Sailing is often called a rich man’s sport. Thankfully, a little creativity can go a long way in stretching your sailing dollar. One of the most expensive parts of boat ownership is acquiring the necessary gear for your cruising dreams.
Finding the best deals on sailing gear is an art form – it takes patience, curiosity, and dedication. When pricing sailing gear, we always use West Marine as the benchmark for the absolute highest price. Defender is a great, moderately priced alternative to West Marine, but you’re sure to find even better discounts with the ideas below. Whether you’re upgrading, outfitting, or just in the market for spares here are 5 ways to find gear for your cruising inventory while saving money for the actual cruising.
Amazon Warehouse Deals
Amazon warehouse deals are opened box returned items that are expected to work perfectly, but can’t be sold as brand new products. There isn’t a huge selection of sailing specific items, but there are plenty of items that will be useful to the cruiser.
Here is a list of items we have found through Amazon Warehouse Deals at 10-40% off:
Handheld VHF Radio
Camera parts and equipment
Galley untensils and gadgets
Hand tools (pliers, wrenches, etc)
Ebay Sailboat Hardware Lots
Many sellers will strip an old boat of all of its hardware and equipment. Instead of selling it piece by piece they will group things together in a bulk sale. With this, we have been able to find hardware for as much as 75% off the retail price.
Minney’s Yacht Surplus
This is not your average yacht surplus store. Minney’s is the mecca. With aisle after aisle of stainless steel hardware available for purchase by the pound and an overwhelming used sail inventory that they ship worldwide, we feel downright spoiled to be able to make regular visits to the Newport Beach store whenever we’re in town. We purchased a like new asymmetrical spinnaker for less than half of what we would pay a sail maker, and the dimensions were perfect for our boat. We could not be happier with our purchase. Minney’s encourages cash purchases and will offer 5% discount if you pay with cash.
During one visit, we picked up the Charlies Charts for Cruising Mexico and ironically ended up standing in line behind Captain Holly, the author!
If you happen to sail into Newport Beach Harbor, Minney’s is a must-see whether you’re in the market for gear or not.
If you love a good opportunity to haggle with salty sailors for their old gear, head to your nearest swap meet. You can find their dates and times posted at marinas.
Here are some of the deals we’ve found at our local swap meets:
4 AGM 8D 240 amp battery (which we first load tested) $200 – lists for $800 at West Marine
Origo Oven – $150 – lists for $1100
Shackles and Blocks
Various Cruising and Boat Maintenance Books
All-Clad Stainless Steel Cookware $5 – 3 pieces with a total value of $250 new
Not only are swap meets an awesome opportunity to find great deals, it’s a also the perfect way to get rid of things you no longer use. In the process of updating and outfitting our boat, we accumulated plenty of things we no longer needed and were able to sell at swap meets.
Within boating communities, Craigslist is a great way to purchase used gear on the cheap. Advertisements for upcoming swap meets are often posted here as well.
While we have yet to score an awesome Craigslist deal, our buddy boating friends have a serious knack for finding the BEST deals on Craigslist. They say the secret is to be patient and look over the course of a few weeks. They also check the boating gear section regularly even if they’re not in the market for anything specific. Another hint, spell things wrong when you’re searching. If you’re looking for an inflatable kayak, search “kyak”, “kyack”, you get my drift. Sometimes the listings are spelled incorrectly. You might miss out on that awesome deal if you’re too busy with the correct spelling!
*We have no affiliation with the products/companies mentioned.