Many of you may be wondering how we afford to buy and sell boats. The truth of the matter is that we are really good at fixing stuff that other people do not want to worry about.
Way back when Billy noticed an old forgotten about sailboat that had been sitting in the same marina year after year. After doing a lot of reading he decided that this old boat would be a perfect little ocean cruiser if he could fix her up. She was a 1977 Victoria Frances 26′.He decided to make the marina an offer. He offered to take this sailboat off there hands so it would clear up space for new paying customers. Good try, but fat chance. They counter offered with $800, still a crazy good deal. The next few summers were spent sanding, grinding, fiberglassing, and painting to make that old gem look new again.
Billy put about $2000 into Tula but also did not pay for rent for two years.
When Jetty and I came along we went on a few trips and decided we needed a little more room for the three of us to be comfortable. We posted Tula for sale on Craigslist and sold her for $7,500. We took that money and found a couple that were looking to sell their 1974 Marine Trader Trawler. They had bought her as a total project boat but did not have the time they were hoping to work on her. When we bought this old trawler she was pretty bare besides the engines, a non-working generator, and home depot cabinets. The previous owners did, however, add in new fuel tanks, water tanks, and added aluminum windows which was a big plus. We had a little bit of Tula money left over to start investing back into the boat. We installed new solar panels on a custom aluminum bracket, repaired a lot of rotten wood, varnished all the teak, made beds for the berths, added a refrigerator and toaster oven, did a total paint job on the decks, cabin top, and hull, and did some upgrades to the engine. We estimated that we put about $10,000 on top of her original purchase price. If we had someone else do the work that cost would have been more than double.
This may sound like a lot but think about how much money we saved on rent. We lived on our trawler for three years primarily in Jupiter, Florida. On the low-end if we were renting an apartment in Jupiter we would be spending around $1000 a month. That is $36,000 in three years!!
A few months ago we decided we wanted to get back to sailing so we could travel farther. Jetty and I are not huge fans of heeling over so we all figured a sailing catamaran would be best. It was time to put Neverland for sale. Between all the work we put into her and comparing other trawlers on the market we listed her on Craigslist for $25,000 knowing the buyer would try to negotiate a little. We were lucky enough to get an offer on the first showing for the amount Billy and I both previously agreed to settle on.
So that means it was time to go boat shopping or in our world Craigslist searching. Unfortunately, there are not that many older sailing catamarans for sale and the cheaper cats are not as well reviewed for blue water cruising. We searched the internet far and wide, Craigslist up and down the east coast, boat trader, sailboat listing, and boatyard auctions. We were looking for something that needed a little work and was known to be a blue-water cruiser, but still low enough in price that we could afford.
We had been saving for a new boat for a while and had put the Neverland money right in the bank but our budget was still under $60,000 (We came up with this number considering how much we had saved and how much we had been approved to loan). We found a few possibilities but one listing that caught our eye from the beginning was titled “Catamaran for Adventure”. Her name was Adrenaline and she was listed at $45,000. We went to look at her and both fell in love. The design is not typical of a “condo” cat and the headroom is limited (good thing we are short) but it seemed to be the perfect adventure boat for us. She needed quite a bit of work but nothing we could not handle. We did some research on her make and model and found out the designer was Lock Crowther a world-renowned multihull boat builder. She was built in Africa and sailed across the Atlantic multiple times (which made me feel way better!)
So we made an offer… a little less than what he was asking but still reasonable considering we would be ripping up a lot of the deck.
So the secret as to how we can afford all these boats is just be brave enough to tackle big jobs. We buy boats with a good base that are being sold for a good deal that need a lot of work and we do the work ourselves. After some time living on them we turn around and sell them for a little more than we had spent and put into them.
If you have the skill or are willing to learn how to master big projects there are plenty of boats out there that can be bought for a steal!
What kind of project boats are you guys working on?
Happy sanding 🙂