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fredct 08-04-2011 10:07 AM

Sailboat Cost of Ownership
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.

Annual Expenses

Winter $2,360
Slip $4,080

Fuel $1,000

Sand & paint the bottom $1,500
Varnish the interior $200
Routine engine $300
Wax the hull $250
Toilet maintenance $200
New running rigging $267 5 year life
Sail wear and tear $1,000
New standing rigging $800 8-10 year life
Unexpected events $1,000 Everything else!
Subtotal maintenance $5,517

Regulatory fees
CT registration $250 Paid annually
Insurance $1,500 Annual

Annual total $14,707

One-time expenses

Purchase Boat $75,000
Surveying $1,200
Tax $4,688

ASA 101-5 $1800

One time Total $82,698

Finance $7400 (75% of total price over 10 years)

Total cost of ownership $22,111

First year out of pocket $40,869 (Annual cost + 25% down payment)

GMC 08-04-2011 10:43 AM

I guess you could spend that much, but I don't. I am 26 foot, but winter storage in New Bedford was about 800.00. Mooring (I own the tackle and only pay yearly fee to city) is about 150. I pay a mooring outfit to remove ball and put in winter stick and vice versa for about 75. I do the sanding and painting at this point, so cost is just my time and cost of paint 300. I've been paying a mechanic about 300. a year for various issues with my engine. You list fuel as 1,000. I've got a diesel saildrive and I doubt if I use over 100. of fuel a season. Small engine. I only pay about 300 for basic insurance. Would pay more if boat or my exposed assets were more. I've had boat for 3 years and still use standing rigging and running that was on boat. I had some stitching done to mainsail when I got it, for about 300. I can't comment on the other stuff. Whatever mine adds up to, I try to avoid calculating because my wife may ask. So, there are ways to spend a lot less, just depends.

kd3pc 08-04-2011 10:44 AM

Fuel seems very high, unless you are going to be out and motoring a lot...or are including slip electical in that.

Rigging escrow seems low to me...unless you are going to do it all yourself. Similarly the bottom work is about half what I have seen up your way, unless it too is DIY.

You will analyze your self right of a boat, if you are basing the decision on $$$ per XXXX. There are several threads here on $$ per sail, $$per month, $$....and none of them can be rationally made.

About right for the rest of the stuff, you may be able to save a bit here and there...but it will wash out eventually.

All the best.

Donna_F 08-04-2011 10:52 AM


Originally Posted by kd3pc (Post 758480)
You will analyze your self right of a boat, if you are basing the decision on $$$ per XXXX.

I agree. It's good that you're trying to be realistic and estimate your costs, but too much thought brings other thoughts and next thing you know, you're still on land looking at other people's sails.

Some years you will spend little to nothing beyond what it costs for fuel and your living expenses. Other years you might spend three times what you think you'd have to because something major breaks.

I also think your fuel costs are way too high unless you're going to motor most of the time.

fredct 08-04-2011 10:53 AM

Cost of fuel was just a guess (I recently paid for my winter oil!).

I don't think I would do rigging so that number would need to go up.
Bottom work: not sure, I probably would not do it the couple of times.

fredct 08-04-2011 11:03 AM

Why we do what we do!
Owning a sailboat is probably a lot like buying a second house. If you think about it too much, it stops making sense financially.

Many things fall into that category: vacations, golf and yet people do it all the time (yours truly included).

I have already decided to cut travel as I try to make room for this new project. That said, it may not be enough (hence this post). What else needs to go is what I fear.

Melrna 08-04-2011 11:10 AM

Other than fuel (way to high) most of your numbers are correct. In fact a little low because you will always be fixing things or adding/replacing things as they break. The bigger the boat the more it cost for total ownership. If you have KISS boat it will obviously cost less in all departments.
I commend you for looking forward in total ownership cost and asking the questions.

fredct 08-04-2011 11:20 AM

Lowering fuel cost to $300 and lowering boat price to $35k with everything the same, I come up with $14k in recurring costs and $17k in total cost of ownership (both figures per year).

These are post-tax dollars so depending on income bracket, you are looking at $23-25k top line per year.

Donna_F 08-04-2011 11:28 AM


Do you know yet what type of boat you want? I ask because narrowing it down may help with your calculations.

I narrowed our list down to about three boats and then I spent time researching known issues. So, when we decided on the Catalina there there two or three major things that we knew other owners had problems with and so we knew going into it that we had to eventually get these things fixed. It also gave us some specific questions to ask the surveyor and have him look for them as he did his thing.

rockDAWG 08-04-2011 11:44 AM


Originally Posted by fredct (Post 758464)
Sailboat Cost of Ownership?

Always overestimate your cost. , Murphy's law is alive and well. You don't want to resort to a fire sale if thing goes wrong. Certainly it is hard to ask the Congress to bail us out if we can't afford our toys these days. :)

I would x1.5 to x2 your expense and go from there. :)

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