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My partner and I are fairly new sailors in the Washington, DC area. Recently, we've been thinking about getting a weekend home as an escape from the city on the weekends. But it recently occurred to me that we might also want to consider a boat that we could live aboard and sail around the bay on the weekends as well as looking at country properties nearby.

Is this a crazy idea or a good idea? I've sailed boats but never owned one, much less slept on one.[1] What factors should I consider while researching possibilites? Is this a probitively expensive plan - would boat costs, maintainance and marina fees make a country house look cheap in comparison?

And lastely - I've posted this question on the buy a boat forum as well but I'd like to hear your take - what would be good candidates for a weekend home on the Chesapeake? I doubt we'd do off-shore sailing, and both of us are fairly rugged outdoorsy types - we wouldn't need something fancy to live aboard but would not like to be completely cramped.

Thanks!


[1] I am however planning to take a live-aboard cruising course this year so would be able to test how much I like living aboard well before this plan would be executed.
 

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pretty much any boat 27 feet or longer, but try em on for size first, as some boats are bigger for length. i would start with early 80's hunters catalinas, etc.

a boat would be much cheaper, figure 10 grand for a decent ( not great but decent ) early 80's 27 to 30 foot boat. then slip fees from 2 to 4 grand a year plus the electric is nothing compared to a house. other fees like pulling it out for paint, winter and other stuff might be 500 a year ( dry storage figured in the slip fee ). then figure 2 to 4 grand a year in paint and other maintenance, which will be more than a house needs.

so yearly cost not including the boat will be 4 to 6 grand, so high end it will average 500 to 600 a month, or equivalent to a 80,000 mortgage. the nice thing with a boat it you can move it when you want a different view.

now you could get away cheaper some years, some it might be more
 

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Lots of people do something similar... and it is far less expensive in most places to own a boat than it is to own waterfront property.. and you can move it...
 

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Okay, I'm in Annapolis, so I'd double Scotty's numbers, but the point's the same. A brand new, 40-something footer from Hunter/Catalina/Beneteau may cost as much as a small house - for comparison. An older boat makes sense; you don't need the latest electronics, etc if you're not planning to do a lot of sailing right away. My personal opinion would be to aim a bit larger than Scotty suggests, in the low 30-feet, much smaller and you're sleeping in the main cabin and cooking on a coleman stove (which feels to me like camping out)

A lot of folks do exactly what you're describing and love it. On the flip side, realize that if you do a vacation house, you can use it 12 months of the year. Count on only 9 months comfortably on a boat; winters are doable but not so much fun.
 

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Every time we think about how far upside down we are on our house/mortgage, we consider moving onto the boat and being done with it all!

Contemplating winter on the boat always gives us pause, tho....:eek:
 

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Thanks all, for weighing in. I've been talking about it more with my partner and a boat really does have some numerous advantages over a house. In particular, I'm attracted to having a weekend getaway I can go exploring in - something that isn't as expensive to buy or maintain as a house - and something not so far away that I couldn't just go down for the day. A lot of the vacation properties we've been looking at in the mountains are 3-4 hours away. There are plenty of marinas within a 2 hour drive.

A nine month vacation getaway suits me fine. In the winter I always want to go north anyway, to visit my family and go sledding and skiing. Winterizing a cabin is enough of a pain that I probably wouldn't visit my vacation home too much in the winter anyway.

As part of the point would be to get out of the city, I think we'd rather be in a quieter more desolate marina, which would hopefully be cheaper than a slip in Annapolis. I've only begun researching marinas - currently we daysail out of Belle Haven near Alexandria; several people have mentioned that we investigate marinas down near Solomons, which is only a 2 hour drive out of DC.
 

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Easy to fix... go south.. :) the boat moves after all. :)
Every time we think about how far upside down we are on our house/mortgage, we consider moving onto the boat and being done with it all!

Contemplating winter on the boat always gives us pause, tho....:eek:
 

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Picky, picky, picky....I give you a perfectly workable solution and you have to go ruin it with a reality check... :)
If only the JOBS moved south with us...:D Have to work on THAT part of the plan...:laugher
 
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