Where to put a hole to sink money into in Boston?
July 27, 2012 7:29 AM   Subscribe

I'm considering buying a 27' cruising sailboat and keeping it in the greater Boston area. I'd like some advice about storage, mooring/docking and costs.

The boat I have in mind is a classic heavy displacement fiberglass cruiser. It appears to have been fully restored with new rigging, rebuilt atomic 4, etc. So, hopefully a minimal amount of work would be needed at this point. Which, knowing boats, would end up being a significant amount of work, but it still looks to be in good shape.

I live in Somerville. I'm not sure what the good options are as far as storage go. I'd be up for dockspace or a mooring. Cost would be very important. I'm open to docking or mooring it somewhere up the coast (or down the coast a bit but that is less preferable). I'm trying to get a ballpark idea what mooring or docking might cost. Dock space right in the city seems pretty expensive ($99 a foot, seems to be) but I'm not sure further up the coast if it will be significantly cheaper.

As far as winter storage goes, I'm wondering whether it would be cheaper to haul and store at a boatyard north of Boston, or to have the boat pulled and trailered to somewhere off site and put up on stands. The owner said that he has had the boat hauled and trailered to his house on Cape Cod for $600.

Any thoughts/suggestions as far as good yards, good moorings or dock space and probably costs would be greatly appreciated. If it helps, this is a 27' full keel sloop generally in the Carl Alberg/Cape Dory vein although not one of those boats. Draws approx 3'. I used to work in boatyards and have done a lot of fiberglass work, so I would likely be doing all maintenance myself other than engine work.

posted by sully75 to Travel & Transportation around Boston, MA (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Some of the reviews and details on Active Captain might help you out.
posted by emilyw at 7:51 AM on July 27, 2012

My impression, just from having been out on a number of boats in the harbor over the years, is that your best bets for pricing are down in Quincy Bay, and a mooring will definitely be cheaper (and less dependent on the whim of the tides). You can probably get similar pricing if you're willing to go far enough north (Salem), and then you wouldn't have to deal with the long-ish trip out Hull Gut or Boston Harbor. Happy Sailing!
posted by ldthomps at 7:55 AM on July 27, 2012

Oh cool. Yeah, my impression is that further out is cheaper, but south gets expensive again as you start getting closer to the cape and near pricier places like Duxbury. I haven't looked at prices in a while, though.
posted by rmd1023 at 8:35 AM on July 27, 2012

Not just speaking for the Boston area, but more of a general sense when it comes to winter storage: Over the years, I found it a bit more convenient just storing my boat on a boatyard rather than trailer'ing it home, although the boatyard option will be more expensive. If you're lucky you may be able to find a place that will store for less than $5/ft per month (got mine down to $1/ft where I live) and have it on blocks/stands so you can work on it where it's stored. One advantage is, the boatyard maintainer can sometimes also assist with repairs, launching and haulouts...although you seem to also have a good handle on these things, so that might be moot. Another advantage is less worry about actually transporting your boat considerable distances to and from your marina (where "traffic happens", as well as other unforseeable events...like in my case, nearly losing one of my trailer wheels carrying a 3,000lb vessel!!). Sure you pay more in the long run, but to me it has been a decent trade-off compared to the stresses of going back and forth from home. Some boatyards may even cut you a deal if you keep it on the trailer while it is being stored as they won't have to lift it or use stands/blocks.

If trailer'ing it home, the only thing I would watch out for (other than keeping the trailer in top shape) is any overhanging trees on your property. If you're not sealing you boat for the off season, leaves and other debris can do a number on the gelcoat if not kept up with (atleast it'll mean more time cleaning on top of the standard bottom repaint) YMMV
posted by samsara at 8:39 AM on July 27, 2012

Allow me to recommend you call Boston Boat Works in East Boston, about winter storage, and probably good advice on mooring opportunities in the bay.
posted by Abinadab at 1:32 PM on July 27, 2012

Join a boat/yacht club. I belong to one north of Boston, and while there is a waiting list for a marina slip, once you're in, the yearly price per foot is somewhere around $11. My club also has winter storage available for a fee (not sure his much, but I'm pretty sure it's cheaper than the going rate for public storage), but as with marina space, we have a waiting list. I'd recommend joining a club not only because it's the best deal on dock space (obviously, not counting the waiting period, if the club you join has one), but because they're good communities on the water, good resources for learning about sailing/boating, racing, repair, and especially for learning the water around the area. Plus, some of them have their own private waterfront bars, which is nice.
posted by diggerroo at 1:34 PM on July 27, 2012

I love sailing, and have found that there are a lot of people who, once having bought a boat, find they don't sail a lot. Check bulletin boards at marinas and sailing clubs; you may be able to lease or share a boat, at big savings.
posted by theora55 at 4:29 PM on July 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

Love your title.

My aunt keeps/kept her boat at Salem Willows which I think is relatively inexpensive because there isn't really a clubhouse, and also it's not particularly sheltered from the wind. In the winter she hauls her boat (27' 1936 Friendship Sloop) and keeps it in the side yard under a tent she built out of wood and plastic sheeting.

She's been sailing for decades and has tons of friends in the area who are all into boats as well. I know she would love to talk to you and could give you lots of great advice. If you'd like to get in touch, I just MeMailed you a link to her site. Also, it has a bunch of links to boatyards and such.
posted by bendy at 5:55 PM on July 27, 2012

or to have the boat pulled and trailered to somewhere off site and put up on stands. The owner said that he has had the boat hauled and trailered to his house on Cape Cod for $600.

Did that $600 include the cost of having the mast stepped/unstepped? One huge disadvantage of transporting the boat off-site is the twice annual hassle and expense of taking the mast down and putting it up again.

Yacht clubs are a great alternative to pricey marinas, but you typically end up paying for your lower rates with sweat. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but most clubs can get very cliquey, and it only takes a few self-possessed members in high places who really want a luxury clubhouse to drown everyone else in additional assessments.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 7:31 PM on July 27, 2012

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