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post #1 of 12 Old 07-14-2011 Thread Starter
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Help for getting a sailor back on the water...

After owning a series of small sailboats and pocket cruisers, I sold our last sailboat about 6 years ago due to job and family responsibilities and have been boat-less since then. I am now looking to come back to sailing but in a slightly different way and am interested in knowing if others have experience in what Im planning to do.

My plan would be to buy a used sailboat, say a 28, that I can use for a solid 4 - 6 weeks during the sailing season then store it the remainder of the year. I plan to be doing coastal cruising, primarily in LI Sound then perhaps some years later on the Chesapeake. My hope would be to keep the boat at a yard for most of year, arrange to have it prepped and launched, use it for the 4-6 weeks, then return it to storage.

My questions are,
  1. Does this sound like a doable plan? Is it possible to find a boatyard that would accommodate this type of arrangement?
  2. What kind of categories of cost would I likely incur beyond the storage fee, commissioning and decommissioning of the boat, and normal maintenance.
  3. Does someone have experience doing this and can give me an idea what I should budget for the yearly costs for my example, storage on LI Sound for a 28 sailboat?
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post #2 of 12 Old 07-14-2011
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your best bet would be to join one of the "time share" boat ventures, or a sailing club that owns their own boats. The outgoing $$ would be less than your plan.

Else you will be paying yearly costs for a boat you are only going to use for a few weeks. 6/52nds if I read your post correctly.

Boats really don't do well stored 9/10ths of their life on land, and if wet slipped without someone responsible to check on it regularly is not a good idea either.

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post #3 of 12 Old 07-14-2011 Thread Starter
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Thanks very much for your response.

I've looked into the fractional sailing opportunities but I didn't think they would fit for three reasons. First, I want to be able to do an extended cruise, say 4 weeks, and from what I understand about their programs you would not be able to tie up the boat for that long. Same would likely be true of sailing clubs. Second reason was the cost, this would seem to be a more expensive option then what I'm considering, though I could be wrong. The third reason was boat size. I'm really interested in something in the 28-30 ft range, that I could single hand if need be. Most of the boats I've seen in these programs are in the 30+ range. But more than anything, it was the inability to do an extended cruise that has kept me away from fractional sailing option for now.
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post #4 of 12 Old 07-14-2011
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How about finding someone (or two someones) to share expenses so you can keep the boat in the water for the summer? The Long Island Sound season isn't that long anyway. We are boat shopping and really wish we knew someone who wanted to share boat time and expenses until we retire in a few years and can take some extended cruises. We aren't in Long Island Sound area. I looked into fractional sailing in the Chesapeake and found the same thing - it seems they aren't geared for longer cruises.
So has anyone out there participated in their own "boatshare" with one or two other couples? How did it work?
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post #5 of 12 Old 07-15-2011
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I'd look at a partial owner type getup or time share otherwise it'll spend the rest of the year rotting and your 4-6 weeks will be spent repairing her.

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post #6 of 12 Old 07-15-2011
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I am not sure why everyone wants to talk you out of this, but your plan seems pretty focused and doable with the right amount of money. I don't think your boat will rot while sitting as long as it is put away correctly and checked often enough to catch problems. The LI season is most likely May to October in the first place, so 6 months average. Most people don't use the boat often in the early season or late season, so four months reality. During that time, many people sail a few days a week and maybe a week cruise, so 4-6 weeks. There you go, you just want to compress the season.

You can ask for specifics to the LI area here or on other boards. If I were you I would be asking marinas with maintenance and storage yards this question. They will tell you specifically what it will cost to launch, pull, and store the boat for whatever period you want the boat in the water or on the hard. It does not sound as if you want dock space as you will be cruising. In that case the costs will be X days times whatever the transient rate is in the area, whether that be mooring or dock. Subtract # of days at anchor.

Maintenance will be your big issue if you want a professional to prep the boat for launch or de-commission the boat at the end of the season. If they don't do it your season will be compressed even more while you do it. The benefit of early launch and late season is prepping the boat when the weather is crappy.

With all that said I don't think that this will be much less, in terms of dollars, than a person who has an average season. Your costs for dockage will be less (not sure in your area how much), but boat costs of purchase, launch, pull, and maintenance will be very similar. If you are having someone else do all of your maintenance it will probably be more expensive.

I am not sure how restricted you are to being in the LI Sound for this cruise period. I would agree that time share would not work, as the season is too short and you will probably want the best weeks. However, chartering should not be ruled out. You can charter almost anywhere in the world, whether that be in the Chessy, on the east coast, Lake Michigan, the North Channel of L. Huron, BVI's, Greece, etc.. You are talking about a one time travel for a 4-6 week cruise so the travel costs should not be high whether you drive or fly. In most fleets you can negotiate a better rate for a 4-6 week cruise and that can be 15-30% dependent on where you charter and the dates of that charter. When you charter the boat cost is the charter cost, the maintenance and storage is not your problem, and when the charter is over you walk away and don't have to worry about the boat the rest of the year.
I don't think you can accomplish what you want for less dollars then the charter costs, as a less expensive boat will just mean more maintenance costs. Why not get a relatively new boat to charter and not worry about it?

Whatever you do, welcome back to sailing.
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post #7 of 12 Old 07-16-2011
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we currently have 3 people tied in to our boat. i dont pay monetarily, but i am the one who does all the maintanence, repairs haul outs and splashes etc etc, pretty much all the things they DONT have the time for. i use the boat about 4 times a week where as they only use it a few times a month, which makes it practical economicaly by splitting the costs. also, having a 23 foot boat with a water ballast and swing keel allows no worry for the shallows, and can be splashed and hauld out with two people which saves alot on boat yard costs for storing and haul outs. it is great for overnighters, i once even spent a week afloat with a friend of mine.
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post #8 of 12 Old 07-17-2011
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gaber, I tend to agree with tomandchris. While my family sailed our boat year round when it was on a lake in TN, when they moved north and the boat moved South, it wasn't as convenient. Whatever your reason for wanting to condense your time on the boat, I'm sure that you'll be doing something similar to what they had going on. The boat has been dry-docked for a couple years now in Mobile, but for a couple years before that, would spend the summers in a slip, waiting for the occasional weekend or holiday visit. She's needing some work now, as I'm putting her back in the water after a good break. But she was in pretty good condition when she would be brought down out of storage yearly.

So... yes, it's doable, and I think people do it a lot when they can't devote a regular or significant portion of their time to the boat.

As far as costs go, I'm not entirely sure since my parents were handling all of those affairs, but I do know it can vary widely, based on location, time of year, and such.

I've got a 1985 O'Day 272 that I'll being living aboard within the next month. I used to be able to singlehand her pretty easily, but I've been out of sailing for about the same amount of time, so I'll need some practice, but it *is* a great size boat for a sailor and some occasional guests. Good luck!
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post #9 of 12 Old 07-17-2011
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The LIS yards would be pleased to accommodate you. Someone who wants their boat commissioned in July instead of during the mad rush of April/May ? They'll love you
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post #10 of 12 Old 07-18-2011 Thread Starter
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Thanks to all for the great posts and opinions. Lots to consider.

I liked what tomandchris provided as input and was starting to settle there myself as I've been considering my plan. The boat choice will be critical in the end to how well this plan works, so along the lines of tomandchris' suggestion, I'll probably spend the next couple of summers doing 1-2 week rentals to see what my needs might be.

My last boat was a 26' trailer sailer that we would trailer to LIS and spend a week on, moving each day to a different marina and exploring. We did that for about 5 years and had a blast! I'm now within 10 years of retiring and I'd love to start getting back into that type of cruising without disrupting the retirement funds too much. So, boat selection will be key, but that's a topic for another thread. It looks like some rentals will be on the way.

A followup question. I'm noticing that the only boats that I can find on the internet for week long rentals are usually up around the 40' range, at least on LIS. Does anyone know of places on the Sound that have boats in the 28'-32' range for charter?
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