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-   -   Newbie seeks salty dog(s) for some sage advice (http://www.sailnet.com/forums/boat-review-purchase-forum/89975-newbie-seeks-salty-dog-s-some-sage-advice.html)

Gruti 07-21-2012 12:09 PM

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.

Some thoughts:

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

CalebD 07-21-2012 12:25 PM

Re: Newbie seeks salty dog(s) for some sage advice
 
Wow! You know what you DO know, and you know what you DON'T know, so you must know everything! :G
Actually, you do sound quite level headed and clear eyed in your approach to getting into sailing. That fantasy scenario of yours just might work out too.
You might meet your aging benefactors if you get out to some sailing club and join their 'informal' races as crew members. It is a good way to meet people and go sailing at the same time.
Nice 1st post!

Welcome.

Gruti 07-21-2012 12:32 PM

Re: Newbie seeks salty dog(s) for some sage advice
 
Thanks for the tip Caleb!

smackdaddy 07-21-2012 12:43 PM

Re: Newbie seeks salty dog(s) for some sage advice
 
I'm definitely no salt - but you can do it on the cheap. I bought our C27 before really knowing anything (we had paid for 2 1-hour charters where the captain showed us a bit about sailing). Our boat was such a good deal, I couldn't pass it up. She was in pretty rough shape (and picky salts would have probably advised us to keep looking) - but she was in the water and ready to sail.

My take is...don't drop a ton of money on training, etc. Find a cheap boat that can sail - and find a friend that knows something about sailing. Take them out and let them teach you. It's not that hard.

Just make sure the conditions are right, the area is forgiving (not much to run into), and you have a reliable motor to get you out of a jam.

You're gonna have a blast.

PS - Though I personally did virtually none of the stuff on the list (and my boat would have failed most of the checks anyway), check out is thread for an exhaustive list of stuff to look for when buying a boat:

http://www.sailnet.com/forums/boat-r...trip-tips.html

Gruti 07-21-2012 01:08 PM

Re: Newbie seeks salty dog(s) for some sage advice
 
Thanks Smack - that is the other way to go... spend 1500 on something in rugged condition and learn to dock properly by..."feel"

I do have a brother in law who is an accomplished national racer, but he doesn't like it when I get Brie on on his tiller. (translation... we have a very different idea of what sailing should be.)

This is why we are doing circles. I get all ready to sign up for the class and then say "wait a minute - that is the price of a 27 footer (sans outboard, moldy cushions). I could spend the $$ to put a reliable screw on her and be sailing tomorrow."

I like your perspective. What to do, what to do!

smackdaddy 07-21-2012 01:15 PM

Re: Newbie seeks salty dog(s) for some sage advice
 
Actually - the cushions don't have to be that moldy - and the outboard doesn't have to be absent. Check out this post with an example of a >$2K boat and a link to YW for boats under 30'...

http://www.sailnet.com/forums/genera...tml#post895951

Gruti 07-21-2012 02:32 PM

Re: Newbie seeks salty dog(s) for some sage advice
 
Many fruitless hours spent looking at boats later...

What do you think about trailerable vs moored? I am still waffling.

sailor wench 07-21-2012 03:34 PM

Re: Newbie seeks salty dog(s) for some sage advice
 
My husband and I currently live aboard. I am 40 and he is 47. before we moved aboard, we contemplated the same sort of things that you are right now. This is what we did:
Since we were not experienced with larger boats, (my husband has sailed sun fishes, like you, and I was a novice) and din't know for sure how we were going to like spending alot of time aboard one, we decided that it would be best to start out with something small that we could learn on safely without having to take any type of classes, so we got a trailerable Chrysler 22 and took it to a large lake near our house. The marina there helped us step the mast and once up, we didn't have to take it down again because we decided to store it in their dry storage area. When we pulled it out of the water and onto the trailer, we towed it to the fenced in area with the truck and left it there on the trailer until the next weekend, with the mast up. The dry storage rate was cheap, about $50/month, so it made sense. It would cost more to tow it back and forth than to store it there, plus we didn't have to worry about the mast each time. The 22 didn't have an engine or GPS, but we were on a lake, so it didn't matter. We learned how to sail on the 22 and once we decided we did, in fact, like sailing, we sold the 22 and got a Chrysler 26 and took it to the coast. It did have an engine and GPS, since we were going to do coastal cruising. We lived about 2 hours from the coast at the time and every weekend we would go down and sail around the outer banks of NC. We did this for about a month or so and once we were comfortable, we decided to take a vacation and sail the boat down the intercoastal waterway from northern NC to southern SC. We had to go thru locks and drawbridges and learned how to properly operate the VHF radio. Talk about cackling....mess up on the VHF where everyone can hear you! Anyway, the trip went well and we decided that we wanted to live aboard. However, I decided that the 26 was not quite big enough if we were going to live on it full time so we began looking for a larger boat. We had to go thru many lemons before we found our peach. I can't stress enough how important it is to get a survey done before you spend tens of thousands of dollars! That is how you are sure you really are getting a sweet deal. We found a Endeavor 32 in Charleston, SC that was in pristine condition, one owner, and already had a refit (modern wiring, plumbing, nav. equipment, etc.) and all of the equipment already with it (paper charts, emergency kits, life jackets, flags, even a dinghy with an outboard). It was a turn key deal. We didn't need to purchase one thing before we could move aboard and leave.
Since we made the decision to move aboard (after the ICW trip), we had been making arrangements to sell our business and house, so that was taken care of. I purchased the boat on October 30 and we provisioned that same day. We left for good on Halloween and haven't looked back since and that's been years ago.
However, we do know some couples that lease or rent out thier homes "just in case" they decide they ever want to live on land again and that also gives them extra money to either pay the mortgage or if the house is paid for, to live off of, and that works for them.
I hope some of this helps. We only paid $500 for the Chrysler 22 and $1,000 for the 26, so for a $1,500 investment, we were able to decide that this was the lifestyle we wanted.
I wish you guys all the best and hope to see you soon on the water!

bljones 07-21-2012 03:44 PM

Re: Newbie seeks salty dog(s) for some sage advice
 
The advantage of a trailerable is flexibility- if you like trying different venues every week, or the option of driveway docking, then it's viable- the downside is that you tend to be less impulsive in your sailing. Because it takes time to prep the boat, launch the boat, step the mast, etc., (and if you forget one thing at home like the rudder, gas for the outboard, the goosneck pin, etc., you're not sailing) you're less likely to simply sail on a whim when you get home from work...
which is why probably 99% of all trailer sailors end up with a mooring or slip within three seasons. So, you can cut out the middleman and sail more often now with less frustration by just getting a slip. You can satill pull your boat out and drop it on the trailer for those times you want to try someplace else by going to windward at 60 mph, and you're boat is always ready to go when you are. yeah, it's more money, but it's still cheaper than golf, divorce or couples therapy.
Rather than focusing on a specific boat, style or brand to buy, focus on your specific needs and a specific budget. then, simply find the very best boat you can find that has most of your needs within your budget.


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