View Full Version : 1930's Nat'l 1 sailboat project

08-11-2001, 01:11 PM
I have the opportunity to buy this boat but am not sure what to expect. According to the current owner the boat was bought 12 years ago and has been in dry storage since. Her recently deceased husband was an experienced boat builder/restorer and he told her the structural members were in good shape.The previous owner covered the outside of the hull with one layer of fiberglass, which he intended to remove. From the inside everything appears to be quite solid although obviously very dry.
I have considerable wood working experience but none of it related to boats. I'd appreciate any comments on how extensive the work might be based on the overall age (assuming everything is original), the fact that the fiberglass covering has been added, and the length of time out of the water.
I'd hate to pass up this chance to own what to me appears to be a classic little boat as it comes with the original solid brass centerboard and rudder, original mast etc. On the other hand I don't know as I want to basically build a whole new boat either.

08-11-2001, 11:12 PM
If the price is right, make an offer coditional upon the results of a condition survey done by a qualified yacht surveyor,at your expense. It'll cost a few hundred dollars, but may save you thousands or confirm a great deal.

Mike Field
08-11-2001, 11:24 PM
Probably what mmd said. How big is the boat, what's the asking price, and what's the scrap value (bronze fittings etc)?

08-12-2001, 07:54 AM
Thanks for the replies. The National 1 is just a 17' day sailor. They were popular racing boats in their day. The asking price is $1000. The boat itself is complete but no trailer. I'm trying to guesstimate what it might take to eventually have a usable and properly restored boat. I realize this is very small potatoes compared with most of the projects being discussed here but with 2 kids in college my "play money" is pretty limited right now. Thanks again.

08-12-2001, 09:45 AM
I'd guess that $1000 is WAY too high.
Of course it's "worth" what someone's willing to pay for it.
You might try the old Antiques Road Show ploy - It was worth x-thousand in original condition as (insert famous designer/sailor, eg Claud Worth) left her after the infamous New York Yacht Clup regatta of 1936. But now that is been bastardized with (sniff here) fiberglass, it's only worth about $17.50 scrap value.

My Mom is the the same way about overvaluing my deceased Father's car. She wouldn't part with it for any money. He would have traded it in decades ago.

08-12-2001, 10:57 AM
If the boat has complete set of sails & rigging, all hardware is intact, and needs cosmetic restoration only, $1000 is a reasonable price. If planks need replacing, sails need to be created, bits & pieces of hardware are "in a box somewhere, I think", then the price is probably a bit high. Figure it this way - a new, reasonable quality, professionally built simple wooden daysailer will cost about $5,000 - $7,000. Labor is two thirds of that, sails are 10%, rig & harware is another 10%. That leaves the hull costing about a grand in materials and hardware. If the rig & all hardware is there, and you can get the boat for $1,000, and it will cost you under $300 in materials to restore the hull, then the boat is a reasonable purchase. As labor is three times as expensive as materials, use the above percentages to estimate how long is a reasonable time to do the work: That means that to do $300 of material repairs would entail $900 of labor. If you rate your time at a professional rate of, say, $25 per hour, then you should have a "time budget" of 36 hours. Can you do the required repairs in a full working week? If yes, than it still is a good restoration project.

Of course, the caveat to all of this is that retoring small wooden craft is much akin to heroin addiction in that once you start it quickly becomes irrelevant how much is costs or how long it takes, because it comes to posses you, body & soul. The term "labor of love" comes to mind. And in some instances that is OK, because one's hobbies should be - within reason - passionate and not necessarily economically viable. An example of this would be to figure out how much the fish a flyfisherman catches is worth per pound given the time and money spent catching them.

Good luck in your decision. Let us know how it turns out.