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Old 07-27-2006
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think per mile, not per week

Circumnavigators have stated that one should expect to use up a set of sails in a circumnavigation. Based on that I once estimated the cost of a set of sails for a typical mid 30-something cruiser at about $0.20/mile.

Think of sails as fuel which depletes as you use it to propel the vessel. So the cost per week depends on how much the sails are aged that week. Of course on a single week basis it is immeasurable by even the best experts. Wear on the sails during that time will be a function of strength of the winds and time of UV exposure of the sails in the sun, as well as the operator exercising discretion in proper handling of the sails. Sails can be abused and aged faster just as an engine can be by operating it incorrectly to various degrees. Sails that are bundled to the boom too tight or left uncovered exposed to the sun when not in use will age faster than those that are treated well.

Realistically the island hopping sailboat will switch between using the sails and engine based on conditions and operator discretion. Using less of one for a voyage means more of the other, so one has to include engine costs in sailboat propulsion costs.

The engine and/or genset also provide(s) power on anchor for services that the sails cannot support, such as electricity, refrigeration, watermaking, heating, cooling, etc.. For non-propulsion power generation one can then think of cost per week. Some of that cost will be a function of such things as the number of occupants or the lattitude and season of the anchorage and use of amenities such as air conditioning. Again the operator's discretion in using amenities comes into play.

Now I'll revisit the original issue about how much fabric sail cost per week considering the boat is moved every few days. On that basis it may take 5 years to circumnavigate. A $5000 set of sails then would be expended at $1000 per year, which is about $20 per week.

Last edited by captnnero; 07-27-2006 at 02:17 AM.
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