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Old 04-07-2012, 16:07   #1
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When to Take the Plunge?

We are landlocked - 400 miles from the nearest salt water - but I have a fair bit of sailing and even professional boating in my past (I am beginning to admit my somewhat distant past!)

I am hoping to retire December 31, 2013. We'd like to get a 40- 46 foot boat to spend about half our time on. Not a new boat, but a quality built boat under ten years old. My question is: when is it best to buy such a boat? Should I look this summer, next or wait until I retire?

We won't really have much chance to use the boat or upgrade anything that needs it until I retire. At best I foresee a few weekends and maybe a weeks sail each year. On the other hand, the purchase market seems good right now - but having to pay storage and upkeep for 18 months or more seems like a bad plan.

Any thoughts are appreciated.
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Old 04-07-2012, 16:44   #2
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Re: When to Take the Plunge?

Start looking now. By the time you find the right boat and close the deal, it will be time to retire.
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Old 04-07-2012, 17:36   #3
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Re: When to Take the Plunge?

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Start looking now. By the time you find the right boat and close the deal, it will be time to retire.
+1

Especially as you have no great plans / time to use her until retirement.....18 months of costs will add up.
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Old 04-07-2012, 17:40   #4
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Re: When to Take the Plunge?

You won't get 18 months of coastal sailing if you're living 400 miles away.

I'd wait until you're free. Keep searching for that perfect boat, spend you're time taking weekend trips to look at boats, go sailing, etc...
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Old 04-07-2012, 18:15   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rou-Coo
We are landlocked - 400 miles from the nearest salt water - but I have a fair bit of sailing and even professional boating in my past (I am beginning to admit my somewhat distant past!)

I am hoping to retire December 31, 2013. We'd like to get a 40- 46 foot boat to spend about half our time on. Not a new boat, but a quality built boat under ten years old. My question is: when is it best to buy such a boat? Should I look this summer, next or wait until I retire?

We won't really have much chance to use the boat or upgrade anything that needs it until I retire. At best I foresee a few weekends and maybe a weeks sail each year. On the other hand, the purchase market seems good right now - but having to pay storage and upkeep for 18 months or more seems like a bad plan.

Any thoughts are appreciated.
I would spend a year making my hobby weekend trips to see boats. This will give you experience interpreting advertisements vs. what the boats really look like. It will make you a more experienced shopper.

I would plan using some vacation time to dust off your sailing skills and even plan charters of a couple of boats. Go 35 feet or so and 46 foot or so. You can compare the relative ease of handling all the lines on different size boats that way.

For me 40 feet is the point where hand grqppling everything starts to become winching everything due to line loads.

In the final 6 months I would short list and get the buying process started.
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Old 04-07-2012, 19:20   #6
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Re: When to Take the Plunge?

I agree with everyone here -- it will take 18 months to learn the market and find the right boat. We put 5 offers in on various boats before we got all the way to closing on the boat we now own, and we looked seriously for about 18 months...
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Old 04-07-2012, 19:30   #7
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Re: When to Take the Plunge?

+1 on start looking now.

Shortlist boats you like right now. Keep an open mind and look up/at as many designs/ideas as you can. Then shortlist the shortlist.

Make contacts with owners of boats you like. Read, read, read.

Browse the web for images and info on the boats you like. You will find plenty of inspiration.

Good luck and happy sailing,
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Old 04-07-2012, 19:41   #8
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Re: When to Take the Plunge?

But of course, the law of sod being the pain that it is, because you are not in a hurry, the perfect boat at the perfect price will appear before your very eyes just about instantly.Then you will have the decision of keeping on looking or buying now. It's never easy, However i agree, start looking, if nothing else it is a lot of fun.

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Old 05-07-2012, 12:55   #9
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But of course, the law of sod being the pain that it is, because you are not in a hurry, the perfect boat at the perfect price will appear before your very eyes just about instantly.Then you will have the decision of keeping on looking or buying now. It's never easy, However i agree, start looking, if nothing else it is a lot of fun.

Coops.
But think about smaller boats. No matter how buff you are, your going to lose some significant body mass as you age. Bigger boats require way more effort or money to manage. Seen lots of old guys in big hulks tied to docks never to leave. Otoh, the old farts that really sail and explore are in way smaller boats.
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Old 05-07-2012, 13:12   #10
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Re: When to Take the Plunge?

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But think about smaller boats. No matter how buff you are, your going to lose some significant body mass as you age. Bigger boats require way more effort or money to manage. Seen lots of old guys in big hulks tied to docks never to leave. Otoh, the old farts that really sail and explore are in way smaller boats.

Disregard the above. The vast majority of cruisers we meet are retired. Most of them have boats 40 feet or larger. With good winches and an electric windlass, strength is not that important a factor, but brains might be and being retired you might have gained some wisdom in your years. We are both retired and my spouse regularly grinds me up the mast.
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Old 05-07-2012, 14:12   #11
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Re: When to Take the Plunge?

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Disregard the above. The vast majority of cruisers we meet are retired. Most of them have boats 40 feet or larger. With good winches and an electric windlass, strength is not that important a factor, but brains might be and being retired you might have gained some wisdom in your years. We are both retired and my spouse regularly grinds me up the mast.
yes, and that would explain two couples last week having a heck of a time with their sails wrapped around forestays in squally conditions. both 40+ footers. we helped one(clean wake), and could not get to the other. the guy forced the wrap tight due to his superb winches. you should not have to depend on roller anything if you are sailing into stormy seas. last month was a nice retired couple that kept bashing other boats as they tried to get off the fuel dock in gusty winds. boat way to big to "manhandle." otoh, the little orion 27 driven by a old gezzer(82 years old) simply backed out stern wise with a loop around the bow to dock cleats. then snapped in his line, ripped open his jib, and was off sailing. same dock, same day and almost same hour. and old folks dont seem any wiser than the young ones. its sea time, not time alive, that makes a difference.
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Old 05-07-2012, 14:31   #12
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Re: When to Take the Plunge?

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Originally Posted by reed1v View Post
yes, and that would explain two couples last week having a heck of a time with their sails wrapped around forestays in squally conditions. both 40+ footers. we helped one(clean wake), and could not get to the other. the guy forced the wrap tight due to his superb winches. you should not have to depend on roller anything if you are sailing into stormy seas. last month was a nice retired couple that kept bashing other boats as they tried to get off the fuel dock in gusty winds. boat way to big to "manhandle." otoh, the little orion 27 driven by a old gezzer(82 years old) simply backed out stern wise with a loop around the bow to dock cleats. then snapped in his line, ripped open his jib, and was off sailing. same dock, same day and almost same hour. and old folks dont seem any wiser than the young ones. its sea time, not time alive, that makes a difference.
The OP has sailing experience. Experienced sailors should know how to get in and out of slips, even when it's blowing. Do not put screw ups down to age or size of boats. Most screw ups are due to lack of experience. If you want to go cruising in a 27 footer, fine. But there is nothing wrong with a 40 footer. My views are based on seeing cruisers out there cruising, not hanging around a marina. A 40 footer would be much preferable to a 27 footer if you're going to live on a boat.
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Old 05-07-2012, 14:49   #13
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Re: When to Take the Plunge?

ah, yes. a mc'mansion is roomier than a cottage.agreed. we do get a lot of rather large sailing boats up here in the summer. recent one is a 185 footer tied up at the marina. family with crew. nice. however, think eric hiscock had it correct about the overall serviceability of a 30 footer for circumnavigation purposes. lot easier to bounce small boat off reefs than a floating condo. much easier to maneuver through ice pans, and way way more likely to find dock space in strange lands. we once got to tie up to the "kings" barge in ebeye. big boats( 40+) could not do that. and so on. guess you gotta have the sea time to know. ps. on a smaller boat, can rig it so you lower the mast rather than having to crawl up it.
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Old 05-07-2012, 15:15   #14
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Re: When to Take the Plunge?

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But of course, the law of sod being the pain that it is, because you are not in a hurry, the perfect boat at the perfect price will appear before your very eyes just about instantly.
Yep, that's what I worry about. Of course I won't realize how perfect it was until about 6 months later when I'm only seeing hulks.

With the number of boats I see on the market I'm surprised that so many people find they have to search so long to find the right boat. My schedule is such that I can't get to the coast too often but I see I will have to make more of an effort soon.

To me, boat size is a matter of comfort, speed and security in severe weather vs. ease of handling, initial cost, and berthage and upkeep costs. I've certainly considered the matter and I think the size range I've given suits my balance of the various considerations.

And, yes, I do charter from time to time which helps keep some of the sailing skills sharp.
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Old 05-07-2012, 15:21   #15
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Re: When to Take the Plunge?

when all is said and done, its the boat you fall in love with that is the perfect boat for you. roaming the wide ocean fields in a boat you really love is an experience unmatched this side of heaven, and maybe even then.
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