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Old 23-09-2016, 13:53   #1
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Probably getting sick of posts like this, another noobie asking for help!

Hello, I'm a guy that currently owns a home in Chicago and my only experience with sailing is taking rides on tallships when they visit Chicago. That being said, I always had an allure to sailing ships, probably cause I'm a naval history buff, and now I might have a chance to live the lifestyle. I'm planning on moving out towards Seattle at the start of next year. I am not a fan of renting, and honestly the dollar per sq foot to live in downtown Seattle is pretty steep. I would rather have my money going towards something else, in this case a boat. I'm pretty sure this is a weak excuse to just sound sane to anyone that doesn't understand why Im doing this. So first off, I recently bought sailing lessons and plan on being somewhat familiar with the basics before I arrive in Seattle, so I dont smash everything moving the boat. Second, I've done a lot of research, and I am sort of set on Fiberglass, and not going above 34 ft length wise, though I prefer to go as small as comfortably possible , cause I still will be paying for my home in Chicago. I called a broker in the area and his boats started at 60,000 , comparing that to craiglist's where the boats are listed from anything from 5k to 55,000 and up. If I go through the broker, are these boats in any better shape ? Is it possible to get a good boat in the 20,000 - 30,000 dollar range that could sneak out of the sound and cruise up the Alaskan coast? Eventually, I do want to do a blue water run but that is years in the future. Is there a boat that I can get that is more or less turn key for that amount? I fell in love with the boats the broker showed me for 70,000 and 80,000 , one was a Hans Christian at 34 ft I believe and the other was a 93 Catalina Morgan 38. Do you have any suggestions on fiberglass boats in that price range that have the look of a wood boat ( like the Hans)? If I could get away with paying 800 - 900 a month with slip, boat payments, ins, ect , it would be amazing, though right now it seems like its more in the 1100-1200 range to be near seattle.

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Old 23-09-2016, 14:26   #2
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Re: Probably getting sick of posts like this, another noobie asking for help!

Wind459, I was looking at the opposing selections in your post,- broker vs. by owner; wood trim vs. fiberglass; 80K vs. 20K; pretty vs, functional; $800 vs. $1,200/month.

I am biased. I'd by from the owner for about 20 to 30K with specific criteria for a sound vessel and expect some DIY work, but there would be NO time from me spent on maintaining brightwork. There's nothing prettier to me than a functional boat that doesn't need extra care with varnish and such!

...'but you have to deal with what you fall in love with.

I've met a few people that were fond owners of their Bristol Channel Cutters. To me these were beautiful to look at, but these owners were maintenance slaves to their vessels. I thought of them as trapped like heroin addicts!

...'but, like I said, I am biased!

I think you could find a slip for a monthly rate of ca. $11/ft.

Take care and joy, Aythya crew
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Old 23-09-2016, 15:01   #3
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Re: Probably getting sick of posts like this, another noobie asking for help!

Before you move and/or buy a boat, do your research and homework to find out if you can actually get a liveaboard slip. They are increasingly hard to some by.

I have friends who wanted a "traditional" boat. They wasted lots of time finding one, then ended up selling it for a slightly bigger production boat that had tons more room.

Do your homework first. I know you're new to this, but we all were at some point in our sailing lives.

There are lots of posts on this and other boating forums that are as open ended as your question is. You might consider reading some of them.

Your question is like asking your mother: "What girl should I marry?" before you've had a first date.

You'll also need to get physically ON a lot of boats before you can make a decision.

Good luck.
Stu Jackson
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Old 23-09-2016, 20:55   #4
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Re: Probably getting sick of posts like this, another noobie asking for help!

You're biggest problem will be finding a slip near Seattle, I suspect. As to boat price, my advice would be buy a boat for two thirds of what you can afford; plan on spending the rest on remedial work. Actually, I'd advise get a 35-40 ft slip, buy something about 25 feet like a Catalina 25, use it to learn, sail on other boats when you can, see what you like, THEN buy your 34 foot boat
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Old 23-09-2016, 21:36   #5
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Re: Probably getting sick of posts like this, another noobie asking for help!

Like Hudson Force, I recommend buying from an owner direct. Lot's of good boats out there for around $20-30K.

You're already ahead of the game going with a fiberglass 34' ish boat. Price of the boat really has not much reality to condition of the boat. Sure folks selling boats will have them detailed inside and out. But if the engine bay is really clean and the bilge spotless with out a hint of diesel smell, it's probably a keeper. BTW a diesel smell means there is or has been a fuel leak (possibly a tank ($$$$). Avoid a smelly boat, unless you get it for a song. The foam in the seating will absorb that smell and be $$$ to replace.

The important bits is good hull, mast, standing rigging and engine. Everything else is going to need replacing sometime (so will standing rigging).

There are good brokers out there. There are also a TON of bad brokers and they all look and sound the same.
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Old 24-09-2016, 03:19   #6
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Re: Probably getting sick of posts like this, another noobie asking for help!

sailorchic has hit the high points about what to look for. Hudsonforce has hit on some of the finer points about owning a traditional boat.

I've owned two wooden powerboats, 24' and 40' built in '64 and '50 respectively. A traditional Chesapeake Bay Sea Skiff and a Great Lakes Matthews cruiser. Both had extensive mahogany on their topsides. Handrails had 14-coats of Epifanes two-part varnish on them ($$$). I was in the US Navy at the time and would deploy for a couple or six months and come back and tha evil Sun God had eaten my varnish (He has a varnish addiction methinks and don't care what kind of boat it is). I'd see a bubble in the varnish that needed repair..and the next thing I knew I was spending every afternoon sanding back every varnished piece of wood on the boat. Cost a lot of $, yes....But cost me a relationship on more than one occasion. I became a slave to my boat....don't let that happen to you. Unless you and your significant other just like the smell of varnish, that is.....
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Old 24-09-2016, 03:42   #7
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Re: Probably getting sick of posts like this, another noobie asking for help!

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Wind.
Gord May
"If you didn't have the time or money to do it right in the first place, when will you get the time/$ to fix it?"

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Old 24-09-2016, 04:33   #8
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Re: Probably getting sick of posts like this, another noobie asking for help!

Welcome to CF wind !

You have all the answers here already...

Find a slip
Buy owner direct
Don't buy a maintenance queen
In the harsh marine environment, something is always in need of repair...

Mai Tai's fix everything...
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Old 24-09-2016, 09:17   #9
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Re: Probably getting sick of posts like this, another noobie asking for help!

Don't rush, there are a lot of boats out here for sale. And slips are available if you look around a bit. You said near Seattle. How near and inland or on the Salish Sea? Downtown Seattle is expensive but the last time I worked in Renton there were slips in several of the small marinas. Places most people have never heard of. Now buying a boat is sort of like buying a horse. The initial price may be small but the up keep large. And like a horse they are easy to buy and hard to sell. Now the boat shows are coming up, used and new, talk to the locals. I still think 6 mounts in a rental boat while you see if the life style is for you will be time and money well spent. I am in Anacortes not that far away I have lived in several of the marinas in the area and will be glad to talk boats over one of our micro-brews when you get here. Sid
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Old 24-09-2016, 09:20   #10
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Re: Probably getting sick of posts like this, another noobie asking for help!


Buy a plane ticket to Seattle during the 'Big Seattle Boat Show' week. Usually in January. Two shows actually, one indoors in downtown Seattle and a second in the water show at the South end of Lake Union. A good chance to see lots of boats, new and used as well as talk to owners and brokers about different models. Also time to sope out potential moorage sites from Everett to Olympia and beyond for availability and cost. Maybe get on a waiting list or two. In the mid 70's I was on a wait list for a 30' slip at Shilshole Marina in Seattle. After 10 years it came up and 3 months later I was transferred to Southern California.
Take your rain gear.
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Old 24-09-2016, 09:23   #11
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Re: Probably getting sick of posts like this, another noobie asking for help!

IMHO the best thing you can do right now is look at boats, lots of boats. Get on Craigslist & go look at every boat in your area that interests you. Go to boat shows. Go to Yachtworld & find boats in your area & go look at them. The more boats you look at the more you'll know about what costs what & what you like. Don't worry about wasting a seller's time or a Brokers time. You also need to read as much as you can. One thing to remember is all boats are a lot of work. Don't fall for a fixer upper because it looks like a good deal because it won't be. That's an expensive lesson to learn.
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Old 24-09-2016, 09:25   #12
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Re: Probably getting sick of posts like this, another noobie asking for help!

You should always keep in mind to add some personal work. If you buy direct from the owner, you can find prices as low as 5k for 30 footer, BUT check if it is insurable.
Your biggest problem is to find a slip there. I spend 4 months in Seattle last year and the near by marinas are packed!!!
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Old 24-09-2016, 09:58   #13
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Re: Probably getting sick of posts like this, another noobie asking for help!

Quote: "Is it possible to get a good boat in the 20,000 - 30,000 dollar range that could sneak out of the sound and cruise up the Alaskan coast?"

Absolutely! Seattle, Blaine, Everett, Sidney, Vancouver, all kindsa places where you can pick up a good boat for that money.

On the hard at my marina there is a US30. You can have it for fifteen HUNDRED bux. Canadian at that, so it's about one grand of yours. The boat floats, but is - admittedly - a project boat.

The BIG item when looking at boats in the nether range of prices is the condition of the engine. "Egg beaters" are like paper cups: Drink the coffee, throw the cup away. Get another coffee. Same with outboard motors. Inboards are a whole different matter. Old diesels without a documented history and a clean CURRENT bill of health form a COMPETENT marine diesel mechanic will become a financial burden you don't want.

Assuming a boat suits you, allocate your funds this way: Re'n're engine: About $4K. Choice between comprehensive overhaul of old engine and replacement by new. On a twenty or twentyfive horse, the cost difference is about $4K, a new machine being about $10K. Possibly a prop replacement to suit new engine: $1K.

So the moment you buy the boat, you are looking at a commitment of $15K in addition to the purchase price of the boat. Remember that a boat with a broken down engine cannot even be GIVEN away, and disposal costs (chainsaw and dump the pieces) would be about $10K.

So for a boat that lists for $30K you should pay no more than $15K, keeping the difference for an engine replacement.

Lotsa other stuff to become familiar with. Moorage for a 30 footer anywhere in the PNW would be about $5K a year. Few "live-aboard" slips are available. Most are so far from public transportation that you cannot do without a car, so make sure the marina where you will be will let you park there. Personally I couldn't live without a land base. No problem. Buy a boat you like AND a cheap condo.

If you already know how to sail, that's good. If you don't, it won't matter. Any one of us here could teach you in an afternoon the basic boat handling needed to get you in and out of the marina. From there on you'd learn on your own, as most of us have done. It only takes a lifetime ;-) But nobody expects you to be "perfect". "Adequate" will do. Remember that for 20% of the investment (of time and money required to get "perfect") you get 80% of the "perfection". And for most, that's "good enuff"

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Old 24-09-2016, 11:27   #14
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Re: Probably getting sick of posts like this, another noobie asking for help!

Despite all the encouragement, you need to really think about your criteria. First, you mention cost per square foot of living space for Seattle rentals. I have made no comparisons, but if that is an actual consideration, keep in mind that in a sailing boat that has the ability or the potential to do what you mention is possibly higher on that basis, perhaps much higher. I do not know the Seattle market at all well despite considering and trying, but failing, to buy a couple of boats there that would fit your criteria (I planned to bring them south) but on an overall basis you may need to make some adjustments to meet your goals. What I am trying to say, I doubt (but hope I am incorrect) that you can buy a boat as described, pay for a dock (or...), insure it, and maintain it within your budget. Of course, much depends on where "towards Seattle" you select. Remember, the voyage can beat the destination. Have fun and enjoy both.
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Old 24-09-2016, 11:41   #15
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Re: Probably getting sick of posts like this, another noobie asking for help!

Living on a boat in the PNW can be pretty drippy. Look for a boat with a transferable slip. Personally I would look on Bainbridge or Vashon Is or Port Orchard or Poulsbo and take the ferry into town.

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