They say the two happiest days in a Sailors life is the day he buys a boat and the day he sells that boat. Some say that a boat is no more than a hole in the water you dump money into. I have found all three to be true.
While there is a great feeling of owning a boat, a condo on the water and having access to the Deep Blue Ocean, there is also a lot of constant maintenance and unforeseen cost. Even if you have the money to pay cash and eliminate a boat payment, you will still have a lot of expenses. First you need to purchase Insurance, monthly Dock fees (depending on the length of your boat) on the average of $7.50 per ft. The ocean has all kinds of little critters that cling to the bottom of your boat that requires removal. So, every month or two, either you or a diver you pay, must go into the water, under the boat to remove the little critters. Then every two to three years you have the great privilege of paying to have your boat hauled out, the bottom scraped, cleaned and repainted (with a bottom paint that can cost as much as $200 a gallon).
Now that I have burst your bubble, owning a boat does have a lot of perks; you can sail the deep blue whenever you like, you are the Captain, or be part of an elite Yacht Club. You may partake in dock parties as well as having bragging rights at the bar (that you are Captain of your own Yacht)! Or you may celebrate with a weekend BBQ on the back of your boat while enjoying the clean and cool ocean breeze!
Before you run out and buy that first boat, why not join a sailing club. If you are just starting out, or you are a seasoned sailor, you will enjoy the benefits a sailing club has to offer. For the novice sailor, you can take lessons from a highly competent captain who will teach you all about the boat and sailing. If you are an experienced sailor, they can help you hone up your skills even better. The best thing I like about belonging to a sailing club is that with a simple call, I can request a particular boat for the weekend and when I arrive it is ready to sail. I load my personal gear (and wine), drop the dock lines and I am off. When I return, I tie up to the dock, clean, remove my belongings (recycle the empty wine bottles) and I am done! All the maintenance and up keep of the boat now belongs to the Sailing Club.
Sailing Clubs, also have share sails, where you can save even more money by sharing a boat with a fellow sailor or sailors. The Sailing Club I belong to has share weekend sails out to Catalina Island, and to the other Channel Islands. They put on day sails, plus they offer a number of sailing classes that you can take, from learning basic seamanship to getting your captains license.
Let me recommend the sailing club I belong to, Marina Sailing Club. They have a variety of boats in their fleets in several different Marinas; Channel Island Marina, Redondo Beach, Newport Beach, Marina Del Ray, Long Beach and San Diego. When you join you have access to all locations. Not only do they have late model sailboats but their fleets also includes Motor Yachts. The boats are equipped with all the bells and whistles, new electronics and the latest sailing equipment. The photos above are of a Catalina sailboat I chartered from the Channel Island Marina Office. This boat handled like a Dream as we sailed out around Anacapa Island, about 19 miles off shore.
I know there are other good sailing clubs that you may be interested in. Go online, do your research, check them out personally and have all your questions answered. Sailing clubs offer a variety of programs for members. A new boat owner (who isn’t ready to cruise) may consider having his boat added to the clubs charted fleet. If you choose to do so, you are still able to pick dates you wish to sail, and you will benefit as the sailing club will carry the insurance, help make the payments, pay the dock fees and keep up the maintenance on your boat! Win, Win!
I have bought and sold a lot of horses in my time. When I would sell to a first time buyer, (someone who had never owned a horse before), I would always tell them, “The cheapest part of owning a horse is buying one”, well the same goes for boats. I have owned 2 sailboats and now have a trailer-able Sea Ray that we take out to Catalina Island. Although we plan in the future to buy another sailboat (cruising the Florida Keys and beyond), we will continue to charter with Marina Sailing Club, and let them have the expense of keeping the boat!
Check them out and tell’em you read about them from us. http://www.marinasailing.com
Get out there and Live the Dream!