Total Cost to buy and own - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 11 Old 09-06-2009 Thread Starter
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Total Cost to buy and own

I know someone has posted in the past a spreadsheet with all the typical costs involved in buying and owning a sailboat, anybody know where I can find it? Thanks.
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post #2 of 11 Old 09-06-2009
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Hate to break it to you, but there are waaay to many variables involved in your question that prevent getting a useful answer.

Think of it this way -- how would you answer the same question if it substituted "car" for "sailboat" ? Hope you can see that the possible answers are varied. A 1969 VW Fastback is going to cost a lot less than a 2004 Vette. Same thing goes for boats, bigger is usually more expensive, and older is usually less expensive.

As a general rule, you can buy a used sailboat for less than the seller's list price. How much less depends on what condition the boat is in, and how motivated the seller is to move on with their life.

Another good general rule it to set aside an immediate repair/replace/upgrade fund beyond what you pay for the boat so you can begin to get things back into A-1 order. Chances are, the boat is going to need new bits and pieces in order operate it safely and comfortably. Most advise to make this fund equal to 30% of the purchase price of the boat. Depending on the initial price of the boat, and its overall condition, this 30% may be more or less than you will actually need to spend.

Another general rule is to plan on spending 10% of the purchase price each year for maintenance. This will be greatly influenced in practice by what kind of sailing you intend to do, and what kind of an owner you will be. Only you can answer that one. If you trailer the boat to water, it's going to cost less than if it's tied up in a marina. If you intend to sail her a couple of days a month, then your maintenance costs will likely be less than those who are fulltime live-aboard cruisers. If you are a stickler for making sure that everything is in perfect condition, you will wind up spending far more money (and time) than folks who don't let peeling varnish or paint bother them. If you do the work yourself, it's (usually) far less expensive than hiring a boatyard or contractor to do it for you.

Give this some thought, and try to narrow your question down a bit. If you can, ask about specific boats (e.g., a mid-70's vintage Catalina 27 or a 2005 Tartan 4400), and what your intended use will be. I'm sure you'll get much better answers from a bunch of really helpful and experienced folks.

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post #3 of 11 Old 09-07-2009 Thread Starter
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Cost of Ownership Spreadsheet


Thanks for your reply. I was actually looking for a spreadsheet, not exact costs.

Somewhere in my travels through sailnet I have seen a spreadsheet that categorized all the types of costs typically involved in owning a boat, such as loan, payment, insurance, maintenance, dockage, etc. You then plug in the dollar amounts according to your own situation, boat, etc.

If anyone remembers such a spreadsheet, let me know where I might find it, thanks.

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post #4 of 11 Old 09-07-2009
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I recall seeing something similar. The bottom line, regardless of what you plug in for variables is essentially meaningless. The real cost always comes out more than you calculated. The input variables are too hypothetical, the assumptions too vague and the answer is irrelevant. It costs what it costs.
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post #5 of 11 Old 09-07-2009
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I found a reference to a spreadsheet in a post by Larry & Susan. I dropped the links to it in the "Salt's Corner Table" thread:

The Cruising Life - How to Get Started, Part One

The Cruising Life - How to Get Started, Part Two

The link to the spreadhseet in that article didn't work. But it was still some good info.
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post #6 of 11 Old 09-08-2009
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Not sure if this will help but...

Docking (slip/mooring/club fees and initiation fees/marina fees/trailer or cradle storage/electrical and water hookup/pumpouts)

Launch/haulout (crane or travelift/mast stepping and unstepping/bottom paint/wax or polish/buffers and pads)

Off-season storage (cover/frame/shrinkwrap ??)


Upkeep (replacing worn lines/clevis pins/turnbuckles/fenders/anchor rodes/ etc.)

Maintenance (oil changes/winterising engine/fuel, oil, Racor filters/impellers/head rebuilds)

Refit (new sails/masts/booms/furlers/tracks/blocks/clutches/engines/decks/water heaters/refrigerators/cradles or trailers/standing rigging/stoves/stereos/instruments/house batteries/storage batteries/wiring/dodgers/biminis/cushions/upholstery/whatever...)

Personally, I budget a minimum of $7,500.00/year for a 30 foot boat. I frequently hear others say that they get by on far less, but I am not sure how it can be done if you want to maintain a boat in good condition.

Good Luck
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post #7 of 11 Old 09-09-2009
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Really rough guide

My 1973 Catalina 22.

Purchase price: About $3250
Had lots of upgrades: New-ish sails, outboard, various equipment etc.

Yearly maintenance/projects:
-Bucket of bottom paint (lasts 2 years) $100
-Topside paint and supplies $300
-Deck paint and supplies $400
-Build wooden dinghy $500
-Trailer tires/wheels $250
-Various other equipment (a few lifejackets, GPS, Charts...) $300/year
-probably about $500/year of stuff I forgot about!

Insurance (liability-only for a boat this cheap): $100/year

Mooring: $850/year

I consider this running a boat on-the-cheap.

Remember: Boat cost = (boat length)E3
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post #8 of 11 Old 09-09-2009
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A spreadsheet would have to start out being size-specific to the boat and type (monohull, multihull) as well as the location and how the boat was used, i.e. one weekend a month versus theee evenings and every weekend.

I'd say you would be better off with one of the many lists of "stuff that costs" and then doing the homework to find out the specifics for what those costs will be for the kind of boat, sailing, and area that interest you.

Two basic sails for a 38' boat? Could be $6000 (basic) or $10,000 (higher end but not highest). A "complete" set of sails? Welll...does that mean ten for racing or just those first two? And do you need them "now" or in six months or in the middle of high season? And so on.
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post #9 of 11 Old 09-09-2009
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Beth Leonard has written extensively on this subject. I don't know specific issues, but I think she has at least one article in 'Good Old Boat' in the last year and probably other articles in the other magazines. Lin and Larry Pardey discuss the same topic in their book, 'The Cost Conscious Cruiser.' These might give you some ballpark numbers if not a true spreadsheet.

Sorry I can't be more specific. There are so many variables; not only the size of the boat but the age, the location, the pedigree, the past use of the boat, etc.

Sailing isn't a matter of life and death. It's much more important than that!
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post #10 of 11 Old 09-09-2009
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Just for consideration for buying a 28 to 32 ft boat:
Marine Survey, $400
Travel expence for sea trial, $???
Down payment at time of offer, $???
Financing charges, loan fees, $???
Coast guard Regristration, $100?
Land transportation,Chicago to East Tn, $2500
Preping boat for land transportation / winterization, $400
Tn state use tax, $1800
( crane not required to launch boat)
Monthly boat payments, $200
Slip fees monthly, $100
Boat Insurance yr ( 2 boats), $365
Fuel yr, $38
Bottom job /3 yrs or diver fees, $300-900
New sails, $??? used sails possible
Instrument upgrade and auto pilot, $1600
New AGM batteries /6yrs, $450
Maintenance, buff wax, scrub etc... $???
Engine maintenance /yr $100 impeller, filters oil and fuel, oil change, zincs
Replace dock lines, rigging standing, running $???
Ice, beer $???
What did I miss??

Cal 9.2 #19 SilverSwan
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