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Default Boater wannabe questions (Pacific Northwest area)

On Fri, 06 Aug 2004 04:09:09 GMT, Melandre

My wife and I are now considering purchasing a used boat probably in
the 20' to 30' range. Although I am already actively going through
ads, I also realize that I know very little about the boating lingo,
the costs of ownership (maintenance, fuel, moorage, others) and travel
expectations. I am hoping that the boaters in this NG can answer some
of the many questions I have. Please note that I live near Vancouver,
BC, Canada and some of the questions may be more relevant to people
living in the area. So ,here we go…

Understand that there is a big difference between 20 foot boats and 30
foot boats. Let me elaborate: A 20 foot boat might weigh 2500 to
3000 pounds, a 30 foot boat might easily weigh 10,000 pounds. A 20
foot boat is easily trailerable, but very few 30 foot boats are. A 20
foot boat is barely adequate for a family to spend the night, but most
30 footers can do so with no problem. I'm sure you're beginning to
see the pattern here. A 30 foot boat is a lot more capable, but it
is also a lot more expensive to operate, maintain and store.
Therefore it's difficult if not impossible to give answers to many of
your questions without pinning down the size and type.

The smallest boat that I would recommend for the usage you describe is
a 24 ft cuddy cabin. I happen to own a boat like that so I know
something about them. They are frequently powered by 350 cubic inch
Mercruiser V8s (often referred to as "small blocks"). With that
engine a 24 ft cuddy will burn about 10 to 14 gallons per hour and
cruise at 20 to 24 knots (23 to 27 mph). I usually estimate my fuel
consumption at 2 miles per gallon. A 30 footer can easily burn twice
that much when traveling at the same speeds.

1) technical terms : What's a leg? What's a beam? (I wasn't kidding
when I said I was a newbie at this!). Is there a good WEB site which
describes some of the technical features of a boat?

Beam is the maximum width of the boat. The maximum trailerable beam
in most states is 102 inches (8 1/2 feet) so there are a lot of boats
in your size range with exactly that beam. Leg? Probably the lower
portion of the outdrive on an inboard/outboard (I/O) boat.

2) With the understanding that all boats are not equal, is there some
magic way to 'guesstimate' fuel cost? The reasoning being that if I
can't even afford the fuel, then I should forget about buying a boat…
For example, if I was to cross from Vancouver to Saltspring Island on
a 25 footer, would I likely look at $25 in fuel or $200 in fuel?

See above.

3) Other than these newsgroups, are there other good WEB communities
(forums) for boaters and boater wannabees?

This is my favorite for some perverse reason. There are a lot of
knowledgable people in this newsgroup if you can get them to stop
discussing politics.

4) Is it unrealistic (or perfectly feasible) to think that I could
simply cruise to the San Juan Islands from Vancouver? Can these boats
handle the normal sea conditions of the Pacific Northwest coastline?
Any idea, how long it may take to go from Vancouver to San Juan Island
(are we talking a few hours or a whole day)?

Can't speak to that specific area since I'm not from the North West.
A 24 ft boat can handle open water conditions up to about 12 knots of
wind. After that it becomes increasingly uncomfortable and dicey.
Most 30 foot boats can handle 20 knots of wind in open water but not
comfortably, and not at normal cruising speed. Keep in mind that
these are generalizations and much depends on you, the boat, and
specific conditions.

I am sure I will have plenty of other questions but I will start with
these for now. Yes, I know a lot of these answers will start with 'It
depends' (speed, type of boat, conditions, etc…) but remember that I
am just trying to get an overall understanding of what is possible and
what is not for a boat in the 20' to 30' range. Thanks in advance to
anyone who cares to provides some answers, suggestions,