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Old 20-04-2015, 11:17   #1
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Buying a daysailor to practice on for a year before making the switch to living aboar

Just wanted the opinion of you guys. I wanted to see who has done it and what your thoughts were. I've taken a sailing class already I just see that there are a lot of cheap daysailers out there and am wondering if it makes sense to buy that, practice and learn how to do some of the maintenance and such myself then in a year sell and get a larger vessel to live aboard on.


Sorry for any grammar or spelling errors I posted this on my phone.

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Old 20-04-2015, 11:27   #2
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Re: Buying a daysailor to practice on for a year before making the switch to living a

Sure, that is one path many go. Just make sure you get a day sailor that won't be a money pit while you own her. I could see one buying a cheap boat and spending the price just go keep it afloat. That would not be fun.

You know what size live aboard? If you are thinking lower 30s, many others would say go for it now even if you will single hand. Bigger will be harder.

I had a similar question and went with option two. I am not solo though and went 38.


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Old 20-04-2015, 11:43   #3
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Re: Buying a daysailor to practice on for a year before making the switch to living a

10 years ago I had a choice - either keep paying annual membership dues at our local sailing club (about $3,000-3,500 for a class of 25-28' boats) or buy one outright and try to keep the costs less than the club's fees. Got a 27' for the price of a haul as she needed some TLC but I liked the idea of learning the maintenance ropes and I initially figured this "training" boat would last a season or two. In fact I had her for 5 happy seasons. My annual expenses never exceeded the dues I'd have to pay to the club. And I sailed her more often and tweaked her to my own preferences, etc.
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Old 20-04-2015, 11:46   #4
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Re: Buying a daysailor to practice on for a year before making the switch to living a

It'd be me and my then wife (fiance right now) though I want to be able to solo sail for when she gets pregnant and has to take care of a little one. Which is kinda why I'm looking at option 1. Those kids come when least expected and prepared. Haha.

The boat we'd be looking at would be mid to high thirties. Maybe low forties.


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Old 20-04-2015, 11:47   #5
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Re: Buying a daysailor to practice on for a year before making the switch to living a

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10 years ago I had a choice - either keep paying annual membership dues at our local sailing club (about $3,000-3,500 for a class of 25-28' boats) or buy one outright and try to keep the costs less than the club's fees. Got a 27' for the price of a haul as she needed some TLC but I liked the idea of learning the maintenance ropes and I initially figured this "training" boat would last a season or two. In fact I had her for 5 happy seasons. My annual expenses never exceeded the dues I'd have to pay to the club. And I sailed her more often and tweaked her to my own preferences, etc.
Well if a deal like that comes along I'll have to bite. Haha. Do you remember the annual cost? (Just a ballpark is fine.)

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Old 20-04-2015, 12:31   #6
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Re: Buying a daysailor to practice on for a year before making the switch to living a

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Well if a deal like that comes along I'll have to bite. Haha. Do you remember the annual cost? (Just a ballpark is fine.)

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This was seasonal as this is New England. But the sailing club dues were also for early May-end of October.

Mooring - $600/season (it was 3 year rental deal with $1 buy out option afterwards so I now own the mooring and only pay $180/yr for annual service and $100 annual harbormaster permit fee)
Oct. haul out, winter storage and launch in May - $1,500
Misc. expenses, fixes etc - about $500 average depending on the season but I did a lot of work myself or with help of marine knowledgeable buddies. I kept all electronics to a minimum - depth sounder actually (when it was working) and a handheld GPS but having 3.5' draft helped.

One other expense which was actually a good deal compared to the sailing club situation was launch service. Basically in our mooring field there are 3 choices:
1. use your own dinghy but the wait to have a legal spot at the dinghy dock is 15-20 years otherwise have to drag it back and forth each time you want to get to your boat,
2. Pay per ride - $7 1st person, $4 each add'l person (each way) or
3. buy for $700/annual stickeer which includes unlimited rides for unlimited number of persons to your vessel.

Now while launch fees and sticker may sound steep pricewise, back at the club if you or your guests needed to park the car since it was downtown the rate was $40-50 per day with hourly rates of $10/hr and up on weekends and $15 and up weekdays. That's HOURLY. At the mooring field you can park on the street for free and it's a nice residential area full of boaties.

So comparing total $$ spent I was spending less overall on my own boat than I was sailing out of the club. Not to mention the heartache when you prepare in advance and look forward to that late summer 1 week trip to Maine only to be held back by weeklong nasty weather and the fact that all of your crew has taken time off work and wont' be available next week, not to mention that the boats are already reserved by others and won't be available for another month or two or three for a week long cruise.

Just stay away from fancy shmansy yacht clubs, marinas and boatyards (especially the ones which don't allow DIY repairs, those are the biggest price gougers). If you find a nice working marina or a boatyard or a mooring field to launch from you'd do allright money wise.
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Old 20-04-2015, 13:25   #7
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Re: Buying a daysailor to practice on for a year before making the switch to living a

Those costs are that bad. I'd plan on getting something smaller too. Have you sold it or is the boat still in your possession?

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Old 20-04-2015, 13:30   #8
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Re: Buying a daysailor to practice on for a year before making the switch to living a

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Those costs are that bad. I'd plan on getting something smaller too. Have you sold it or is the boat still in your possession?

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That one I sold 4 years ago but I have an O'day 25 in good shape and in the water already (so no hauling costs if you're within sailing reach). Would make a great day sailor and weekender. PM me for more info.
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Old 20-04-2015, 13:36   #9
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Re: Buying a daysailor to practice on for a year before making the switch to living a

Where do you keep your boat island time? Winthrop? East Bos? $600 for the season is a steal, and $180 is way better! I think BHSC ran about $4k when I looked at it last ...


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Old 20-04-2015, 13:47   #10
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Re: Buying a daysailor to practice on for a year before making the switch to living a

Well I'm down south in Miami haha. I was just curious to see how much you sold
it for. If it was close to even than I think it makes a good amount of sense to do it.

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Old 20-04-2015, 14:10   #11
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Re: Buying a daysailor to practice on for a year before making the switch to living a

I'd say yes, buying a day sailer at first can be a good idea. I've sailed more than a few yachts that were 40'+. They are fun for some things, but for pure sailing fun and learning how to get the best and safest performance out of a sailboat, a day sailor is better.

Same goes for learning about boat ownership. All maintenance and upgrade costs are much lower on small boats.

I advise to get a boat that you can sail today. Don't buy a project. All boat projects on your first boat should be optional and not required in order to sail. The way I figure, from what I've learned from owning and sailing a daysailer that cost me $1000, I'll save at least that much in the future on reduced costs of owning a bigger boat because of the experience I gained on the smaller boat. So any amount of money I get when I sell the day sailer is pure gravy.

My timeline is longer than a year. If I was sure I'd be buying a bigger boat in a year, I wouldn't buy the little one first.
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Old 20-04-2015, 14:21   #12
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Re: Buying a daysailor to practice on for a year before making the switch to living a

I agree with jwing, don’t buy a project (unless you’re one of those nuts like me who thinks he enjoys puttering as much as sailing). On the other hand, some may want a bit more comfort than a day sailor provides (assuming the ultimate goal is liveaboard, and then comfort in some fashion is an issue, if not the issue). I think there is little doubt that small-boat sailing often creates better pure-sailors, whether it resonates with the live aboard or cruiser spirit/mindset is something of a debate however.
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Old 20-04-2015, 14:37   #13
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Re: Buying a daysailor to practice on for a year before making the switch to living a

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Originally Posted by CaptainSostre View Post
Well I'm down south in Miami haha. I was just curious to see how much you sold
it for. If it was close to even than I think it makes a good amount of sense to do it.

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I sold it cheap, $1,200 incl. 8hp outboard as I needed to put my next boat on that mooring ASAP. But that 1st boat was in TLC shape anyway.

I know that at the time similar size boats in similar shape were going for $3-4K in FL as there is more demand from liveaboards to get on the water. My buddy who lives in FL was surprised at the prices in New England as he says there is nothing he could find even close.

As far as people telling not to get a project boat it is all relative. For someone a boat needs to be in pristine condition not to be called a project. For me and many others it just has to float and move you forward. I don't think it is wise to get something you can't afford to lose as your first boat. Especially if you have a steep learning curve to climb. And it also saves you a ton of $$ in the long run as you learn to fix things not at the full boatyard rates but at DIY prices.

And that is the differences between dreaming about a boat which you can't afford and sailing a boat which you can. Unless of course you're retired with a fat gov't pension and a few mils in the bank then you can pontificate about not getting a "project" boat.

I believe seamanship is not just knowing how to trim your sails to win a round the cans race but being able to fix your boat's systems in the middle of the ocean away from SeaTow and CG. And that's only learned from doing misc. projects and knowing your boat in the minute details.
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Old 20-04-2015, 14:54   #14
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Re: Buying a daysailor to practice on for a year before making the switch to living a

When I say don't buy a "project boat," I mean don't buy a boat that needs to be worked on before it can be sailed. My boat has plenty of things that could be done to it, but not a single thing has kept me from sailing it. I enjoy the heck out of sailing, even if the boat is a bit rough, cosmetically speaking and the sails are dirty and about as crisp as a towel. So I agree with Island Time.
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Old 20-04-2015, 15:14   #15
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Re: Buying a daysailor to practice on for a year before making the switch to living a

Hee, hee… a project boat for me might be a derelict for many… usually I’m content if the rig will stay up and the sails can be patched in a few afternoon’s work, cosmetics usually don't concern too much… from the deck up has to be serviceable I suppose, below decks… hmmmm… fortunately my Dearly Beloved is probably more comfortable with woodworking tools than I am, so our tolerance level is pretty high and our idea of an electrical system is dependent on how many C&AA-cells we have, but I agree with the caveat nonetheless…
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