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Thread: Boat Yard Blues

  1. #1
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    Default Boat Yard Blues

    I'm trying to figure out how to proceed...I'm in Charleston, SC (Rockville) and have had my 27' boat on the hard in the DIY area for 2 months. Originally thought it would be a month, but of course, once I got into some below the waterline issues, it's turned into some frame sistering, and a small piece of the keel needing replacement (due to worm damage). It's rained down here almost every day that I've had off. Not to mention, the yard has a "no weekend work" policy in their DIY area, so needless to say, I'm lagging behind in getting back in.
    Anyhow, got a call yesterday from the yard owner screaming at me, demanding that I remove my boat from the yard immediately. He went absolutely ape sh*t on me! Called me a MF'er, said it was people like me that made yard owners think twice about DIY'ers....
    He needs room for his crew to work on spring boat projects...He is threatening to launch my boat as is! I told him it would sink.
    I am taking time off work next week to try and get things moving quickly. I'm just concerned that this guy will launch me and cast me off with no soak up time...My marina is 30 miles away!
    Are there any laws about giving boat owners a safe launch?
    The thing that is really irking me is that I had my boat in his yard for 3 months about 2 years ago, and it was no problem...I'm paying a ridiculous amount of $$$ for DIY, and he lets his client friends come in on the weekends to work on their boats.
    I'm a really nice guy. I just can't believe this dude went off on me like this!!! And I'm the customer!!!!
    I also told him to please feel free to move the boat to another area of the yard if he needed my spot, but he said "no, I need you out now!"...I'm only a 27' boat...not a 50 footer!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Boat Yard Blues

    Not ideal, but your least hassle way out of this might be to get the boat out of the yard. Even if you can somehow force them to let you stay do you really want to keep working there? Can you have it trailered to another yard or to a spot where you can complete the work?
    - Chris

    Any single boat project will always expand to encompass the set of all possible boat projects.

    Life is short. Go boating now!

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Boat Yard Blues

    Quote Originally Posted by cstevens View Post
    Not ideal, but your least hassle way out of this might be to get the boat out of the yard. Even if you can somehow force them to let you stay do you really want to keep working there? Can you have it trailered to another yard or to a spot where you can complete the work?
    That's what he wants me to do, but I don't have that kind of $$$ in my boat budget....

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Boat Yard Blues

    Money is how you get out of the situation.
    If you do not have a chit ton of money, ….
    time for a Caledonia Yawl
    Last edited by wizbang 13; 02-14-2023 at 01:22 PM.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Boat Yard Blues

    Once youíve left the yard, please tell us the name of the yard.
    Others should know about such a yard.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Boat Yard Blues

    Plywood patches, launch, and get the heck out of there as soon as possible. Set yourself up with a big battery and extra pumps and go. Just a bad situation. I'd get my boat out ASAP and then figure it out.
    - Chris

    Any single boat project will always expand to encompass the set of all possible boat projects.

    Life is short. Go boating now!

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Boat Yard Blues

    Just curious, how many wood boats are in this yard?
    You must be the change you wish to see in the world."
    Mahatma Gandhi

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Boat Yard Blues

    Wow - this sucks - but you already knew that. How far from launching is your boat? How far from a temp. fix (as Chris suggested) is it? Do you have the possibility of another yard?

    Also, as said, after you're done with this, please let us all (& the world) know the name of the yard.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Boat Yard Blues

    Quote Originally Posted by cstevens View Post
    Plywood patches, launch, and get the heck out of there as soon as possible. Set yourself up with a big battery and extra pumps and go. Just a bad situation. I'd get my boat out ASAP and then figure it out.
    Having done the wooden boat shuffle on the Chesapeake, I'd suggest you make sure you can find a wood boat friendly marina ahead of time....around here they are scarce.
    Last edited by Bob Adams; 02-14-2023 at 06:23 PM.
    You must be the change you wish to see in the world."
    Mahatma Gandhi

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Boat Yard Blues

    Post the name of the place so we can avoid them???
    hahahaha… that’s what they want … for us to avoid them

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Boat Yard Blues

    This is going to sound like a joke but is not. Smear crisco over the seams below the waterline. It will help keep the water out from where the paying is cracked before the boat has had a chance to take up. Then once she takes up it will squeeze out and do no damage. If you have severely damaged planks you can also use plywood patches and roofing tar as mentioned above. If youíre really worried it might be worth seeing if you canít get a trash pump to keep on deck, if you donít use it you can likely return it. I fix wooden boats for a living and have had to do both above options for customers who had unexpected problems, neither is a fix, but both options work as a patch.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Boat Yard Blues

    Thanks for all the support. I’m taking time off work in the next 2 weeks to get the bottom repairs finished, and then getting the hell outa there!
    I’ll name names as soon as I’m out….just don’t need anymore headaches with these clowns.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Boat Yard Blues

    I've used hydraulic cement on worm damage. It's cheap, quick, and it lasts.

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    Default Re: Boat Yard Blues

    we need a photo - helps with a story!
    Without friends none of this is possible.

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    Default Re: Boat Yard Blues

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Hoppe View Post
    we need a photo...
    ...of the boatyard's sign, out front of the gate.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Boat Yard Blues

    Quote Originally Posted by Pelirrojo View Post
    This is going to sound like a joke but is not. Smear crisco over the seams below the waterline. It will help keep the water out from where the paying is cracked before the boat has had a chance to take up. Then once she takes up it will squeeze out and do no damage. If you have severely damaged planks you can also use plywood patches and roofing tar as mentioned above. If you’re really worried it might be worth seeing if you can’t get a trash pump to keep on deck, if you don’t use it you can likely return it. I fix wooden boats for a living and have had to do both above options for customers who had unexpected problems, neither is a fix, but both options work as a patch.

    Or toilet bowl wax rings, cheap and it will keep the water out while she swells up.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Boat Yard Blues

    Yard owner thinks he's going to be left with a boat to dispose of and no storage payment, so he's purposefully shouted and screamed, so it's moved out quickly while you're still contactable...

    Yard's are run by unpleasant people, mostly highly financially motivated. They're all into corporate work and massive bills as far as possible for relatively unskilled work.

    You'd be better off getting out of the loop and using a trailer sailer dinghy stored at home. Most people get a bigger boat then go back to a smaller boat. Same fun but no yard dealings. They're all the same here in the UK too.

    I wouldn't go near a boatyard/ marina for storage and work these days, it's not that I can't afford it or do the work, just don't want to be dealing with yard owner types. They aren't nice people. You're there to be milked financially. Their work will be mediocore, damage to your boat will occur.

    Get your boat repaired then sold, then build a small dinghy and keep it on a decent trailer. You'll be alot happier out of their orbit.

    If you want to plough this furrow, I'd go in with cash and pay your storage fees and the next two months ahead, so he knows you have money and care about your boat and that it'll be fixed and out of there and he won't be left with a boat disposal. Keep paying him ahead. Cash in his hand paid ahead will llkely be the heroin shot he needs to be pacified. Be seen at the yard fairly regularly. He doesn't want to think you've abandoned your boat once you've tallied its worth, fixing costs and his storage costs on a ledger and figured it will cheaper to abandon it.

    I read a comment in an old boat book, I can't remember where exactly, but you shoould be able to 'write the cheque' without a concern, for your boating. Whether that's a millionaire with a 60fter or a sailing canoe, have a boat the size of which means, for new sails, engine etc, it's just coming out of cash you have without a concern. Most people daysail with bigger boats, you'll do exactly the same route with a dinghy. If you want a good weekender, build something like a Welsford Pathfinder.
    Last edited by Edward Pearson; 02-23-2023 at 06:14 AM.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Boat Yard Blues

    As always, very good advice from Edward. I have also been the recipient of (unwarranted) vitriol from a yard manager. Keeping a larger boat in an urban area is always expensive, whether dry storage or in the water. If you don't have a house with a yard where the boat can stored while working on it, be prepared to spend far more money than the boat will ever be worth. If I were you, I would cut my losses and put my money and effort into something like Edward suggested.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Boat Yard Blues

    Sorry for your troubles with the yard Tom! To the people who think you are over your head I suggest they read your posts regarding your caretaking of this vessel over the last years. Perhaps they would then realize you are more than capable in this regard.
    Not being sure of what the spring outfitting season is for boatyards in your area, and guessing therefore that it is currently underway, I can see that your extended stay in the yard will be costing the owner significant cash and lost revenues. If one wants to maintain access to diy boatyard services it pays to not interfere with their main source of income, ie spring outfitting season.
    Reading of the work you’ve undertaken to date allows me to believe you can complete what is necessary now and get back in the water in all haste. Hopefully you can find a boatyard that will not place undue restrictions on what hours you can undertake repairs in the future.
    One small note of clarification; it is roof cement that you should use for underwater repairs, patches, etc. there is significant difference between this and roofing tar, not to be confused.
    I’m wishing you many more years of cruising in that sweet little Monk. My deteriorating health forced us, after 15 great years, to find a new caretaker for Accolade, a decision that continues to haunt us for opportunities lost. Anybody who thinks the second best day of boat ownership is when you sell has never owned a Monk! The redeeming feature for us is that we were fortunate to find a young man with the energy and background to take her forward with confidence.
    All the best to you going forward! / Jim

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Boat Yard Blues

    Asphaltic flashing cement and portland cement mixed to a thick paste has been used for years and years for paying seams below the water line. Quick, simple and effective. Do NOT use latex based flashing cement.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Boat Yard Blues

    Why attack the owner? He's paid up, the weather has sucked & he's tried. Sure running a boatyard can be stressful, but so is any business. Yelling at a customer for taking too long to eat their meal won't bring in new customers...
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Boat Yard Blues

    Quote Originally Posted by Garret View Post
    Why attack the owner? He's paid up, the weather has sucked & he's tried. Sure running a boatyard can be stressful, but so is any business. Yelling at a customer for taking too long to eat their meal won't bring in new customers...
    This. Plus banning weekend work by DIY owners is pretty dumb, in my opinion. When does the yard owner thing that the DIYers get the work done? If you want them to move the boats through the yard, don't put barriers in the way of doing that. I've had two boats on the hard for extended stays - months in one case and years in the other. I always paid my bills and made sure that the yard owner saw me on at least a semi-regular basis so they knew I wasn't about to abandon the boat. Of course I should also admit that the yard in question no longer accepts wooden boats...

    Anyway, it's always worth making sure that the yard crew knows that you are actively trying to get the boat in the water but regardless, there is no reason why a paying customer should be abused.
    - Chris

    Any single boat project will always expand to encompass the set of all possible boat projects.

    Life is short. Go boating now!

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Boat Yard Blues

    Yard owners want to charge you their labour rates, or if it's tradesman from outside, they have to pay the marina to go onsite per day or per hour, so they want them Turing up during working hours not at the weekend when there's less staff about watching. That's how it's ended up here. Yard owners will quote insurance etc, all the while still proping boats up on wood sticks rather than metal cradles because they won't invest in decent stuff...except in the marina bar and restaurant so they can be fleecing you at lunch.

    Individuals owning a boat in a marina and looking after it...that's now a kind of old legacy 1960's thing...the modern marina owner wants fleets of sailing schools and corporate owners to milk not able individuals who look after their own boat.

    Taking up a marina space and then doing your own work means you're a less profitable customer than another owner who can't antifoul his own boat and pays the yard to do it, so he'd rather have you out and that person in that he can make more money from.

    Given the set minimum charge for haul outs and storage plus the factor per length, a 27fter is more expensive per foot than a bigger boat to use from a marina and you don't have the accomodation. Its 3/4 of the cost of a bigger boat with half the space inside. At least that that's how things are here. It's expensive for the marina owner too, he'd rather charge out for a 50fter in the same marina space and lift in and out for turning his crane on.

    After having a Moody 27, I figured a keel boat wasn't worth the extra trouble unless you were retired and more time to use it, and were definitely staying overnight more than the odd weekend. You just don't go any further than you do with a dinghy as 90% of the time it's still a daysailer. In fact you can get up the creeks with a dinghy and find more peace, and not simply be marina surfing (more money to the yards).

    I'm sure the OP can fix his boat, but make no mistake, he's a pain in the ass to yard owner profits. He's not what modern yards want. Not the business model.

    Here we found it better to work in reverse. Leave your boat in over winter and take it out mid summer, when the yard's empty and paint and varnish dries real quick. Just a week out to pay for. That seems to be how fisherman do it. Depends on your insurance I suppose.

    As far as woodies go, the boats that are left in and are engineless with no electrical stuff seem to be the survivors.
    Last edited by Edward Pearson; 02-23-2023 at 05:37 PM.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Boat Yard Blues

    Quote Originally Posted by Edward Pearson View Post
    Yard owners want to charge you their labour rates, or if it's tradesman from outside, they have to pay the marina to go onsite per day or per hour, so they want them Turing up during working hours not at the weekend when there's less staff about watching. That's how it's ended up here. Yard owners will quote insurance etc, all the while still proping boats up on wood sticks rather than metal cradles because they won't invest in decent stuff...except in the marina bar and restaurant so they can be fleecing you at lunch.

    Individuals owning a boat in a marina and looking after it...that's now a kind of old legacy 1960's thing...the modern marina owner wants fleets of sailing schools and corporate owners to milk not able individuals who look after their own boat.

    Taking up a marina space and then doing your own work means you're a less profitable customer than another owner who can't antifoul his own boat and pays the yard to do it, so he'd rather have you out and that person in that he can make more money from.

    Given the set minimum charge for haul outs and storage plus the factor per length, a 27fter is more expensive per foot than a bigger boat to use from a marina and you don't have the accomodation. Its 3/4 of the cost of a bigger boat with half the space inside. At least that that's how things are here. It's expensive for the marina owner too, he'd rather charge out for a 50fter in the same marina space and lift in and out for turning his crane on.

    After having a Moody 27, I figured a keel boat wasn't worth the extra trouble unless you were retired and more time to use it, and were definitely staying overnight more than the odd weekend. You just don't go any further than you do with a dinghy as 90% of the time it's still a daysailer. In fact you can get up the creeks with a dinghy and find more peace, and not simply be marina surfing (more money to the yards).

    I'm sure the OP can fix his boat, but make no mistake, he's a pain in the ass to yard owner profits. He's not what modern yards want. Not the business model.
    Then the yard owner shouldn't have a DIY area if they don't want 'em.

    I've worked on my boats in several yards & they were always polite & cheerful. There've been times when I've been asked how much longer I needed & upon hearing my estimate, said OK. Disallowing work on weekends is just stupid, as that's when DIYers will do 90% of their work. One yard gave DIYers the combo to the gate so they could get in to work.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Boat Yard Blues

    The yard where I’ve kept Woodwind stored (approx 6 months a year) for 14 years in Antigua has recently “‘hardened”
    up their yard policies. Outside workers pay the yard, no sleeping aboard, no work on weekend , etc.
    It’s out of my control . One must take the good with the bad , the good being much better security . A few friends stashed their boats in the mangroves and were burgled badly , Wound up costing one more than my storage fee.
    We ain’t goin back in time , not to the 70’s or 2010’s.
    It takes a lot of money to have a yacht. They cost far more than they are worth in general .
    The lucky few can fall through the cracks here and there , but this thing of ours is ending .
    bu “ours”, I mean the average Joe being able to have a small yacht .

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Boat Yard Blues

    Quote Originally Posted by wizbang 13 View Post
    The yard where I’ve kept Woodwind stored (approx 6 months a year) for 14 years in Antigua has recently “‘hardened”
    up their yard policies. Outside workers pay the yard, no sleeping aboard, no work on weekend , etc.
    It’s out of my control . One must take the good with the bad , the good being much better security . A few friends stashed their boats in the mangroves and were burgled badly , Wound up costing one more than my storage fee.
    We ain’t goin back in time , not to the 70’s or 2010’s.
    It takes a lot of money to have a yacht. They cost far more than they are worth in general .
    The lucky few can fall through the cracks here and there , but this thing of ours is ending .
    bu “ours”, I mean the average Joe being able to have a small yacht .
    Yeah, I'll agree that the writing is on the wall. But maybe not quite yet, at least not around the PNW. When the last Puget Sound DIY yard closes down I'm betting we will still have Port Townsend. And if Port Townsend bans DIY owners I suspect that there will still be a place or two up in BC that will still be affordable. As long as there is a small fishing fleet there will be yards to serve them, and the occasional old yacht too. Sure, it will get harder. It's already far more difficult than it was in the 1990s or the 1980s. But if someone really wants to own a wooden cruising boat and do their own work it will be possible. They are just going to have to work a little harder at it.
    - Chris

    Any single boat project will always expand to encompass the set of all possible boat projects.

    Life is short. Go boating now!

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Boat Yard Blues

    For an 8m boar here a marina berth, one lift out, 3 months ashore, 1 lift back in, is £9000/ yr at Lymington (Solent- South of England) or about $11,000.

    I think Scotlands the only 'cheap' place to keep a keel boat now over here. How much is it in Canada and America?


    Interestingly at our local river, in response to climate change, council launch fees no longer makes a charge based on length at all, its purely on presence and size of outboard. Launching 'big' 16-20ft dinghies just got cheaper.
    Last edited by Edward Pearson; 02-23-2023 at 06:35 PM.

  28. #28
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    Default Boat Yard Blues

    Thats about average price here, though in some neighboring towns you could triple that. ( of course, at those places, there is no DIY)

    I spent eight years in a boatyard ( 25 years ago!) We did not allow DIY. Even then, we wouldn’t take any storage customers if the boat was low value, even fiberglass boats. Its the value. Not the build matter or size. If its cheaper to walk away then fix or pay the bill, its a risk.

    We got burnt by people abandoning boats on a number of occasions. One day, the boss just said No More.

    Its also expensive to dispose of a boat.

    So, boatyard guy here has no reason to be rude, but he may have reason to be suspicious of you and your boat.

    Kevin




    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    Last edited by Breakaway; 02-23-2023 at 06:58 PM.
    There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Boat Yard Blues

    Shilshole here in Seattle, 34 ft slip is $644, 40 ft is $783. Not terrible compared to some places but still a budget of $1000 minimum per month for moorage, insurance, utilities, haulouts & basic maintenance. To this it would be prudent to budget another $1000 for bigger repairs and voluntary upgrades, plus costs while out cruising. There is really no end of things to spend money on. One year a new dodger, next roller furling, then upgraded electronics, then diesel heat; on and on. So around $2000 per month to keep a well-maintained and well-equipped 35 ft boat in Seattle area. Maybe $1500 per month would be enough for a frugal person. This is based roughly on my own experience (adjusted for inflation), which ended 10 years ago. I am retired now and no way would I spend this kind of money. Well, maybe if I instantly became single

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Boat Yard Blues

    Also in Seattle. It's a little less but still pretty similar here inside the locks at Stimson marina. No winter winter haulout here of course, but it's $695/month for a 40' slip (prices just went up - it used to be around $650). We spend around $5000/year for haulout and maintenance on average. Some years more, some less. This year it's going to be a lot more with the aft cabin repair.

    But it's all relative. Sure, we will spend $15k-$20k US per year or more to own the boat on top of the purchase price. We would spend far less if we had a trailerable boat. But how much do people spend on leisure activities overall? Some people have vacation cabins. Some travel. Some engage in expensive sports. We go cruising. And even with all of the maintenance costs of owning an older wooden cruising boat we still spend an order of magnitude or two less than if we were to buy a new fiberglass boat. That's the part that I don't understand. A new 40' fiberglass cruising boat will lighten your retirement account by over a million dollars. Even if we assume that some part of that value can be recovered by selling the boat the depreciation alone dwarfs what we will spend on Skookum Maru for many years to come. So why are we talking about wooden boats like they are toys for the rich?

    (with apologies to Tom for the thread drift)
    - Chris

    Any single boat project will always expand to encompass the set of all possible boat projects.

    Life is short. Go boating now!

  31. #31
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    Default Re: Boat Yard Blues

    We likely couldn’t keep a boat in the water at Seattle prices. Our yearly moorage cost for Amazon is $1,400.
    -Jim

    Sucker for a pretty face.
    1934 27' Blanchard Cuiser ~ Amazon, Ex. Emalu
    19'6" Caledonia Yawl ~ Sparrow

    Getting into trouble one board at a time.

  32. #32
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    Default Re: Boat Yard Blues

    Things still seem affordable here in Southern Maine. I pay under a hundred/ year for our mooring permit. We need to inspect the mooring every two years - about $200. Sometimes a length of chain or a swivel or pennant - maybe $100 per year on average. Winter storage for our 25’ boat is just over $1000 - haul, pressure wash, store for the winter and relaunch. That includes boat stand rental, they won’t let you use your own stands. We figure a one week trip for vacation justifies the cost. A week’s vacation anywhere would cost as much. Then our frequent day sails are just a bonus.

  33. #33
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    Default Re: Boat Yard Blues

    The movie The Sailor on Youtube about Paul Johnson was a dose of reality for me about building a "get away" retirement boat with a keel. Even in paradise there are expenses that keep mounting long before the end. I started to think again about a dinghy and stealth camping along waterways like the bicycle tourers do along back roads...

  34. #34
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    Default Re: Boat Yard Blues

    Quote Originally Posted by Landrith View Post
    The movie The Sailor on Youtube about Paul Johnson was a dose of reality for me about building a "get away" retirement boat with a keel. Even in paradise there are expenses that keep mounting long before the end. I started to think again about a dinghy and stealth camping along waterways like the bicycle tourers do along back roads...
    If I lived on Woodwind year round she would be cheaper. In Carriacou, where The Sailor takes place, “cruising “ fee is about one dollar a day . Clearance fee is the cheapest in the EC , and visa extension seems limitless . One almost gets the idea that regular size cruising boats are encouraged and welcome here . But there are , literally, 100 times more boats here than when I was first here ( 1975). But… this is where the boats I mentioned above were burgled. (We suspect some lowlife poor cruisers who came and went).See what I just did there? If yer poor, you become the scapegoat of crime.
    It is possible to never haul one’s boat here, rather spend five minutes a day in the water with a drywall knife …. Everyday.

  35. #35
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    732

    Default Re: Boat Yard Blues

    It seems that in some areas, cruising can be cheap enough if one is resourceful. A few years ago I was in southern Sea of Cortez (Loreto to La Paz) on my wife's sister and BIL's boat for 3 weeks. They had spent nearly 2 years cruising the area without once paying for moorage; anchoring out every night. They dinghied in for supplies and occasionally pulled up to a fuel dock but didn't spend a dime for moorage. They would dive to clean the hull and change zincs. They did have the best ground tackle money could buy, and would head north to Bahia de Los Angeles during hurricane season. Later I learned that marina fees most places in Baja were very high, around $800 per month for a boat their size, a good incentive for anchoring out.

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