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Should I buy another boat or save for cruising???

Mar 27, 2012
Seaward Fox Washougal WA
Should I buy another boat???
Hello fellow sailors. I respect and appreciate all of your opinions and have been helped so much by all of your advice. That is why I am asking for help with planning my cruising future. My wife and I will retire in 13 years with public/govt retirements and def comp for each of us. I will be 53 and my wife will retire early at 57. Retirement looks ok, with the exception of medical insurance. I have no idea what that will look like. I am currently without a boat and am questioning if I should buy another boat to further develop my sailing skills here in the Pacific Northwest or pocket as much money for cruising. I honestly can’t imagine not having a boat, but I do have some options.
1) Don’t buy another boat and put as much money away for cruising as possible.
2) We have a local sailing club here that has boats in three different areas. Dogs not allowed and our dog goes everywhere with us. Plus, not taking the dog leaves us limited to day sails. Restricted on how long can have the boat, but the cost is $184 month. No worries about fuel, maintenance, or insurance.
3) Buy a boat and enjoy it. This doesn’t make the most financial sense, but there is no guarantee I will live to see retirement. Would be a shame to bank everything on a life I never live. If this is my choice, I have to decide what type of boat to buy. The most I would sail would be offshore between Columbia River and Puget Sound.

I guess I am asking for different opinions on being a penny pincher for the biggest cruising fund, the middle ground of a sailing club but not as convenient, or the expense of having another boat. I want a boat, but when I look at the numbers, it is staggering and makes me feel irresponsible. This is my estimate and estimates from prior ownership.

No boat = 0

Sailing Club = 184 month for 10 years $22,080

30-36 ft. boat $30,000
30-36 ft. boat slip fee $250 mo. for 10 years $30,000
Insurance at $30 mo. for 10 years $3600
Maintenance estimated $3,000 per year X 10 $30,000
The boat will still be worth something at the end of the 10 years, or maybe I buy my blue water boat now and I will know the boat inside and out before I cruise. If I do buy, this seems to make the most sense. Especially after having my last boat, we decided I will not buy another boat that I can’t sleep comfortably on. At 6’02” and someone who sleeps very restless, I need a big birth. I have been told I can’t look at a boat as an investment and to expect to blow money and have experienced this. I am however attempting to be a wise sailor that gets the most bang for my buck. I would appreciate any advice, especially from current or past cruisers with experience. Was there anything you wish you would have differently with your money???

Mar 16, 2011
Sirius 21 Bronte
Buy a dinghy and dry sail/reace it. That will keep your costs down and allow you to keep developing your sailing skills. Dinghy skills are transferable to larger boats.
Mar 6, 2012
Hunter H33 (limited edition cabin top) Bayou Chico
im a full time liveaboard at 25 and i can tell you that "they" are right, if you dont do it you never will, there will always be that, "well ive got a boat (usually something thats good enough if mainained properly and outfitted for the task at hand) but i cant cruise (enter the desired location here) with that, if i save up and get a 57 oyster then ill have a true blue water cruiser then i could go (to location x) do some shopping, find some classic plastic that jumps out at you (pearson 10m, h33, h30, catalina somethings, lots of stuff thats good for cruising if youre smart about it) and just do it, you made the defining statement when you said the dog's gotta come along, the sailing club wont allow that and you gotta do what makes you happy, not what someones lawyer said is acceptable.

get a boat sell the house and wave goodbye to society is my vote....but of course stay in touch with us :D
Nov 8, 2010
Beneteau First 36.7 & 260 Minneapolis MN & Bayfield WI
My only advice is to LIVE FOR NOW.

There are no guarantees. Plan for sure, but live now.
Mar 6, 2012
Hunter H33 (limited edition cabin top) Bayou Chico
also what do you mean by "save for cruising" you said you dont have a boat, how are you going to cruise without buying a boat first, get one now and make a budget to have it ready when you think its time to go cruise.
Nov 26, 2008
Endeavour 42 Cruisin
I'd hold off about 5 years and get everything in order. Save money, start getting rid of stuff. Then buy your cruising boat, fix it up for about a year and then sell the house and move aboard for the last few years before departure.
May 23, 2004
I'm in the market as were . Colonial Beach
Get something affordable now and cruise locally. Set up a separate account for your future boat and cruising cash.

You could always go down to a trailer sailor that can do cruising and do that for a while. Sell it later on and buy your bigger boat.


Jan 24, 2007
Marlow-Hunter 37 Deep Creek off the Magothy River off ChesBay
Don't wait. Life's too short and the water is always calling. I'm 65 and working full time but with a new boat on the horizon and it's time to retire and cruise. Wish I shoulda done it at your age but it wasn't feasible then. There are so many adventures to be had on the water. We've been cruisin' part time since '95 and want to do it full time.
Mar 27, 2012
Seaward Fox Washougal WA
WOW! Great responses and I appreciate all of them. I was just talking to a friend that made the comment "90 grand? Some people will spend that on therapy. Your boat is your therapy and there is no gaurantee you will see retirement". Kind of in line with what you all are saying. My previous boat was an 84 Hunter 27 with vbirth, sette's, and rear 1/4 birth for sleeping. None of these worked for me at 6'02"/250 lbs and rolling over every 15 minutes when I sleep. The smallest boat I have found with sleeping arrangement that would work is a newer H27 with the queen size birth under the cockpit (this is if I choose to not buy the retirement boat). The fractional ownership is something to think about but kind of seems like the sailing club idea. I think I am leaning towards a comfortable boat for the Puget Sound and San Juan's for the next 10 years. Then sell the house and everything else over next three years and get the cruiser (location to be determined). There is a part of me that still likes the idea of getting the cruiser now tho. But a full keel blue water like I want seems overkill for the type of sailing I will be doing. We love to use our boat for anchoring off by ourselves for days and unplugging. I think comfort will be priority. The last boat, I was not comfortable and after a couple of days of no sleep and not being comfortable I was ready to head home.
Mar 6, 2012
Hunter H33 (limited edition cabin top) Bayou Chico
good, do it, do it now, read as much as you can about cruising and make an informed budgetary decision, dont think you need a full keeler either, dump all your ideas and look at the sailing community where you think you will cruise, hell get on google and look up rimas the crazy russian who is currently on his way with a circumnavigation in a san juan 24, the first key to the boat life, truly living on a boat is dumping the assumption that the retail market wants you to believe that you "need" a 48ft little harbor. you need the right boat for you. something you can sail to the edge and back and know you can handle the lines when its bad and make the boat do what you want it to do, i would be in over my head in a bad offshore squall if i was on a hinkley b-40, but my h33, i know that boat very well and know exactly whats going to happen, thats the biggest part of the game here, stop thinking about what everyone is telling you that you need and go find what works for you.
Mar 27, 2012
Seaward Fox Washougal WA
Thanks! I know we want the smallest boat I can comfortably sleep on. We want a boat the wife can single hand should something happen to me. We don't want to be dependent on crew. We do want the most comfortable boat in a heave to situation. I know it can be done in just about anything. But I want my wife to agree to continue and so I believe the most stable boat in that condition will need to be at the top of the list. I am not, and couldn't afford to if I wanted to, looking for a mag add boat. Maybe another life!
Mar 27, 2012
Seaward Fox Washougal WA
I should also add I do crew on a local race boat with hopes of one day getting some ocean racing under my belt. I really enjoy it but it doesn't replace the gunk holing and unplugging from the grid that I LOVE!
Dec 30, 2009
jeanneau 38 gin fizz sloop Summer- Keyport Yacht Club, Raritan Bay, NJ, Winter Viking Marina Verplanck, NY
Buy the cruiser now, I have had mine over 10 years and will probably work on it, another 10. Don,t forget" cruising is just working on your boat in exotic locations". You could buy a used blue water boat as you are calling it and easily spend 10 years working out stuff, oufitting it the way you want,and enjoy it at the same time. The time will fly by, and you will be that much closer to your goal and should have a good dependable boat with systems you need and are used to. go for it....good luck...Red


Dec 20, 2003
Pearson 323 . St. Mary's Georgia
I retire in 12 years. Anything could happen in those 12 years. We have our coastal cruising that we have been doing over the years now and have plans for extended cruising in 12 years. We are both teachers so we have the summers off. We have learned a lot in coastal cruising to help guide our plans and decisions in retirement.
Mar 26, 2011
Corsair F-24 MK I Deale, MD
And what if, after a few months or a year afloat, you want to live on land again? What if, for you, the paradise of cruiseing is myth? Can you both let go of land, if you can't let go of the dog for just overnight?

Sail now and maybe you won't be so hung on retiring at 53. Though I like sailing, I can't imagine retirement so young. Heck, I take on side work, just because it's interesting.
Jan 22, 2008
NorSea 27 Az., Doing the To-Do list
We were faced with same decision YEARS ago! I was also faced with a possible layoff at any time. Our decision was to go cruising when I got laid off, or retired, whichever came first.

What we did was get a boat that was capable of circumnavigating and yet fit on a trailer. You can see our past cruising down the west coast and Mexico for years. Now we cruise about 50% of the time. Last year we spent almost 6 months back in the SF Bay area. We are now on New Orleans (did Mardi Gras.... FUN:D) starting to head for Florida. Next year, who knows!



Feb 21, 2008
Hunter 29.5 Punta Gorda
Buy the boat now. You are missing too many good times. You many never get to full time cruise. Life is too short and uncertain to put it off. We named our first 2 boats Carpe Diem for just that reason.


Sep 25, 2008
boatless rainbow Callao, VA
even if you only get a couple of years full time cruising, it will be a memory of your lifetime. And if you have to swallow the hook, you can always say we "did it" instead of wondering what it might have been.

We look forward every day to once again liveaboard. Hope it is in the master plan again, one day.


Jun 4, 2009
Pearson 530 Admiralty Bay, Bequia SVG
You are in the unique position of being able to wait for the perfect boat. You have 10 years to watch the market, check out various boats without any time pressure to buy.
You can look far afield, like the lagoon in St. Martin, or hauled in Grenada or Trinidad, for instance. Take some of your vacations looking for just the right boat.