rockdawg, I don't quite agree with your philosophy concerning "do not buy a boat until you are committed to sailing her 100% of the time". If that is the case very few people would buy a boat including those that you would try to sponge off of for your sailing fix. Speaking for myself, I work hard to enjoy life and if owning a boat to sail often but not 100% of the time, well then that is way worth it to me. Everything you do in life does not have to be looked at from a financial point of view. Owning a car is a great example of that. Rarely if ever do you own a car that has been a worthy investment when it was time to replace it. It actually is one of the worst investments the average person can make. So should I bum a ride off of everyone else to avoid this drain of our hard earned cash? If owning a boat even if it can be used when time is limited but it gives you great satisfaction and is your way of relaxation from the hectic life we sometimes lead then in my opinion it is worth every penny spent. Yes boats are expensive to own but if it adds to my quality of life then its worth it. I am retiring in January but if I waited to own a boat only when I could commit to sailing it 100% of the time, I could not imagine giving up all of the great days on the water that owning a boat has given me in the last 40 years.
Sailboat is a totally different animal. That is why I treat as such. It is not like a pair of ski, camera, Porsche, Jeep, or plane. Sailing has many forms, some like to polish this boat, some like sitting at dock, some like to sail to the near-by hiding places, some like to travel to other countries. In my situation, I got bored easily. I could not justify the money put into a boat I can't use adequately. Of course you can justified that along with everyone here who have a boat. If you ask many non-owner sailors, many will give you the same reason. In the past, I got satisfactory by buying into a time share boat, charter a sailboat, crewing for other captains, or sailing with friends' boat.
I am glad that owning your boat has worked out for you in last 40 years.. But I don't think I will be happy if I own my boat at my current situation. If you go to the marina, most of the boats hardly leave the dock. The sun and wakes are constantly beating on the boat. What a shame. of course these owners have plenty of money. But I would rather invest this money on something else. More importantly, I am just as happy being boat-less and not to worry about the boat until I have to. Sailing makes me happy, so are many other things.
Prioritizing and planning are the essence in life.