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Old 01-26-2013
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Leaseshare in Chicago - Thoughts?

I am new to the sport of sailing (1 full season). I have a wife and two small active boys ages 9 & 7. Summer sports and all that goes with it. Last summer I was strongly considering and looking into buying a trailer sailer in the 16 - 19 foot range, but I kept getting cold feet wondering 1) how often will I be able to use it, 2) how big of a pain is it going to be to tow, set up, take down afterward and tow home, and 3) hidden costs.

Now I have been looking into leasesharing options in downtown Chicago marinas. It appeals to me because 1) all in one cost in very budget friendly (under $2,000) options, 2) no towing/raising the mast, etc, 3) bigger boat (27' catalina), 4) downtown chicgao/lake Michigan, 5) If sailing doesn't fit my family I only have a one season commitment. If we like it, we can continue with the leaseshare or look at other options.

The leaseshare price comes with lessons on this bigger boat and bigger lake.

I'm wondering if anyone has any thoughts on this. Particularly coveats that I am not thinking about because I'm dreaming of warm sunny days sailing with the city skyline as the backdrop.

Please talk me out of it if you think leaseshares are a bad idea.


Thanks.
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Old 01-26-2013
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Re: Leaseshare in Chicago - Thoughts?

I have never done a time share for a sailboat with an outfit like Sail Time or others. For some people this option is a very attractive way to get into sailing for the reasons you outlined. I'll add to the list of benefits that you will not have to do any boat work other than minor items. Usually, outfits like this even pump out the holding tank and clean the boat for the next "tennant"/user.
There are at least 2 things to consider before signing a contract though. 1) How diligent is the operator at keeping the boat(s) in good working order? And, 2) How flexible is the scheduling for using the boat(s)?
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Old 01-26-2013
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Re: Leaseshare in Chicago - Thoughts?

I have not done a lease either but we did belong to a sailing club when we first began sailing. The deal was a buy in ($500 I think) then $99 a month. We could book a boat up to 3 days in advance for either 4 or 8 hours. There was a mechanism to book over night on the Catalina 25 with no additional fee.

Come to think of it, it was a pretty darn good deal!

You might consider looking into sailing clubs in your area.
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Old 01-26-2013
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Re: Leaseshare in Chicago - Thoughts?

There are companies in Chicago that fit what you seek. Your idea is sound--commit to one year and see how it goes.

I always have to consciously resist the urge to buy. In my rational moments, I say that it makes sense to buy only after I exhaust, say, 10 days of a frequent sailing program in one season and still seek more sailing.

Back to your situation: CHECK INTO THE COMPANY CAREFULLY FIRST! ASK FOR NAMES AND NUMBERS OF FORMER CLIENTS AND CONTACT THEM!!

I've personally experienced two companies in the Chicago area over the last 3-5 years (one based in Monroe Harbor and one in a relatively close Indiana harbor). One company had completely DUMPY boats and a full of BS charter master (boat unprepared/unfit for water and condition greatly misrepresented). The second company had BEAUTIFUL boats but I really didn't care for their charter master either (he just wasn't my style...he was more of a party boy than I). Both scenarios were bareboat charter as opposed to lease share.

Good luck...there is NOTHING like the Chicago lakefront from out on the water.
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Old 01-26-2013
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Re: Leaseshare in Chicago - Thoughts?

I have never done a time/lease share of a boat but have friends that have done them -- in larger and more expensive boats (and corresponding time/lease share). They enjoyed them for a couple of seasons but then moved on.

I also have a friend who was similarly situated to you (with two young girls). He elected to purchase a 19' trailer-sailer as his first boat. His prior experience consisted of sailing lessons at NU's sailing center in Evanston and some crewing with me. He and his family live 10 minutes from a ramp on the lake and get the boat rigged in 15 minutes. They use the boat regularly as a couple, with their children and with friends. They have also trailered to Lake Geneva, Door County and Michigan. I can tell you that he would do it the same way all-over again and he will be a sailor for life.

I too took the plunge and bought a small keelboat (26') with no prior keelboat experience (although I had a fair amount of dinghy experience on inland lakes) and three children aged 7, 5 and 2. My children are now 15, 12 and 9. The notion of purchasing a keelboat was unbelievable daunting to me at the time but I leaned hard on others to educate me. I can't imagine the last 7 or 8 years without those experiences. However, ownership of the boat and the ability to sail when we could (between soccer games and birthday parties) were very important to our ability to get out there and I question whether the lease/time share option will give you the flexibility you will need given the demands your family will place on your time. The other benefit of ownership is that, if you are like the rest of us (including my newbie sailing friend), you will spend your non-sailing season dreaming up boat improvements and sailing adventures to keep you going until the next sailing season.

Last, I couldn't agree more with the last poster. The Chicago lakefront at sunset is simply stunning. Good luck.
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Old 01-26-2013
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Re: Leaseshare in Chicago - Thoughts?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bombay View Post
I am new to the sport of sailing (1 full season). I have a wife and two small active boys ages 9 & 7. Summer sports and all that goes with it. Last summer I was strongly considering and looking into buying a trailer sailer in the 16 - 19 foot range, but I kept getting cold feet wondering 1) how often will I be able to use it, 2) how big of a pain is it going to be to tow, set up, take down afterward and tow home, and 3) hidden costs.

Now I have been looking into leasesharing options in downtown Chicago marinas. It appeals to me because 1) all in one cost in very budget friendly (under $2,000) options, 2) no towing/raising the mast, etc, 3) bigger boat (27' catalina), 4) downtown chicgao/lake Michigan, 5) If sailing doesn't fit my family I only have a one season commitment. If we like it, we can continue with the leaseshare or look at other options.

The leaseshare price comes with lessons on this bigger boat and bigger lake.

I'm wondering if anyone has any thoughts on this. Particularly coveats that I am not thinking about because I'm dreaming of warm sunny days sailing with the city skyline as the backdrop.

Please talk me out of it if you think leaseshares are a bad idea.


Thanks.
The simple answer is that it all depends on how you will use the boat, how much you will use the boat and how flexible your schedule is.

I can tell you why a lease won't work for me:
I spend most of my entire days off on my boat, I leave work Tuesday night and head to the boat and leave for work Friday morning from the boat.
If I go out sailing for an afternoon, I sometimes decide not to come back until the next day, or, longer.
I keep the things I need on my boat, like a few changes of clothes, dry goods, toiletries, etc.

Using my boat as much as possible is how I justify the expense. Every time I take a long weekend and head to a summer destination by boat I factor in how much I saved on hotel and restaurants. It's flawed math, but it makes me feel better.

I'm single, no kids, no pets so it works for me. Others probably have to use another formula to justify another expense.

I also have time to do work myself. For some, the time and expense saved on maintaining things might be enough to tilt the scales.

YMMV.
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Re: Leaseshare in Chicago - Thoughts?

Our use is like Robs.. Such a share arrangement wouldn't work for us either - but it could be an ideal test run for you with minimal investment and a bigger better boat that might well be the difference for a mostly pleasant family intro. Just be sure to get the entire picture as far as total costs, times available, obligations and logistics of the deal.
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Old 01-26-2013
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Re: Leaseshare in Chicago - Thoughts?

Owning a boat seldom makes sense - it is an emotional choice more than a rational one.

If you want to test the waters or just be able to get some time afloat, things like the lease you describe, sailing clubs with shared boats, partnerships and so forth make a lot of sense. They are a LOT cheaper than owning your own boat.

Before I went into the lease you describe, I'd hunt around for a sailing club that has several boats. There are a few of them here and I've known people that have had very satisfactory experiences with them - for a lot less than $2K per year as well.
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Old 01-27-2013
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Re: Leaseshare in Chicago - Thoughts?

I think jNorton has the right idea, commit to a season of timeshare and see how you like everything, including the sport itself. Then consider ownership.

As for the Trailerable idea; I assume your thinking of something you transport to the lake on a per-sail basis. If so, I have to say, I'm a avid sailor and I'm at my boat 4-5 days a week, but I bet I wouldn't come anywhere near that if I had to tow and rig my boat every time I wanted to sail. I bet I would end up seeing it as more of a chore than a passion, especially when there will be some days when you will spend time towing and rigging only to have the wind die or a storm move in.
One of the beauties of keeping a decent size boat in a harbor is that there is more to enjoy than the actual sailing part. After a long day (or week) at work, I only have to commit to showing up. So, if I'm not motivated enough to do the things necessary to sail, I can just kick back and enjoy harbor life. Usually though, once I'm there for a while, and the wind is up, I feel the urge, muster the energy, and cast off.
As an alternative, on the Chicago lake shore, consider a beach boat! I did that for the first 10 yrs. with a Hobie cat, (on Montrose Beach). For around 400.00 a season you could keep a boat on the beach ready to set sail. Now a Hobie probably wouldn't be the right choice for the family situation but there are other beachable boats that can handle 2 adults and 2 children. Also, there are compounds at some harbors, (Montrose again), where you can keep trailerables all rigged, say like a Rhodes 19, (Cool boat), ready to be lowered into the water by a small crane. In fact there is a very active Rhodes 19 community there.
I would consider all that, long before I would consider a boat I had to transport on per-sail basis, (if that was what you were thinking?).
Good luck,
Joel H.
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Old 01-27-2013
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Re: Leaseshare in Chicago - Thoughts?

For a bit more money, you should look into Pinnacle yacht in Chicago. They have Jeanneau 37. I did two year timeshare with them in Annapolis. Great deal and 100 percent happy with them with fraction of the cost of owning a small old boat without headache. It works for me.

I still refuse to get my own boat because I still have a full time job.
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