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Old 07-27-2015, 02:00 PM   #1
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Is Boating a Full Time Hobby for Large Boats?

I read something on the internet that got me thinking, so I thought I would pick everyone's brain. Someone made a statement that once you move into a boat that is 40 plus feet, it turns into a full time hobby with little time for other pursuits.

My family has a 34 foot Tollycraft that we have only had for a year, but I do find it takes a lot of time to keep up properly. (Might be different if I could just write cheques for everything, but that is another discussion)

I have many other interests that are already suffering as it is. I love riding my motorcycle, and travelling in our camper van, but find that I am having less time to pursue these hobbies since the we bought the Tolly.

I guess the question is whether my thought of eventually buying a bigger boat would be the kiss of death to ever getting to tour on my bike or travel with my camper? Is a larger boat going to take that much more time or the amount of time I spend on my current boat comparable to what a 42/43 foot would take. (Or a 47/49 foot Pilothouse, but that is really dreaming now)
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Old 07-27-2015, 02:09 PM   #2
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To a large extent big boat ownership is a lifestyle choice both in time and money.

Yes there is time for other persuits, of course there is but owning and properly maintaining a large boat requires a signifigant investment, somewhat reducing time and for many funds for other activitiies.
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Old 07-27-2015, 02:18 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ksanders View Post
To a large extent big boat ownership is a lifestyle choice both in time and money.

Yes there is time for other persuits, of course there is but owning and properly maintaining a large boat requires a signifigant investment, somewhat reducing time and for many funds for other activitiies.
Oddly enough I think you were involved in the other discussion where this came up on another forum. I just wonder if moving up to, in your case a 4788, means that much more time commitment than a 34 foot.

Admittedly I have been doing this for a short time so everything I do takes way longer for me then for others. Using a tide grid for the first time as an example took an amazing amount of time along with sorting out the zincs.
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Old 07-27-2015, 02:50 PM   #4
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Is a larger boat going to take that much more time or the amount of time I spend on my current boat comparable to what a 42/43 foot would take.
I think it depends on the boat, but even more, how the owner approaches owning and using a boat. We know people who are very anal about having every little detail on the boat absolutely perfect and they have no time for other pursuits; they devote almost all of their time, or free time, to taking care of the boat. The size of the boat is of no relevance other than the larger the boat, the longer some tasks take to do.

But most of the boaters we know, still working or retired, have multiple interests and they figure out how to spend time doing all of them. Their boat may not be showroom, but as long as it works and meets whatever their minimum aesthetic requirements are, they use it when they want to go boating and do the other things when they want to do them. This applies to the folks we know who have a Tolly 26 and people we know who have 52' Grand Banks.

Now, people who have larger boats more often than not have the means to have someone else work on them. So this, of course, frees up all kinds of time to pursue other interests.

We have a 36' diesel cabin cruiser in the PNW. I'm still working full time so obviously the time we have to use and work on this particular boat (we have other ones, too, that require some of our time) is pretty limited. So we do the best we can with the time we're willing to spend maintaining and using this boat, but it certainly does not dominate our lives.

While I will soon not be working full time at the job I have now, I will still be working a fair amount of my time on other pursuits. However, even though we will have more time to devote to the cruising boat have here, we will still have a lot of other recreational activities we want to continue pursuing. So while the PNW cabin cruiser will get more attention from us than it does now, it's certainly not going to become the focus of our lives just because we have more time available.

I will say this: when we first got this particular boat we immediately started thinking about getting a larger one. A big part of this was fueled by the fact that every time we went our boat we passed the dealer/charter dock that was full of newish boats of the same make as ours but larger models. "Boy, it'd be great to have a 42," we'd say, "or our real favorite, the 46."

We've owned this particular' boat now for over 17 years. We enjoy working on it when we have the time, particularly maintaining and refinishing the teak as the boat is old enough to have absolutely gorgeous old-growth wood on and in it.

But..... today when we pass the dealer/charter dock with its rows of beautiful newer, bigger boats we say there is no way in hell we would want a boat of our make that's one inch longer than the one we have now. We don't want to wax one more inch of hull, we don't want to take care of one more inch of teak decking, wse don't want to deal with one more inch of canvas and we don't want to keep up the bright finish of one more inch of cap and hand rail. We enjoy doing these things on our boat but we don't want to add the time necessary to deal with one more inch of it.
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Old 07-27-2015, 03:38 PM   #5
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I have what many would consider a "larger" boat. It's a 1995 Sea Ray 550 Sedan Bridge.


I have found it takes many, many people to work on it to maintain it for use, and I'm definitely NOT anal about it.


I have:
1 a guy who washes the boat for me before every time we're going out.
2 a guy who dumps the wastebaskets in the heads and staterooms then hauls the trash up to the cans at the top of the dock.
3 a guy who keeps the interior looking good and the carpets vacuumed.
4 a guy who waxes the boat for me
5 a guy who changes the oil and filters and diesel filters when needed
6 a guy who crawls around in the engine room and changes impellers and other stuff when needed.


The funny thing: All these guys are named Mike and, coincidentally, all of them look a lot like me and have the same date of birth and are married to the same lady.


In all seriousness, we use our boat a fair amount. it takes me an hour and a half to wash it, but that's the major thing in taking care of it. Oil changes and filter changes are annual events and only take a few hours. If something breaks, I'm not a mechanic so I call one.


That's pretty much it. It's not a full time hobby that leaves no time for other fun things. I guess it could be if you let it, but we don't let it.
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Old 07-27-2015, 03:44 PM   #6
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I maintain two cruising boats. Boating is seasonal here in Maine. It is pretty much all I do from late April to mid-November. Of course maintaining an eighty year old wooden boat lets me enjoy my wood working hobby, painting hobby, metal working hobby and several other hobbies I have other activities I do in the winter.
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Old 07-27-2015, 03:52 PM   #7
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When we sold our 34 Mainship we bought a 43 foot sailboat. We spent more time on it but it also took more maintenance. Eventually we figured out that we had to many things on our plate: work, friends, a house and the new boat. The tipping point was when we came home one weekend and a neighbor had mowed our lawn. We took the hint and sold the house.
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Old 07-27-2015, 04:02 PM   #8
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Some people can't justify the cost unless the boat is the primary focus of what they do with their spare time. The thing about boating is, at least in my experience, that you need big hunks of time to enjoy it. Since most of my spare time doesn't come in big hunks, that leaves plenty of time for other hobbies, though each can be enjoyed in an hour or less. And other than hunting, which I still enjoy, I can't think of another big-time-hunk hobby that I would take up if not for boating.
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Old 07-27-2015, 04:07 PM   #9
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You certain..

That boat is not a Trawler?

We have a 36' diesel cabin cruiser in the PNW


Quote:
Originally Posted by Marin View Post
I think it depends on the boat, but even more, how the owner approaches owning and using a boat. We know people who are very anal about having every little detail on the boat absolutely perfect and they have no time for other pursuits; they devote almost all of their time, or free time, to taking care of the boat. The size of the boat is of no relevance other than the larger the boat, the longer some tasks take to do.

But most of the boaters we know, still working or retired, have multiple interests and they figure out how to spend time doing all of them. Their boat may not be showroom, but as long as it works and meets whatever their minimum aesthetic requirements are, they use it when they want to go boating and do the other things when they want to do them. This applies to the folks we know who have a Tolly 26 and people we know who have 52' Grand Banks.

Now, people who have larger boats more often than not have the means to have someone else work on them. So this, of course, frees up all kinds of time to pursue other interests.

We have a 36' diesel cabin cruiser in the PNW. I'm still working full time so obviously the time we have to use and work on this particular boat (we have other ones, too, that require some of our time) is pretty limited. So we do the best we can with the time we're willing to spend maintaining and using this boat, but it certainly does not dominate our lives.

While I will soon not be working full time at the job I have now, I will still be working a fair amount of my time on other pursuits. However, even though we will have more time to devote to the cruising boat have here, we will still have a lot of other recreational activities we want to continue pursuing. So while the PNW cabin cruiser will get more attention from us than it does now, it's certainly not going to become the focus of our lives just because we have more time available.

I will say this: when we first got this particular boat we immediately started thinking about getting a larger one. A big part of this was fueled by the fact that every time we went our boat we passed the dealer/charter dock that was full of newish boats of the same make as ours but larger models. "Boy, it'd be great to have a 42," we'd say, "or our real favorite, the 46."

We've owned this particular' boat now for over 17 years. We enjoy working on it when we have the time, particularly maintaining and refinishing the teak as the boat is old enough to have absolutely gorgeous old-growth wood on and in it.

But..... today when we pass the dealer/charter dock with its rows of beautiful newer, bigger boats we say there is no way in hell we would want a boat of our make that's one inch longer than the one we have now. We don't want to wax one more inch of hull, we don't want to take care of one more inch of teak decking, wse don't want to deal with one more inch of canvas and we don't want to keep up the bright finish of one more inch of cap and hand rail. We enjoy doing these things on our boat but we don't want to add the time necessary to deal with one more inch of it.
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Old 07-27-2015, 04:10 PM   #10
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With increasing age we have come down in size in order to have less maintance. I can get into the bilges and more importantly get back out. We also maintain a 22 foot HewesCraft that is used mostly for fishing.
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Old 07-27-2015, 04:52 PM   #11
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That boat is not a Trawler?

We have a 36' diesel cabin cruiser in the PNW

Nope, not a trawler. Note the absence of trawl gear on the aft deck in my photo. I'm not even sure trawl gear would fit on this thing. Plus where would we put the fish?
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Old 07-27-2015, 05:21 PM   #12
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Bigger is not Always Better

A lot of great points made already, so I'll just add a few additional.

We went from a 32' to a 35' to a 43' to a 54' and I can honestly say each took more time and money to maintain. That said, the enjoyment factor went up each time as well.

The bigger they are the more complicated the systems become, so staying organized is the key to staying on top of the maintenance. I touched on this subject in the "Smart Buyer" column in the June and August issues of Soundings magazine, you may find some information helpful in there.

Also remember a boat that is not used will deteriorate much faster than one that is used regularly.

It was already said - "this is a decision about lifestyle", you have to be willing to make the commitment to it and feel like you're getting the enjoyment return for your investment of time and money.

Be careful lusting after something bigger, bigger does not mean better. I know several boaters who chased that right up to the point that they stopped using their boats, because they became too complicated, too much of a hassle to take out and too expensive.
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Old 07-27-2015, 05:23 PM   #13
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Marin is right... It can take as much or as little time as you want it to. For me (35' trawler---sold), it became a full-time hobby, because I enjoy doing stuff with my hands. The planning, design, building, and shopping was all a joy to me to do. I paid the price by putting aside my bike riding and got fat because of that. Kinda fat anyway. In addition, my boat needed work. Nothing was really just a simple fix. Most jobs were back-tracking to figure out what previous owners messed up, then a major redesign of that particular system.

It can be a commitment or a passive thing. It's a complex answer and no one size fits all.

And for the record... we are going bigger this time.
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Old 07-27-2015, 06:57 PM   #14
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There is a saying I first read in a story in Boy's Life magazine as a kid that I've never forgotten, and that is "Buy the smallest boat you can afford."

The story was about two young men, one an excellent sailor who raced his mid-size sloop and the other a newcomer with no experience who wanted to get into sailing. This was when the first fellow offered his advice. His reasoning was that with x-amount of money, the smaller the boat the better shape it will be in or the newer it will be which often amount to the same thing.

But the newcomer wanted a "real" boat so he bought the largest sailboat his money could buy. Of course it was in terrible condition and the story was about what a disaster the whole thing turned out to be.

Naturally, one doesn't want to buy a boat that's too small for what one wants to do with it. Buying too small of a boat is not what the saying is advocating.

Buying the smallest boat one can afford that will fit one's needs is a smart way to go, particularly with a powerboat as it has so many systems that can get worn out or temperamental or just flat out fail with age.
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Old 07-27-2015, 07:07 PM   #15
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It's a full time hobby for me, when not in school. Take care of 2 boats for the most part. I do everything but wash the big boat.
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Old 07-27-2015, 07:20 PM   #16
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Maybe this is why so many boats get: left out this summer....... And next. And the next. And the next. And that's how deals are found.
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Old 07-27-2015, 07:27 PM   #17
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LowNslow77,


Go back to your original post and replace the word "time" with "money" and you'll see where many are going with this thread. The larger the boat the more maintenance cost we have. If you can afford to pay someone else to perform your maintenance and improvements, then you'll have "time" for your other interests... If you prefer, or must, perform your own maintenance, then you'll have little time for other pursuits. I believe it's that simple. So I'd consider Marin's advice and purchase the smallest boat you can afford.
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Old 07-27-2015, 07:39 PM   #18
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Have no desire to acquire a bigger boat than my 35-footer. Sleeps two without compromising "public" areas, and entertains at least ten. When night comes, guests go to their own boats/homes.


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Old 07-27-2015, 08:16 PM   #19
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Interests can change, as you progress through life. I find myself doing things I didn`t think I would do, and not doing things I thought I`d always do. The main thing is enjoy, for yourself, for others.
The boat can be as big or small a part of your life as you want. I often think I can tell a boat owners house by the amount of boating paraphernalia scattered about.
If you are enjoying your boating, life can easily revolve around the boat, friends, socializing, relaxing,and inevitably a deal of maintenance, whether DIY or project managing. There would be a big gap in my life if we gave up the boat, I`d fill with travelling the world more than once a year.
Don`t fear going bigger. If you feel inclined to increase boating involvement, go for it.
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Old 07-27-2015, 08:57 PM   #20
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It became a full time pursuit when I bought my first, a 14' sailboat. I haven't been without a boat for the past 43 years
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