Blanketing opinions that I'll probably regret soon.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Owning a sailboat is NOT expensive unless you want it to be.

It's an unfair cliché to say that owning a sailboat is expensive. It's not, unless you have the personality to make it so.

Unless you're a stink pot driver, you can save $200 in gas per day right off. Next, there's no reason to believe that only rich people can own sailboats; that's just common because rich guys tend to have the good taste to desire the finer things in life --- plus there's a history of high class and sailboating that probably began with the first America's Cup in 1851. Also, think of the number of famous paintings including sailboats (a lot) vs. motor boats (very few). Yea, you get it.

I got my first sailboat when I was teaching part-time at an English language school and making less than $20k/year. Never regretted the purchase.

Recently, I read a sailing forum where sailors described what boat equipment they spent most money on. Their items were hardly an issue for me because I don't obsess over the fastest sails, the shiniest chrome trim or replacing bulkheads when they get a tad crusty. We're out there to sail, are we not? Who cares about pretty.

My main fees are for the slip which is WELL worth it. I sail about once every 1.5 weeks during the warmer months (March thru November). The boat has been in the water most of its life (Cal 27, 1971) and I clean the bottom when the boat's anchored and the ladies are off swimming or sunbathing --- just strap on the goggles and flippers and tie a lanyard from the rusty paint scraper to my wrist.

I feel happy about 99% of the things I've spent on my boat because I truly LOVE the salt water and all things nautical and sailboaty. If you don't truly love it, you'll constantly be thinking about the money you spent, and in that case, you should just stay on dry land and take up golf.
I think bulkhead replacement is more than a "nice to have" on some boats. If a boat is particularly wet (many J boats, my boat) and the bulkhead gets compromised it needs to be replaced for safety reasons. I keep a very close eye on mine, the bulkheads hold the chainplates for the shrouds and provide stiffness for the hull.

Overall though, all your points are very valid. It's easy to be a poor or rich sailor, it's kind of hard in between is my take.

Ok, you're right. Bad example.

It's like a car. If you let it become your status symbol or image, it gets expensive. Or if you want to make driving more like sitting at home in your favorite couch with a great soundsystem.

but the difference is this. A car is (for most) a tool to get from point a to point b. A sailboat is often the most fun in between, and that involves the actual experience. The less money you spend, the closer you are to the water.

I love our sailboat and enjoy every single day that we get out and feel the wind!!! Taking care of her is part of the fun though!! I enjoy making the varnish shine but thats just me!! Im the same way at home always wanting things to look appealing. It doesnt cost much to spit shine something...and no one should own a boat unless they know how to maintain her themselves... (my opinion)
When my husband and I are out sailing, whether for a day or a couple of months, we seem to get along so well which I think happens because we are both doing what we love!!
Who cares how much someones boat cost or how big it is.. what matters is how much they sail her and how much they enjoy her. The wind is FREE!!!!!
Happy sailing
S/V NuTrix
I have to agree completely, that it isn't the "beauty" of the sailboat that matters. As long as the hull, structure and rigging are sound, that's really the most important thing. I race (and cruise) an old Cal 25 from her home port in Annapolis. Though I chose to invest in new shrouds/stays, high-load traveler car and a good set of racing sails, the boat itself is basically original with lots of "personality" as my crew calls it. Ok, so the bunks are showing water damage, and the gel-coat on the deck and cockpit has been worn away in spots, to me she's a beautiful boat and the means for me to escape from work and responsibility and just enjoy the leisure of sailing. Once I get around to replacing the bunks and make sure she's completely water-tight, I plan to circumnavigate the DelMarVa Peninsula. I have colleagues who have very expensive sailboats (C&C 99 or J105's) but they invested over $100k in their boats, while I paid the equivalent of 5 cases of beer, and performed the major structural restoration myself at the cost of less than $1000. The best part is that I sail EVERY weekend (even in the winter), while my colleagues with their bigger, more expensive boats, leave them sitting at the dock, collecting moss on their keels.
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