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Has anyone gone all in? (no experience)


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19 minutes ago, soldier4402 said:

I don't think you know what you want if you never have owned one or been around them much.  Sure the 42ft fountain with triples seems cool, until you figure out what comes with it. Ive seen newbies by something and love it, but usually that's not how it works out.

+1  I feel it's better to get your feet wet in something smallish, relatively inexpensive, etc.  See how you like it, what you want to do, etc.  I remember thinking all I wanted to do was water sports but ended up preferring cruising and rafting up with friends.  Glad I resisted buying an expensive ski boat.

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1 minute ago, MonkeySeaII said:

+1  I feel it's better to get your feet wet in something smallish, relatively inexpensive, etc.  See how you like it, what you want to do, etc.  I remember thinking all I wanted to do was water sports but ended up preferring cruising and rafting up with friends.  Glad I resisted buying an expensive ski boat.

True.  The first mistake that puts most boaters out is what I explained earlier, not understanding what comes with a boat.  Much like having your first kid, you just don't know.  Second issue is people don't know what they want.  First half dozen times out in a boat youll figure out it limitations, and what you like to do and not do.

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5 minutes ago, MonkeySeaII said:

Glad I resisted buying an expensive ski boat.

An old 260 Signature is a very inexpensive first boat...it can be had for under 20k. We are not talking about brand new yachts here. I do agree that buying ANY new boat would be a mistake for a new boater, but an older pocket cruiser for the Great Lakes? Definitely a good choice? What, do you want the OP in a 10 year old 18' bowrider with a 3.0 on Lake Michigan?

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I agree with alot of the posts above, if you are on an inland lake, buy a used smaller boat and see what you like and don't like.  even boaters in the Keys have a string of Islands or the Intercoastal to get away from nasty conditions within reason.  where he is boating other than the shelter of the harbor there isn't a way to get out of conditions and still enjoy the day.  a pocket cruiser is IMO the entry level size boat for that lake, if you want to take advantage of a short boating season.  

A major reason why I moved up to Holland was it provided that similar feature of a connected lake - so on bad weekends (winds out of the north or due west) we just stay on the inland lake.  on nice days we head out and enjoy the blue water.  prior to this we slipped and found that the day was hot but the wind not right and we couldn't boat.  I am forever jealous of the boaters down south - especially you guys in the Keys

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There is a lot of merit in all of the comments here.

I myself started out with a 21' bow rider. Beautiful boat, but we boat out of Sodus Bay in upstate NY and there were many days we could not go out to Lake Ontario because of the weather. The good news was we had a small beautiful bay to run around, drift or raft at the sandbar when the weather on the lake was unfavorable. I kept the boat for 7 seasons and learned about fuel costs, maintenance, insurance, dock fees etc. But I always wanted a Chap SSX. Then the wife developed back problems and came less and less to the boat because in a 21' on Lake Ontario you could take a beating.

Then one day I saw a Chap 276 SSX for sale nearby and I wanted to see it so off we went with the wife saying the whole drive there "we are not buying a boat!"  I said fine this boatwas to big because I was looking at the 256 SSX and that was the boat I wanted......I just wanted to see the 276 up close, check the fit and finish, storage etc. Ten minuets after arriving the Admiral is sitting at the table saying "we have to buy this boat!"  Well the Admiral gets what the Admiral wants and we bought it!

It's been 2 seasons now and yes everything cost more, but the boat is so smooth the Admiral comes out all the time. Handling is actually easier with the Bravo3 drive. Docking is no problem as long as you go slow and if it goes bad start over and all will be fine. Absolutely practice docking early in the year, in the evening during the week, or late in the season when nobody is around. We also now can take all the kids and grandchildren out at the same time....12 of us .....and we have no problems with water sports due to the size. There have been a lot of good memories.

As people have said you are going to love it or leave it so I guess you have to decide on weather or not to go all in on a 260 Sig or the 215 SSI as I assume the price will be about the same.

I would do the 260 Sig myself.

 

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WOW!

I'm sorry that I haven't replied sooner, but thank you all so much for the responses.  It actually gives me much to think about.  A lot mention smaller boats first and I actually could get a bowrider and boat on the chain of lakes first.  Its definitely something to think about.  If I'm doing that then I might as well trailer and store the boat in my garage.  This would allow me to experience boating at a low cost and gain some first hand knowledge as some suggest.  Once again thank you all for the responses.  I have read and will continue to read all of them.  As with any hobby, now that I've talked to the experts, there is so much more to think about. :D

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On September 28, 2016 at 8:26 AM, soldier4402 said:

Forget size for a min.  I just wouldn't spend a lot of money on my first.  The turnover of boat owners is huge, lots of people buy and figure this isn't for them, don't like the hassle that comes with boating, or don't realize all of the hidden costs. Hence you see all over the internet Boat for sale barely used. 

Buy a cheaper good working and good shape boat, use for a season or two, figure out if its for you, sell and get your money back and buy what you want. 

 

For someone that's never owned a boat, some things to think about beyond a loan on a boat or the cost of just purchasing as that's easy.

 

-Towing, do you have a tow vehicle? A proper tow vehicle.  a 260 requires a newer half ton or a larger

-Storage at home, is there room

-Insurance 500-1000 a year maybe more

-if you get a slip 1000-2000 a year

-gas will run 100-200 per fill up

-Yearly maint 200 bucks, that doesn't account for unplanned maint

-winter storage if you don't want it left outside and don't have a place figure 1000 bucks maybe more

-Time, up north I always figure there are 12 weekends of summer, 15-16 if were lucky.  Do you have the time during the summer?  Just asking between works, kids baseball games,etc eat summers up.  Taking out a boat 3-4 times during the summer when you have a note, and spend another couple grand on it, rarely makes sense.

-Boats are work, you have to wash, wax, maintain.etc

These are just average cost factoring in doing some work on your own.  Not including a note, and not including break fix maint, a boat is easily a 2-3k a year investment, more if you slip.

 

Just somethings to think about.  I know the fist pumpers are trying to be positive, but those are die hards.  Just realize reality first.

You sucked the fun out...

brick

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If you are considering the C.O. Lakes vs. L. Mich. and trailering vs slipping do some research on what works for your lifestyle.  Now is the time to put a request in for a slip if you want one in Chicago.  some marinas have a wait list & renting a slip will easily set you back 4-6 grand per year.

How far are you from chain of lakes?  if a decent drive is the norm - they offer dry storage near that lake.  cheaper than slipping the boat and probably more hassle free than trailering as well

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1 hour ago, 4xFSChamp said:

My first boat is my current 244 Sunesta.  Not sure if that is considered Big but I'm glad I went with this size for my first boat.  Good Luck

This.  I wish I would have done the same.  I bought my first boat knowing I was going to get something larger later but not knowing there is not much of a difference in the handling characteristics.  If anything I feel the larger boat is easier to handle.

I am losing $$$ and having a difficult time selling an under-20' boat.

 

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2 hours ago, delaney said:

If you are considering the C.O. Lakes vs. L. Mich. and trailering vs slipping do some research on what works for your lifestyle.  Now is the time to put a request in for a slip if you want one in Chicago.  some marinas have a wait list & renting a slip will easily set you back 4-6 grand per year.

How far are you from chain of lakes?  if a decent drive is the norm - they offer dry storage near that lake.  cheaper than slipping the boat and probably more hassle free than trailering as well

Hi Delaney,  I'm about 30-40 minutes away from the chain so it's not terrible.  Do you have any suggestions for dry storage for the chain?  They seem to be quite a bit more expensive than a slip, although I haven't researched extensively.  From my brief research, if boating on Lake Michigan I was considering Winthrop Harbor up North.  The prices seem to be much less and I have been there a couple times on friends boats.  

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That is quite a bit North - cheese head country.  I have spent a day or two in that area - Racine specifically.  it is very nice and probably not the wait list as the harbors downtown have.  Chain of Lakes is not a cheap place for anything.  lots of money in that area so rates reflect it.  I am always surprised of the size of boats on that lake.  

If you buy a boat and wet slip it - prepare for 2 issues, either you will need to bottom paint the boat or accept that the boat will grow fur on it by the end of the season.  it comes off w/ acid wash but it is yet another reality to consider.  If you enjoy going out on the boat and not the harbor lifestyle I would pay the extra and get the in/out service.  those that have it just call 30 min or so in advance and the boat should be waiting for you when you arrive.  it eliminates the need to acid wash so the extra money probably makes the costs even. 

Given those choices of lakes - if you like the social aspects of boating, on water bars / restaurants go w/ the chain of lakes - very very busy on weekends but fun for sure

if you like open water, and cruising the shorelines than Lake Mich is better

 

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1 hour ago, EricGT said:

This.  I wish I would have done the same.  I bought my first boat knowing I was going to get something larger later but not knowing there is not much of a difference in the handling characteristics.  If anything I feel the larger boat is easier to handle.

I am losing $$$ and having a difficult time selling an under-20' boat.

 

+1, the bigger boats with counter rotating props dock much better.

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Our first boat was a 20' deck boat with a single V6 and jet drive, that we trailered to and from the lake. Since approximately 0% of the boating skills learned on that first one translated to my next, I'd say we still went "all in" when we bought the 320 Signature this season. It was absolutely worth it, and I'd do it again in a heartbeat. Take your time, have patience to learn what you don't know before you need to know it, ask a lot of questions (mostly on here) and you'll be just fine! Have fun. 

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On 9/27/2016 at 7:43 PM, brick said:

Great choice in a first boat. Have fun. 

brick

Do it and don't look back.  Why waste the money starting too small?  Get the boat you want.  Take a class or several, though, (United States Power Squadron or USCG Aux), learn navigation and seamanship, and go boating. If you have a vision of how you would use that boat, don't settle for a smaller one just because it seems "prudent."  That's not a very big boat, and it's easy enough for one person to handle.

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11 hours ago, Cubs said:

WOW!

I'm sorry that I haven't replied sooner, but thank you all so much for the responses.  It actually gives me much to think about.  A lot mention smaller boats first and I actually could get a bowrider and boat on the chain of lakes first.  Its definitely something to think about.  If I'm doing that then I might as well trailer and store the boat in my garage.  This would allow me to experience boating at a low cost and gain some first hand knowledge as some suggest.  Once again thank you all for the responses.  I have read and will continue to read all of them.  As with any hobby, now that I've talked to the experts, there is so much more to think about. :D

Whatever you end up buying do NOT buy a Volvo Penta with the composite XDP drive. Volvo has other great drives, but google the XDP!

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Luckily it has the merc 350 mag with bravo III outdrive.  I've been talking to the guy and the sale includes the rest of the year for the slip and winter storage for this year.  I wish I lived south for that all year boating! Thanks again for the advice everyone

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Guess you can say I'm one that went all in.  Just bought my first boat, a 26 ft sunesta 254.   When I bought the boat, I wasn't looking for a particular size, but paid more attention to the features I wanted it to have.  Didn't realize how big a 26 ft boat is.

  • Because of the size of the boat, my tow vehicle has trouble towing, so upgrades are required
  • Finding storage was a bit of an issue.  I put the boat in storage the first time and was surprised to find 1 ft of trailer sticking out
  • The first two trips were scary.  Actually clipped another boat while pulling into the fuel dock.

That being said, I think I made the right choice.  Had a group of friends on the boat and it did everything I expected and then some.  After three trips, I got a feel for the steering (I agree - neutral is your friend) and I like the way the boat handles on the lake.  

Glad I bought the boat

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On Wednesday, September 28, 2016 at 0:57 PM, jeffk said:

I went all in as well. Our first boat purchase six months ago was a 264 sunesta. I was used to a 18 foot bass boat so it did take some getting used too.  Get what you want and don't mess around with trying to sell a used boat! Everyone wants bigger now days. All our friends have large boats 25-34 foot boats and going out with them alot before we bought our own boat made us realize that we wanted a larger boat. When we go out its usually with 10-12 people and we are comfortable on our boat. I wouldn't waste time with a smaller boat. Go out with a friend that has a smaller boat a couple of times and you will veto the small boat idea. Just like eluther3 I have to upgrade tow vehicles as well but I don't really care as I bought the boat I wanted! Alot of people told me to start small... why just to waste money while you don't have the boat you truly want? I would but this boat as if it's going to be the last boat your family buys! ... just my opinions here!

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I had a few years experience with a 21' cuddy so I had an idea on what we wanted and didn't want.  We sold it several years ago, but want to get back into boating.  I am thinking about jumping all in on a Signature 300.  We'll see how the sea trials go this weekend.  I am nervous but several of my boating friends who have worked their way up in size said to go big and the difference isn't that great.  Have fun and enjoy.

 

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I'd say I would be a good nominee for going all in.  South Dakota to Norfolk Va 1500 miles one way.  Did some reworking of the home loan and made sure could handle the monthly payment. Spent years researching what to do, I had a list of requirements since it was a one shot chance to do it.  Sunesta, big block, arch.  (Pretty sure i was repeating in my sleep) Found one said id take it, sold hours before.  Found another said id take it, sold some put down payment on it.  so finally found one slightly newer and a little more.  Money set to wire as went to look at it.  Grabbed the kids and made a nice road trip of it. We were lucky enough to spend the day with the previous owner who walked us through all the ins and outs from safety to docking and loading on the trailer.  I even filmed how he tied it to the cleat on the dock, now that the season is done here; this is what ill take away from it.  Awesome. Ive spent more time with the family than any summer before it was always work work.  Im glad i went bigger because the water here is glass one day and white caps the next so its very stable in rough water (it feels safe) It is a financial adjustment thats for sure but I have four kids home now,  if drag my feet any longer they were gonna be gone....

The first trip backing in and unloading and loading was pretty stressful as is most new adventures, now the wife and I have a system/routine and could almost do blindfolded.

The worst part to date was leaving Norfolk and the gps led us down a nice little crowded road along the beach that was big enough for bikes and smart cars, after that the tunnel going under the bay for the first time was a white knuckle experience.  Obviously semi trucks do every day but that fixed arch on the trailer felt like it was 4 feet taller.      

If there is an issue or concern the great people here will have most your questions answered by the end of the day. 

 

Thats my going all in story.

 

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