Well this is interesting,
I posted this exact question on another website as well - there is a definate difference in the types of reponses.
While this board is mostly of the "get the small boat to learn on for a year - you''ll be better off if you buy carefully (don''t pay too much)" philosophy, the replies on the other board mostly say "hold out for the big boat and save the money to learn then".
This must be a reflection of the people on each board - but I''m still trying to make sense of the difference.
Anyway, thanks to everyone for the responses.
So after more research and much thought - here''s where I am in my thinking - comments welcome....
It seems to come down to trying to put a monetary value on a years worth of experience - a form of balancing act - whats it worth???
Heres my initial Pros and Cons list:
I will probably triple my sailing time on the water. (compared to sailing OPB''s)
I will get to learn a lot more about sailing, anchoring, navigation etc. while on a cheaper easier to sail vessel (some say you get to be a much better sailor with respect to boat handling by learning on a smaller vessel).
The logistics of sailing on weekends etc. will be much easier with a place to sleep overnight (80 mile drive each way to the lake).
I will probably loose $2k to $3k on the whole deal if nothing big breaks.
This would translate into a 3 to 5 month delay in purchasing the big boat.
I would be learning on a lake, while the big boat would be on the coast - I won''t be gaining any local knowledge of my ultimate sailing grounds.
I may get stuck for even longer while trying to sell the smaller boat. This may not be a huge deal as I can be flexible, unless I am trying to grab a rare find. Also, the longer I sail the smaller boat, the more money I will accumulate, all be it at a slower rate.
These are the main issues - excluding some important intangibles - sunsets on the water - lifting of the spirit as I get to anchor
out at an island for the night after a day of sailing etc.
At the moment I am completely undecided, but I do know that I cannot pay the current asking price for the boat as I will loose come the resale time.
I believe I will wait a while to see if my buddy can get the money he wants for the boat. If he decides it would be better to sell - I may make an offer which would hopefully allow me to resell for close to the same price in a year ($6500).
That way hopefully all I will lose is the slip fee and a years worth of running costs (about $2000).
While it is almost impossible to put a price on experience and other intangibles - I feel that losing any more money in the deal would not be worth it.
Any other comments are most welcome and thank you to everyone for their input.