Earlier this summer I discovered a YouTube channel called, "Nine Hundred Dollar Luxury Yacht." I LOVE this channel and it's creator because he thinks so much differently than most YouTube sailing channels. Instead of spending a ton of money on a ready made boat, he found a boat with years of neglect; the type of boat that most people think is beyond repair. With some sweat, he brought the boat back to life and...well, go see for yourself! His channel is worth getting lost in for a couple of hours, in my opinion.
Some time before I found Nine Hundred Dollar Luxury Yacht, we were deciding whether to buy a boat or invest more in our jet ski's. We looked at a very nice 1997 38' Catalina. It was love at first sight; we didn't even bother looking at the other boats on our list. The asking price was in our range, the boat was in great condition, and it was the exact boat we were looking for. As anyone who has ever owed a boat will tell you, purchasing the boat is only step one in spending money on a boat. After a few days of researching the cost of insurance, and asking around about marina fees, we realized we were in over our heads. Buying a boat is easy. It just cost too much money to own a boat.
The following week, I was the somewhat-happy owner of a brand new, shiny Toyota Tacoma. The up-front purchase price of the new truck and two new jet skis is about the same as the cost of the boat, but the cost of ownership is drastically less. We can't travel the Chesapeake Bay as comfortably on the jet skis as we could have in the boat, but we can get there much faster. For whatever the trade-off of comfort vs speed is worth.*
Notice I said somewhat-happy owner of the truck. Don't get me wrong, Toyota did a great job designing the new Tacoma, but it doesn't replace the hole left in our lives by no longer owning a boat. If we were in a position to pull off ownership of the "luxury yacht" we want right now, we would happily sell the truck and skis for best offer!
You are probably asking yourself what all this has to do with a YouTube channel called Nine Hundred Dollar Luxury Yacht, and the difference between us buying a boat or a truck.
Let me tell you about a 27' sailboat called Rhumb Line.
I purchased Rhumb Line for $2,000 around 2007. Little did I know how much Rhumb Line would affect me throughout one of the worst decades of my life, coincidentally, but completely unrelated to the boat. Rhumb Line became my salvation when I had nowhere else to go. In better times, Kari and I had our first date on Rhumb Line. I fell in love with Kari when I realized she liked spending more time with Rhumb Line than she did with me. We had our honeymoon, and our first big fight on Rhumb Line. Rhumb Line was a literal physical extension of me.
Like all of us tend to do, Rhumb Line got old. Kari and I loved sailing because of Rhumb Line, but despite it all, we were ready to move up to a larger boat. As she aged, more and more parts seemed to fall right off of her. I grew tired of working on a boat, and decided I'd rather be sailing. So in the late winter of 2017 as she sat in the boat yard with a pile of used-up sandpaper and various broken parts collecting under her hull, I wrote a sign with numb, blistered hands that simply read, "It's been fun, but it's time she goes to a new home. $100."
A young man from Virginia bought her for my asking price, cleaned her up, replaced a few parts, and sailed off. For the second time that I know of, Rhumb Line had helped a young man become a yachtsman on a shoestring budget.
After selling Rhumb Line, we decided to get a boat that is ready to go in the water without anything other than a light dusting off. Fast forward over a year and a half of unsuccessful shopping for a turnkey boat that meets our standards, and we are both ready to take on another project boat. I really can't stop laughing at myself over the irony.
I'll spare you the details and fast forward to the next part:
How to Become a Yachtsman on a Shoestring Budget!
"Awwww. I was going to go yachting in those feet!" -Bender
We found a project boat. It was shockingly easy to find. We actually had options and had to choose one! We didn't find this one on Craigslist, but it's a really good resource. Search "boat" on the Craigslist "Free" category. There is a $1 sailboat on there right now. Be honest with yourself and don't waste people's time. This is a decision that you need to think through, and realize buying a boat is the easy part, but owning a boat, even a $1 boat, is very expensive. By the way, we spent way more than $1 on our project boat. Part 3 of this series will detail all of our expenses.
We ended up purchasing a 1980 25' Catalina sailboat that needed some TLC. After many hours of labor, and over $1,000 in supplies, she has been cleaned up and looks real pretty.
Part 2 of this series will include all the work we did every weekend one August to bring this boat back from the boneyard. Stay tuned and sign up for email alerts to be the first to know when the next post has been published.
*It's worth absolutely nothing! :)
We are an adventurous couple exploring the Chesapeake Bay by boat, paddle board, jet ski, and whatever other means necessary!
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