I've been lurking here for a little while, but I finally have a reason to post with a question. Basically, I'm now in charge of outfitting and repairing five boats (2 J/22s, 2 J/24s, and 1 J/29) for a sailing club. My budget is very limited.
One of the first things I want to do is get some decent fenders for the boats. Fenders are particularly important where I am because the piers are very rough and the users are relatively new to sailing and caring for boats. Each boat has a couple of very small fenders, but I'd like to get 1-2 more for each boat. In particular, I'd like to get one very large (12" diameter) fender for each that could be attached near the beam of the boat to prevent scratching when tied alongside the pier. I would prefer to get a "ball" style fender over the "barrel" style, but this consideration comes way after cost.
Looking through a variety of vendor webpages, however, I am finding it difficult to get fenders for a price that fits my budget. I am generally finding that a 10.5" diameter fender costs upwards of $45 and the price goes up rapidly for anything larger than that. Has anybody else had this experience? When might I be able to find fenders for less? Are there options I am overlooking? (note: I can't do anything about the pier; that's out of my hands)