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Well, it's happened, I've been cursed with the thought of purchasing a boat...The connumdrum is that do we want our own boat or should we do fractional or charter?...I live in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada with a nice Yacht Club here in the city and a Sailtime base nearby in Toronto...Am taking my CYA course and VHF stuff next summer...Need some tips and advice from people in the know...Future plans for the family (next 10 years) are to do 6 months in Florida and 6 back home..We own our own business so while it can amount to 24/7 work, we can make the time when we need too...What can I do, boat ownership at 38 years old seems like a lot of responsibility, that's why fractional seemed the way to go...Any advice?

Thanks
Craig
 

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I mean this in the nicest possible way...

If you aren't ready for responsibility at 38, you never will be. But judging from your picture, you have raised a kid to more than half your height and passed one of life's hardest tests of responsibility. I would charter first if I were you, because you walk away and decide what to do next and where after each one. But I am not you.
 

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Buy a small boat to sail around on Lake Ontario. Teach yourself, your wife and your child how to do it properly. While there are some that will have the gall to dispute my opinion ( ;) ) the only way you can really understand how things work is to be on a boat that is light enough for you to feel the effect of your adjustments to rig, sails and weight placement.

Look for a Siren (the sailboat).
 

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I agree with the last two posts. Do something simple and temporary first. Sailing looks like fun, but after doing it, it's not everybody's cup of tea.
 

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It really depends on what your ultimate goal is. If your looking to just get experience sailing, fractional ownership may be the way to go. If you're looking to eventually go cruising on your own... ownership may make more sense. The maintenance and repair skills you'll learn in owning a boat are critical for anyone wanting to go long-term cruising.

Given your plans, at least in your original post, you really would probably be better off owning, rather than doing fractional ownership.

IMHO, if you're not capable of the responsibility of owning a boat at 38 years old, you're probably not capable of the responsibility of cruising for six months down in Florida either.

Chartering, at least initially, may be a good way to go...but only until you figure out if sailing and cruising long-term is what you're really interested in doing.
 

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I was in almost your exact same situation, 38 now, new to boating. I agree with the others, just get a little boat and try it out. I took some lessons with ASA that I found helpful, you might too. Otherwise it's all just about getting out there on the boat and figuring it out, which you are going to end up doing whether you take lessons or not.
 

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...What can I do, boat ownership at 38 years old seems like a lot of responsibility, that's why fractional seemed the way to go...Any advice?

Thanks
Craig
At 38, I could move mountains and was bullet proof...
At 58, I like to look at mountains and quite competent at dodging the bullet...
You do the math...
 

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Maybe I missunderstoof his post. If so, I apologize.

I thought it meant should he buy a boat outright or buy a boat with frac ownership or charter ownership.

I this was your question, outright. IN MY OPINION, the charter business is really tough on boats. I realize they go through them with a fine tooth comb before you get them back, but it is not the things they see that concerns me - it is the ones they dont.

If you are contemplating buying a 38 without any previous boat ownership, it would do you well to try and crew a bit first. Maybe charter a bit. Find a friend with a boat. Boats, in general, are easy to buy and hard to sell. THere are a lot of things you can learn before making the plunge. However, my family and I cannot imagine any other life. I am 36, been sailing large boats for about 12 years - one designs before that. Speaking of one designs, that is a great way to learn how to sail and really enjoy it.

Just some thoughts. Hang around sailnet and ask questions. You will get a good feel. Buy Chapmans Piloting and Annapolis Book of Seamanship. THey are great introductions and should be a part of every boat. I still enjoy reading them.

All the best.

- CD
 

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newts11,

If you have been truelly bitten by the "Sailing Bug", then you are stuck. Just like the love bug, you are hooked for life and need it like an adiction. All you need to do now is to find out what kind of sailing you have a love for.

I agree with the others, get an education in sailing as well as to rent a small sail boat or hook up with someone who has a boat you ride along with. Sailing clubs are always looking for crew members for races and no experience is necissary. Basically, "get your feet wet". That will give you an idea as where to go from there. You just might shuck it all. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. But then again you might get totally obsessed:)
 

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Doing the snowbird thing ehh. Sounds great. If I was in your shoes I think charter is probably the way to go_Only because I wouldn't be around to look after my own boat for 6 months at time and thats how boats die a slow sad death. Unless you know someone down there or up there to look after it properly . Thats the responsibility part I think your apprehensive about and justifiably so. There is another thing to think about that may work for you and thats time share on a boat . I would never do it but its something you might look at. This may be a stupid suggestion but here goes anyhoo , what about a trailerable boat ? There are some beauties available out there with all the stuff you will ever need . That way you can have your baby with you either in Canada or Florida. I dont know what kind of boat you want but at the asumption its a cruiser ,the whole family can live on ,bear in mind there is
one out there that will fit your bill. The question is what do you want from a boat ? Whare do you plan on sailing? How far , how long ? These are the questions you need to ask yourself and family. As far as being responsible yup
you got to be on the ball with a boat,all the time. But thats the beauty of it
I think this comes from Tom Hanks in A League Of Their Own " Of course its hard thats what makes it great, if it was easy everybody would be doing it"
or something like that . Dont let that stop ya sailing is great even on the bad days.
 

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Craig, there are a LOT of variables you will need to consider. We are new boat owners, but I was bitten by the bug 25 years ago and bought our first boat this year at age 48. I did have many years crewing on club race night out of Mimico so learned a great deal of sailing prior to purchase.

You say you are bitten by the bug. Is this a fleeting bite or a long-term aching. Fleeting can lead to realization that sailing may not be for you and your family. We bought our boat from someone that owned his own business, thought he wanted to sail and ended up not using the boat. He ate the depreciation and we bought a brand new 2 year old boat.

Out of Hamilton you'll mostly day sail, I'm assuming. Head out under the Skyway Bridge and turn left, turn right and head back in. The ocassional "trip" to Niagara on the Lake, Toronto Island, Ontario Place, etc. and tie up to the dock or head up to the Thousand Islands and anchor out among the Islands. That will mean either an overnighter or a couple of long days sailing.

It's hard to say what would be best for you without knowing what your expextations are with the boat. Buying a boat will cost twice as much as you think it will. Do your homework and check the websites of the dealers in the area. Go to the Toronto boat show in Jan., ( you just missed the Ontario Place in water boat show) and check out the boats and get names of all the dealers. That will give you an idea of boat costs and financing and factor in insurance, marina fees, maintenance etc. Sailtime may give you exposure to boat ownership with less investment but I'm not sure how the time share works, talk to them and get lots of info. Chartering would be for extended cruising, which you may not be ready for, as it's a lot different than day sailing.

The CYA course is a good start. You may try offering to crew for club races out of Hamilton. There is usually someone looking for extra help that is willing to take out a "newbie".

If you do the 6 months Florida, do you intend to take the boat down there or have another in Florida. If you take it down to Florida you have to consider how you'll get it down there and the time to get there.

Do lots of homework and make sure you are ready before you leap.


If you want names of local dealers, let me know and I can e-mail them to you. There are several in Southern Ontario.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Wow!

You people are awesome! I tell ya, it's exactly what you look for in the posts in terms of the validation of doing the right thing...In terms of the advice, very well taken...Just to amend my previous points, I do have a little experience on the water, that's where it hit me and I can tell you the exact moment...We travel quite a bit, cruise all the time actually and it was the 80 ft Maxi Yacht racing challenge in Barbados that first got me attracted...Was a primary grinder in a mini-challenge race...Was quite the experience...So followed that up with the 12 metre challenge in St. Maarten to make sure that yeah, this is something that I like to do...Now every time we hit the Caribbean which is about 3-4 times per year, I take these tours which I'm sure with more experience getting my sailing resume backed up through courses could eventually lead to chartering or our own...I do want to thank everyone for thier unwavering opinions in regards to this...It's nice that when you get on these posts, you just want to know where you stand in relation to what you want to do...I will take my CYA course next summer along with VHF course as well, see if I can crew on some boats out of the Hamilton Yacht Club and see where it takes me from there...The cool thing is I have the full support of my wife Kim...We both love being on the water, good for my asthma (which is brutal) and she hates the cold so why not! Biggest risks in life are the ones you don't take and I don't want to get to a point in my life that if I had the chance to do this and didn't do it, wouldn't want to have that kind of guilt with me especially since everyone seems to love the life!

Made my day though, any other advice pass it on, I am a sponge

Craig
 

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Craig,
I would echo some of the previous advise to the extent that I'd advise a smaller boat to learn on. Bigger boat=bigger maintenance. And you really don't want to get wrapped up in maintenance at this point, ya just wanna sail. If you're truly in love with it, and ready to accept the upkeep, there'll be plenty of time for a bigger boat. It's also been my experience that kids are more likely to get involved and enjoy sailing the smaller boat. It's not hard to envision your son getting in to it and wanting to single hand in a few years-not to mention you! A smaller boat will be more amenable to that.
 
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