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Just some guy with a boat
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Discussion Starter #1
AHOY EVERYONE! I'm still about a decade out from retirement and a really serious search for something sound and comfy and preferably "ultra-teaky" for the wife and I to bob around in as a part-time live-aboard cruiser, but all the same I can't help but lurk around these sailboat forums and for sale listings.

Aquatically speaking, at the moment I tool around in what you windborne lot might consider the devil's own circus stinkpot, a 1967 Amphicar, one of those little amphibious "boat-cars" of yore. It's just the thing for a carefree chug up and down the Potomac or Occoquan rivers nearby, but needs to be kept far from the salty stuff, which would dissolve its steel body and other workings like a slug. Accordingly, I'm prospectively looking over what sort of options there may be out there for a suitable sailed "floating RV" for me and the wife to "take the sea air," at first around the Chesapeake, and then perhaps the East Coast, Bahamas and so forth. With something suitable to the task and more experience under our belts, we might even head across the big pond for the Mediterranean, though I am not so much drawn to the whole idea of circumnavigation for its own sake so much as anchoring near Roman ruins.

There's no telling what rig we may end up with, but I can say that I presently seem most drawn to Cheoy Lees of perhaps the 33' to 42' range (especially the Luders-designed, though I'd consider most any). This probably has to do with their old school look speaking directly to the 20 year old still somewhere in me who spent 6 months as a rigger's apprentice on the Balclutha in San Francisco Harbor in the late '70s. That said, I could also easily favor anything 30' or so by Alberg, a nice Nonsuch or a Freedom or CKY ketch in the 30s. Mindful of, yet not truly giving a damn about, the possible scowls of purists, like lots of perfectly nice folks we might even start off with a nice trailerable Macgregor 26M or 26X.

One thing that I am still very foggy on, and which I would gratefully receive any advice about from knowledgeable folks around Washington, D.C., especially Fairfax, Prince William or other nearby counties along the Potomac, is this: where would I keep the old girl? Granted, I could plop a Macgregor and its trailer in my driveway, but let's just say hypothetically that I "prematurely" found a nice big 40' or so Cheoy Lee clipper with up to a 6' draft? Where could I best put it, either in the drink or on the hard, within an hour's drive of Woodbridge, about 30 miles south of DC where we live, which wouldn't be like carrying the note on a Mercedes? It would probably have to be somewhere I could also work on it a bit. While I will certainly try to avoid challenging "project boats," being something akin to a reasonably well paid librarian, though by no means rolling in ducats, it's probably safe to say that whatever I could afford is likely to be in the "needs a bit of TLC" category.

So, anyhow, howdy everyone!...and please let me know if you have any tips for great places around DC to stow a big boat.
 

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Bildge,

Have you not sailed before? If this is true, start out with something smaller and, well, disposable. In that, I mean the Mac 26 is fine as well as most trailerables. That way if the Admiral really doesn't like the salty lifestyle, you aren't out loads of cash. Plus, when you make those mistakes that we all make, replacing a little FRP in the driveway is easier on you and your wallet than having one of the big girls hauled for a facial. Be sure to get some training too. Being "around boats" as so many have said is the same as saying "I've been aroud cars" and skipping the whole license thing, jumping into dad's Chrystler and heading into town. I'm talking Sailing and Seamanship, COLREGS, that sort of thing. Remember, there is NO right-of-way on the water.
 

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Welcome!

To avoid any nasty surprises, I think your best bet would be to make a small investment in an older, smaller sailboat and get some sailing time in with you and your wife. Maybe just day-trips to start with some weekends here and there.

I've seen and heard of some well laid plans going awry once the big-long-time-planned-for boat is in the water for the first time.

Discovering incompatibilities, misunderstandings and correcting incorrect pre-conceived notions regarding the sailing/cruising lifestyle well ahead of time (before large investments in time and money occur) would definitely be advantageous!

Of course, not knowing your sailing background this might all be a moot point!

Good luck in your endeavors!

Hovertank
 

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Just some guy with a boat
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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Just thought I'd check back in and let y'all know that I'm the kind of guy that can take good advice. I passed on that 42 foot Cheoy Lee Luders Clipper I mentioned that I'd been sort of obsessing about, beautiful as she seemed...I mean belaying pins!, she had friggin' belaying pins!. But, she was clearly more woman than I could or frankly should handle right now. I guess you could say she may have been the right boat at the wrong time for me and mine. Then again, who knows what ruinously costly and time consuming evils lurked in all that sexy teak? Instead I went for a very well-found 2001 Macgregor 26X hybrid "motor-sailer" at a price other Mac owners would probably prefer I just shut up about. I looked at a few 26X's and even an older 26S that were in my price neighborhood (and it's a rotten neighborhood kids..Lock those doors!), and this one was by far the best one. Truly, there are some woeful-looking, neglected and unloved craft out there on flat-tired rusty trailers in the storage lots and overgrown back yards of the cheap side of town, that's for damned sure.

Although I bought her in April, with a free and clear boat title, it took well over four months before I could get its trailer title squared away and hence the whole plot street legal. (IMPORTANT PUBLIC SERVICE MENTAL HEALTH ANNOUNCEMENT FOR OTHER SAIL NØØBS: Never buy a trailer with just a Bill of Sale!...Don't even think about it unless you secretly yearn for your own coffee mug at the DMV, and most certainly not if you dwell in Virginia!--though it's probably a half-baked idea anywhere and on any day ending in a "y").

Overall, the boat's in excellent shape, with a fine Honda 50 with honey golden oil that perks along quite happily, a fresh suit of decent sails, new lines all around, new VHF Marine radio and stereo, new lighting inside and out and a ton of other useful gear and spares and tools that all came with. The previous owner, who never got her in the water, had put a lot of money and work into her in his back yard, that's for sure, but wasn't able to wrap it up before his knee blew out on him...leaving me quite a bit to figure out, particularly that swell little rat's nest of wiring leading to a newly-half-installed switch panel. No wiring diagrams natch.

I picked her up in August, and after a fairly intensive vacation basically spent bathing and powdering her in the front yard, mostly consisting of sanding and scrubbing and slapping on a couple of coats of fresh bottom and trailer paint and then polishing and waxing and buffing and waxing and buffing and waxing again like some demented Brazilian at a ZZ-Top concert, I hauled her now gleaming bod off to the nearby State Park's boat storage lot, which has convenient mast-up locked lot storage just off dual triple-sized launch ramps, where I have been tinkering with and getting to know her most weekends ever since, looking at a Spring launch...just about 10 years ahead of my previously-forseen schedule to enjoy the sailing life.

I've pretty much squared away the electrics except for the cockpit's nav unit and the old Honda rev counter on the helm wheel pedestal, which I may need to replace if the rust line across the bottom quarter of the dial's any indicator. The shore power's tip-top, with a proper port-side 30 Amp power inlet, it's own separate 120V breaker panel (naturally), a couple of well-placed brand new dual GFCI outlets below and a new ProSport automatic battery tender. The 12 volt's all but sorted out now too, with two separate breaker panels and a couple of strategically-placed ciggy-lighter style outlets of its own. I still need to rig up the new pressure water system bladder and hoses, though the pump's already in place and wired up, but I'll likely wait until Jack Frost is unlikely to make an appearance, if he even bothers to show up at all during this freakishly warm El Niño thwarted winter down here.

What's been actually sort of weird is that since I got the boat all sorts of needful items for its restoration and upkeep just seem to have almost fallen out of the sky onto my lawn, either as outright curb-find freebies or just mind-blowing bargains. I'm telling you, it's been almost a bit freakish. I mean, has one of your neighbors put out not one but two vintage Craftsman tool boxes, one of them a large triple-drawered monster with top box, and the other a big standard mechanic's crate, chock full of old school goodies on the curb with a paper sign that read "free scrap metal" for you to find? Oh yeah?...Well, did the bottom drawer of the big box contain a nice length of galvanized 1/4" chain and a couple of split-links for the anchor rode you just happened to need? That's just one of many recent finds that have really helped keep me from bruising the family budget in the least. That, and staying the hell away from that "[insert compass direction here] Marine" outlet on Route 1, where, the one time I dropped by for a looksee I had the eerie feeling that the prices were all in some wacky third world currency like Müngös or something. Seriously, who the hell pays 30 bucks for a quart of paint thinner?

So thanks folks! I took your advice, went with the far handier Mac 26X, and am glad I did. After all, as a decades-long Amphicar owner I guess I'm just a hybrid and vaguely stinkpotty kinda guy, and accordingly am really looking forward to getting her into the drink as the MSV "Breakin' Wind" just after the crocuses and daffodils show themselves in just a few months. Look for me in and around the Potomac and Chesapeake, and you might want to hike up your squelch a bit 'cause "This is Breakin' Wind..Breakin' Wind...Breakin' Wind..."
 

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Thanks for returning and giving us an update! Congratulations on your new boat.

Good luck.
 
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Just some guy with a boat
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Discussion Starter #8
First Splash At last!

Update: Having "officially" owned my 2001 Macgregor 26X for 415 days, with actual possession of her for 285 days owing to trailer title woes, yesterday at 1:00 in the afternoon during a welcome warm and sunny break in this otherwise wretched gloomy monsoon season we seem to have settled into here in the Mid-Atlantic, she finally got her shakedown cruise with the help of the great guys at Woodbridge Sailing School (sailwoodbridge -DOT- com). Danny and Cameron gave the rigging a knowledgeable once over, tuned and tweaked this and that, helped me bend on the sails for the first time, and off Cameron and I went into the broad reaches of the mighty Potomac. Not a lot of wind, but still managed a few leisurely tacks and a gibe or two and let the poor old Honda 50 finally stretch its legs after maybe a decade's long snooze. At the conclusion of the little maiden voyage we even towed in a jaunty little stinkpotter whose engine had died a few hundred yards from the ramps, so there's already that chit tossed into the good boating karma ledger. Everything was marvelous, and all worked just as it should, that is, except my phone's camera...Regrettably the phone was left in the tow beast.

If you're a newbie "trailer sailor" like me in DC's Virginia suburbs, and no amount of proffered pizza or other enticements will seem to lure a veteran owner of your marque your way to help ease you into the helm, then you could do worse than give the good folks at Woodbridge Sailing School a ring. For just $75 they'll help get you set up properly and get you out on the water under adult supervision for a couple of hours. I'm looking forward to another "windy day" cruise with Cameron, if the weather will ever again oblige, and am even considering putting it all towards a proper ASA certificate, which couldn't hurt, right? After all, I'll maybe want to do a bareboat rental somewhere someday.

So, I now stand tall among you: the drippy and windblown. Incidentally, since I last posted here, I seem to have picked up a "foundling" Com-Pac 16 for a buck. That's right. It was a poor little pretty but very neglected--practically abandoned--boat in the same lot I keep the Mac 26X in. It was in such dire, but still clearly easily salvageable shape, that being tired of just passing by it ruefully every time I was leaving the lot, its companionway hatchcover missing, sails strewn through the cockpit and clinging vines marching up her hull, that I finally wrote the owner, and he was kind enough to pretty much just hand it off to me. I've too few postings yet on this great forum to have linkage privileges, but a Google search of "Ahoy! From a Newly-Minted Com-Pac 16 Owner" will get you the whole story and pictures over at the Com-Pac Sailors Forum. She's far FAR happier looking now that she's out of the engulfing weeds and next to her big sister, that's for sure.
 

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Wow, congratulations on everything. I'm in a similar phase of training and introduction. I bought a 1969 Chrysler Lonestar 16 last fall and have been working on it this winter. I bought it without any thought whatsoever about the trailer and only thought, after the fact, about having to title and license it.
The boat and title had previously resided in two different states, Iowa and Kansas, before I transplanted it to Missouri. There was no boat or trailer title. The trailer was somehow exempt from Licensing in Kansas.

Fortunately there were 20 year old licensing registration slips from Iowa that had some numbers on them. Because the boat was non-motorized and the trailer a single axle under a certain tonnage, the nice lady at the DMV was able to use the numbers on the Iowa registration papers, after a highway patrolman offered verification that they matched the numbers on the boat and trailer and created title applications for both the boat and trailer and issued me a license. A few days later in the mail, I received a boat and trailer title, the first that either has had in decades.
 

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Just some guy with a boat
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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Hmmmm...the "nice lady at the DMV" you mention must be some distinct Middle American species of the breed far removed from the Legion of Grumpuloid Protectors of the Roads and Byways of the Commonwealth of Virginia with whom I had to go round and round. Various Bills of Sale, notarized Affidavits in Lieu of Title, a joint foray to their offices with the previous owner by my side (who'd himself never gotten a title for the trailer from the so-called "broker" in Maryland from whom he'd bought it...now justly long out of the business). Nope...Nothing would budge those sullen gals, who invariably hailed from Jamaica, Tardistan or some other hard-to-understand points east--seemingly anywhere but Virginia itself. In the end I remembered: It was "homebuilt"...That's right...Sorry...I forgot...Headwound during the War...Yup! I made it myself in the backyard out of pipe cleaners and silly putty.

As for your Chrysler Lonestar 16, that's a regular little super-trailerable day-sailing "party barge" with its cockpit for eight, ain't it? And you've got those ultra-old-school (like "Sinbad the Sailor" old school) dual leeboards instead of a fixed or swing keel or centerboard, right? In keeping with that ancient seafaring motif, you'd be well within your rights to rig that dhow with a lateen sail, get a pair of those pointy-toe Aladdin-style shoes, some baggy pantaloons, a silk turban (you'll need somewhere to keep your gold and silver pieces) and bound swashbucklingly through any marinas you put into like Yul Brenner. That's a great little find! Talk about shoal draft! Here around the Chesapeake you'd be Lord of the Gunkholes.
 
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