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Unkle Toad 07-07-2013 08:11 PM

My Rough plan to get better at sailing.
So I have read many many times about the best way to learn buy upgrade etc. get a little boat sail it, learn it sell it get one a little be bigger, lather rinse repeat until you are in the right one for you. I prefer to not try and buy and sell several times over the next couple years so here is my plan I'm hoping you all here will tell me “Brilliant wish I had thought of that! You are a great person I want to be you when I grow up!” thats not the reaction I expect but life never gives you what you expect.

There is a local sailing club Island sailing, which for $184 a month(plus one time sign up fee of $400) gives you access to a fleet of boats. The club is in Portland Or. Olympia WA. And Kirkland WA. (I am in Olympia) membership allows unlimited day use of the boats that you are qualified for at any of the locations. One overnight free. Additional nights at a cost. This 184 a month is less then a slip and insurance would be let alone actually owning the boat. The only downside I see is that they require a 1 year commitment. So for roughly $2400 I have pretty much unlimited day sailing and asa101.

Add to that there is a Starr fleet down here in the Budd inlet that I am hoping to get hooked up with. Get a little experience on some 14 footers. Little boats, make some mistakes get wet, learn not to do that anymore.

I am also currently sailing on a j33(well ok I have a couple times) and maybe a hunter 40 on occasion. For the local south sound Wednesday night races.

All of this while I am still living on land and shopping for a 30-35(37 I love the tayana but probably out of my price limit) for live aboard and eventual cruising and possible circumnavigation.

So thats my plan and suggestions.

Constructive comments will be more highly regarded then just straight out negative.(which I actually haven't seen much of here.

davidpm 07-07-2013 08:24 PM

Re: My Rough plan to get better at sailing.
Brilliant wish I had thought of that! You are a great person I want to be you when I grow up!

Seriously, I think you have a great idea. If you buy a boat before you have any experience it would be just pure luck if you get the best boat for your needs. As much time on different boats and you will start to have real personal experience that can make your selection based on what you know vs. what you have read about.

At least you have a better chance of getting closer with your first boat.

The economics of swapping out boats is not good. Every time you buy and sell a boat you have to pay tax on the purchase (in most states) then a broker on the sale (selling on your own is not for everyone). So here in CT the sales tax is 6.35% plus the brokers fee is 10%.

The random number people use for first year upgrades is 20%, obviously totally variable depending on person and boat. What is not so random however is that for every dollar you spend on upgrades if you get back 10 cents at sale time you did well maybe a little more.
So for a guesstimate you buy a boat for 50,000 at a very good price.
Put in ten thousand cash for upgrades and deferred maintenance.
After on year you sell and get 51,000, you bought very well and didn't screw up any of your projects in a way the surveyor can see.
You tax on purchase was 3,175.00
So principle plus tax plus upgrades you have 63,175
You sell for 51,000 less broker and net 45,900
One year of boat ownership has cost you 17,275 or 34% of the sticker price for the boat.

If you keep the boat for several years the numbers look a lot better.

The guys I envy are the ones who have had the same boat for 15+ years. Every year they feed the beast a few thousand. Their boat still looks brand new after 20 or more years because it was taken well care of.

Silvio 07-07-2013 09:19 PM

Re: My Rough plan to get better at sailing.
It's a wonderful plan. Very similar to what my wife and I did when starting out. I believe you will find that many boat owners have done just this. We belonged to a club that gave us unlimited access to 22-25 ft keel boats, and we could rent 33-45 foot boats at a greatly reduced rate. Got us out and built our skills and also helped define what we really wanted in our boat.
Hve fun, go sail, the more you get out the better you will get at sailing.

jephotog 07-07-2013 09:53 PM

Re: My Rough plan to get better at sailing.
Great Plan,
Exactly how I learned to sail. I had learned on a hobie cat then taught for two summers at a summer camp. Joined a club that had unlimited weekday usage and sailed the hell out of the 22 foot boats. I also did some racing then and a lot of racing since. I would suggest trying to become a regular on the J-boat. Show up every time it races and you will get a full time spot and maybe even get promoted to different spots on the boat. I race on a J35 for years and learned a lot from it.

I'd also suggest building a library and reading a lot to expand your knowledge in racing and cruising. I have since owned a small boat but am back in the sailing club mode and racing OPB's. While it is not as satisfying as owning a boat, I get to sail as much as I want (no I don't), but i get to sail a lot. Also I usually split the cost of boat rental with people so the cost for me to sail is minimal, as opposed to owning. If you stuck with the club for a few more years instead of buying your own boat you might be able to afford the Tayana, a boat I would love to own but also out of my price range for now.

TakeFive 07-07-2013 10:14 PM

Re: My Rough plan to get better at sailing.
Great way to learn, and even at $184 a month for a year, it will be far far less than even the ongoing costs (maintenance, slip, etc.) of owning a boat. You'll be able to sail without the hassles of maintenance, and try out many different boats to accommodate your growth as a sailor. My son lives in Seattle and I recommended these guys to him awhile back, but he just does not have enough time for it right now.

Coincidentally, we're visiting Seattle in 2 weeks and have reserved a Catalina 25 for a day from the Kirkland location. I have talked with Cathy (Olympia office) and Rhys and Josh (Portland office) several times this weekend setting it all up. They seem to be very friendly and professional. I'll know more about how well they take care of their boats after I've rented from them. My aunt lives directly across the water from their marina in Olympia (we even kayaked through their marina last year when we visited), so if we visit here this time I'm going to drop past just to say hello to Cathy and get familiar with their operation.

I wish we had a club like that in this area. There are a couple sailing clubs and a Sailtime franchise, but all the options were so pricey and/or limited that my best option was to buy. I've had the same boat four years and no regrets at all, but a club like Island Sailing seems to me to really hit the sweet spot for cost/benefits.

northoceanbeach 07-08-2013 12:34 AM

Re: My Rough plan to get better at sailing.
I think it's a great plan.

But...I still think you should just buy a boat. A cheaper one. I think you'll lean more quicker.

Is maintenance a pain in the ass? Of course, but how are ou going to learn about boat maintenance if you're not forced to do it. If its your boat you'll care more,
You'll try to make thinks last, you'll come up with new ways to fix things. That's how you learn so when you are circumnavigating and something ones wrong you will know what to do.

If you buy a good boat for not too much your costs can be less than the cost of the yearly membership. It may sound great right now when it's 80 an sunny every day but what are going to do in winter? Use it once every two months? Why do you think they require the yearly membership?

If you have your own boat you can learn to anchor, you can take a weekend trip to the San Juan's, a couple weeks in October to Canada. Spend a weekend at bell harbor paying $25 a night to be sleeping right out in front of pike place market. Store your foul weather gear there, sleep at the marina just to get out of the house. Smell your boat that smells like you, make it your own. Save some money and buy you first GPS. Get a good one so when you upgrade boats you'll still have it. Start a library of PNW cruising an anchor out in the south sound and dream about the places you'll cruise next year. Worry if its ok whe a winter storm comes and go down to the harbor at three in the morning to snug your dock lines.

Throw yourself into the fire. You'll learn more than you think.

gamayun 07-08-2013 12:38 AM

Re: My Rough plan to get better at sailing.
This sounds like a great plan. The $184 per month seems a little steep but maybe that's the going rate in your area; besides, it does allow you an array of boats for overnight trips and in multiple locations, so there is a lot of value there. In my case, I started sailing 4 years ago (as a totally green crew - knew nothing) and then began a serious quest for my own boat 3 years ago. I read and reviewed practically every boat under the sun, took everyone's advice, asked endless questions, sailed as much as I could, and then pulled the trigger a few months ago. There are still so many things I don't understand about how different boats sail under different conditions, but overall, I know why I made the decisions I did and the boat feels right for me. The best bit of advice was from someone who said, "what is the thing you can't live without?" This helped me focus. Depending on what you're looking for, you'll always have to make some compromises, but knowing why you made these choices is key. I suggest that, as you're sailing these different boats, you make a list of all the things you like and don't like as well as general layout, # of heads, location of berths, galley set up, storage, bilge location, engine accessibility, engine type and hp, sail handling, ease of reefing and raising the sails, location of sheets and halyards, etc. Have FUN!!

Sal Paradise 07-08-2013 08:00 AM

Re: My Rough plan to get better at sailing.
Its a good deal, if you are close and its where you want to sail. You will learn more with your own boat, about maintenance and other things.... but you would also pay and suffer more.

Unkle Toad 09-14-2013 11:01 PM

Re: My Rough plan to get better at sailing.
So Quick update. I did join Island sailing and took asa101 (needed to take out the 20-23' boats) have been out several times on the San Juan 23 and Catalina Capri 22. taking the Santana 20 out this week for the first time. my crew is getting more comfortable so the 20 should be fun. and plan on taking it alot as its small and will teach us quicker about sail trim and all that.

in October I am taking asa103 which will allow me to take out the Wavelength 24 and the catalina 25 so on sudden good wind days better chance of something being there instead of the whole reserve several days in advance and hopeing there is wind. which there really isnt much of here in Budd inlet.

so overall so far I am very happy with my decision I understand I am not learning upkeep but that will come. I am still shopping for my sailboat but I am looking in the 30-40 range and will still be taking out the 20--22's for training even if I buy one tomorrow. my shopping is subject for another thread which I am almost ready to start.

only getting out once a week right now but planing on puting that up to 2 times after next week. one with the crew (couple of good friends) and once solo, need to start getting the experience. the San Juan 23 is set up pretty well for single handing so thats the next step of the adventure. docking myself

joyinPNW 09-15-2013 01:28 AM

Re: My Rough plan to get better at sailing.
We started out doing what you did in exactly the same location. We now own our own boat (we've moved up from our previous San Juan 24) and race it regularly with the South Sound Sailing Society in Olympia which you should look into. It's a very active racing and cruising group and many boats are willing to take new crew. We would never have learned as much if we hadn't started racing. Plus, we cruised up to the Gulf Islands this summer for 3 weeks which is why we wanted to buy a boat in the first place. We're always learning whether we're cruising or racing. Have fun out there!

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