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I agree that it's important to strike a balance - you need to save for your future financial security, but you should also enjoy life now, too - after all, it IS very short.

Anyway, here's an idea you might want to consider: find a friend or two (or three) who would partner with you to buy the boat. My family did this when I was a kid - we bought a little 16' sailboat with two other families and divided up the weekends among us. Of course, this strategy requires the right partners, but it worked out well for us. We really enjoyed the boat and yet we were able to split the operating costs (insurance, mooring fees, etc.) and maintenance (the yearly fiber-glassing was much more fun because we essentially had a "party.")

Another variation on this theme would be to find someone with a boat and trade "sweat equity" for time in the boat. My father, who is semi-retired, found a neighbor with a 40' sailboat and "volunteered" to help him maintain it and crew it on overnight trips. The guy who owned it got free help from an experienced sailor, and my Dad made out like a bandit.

I guess the moral of my story is that you can *usually* get what you want, within your personal constraints, if you plan well and use some creativity. But...don't assume that *purchasing* is the only, or best, way to get what you want...
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