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Ever sit next to an avid sailor on a 16-hour flight to Auckland (the City of Sails, no less)? If you have, you most likely came away from the journey with a passion to learn the craft or join a crew. After all, just about everyone in New Zealand stakes claim to being a savvy sailor.
But, your genealogy doesn't have to through Kiwi country in order to earn the rank of skipper and take hold of the mast. You don't even need an address within range of an ocean or by a large body of water, although these places are where you will see the sailing culture deeply embedded. All you need to teach yourself the basics is a small craft, wind, and a decent size span of H20.
The smaller boats are not even that expensive compared to the powerboat brethren. A one person Sunfish or Laser can be garnered for a few thousand dollars. That is pocket change compared to some of the yachts that are the price of homes.
But, there is still plenty to think about before making the purchase and committing yourself to a life at sea.
It's been said that a sailboat is a "hole in the water where you throw money." While investing a couple thousand dollars may not seem like a big deal, every boat requires intensive maintenance and storage fees.
Once you leave behind the dinghies though, the money factor becomes serious. Thus, if you are not a millionaire with money to spend at will, make sure the commitment is there before breaking the bank.
The great thing about sailing is that you can always give it a try before buying your own boat. Marinas of all sizes tend to offer rentals for those seeking to try their hand at wind power. Look in the phone book and check out if any sailing clubs are listed.
One phone call and you may have a bevy of volunteers ready to give you lessons. Sailors are passionate people. The more people they bring into the fold, the better.
If you catch the fever, start small and buy up as your cash flow and wanderlust swell. One day, you could make it all the way up to mage cruiser and sail around the world.
As with any major purchase, the key to satisfaction is doing plenty of research. Figure out exactly what you are searching for in a boat.
- Do you want one hull or two?
- Would you like to eventually try your hand at racing?
- Are overnights on the water a dream or a reality?
- How many sails are you thinking?
- What types of materials are best suited to a boat for the waters in your area?
- Are there storage facilities in your area or do you need to size down for a trailer?
- Do you need a galley?
- Are you going alone or would you like a boat that can handle a crew?
Go online to find a sailing community ready to dole out advice on a bevy of websites, forums, and discussion boards. Once you're ready to buy, you will even discover boats of every class for sale.
If you are more suited to the real world than the virtual one, there are plenty of dealers and brokers available to help match your desires with a boat. You can also find listings in the trader magazines found around marinas. Even the local newspapers are a good source to find boats for sale.
The best way to see if you click with the boat is to take it out for a sail. This is usually an option in areas easily accessible to water. If you are using a broker, try pushing this as part of the bargain.Other Topics in This Section
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