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  #11  
Old 12-09-2009
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Low maintenance requires a boat that's been well maintained. And continued preventive maintenance. Fewer systems means less maintenance. You never have to fix your water heater, freezer or air conditioner if you don't have one. Also, the smaller the boat the less work and cost.
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  #12  
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Folks, I really appreciate the feedback, keep it coming! This is very useful.

Quote:
Originally Posted by davidpm View Post
So you are about to plunk down $250,000.00 on a boat. The price of a house in many parts of the country. You honestly expect us to believe that you are going to buy a boat that saves, theoretically, a few hours a year in maintenance rather than the boat you like.
Absolutely. The cost of money for a $250,000 boat at current rates is something like $20,000 a year for 20 years. From what I've read I can easily spend $10,000 a year in maintenance over the long haul for a boat in this size range. BarryL suggests 7 days a year for which a local yard would charge $5600 plus materials. I would do some of the work myself, but my own time is commensurate in value. That's just routine annual maintenance, not major repairs or refits.

Whatever the number, it's likely that lifetime maintenance raises the TCO of the boat by a significant factor. In the example above, reducing maintenance by half would save as much money as a 25% discount on the boat purchase. For an older, used boat, maintenance cost completely overshadow financing cost. So why wouldn't I make it a major criteria that may even influence the basic geometry of my boat? Money talks, and I just want to go sailing.

Martin
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With that said, the actual reason multihulls and cat rigs came into my head was the only two boats I can think of offhand where ease of maintenance got top billing in the marketing materials:

Wyliecat Performance Yachts: Wyliecat 39
Chris White Designs Explorer 44

Wyliecats in particular make a compelling case. No standing rigging whatsoever. Less than half the running rigging. One third as many winches. No bowsprit, no chainplates, no genoa tracks means few stressed deck fittings. No brightwork whatsoever. Counting against it perhaps is the semicustom nature of the boat and a vanishingly small owner community. Yet, it seems entirely plausible to me that this boat would cost half as much time and money to maintain as a J/120 or an X-119 or a C&C 115. What do you think?

BTW, I am not expecting a mid-30' performance cruiser to be as easy to maintain as a Honda Accord. My point is that before the Japanese started building cars, nobody thought that a car could be so easy to maintain. The Japanese gave reliability top billing at the cost of more traditional features, put some smart engineers and managers on the problem, and threatened to put the rest of the world's automotive industry out of business before they could figure out how to compete on reliability. As far as I can tell, few people have even tried to do that with sailboats. If they have, I was hoping someone would know who it was and point me in their direction! I have trouble believing that it's not possible -- merely that we don't have enough imagination.

Martin
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  #14  
Old 12-09-2009
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No exterior wood is a good start....what little I have I wish I didn't.
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  #15  
Old 12-09-2009
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I'll second the no exterior wood nomination. Every boat that I have looked at has had exterior wood that looks like poop!

In addition, I would add Stainless Steel framed port lights (i.e. New Found Metals). The old plastic Beckson ports leak and suffer from UV degradation.

Minimal maintenance for steering means a tiller. Wheel steering has more stuff to monitor. For some people, a tiller is the only way to sail. For me it isn't. This is a compromise that you have to make for yourself.

RE: Watermakers, if you are spending a lot of time in clear salt water the watermaker can be invaluable. However for most coastal cruisers, even if you make an occasional offshore run, the membrane will get clogged, and you'll wonder why you bought the damn thing. If I lived aboard in the Bahamas, I'd want one. Because I live in a house in New England I don't.

Refrigeration - frequently needs service, and IMHO not worth the effort for your intended use - "daysailing, coastal cruising, and fun racing." If you want cold beer, or "dark and stormy," buy ice.

Galvanic corrosion - I have yet to look at a boat with a galvanic isolation transformer. Frankly, I would not plug my boat into a dockbox without one. I think that all the other solutions to this issue fall short. Without one aboard, I would keep the boat on a mooring.

Wood cabin sole - do you have wood floors where you live? I may be wrong, but I don't see this as a major issue. Take your shoes off when you go below.

I think that davidpm has the right idea about your Accord analogy. Ther are many more systems on a boat. These different systems are operating in a far more harsh environment than any Accord. The result is that the systems will need maintenance (heck, even the Accord needs Oil, Filters, Brakes, Tires, Fluids, eventually a new Battery, and an annual vacuum, wash and wax.) Keep the number of systems on the boat to a minimum of those that you: NEED, those that you understand, and those that you can maintain, and you will find it far less expensive in time and money.

Ed
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Old 12-09-2009
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Below are the most maintenance free systems I know of. Anything more complicated requires maintenance of some sort - but if you don't go wild with air conditioning, generators, watermakers and icemakers it's manageable.
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Last edited by mitiempo; 12-09-2009 at 06:51 PM. Reason: add
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  #17  
Old 12-09-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mitiempo View Post
Below are the most maintenance free systems I know of.
Nope - you gotta clean, and fill, all of them!
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Old 12-09-2009
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To reduce maintenance maximally, get a 32' (your minimum or less, even better) with as few systems as possible that has been VERY well maintained. Think sub-30' if you really want low maintenance. Remember that when a boat gets longer it also gets wider and deeper which makes maintenance costs vary more by the cube of the length; although, initial construction costs are best judged by displacement ... I wonder if this is a better judge of maintenance cost? Since you mention performance, it is worth noting that performance boats are usually driven harder and subjected to higher stresses and therefore have higher maintenance.

If you REALLY want low maintenance, get a boat without an engine or any electrical systems. Learn how to scull and use portable devices for your minimal electrical needs. Get one that has no through-hulls and simply use a porta-potti or a composting head. Yes, you can still use kerosene for your lighting. Just how much are you willing to sacrifice for maintenance??

Plus, removing all that weight will up your performance....
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Last edited by marujosortudo; 12-09-2009 at 06:56 PM. Reason: add
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Old 12-09-2009
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Time Share?

Aren't there Time Share services out there? Can't recall the names of them.
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  #20  
Old 12-09-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whughes View Post
Aren't there Time Share services out there? Can't recall the names of them.
Sailtime is one... Freedom boat club is another... You could also join one of the numerous smaller sailing clubs with a fleet of boats. Any of these options will run you from $3500-$8000/year.

However, in all of these scenarios, the boat is not yours. You can't leave your stuff on it, you take the equipment that it comes with, and you can only use it when someone else isn't. And, stuff still breaks, and you still need to clean the vessel to your, or the admiral's , maintenance standards.

I learned to sail in one of these clubs in Boston. The boats in the fleet were ridden hard, and put away wet. I met some great people though...

Last edited by eherlihy; 12-09-2009 at 07:09 PM.
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