40 yearsreceived plenty of appreciation and attention like new engines and a very nice all new galley about 20 years ago, but probably spent the last few years as a backyard queen in a marina in Italy. Old owner was not a do-it-yourself-guy and had to pay someone for every job so many things that would have been reassonable were not done.
    On the other hand the boat has pretty recent electronics (with all the old outdated stuff sitting next to it and partially interfering, for example the three autopilot units.)

    Do you think a vessel would still be worth to be refitted to a good modern standard? Or is it a complete nonsense project comparing all more recent boats which can be had for reasonable money today?
  2. mapism

    mapism Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2008
    Messages:
    1,597
    Location:
    Sardinia
    Even without knowing the specific boat you are referring to, my (very personal) short answer is no.
    But no is my answer only because you asked about worthiness, which is a concept normally used from an economic viewpoint.
    More often than not, behind the refitting of vessels of that age there are personal, often sentimental reasons.
    Which are something that by definition nobody can argue against!
    So since you said that you jumped into it with both feet, the best contribution I can give you is summarized in two words:
    Good luck! :)
    bernd1972 likes this.
  3. bernd1972

    bernd1972 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2011
    Messages:
    279
    Location:
    Flensburg, Germany
    Well, I don't expect to make a profitable resale though I believe with this one (Hatteras 58 Yachtfish with good MAN engines installed 20 years ago and generally with good Bones) it even could bei possible.
    Got it for a bargain price and after the seatrial the owner replaced one aftercooler and the radar unit with new parts. Good working stabilizers and a very clean Interieur. At the moment I am at the boat doing a full paintjob since the old paint ist tired and flat allready makes it a completely different vessel...
    Guess I Just hope for someone telling me what I'm doing ist not completely insane...

    I really like that trawlerish style and can't affairs buying a Fleming .
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2021
  4. mapism

    mapism Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2008
    Messages:
    1,597
    Location:
    Sardinia
    I'm afraid you'll have to wait a reply from someone else then.
    'Fiuaskme, boat ownership is insane by definition - also when you buy a brand new one.
    Refitting a 45yo one is just another shade of insanity, but not necessarily more worrying than all others! :D
    chesapeake46 likes this.
  5. bernd1972

    bernd1972 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2011
    Messages:
    279
    Location:
    Flensburg, Germany
    Well, considering that I designed and built the 65ft. I had before myself I guess I'm making good progress. Two or three more and I might be cured... :D
    CJmesk likes this.
  6. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2008
    Messages:
    6,987
    Location:
    Miami, FL
    Insanity is buying a million dollars new 45/50 footer express style boat with minimal comforts knowing it will depreciate at an average of $80k a year in the first 5 years...

    Having spent $250k and counting in the last 5 years refiting a 1970 53 MY, my answer to your question is yes, it makes sense. To me.

    I still have a year or so to go and probably another $75/100k. But at the end we ll have the boat that we want, we the layout we want and the systems we want.

    that said I think it only makes sense if everything gets done. The first thing I did was install 5 new 3700 GPH bilge pumps with all new wiring, control panel, hoses etc. I wasn’t going to spend a dime without protecting my investm... spending.

    In addition to a repower (Cummins), new shafts and wheels, new plumbing, new electrical, new chiller system, trac stabs etc. I also decided to completely redesign the layout. As you know the 53 MY and 58 YF share the same layout, the only difference being the 58 cockpit

    I felt the galley down, forward bunks, small master and tiny guest room was completely outdated. So I moved the galley up and aft, combined the guest and master in a large master suite, converted the fwd bunks to centerline full size and moved the forward head to where the dinette used to be. Right now the old galley is my workshop but eventually it will become either a 3 rd stateroom or a study with pull out couch.

    while the changes meant most of the original interior is gone I ve tried to keep a similar style with a combination of wood (mostly mahogany) and some fabric panels to lighten it up a bit.

    I ve done a complete re wiring of the boat, as the original 1970 wiring left a lot to be desired. New Dc system is now 24 volts instead of 32

    I ve done most of the work myself... obviously if o had to pay standard yard rates, it would have made no sense at all.

    here is a walk thru video to give you an idea of the layout. I took it about a year ago... I ve made some progress since :)

    rtrafford, bernd1972 and gsholz like this.
  7. bernd1972

    bernd1972 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2011
    Messages:
    279
    Location:
    Flensburg, Germany
    Wow! I was afraid to be completely nuts. I was wrong, you are...:D

    Just kidding, you really got my respect for your achievements.:)

    I guess my way ist not half as long as I like the outdated layout. Besides that I intend to do a small bar with icemaker and wine fridge where you did your maindeck galley and a plancha type bbq in the place where the aft deck wetbar cabinet was.
    Fits my needs perfectly and I am perfectly happy with the lower deck layout, even though a second double bed cabin would bei nice. But I feel no need for a bigger master cabin or an additional cabin. So my way ist only to make the boat nice and reliable, perhaps a redesign of the flybridge area to make it more of a place for socializing while under way.

    Besides that, offering a much more generous guest stateroom only leads to guests staying long enough to completely deplete your wine cellar. :p
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2021
  8. DOCKMASTER

    DOCKMASTER Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2012
    Messages:
    1,010
    Location:
    Ketchikan, Alaska
    I'm confused. You ask in your title if it is worth to update and refit. Then you say "don't try to talk me out of it, I've jumped in with both feet". So, if you're full speed ahead what exactly is your question? Or are you just hoping to get some validation that you're not making a big mistake?

    From a financial standpoint you almost certainly will not recover your investment, and more likely you stand to lose a lot of what you put into it. That being said, if you enjoy the project and will get gratification from the boat when you are done then go for it. Assuming you can afford it of course. I've put way more into my boat then I ever have a prayer of recovering. But I like the projects and making the boat better almost as much as I like the results after completing them. I have no regrets. One can also buy a brand new boat, do nothing but use it and maintain it and it will lose value. Nobody should ever go into a boat expecting to stay whole financially let alone make money.
    chesapeake46 and bernd1972 like this.
  9. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2013
    Messages:
    7,110
    Location:
    Fort Lauderdale
    Don't ask us a question, the answer to which you're going to ignore. Good luck with your refit. Makes you happy, that's fine. Just don't ask us if it makes sense.
  10. KoffeeCruising

    KoffeeCruising Member

    Joined:
    May 27, 2018
    Messages:
    91
    Location:
    Fl
    The only things that makes sense to me are;

    1. Enjoy what you choose- either new or project
    2. Enjoy the process/journey…..whether that’s cruising somewhere or rebuilding— because it’s more important than the final destination
    3. Take your boat to a place where much bigger and more expensive boats docked so you feel can “responsible” vs all those crazy nuts with big boats. And the big boat guys can feel responsible by looking at that crazy nut restoring a work in progress. That way everyone is happy with what they have.

    Best wishes in yiue “journey”
    bernd1972 likes this.
  11. bernd1972

    bernd1972 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2011
    Messages:
    279
    Location:
    Flensburg, Germany
    Well, I bought the boat for a pretty good price because I liked it and had a vision what it can be. Besides that I had the money from selling my last boat and wanted to have a boat again instead of spending the money on complete nonsense.over the next years. So that's where I am now

    However, when I started to dig deeper Info all those "littlle project" they add up to quite a big one.
    Guess I was questioning a little what I started with that purchase and hoped for some orientation from others fellows who went the same way.
    I'm qualified and able to do most If not all of the work myself, but after adding up all those "little projects" the whole thing looked quite big. But boats are bigger anyway when you're sanding and repainting them from top to bottom which ist what I'm doing at the moment. So that's what made me question the whole story a bit.
    Nö need to tell me it's to late for good advice anyway so my question ist a waste of time.
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2021
  12. gr8trn

    gr8trn Senior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2012
    Messages:
    580
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    It’s a waste of time if this thread has no photos of the project and the progress, or at least specific project questions that cam be discussed.
    My last boat project was a 15 minute that turned out to be 5 hours. That is the normal way it goes for me.
    Hence, I will never buy a complete project boat.
  13. Oscarvan

    Oscarvan Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2015
    Messages:
    967
    Location:
    Chesapeake Bay
    If you enjoy the project and you can afford this little pleasure it is worth it. If you have the skills and the time you can keep the BS and the cost down not dealing with others any more than you have to. If you have two left hands and have to pay retail the boat better have some pedigree, or it will cost you a lot of money you'll never see back. But, if there's more where that came from........ See the first sentence.