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Old 30-09-2014, 00:27   #1
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Completely Clueless Aussie

Hi everyone,

As the name suggests I am brand spankin' new to boating/sailing. Let me apologise in advance for the giant wall of text below. I live in Sydney and have loved the water but never had to the opportunity to get a boat and get out there. I have been on a boat and loved it but there is also a big difference between doing something once every so often and doing something 3-4 times a week.

Now my situation has changed and I am in a position to perhaps get the boat of my dreams

The only problem is that I literally know nothing!
I have just completed my "learn to boat" course which was a 1 day course on basic boat safety and general rules/guidelines here in Sydney.
According to the papers Im all set to buy my own boat and plough the seven seas.

However, I know that it is not that easy!
So I thought Id come here and pick a few brains and ask a few questions and get a few opinions....

Here is what (I think) I want so far:
I would like a boat with an enclosed toilet (preferably a standup shower but Im not fussed), Id like something with a comfortable sleeping area for my partner and I, with the ability to spend anything up to a week or two on board without needing to return to land. I want something with what I think is called an enclosed cabin (where you can steer the boat without being outside getting your head blown off by the wind) or a flybridge (I think is where you have two cabins). Ideally, I would like to start off with spending one night on board and cruising around Sydney Harbour, Then as experience gathers, move to spending a few nights off shore, followed by a week trip to Queensland and back and eventually (after gaining years of actual experience) go from Sydney to Vanuatu or Fiji, and back again. Please bear in mind that I have no idea if these things are even possible - this is just my dream. As for how often I would use the boat, I only work half the year so I would like to think that I would get out onto the water at least twice a week during spring and summer. Maybe not so much during winter, unless I had enough experience to head up to the tropical north. I am not sure if these estimates are realistic or not though as I have been told that however often you think you will use the boat, divide it by three and then half that again, and thats how much you will actually use the boat.

Some questions:

1) Are there any boats out there that fit the above? I have looked at some online and found that I seem to like Whittley Cruisemasters and Bertrams Flybridge. Are these my only options and do these even fit my criteria?

2) How important is hull year? My max budget appears to be approx AUD$60k with my most likely spend probably in the vicinity of AUD$30k. This means that I can probably only afford boats around 1980-2000. Does this mean the boat will disintegrate mid-trip? I understand that you should use a marine surveyor when purchasing a boat and I fully intend on doing so but Id still like to know if hull year is really going to make a difference.

3) Since I plan on taking my time to actually pull the trigger and buy a boat, I am hoping to get some experience out on the water in the mean time. It is quite hard to line up friends and get them to take you out on the boat (I work shift work so Im usually free during the week and not on the weekends). Are there other avenues available to the public, in order to gain experience on the water? Ive found heaps of sailing courses and this is something I would definitely like to do eventually, I would rather spend my time now, learning about the type of craft I plan on getting.

4) I have seen a few posts online from people who say "Why bother owning a boat when you can just hire one for a fraction of the cost, with zero maintenance hassles?". Whilst this makes complete sense financially, I find that the rules placed on you when you hire a boat (cruising locations for one) outweigh the financial burdens but that could very well be complete ignorance talking. Is this method really what I should be doing instead of diving in head first into boat ownership?


I think thats all for the moment
Any other useful tidbits of information would be greatly appreciated

Once again, sorry for the massive post

Cheers
Jeremy
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Old 30-09-2014, 01:34   #2
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Re: Completely Clueless Aussie

Welcome aboard.
Most of the members here own sailboats.
The boats you mention are both power vessels. Neither have the range or ability to cruise with reasonable safety offshore.
There are still very few small power vessels cruising offshore. Here in NZ you cannot get clearance to leave in a power vessel under 12m, and not many that size go. Many smaller yachts do.
IMO, in your current state, by a vessel and get some local experience first. That vessel is unlikely to be the one you want longer term.
Age is not critical, condition is what's important. Get any prospective vessel surveyed and fully mechanically checked. A new engine could cost your entire budget!
Good Luck
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Old 30-09-2014, 05:21   #3
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Re: Completely Clueless Aussie

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Jeremy.
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Old 30-09-2014, 05:57   #4
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Re: Completely Clueless Aussie

Hi Jeremy,

I know nothing about power boats!

I am from Sydney too

Bertam did a nice 28 and a 35 but to get a good one for $30,000 would out you into a difficult area of keeping the engines going.
Imagine buying a 1990 car..... a car thats been living in the sea spray of Bondi for its whole life. Thats what boats live in.

That style and size sportfishing type cruiser will be able to get you up to Queensland in good weather fine. Cruising at very low speed, say 6 knots to get fuel range.
It wont have range, nor be good enough to go to Vatauatu, Fiji, or New Caledonia etc. but for Qld and the reef its fine!
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Old 30-09-2014, 07:42   #5
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Re: Completely Clueless Aussie

Need if possible to make some friends with boat owners and go out on fishing trip or whatever with them, usually an offer to pay for or split the fuel cost peaks their interest.
You need to learn a lot more before you spend your money, unless of course your fine with buying and selling a couple of boats while you learn.
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Old 30-09-2014, 16:48   #6
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Re: Completely Clueless Aussie

Thanks for the replies and the welcome guys!

Im definitely not opposed to buying a sailboat, I just assumed it would be easier to learn on a powerboat. And powerboats seem to be a little bit cheaper to buy. It is also a little daunting, given all the ropes and other things. Also the idea of those keels running into reefs scares the hell out of me lol

So if there are sailboats out there that fit the description that would be fine.
At least then I know I can book myself in for plenty of "learn to sail" courses and gain experience that way.

What make of boats would I be looking at if I was to go the sailboat route? I REALLY like the Catalina 32s but they dont exactly fit in my budget Ideally, I would prefer to get something that I can cut my teeth on, yet keep around long enough to take it across the Pacific in 10-15 years time (assuming Ive experienced enough by then) if this is even possible....

@a64, I definitely have no intention of buying anything until I have learnt A LOT more Realistically I am not likely to buy anything before this time next year. Also I do have a couple of friends with boats, but they work during the week and so arranging time to go out with them is tough (but not impossible).

@MarkJ, thats good to know. Maybe I can just settle for being able to go to the Whitsundays Also, thanks for putting it in perspective with the Bondi car analogy.

@Neptune, you are suggesting the smarter option is to buy a boat now to learn and then sell later when Im ready for a bigger one? I was trying to avoid that if possible but if that is indeed the best way to go then I guess thats what has to happen
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Old 30-09-2014, 17:25   #7
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Re: Completely Clueless Aussie

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cluelessaussie View Post
Hi everyone,

Are there any boats out there that fit the above? I have looked at some online and found that I seem to like Whittley Cruisemasters and Bertrams Flybridge. Are these my only options and do these even fit my criteria?

Cheers
Jeremy

Welcome to the CF

I think we do have some members here, being the owners of the boats perfectly suited to Your needs.

Just for example:

Cruisers & Sailing Forums - View Profile: markpierce

Why not to have a chat with him?

Cheers,

Tomasz
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Old 30-09-2014, 17:29   #8
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Re: Completely Clueless Aussie

One thing to keep in mind with all of the Bertram series - they are designed to go not to sit. You would be much better off with something that has a full length skeg and in the 30 - 35 ft bracket. Slower but way more comfy. A boat such a the Bertram 28 is aimed at 90% day use for fishing and sleeping aboard only a few nights a year. If that is your objective then one of those will do the job extremely well.

Nothing you can afford would make it to Vanuatu. Even with a bigger boat you would probably need 200 gallons or more worth of deck bladders.
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Old 30-09-2014, 17:34   #9
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Re: Completely Clueless Aussie

Hello Clueless,
welcome to CF. Its a great resource. Having read your second post which states that you are not opposed to buying a sailboat you have a lot of options.
To my way of thinking there is so much more available to you to learn sailing and see a larger range of boats that may fit your requirements. Don't let not knowing how to sail put you off. Sailing is one of lifes great past times. I have never regretted learning how to sail and it has bought innumerable great times and great memories (with a sprinkling of what have I don't days )
If you live near Sydney there are many places to learn how to sail I would highly recommend you and your wife/partner do it at same time. Its not only a sailing lesson but a social activity as well. At the same time you can approach one of the many sailing clubs and advise that you wish to crew on a boat during races and advise of your experience and I can almost guarantee you someone will snap you up. Its an awesome way how to sail, how to build your confidence and have fun all at the same time.
A sailboat is a much more economical vessel to take out each time. Start buying the magazine Trade a Boat and read the new boat reviews. It gives you a very good idea on what powered boats cost to run in regard to fuel usage. Many people forget to ask about this fact which to me is one of the most expensive thing when going out for a days outing. It could cost you hundreds of dollars just for a day out in fuel usage. Much much more if you are considering offshore trips.
There are some brilliant power boats out there that would suit your requirements but make an informed decision before you commit. One thing I have learned is that a boat is not an investment. They cost money to run be it power or sail. My advice if you consider a sailboat. Go to your closet keel yacht sailing club and talk to its members. You will get a lot of information that a seller will never tell you.


Greg and Sue
SV Sunshine
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Old 30-09-2014, 18:54   #10
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Re: Completely Clueless Aussie

If you are not adverse to at least learning about boats, one good way could be East Sail in Rushcutters Bay near the CYC.

They do sailboat training on the size boats you are looking at. If you get out on the water you will see the diferences but also the similarities with power boats.

http://www.eastsail.com.au

They even have motor cruisers for hire for a weekend where you dont need a licence! Perfect!
http://www.eastsail.com.au/sailing-s...asp?p=Arvor-23




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Old 01-10-2014, 04:04   #11
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Re: Completely Clueless Aussie

Quote:
Originally Posted by savoir View Post
One thing to keep in mind with all of the Bertram series - they are designed to go not to sit. You would be much better off with something that has a full length skeg and in the 30 - 35 ft bracket. Slower but way more comfy. A boat such a the Bertram 28 is aimed at 90% day use for fishing and sleeping aboard only a few nights a year. If that is your objective then one of those will do the job extremely well.

Nothing you can afford would make it to Vanuatu. Even with a bigger boat you would probably need 200 gallons or more worth of deck bladders.
Good to know - I guess that sorts that out

@OzSailor, thanks for that. I am not sure I want to race though. Do people take (inexperienced) crew for casual sailing? I think my closest club might be somewhere near Berowra Waters (if there is one there!) so I will do some searching and try to figure out a way to meet some members.

@MarkJ, I have checked out the EastSail website (briefly) and be sure to give it a more thorough viewing tonight. Worst case, we could hire that boat for the weekend - although I recall they didnt have any prices up for the boat, which I usually take to mean 'outrageously expensive'.

I also found a website some months ago for Catalina 32 specifications and they do sailing lessons at (what I thought) was a reasonable price, on a Catalina. I had this bookmarked already for future us when my girlfriend and I eventually ventured into actual sailing. Now it sounds like thats the way to go from the start.
Are these guys a good place for me to start learning?

Thank you so much for the informative and friendly responses guys!
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Old 01-10-2014, 05:08   #12
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Re: Completely Clueless Aussie

Have you considered a small trailer/sailer with a trailer? Something that could be towed behind your current car or an older 4WD, maybe even with a Porta -Potty.

Provided you can launch and retrieve without too much trouble!

There are many areas of Australia that are accessible to small centreboarders.

Cost is not going to be a major problem and an initial careful choice may help with eventual resale.

Within a few years you could have the necessary experience to move on if that's what you still want.
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Old 01-10-2014, 05:08   #13
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Re: Completely Clueless Aussie

Also random question: whats the difference between sailboats that have a wheel and sailboats that have that rudder looking thing?
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Old 01-10-2014, 05:22   #14
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Re: Completely Clueless Aussie

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Originally Posted by Boracay View Post
Have you considered a small trailer/sailer with a trailer? Something that could be towed behind your current car or an older 4WD, maybe even with a Porta -Potty.

Provided you can launch and retrieve without too much trouble!

There are many areas of Australia that are accessible to small centreboarders.

Cost is not going to be a major problem and an initial careful choice may help with eventual resale.

Within a few years you could have the necessary experience to move on if that's what you still want.
Hi Boracay

I have a 4WD already but I would like to avoid towing the boat if possible. I know this adds to maintenance costs in terms of anti-foul and permanent mooring, but I prefer the ease of having the boat already in the water.

If a "porta-potty" is what I think it is, then I feel that my girlfriend may have issues with that. I think she simply feels better having a permanent toilet on board.

Thank you for the response
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Old 22-11-2014, 00:20   #15
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Re: Completely Clueless Aussie

Hi Clueless, this is my first post here, and I hail from Tassie ( down south). I would recommend joining those sailing classes and opting to be crew on others boats ( not just your friends). The more variety you get the better the choices you can and will make. But, don't for get the ongoing costs of having 'a boat in the water', like haulage, antifouling, mooring costs and there are a few 'night thieves' doing the rounds in Sydney at present too; so insurance.
If by chance you still go the power boat direction look at how far the distances are that you want to go to gain experience - work out your approx., fuel cost etc including genset. Use something like SEA-DISTANCES.ORG - Distances as one of a few options to basicly calculate your time and fuels usage( do not depend on it to be exact). Then add more for unplanned unknowns, that will happen.
An old fishing boats are slow, but cheaper to run, but you need to ensure they are in good order - Tasmanian huon Pine hulls are reknown for their serviceability, but there are other hard wood they are just awesome two. But the maintenance can get you down. Anyway, just my 2 cents worth , that's all.

Allan
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