Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Boat in NYC or Hamptons Share: You do the Math

When Mrs. Salt and I tell people we are Brooklyn residents who keep our own sailboat in New York City, people often come to the conclusion that we are rich. While we're not starving, we are hardly rich. We don't have trust funds, and neither of us work in investment banking. In other words, we need to work for a living. However, we are thrifty, and perhaps we are even crafty. This enables us to enjoy our summers at a fraction at the regular NYC price of a beach house share. We also like the fact that we can enjoy a beautiful summer day, on the water, in the privacy of our own vessel with guests of our choosing. We can also get to the boat from our house in less than 30 minutes and sleep in our own bed during the evening. This seems ideal compared to sharing a house, hours away from your primary residence, that may not be that close to the water.

A two bedroom cottage in East Hampton will cost $7,000 for the month of July, or $8,000 for August. We've seen another house that gets someone "seven prime weekends" for $1,000. And a three bedroom rental in Fire Island during Father's Day weekend is being advertised for $1,100. Any way we look at it, perhaps with the exception of the "seven prime weekends" house, its seems rather expensive.

For $3,500, you can get a classic 28-foot Columbia Sloop. We know she needs a bit of work, so throw in another $1,000 and you could be in the water. If your budget is a bit larger, $6,900 will get you a very well maintained and well equipped 27-foot Catalina sailboat. Its a bit of a deposit, but its about the same price as a month in the Hamptons. But you now own a sailboat.

Now that you have your boat, you'll need to keep it somewhere. At Gateway Marina in Brooklyn, for as high as $84 per-foot (or slip size whichever is larger) for a private slip; $74 per-foot for a semi-private slip. For arguments sake, we'll take semi-private slip for our 28-foot Columbia, which will set us back $2,072 (plus NYC sales tax, of course). At Gateway, the seasonal contract runs from April 15 through October 14.

A few other considerations to think about: winter storage and maintenance. Winter storage for a boat that size can run in excess of $1,000, perhaps even as high as $1,500. This would include pulling the boat out of the water, a power was on the bottom and blocking it up to sit "on the hard" during the winter months. And while owning a boat is fun, they do need to be regularly maintained, particularly if it's in saltwater. Figure on another $1,500 annually for maintenance (which includes bottom paint, engine, and any other systems). And if something really breaks, it will cost you more money. One reason that Mrs. Salt and I downgraded from a 29-foot hand-me down we generously received from Papa Salt was the maintenance. The boat was decent, but it was over 20-years old (which isn't a big deal) and had been raced very hard in her lifetime. By the time we got her, a lot of her systems were starting to fail, and we were spending more time maintaining the boat instead of sailing her. Instead, we sold her for a song, and downgraded to a bulletproof daysailor, which doesn't have an engine or any internal systems like a head, thru-hulls or water systems.

We almost forgot, if you are dying to go to the Hamptons, you can always take your new boat and sail there.

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At Wednesday, May 02, 2007 9:45:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most of the horror stories I hear have to do with the price of insurance and -- indeed -- unforseen maintenance. Any tips for the first time-boat owner (or planning to be) on how to find a marine isurance carrier? Cheers, bernardo in Carroll Gdns, Brklyn.

At Wednesday, May 02, 2007 10:15:00 AM, Blogger Brooklyn Salt said...

Boat insurance is cheap. Most major carrers provide it. You can also get it though Boat US or West Marine. The big thing you really need is liability insurance, just incase something tragic happens on your boat (because you a responsible).

The unforseeen maintenance is where you get slammed. Trust me, that's why we downsized to a daysailor that is virtually bulletproof.

At Wednesday, March 26, 2008 1:37:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Im curious to know what are some starter daysailor boats that you would recommend. i'm thinking about getting one to sail around NYC waters, but i don't want something that requires too much maintenance, plus i don't plan on racing or taking it out in rough weather. it should just be large enough to fit 2-6 people. thank you v. much.


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