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Old 14-10-2016, 17:59   #1
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Do I want to buy a boat?

I am looking for pros and cons of buying a boat when I retire in the next year or so, vs. going on longer term bareboat charters if there is such a thing. So I am looking for some ballpark costs to help me view the options.

My wife and I have done some bareboat charters and loved it. But she has proposed that we buy a boat and keep it at a nearby marina where I can tinker and fix it up, then we sail it from New Orleans to the Virgin Islands. Stay a few months and invite our sons and some friends to join us for a week or so at a time. Come home and keep it to sail locally or re-sell it, or go back to the Caribbean.

Some friends tell me I'm crazy, that I should rent and not own. I have not found any charter places where rates are much lower for longer term (months) rental, but if you know of some, please advise.

Also I see many ads for nice boats in the 36-42 foot range for $15,000-$25,000. I just bought Don Casey's book to help me shop. I can get a quote for slip rental, but need some help estimating insurance, buying and getting a boat seaworthy for a trip to the Caribbean, hidden costs, etc. Ball park numbers, as I know every boat is different.

So I need some advice about whether it's worth it to have the year round expense of boat ownership vs. chartering. At least cost-wise. By the way, I do not see us going the full-on live-aboard route for a year or two.

Any insight you can provide is much appreciated.

Bullshooter
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Old 14-10-2016, 19:26   #2
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Re: Do I want to buy a boat?

The difference between your own boat and charter is about same as between your own cottage and a motel room. The other side of this coin is that after buying a boat for 25k, you'll be putting another 15-20k into it, and it will then cost you something like 10k per year.

If you want to sail several months a year somewhere warm, buying your own is a better option, in my opinion. Just don't step on a "project boat" landmine.
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Old 14-10-2016, 20:04   #3
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Re: Do I want to buy a boat?

Thanks, that is helpful. Those are the kind of ballpark numbers I was wondering about. I hope to see a range of numbers and hope to avoid the landmine boat for sure. Was planning to get a haul out and survey when I finally decide on one but I have a year or so to search - no hurry.

Another thing I wondered about:

It seems like it would be better to leave the boat in the islands, preferably with a broker so it would pay for itself. Then I wouldn't face a long passage each time I went there, just a short flight. (I would not get to sail it locally, but I race on Wednesdays in the lake now on a friend's boat, and could increase crewing weekends if I just wanted to sail. But for me, being captain is more fun.)

However, none of the charter companies seem to have/rent older boats. It seems like there would be a niche for someone to rent older ones cheaply. Kind of like Rent a Wreck car rental. If there are any, please let me know.
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Old 14-10-2016, 20:39   #4
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Re: Do I want to buy a boat?

Bullshooter,

Sorry, mate, you're dreaming. Boats are holes in the water into which you throw money. An old boat isn't going to earn money in the off season.

Unless you're the kind of guy who loves tinkering, a good DIYer, you don't want a boat that old or needing that much input from you. It can nickle and dime you to utter exasperation, if you are, but put you in the poor house effectively, if you have to hire everything done.

It's not nearly as easy as buying and taking care of a used car, plus there are ancillary costs, too.

Ann
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Old 14-10-2016, 21:07   #5
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Re: Do I want to buy a boat?

An old boat paying for itself won't work. Best you can realistically do is invite friends to sail with you and ask them to contribute a few hundred bucks per week to food/drinks/fuel budget.
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Old 14-10-2016, 21:14   #6
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Re: Do I want to buy a boat?

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Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post
Bullshooter,

Sorry, mate, you're dreaming. Boats are holes in the water into which you throw money. An old boat isn't going to earn money in the off season.

Unless you're the kind of guy who loves tinkering, a good DIYer, you don't want a boat that old or needing that much input from you. It can nickle and dime you to utter exasperation, if you are, but put you in the poor house effectively, if you have to hire everything done.

It's not nearly as easy as buying and taking care of a used car, plus there are ancillary costs, too.

Ann
THIS ^^^^^


even if you did find a great boat that didn't run you mad trying to upkeep it, "storing" it at a marina is a huge liability if it breaks lose, sinks, or gets run into ect... My opinion is to up your budget for a decent, comfortable boat, cruise for the season you want to, get your family and friends on it too, then you will have the knowledge of keeping it or selling it without spending too much.
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Old 15-10-2016, 04:28   #7
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Re: Do I want to buy a boat?

The price range you are entertaining for that size boat will lead to broken dreams. I worked in a low end marina for four years and learned from others how not to do it. Rule of four: 1) First owner buys project boat. Great expectations turn to a whole lot of work and money. Disillusion soon follows. Sell boat at a loss. 2) Second owner buys. Repeat. 3) Third owner buys. Abandons boat. 4) Strip boat and bust it up. I bought a 27' project boat knowing this. $6,800.00. After 2 years and another $19,000.00 I have essentially a new boat with a full set of new sails. Just some insight into a restoration for your consideration. Here is a link to my obsessive restoration to consider: And so it begins | SailboatOwners.com Forums
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Old 15-10-2016, 06:06   #8
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Re: Do I want to buy a boat?

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Originally Posted by Bullshooter View Post
But she has proposed that we buy a boat and keep it at a nearby marina where I can tinker and fix it up, then we sail it from New Orleans to the Virgin Islands. Stay a few months and invite our sons and some friends to join us for a week or so at a time. Come home and keep it to sail locally or re-sell it, or go back to the Caribbean.

The tipping point is likely all about whether you would enjoy doing the maintenance or not. Boat maintenance is an almost-daily occupation. If that can be a fun hobby in it's own right, ownership might make sense.

Otherwise... occasional chartering is likely more cost-effective.

You probably didn't have to do any maintenance on your bare-boat charters. Think about what those trips would have been like if you had also been having to fix something... every day. Sourcing parts, sometimes even tools... sometimes bending into places a 10-year-old won't fit... sometimes working upside down, and using mirrors to see what you're doing... etc.

Might be a middle ground if you've got a great bud who enjoys maintenance. Let bud use the boat for free, and fix it, almost the time... except for the few times/year when you want to use it yourself. That'd take a serious bud.

-Chris
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Old 15-10-2016, 07:31   #9
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Re: Do I want to buy a boat?

Fractional ownership might be something to consider as well. You can find one locally or in the Caribbean.
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Old 15-10-2016, 07:59   #10
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pirate Re: Do I want to buy a boat?

Kind of a rock and a hard place..
Chartering is expensive but hassle free.. especially if your looking at 5mths/yr.. also you'll have restrictions to zones so it'll be a lot of flying involved to explore the Caribe.
As for buying.. it depends a lot on what you want/need for cruising.. ie simple sailing.. or the 'bells and whistles' equipment.. freezers, watermakers, AC, washing machine etc.
You could likely get a boat in good enough nick at your price where the essentials are good enough to last a couple or more years and there's places in the islands where it can sit between use relatively cheap.. the lagoon in St Martin for one.. where you can use her ground tackle and one of the full time SXM live aboard's can be approached to keep an eye on her.
Hurricane season is the only down side tho' with the claimed accuracy of weather forecasting you should have time to get out and move her.. then again.. would she be any safer in the States.?
A boat in my opinion should not cost more than one can reasonably afford to lose.
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Old 15-10-2016, 09:00   #11
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Re: Do I want to buy a boat?

Wow, serious food for thought. Thank you all.

I did not hope to actually make money on the boat when not in use, more get it to pay for itself, but maybe just keeping it down there cheaply is more realistic.

Maybe fractional ownership is the way to go. How does that work?

BTW, I am pretty handy and do enjoy tinkering a bit, but I wouldn't want to have to work on it all the time. Maybe I should target a bigger budget for the boat. What say, 25K-35K? I would want autopilot and AC, probably a freezer or refrig.
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Old 15-10-2016, 09:03   #12
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Re: Do I want to buy a boat?

Well, first things first. If your wife wants you to buy a boat, why are you even here? You should be out with your checkbook before she reconsiders!

Our friends told us something that we hadn't considered. Yes, having a boat in a marina nearby is expensive but, for them, it is like having a beach house. They go there and hang-out on the docks on weekends and sometimes after work. They have little parties there and just use it as their getaway place. For them, this alone is worth the cost. The ability to take it out sailing when the conditions are right is big bonus.
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Old 15-10-2016, 09:09   #13
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Re: Do I want to buy a boat?

Chartering long term is going to be really expensive. $10,000 a month, even on a small boat. And you won't have any personalization of equipment and gear. In theory you could find some individual owner who would be willing to rent you the boat for a few months, but in practice, everyone wants to be in the Caribbean at the same time of year.

We know many people who manage to live aboard in the winter on peanuts. No luxury, but enough to get by. It doesn't take a fancy boat. Sailing in the Eastern Caribbean is NOT like crossing oceans. You don't need navigation electronics, life rafts, or even a motor. A compass is plenty.

If you demand certainty, then finding a place to store the boat in heurricane season can be pricey. Think $500-600 a month. But if you are willing to take a little risk, you can probably find someone in Prickly Bay on Grenada who would keep an eye on your boat at anchor for a 1/10th of that.

Good luck, whichever you decide. It is a wonderful way to spend some time!
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Old 15-10-2016, 09:26   #14
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Re: Do I want to buy a boat?

Hey Bullshooter-- If you're primarily looking to sail in the Caribbean, check out Sebbatical- they charter four weeks and longer…

Also, Brent at the Captains Compass. We just chartered six weeks from him (because we couldn't find exactly what we wanted from Seabbatical) We won't be sailing until next April, so I don't have a review, but his price was fair and he's been very helpful. Tami
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Old 15-10-2016, 09:43   #15
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Re: Do I want to buy a boat?

OK, I just read a little bit of the restoration by 30yearslater (thanks). I have to say I have zero interest in that kind of labor. I was thinking of doing things such as installing electronics, changing hoses, replacing thru-hulls and engine maintenance. Maybe some light trim carpentry.

What about boat owners who have boats down in the islands? Do they rent out their boats at all? Charter companies seem to be renting out boats in the 200K-750K value range. You don't see any 20-30 year old boats like I could afford.

Other pros and cons I am considering are- If just chartering, I would have options like the Greek Islands or Croatia, Sardinia, whatever. I don't see us being ready to do Atlantic crossings in a boat we could afford, but maybe I am being too timid there. Also, when chartering, I am in a boat much nicer than I could afford, if more impersonal. Example- last trip was 10 days in a Lagoon 40 just a few years old with 6 or us. I like the cats for the spaciousness but I don't see any -of any age- that I could afford.

Your cost numbers are very helpful, as I am trying to calculate owning a boat for the next 10 years, sailing to the Caribbean maybe every year or two for a few months, and sailing home plus slip rental the rest of the time. Compare that to how often I could fly to the Caribbean and charter for a month or three over the same 10 years.

As an owner, I could also sail along the Gulf Coast at will, marina hopping along FL, maybe go to the Bahamas once in a while. I am thinking a one way trip from New Orleans to St. Thomas would be what, 2 weeks or so? Plus I could use the boat as canyonbat suggests, and go for an evening sail whenever I wanted, or just invite friends to the dock.

I realize I do not quite have the fire in the belly that many of you do, esp. the live-aboard folks. I admit I am worried that my wife may get bored or feel confined (maybe me too) on the long passages. I know we love island hopping, but...

This is a big decision but I have plenty of time and a lot to consider. Actually going to look at a C&C 34, 1984, for $14,500 in a few hours. Leaving the checkbook at home canyonbat!!! Hoping not to fall in love with the first boat we look at!

Cruisersforum rocks. Going to do a search on fractional ownership soon.

Thanks,
BS'er
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