Another 'Ask the...' Thread. This one's about Yachts!

After taking the 2010 boating season off, I decided to launch this year. I visited my Marina last weekend and scheduled the recommissioning work.

It was weird walking around the docks in-season and seeing so many empty slips. For the first time ever, the four marinas in my area are prorating their seasonal fees. My usual slip is nice, but I never liked that it had no finger piers. This year, I have my pick! I chose a slip that has a fantastic sunset view looking out onto a wide, unobstructed expanse of sparkling blue.

My boat is a 35 foot Four Winns cruiser; small for a yacht, but quite roomy. I’ve owned it since late 2007 and am its 3rd owner. The cabin has most of the amenities of home. Think of it as a very small 2-bedroom apartment. The cockpit/entertaining area has seating for 10 comfortably, with additional seating downstairs in the cabin. The boat is rated for a max of 14 people, although I think they’d have to be pretty skinny. The manual says it sleeps 8, and although I can see how it’s possible, I wouldn’t want to be 1 of the last 4 to have to settle for the slim accommodation pickings.

My Marina is on the Delaware River on the New Jersey side, approximately 20 miles north of the Philadelphia Naval Complex. The farthest I’ve sailed is down to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, which was an exhilarating experience.

My wife and I have spent countless nights on-board, and have had our share of minor mishaps and scares. One’s inner strength and common sense is really tested when something goes wrong when out in the middle of nowhere with no land in sight.

This year, I’m having all my canvas replaced, which is pretty much in tatters at this point, as well as the eisenglass.

So, first, if there are any other boaters/yachtsmen on the board who have launched this year, or even if you haven’t, I’d love to hear about your experiences.

And if anyone has any questions about boating, safety, rules and regs, real costs of ownership, or specific questions about my boat, if I can answer them I certainly will.

I hereby christen thee, “The Flying Wasp!”


?? It’s probably funny, but I don’t get it.

I’m jealous! I’ve always wanted a boat like this.

A couple who have a boat in this size range have invited us to spend a few days with them soon. We’ve done day trips and an overnight trip with them before, so we have some idea of what we’re getting into. Do you have any recommendations for guests who will be on board for several days? Have you invited people to stay with you for an extended time? Did they do anything that annoyed you, or made the time more difficult - or better, too?

This couple has stated that they are paying for the fuel, so we are bringing food and drinks, and planning to cook and otherwise prepare food. What else can we do to make this a fun trip, and cement our reputation as someone to invite back?

It’s a quote from Caddyshack.


We had a couple stay with us for a weekend when we spent time at Summit North Marina in the C&D Canal 3 years ago. We called ahead about a week before and booked what’s called a transient slip for the weekend. It’s kind of like reserving a hotel room.

My wife and I, and the other couple, spent Friday night at our marina hanging out with a few of our dock mates before retiring to our boat for the night. In the morning, the four of us went out for breakfast at one of the restaurants on the property. Around midday, we began preparations for our trip to Summit North, and set sail from our marina at approximately 3:00 PM. We arrived at Summit North Marina at around 8:00 PM Saturday evening, where we were guided to our rented slip by the dock hands. We had a late dinner at the marina’s restaurant, which was a surprisingly good seafood meal, and I’m not a seafood person. After dinner, we explored the marina a bit, but as it was after 10:30 PM and we were kind of beat, at least I was, we were back at the boat around 11:00 PM, where we hit the hay.

Sunday morning, we had breakfast at the marina’s restaurant, did a little more exploring of the marina, ogled some of the fantastic yachts that made my boat look like a dinghy, and hiked along a jogging path a little off the marina property. Around midday, we went back to the boat and had lunch and hung out for a while, after which we began our trip back to New Jersey.

We had a number of entertainment options that we didn’t bother with. For example, as part of the reservation, Summit North provided cable hook-up, so we could have watched cable TV in the cabin, but we didn’t turn the TV on the entire time we were there. My wife brought playing cards and a board game (Monopoly), which we didn’t touch, and we even brought swimming gear, but didn’t swim.

The one slight inconvenience, and only slight, was having to coordinate access to the bathroom in the morning. As you may know, the head on all but the large yachts is very small. Mine has a shower stall, so it’s a little larger than some, but there’s no way two people can be in there at the same time unless one is at the sink and the other is in the shower; there simply isn’t enough standing room.

As far as annoyances, nope, none that I can remember, but they were with us for only two nights, and we were all pretty busy the entire time except for the 5 hours when we were under way, during which period it was all sightseeing and lounging… well, except for me as I had to pilot the boat. :frowning:

When we were in open water, with no other boats as far as the eye could see, I let my friend’s wife take the helm for about 20 minutes. She was absolutely thrilled!

We stocked up with food and beverages for the trip, just in case we didn’t care for, or didn’t want to eat, restaurant food. One thing to keep in mind is if you decide to bring alcoholic beverages on board, they cannot be consumed while the boat is under way. I think that’s a law everywhere, but it definitely is in New Jersey.

We paid for fuel for the trip as I wouldn’t have felt right charging the other couple. We would have taken the trip even if they hadn’t come, so why charge them?

As far as being useful, I’d offer to help tie up when you get to port. The captain would really appreciate the help. I know I do. And don’t do anything that could get the captain in trouble or cause him (or her) to become distracted or concerned.

All in all, it was a wonderful experience.

So why this? High gas prices? The economy?

Based on conversations with friends I’ve made in previous seasons, it’s the economy. Gas prices, although they play a role obviously, are not that much of a deterrent to boaters. We pay higher prices at the dock than for our cars anyway.

There are simply more costs incurred during the season, from slip fees, recommissioning fees, gas, other seasonal maintenance, and ultimately end-season winterization fees, that you don’t pay if you don’t launch for the season. I easily saved $4000 by not launching last year.

Does that mean just the skipper can’t be drinking while the boat is moving, or all passengers as well?

(Obviously the guy or gal driving the craft has NO business drinking, but I can’t see prohibiting the passengers having a glass of wine or a few beers while enjoying the motion of the ocean)

Passengers as well. Open containers are a big no-no. If you’re pulled over by the authorities, even for a routine inspection, which happens, and they see an open beer can, you can be fined, get points on your driver’s license (that’s right, your** automobile driver’s** license), or even have your driver’s license suspended, in addition to having your boat impounded. You’re responsible for the actions of everyone on your boat.

That said, at the dock, or moored out, no problem, imbibe to your heart’s content.

Would you agree that the next best thing to yachting is standing a cold shower, tearing up $100 bills?

I love sailing and have for quite a while, but I nearly sprayed coffee on my monitor when I read this.

I believe you are mistaken in this. NJ does have an open container law, but it does not apply to boats(12:7-46). From what I understand, some states do impose an open container law on boats but NJ (and VA, thankfully) is not one of them. Similar to when operating a motor vehicle, .08 is still the limit, though. Passengers can be as intoxicated as you will allow them to be on your vessel (within reason), so long as they won’t be operating it.
Just so as to contribute to the thread: Have you ever considered getting into sailing? (I thought that was what you were talking about before I looked up a Four Winns Cruiser.)

We’ve been doing some overdue maintenance on our Islander 36 sloop. Last weekend, I finished making a new mainsail cover and we did the teak grab rails and trim on the cabin and stern. This weekend, weather permitting, we’ll do the teak trim in the cockpit and on the bow. My husband pressure washed the deck and cabin, but for some reason, the mayflies are thick and our deck is covered in little green spots. ick.

Ours is the only marina in Solomons with floating docks - the only way to go! We usually stay in year round, doing a short haul in alternate springs for a pressure wash and a long haul for new bottom paint the other years. This year, we had a marina neighbor dive and clean our hull and replace the zinc on the prop shaft. That was super cheap and very easy for us.

We need to take down our mast and sand and paint it, plus replace all the rigging and some of the electrical wiring. Maybe next year, if we can save enough. With me retiring next month, it’ll be tough. We also need to replace all our smaller portlights. We’ve got 6 new ones - we just need to do some work inside the cabin to prep for the replacements. Maybe this fall?

A few months ago, we talked about just selling the boat and chartering if we wanted to sail, but we’ve owned a boat nearly continuously since we married 27 years ago. We lived aboard 2 former boats on 2 different occasions. We’re not quite ready to give it up. Yet. We just love having a hole in the water to throw our money into! :smiley:

Heh. No, I don’t agree with that. :slight_smile:

Don’t tell that to SeaTow and the Delaware River Marine Unit who gave a seminar at my marina and explicitly stated we will be fined and subject to possible points and license suspension if boarded and found to have open containers. Yeah, I think I’ll just go ahead and take their advice. :slight_smile:

Yes, I have thought about getting into sailing but, based on the sail boaters at my marina, that’s a level of dedication I simply don’t have. Those guys work on their boats more than they sail them, and they’re out there seemingly every day. Yeah, their boats are absolutely beautiful. One of my old slipmates had a Beneteau 48, which was nothing less than majestic.

As I alluded earlier, I am very impressed with the dedication of sail boaters. You folks are always cleaning, polishing, scrubbing, maintaining, and doing self-repairs on your boats.

Yep, floating docks are the only way to fly. :slight_smile:

We can’t stay in year-round. It gets too cold, and my marina doesn’t have bubblers.

Yeah, we have to be pulled for every little thing, even replacing zincs.