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Old 02-15-2022, 08:46 PM   #1
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City: Maitland
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Why did you buy your boat?

Why did you buy your boat?

The recent posting titled “why are you selling your boat” got me re-thinking… about buying… and why people buy. You see… I’ve been dreaming of owning a boat since I was old enough to dream of owning a ‘60s muscle car. While other teenagers had subscriptions to Sport’s Illustrated, Motor Trend, etc. … I had a subscription to Motor Boating and Sailing! LOL!

Well… with a great wife (who loves boats) and kids in college… we seriously started the big boat search (think older trawler 36’-38’ give or take) several years ago; traveling all over Florida to see boats. Then covid hit and prices skyrocketed. So we dialed things back. (fyi - Our budget is “tens of thousands” not “hundreds of thousands”… LOL!)

We did see a boat about a year ago that we should have at bought… or at least made an offer. It was a beautiful boat, well maintained, checked off most of the boxes, we hit it off with the owners. Unfortunately… we could only afford about half the asking price… so I hemmed and hawed… not wanting to offend. Well… I guess I was two “cautious.” And while I don’t believe it sold… and have reached out several times… I’ve not heard back. So I’m thinking that ship has sailed. My mistake. (Well… live and learn… better to “offend” with a low offer than to have offended and have no clue how.)

Which leads to my question. How did you decide to make that most irrational of financial decisions to buy a boat? What was that final “thing” (or multiple “things”) that motivated you to bite the bullet, make that leap, take the plunge, throw caution to the wind, etc. …?

I’m looking for motivation and words of wisdom!

Peace - Pete
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Old 02-15-2022, 09:03 PM   #2
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City: Panama City
Vessel Name: Irish Miss
Vessel Model: Mainship 30 Pilot Rum Runner Classic
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 204
This is not the first boat I bought, by a long shot. But it is the biggest we ever owned (to date). I was actually looking at Parker fishing boats with an enclosed cockpit and outboard motor and rudimentary overnight accomodations -- 23' or 25'. But then, on a whim, we went and looked at a Mainship Pilot 30. We were smitten. My wife said that the Parker would be "your" boat but the Mainship would be "our" boat. So, of course, we bought the Mainship. I referred to it as our "pre-retirement" boat. Now, she refers to the Mainship as "your boat."
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Old 02-15-2022, 09:20 PM   #3
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City: Swansea
Vessel Name: Seaview
Vessel Model: Sundowner 32
Join Date: Apr 2020
Posts: 292
I was looking for a Loop boat in 2019 and thinking a 390 Mainship was the boat. I put an offer in on one in Florida and it failed survey at the same time Covid hit. I made my search more local, and in my search I kept coming back to this salty looking older tug and fell in love. It did pass survey so I bought it then spent way more than planned and will start the Loop in June.
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Old 02-15-2022, 09:28 PM   #4
City: Centreville MD
Vessel Model: Helmsman Trawlers 38E
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Posts: 965
There is nothing remotely logical about it.

Very large sums are paid to buy it, more to use it, and more to maintain it.

Why? Because its worth it.

Why do some prefer blonds, or their favorite color is blue? It just is.

One chap refers to it as the tadpole theory. Eons ago we crawled out of the sea, and we spend our lives trying to get back to it.
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Old 02-15-2022, 09:43 PM   #5
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City: Fort Myers, FL... Summers in the Great Lakes
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Vessel Model: Cherubini Independence 45
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 11,075
As others have alluded to, you don't find the boat, it finds you. Kind of like the woman you want to spend the rest of your life with, or at least a few years of cruising.

I knew this was the one when I kept turning around to look at it as I was leaving. Spent a year and a half refitting and repainting it. I cruise the East coast from the Great Lakes to New York to Florida. She'll take me anywhere along there that I want to go.

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Lake Champlain last summer.

I'm tired of fast moves, I've got a slow groove, on my mind.....
I want to spend some time, Not come and go in a heated rush.....
"Slow Hand" by The Pointer Sisters
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Old 02-15-2022, 10:18 PM   #6
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City: Kenmore
Vessel Name: Snapdragon
Vessel Model: Custom 56' Skookum trawler
Join Date: Sep 2016
Posts: 256
My excuse is that I have an addiction, and I lost my mind during Covid. I already had a super sweet 40' trawler that was perfect for our family and boating plans for the near future. But I was cooped up inside with Covid canceling most of our social activities except boating, and I had some money in the bank from the stock market going crazy. I bought a 56' trawler sight unseen in Fiji, which was completely locked down with Covid and I could not get into the country. I hired a delivery Capitan in Fiji to bring it 22 days to Hawaii where I saw it the first time, and realized that I had got taken for a bit of a ride, and the boat was a much bigger project than I had been led to believe. I got it home to Anacortes last summer, and am now working on it like crazy, bleeding money, trying to get it ready for a big trip to Alaska this summer. My mood varies day to day on if I am totally in love with the boat, or completely overwhelmed by all the issues still to work on. The worst part is that for the last 18 months, we went from about boating all the time, to owning 2 boats, with huge bills to go with them, but not being able to go boating at all since all our gear was cleaned out of the old boat to sell it. The new boat is usable now, but we have barely gotten a chance to take it out, because I am so busy working on it, and still sorting out problems with systems.
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Old 02-15-2022, 10:56 PM   #7
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Hi All - THANKS for the replies! I've just realized... I asked a slightly different question than I thought I asked. LOL! I was wondering about making the decision to become a boat owner? Of course... I realize this might be tied to why you choose a particular boat... i.e. lust at first sight. LOL! So as people have said... it's emotional... not rational! Thanks Again! Peace - Pete
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Old 02-15-2022, 11:18 PM   #8
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Vessel Name: Sojourn
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First up, do not "throw caution to the wind" for, as the old flat earth maps showed at the margins, "there be dragons".
I`d owned sailboats, ceased sailing due to work pressures. Retired, wanting to enjoy new found leisure time, and of course dispose of any spare money. Not relishing a return to or teaching my partner sailing,I bought a power boat. Now on my third boat. So it has worked, as a pastime, a sport, a hobby,fun, you name it.
The current Integrity 386 is a major revamp of the previous boat, an Island Gypsy 36. A far better boat than I expected it would be. Recidivism shows I found the style of boat for me.
You need to put "the one that got away out" of your mind. Sounds like it`s blocking you moving on. Or forget "reaching out", just go front the owners, at worst they can tell you to "go away".
And good luck. You will find something you like.
2005 Integrity 386 "Sojourn"
Sydney Australia
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Old 02-16-2022, 01:38 AM   #9
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City: SF Bay Area
Vessel Model: Tollycraft 34' Tri Cabin
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 12,063
Why did you buy your boat?

Well... having 6 decades of boating... every boat purchase is a bit different and for a bit different reasons. I can say that my primary need for each boat I've ever owned [or when growing up my family ever owned...] was for being on the water, cruising, anchoring out, relaxing, swimming, fishing; did I mention being on the water - LOL.

My primary requirement that rules the purchase of every/any boat is its initial build quality, previous maintenance and current condition. In other words, I don't buy a boat to repair it - I do buy it to use it and enjoy it.

Boats do have a soul. Mostly a female soul... but not all. When you [I] get the hankering for one sort or another of a boat let the one I [you] choose "speak", before closing the deal. If the boat's soul is a match with ours, she'll smile at us and give us her wink. I always know when the boat I'm about to purchase will be happy for me to be her new owner. Wink, Wink!
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Old 02-16-2022, 02:38 AM   #10
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We are on boat #24. It doesn’t make sense and I don’t think I can say why I am crazy about boating. But I am, so be it. We bought our current boat because my mom lived with us and was 101 at the time. We had a trawler but it was too slow to leave her alone. So we sold and started buying an express cruiser so we could get home faster in time of trouble with her. Of course just before we closed on the new boat my mom fell and shattered her femur. After the surgery she went to an assisted living facility to rehab. In November she contracted Covid in the facility and quickly passed away even though she had been vaccinated 2 times. With her age there wasn’t anything that could be done. So now we have a fast boat so we can get somewhere fast in an emergency. But it isn’t the long distance cruiser that we had planned for our last boat. But we are having a great time, IMO but maybe not my wife’s, this winter upgrading it to meet my desires. The last 4 boats were supposed to be our last boat but I think this one will truly be it. I am getting too old to start another one. I have actually hired some help once so far and will again this Friday.
Boat Nut:
If you are one there is no explanation necessary.
If you aren’t one, there is no explanation possible.
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Old 02-16-2022, 05:42 AM   #11
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City: Vermont
Vessel Name: Luna C.
Vessel Model: 1977 Marine Trader 34DC
Join Date: Sep 2020
Posts: 681
My plan was to buy a boat around retirement time. I kept trying to buy smaller boats, center consoles, bow riders ect. to play on. Girlfriend kept telling me those are not a good fit for the whole family to get enjoyment, she just wanted to buy the bigger boat now. Who am I to argue? After the third time she said buy a bigger boat we did.

We chose this boat because we wanted the trawler style with 2 separate sleeping areas, would could assume the storage until April, and location was doable for us. I wanted single engine, keel protection and a diesel for going slow and sipping fuel. With the 34' we save on docking/storage costs and some maintenance projects are based on length. We also were able to get insurance coverage easily being under 36'. Our budget was also similar to yours. We are doing a couple projects before putting her back in the water in March. We will take care of some deferred maintenance and do some upgrades while enjoying her for the next couple years.
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Old 02-16-2022, 08:58 AM   #12
City: Warwick RI
Vessel Name: Lollygag
Vessel Model: 34 Mainship Pilot Hardtop
Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 796
I was traveling 40+ weeks a year for work and wanted the ability to unplug. Wife was the primary driver to upgrade to an overnight boat. We started our search fairly clueless on what to look for and almost pulled the plug on a likely costly mistake. After consulting with a broker we found the boat that worked for us. Now wife is muttering on stepping up we shall see.

Uncle Matt I saw your little tug at Kick last summer.
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Old 02-16-2022, 09:48 AM   #13
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Vessel Name: Soo Valley
Vessel Model: Grand Banks 36
Join Date: Jul 2019
Posts: 2,887
Each boat I have bought was because I wanted it. Don't need it, can get by without it, but wanted it. This is the boat at this moment that I wanted.
My first boat was a rowboat that I rescued when I was 8, it was floating down the river. It became my pirate ship. Being on the water has always been more appealing than any other hobby I have tried.
SteveK AKA Soo Valley
You only need one working engine. That is why I have two.
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Old 02-16-2022, 10:01 AM   #14
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City: Grand Haven
Vessel Name: Feath (fee-a) Gaelic for Calm, Tranquil
Vessel Model: 1989 Jefferson 37 Sundeck
Join Date: Jul 2020
Posts: 61
We bought our Jefferson for many of the reasons already mentioned. We were sailors and went to the 'dark side' at the end of 2015.
As boaters on the Great Lakes, as far as rig and sails, we don't contend with the salt affecting the rig/chainplate as the sailors on the salty side. Also, with a shorter sailing season, sails last much longer as they are 'put away' during the cold months.
For us, after a long summer of lots of motoring and motor sailing in 2015 on a trip up into the North Channel of Lake Huron, the raising and adjusting of the sails fell to me. By the end of the summer my shoulders ached. My wife who was on the wheel during these times would say "I don't know what your complaining about, I feel fine."
Also, getting in and out of a V-berth especially during the night to use the head without kicking the boss got to be harder and harder.
We started looking for something with a walk-around berth in an aft cabin and after being pointed in the direction of the Jefferson's settled on our 37.
Some summers on our Jefferson we hardly go through any fuel. Just depends on our cruising plans. This past summer we cruised from Muskegon Michigan (lower Lake Michigan) up through the Straits to the Soo and up into Lake Superior to Duluth and beyond and back. So costs went up and also not of alot of places in Superior to anchor out as we like to do. This year, we are staying close to home. Next year we are possibly cruising over through the North Channel, Georgian Bay and Trent Severn Waterway to the 1000 Islands and back. BUT having the creature comforts sure make up for any costs associated with fuel.
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Old 02-16-2022, 11:06 AM   #15
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Love all the comments... keep them coming! Thanks so much! I'm sitting hear smiling as I read. (My wife calls it my "boat grin." LOL!)
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Old 02-16-2022, 11:26 AM   #16
City: Owings, Md
Vessel Name: Graceland
Vessel Model: Mainship 34 MK1
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 925
I will freely admit that owning a boat is not a rational decision, especially one large enough that it always lives in rented/leased space whether in the water or on land. Sorry in advance for a long winded answer.

I grew up boating and have almost always had a trailered runabout since I was 16. Usually works in progress but something I could get out on the water. My parents and brother also owned boats and we shared both the fun in using them and the work in maintaining them. We raced sailboats with family friends in local series and events and I also raced dinghies in college. I paid for college working on charter fishing boats as a mate so I feel like I have a pretty diverse boating background. I still have a little bowrider out in my garage and a couple of sailing dinghies.

I joined this forum shortly after my parents purchased their first "trawler", a 34' Mainship MKIII in the fall of 2015, I knew I would be helping maintain, upgrade and enjoy the boat along with them and I really appreciated all the lessons learned from this site. This was the first straight inboard powerboat in the family and my dad, brother and I particularly enjoyed learning how to dock it, taking turns, giving each other both tips and hard time along the way. My parents graciously made the boat available to myself and my own young family and we took a few long weekends and week long trips within in the Chesapeake Bay. We also used the boat for fishing quite a bit.

My parents sold the boat and replaced it with a Mainship 390 in 2019, bringing it home from Michigan to Maryland was their longest trip by a long shot. It was both stressful and exciting to travel new waters in a unfamiliar boat, but they made it just fine and look back on it fondly. I met them in NYC for the final stretch, they were both a bit apprehensive about running down the coast of NJ as they really didn't have any ocean experience. I was quite comfortable with it, having fished offshore for years and saw it as much easier than transiting all of the locks they had encountered. In either case, I was glad to see them and they were glad to turn the helm over to me (or anyone else for that matter) as they had done a good job, but their nerves were a bit tired from the pace of their delivery. The run home was straightforward and I enjoyed the 4 days I spent with my parents, the weather was great and we had lots of time to learn more about their new boat.

I was fortunate in having use of their new boat as well and we made a couple of short trips in the 390. I have 3 kids and we greatly enjoyed the second cabin and overall much roomier boat. The 390 is kept in Solomons Island, MD, about 40 minutes south of me, which is not too far but I'm only about 5 minutes away from Herrington Harbor South. My wife and I had discussed eventually keeping a boat in the water at this marina to provide pool access during the summer and also just have something of our own so my wife would feel less concerned about the kids making a mess on a borrowed boat. It was a little ahead of schedule but my wife suggested that we go ahead and buy something to keep in the water in late 2020 and I was off to the races. I looked throughout the mid Atlantic, primarily at small diesel powered sportfishers, my wife wanted something faster and I wanted diesel with accommodations similar to the mainships. I was looking at older boats that I could comfortably buy outright and balancing just how much of a project I was willing to take on. I thought I was really close on a Bertram 33' but found some damage that was beyond what I was willing take on, especially given it's distance from me.

At this point, I had already rented a slip for the year and was not about to let this opportunity of my wife's suggestion to buy a boat slip me by. On my way home from New Jersey where the Bertram broke my heart, I stopped to look at Mainship 34' MKI only 30 minutes drive from my house and ended up buying it after minor negotiations and a survey. So I now have a new hobby on my hands, maintaining this old boat but it is an easy boat to work on and I am familiar with them. When I'm in the middle of a long job like sanding the bottom, replacing expensive parts or paying my slip fees, I question my decision making, but on pretty days when I decide to take my 6 year old fishing and am on the water within 30 minutes, it is worthwhile.

Here is our family's fleet of Mainships in Cambridge, Md last summer.
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Old 02-16-2022, 11:46 AM   #17
City: Seal Beach, CA
Vessel Name: Epiphany
Vessel Model: 2001 Maxum 4100 SCA
Join Date: Oct 2020
Posts: 24
Our decision was rather quick. We were having a seaside lunch watching boats go by when my GF said maybe we should have a boat given our proximity to the ocean and my recent retirement. I had no prior boat ownership experience and viewed this as an adventure and a challenge.
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Old 02-16-2022, 12:17 PM   #18
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City: Dewatto
Vessel Name: CHiTON
Vessel Model: Tung Hwa Clipper 30
Join Date: Jan 2020
Posts: 788
Puget Sound is easily explored (and too busy). Desolation and the Broughtons are fine (although too busy in the summer). I bought this boat to go "halfway" to Alaska.

A lot of people in Seattle buy a boat to cruise to Alaska. I think the Alaska goal may have become a tradition because of the Seattle fishing fleet, now largely extinct. Travelling to Alaska became a "thing" because the fishing fleet didn't have licenses to fish in Canada. They had to beat to AK in the spring, then turn tail and get back to Seattle in the fall. But when I look at a chart I see Cape Caution as the gateway to a lifetime of exploration without ever bothering to make it too Alaska. In fact, many of the passages to Alaska look boring compared to the northern B.C. islets and gunkholes. There is more than a summer's worth of boating between Calvert Island and Bella Bella. No need to slog on to Alaska with the ferries and cruise ships.

Overall, Covid was probably a good thing for my boating plans. It made me cool my jets. I've now had a chance to go through the boat in detail that I would not have done had I been able to get across the border last year. I spent a lot of time (and some money) getting things right or at least better. I have a much better understanding of the boat. Now I'm chomping at the bit again.
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Old 02-16-2022, 12:20 PM   #19
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Many reasons all converging and coming together after a good part of a lifetime we are 54 and 56 now.
COVID changes to life
Lifelong desire to own a boat - my wife and I have wanted one since we got married and saw the Woodpecker for auction sale at the Saint Michaels Maritime Museum. We did not buy it an bought an old car instead - big mistake! Different type of $ hole just in the pavement and less gratifying!
Many years experiencing boats of all type (mainly working fishing, oyster and crab boats on the Chesapeake) but never owning our own.
The question my wife and I keep asking ourselves is why didn't we buy a boat sooner!
I guess the last point says it all. We are hooked. The main captain, she is on board and we have a good mate in our 16 year old son who really enjoys fishing from the boat and helps us a lot with work.
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Old 02-16-2022, 12:46 PM   #20
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I've often heard the "Should have done it sooner." comment when it comes to boats and travel to Europe. LOL!
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