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Old 05-10-2018, 08:32   #1
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Help me blow my boat show budget

Hi - I've lurked here frequently when looking for advice but have not posted before.

I've got a 28 foot Pearson on the Chesapeake, used mostly as for quick overnights on the Bay and daysailing. Still at the point in my career where I can't get to the boat as often as I would like, but she's a great starter boat for the bay that doesn't need much to keep her on the water, so I am happy.

I've been saving up some money for a few upgrades and went the Annapolis boat show on preview day to start thinking about what I want. I'd be interested in thoughts on how to best spend my money, since I probably should not buy everything I have my eye on right now.

Options:
  • a lazy-jack and stack pack system so I can get the main down easier. I find I hate standing on the cabin top trying to flake the main while waiting for a power boat wake to knock me over.
  • an inflatable airfloor tender and outboard. I have a Trinka 8 that I intended to use as a tender, but often just leave it at the marina because I find towing it a pain and it takes up all the room on my foredeck. I think if I had something I could store below I'd be more likely to go exploring while anchoring out.
  • an inflatable catamaran (a Minicat) to take with me on vacations up north, where I rent a lake house for a few weeks a year but having nothing to sail.

Thoughts? Obviously the sensible thing to do would be to buy none of these things but I'm in a mood to spend some money to maximize my fun on the water and wondering where the best bang for my buck would be. Feel free to suggest other upgrades you have made that really increased your enjoyment of sailing as well. Thanks!
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Old 05-10-2018, 08:44   #2
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Re: Help me blow my boat show budget

Get the lazy jacks or make them yourself for 1/4 the price. Check craigslist and get both a used dingy and minicat/hobie/laser for the price of one new one. If you donít already have a auto pilot, Iíd be looking at that for a show purchase.
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Old 05-10-2018, 08:59   #3
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Re: Help me blow my boat show budget

I do not have an autopilot, nor have I used one, so I'd be interested in hearing more about why that should be on my list.

The Minicats, sadly, hardly ever show up in the second-hand market, never locally (they are more popular in Europe than the US), and the boat show discount is actually quite good, about as good as the second-hand good condition price.
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Old 05-10-2018, 10:18   #4
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Re: Help me blow my boat show budget

Sailed for years without an AP, didnít know what I was missing. Itís like having another person onboard while you raise/lower the sails, take a quick bathroom break, tidy lines/genders leaving port and much more. Itís also a safety thing being able to keep pointed to windward while raising/lowering if you were to say fall off course or get a good gust could swing your boom crank you on the head or dump you, keep fatigue down etc. I donít use it all the time and almost always hand steer while sailing but itís nice to just push the button and do a walk around from time to time. If youíre set on the minicat then go for it, maybe a small mono would do? Lots come with trailers, just another option.
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Old 05-10-2018, 10:34   #5
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Re: Help me blow my boat show budget

Thanks for the tip about the autopilot. I am often short-handed on the boat and that does seem handy. I figured they were more for lessening fatigue on longer cruises.

Yes, the Minicat makes no sense except that it fits my constrained optimization problem. I really want to have a boat to sail from my lake house rental but do not want to trailer a boat the 15 hour drive there and back. I also have no where to store another boat or a trailer. The Minicat fits into a bag that I can store in my city apartment.
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Old 06-10-2018, 09:50   #6
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Re: Help me blow my boat show budget

Stackpack (because you will enjoy putting the main up more often) and autopilot (because you’ll enjoy longer adventures.

The others find in six months on Craigslist when the guys who buy them this week get tired of them :-)
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Old 06-10-2018, 09:56   #7
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Re: Help me blow my boat show budget

I had lazy jacks and a stack pack on my old boat and loved it, i added them as an upgrade, after that I would use the main all the time, even on short sails because it made it fast and easy.
Autopilot well worth the money 100%
If you have not switched your lights to LEDs, that’s a good upgrade
Also add a some solar
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Old 06-10-2018, 10:47   #8
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Re: Help me blow my boat show budget

I agree lazyjacks AND autopilot.

That minicat looks fun but very tiresome to assemble and put away. It would be awful to do it in the sun on a hot humid day. I expect buyers will do it once a season for two years then sell it. Probably not as good under sail as a hard hull either; can you spell Craigslist? Imho, the only problem it solves is portability for vacation once a year or winter storage for an apartment or condo dweller. Maybe good for an RV also, but only for multi-day stays at the water.
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Old 06-10-2018, 16:53   #9
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Re: Help me blow my boat show budget

There are plans on line for making your own plywood dinghy, some of them nesting. Size it to fit on your foredeck or just aft of the mast. Gives you a boat you can use from a car top carrier, as well as a working dinghy to row around in, or put a little outboard motor on. Motor can come later, 2nd hand. We have a friend who built one to fit on the foredeck of their Vertue, approx. 25 ft overall. It carries him, his wife, and the groceries. They painted theirs high visibility orange, but of course, you can paint it however you like!

You can also make your own lazy jacks, and incorporate a mainsail bag with them. Then, it's just the cost of the materials. If you do this, use Sunbrella for the cloth, as it doesn't fade, and ptfe thread, so you only build it once. Cut the fabric with a hot knife, so it can't ravel.

Now, the autopilot will make a huge difference, and most of us can't make them. So, if cash is tight, that's the best place to spend it, imho, followed by the boom bag (but any decent home sewing machine can do it--it's just easier with a walking foot, but not enough to justify buying a special machine for, again, mho).

Learning the above skills as you go, really builds self-confidence. In addition, it is a thing of quiet self esteem to have done it one's own self, for the boat and oneself.

Ann
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Old 06-10-2018, 17:45   #10
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Re: Help me blow my boat show budget

I blew my boat show budget on a Bloody Mary from Pussers. Turned out to be a waste of money, since my wife has been feeding me the watered down version for so long that I can't really stand the taste of vodka. I shoulda sprung for the inflatable cat instead.
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Old 07-10-2018, 08:26   #11
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Re: Help me blow my boat show budget

Thanks everyone for helping me spend my boat show bucks.

In the end, I bought the Minicat. I've been eyeing them for years, there are never any used ones on the market, and the boat show deal is almost 20% off. If you've never seen one in action before, here's a video:



I then blew $16 on two Painkillers for me and the spouse to celebrate.

I'm definitely also moving forward on the stack pack/lazy jacks. I've got a quote good for the end of the month and I am researching right now how hard it would be to DIY the lazy jacks and stack pack. You are right, doesn't look that bad. I bought a Sailrite last year to do some repairs on my canvas and am planning some more canvas projects for the boat this winter.

I've now added an autopilot to the list for the future, and it wasn't even on my radar until this thread. I don't take very many longer trips in the boat now, but if that changes an autopilot will be handy.

Scout
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Old 07-10-2018, 12:26   #12
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Re: Help me blow my boat show budget

Please give us your feedback on the new cat when you've had a chance to give it a go. I had a really hard time not buying one! Painkillers were a good choice, as well.
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Old 08-10-2018, 13:19   #13
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Re: Help me blow my boat show budget

what is the cost of a min cat?

In real dollars.......not necessarily Pusser Dollars!
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Old 08-10-2018, 15:10   #14
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Re: Help me blow my boat show budget

The cost of a Minicat ranges from $3,300 - $9,600 depending on model and options.

I'll post a review once I've taken it out for a few sails.
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Old 20-11-2018, 11:51   #15
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Re: Help me blow my boat show budget

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChesapeakeScout View Post
The cost of a Minicat ranges from $3,300 - $9,600 depending on model and options.

I'll post a review once I've taken it out for a few sails.

How do you like the Minicat? Looks neat-
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