Originally Posted by sailingdog
The only problem I see with your plan Jim is the lack of experience in maintenance and the other issues that arise with boat ownership, that do not generally show up if you're just chartering.
I agree with this, and although some successful cruisers (like Herb Payson) "jumped" from chartering to successful ownership of a blue water boat, most would have problems with it. I think this is why some people also get stalled with their "need a little work" cruising sailboats, because the cost and complexity of fixing issues can be hard to handle when still working full time.
Thus, we see a fair number of cruising sailboats that were either neglected or had a lot of owner-work on them, but then are sold in 3-5 years after the charm wears off. In the end, many were "cruised" very little, and the cost per cruise is pretty scary (and nonsensical) compared to simply chartering.
In preparing for major projects, I like to "innoculate" with pilot projects. Last summer I spent about 3 months of spare time rebuilding our Cal 20 with my brother. We had a great time, shared the costs, and I learned a ton about fiberglass repairs, epoxy barrier coating, refinishing an iron keel from scratch, replacing interior wood, usingtwo-part deck paints, working with running and standing rigging, finding used sails, etc. The adventure was documented here
, and our boat was on display at the Porland Boat Show last January.
The rebuild project cost several thousand, but we sharied the cost and I considered it a sound education investment. We now moor the boat with the local Cal 20 fleet for $50 a month, which we share the cost of.
In January, we also moved on buying a C&C 27 for cruising on the Columbia River with our kids. I also considered this an affordable boat (no loans needed), and we're learning how to maintain an inboard Atomic four, the electrical, water and waste systems, and a much more advanced rig (it came with 14 sails). It's a perfect boat for up to 1-2 weeks on the river with the kids, but it wouldn't be my first choice for going offshore to get up to Puget Sound (although the previous owner did this, carefully).
There's pictures of the boat here
, and this afternoon I'm heading out to do some cleaning and maintenace on it. It costs about $85 a month to moor. Next weekend I plan to overnight on the river with it again with some friends. We have a week-long river cruise planned for August.
So, these two boats are our pilot projects, and we sail both of them on a typical week. They are also fulfiilling possible long-term goals of learning and preparing for a longer cruise, but the hard part for us is being patient. As we build our confidence that we could sail, own and maintain a blue water boat, there's a desire to think in that way. Meanwhile, I think it's more sensible to enjoy our two boats, and charter larger boats in the San Juans where they are already in good cruising grounds and are ready to go.
Sorry about the long response-- it's just that I agree that learning about repairing boats and having realistic experience with what it takes to maintain and afford them is pretty critical. I think a lot of people "get the urge" to have "the boat" to start the process, but that's a hard trick to pull.