My friend bought a Catalina 36, a sturdy sailboat exactly the right size for cruising with family. We sailed it this weekend, had a great time, and, as usual, my internal rogue compulsion to own things (see previous posts) began to cry, like a frustrated 2-year-old, “I want one!”
And, as usual, that urge made no sense. There are sailing clubs in southern California that give you access to dozens of boats for $30 a month, plus $300 per day of actual use. I’m in such a club, yet rarely find the time to use it. Owning a boat, then, is a 100% guaranteed way to spend a ton of money with no concomitant increase in quality of life.
In general, renting is:
- 10 times cheaper than owning (depreciation, maintenance, moorage).
- Ties up no capital.
- Predictable — no unexpected big costs.
- No commitment — quit or rejoin anytime.
- Flexible — choose from various boats in 4 ports at different price levels.
- Time-efficient — no scrubbing decks, hiring repairmen, etc.
This tends to be true of other luxury items. Don’t buy a vacation house — rent one through a site like VRBO, and stay in spectacularly nice places, anytime, anywhere in the world, with total flexibility and no commitment. Don’t buy a Ferrari — rent one for a day, then rent a Maserati for a day next month, and so on.
So sensible. Yet that immature little voice is still there. I wanna boat.