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post #31 of 61 Old 12-07-2013
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Re: How much maintenance and repair, really?

Originally Posted by SlowButSteady View Post
Add to that the "prorated" costs of re-doing the bottom every few years, replacing sails, running rigging, standing rigging, et cetera every 10 years or so........

It all adds up.
Absolutely right! When I look back over the long term, 29 years with my current boat and over 40 total years, I come up with about $2,000/year for the prorated costs of rigging, sails & bottom jobs and another thousand/year for new motor or genset. I'm stingy with all these big purchases. I replace my own standing rigging and I've bought some sails on the used market. There are some high quality, good condition sails on the used market. So, this comes to $500/month for the expenses that are big ticket items, but sometimes many years apart. I have 6,445 hours on my very reliable and well running Yanmar 4JH3E. It's good for plenty more, but I need to be ready when the time comes.
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post #32 of 61 Old 12-07-2013
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Re: How much maintenance and repair, really?

My take on this is that if something breaks on the house, you can turn it off, or do without, until you get around to fixing it. A leaky faucet, or broken power line isn't the end of the world. You make some calls, or grab your tools, and get it taken care of when it is convenient. On a boat, if a through hull gives out, or if the engine dies, you could be in serious trouble, depending on where you are at the time.

The Admiral and I downsized from a 4 BR, 2K sqft home with a pool (and a mortgage) on ˝ an acre of land to a 2BR condo with no mortgage. Our monthly living expenses have been cut in half.

I believe in proactive maintenance, and I have strived to keep the boat SIMPLE. No racing, no wind instruments, no autopilot, no genset, two (new) batteries, new injectors, new canvas, new alternator and mounting bracket, tons of replaced/improved wiring, two new fans, new through hulls, and G10 backing plates, new bilge pumps and hoses, spare raw water pump, all new plumbing (except the water pressure pump - works like a champ), the sails have been sent out to the loft for cleaning, inspection and repair. I had the bottom soda blasted, barrier coated, and painted with 3 coats of ablative paint two years ago. I removed the teak handrails, and replaced them with stainless steel. I, just tonight, ordered a new heat exchanger. The keel was dropped, the bolts replaced, and the keel rebedded by the PO after my first survey. I believe that the boat is in better shape now, than when I bought her.

The stuff on the boat didn't break, per se, the systems simply got to a point where I was uncomfortable relying on them, or I felt that they needed replacement, spares, or upgrading.

Overall, in the three years that I have owned her, I have spent as much on maintenance and improvement as the boat cost. And, that does not count the cost of marinas, storage, insurance, or taxes... To address the OP's question, the costs are less than the cost of keeping the house, but much higher than the maintenance fee on the condo.

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post #33 of 61 Old 12-10-2013
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Re: How much maintenance and repair, really?

CaptainForce Has it figured out on his boat where he knows what needs to be done now over what can wait till the next port location to get supplies. I have mine figured out to spend $1500 to $2000 a year on upgrades of repairs such as new ports to really nice used sails. You will learn to fix things on your boat as you go along you will also learn what you need, what you want for the style of boating you will be doing.

I've been aboard 3 yrs I try to keep my boat in top shape for an older boat,( fix and replace 5 min before it goes bad). and still think the cost of maintain the boat is cheaper then the house was.

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I am the Capt of my ship but sometimes I think I had more fun just being the cabin boy.
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post #34 of 61 Old 12-10-2013
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Re: How much maintenance and repair, really?

+1 for size and complexity proportional to cost. And it isn't linear, it's geometric with size.

When we owned a 22 ft keel boat, maintenance was close to zero. Bottom paint, and we did everything ourselves.

When we owned a 52 ft boat, it had everything. ….I counted 15 electric pumps for everything from heads to sumps to fresh water to AC/fridge water condensers to…. I cannot remember more than a week when everything worked. Maintaining the boat was a full time job for me or a boat yard where you become the cash cow.

For my fellow nerds out there, lets say that an electric pump has 5 years mean time between failures. Question: how many pumps did I replace or repair annually on average?

If you want to keep cost under control, sail the smallest, simplest boat you can stand to live on. You'll see the same sunset as the guy on the Perini Navi, and you'll have time to take a look instead of managing a yard crew or having your head in the bilge.
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post #35 of 61 Old 12-10-2013
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Re: How much maintenance and repair, really?

You've heard the old saying about a boat being a hole in the water to throw $ into...

All the above answers are spot on. Here's one more angle ONLY YOU can determine (and you must do so honestly). What are YOU willing to live with? Does that rats nest wiring behind the breaker panel drive you nuts? Are you meticulous about your engine maintenance? Does the dirty sail bother you? Does the grey woodwork bother you? (does me) These questions that only YOU can answer, will determine how much (more) you spend on your boat. Now "broke" is obvious and must be repaired. But would it have broke if...? See where this is going?


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post #36 of 61 Old 12-11-2013
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Re: How much maintenance and repair, really?

Just thought I would put my "list" on for fun… I have a 1999 42' (Jeanneau) sailboat. In the last couple months I have replaced my shore power plug, added a new GFCI ($26 for a "Marine" grade with wiring at $1.50/ft) I also replaced the hot water heater and battery charger. I am not super-anal, but I want things to be safe and work. I am also "catching up" because when I bought the boat it had sat for 4 years without too much use… the death of a boat. I do have a long list of "would like to's" and am slowly working through them. My friends tease that BOAT stands for "Bring Out Another Thousand" and I certainly have spent more than I thought I would originally.

It seems like just when I get things caught up, something else breaks. Don't get me wrong, I like the challenge and a hot water heater could have gone out in a house too. I think if you are proactive, then it is not too different than a house, but that being said, none of my "normal" friends had ever done a shore-power plug, so I couldn't just call my buddy and have him come by… For the record, I do all the work myself. (So far)
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post #37 of 61 Old 12-12-2013
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Re: How much maintenance and repair, really?

Couple things are wrong with the way this thread is going;

1) yearly maintenance has NOTHING to do with purchase price. Paying 10k or 20k in no way shape or form says a 1 to 2k a year maintenance bill.

2) IF you are not comfortable "working" on things yourself DO NOT BUY A BOAT!!! When you go sailing to the Bahamas and get 50 miles off shore and can't fix it yourself, or at least make it so you can continue on in "limp home mode"... The Coast Guard is NOT triple AAA.

3) IF you call someone for everything that goes wrong on your boat... you boat will end up as the $10 heaps on ebay or sinking somewhere. You will eventually stop spending money on it and eventually stop spending time on it altogether.

Paying 20k on a heap just means you fell for the "used car salesman" doubletalk...

As others have pointed out many times, GET A SURVEY. That is your check list for what has to be done.

And then prepare to address what ever issue comes up when it comes up and don't put it off for another day.

If you are CONSTANTLY having things break, you are missing the true issue or you are trying to save $$$ in some way that simply is not working. "Quality" parts don't fail year after year. A boat that your life may depend on someday, is hardly the place to start buying discount parts for...

And as also has been pointed out many times in many, many places, the more systems or complex the boat is, the more it will cost to maintain. If you only plan on going sailing on the weekends, you hardly need a boat that has every electronic device known to man, 2 or 3 heads and just as many showers, fridge, freezer, air, heat, multiple autopilots and on and on... but then again people are "well my boat has..." monkeys...
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post #38 of 61 Old 12-12-2013
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Re: How much maintenance and repair, really?

Copacabana has it right I used to have a simple 31 ft tri that required minimal maintenance because it lacked 'systems' I sailed it 25 days per month and worked on it 1 day/month.

However, I love sailing with my wife, a true sailing/cruising partner who can stand her solo watch, at night, in any weather and not an 'Admiral' so we now have a 55ft boat with more systems than the 'Star Ship Enterprise and unfortunately I am no Scottie!

Sorry I have to go... I need to fix the generator, the bow thruster and rebuild a winch!!!!!!

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post #39 of 61 Old 01-03-2014
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Re: How much maintenance and repair, really?

The way I look at it, if you buy an old boat, you only have to fix everything once. Then you're good for a few years.
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post #40 of 61 Old 01-03-2014
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Re: How much maintenance and repair, really?

I think a couple of posters here have made good points about the relative cost of maintenance being dependant on the size and condition of the boat, as well as how susceptible the captain is to the dreaded illness called upgrade fever. I didn't fully recognize the risk for that when I bought my current boat.

I love my boat, and one of the reasons I bought it was that it was in solid enough condition for me to be able to sail her safely and happliy on day one, but being an older boat there were lots of opportunities for projects. Well, I sure haven't been disappointed in either regard. In the 6 years I've owned the boat I've spent half the amount of the original purchase price in upgrades (new portlights, autopilot, VHF, chartplotter, AIS, adding a dodger, etc.) to things I "wanted" but didn't necessarily "have to have". These things all made the boat more liveable and enjoyable, but were purely discretional.

As for the actual maintenance of the boat and her original systems, I have averaged almost $2,000 per year, or a little more than 15% of the original purchase price, and that includes having new standing rigging installed, a couple of bottom jobs, lots of new wiring, replacing all of the mast mounted lights and interior fixtures, sail repairs and cleaning, replacing bimini and sail cover, etc. If I had not spent the money on these things the boat wouldn't be seaworthy today.

Also - I love working on the boat, and I've managed to do most of this work myself, with the replacement of the standing rigging and the bottom jobs the only things I've paid the yard to do (I know, I know - I should do my own bottom painting and replacing the standing rigging is easy, but the rigging work scares me (like doing the brakes on my car - what's the worst thing that could happen if I screw something up?) and as long as I'm getting a paycheck life's too short to do the bottom paint myself).

So, if you're shopping for a boat, be careful to assess the potential costs for these two types of cost issues.

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