Sailboat Cost of Ownership - Page 2 - SailNet Community
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post #11 of Old 08-04-2011
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Originally Posted by fredct View Post
I am a new member looking at buying a used sailboat. As much fun as it is to imagine the lifestyle, I am trying to realistically assess the annual out of pocket expenses of sailing. I have pasted below a rough model that breaks down the cost into annual expenses and one-time expense (mainly boat purchase and lessons). The bottom line: it costs about $15k to operate a sail 35' to 40' boat in the North East to which one needs to add finance costs. I would appreciate if experienced members would look at my itemization and tell me if I forgot something. I left out depreciation to keep things simple. Sorry about format.

First, let's clear up a misconception: A sailboat is not a sound financial decision under any circumstance. It is a hole that you throw money into, that provides entertainment.

It sounds to me like you've already talked yourself out of this. You've described a scenario where you buy an unneccesarily expensive sailboat, pay for the yard to do every little bit of maintenance and upkeep, pay for professional sailing lessons, and pay to berth it in one of the most expensive areas in the country.

Either you're very wealthy and the money doesn't really matter to you so the question is irrelevant, or you're just trying to talk yourself out of it.

If you really want to sail, then you can pare this list way down by making some simple sacrifices. Buy a slightly smaller, slightly older vessel, do some of the maintenance yourself, and crew on the Wednesday night beercan circuit for a season to learn how to sail for free. The boat market is in the toilet right now. $75,000 for a 35' boat? Jesus, I just bought a very solid, 30' boat that is NOT a piece 'o chit for $4,000!

$1,000 annually for fuel? I forget, did you say you were buying a sailboat or a power yacht?

Apparently you live in New England. You'll probably sail 3-4 times per month, 4-5 months per year, greatly reducing your wear and tear on systems and thereby reducing your maintenance costs. $200 per year on toilet maintenance? (unless what you really mean, is winterizing the head and holding system?)

If you expect everything to be brand-new and shiny, and expect it to be profesionally maintained by others, then don't complain about the cost. It sounds to me like you'd be happier spending the money on bonds and sitting in the living room watching your interest accrue.
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Last edited by BubbleheadMd; 08-04-2011 at 12:12 PM.
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post #12 of Old 08-04-2011
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Bubblehead was a bit...blunt...about it but I have to agree with a lot of what he said. A sailboat is NOT a sound financial decision by any stretch of the imagination.

If your range is 35' to 40', keep in mind that just adding one or two feet (let alone five) increases costs dramatically.

Don't be afraid of older boats. Some of them are built better than what came out in the late 80s and 90s. Just do your research.

Donna


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post #13 of Old 08-04-2011
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I basically do everything myself from bottom paint to waxing to oil changes to engine repair ... That being said, I pay:

$100 at most for a season of fuel... we sail, motor only getting in and out of dock
$1200 for winter storage (outside on the hard)
$3000 slip
$650 insurance
$500 transient fees for our one-week sailing trip to other ports

plus cost of oil, filter, wax, and other miscellaneous items. Beyond that, I'd probably throw another $1000 a year (on average) to cover unexpected things such as Fresh Water Pump and Starter (which I have had to replace). The boat is a 1998 Beneteau 36cc and we have had it for eight seasons, so this is based on those eight years.

I have not had to replace sails or rigging as of yet.

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post #14 of Old 08-04-2011
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What everybody else has said... The smaller the boat, the cheaper it is. Cost goes exponentially up by the foot.

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post #15 of Old 08-04-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fredct View Post
Fuel $1,000

Maintenance
Sand & paint the bottom $1,500
Varnish the interior $200
Routine engine $300
Wax the hull $250
Toilet maintenance $200
I always like to over-estimate expenses myself but this is waayyy over the top
Fuel - Unless you are buying a 75hp MotorSailer like mine and are motoring all around New England Every Year I'd put that down to $100-$200 as a High Estimate. I Motorsailed to Martha's Vineyard a couple weeks ago at 16hrs round trip for maybe $180 - $200 (not really sure).
Maintenance - Are you doing Nothing yourself ???? I just Sanded and Painted my 33' bottom in June - $400 haul, $200 paint, $50 sanding (factoring in a sander and vacuum over a few years) And - this is all done only every other year.
Varnish the Interior - If I sanded and varnished my ALL Teak interior Every Year maybe I could spend $200 but Interior varnish is a 5 year thing - max.
Routine Engine - Again only if you have a 75hp engine and you are including the winterization anti-freeze could you come close to that figure.
Wax the Hull - Again ..... are you paying someone to do this ? .... if not $20
Toilet Maintenance - You could almost buy a complete new head for that every year.

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Wickford/Narragansett Bay RI
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post #16 of Old 08-04-2011
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While I believe that every new boater should know what he or she is getting into, there is a point when getting too granular will have the opposite result.

There's just no way you can plan for every expense.

Donna


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post #17 of Old 08-04-2011 Thread Starter
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Reality check

To Blubberhead and others:

First, thanks for the feedback. I appreciate comments from more experienced hands.

I did revise fuel costs. Thanks to all who mentioned it.

That said, I am very handy but not experienced (yet) in diesel, sails, rigging and so on. I am sure that I would need paid help, at least initially. In addition, it may not be simple to work on boat in winter because of berthing/storage location so again, paid help may be needed.

I own my own business but I am no day trader or millionaire, just a dad trying to have fun while making sure that there is enough money to pay for 2 kids going to college real soon. Would it be nice to jump in with both feet and forget about tomorrow? You bet! I am just trying to be grown up about it.

Yes the NE is expensive (hence this post as opposed to a similar one from FL). Yes the season is short but what's new here? I am not trying to talk myself out of anything, just deciding what my pain level is. I won't go through all this trouble to have my boat repossessed because I can't afford the note or the berthing charges.

Thanks again and keep comments coming.
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post #18 of Old 08-04-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fredct View Post
To Blubberhead and others:

First, thanks for the feedback. I appreciate comments from more experienced hands.

I did revise fuel costs. Thanks to all who mentioned it.

That said, I am very handy but not experienced (yet) in diesel, sails, rigging and so on. I am sure that I would need paid help, at least initially....

Thanks again and keep comments coming.
Don't overlook asking others for help. If it's one thing most sailors are, it's willing to help. Most will save you an exorbitant cost in exchange for a beer. At our marina, they're willing to tell us how to do something and in some cases lend us a tool rather than insist that they have to do it themselves or it won't be right. Of course, they also know that for the stuff we can't handle ourselves, we go crying to them to fix it.

Joining an owner's association and/or email list is invaluable. We've figured out many things ourselves from asking others who have been there, done that. We joined a Catalina club that states on the website as a benefit of membership that members are willing to lend a hand with other members' boats. We learn a ton from rafting up and listening at social events. Sailors love to talk about boats, too.

I agree with the other posters that a lot of mechanical stuff on your list you can do yourself. Unless you're buying the most high tech, gadget ridden boat out there, systems are relatively simple. It just takes a bit of looking at the manual, asking advice, rolling up your sleeves and digging in. Don't be afraid.

We can't do everything ourselves, but we knew going in that being as self-sufficient as possible was going to keep costs down and also help us learn more about the boat. Now, for the most part, when something fails, we know why and how to fix it.

A book I'd recommend is How Boat Things Work by Charlie Wing. He took the most common systems between the bow and the stern and made easy to read diagrams and instructions.

There's also a good diesel book by (I think) Nigel Calder but it's on the boat so I can't tell you the title. It also makes things simple for the novice. We keep it near the engine.

Remember: You are not alone. Take advantage of it.

Donna


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post #19 of Old 08-04-2011
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Ditto DRFerron ....

Just look around at other boaters as they do their work, ask them questions, buy some maintenance books ($30 each :-) Sorry, just couldn't resist).

The biggest boat I owned before my Beneteau 36CC was a Hobie Cat 16. So I learned on it by doing the above, not paying someone.

If you go to boat shows, you'll be surprised how much information the vendors (canvas guys, engine guys, electronics guys, ...) are happy to share. Just ask.

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post #20 of Old 08-04-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fredct View Post
To Blubberhead and others:

First, thanks for the feedback. I appreciate comments from more experienced hands.

I did revise fuel costs. Thanks to all who mentioned it.

That said, I am very handy but not experienced (yet) in diesel, sails, rigging and so on. I am sure that I would need paid help, at least initially. In addition, it may not be simple to work on boat in winter because of berthing/storage location so again, paid help may be needed.

I own my own business but I am no day trader or millionaire, just a dad trying to have fun while making sure that there is enough money to pay for 2 kids going to college real soon. Would it be nice to jump in with both feet and forget about tomorrow? You bet! I am just trying to be grown up about it.

Yes the NE is expensive (hence this post as opposed to a similar one from FL). Yes the season is short but what's new here? I am not trying to talk myself out of anything, just deciding what my pain level is. I won't go through all this trouble to have my boat repossessed because I can't afford the note or the berthing charges.

Thanks again and keep comments coming.
You don't need to to own your boat to enjoy sail. Go to near by sailing clubs be a racing crew, or do as I do, sign up a time share boat, less 7 grands a year and no commitment, no headache, no maintenance. If you have your own business and two kids, the program has more than enough time than you can use.


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