Newbie seeks salty dog(s) for some sage advice
Wow - where to start...
* I am slowly figuring out how to navigate this forum so please be patient and redirect me if this is in the wrong place or if this is a topic that has been flogged into the ground in the past
*My wife and I are considering buying a boat. (Did I just hear some cackling?)
*I have pretty extensive dinghy sailing / windsurfing experience and a bit of keel boat crew time in, but no skippering and no systems maintenance experience at all. I am fairly handy though. (More cackling?) My wife is a complete novice.
*We are in our late 40s with 4 kids who are mostly off to college so we have some time to play. We are trying to see if sailing / cruising is going to be a small part of our lives or THE thing.
*We have the space in our yard to store a trailerable boat if we go that route.
*We have some capital to devote to this project, and the ability to pay moorage and expenses. But I work(ed) hard for that money so I want to be smart about this.
*We live in Seattle, near (but not on) lake Washington.
We are trying hard to anticipate what kind of sailing we will ACTUALLY do as opposed to the dreaming that is rampant in this endeavor, and our thought process is going around in tight circles.
Does it make sense to drop what looks like $1000 on US Sailing skipper certification? My gut is yes (safety & confidence), but this is a big chunk of the cost of some of the boats we are looking at.
Do sailing clubs make sense? Again - they seem to, but it is a lot of $$ for no ownership when there a lot of $5,000 - $10,000 sail ready boats out there. (Would you stop cackling!)
Trailerable or moored? I was first looking at a west wight potter 19 that I would store in the yard, tinker with on the trailer, launch with the small SUV we already own and keep this simple and cheapish. Then I started contemplating the ass-pain of stepping the mast each time we want to go sailing etc...and started dreaming bigger.
Partnership? We have varied interests so we are not going to be on this thing every day... I know that most boats get used VERY little so this might be a reasonable approach.
We are pretty sure that we will be "cocktail cruisers" at least for a while. Evenings on the lake with another couple or two, but as our confidence grows we are dreaming of some weekend trips around what seems to be one of the premier (yet somewhat challenging) cruising areas in the world.
Some things I know:
There are A LOT of boats for sale around here.
I have close to zero ability to assess the condition of these "sweet deals"
There are almost no "great deals" in life and certainly not in boating!
Like many hobbies, the boat itself is probably the cheapest part of this adventure. The condition of the boat and the ancillary gear, stuff and things that is included / excluded add up extremely fast.
We are in the prime position to do something extremely stupid.
Some things I don't know:
Basically every thing else!
I guess my fantasy would be to find a nice sweet older couple who have a well maintained and outfitted older boat that they are not using as much as they used to. Partner with them, learn from them, sail with them some, and maybe eventually buy them out of the boat. (Do I hear laughing again!)
Willing to sport a few rounds of drinks if you are local and willing to set me straight.
Thanks in advance - Greg & Ruth