Thinking about buying a classic wooden yacht? And what are the points worth paying attention to? The classic wooden yacht is more complex than it might seem at first glance. Let's take a closer look at the question of choosing a classic yacht.
Over the past three decades, there has been an impressive resurgence in the classic boat market. This renaissance has resulted in numerous regattas and classic boat rallies around the world.
Countless day sellers and yachts have been beautifully restored. However, used boats built from wood in a wide variety of conditions are still available.
Our story begins a couple of months ago. Then the usual manager Peter Rest got excited about the idea of buying a yacht. And not anyhow, but a classic sailing! Peter has been involved in yachting since childhood, but only now he could afford such a purchase. So what advice did the experts give him about buying a classic wooden yacht?
What to pay attention to?
When buying a classic wooden yacht, the initial considerations are no different than buying any other type of boat. Be realistic and honest with yourself about how (and how often) you will use it, and with how many crew (experienced or not).
Don't buy too big or too small a yacht. Carefully study the possibilities of mooring and parking where you are going to anchor. Don't forget about another important aspect - having a connection with a qualified team of specialists in the care of classic yachts.
The condition of used wooden boats can vary greatly, from "fully restored" to "in need of restoration". Richard Gregson of Brokers Wooden Ships comments: "Most people should be buying the best boat they can afford," adding that "it's far better to buy a boat that someone else has put all their money into." Although it may look quite expensive, it will be cheaper than investing astronomical sums in the restoration of the boat.
But for some people - who have the time, the money, the ability and the skills - it's the restoration and fine-tuning that draws them to classic or wooden boats. Peter wanted a boat that was ready right away, if possible without a lot of necessary work. After listening to his wishes, Richard and the team recommended to continue the search and find an already restored version.
A fully restored used yacht?
Looking through the yachts, Peter noticed the strange markings “completely restored”. He turned to Duncan Walker for help.
Buyers should always be wary of yachts that are described as "fully restored".
“Very often I have seen boats advertised as “fully restored,” says Duncan Walker, former restorer for Fairlie Restorations. Duncan is now creating a line of modern classic Fairlie yachts: “In reality, this often means that the boat has only been cosmetically restored.
Perhaps with a new deck, but the rest is just new electronics, furniture and a layer of varnish. Nobody looks at the structure because they are afraid to take on it.”
This emphasizes the importance of inspection. “We try very hard to provide buyers with a repair history of the boat,” says Barney Sandeman of brokerage Sandeman Yacht Company, “but it is up to them to understand the actual condition of the boat and understand what might need to be done. We can recommend some very good surveyors with specific woodworking experience, but it is up to the buyer to decide who to contact.”
Is it a used or new boat?
This question is answered in our video. Sasha Goron will tell you about which boat to choose!
Peter got his hands on the repair history of the yacht he was interested in. After that, he contacted Will Stirling and together they decided to inspect the yacht. Will gave his comments on this.
“People often ask for a ‘cheap and inexpensive inspection’,” says Will Stirling, surveyor and appraiser. “But I always say that there is only one type of inspection - a complete inspection of the condition of the vessel. None of us will benefit if we don't do it carefully."
Essentially, the appraiser will be looking for structural problems, areas of corrosion, and the condition of the systems. As a general rule, structural defects are most often found where repairs have been made, rather than in the original construction.
One common example of this, according to Stirling, is the spacing between joints in the hull skin. Most wooden yacht builders had to follow "Lloyd's Rules» when building a yacht, but if repairs have been made, it is possible that good shipbuilding practice has been ignored.
What are Lloyd's Rules?
Will and Peter walked 3 boats together. Alas, they did not find anything intelligible. Many boats were simply simply killed by years of exploitation.
So, often the guys met rotting parts of the hull. Rotting is most likely the result of poor ventilation and/or fresh water intrusion. Poorly sealed shower enclosures are one of the biggest problems. Water intrusion from anywhere on the boat can cause the wood to rot.
Problems can also arise where metal and wood come into contact with each other. The degree of this depends on the type of wood and the type of metal. But especially often the problem arises when the galvanization on steel or iron bolts gradually wears off, as a result of which the rust does not react well with tannic acid in oak frames.
These problems can be exacerbated when large pieces of metal come into contact with wood.
Let's dive into the past?
Let's remember the golden age of yachting! A short video of what it was like.
Finding a more or less acceptable option as a result, Will and Peter began to study the boat. Not without a “repair” with epoxy.
Using epoxy on a used wooden boat can be a controversial decision. “Epoxy is often used to the benefit of owners and boat builders,” says Sandeman, “but it can be the kiss of death.” To do this, it is enough to walk with epoxy on an old boat that requires normal restoration and restoration.
Problems often arise because today's owners expect flawless paintwork, which is usually achieved with epoxies and two pack paints. But if you're mixing organic material like old wood with inorganic material like epoxy, it's going to get you in trouble.
This is usually an alarm when the boat is covered in epoxy. This can signal serious wear on the boat's hull. There was a time when Barney Sandemann was selling one boat. She, in turn, was very old. The previous owners filled it with epoxy. Well, there was no other option!
As a result, the boat changed hands, all the owners knew about the features of its hull. But there was no alternative. If you remove the epoxy coating, then the boat would simply fall apart in pieces. Literally. The wood was rotten and smoldering, with only the epoxy holding the hull in shape.
Before buying any classic or wooden yacht, understand what was installed and when.
And how are wooden yachts made now?
It is logical that the production of wooden yachts has not disappeared anywhere. There are still masters and entire workshops capable of making yachts the way our ancestors did them. In this video, we can see Duncan Walker, a former Fairlie Restorations restorer, at work.
Change something, change something...
In the broadest sense, if we consider the hull of the vessel, then the flooring is relatively easy to repair and replace, the frames are less simple, but still possible. Alas, some fundamental problems may not be “cured” at all. This must be understood and accepted when choosing any boat, especially when choosing a classic one.
Will went through many stages of testing with Peter and the main advice that Will gave to his partner was as follows. The most important thing in the process of buying a boat is to approach the selection and inspection with a cool head, and not with a warm heart.
Yes, you should fall in love with the business, with yachting, with the sea, with the yacht, but the selection of the boat should be done in an absolutely balanced and calm way. The main principle of yachting is safe and reliable rest. In the best case, buying something impulsively, you will not get what you wanted and spend many times more money.
As a result, Peter could not choose a boat, he spent all three months trying to find his ideal. For the time being, he has temporarily stopped searching. Despite this, he intends to charter a few more times and then return to the search for the boat of his dreams.
“Attitudes towards owning wooden boats have changed over the years. When my great-uncle started selling them 50 years ago, the attitude was, “Oh my god, these poor people got a terrible wooden boat because they obviously can’t afford fiberglass,” Peter recalls with a smile. "But now it's more like, 'They must be doing well, they have a beautiful wooden boat!' And I'm going to continue the work of my ancestors!"
Of course, in addition to the condition of the wood and the hull, there are a huge number of small nuances. And all these nuances vary from boat to boat. Most of the advice, of course, remains universal for both modern and classic used boats.
So, think about whether you are going to further finish the boat. It is important to understand that this instantly inflates the budget, but if you are burning with desire and finances allow you to realize this grandiose project, then why not. The main thing is not to get into a rotten (literally) boat and choose a reliable device.
It will not be superfluous to pay attention to the state of the kingstons and deadwoods. Kingstons are constantly exposed to the marine environment. Replacing them all at once will save time and money.
Many yachts are equipped with outdated equipment, SSB radio or outdated navigation technology. Parts can be hard to come by, so think about the cost of a replacement even if you're happy with what's already on board. Better update such equipment so as not to get into a mess.
Sailing equipment rarely reaches the end customer in any original form. Despite this, pay attention to the condition of the rigging (both running and standing), as well as the sails. Perhaps the previous owner simply kept the boat at the pier and the rigging was no longer in salable condition.
Choosing a classic yacht is a complicated process for more than one week. This is a lot of hard work. But if you invest your efforts, then be sure that the result will pay for itself a hundredfold
On behalf of the entire Interparus team, we wish you a good weekend and a fair wind! Don't forget to rate this article!
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