On the issue that owning a boat is expensive.....It's not free, nor is any other hobby or sport that you really pursue. While it's wise to consider costs, don't destroy the dreams of would be newbies who want to enter sailing before they start. My experience:
I've mentioned before, several hobbies. All are on the expensive side.
.223 ammo is running around 25 bucks for 20 rounds.
(Archery) aluminum arrows - about 3-5 dollars each (not counting arrow heads) - usually don't LOSE my arrows, but still, sometimes you have to replace them.
.22 Long rifle ammo is running 4 bucks for 50 rounds.
.357 - a buck a bullet.
Guns themselves aren't cheap. I own quite a few of them. My wife owns more than I own.
Not much cost once you've invested in the radios. However, the equipment I currently have sitting in my shack is well over 12,000 dollars worth of stuff. If something breaks, I fix it myself. Cost of shipping plus parts is RARELY under 20 bucks. Things don't break often, but usually when they do it is catastrophic.
I replace antenna wires (on long wire and dipoles) just about every two years.
Seen the price of copper lately? Holy cow....
The minimum cost to make a 5 gallon batch of beer - pretty much any sort is around 36.00 for 5 gallons. Lemme see... 128 oz in a gallon, times 5 is 640 oz, divided by 12 - a typical bottle of beer is 12 oz - equals 53 bottles of beer. Lemme see, that comes to about .66 cents a bottle, plus my time. It takes about 3 hours minimum to make a batch of beer. Then it takes about 2 hours to clean and prep everything to bottle it. (Takes less time to keg it so I usually keg it now)
Basically to make two cases of beer costs me 40 bucks essentially. Probably cheaper to buy cheap beer, but damn, my home brew beats almost ALL the commercial beers out there - and as Warstiener says, "Life's to short to drink cheap beer".
And it takes several HOURS of your time to do it.
(Yep do this too, World of Warcraft) Usually a couple hours in the evenings. But I pay 15 bucks a month to play on their servers. Have three acounts, one for me, one for the wife and a spare account we use to "store" online stuff... so, there's 45 bucks a month down the toilet. But we ENJOY doing it.
And we get to talk to friends on our headsets, most of my kids play and they are scattered all over, so we get to talk to them every evening as if they were there, while we're beating the crap out of monsters.
Running several web sites:
Annual fees for maintaining servers, domain names and other incidental costs... I don't even want to add them up, but they are pretty "up there". I get NO income from any of them. Thus, they are HOBBIES.
Maintaining computers - OMG... never mind.
Several thousand dollars in Telescope and associated equipment! (I won't say HOW much this was............)
Already cost me slightly less than 10K in 2008 and I haven't even SAILED YET. Wow.
If I really added all this up, I figure I spend 20% or more of my income a year on these things. I dont live on a boat, I live in a house. I pay electricity bills, water, sewage, I pay for heating in the winter (no Airconditioning in the summer). I pay for trash removal. I have a home phone, two cell phones (one for her, one for me). We don't have car payments since our vehicles are paid off.
I have a mortgage. I am paying a car payment for a daughter - since she decided NOT to pay it and I was a dumb Daddy and co-signed for her before I realized she would be unrealiable.
I have house insurance, car insurance, boat insurance, I have several magazine subscriptions and belong to several organizations that I either pay yearly fees too to remain a member, or I pay for 2-3 years at a time.
If I don't pay for those things I'll get fined, lose my house, have my power cut off, I reckon they would stop up the drains if I didn't pay the sewage bill... they'd put a lien on my house, cut off my phones, gas, sue me, arrest me, stop my mail and kick me out of the ARRL.
Numbers and all that notwithstanding are all fine and good.
But there is something to be said for the dreams people have.
People have dreams to climb mountains, run in marathons, be expert marksmen, go to the Olympics. And they do these things, not without a lot of work and sometimes costs.
Most people RARELY, if EVER consider the costs up front for ANY hobby they do. Only after their insterest is peaked and they get involved, usually deeply, do they begin to consider the problems associated with a particular hobby.
Let me say something here - NOT having been a SAILOR for my whole life, but a military man for the majority of it - I have found that it's not all about how much you save, how much spend, or even, sometimes how you live your life.
It's about QUALITY of life. I've been in places where the people live minute-to-minute, hand-to-mouth and will NEVER, EVER be where any of you folks are. They won't have Internet, computers, sailboats, and they sure as hell won't be traveling the world or cruising like some of you do.
Their quality of life is so poor - and there is not a damned thing WE can do about it, even as a group. There are more poor people in the world who barely get enough to eat daily and all of us put together can't feed them.
But we can feed ourselves. We can DO for ourselves in whatever manner we need to.
And we can up OUR quality of life by enjoying what little bit of it we have.... "Living it day to day And still twenty four hours may be sixty good years; It’s still not that long a stay."
So - you know, sailing isn't a cost for most people. It's apparently a state of mind, and that's where this soon-to-be-Sailor will be.