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  #11  
Old 02-01-2013
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Re: What to look for in a new boat

Quote:
Originally Posted by mysterybee View Post
Thank-you so much for all the input. Out of the Hunter/Beneteau/Catalina, does any one have a better track record for service/maintenance than the others?

What I'm looking for is performance under sail and a comfortable cabin at anchor for entertaining. The fractional rig is for performance (for me) and an easier to handle jib (for my wife). Once I check off as much of my list as I can, my primary concern will be ease of maintenance. Sadly, skipper charters tend to frown on me poking around with the engine or electrical systems.

As long as I'm asking stupid questions: marina or yacht club?
I think it's safe to say that Catalina has the best builder/owner support base, stories abound of personal service and followup, along with a strong owners' association for the mainstream Catalina models.

I'm with you on the fractional rig.. but the point being it does rather severely limit your options if that's a deal breaker. Most of the Beneteau "Firsts" will qualify, but they are slanted towards performance rather than comfort and won't have the cruising amenities the Oceanus models will have. Not exactly austere/stripped out, but less comfort and storage. (FWIW we've done many many miles in the Caribbean on a Bene First 36.7 without hardship.. but the B 361 has more space, more storage and much bigger galley) Again, have a good look at the 89-94 Hunter Legends - they may well tick all your boxes - esp the 37.5.. the 35.5 will leave money left over. btw these boats don't have the (IMO oddball) B&R rig with diamond stays and no backstay.

Marina or Yacht Club? Look at the long term financials and the wait lists. Many YCs have significant buy-ins, but drastically cheaper moorage rates, so do the math and see what the payback time is on the initiation, plus factor in the support benefits of the club (social, facilities, outstations, all stuff you may not get with any old marina) There are also, for lack of a better word, 'snooty' clubs that may be difficult to get into... then you need to decide if you enjoy that kind of organization/association... but they often offer other advantages too.

We are in a marina but belong to a couple of small clubs for those other aspects.. in our case we can't get moorage in either club.
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  #12  
Old 02-05-2013
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Re: What to look for in a new boat

Thanks for all the feedback from everyone. I've seen several good suggestions.

It seems I have some research to do before we start narrowing our search down to a particular product. I'll be back when it's time to put down the money and pick a name.

I'm grateful to all of you.

Cheers!

G
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  #13  
Old 02-05-2013
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Re: What to look for in a new boat

Quote:
Originally Posted by mysterybee View Post
...
As long as I'm asking stupid questions: marina or yacht club?
Not a stupid question at all.

Yacht clubs generally do not have people who can work on your boat if you need it. Sure, you can maybe find another boat owner to help you do something that can be done while the boat is in the water but if you want warranty work done, or done by a professional, you'll have to move the boat to that location. Additionally, if you're in a location where the boat has to be hauled for the winter, some clubs require that you take it elsewhere for winter storage.

When we bought our boat we knew it needed work so we chose to at least start out in a marina with a yard that had a good reputation so that we wouldn't have to move the boat somewhere else to get the work done (especially important since we live 2 hours away).

Yacht clubs are great for the social aspect, most have restaurants and bars on site, club races, cruises, etc. Many also require members to commit to a certain amount of work hours per year, help with building upkeep, or whatever. Not a big deal in my mind but something to consider as many have memberships where the member "owns" a piece of the club. Most yacht clubs have "social" memberships at a reduced rate so you can experience the social part of the club without taking and paying for a slip.

For now, we're sticking with the marina. Restaurants are within walking distance and we have good neighbors. Also, the location is good for our commute and for easily getting into the Bay. Still, when I come across an interesting yacht club I do check into their membership requirements, just in case.
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Old 02-05-2013
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Re: What to look for in a new boat

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Originally Posted by overbored View Post
look into where you are going to keep this new boat before you buy, in some locations the length and width of the boat can be a determining factor. some marinas charge by the foot and some by the slip length and going only a few inches longer can cost you a lot more for the slip per month.
I found this to be especially true. One of the reasons that I own a 29' boat is that it fit into a 30' slip. A 30' boat did not, and pushed me into a 34' slip that was going to cost an additional $80/mo in moorage. It was a pretty big factor in our shopping. There are a lot of 30-32' boats that we looked at which has less functional interiors for our needs. I wouldn't be surprised to find that there are nice sailing 34' boats with more useful interior space than a 38' and it might save you $50 or more per month.

We had a Catalina 25 earlier and I can say that the support network for Catalina boats is great. There is a very nice mailing list of Pearson 28 owners too where I can get some help with my current boat, but the Catalina forums, Catalina Direct, and Mainsheet (the Catalina magazine) all provide a lot of very useful brand and model specific knowledge that just isn't equaled with other brands. There are nicer boats than Catalinas in every possible category, but I think that they generally hit a nice balance of price and functionality.
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Re: What to look for in a new boat

Quote:
Originally Posted by mysterybee View Post
Thank-you so much for all the input. Out of the Hunter/Beneteau/Catalina, does any one have a better track record for service/maintenance than the others?

What I'm looking for is performance under sail and a comfortable cabin at anchor for entertaining. The fractional rig is for performance (for me) and an easier to handle jib (for my wife). Once I check off as much of my list as I can, my primary concern will be ease of maintenance. Sadly, skipper charters tend to frown on me poking around with the engine or electrical systems.

As long as I'm asking stupid questions: marina or yacht club?
RE: Hunter/Beneteau/Catalina

Although there are others who will disagree, they're basically very similar. It's like Ford/Chevy/Dodge. Personally I'm deeply in the Catalina camp, but realistically they're all good boats. Unless, of course, you talk to a Tartan, Sabre, Island Packet owner. Then you'll learn that they're all junk. Just like asking a Mercedes/Audi/BMW owner what they think about Ford/Chevy.

Regarding the marina/yacht club question, I think you should investigate personally. Marina's are pretty similar to one another but there's less help and guidance available from your neighbors. Yacht clubs, like college fraternities, will each have a personal profile. In Milwaukee area there are two. Both have great people and support, but one is more formal, lots of money, and yacht club tradition. The other is more of a "bunch of guys with boats" with less attention to formalities or prestige and more DIY boat work. If you find a YC that suits you, it could become a very big part of your life.

Water is going down and people are worried. If your chosen harbor has some depth, you can probably get a really good deal on a fin keel boat. If you don't have depth, be very careful of the draft of what you buy.

G.J
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  #16  
Old 02-05-2013
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Re: What to look for in a new boat

Quote:
Originally Posted by DRFerron View Post
Not a stupid question at all.

Yacht clubs generally do not have people who can work on your boat if you need it. Sure, you can maybe find another boat owner to help you do something that can be done while the boat is in the water but if you want warranty work done, or done by a professional, you'll have to move the boat to that location. Additionally, if you're in a location where the boat has to be hauled for the winter, some clubs require that you take it elsewhere for winter storage.

When we bought our boat we knew it needed work so we chose to at least start out in a marina with a yard that had a good reputation so that we wouldn't have to move the boat somewhere else to get the work done (especially important since we live 2 hours away).

Yacht clubs are great for the social aspect, most have restaurants and bars on site, club races, cruises, etc. Many also require members to commit to a certain amount of work hours per year, help with building upkeep, or whatever. Not a big deal in my mind but something to consider as many have memberships where the member "owns" a piece of the club. Most yacht clubs have "social" memberships at a reduced rate so you can experience the social part of the club without taking and paying for a slip.

For now, we're sticking with the marina. Restaurants are within walking distance and we have good neighbors. Also, the location is good for our commute and for easily getting into the Bay. Still, when I come across an interesting yacht club I do check into their membership requirements, just in case.
Yacht Club vs Marina.

Donna has stated some of the differences. A Yacht club will tend to have commradiere and a social aspect to it as opposed to people comming down holing up in their own boats a just going out. Somethjing else to consider is that is usually reciproicity between yacht clubs. Here on the Chesapeake that is a large reduction in the price of transient slips as well as first chance at a transiet slip over a non yc member.

Of the over 125 YC on the Chessie about 80 are sailing clubs only with no real facilities. I have found that most clubs do not require any working at the club to maintain membership. Yes there is a definate voluntary feeling as we actually own our club ( 114 members) and we help with the governance committtees whic set its fees as well as policies unlike a maina where that is just dictated to you. Our slip cannot be given to someone else next year unless I want to move unlike a maina. Our fees do not increase unless the majority of members vote for that. We do have beautification days, crab feasts, bands, happy hours, reduced drink and food prices. Our boats are also well protected as only memebers are really allowed on club grouds vs the genral public wandering in and out.

Most clubs....and marinas as Donna stated do not have working yards. Thats good and bad. You have to have someone to come to work on your boat or take it to a yard nearby. On the other hand you arent bothered by machinery or people pounding painting and lots of construction. We pull our boat for the winter ( every three years) at a facility about 1 mile away so no biggie.

If your are looking for some social interaction and more than a parking spot for your boat a club is a good place to go. You actually have a say there. It all depends on what you needs or priorities are. Yacht clubs and marinas are all different so its ahrd to make general statements about both as many marinas are really nice places also. Check a numbber in your area. get a feel for it and look to see how the facilty deals with its upkeep.

Dave
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  #17  
Old 02-05-2013
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Re: What to look for in a new boat

Quote:
Originally Posted by SailingJackson View Post
RE: Hunter/Beneteau/Catalina

Although there are others who will disagree, they're basically very similar. It's like Ford/Chevy/Dodge. Personally I'm deeply in the Catalina camp, but realistically they're all good boats. Unless, of course, you talk to a Tartan, Sabre, Island Packet owner. Then you'll learn that they're all junk. Just like asking a Mercedes/Audi/BMW owner what they think about Ford/Chevy.
Of the production boats I think the Catalinas have the greatest following and resale value. There is a difinate difference between the 3 brands you named and some of the other boats. The difference may come in quality of interior fit, accompanying equipment, differences in hull thickness and materials etc. The resale values of boats is a strong indication of what their build is like. For instance see how much a boats has depreciated % wise in similar years (10) on yachtworld.

No boat is junk. I am not sure Catalina has the greatest following as there are many benetaues sold abroad. They have a loyal follwoing as do all the other brands. Every body buys the boat that fits their needs. Some are made for creature comforts, others are made for sailing abilities, others for safety at sea in heavier conditions, others for durability over time ( these will have better resale value). You have to decide what important. Look beyond the shiny bling and wide open cockpits and look for proper handholds, reliable engines, well put together joinery work, safe wide gunwhales to go forward on. sloped slippery coachroofs, proper anchoring equipment and cleats, backing plates under equipment with stress loads.

Do your research, ask questions ( you will get many opinions for you to sort out). Try and get a ride on a few. Settle on 3 and then search YW for the best proce and condition of your choices.
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  #18  
Old 02-05-2013
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Re: What to look for in a new boat

I don't suggest that yacht clubs can get professional work done on a boat, but the social nature of a yacht club can provide a great deal of insight into how to do your own work, or where to find the professionals who know what they're doing.

I've have mixed success with "professional work". I've spent more than $40,000 in the last couple years with professional work. Much of it has been disappointing and I often do things myself, not for the economy, but just to get it done right.

A large portion of the socialization at docks or at the yacht club bar is about fixing boats. This can be very helpful to a new boat owner.

G.J.
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Old 02-05-2013
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Re: What to look for in a new boat

Marina vs. Yacht Club

These things aren't exclusive. We're in a marina and we belong to a yacht club. Both have picnics, get togethers, BBQ's, etc.

Like yacht clubs marinas have personalities. Find out if it's a party hearty marina that's roaring until 3am on weekends of if you'll hear the crickets by 11. Have there been theft problems? What's the condition of the docks, shore power and restrooms? Do you have clear access in and out of the marina or can sailboats only get out around high tide?

Look at what's outside the marina. By that I mean bars, restaurants, diners, sub shops, ice cream shops, a nearby supermarket, a marine supply store or West Marine (boats break). And don't forget traffic. A marina may seem wonderful but if you have to drive a half hour every time you need a nut, bolt or screw you won't be happy. You'll be spending a lot of time at the boat so these things are important. And what about a pool and/or a hot tub? Some people will poo poo this but we had them at a previous marina and I miss it.

Catalina/Hunter/Beneteau/Jeanneau

They're all good boats. I'm in the Catalina camp and can't say enough about their customer service. We're on our second Catalina and as someone else said they seem to get the price/performance/quality balance right most of the time for us. That said we have friends who sail Hunters and Beneteaus who love their boats.

Since you're looking at a used boat condition and maintenance will be big factors. You'll have fewer problems with a boat that's been well maintained. Some boats will just feel "right" to you.

Involve your wife in the process and spend some time aboard each boat. Sit in the cockpit and in the salon. Is it comfortable? Are their places to curl up with a book? To mount a TV? Stand in the galley - can you prep a real meal or is heating up Dinty Moore pushing it. How about storage?

But don't get too caught up in all this. Shopping for a boat should be fun! And unless you buy a condo-slip you can always cast off the lines and move to another marina (we did).

Best of luck in your search,
Jim
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  #20  
Old 02-05-2013
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Re: What to look for in a new boat

Wow. Lots of feedback on the marina/club question.

I live in the Toronto area and have a preferred area that has one marina and a few clubs to choose from. Now it's simply an issue of comparing benefits/drawbacks of each option.

In terms of the boat, I'm not married to any one brand. As I said earlier, I liked the layout of the Hunter 376 cabin but not the cockpit. I'd also like a fractional rig if I can find one but it's not a deal-breaker. Basically, I'd be happy with the cabin layout of a Hunter 376 or a Catalina 36 Mark II with a spacious cockpit and a fractional rig.

The part of the purchase that makes me the most nervous is learning how to maintain the boat. That's why product quality and manufacturer support are so important to me.

Again, I'm grateful to everyone who has offered their input. I've started collecting the most actionable suggestions into a list of questions to ask when it's time to spend the money. With your help, I can't go wrong!

Cheers!

G
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