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  #11  
Old 07-17-2013
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Re: How much maintenance and repair, really?

Our projects last couple of months, for a 1980 33-foot boat, full-time liveaboard:

Little stuff:

* water pump knocking: <$20 for extra clamps and screws to hold hoses firmly, ~ 1 hour
* VHF radio not receiving properly: ~ $100 for a tester, 3 trips up the mast, ~ 5 hours tracking the problem + 1 hour to fix corroded connector when we finally found it. VHF itself was fine, but decided to upgrade to DSC when we found one on sale for $200
* oil exterior teak: ~ $50 for supplies; 15 hours so far and counting (we have a lot of teak)
* clean hull and check zincs; NO WAY am I going for a swim in the muck that is Back Creek. Pay diver $3/foot = $100.
* air conditioner not working efficiently; check strainers and discharge (okay, ~30 min). Call repair guy to recharge refrigerant; $200.

Every year we do one "big" upgrade project in the $3,000 - $5,000 range. Last year, we hauled for two months and paid to have someone strip 12 years of bottom paint, fair the hull and apply CopperCoat epoxy bottom paint. The year before, new sails. This year, all-new electric panel, battery switches, and our boat-fire-waiting-to-happen DC system completely brought up to ABYC standard.

Boat surveyed at $65K four years ago. That puts us exactly on track for spending 10% of the value per year to keep her at that level.
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Neosec (07-17-2013)
  #12  
Old 07-17-2013
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Re: How much maintenance and repair, really?

I can say this. My boat was never in better shape, and never costs me less money in repairs, than the year I lived and cruised on it. When you are constantly on the boat, and constantly on top of things, it is amazing how often small problems are detected and corrected before they become big problems.

You also get really good at fixing things yourself out in the boondocks, that you would pay someone to do, sitting at the fancy dock.
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  #13  
Old 07-17-2013
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Re: How much maintenance and repair, really?

To add to some of the data points above, assume yard labor rates are $80-$100/hour.

I also agree with BLJones on the survey. I wish I had gotten one on my old boat, and I only paid $1000 for her. What I didn't realize at the time was that, by joining Sailnet and other forums, I would come to look critically on all of the work the previous owners had done (and the stuff they hadn't done) and start to wonder in what order I should tackle the various projects. It also left me wondering what ELSE was there that I didn't know about. $300-500 for a survey is a decent chunk of cash, but it would have been very valuable for peace of mind.

I also agree with the comment above that many of the posts you see are from people asking questions because they've just found a problem, or just bought the boat. But look for example, at the number of time T37Chef, Chef2Sail, BLJones, CruisingDad, or DRFerron posts actual questions or talks about the problems/things that broke on their boats. They've thad their boats for a while, have worked through most of the issues, and are now at the maintenance/upgrade cycle where things become more stable.
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  #14  
Old 07-17-2013
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Re: How much maintenance and repair, really?

I think the only thing that you can count on is that there will be repair and maintenance costs. Whether it's boat systems or environmental (re: unexpected hull cleaning, haul for hurricane, etc.), there will always be something to either fix yourself (so time not sailing) or pay someone else to do it ($$ and possibly time not sailing while you wait).

During our first year as a larger (than our previous 22 footer) boat owner we had the yard do almost everything. As we became more familiar and gained confidence that we weren't going to blow up or sink, we took on almost all of the repairs/maintenance. Annual costs have so far dropped dramatically since those first few years.
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  #15  
Old 07-17-2013
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Re: How much maintenance and repair, really?

I'm going to offer a slightly different view on this. I think your maintenance costs and time input are directly proportional to the complexity of your boat. The simpler you keep your boat, the cheaper and easier to maintain it in good working order. Unlike most people, I have been removing "systems" from my boat only to replace them with reliable, inexpensive-to-maintain manual systems. Some examples of my "upgrades" are:

Foot pumps for all fresh and salt water (No pressurized water anywhere. I carry 2 new foot pumps in case one fails)

Nature's Head composting toilet (Simplicity itself. Nothing can go wrong with it and there is no maintenance)

Manual windlass (no electric motor, wiring runs, breakers, extra batteries and complex charging systems)

Solar power for all my energy needs (no genset, wind power or complicated charging systems)

All LED lighting (never change a bulb! Allows you to reduce your battery bank size and charging systems)

One large 160amp house battery for all my power needs (simple wiring and less to go wrong). I also have a 70amp starter battery for the diesel engine.

Windvane and tillerpilot driving the windvane for my autopilot needs (simple, extremely energy efficient and cheap and if the tiller pilot fails you can carry a spare to switch out while you repair the other one)

By leaving off the following items you will save yourself a LOT of expense and maintenance down the road:

Genset (another motor and electrical system to maintain)

Watermaker (high maintenance - build in bigger tanks for more water)

Electric windlass (high maintenance and requires extra battery power and wiring)

Air conditioning (need I say anything??)

Pressurized water (not very high maintenance perhaps, but requires more battery power and charging systems)

RIB and outboard engine (A hard rowing dinghy -admittedly for purists- is rugged and gives almost zero maintenance and can be propelled by oars, saving the expense and headache of an outboard engine)

External teak (it is a labour of love and some people enjoy it)

Fridge (This is one item I'm prepared to keep and maintain, but if you can live without one, it does simplify everything, especially your charging system)

The hull, mast, rigging and bottom are a given for every boat and will involve some sporadic maintenance (hauling and painting, changing rigging periodically etc.). If you read cruising blogs I think you'll get a pretty good idea of the kinds of things that break down the most on boats (basically the things I mention above). If you have lots of money and are not sailing abroad, then a complex boat isn't much of a problem (when stuff breaks, replace it at the yard), but if you are thinking of cruising abroad (and far from West Marine) there is a lot to be said for keeping the boat as simple as possible and carrying all the spares you need. I cruise in Brazil where boat parts are probably 4 times the price of American chandleries and qualified labour is often very hard to find. I think once you leave the US, Canada, Europe, Australia and New Zealand (and perhaps a few other places) you will find that parts are hard to find and specialized labour even harder (but perhaps you can fix it all yourself if you are the DIY type).

Anyhow, just a few things to think about when you buy and outfit the boat.
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Last edited by copacabana; 07-17-2013 at 06:19 PM.
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  #16  
Old 07-17-2013
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Re: How much maintenance and repair, really?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neosec View Post
Is a 40ft sailboat that much more work to maintain than a 3,500 sqft, house on, say, 3 acres?
If you buy a brand new 40' sailboat, maintenance will be about the same as a brand new 3,500 sq/ft house. But as they begin to age, the boat maintenance will begin to take the lead over the house. Unless, of course, you bought your boat from an top quality manufacturer and your house from a hack builder.

Things that will affect needed maintenance are:
1. Original build quality
2. Regular maintenance by the previous owner(s)
3. Amount of use by the previous owner(s)
4. Type of use - was it raced hard? chartered? liveaboard? etc.
5. Seasonal usage or full time in water?
6. Has it had full sun exposure?
6. Salt water or fresh water?
7. Possible damage from storms or through "mishaps"?
8. Has it sat for years not being used?

There are other things, for sure, but, so far, this is the list I'm using in our search.
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  #17  
Old 07-17-2013
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Re: How much maintenance and repair, really?

Maintenance is neither time-consuming nor expensive - if you don't do it. This seems to be the motto for most of the boats in my marina. On the other hand, I tend to be pretty OCD about maintenance on my boat. I actually got rid of my house with a yard so I could spend more time on the boat. Time wise, mowing the lawn, cleaning the gutters, fixing the faucets, etc. was about equal to the time spent working on the boat.

My boat - bought it new nine years ago. Routine maintenance is routine maintenance: same requirements for an old boat or new boat - if you decide to actually do it. I spend around 20 man-hours a month doing routine maintenance/cleaning. The list of things to repair does get longer as the boat gets older, but things break even on new boats. I probably spend another 20 man hours a month on repairs, but this varies. In the last few months, my repairs included:

-- Blew out the mainsail, replacing with new one
-- Replaced the boom vang control lines
-- Re-caulked the head bulkheads, liner, and so on.
-- Fixed a few dings in the gelcoat
-- Replaced the port navigation light (twice - it's a long story)
-- Replaced the galley faucet
-- Repaired the windex
-- Replaced two pelican clips on the lifelines
--
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  #18  
Old 07-17-2013
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Re: How much maintenance and repair, really?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptainForce View Post
I can only supply a little annecdotal data, but here's a list of my most recent two month's activity on my 41' liveaboard/cruising 1973 ketch.

1- Replace LED anchor light at masthead (ca $20)
2- Change oil in Yanmar & Kubota genset (ca 1.75gal of oil)
3- Change braces under genoa sheet blocks (two cut tennis balls)
4- Change two Raycor 500 filter bails (ca $40)
5- Check Kubota zinc (no cost)
6- Re-set stern pulpit stainless braces (no cost)
7- Refit & replace forward head macerator, momentary switch & fuse case (ca $215)

I think this is typical for me, but sometimes I do much more and sometimes much less.
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  #19  
Old 07-17-2013
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Re: How much maintenance and repair, really?

A house and land are an awful lot of maintenance. Typically 8 -12 hours per week and several thousand dollars a year.
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  #20  
Old 07-17-2013
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Re: How much maintenance and repair, really?

Ran down to the boat yesterday to take on some fuel, and pump out the holding tank.
Noticed the Float switch on the bilge pump wasn't working. Circuit checked out ok. Removed the switch inspected, found cracked casing, replaced with a new switch..works fine. $35.00 part, about an hour or so of labor. Little stuff like this happens no matter how diligent you are. Not much different than a house or a car.

I just finished putting brakes in the truck and painting the deck at the house.

Among my friends we have a saying " Life is one big equipment adjustment"
The more " stuff" you have the more adjusting you have to do.

I'm ready to sell the house, clear out the stuff...and get back to basics.
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