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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 01-06-2003
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Costs of Sailing merchandise

I knew I was in for an investment when I purchased this boat, but costs are rising. Other than sailnet are there any great discount places to find rope and hardware (i.e. cotter pins, shackles and turnbuckles)?
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Old 01-07-2003
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Costs of Sailing merchandise

There are a number of sources for discount sailing gear. On any given item, one or the other is likely to be cheaper, especially if that particular item is on sale. None of them are always the cheapest or most expensive for all items. The ones that I usually check for larger purchases are; Sailnet, Defender, BoatUS, and West Marine.
Jeff
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Old 01-07-2003
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Costs of Sailing merchandise

Depending on where you live you can save buying through the mail or over the net if you buy from a company that does not do business in your state. You dont have to pay sales tax. That is usually more than enough saving to cover shipping.
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Old 01-07-2003
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Costs of Sailing merchandise

I''ve found Defender to be the absolute cheapest (www.defenderus.com). They are mail order only, so you will need to go to a West''s or BoatUS to scout out what you want. If you have the Defender catalog both will price match (but usually include Defender shipping charges in calculating the price match). West Marine is BY FAR the most expense (bordering on rediculous) - I would not by retail from them unless in a jam.

As you get more familiar with the boat and the marine environment you will find that you may be able to buy materials from other places (e.g. Home Depot). Home Depot charges about $1.50 for the same acetone that West''s charges $4.50.

Good Luck!

Stormer
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Old 01-08-2003
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Costs of Sailing merchandise

Based on the comments I read here and elsewhere, we make purchase decisions based on one or more of the following: price, reliable prompt delivery, and service. Together these constitute value. Sometimes we only need the best price; at other times we need technical or application advice, which can end up adding to the value of the purchase. Since our need for these 1/2/3 things varies, blanket statements about ''cost'' are difficult to make.

Based on some pretty intense buying during two pre-cruise prep periods (1999-2000 and 2002-now), here''s how I''d categorize the choices available to me:

Defender-service is available if you seek it; prices usually very competitive; more recently, their shipping efforts (timeliness & accuracy) have noticeably improved; on-line service includes personal follow-up by email and allows 24/7 shopping flexibility. They''ve ended up being my primary vendor (tho'' not intentionally so on my part) due to price & prompt, acccurate delivery, but then I usually don''t need much service.

West Marine-quality vendor I''ve especially appreciated when I need obscure info dug out, when a 3rd party call to manufacturer would help (on WM''s nickle), when I''ve been outside the country, and when I need a specific item (model/brand) the other guys don''t carry (not uncommon; WM has a huge inventory). Their pricing drives me nuts - some marine gear is grossly overpriced (forget about generic stuff, which is there for our convenience, not for best price) yet most items seem reasonable given a store to which I can ride my bike from either boat or condo. Finally, I value their rebate program and often use their ''free shipping'' feature by ordering parts at the store which it can''t carry due to limited shelf space. I think they are an especially valuable vendor to new(er) boaters, where their technical competence is noteworthy via Product Specialists...and whom among us hasn''t used the technical write-ups in their outstanding catalog?

Boat/U.S.-they just never seem to compete well when I''m shopping for gear and, over time, I find I now rarely consider using them. My local store is distant and does not seem to support sailboat cruising needs well, which is ''my'' niche need. Perhaps I should give them another shot.

Sailnet-after lots of promises about consolidation bringing improvement, I''ve placed 5 orders with Sailnet based on price alone. Only 50% of the combined items were delivered promptly and accurately and even a return (of what I didn''t order) was handled inaccurately. One CSR has been superb, while others disappointing. Items represented as being ''on order'' (suggesting shorter backorder periods) were not. Generally, they''ve continued to be a big disappointment for me so their discount *really* has to be deep for me to use them. I realize there is a lot of loyalty on this BB for them but I don''t find their on-line services an adequate substitute for the good retail service that should be their core competency.

Home Depot-because Stormer mentioned them, I''ll just add that they carry Ancor wire & terminals (great marine products), and of course a bazillion plumbing fittings, generic thinners, tools, etc. that can save us money over buying at the local WM or B/U.S. store. But they aren''t automatically ''cheap''. I just bought several Ancor wire spools at HD and paid exactly the same as at WM.

Specialized Vendors - I should mention that some small and/or specialized vendors have been especially valuable to me and, without them, I''d have lost lots of valuable time and probably much money. The local Goodyear Rubber store has every fitting and hose known to man - repowering and a new fuel tank without them would have been very painful, indeed. A local ''old fashioned'' hardware store has at least one of everything made in the last 50 years (and the nice folks who will help me find it, the antithesis of my HD experiences). PYI (on-line and via phone, way out there in the Northwest) must have some of THE most helpful, knowledgeable people in the business. The point I''m making is that we should all try to develop such specialized resources as one or two ''marine'' sources can''t meet all our needs well.

Product choice and service have improved immensely in the last 27 years (my frame of reference). This has been especially true in the 90''s with West Marine establishing a benchmark standard on product choice and service, and then on-line shopping at the decade''s end. Today, we are very fortunate, indeed.

Jack
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Old 01-08-2003
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Costs of Sailing merchandise

I generally agree with Jack''s summary although I have gotten good prices and service from SailNet the few times that I used them. I strongly disagree with Stormer''s statement "West Marine is BY FAR the most expense". I have found that when checked on an item by item basis, West Marine is often the cheapest or within a dollar of being the cheapest. When you figure in the cost of shipping, buying at the local WM can often be 10% less than the other options. I have also had mixed results buying at non-marine sources. Home Depot SS hose clamps, while labeled ''All SS'' lasted about a year and were a rude awakening when I went to winterize my boat and found most were rusted solid. (Try getting those sick puppies off without expanding your vocabulary.)

Jeff
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Old 01-08-2003
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Costs of Sailing merchandise

The comments about all the different vendors prices are good ones. At one time or another,I''ve used pretty much all of them. I was a true dedicated customer of one vendor mentioned until a friend told me about Sailnet. Since that time, I''ve ordered numerous items from Sailnet,some of them specialized,such as a Bimini. I won''t go into specifics, but Sailnet could''ve easily ripped me off on one large order.The management did the right thing though,and the problem was resolved.Because of the integrity of the people at Sailnet, their competitive pricing,and the special things they do for sailors such as this board, I remain a loyal customer. O.K,...Sailnet, I did my part,...now about that compensation thing?
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Old 01-08-2003
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Costs of Sailing merchandise

Jamestown Distributors has a limited range of items. Great on fasteners, paint and painting supplies, hardware. What they do have, in my experience, is priced lower than even Defender.
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Old 01-08-2003
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Costs of Sailing merchandise

I have found ,what may be one of the best kept secrets, in the South East. There is a small but very complete rigging shop in the St. Pete area. Steve Smith Mobile Rigging has been around for awhile. These guys not only know how to rig a boat but they are price friendly and cater to cruisers. I have found that their prices are very competitive but more importantly, they really know their stuff and are willing to share considerable expertise. Not so common in my experience.
Although they have a loyal following I''m pretty sure they are still accepting new cruisers. If they don''t have it they''ll get it. If they dont know it they will find out.

I don''t work for these folks, I just recommend them.
SSMR can be reached at 727-823-4800.

Hope this helps Suthin'' boaters.

The Nut
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Old 01-08-2003
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Costs of Sailing merchandise

Over the years we have found that alot of general use products for sailboats can be bought cheapest at stores that cater to bass fisherman and power boaters. Try a internet search under bass boat supplies or boating supplies. Wal-Mart & K-Mart and the chain sporting goods stores also carry alot of items. We have found products manufactured under two different names and sell for much less if the end user is not a sailboat owner!
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