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Old 29-10-2013, 19:00   #1
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Pros/Cons of Buying a Boat in the Great Lakes

Hi - we're planning on returning to the States (currently in NZ) and looking to buy a new boat there next year. We'll be looking for a 34-38' in the USD50-70k range and are open to it being a coastal cruiser or blue water boat. Our original plan was to look for one on the East Coast and then head down towards the Bahamas and beyond. But since we're flexible on where we look for a boat, I was wondering if buying one in the Great Lakes and taking her to the East Coast from there might be a good option given the freshwater conditions. I'm curious what people think the pros/cons are of buying a boat in the Great Lakes and any experiences you may have had.

Thanks - Ellen
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Old 29-10-2013, 19:11   #2
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Re: Pros/Cons of Buying a Boat in the Great Lakes

Can't think of any disadvantages. Take a look in Michigan ... just as many boats as Florida and no one has a job. Asking prices tend to be very flexible and a fresh water boat is a huge advantage.
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Old 30-10-2013, 12:59   #3
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Re: Pros/Cons of Buying a Boat in the Great Lakes

Watch out for draft when you leave. I scraped through the Erie Canal with 7'.

Also zebra mussels. Had them growing up every inlet. Some States don't like it if you take in a boat carrying them.
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Old 30-10-2013, 13:14   #4
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Re: Pros/Cons of Buying a Boat in the Great Lakes

I don't really feel that freshwater boat is a better used boat just because of having been in fresh water. But a boat from the Northeast that has been in lower UV and salinity and stored on shore half it's life is probably in better condition than a Florida boat.

In the end all that matters on a used boat is its' current condition and price.
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Old 30-10-2013, 13:28   #5
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Re: Pros/Cons of Buying a Boat in the Great Lakes

Didn't know that a Moody 376 also came in a 7' draft.
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Old 30-10-2013, 15:22   #6
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Re: Pros/Cons of Buying a Boat in the Great Lakes

I bought a Hunter 34 in Waukegan. Had a great trip through the lakes, erie canal and the Hudson river then down to Chesapeake Bay. Then sailed across the pond to the UK. Took 2 seasons though.
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Old 30-10-2013, 15:30   #7
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Re: Pros/Cons of Buying a Boat in the Great Lakes

Chicago's Boat and RV show is held in January each year at McCormick Place/Lake front. You can walk away with a brand new DEMO boat for around 30% less of its selling price; go early, and lock up a good value. Sail away!

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Old 31-10-2013, 02:37   #8
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Re: Pros/Cons of Buying a Boat in the Great Lakes

All else equal (ie: a well maintained salt water boat is better than an abused fresh water boat), the only thing to really watch for is a good percentage of great lakes boats have raw water cooling systems which run sea water thru the engine block. In fresh water it's not a big issue but I would avoid these if moving to salt water.
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Old 31-10-2013, 08:49   #9
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Re: Pros/Cons of Buying a Boat in the Great Lakes

Obviously, if coastal cruising is the ultimate objective, the big disadvantage would be the time and/or expense of moving the boat. On the other hand, that could be just another part of the adventure. It really depends on your perspective.

Good luck.
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Old 31-10-2013, 12:59   #10
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Re: Pros/Cons of Buying a Boat in the Great Lakes

If we could get the right boat for the right price in the Great Lakes then taking her to the East Coast could be an interesting adventure. Have you done that yourself previously? What are the costs like - I assume the big one is related to the mast?

Thanks - Ellen
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Old 31-10-2013, 13:14   #11
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Re: Pros/Cons of Buying a Boat in the Great Lakes

Getting the mast down in Oswego, NY was something like $150 last time we did it. Putting it back up at the Castleton Boat Club south of Albany was $1 a foot (DIY), so nut a big deal although you need to build a mast cradle system (2x4s), bolts and carpeting.

Great Lake boats are out of the water for half the year and exposed to fresh, but this can mean things like 30 year old sails and electronics. Also many boats have less gear in total. Prices on the US side are likely a bit better than on the US side.
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Old 31-10-2013, 13:18   #12
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Re: Pros/Cons of Buying a Boat in the Great Lakes

Thanks AiniA - that's a good point about the gear, sails, electronics etc that Great Lakes boats might have. You say that prices on the US side are better than the US side. Did you mean Canada side for one of these and if so, on which side are prices better?
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Old 31-10-2013, 14:12   #13
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Re: Pros/Cons of Buying a Boat in the Great Lakes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ellen Bumblebee View Post
If we could get the right boat for the right price in the Great Lakes then taking her to the East Coast could be an interesting adventure. Have you done that yourself previously? What are the costs like - I assume the big one is related to the mast?

Thanks - Ellen
If you go all the way out the St. Lawrence around Gaspe into the Gulf of St. Lawrence and to Halifax it is spectacular. No mast issues. Fast run.

There are huge advantages to a fresh water boat out of the Great Lakes. Salt water is incredibly corrosive.

1. 4 to 5 month in the water per year (think UV on the decks, finish, canvas, sails)
2. 1/2 to 1/3 the use compared to a year around boat in the tropics.
3. no salt water inside the boat
4. Little or no corrosion on all fittings and fasteners
5. no salt mist/air on the electronics and electrical connections
6. No corrosion on the ground tackle
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Old 31-10-2013, 17:06   #14
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Re: Pros/Cons of Buying a Boat in the Great Lakes

I hadn't thought about going via St Lawrence to Halifax - sounds like an option well worth checking out. There do seem to be some real advantages to a fresh water boat. I guess we could always start in the Great Lakes and if that doesn't work out drive out to the East Coast and look for boats there.
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Old 31-10-2013, 18:18   #15
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Re: Pros/Cons of Buying a Boat in the Great Lakes

It is spectacular scenery and a nice cruise through US history. Main route that opened the north and west of North America. 100's of beluga whales east of Quebec City. Quebec City is beautiful and is more European that Europe.

The highest concentration of yachts on Lake Superior is Duluth/Superior and Bayfield. We bought our pristine Mason in Bayfield.
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