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Old 06-25-2009
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Boat as a weekend home on the Chesapeake?

My partner and I are fairly new sailors in the Washington, DC area. Recently, we've been thinking about getting a weekend home as an escape from the city on the weekends. But it recently occurred to me that we might also want to consider a boat that we could live aboard and sail around the bay on the weekends as well as looking at country properties nearby.

Is this a crazy idea or a good idea? Has anyone here tried it? I've sailed boats but never owned one, much less slept on one.[1] What factors should I consider while researching possibilites? Is this a probitively expensive plan - would boat costs, maintainance and marina fees make a country house look cheap in comparison?

And as this is the 'buy a boat' forum - what would be good candidates for a weekend home on the Chesapeake? I doubt we'd do off-shore sailing, and both of us are fairly rugged outdoorsy types - we wouldn't need something fancy to live aboard but would not like to be completely cramped.

Thanks!


[1] I am however planning to take a live-aboard cruising course this year so would be able to test how much I like living aboard well before this plan would be executed.
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Old 06-25-2009
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Floating Chesapeake Home

Lot's of folks do this. My parents and various cousins all have done it or are doing it now. My parents did it on a big stink pot as currently does one of my cousins. My other cousin did it for awhile in a 34ft O'Day sailboat and now has a Sabre 402. He then bought a house on the bay and now parks his "Sabre 402 old home" at the end of his dock.

As far as boats, there are too many to list. For two people, I'd look for a boat in the 28 foot or greater range. However, to be classified as a second home for tax purposes, the boat needs to have a sleep area, galley (stove and sink), and a permanent toilet/head. Most, not all, boats under 27 ft or so, won't have a proper head or galley.

As far as what to look for in a boat, depends on really what you want to do with it. For the Chessy though, look for a boat with a shoal draft keel or a CB. Deep draft boats won't allow to go to a lot of the fun anchorages.

Dock or Mooring costs will vary all over the map. Figure $150/ft on the West Shore and maybe a little less $ on the East Shore. Tha's for a full marina. I don't know about a mooring.

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Old 06-25-2009
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It can certainly be a fun way to spend weekends. We owned a Catalina 30 when My daughter was younger and we spent nearly every weekend on it for about 8 years. It was the perfect getaway.

One thing to consider however is that property for most part goes up in value, while boats, even great ones, go down. If that doesn't bother you it sure doesn't hurt to start looking! Looking's half the fun.

It took us nearly a year to find our current 'primary residence'.

You can spend hours at yachtworld.com. A good way to get a general idea of how much you're going to need to spend to get something like you want.

I personally wouldn't look at under 30'. Too many compromises below 30 feet, but that's just me.

Also need to consider where you're going to keep it. Could have a big affect on your cost. Might even be difficult to get slips in some areas. There's a sight called ActiveCaptain.com that can help you find marinas and info on them. Then a phone call or three should tell you if slip availability is an issue.
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Old 06-25-2009
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As long as you are NOT going to leave the dock (even better if you leave it on the hard), I would suggest a Telstar 28.

More seriously, how much $$? It all comes down to money.

- CD
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Old 06-25-2009
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I have had the same thought here in the pacific northwest. With the economy down used boats are a good deal and there are purchase opertunities for slips in condo style marinas. The boat will not increase in value, but marina spot should. If the boat is not close to home, keep maintence issues in mind. Spending a bit more for a boat in good condition and with low maintenence properties (no exterior wood, simple systems) will be worth it in vacaiton time saved.
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No, DON'T DO IT!! Stay away from the Chesapeake Bay, toooo many boats out there, and the people are rude and they especially hate sailors. Sometimes it feels like bumper boats out there. There are sharks too...and they eat boats for breakfast.

Get an RV and go down South.
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Last edited by T37Chef; 06-25-2009 at 05:54 PM.
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Old 06-25-2009
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Old 06-25-2009
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Thanks for the tips so far

Quote:
Lot's of folks do this. My parents and various cousins all have done it or are doing it now. My parents did it on a big stink pot as currently does one of my cousins. My other cousin did it for awhile in a 34ft O'Day sailboat and now has a Sabre 402. He then bought a house on the bay and now parks his "Sabre 402 old home" at the end of his dock.
So I assume this means they enjoy having a boat as a weekend home? No downsides that they've complained about?

Quote:
It can certainly be a fun way to spend weekends. We owned a Catalina 30 when My daughter was younger and we spent nearly every weekend on it for about 8 years. It was the perfect getaway.

One thing to consider however is that property for most part goes up in value, while boats, even great ones, go down. If that doesn't bother you it sure doesn't hurt to start looking! Looking's half the fun.
Something like a Catalina 30 was exactly what I was thinking of, so I'm glad you weighed in. And yes, a boat is definitely more like a car than an house in terms of investment value. And the tax treatment will likely be different also. These are drawbacks, as right now I am in a high tax bracket with no deductions whatsoever (I don't have any children or own my apartment) and a fairly undiversified portfolio (just stocks and bonds). But they are drawbacks that would be off-set by having a weekend 'getaway' that I could go exploring in, and also exploits one of the best outdoor resources in the area - the beautiful Chesapeake.

Quote:
More seriously, how much $$? It all comes down to money.
I don't have a budget yet. This is a plan I would need to save for, which is why I'm trying to assess how enjoyable it would be and how much boat and budget I would need to make it happen.

One more question - I don't think I would much care to spend a great deal of time in the marina, but would like to explore more remote areas on the weekends. Does that make a difference in the ideal boat and docking situation?
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Chef,

You forgot the nettles! You know, the little sob's that sting you everytime you jump in the water to cool off.

EM,

Seriously, a boat makes a great second home and the loan interest is tax-deductible!

When I couldn't find a piece of property I could afford on Lake George, NY, my wife convinced me to buy a boat. We lived on that boat every weekend, from May-October, and had a fantastic time. It was also nice knowing that for $18K, we got to swim and play in the same water that the rich folks did. It was the release valve needed for all the stress we accumulated during the week. I'm still boating 22 years later.

As far as the Chesapeake goes, it's a great cruising ground. I think of it as a Thomas' english muffin, with all sorts of nooks and crannies to explore. Practice your anchoring skills and the Bay will become your personal playground.

As far as boat choices go, sail if you plan on taking long cruises, sail or power if you don't.

Sail pros-Less expensiive to purchase and maintain, use less fuel, peace and quiet, hold their value, and you'll get immediate acceptance into the sailing community.

Sail cons- Deeper draft, longer operational learning curve, more work involved, and slow speed.

Power pros- Fairly shallow draft (for example my 35' Mainship only drew 3.5 ft.), can get you where you want to go quickly, easier to operate, shorter learning curve, and usually offers more creature comforts.

Power cons- More expensive to operate and maintain, high noise level when operating, bigger depreciation, and sailboaters will generally hate you.

Whatever you decide, a boat makes a great second home and if both of you enjoy "camping on the water" you'll never regret your decision.
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