Pylasteki is a 1961 Pearson Triton sailboat. She is one of my personal project boats... I am rebuilding her as a blue water cruiser.

Enjoy, if you have any questions or comments, drop me line:


Friday, December 5, 2008

So you want to buy a boat.

So You want to Buy a boat.

Get a survey! From a SAMS/NAMS certified surveyor, no matter how inexpensive the boats purchase price, there's a whole lot of expensive stuff on board to go wrong. It's cheap in the long run, maybe 2-3 gallons of epoxy

I had a survey done on another Triton, prior to Tim Lackey ( pointing me towards Pylasteki... Didn't have one done on her 'cause I'm dumb, and didn't follow my own past experiences with boats. I still would have bought her knowing what I know now... but it would have been nice to have the head start finding some of her problems. "Gee, you won't be sailing for the next year..."

Here's a story I went through while looking at a (Free) Cheoy lee Bermuda 30 project that wasn't much more than a fiberglass hull. There are some pictures later on of the interior construction... essentially a wooden boat deck on a fiberglass hull, with an added infusion of steel angle iron. There are some boats that fit the old adage "just because you can don’t mean you should" and Free is to much to pay for what you get.

If she has a wooden mast, under that paint you don't know what’s rotten. If she has concrete and cast iron ballast, there’s a good chance of water damage and other fun stuff.

I think a lot of us dream big... and the difference between dreamers that just dream, and dreamers that get stuff done: A lack of a social life, and love of instant gratification. You will be married to this boat, it'll crawl inside your brain and take up residence. Your priorities will change. The way you live your life will change... if it is to ever get done. (I blame Tim, a little tiny bit... Blame may be the wrong word, as there are few things I'd rather do than work on boats. So... Thanks Tim!)

The costs: If you can't drop the boat in your back yard. If it doesn't have a trailer, it costs money to get it dropped in your back yard. It has to be moored somewhere, or a plot of dirt rented at a boatyard. Then you have to drive to the boat, so tally up the hours both ways, and add in gas prices. Next up... the literature to learn the methods required to repair her. Now if you don’t have the tools, add those too. Now ponder materials costs. For the most part, you can't drive down to Lowes or the hardware store and pick up anything that will give a long lasting economical repair... Deck screws, solid copper wiring, sugar pine and ac plywood don't make the grade.

Nothing. Nothing... is square. Every piece on her must be hand cut, hand crafted, eyeballed, measured, and massaged to fit. Every piece of nautical equipment is slightly different... and must be massaged to fit properly. Do this while standing on your head, wedged into the most contorted position possible. You can't get to anything. Everything must be disassembled. Then "While I'm at it..." you put it back together the stripped screws and rotten wood you found have to be replaced... that bit of corroded wire, and rusted pipe clamp have to be fixed. Eventually something that should take an afternoon has monopolized three weekends, and 12 lunch hours, 7 hours of driving... Then when you get to the boat you forget a widget, and tomorrow you will be finished with it. Except "While I'm at it I need to...."

You've got to source everything prior to doing the work, or it'll take forever. If you don't have a tube of miracle goo, 27 1/4 20 stainless machine screws and 33 sanding disks and be able to produce them in a minute and a half, it'll take you forever. Catalogs coming out your ears... are stacking up all over the place. Pictures, loose sketches... books. Oh gosh, the books.

So: Plan. Everything takes 2-3 times longer (of actually working) than you think it should. Everything will cost 2-3 times more than you think it should. You will do one out of every 3 jobs, 2-3 times getting it right while the learning curve happens. You'll be driven to anger, to tears... and no one in your life (Except your fellow boat owners...) will understand why at dinner you smell like a chemical factory, have a nervous itch, take cold showers and often look like a space alien with respirators, ear muffs, eye glasses, latex gloves, tyvek suits...

100 dollars a week on boat parts is a small number during the buildup of this project. The materials are expensive, there’s a lot of scrap (Curves!) and a lot of potential for screw ups. Then there’s shipping. Can't get it here, warehouse doesn't have it, gotta order it anyway... cheaper online... P.S. Jamestown Distributors. Then there’s the markup, 30% retail so you find it in a catalog and wait for it to arrive. Speed = Expensive. Speed = finish the project. The longer it takes, the more it costs... work fast. Power tools baby!

It'll be to hot, then too cold. Rainy... windy... You can't paint because the humidity is too high. You can't finish installing the ____ because the paint hasn't dried... This all means that in order to make efficient use of your time you have to juggle multiple projects at once. Wiring, plumbing, rigging, engine, structural... and we haven't even started making things look nice.

The car blows up, you have to fix some other project with your new found skills. You take a week off that turns into a month... catch the flu, acquire a significant other... have to work another job to afford your boat habit.

If you made it this far, you have the bug. You will end up with a boat no matter what you do. What are you waiting for! Buy it! Send pictures... (Grin)
If you don't have time; hire Tim so he can send us pictures! We need more boat porn in this world! (Sorry for whoring you out Tim, but it had to be done... Grin)


Anonymous said...

That's a great, honest write up- sounds like my kind of relationship. I'm gonna get me a boat.

Andrew said...

Agreed, this is a great write up.
It's hard to put the boat all of in's and out's of a boat project into one statement, but you've done a good job here.