Long distance mooring

Jul 20, 2019
11
Catalina C27 Allatoona Lake
I live inland and am considering purchasing a sailboat on the coast.
I know there is technology to help monitor and manage while not there, but would you not suggest this arrangement if I were to be a possible 5-6 hour drive away?
Things I have considered include-
Bilge operation, theft, rain leaks, damage at the dock, and storm preparation.
I have considered a trailerable sailboat, but they would not meet my desired use of extended travel and overnight sails.
Any and all input would be greatly appreciated.
 
Oct 19, 2017
4,923
O'Day 19 Littleton, NH
Welcome to SBO, CLaPierre.
You are where you need to be for all things sailboat related and quite a bit more.
You sound like you've done some research already on your question. There are monitoring systems for each of your concerns. I personally don't know much about them. Others on here will certainly be able to help.
As a trailersailer owner, myself, I'm curious as to what you hope to get specifically from a boat that a good weekender on a trailer won't give you. Knowing a little more about what you are looking for from your boat might help everyone address you're question better.
Again, it's great to welcome you to SBO.

-Will (Dragonfly)
 
Nov 13, 2013
484
Catalina 34 Tacoma
I would not buy a boat if I had to drive 5-6hrs to use it. To likely to put off using it because of the drive. Also, boats need to be used to be maintained properly. You will make the drive more often for maintenance than actual sailing. If the weather is hot and humid you will need ventilation. When raining you will need closed hatches. For your monitoring systems you will need an internet connection and power that will likely be intermittent.
 
May 27, 2004
1,159
Hunter 30_74-83 Ponce Inlet FL
CLaPierre is listed at a lake north of Atlanta, Ga. So we'll assume he's an East or Gulf coaster.
Some questions that need answering:
#1 Can you leave a boat unattended on a professionally installed mooring at your intended location legally?
The State of Georgia has recently passed a very controversial and restrictive new law about 'unattended' vessels. The rules are under review, so no finality to the situation there.
Florida cities and counties are constantly trying to pass rules that would prohibit private moorings/anchoring of unattended vessels. The State has gone back and forth but has not allowed them to do so, except in 5 designated cities/areas that have approved mooring fields.

#2 Since we have hurricanes/severe thunderstorms in Florida, can you be sure of the quality of the mooring you're using?
Hurricane Irma wiped out the entire city operated, mooring field in
St. Augustine, Fl, damaging a lot of unattended vessels.

#3 How quickly can you get to the boat from N. Georgia if a storm is heading toward your boat?
You know how long it takes better than I do.

This issue has and will continue to be a hot topic for years and more so lately.
I had to face it 40 years ago. Ultimately, I simply moved to Florida, one hour from the boat. Now I live 100 yards from my slip.

Good Luck.
G.
 
May 17, 2004
1,875
Beneteau Oceanis 37 LE Havre de Grace
I built my own monitoring system that allows me to check things like voltages remotely, and emails me when things like bilge pump events happen. I really like having it, but I live 5 minutes from the boat, not 5 hours. I don't think it would be the perfect solution for being so far away. When I get an email that my bilge pump has cycled I have a quick trip to go and see whether there's a leaking hose or just a false sensor reading. If you got that email you've got a 5 hour drive, under some stress, to go see what the problem is. I guess that's still better than not knowing, but still not ideal.
 
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Oct 22, 2014
9,952
CAL 35 Cruiser Portland OR, moored EVERETT WA
I live inland and am considering purchasing a sailboat on the coast.
I know there is technology to help monitor and manage while not there, but would you not suggest this arrangement if I were to be a possible 5-6 hour drive away?
Things I have considered include-
Bilge operation, theft, rain leaks, damage at the dock, and storm preparation.
I have considered a trailerable sailboat, but they would not meet my desired use of extended travel and overnight sails.
Any and all input would be greatly appreciated.
Welcome @CLaPierre to the forum.
I live that condition. I must say not everyone does..
I live 250 miles form the boat. There are benefits. I get to sail the boat in terrific waters. Adventures abound all year.
There are issues. It is not just a let’s go for a day sail option.
The value you place in the boat will be a factor the in the level of anxiety you have about the boat.
  1. “BILGE OPERATION” Doing a thorough inspection and repair of the hull helps to mitigate the concern that the bilge will flood. Then the bilge pump is just an emergency tool. Having a friend at the marina to keep an eye on the boat is a big help.
  2. “THEFT” Select a marina that has a reasonable plan to protect the boats. Limit the valuables you have on the boat. Be near others who have more valuable boats. (Who wants to break into the dump when there is a mansion next door) You can rig cameras if there is an internet connection. Then you can watch your baby.
  3. “RAIN LEAKS” that is a maintenance item. Fix them as they develop.
  4. “DAMAGE AT THE DOCK” That is going to happen or not no matter how far from the boat you live. You just need to resign yourself to making a trip to the boat if something happens.
  5. “STORM PREP” This is just a fact of boat life. You need to plan on making a trip or two to the boat if the conditions dictate you need to make adjustments to your basic prep when you leave the boat. What helps is to have you boat ready to handle the everyday stuff. If your going to be away form the boat for say 2 months, why do you need to leave the sails ready to go? Strip them off, fold them and store them. It only takes 30 minute to raise a jib on the furler. It is a lot safer to have the sail stored in the boat when a 40 knot squall blows through. There is no chance that the sail can unroll and shred if it is stored.
I plan to arrive at the boat mid day. I prep the boat the rest of the day. Spend the night at the marina then head out in the morning to my first planned port.
 
Jul 8, 2012
92
Catalina 28 North East
Most likely you'll be in a managed mooring field or slip so someone will let you know if your boat is sinking, sitting too low or if sails have begun to unfurl. 5-6 hours is a long way but plenty of folks drive 2-3 hours to get to boats on the Chesapeake.
As to your technology question there are several systems available. I'm using Floathub which monitors weather, battery voltage, bilge pump and pretty much anything else you care to connect. (www.floathub.com) It uses wifi where available or 3g cellphone service. The device is about $250, monitoring is free if you provide the wifi, $99 a year and they pay for the cellphone connection. That $99 also adds some enhanced record keeping and trip logs. I really like the product and service, call me a satisfied customer with no connection to the company.
They also offer Soft Floathub which allows you to build your own with a raspberry pi or similar.
Check out Panbo for other options - https://www.panbo.com/?s=remote+monitoring
 
Jun 21, 2004
1,226
Beneteau 343 Slidell, LA
Have to agree that being 5-6 hours away from the boat would be a big impediment to enjoy the boat. As others have said,
a big time commitment is maintenance and would limit your sailing time when on the boat. Believe me, I am 10 minutes away from my boat and I spend more time on maintenance than sailing. Perhaps, another viable option is to find a sailing school that offers certified sailors the opportunity to charter boats from 22' to 40.' Certification to qualify you to charter a boat in a specific size range is easily obtainable. You pick the charter location on the East Coast, Gulf Coast, or Carribean and select the boat and you are set. Nice thing about chartering is that when you arrive, the boat is fueled and ready to go; just add provisions and cast off. When the charter ends, simply turn in the keys and you're done. No maintenance and repairs, no problems, no worries. I chartered for 6 years between my previous and current boats; not a bad way to sail, especially if you are some distance from your sailing grounds. It can be somewhat expensive, but so is boat ownership.
 
Jul 20, 2019
11
Catalina C27 Allatoona Lake
Welcome to SBO, CLaPierre.
You are where you need to be for all things sailboat related and quite a bit more.
You sound like you've done some research already on your question. There are monitoring systems for each of your concerns. I personally don't know much about them. Others on here will certainly be able to help.
As a trailersailer owner, myself, I'm curious as to what you hope to get specifically from a boat that a good weekender on a trailer won't give you. Knowing a little more about what you are looking for from your boat might help everyone address you're question better.
Again, it's great to welcome you to SBO.

-Will (Dragonfly)
Thank you all. I'm 6'2" so I would prefer something with sufficient head room, and room in the berth to sleep comfortably along with my family or other crew.
 
Jul 27, 2011
3,298
Bavaria 38E Alamitos Bay
IMHO, it all depends. Three-day weekender with a couple of weeks’ summer vacation each year, it’s too far to justify what use you will likely get out of it. If other folks or family are involved in your plans, that will knock down usage most likely.

If you’re far away and off the boat for long, as John noted, it should be properly “laid up” in case of bad weather, including T-storms. Fenders, doubled-up lines, headsail off if not both main and headsail off. That means putting it all back on for use.

To deter theft, must remove from sight anything a person might want to steal. Outboard motor and evidences of one; expensive deck hardware such as blocks, esp. snatch blocks and certain shackles (e.g. snap shackles), etc. Break-ins are hard to prevent. Must rely on marina security and live-a-boards presence as deterrents.

If in hot, humid weather, might need to run a dehumidifier that can constantly drain into the bilge whence the water is discharged. Otherwise, might need constant AC on in summer to keep down mold and mildew.

If me, I would set about 225-250 miles limit for any kind of intended “regular” use. Seasonal use, as in being aboard the boat most of a season, it could be any distance; but 1500 mi in the same time zone if flying there and back would be my “limit.” Still must make at least one maintenance visit per year, etc.
 
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Jul 20, 2019
11
Catalina C27 Allatoona Lake
I would not buy a boat if I had to drive 5-6hrs to use it. To likely to put off using it because of the drive. Also, boats need to be used to be maintained properly. You will make the drive more often for maintenance than actual sailing. If the weather is hot and humid you will need ventilation. When raining you will need closed hatches. For your monitoring systems you will need an internet connection and power that will likely be intermittent.
Besides storm prep, my concern is the necessary time for maintenance. If it were a trip just to do that, that would likely end up not being fun without time to sail, but I'd have a 3- 4 days to be on board to do work and hopefully enjoy a few days at sail. Not a guarantee I know.
 
Jul 20, 2019
11
Catalina C27 Allatoona Lake
CLaPierre is listed at a lake north of Atlanta, Ga. So we'll assume he's an East or Gulf coaster.
Some questions that need answering:
#1 Can you leave a boat unattended on a professionally installed mooring at your intended location legally?
The State of Georgia has recently passed a very controversial and restrictive new law about 'unattended' vessels. The rules are under review, so no finality to the situation there.
Florida cities and counties are constantly trying to pass rules that would prohibit private moorings/anchoring of unattended vessels. The State has gone back and forth but has not allowed them to do so, except in 5 designated cities/areas that have approved mooring fields.

#2 Since we have hurricanes/severe thunderstorms in Florida, can you be sure of the quality of the mooring you're using?
Hurricane Irma wiped out the entire city operated, mooring field in
St. Augustine, Fl, damaging a lot of unattended vessels.

#3 How quickly can you get to the boat from N. Georgia if a storm is heading toward your boat?
You know how long it takes better than I do.

This issue has and will continue to be a hot topic for years and more so lately.
I had to face it 40 years ago. Ultimately, I simply moved to Florida, one hour from the boat. Now I live 100 yards from my slip.

Good Luck.
G.
Good questions...of course my biggest concerns are tropical storms and hurricanes.
Do most vessels survive well when hauled out and stored on the hard?
Interstate ownership is a good question...but something tells me there are several yachts somewhere in FL that are owned by out state residents. Still something worth knowing the facts on.
 
Jul 20, 2019
11
Catalina C27 Allatoona Lake
Welcome @CLaPierre to the forum.
I live that condition. I must say not everyone does..
I live 250 miles form the boat. There are benefits. I get to sail the boat in terrific waters. Adventures abound all year.
There are issues. It is not just a let’s go for a day sail option.
The value you place in the boat will be a factor the in the level of anxiety you have about the boat.
  1. “BILGE OPERATION” Doing a thorough inspection and repair of the hull helps to mitigate the concern that the bilge will flood. Then the bilge pump is just an emergency tool. Having a friend at the marina to keep an eye on the boat is a big help.
  2. “THEFT” Select a marina that has a reasonable plan to protect the boats. Limit the valuables you have on the boat. Be near others who have more valuable boats. (Who wants to break into the dump when there is a mansion next door) You can rig cameras if there is an internet connection. Then you can watch your baby.
  3. “RAIN LEAKS” that is a maintenance item. Fix them as they develop.
  4. “DAMAGE AT THE DOCK” That is going to happen or not no matter how far from the boat you live. You just need to resign yourself to making a trip to the boat if something happens.
  5. “STORM PREP” This is just a fact of boat life. You need to plan on making a trip or two to the boat if the conditions dictate you need to make adjustments to your basic prep when you leave the boat. What helps is to have you boat ready to handle the everyday stuff. If your going to be away form the boat for say 2 months, why do you need to leave the sails ready to go? Strip them off, fold them and store them. It only takes 30 minute to raise a jib on the furler. It is a lot safer to have the sail stored in the boat when a 40 knot squall blows through. There is no chance that the sail can unroll and shred if it is stored.
I plan to arrive at the boat mid day. I prep the boat the rest of the day. Spend the night at the marina then head out in the morning to my first planned port.
Not ideal I know...but my lakes are way too congested with stupid power boat operators.
 
Jul 20, 2019
11
Catalina C27 Allatoona Lake
Have to agree that being 5-6 hours away from the boat would be a big impediment to enjoy the boat. As others have said,
a big time commitment is maintenance and would limit your sailing time when on the boat. Believe me, I am 10 minutes away from my boat and I spend more time on maintenance than sailing. Perhaps, another viable option is to find a sailing school that offers certified sailors the opportunity to charter boats from 22' to 40.' Certification to qualify you to charter a boat in a specific size range is easily obtainable. You pick the charter location on the East Coast, Gulf Coast, or Carribean and select the boat and you are set. Nice thing about chartering is that when you arrive, the boat is fueled and ready to go; just add provisions and cast off. When the charter ends, simply turn in the keys and you're done. No maintenance and repairs, no problems, no worries. I chartered for 6 years between my previous and current boats; not a bad way to sail, especially if you are some distance from your sailing grounds. It can be somewhat expensive, but so is boat ownership.
Thanks.
Definitely considering this as well. To that, I belong to a flying club for that very reason, but it does not always offer the 'go when you want' option. I like to know everything about my car...and not knowing how a plane is treated by others and something fails during your flight is my largest concern. So saying that, ownership may have its additional costs, but ultimately, the most peace of mind.
 
Jun 21, 2004
1,226
Beneteau 343 Slidell, LA
Peace of mind is a relative thing. I could certainly understand wanting to maintain your own aircraft to ensure it is maintained properly because of the dire consequences if there is a failure during flight. On the other hand, there's minimal risk in sailing a charter boat. The chances of sinking are slim unless you hit a submerged object or another boat. If there is a problem during usage, you simply call the charter company to fix it. Furthermore, I have a friend who recently purchased a boat in MASS and brought it to FL. Because of time constraints/commitments, he was unable to bring the boat back to LA, so he left it in a marina in FL. Two weeks later, he's back on the road to FL to check the boat; he's extremely stressed about having the boat 7 hours away and wants to get it home. Guy cant sleep at night worrying about the boat; no peace of mind there! We had a minimal hurricane off the coast of LA last weekend. I was concerned about my boat and checked it 3 times to adjust dock lines, etc. All was good but never the less, I was somewhat anxious about the rising water level. Thankfully, I was only 10 minutes away. I again encourage you to try a few charters, nothing to lose and you will sail waters that your wouldn't get to see otherwise..
Check out Lanier Sailing in Pensacola for Charter certification, good folks & highly rated school, if you need certification. Unfortunately, they no longer have cruising boats for charter. Emerald Coast Sailing on Pensacola Beach does have a variety of boats for charter. Just throwing some ideas out there for you to consider and welcome to the forum.
 
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dLj

Mar 23, 2017
458
Hunter 30 Snug Harbor, Lake Champlain
I'm up North on lake Champlain so bear that in mind. I live a 4 hour drive away from my boat. It's not ideal, but this is such a beautiful place to sail I deal with the distance. I am always thinking about bringing my boat down to New York City area to have it close to me but it's fine where it is. The main reason to think of bringing it down is to be able to sail year round. But then I think of the mandatory trip down and back up and that thought fades...

I keep my boat in a marina where the folk are just fantastic. There are some old sailors here and everybody watches out for everybody else's boat. So from that perspective, I feel quite secure. There is almost no crime on boats up here, and I have an old boat that would be low on any thief's list anyway. I do keep all easily snatched hardware inside and out of sight.

I feel my best peace of mind is achieved through going through each and every point of concern on the boat and either rebuild it or know it is in excellent shape so I don't have to worry about it. All below the water line through hulls etc. were either rebedded or replaced. I can't deal with the doubt... Whenever I leave the boat, it's with the thought that something might come up and I can't return for an indefinite period of time.

I know nothing about on-board monitoring systems. Sorry, can't help there. I function as if I can't know and the boat must survive... For what it's worth...

dj