Budgeting: boat vs ''kitty'' - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 26 Old 06-18-2004 Thread Starter
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Budgeting: boat vs ''''kitty''''

As I mentioned in another thread (''Is now the time?'') I''m in a place in my life (single, no job/ties) and been presented with the funds to achieve something I''ve always wanted to do: Cruise on a live aboard.

I have about $100K to work with. This is for both boat and the funds required to live. Assuming I do not work again I consider this a ''fixed'' amount that will have to last me until Social Security kicks in (5-8 yrs). I do have a few $K more tucked away ''here & there'' but I''m reserving that for emergencies. Otherwise, that''s it. I''m assuming (from everything I hear) not to count on much, if any, of an income while sailng/cruising... jobs are just not available. Rather, barter is the currency of sailors.

My first thoughts on a ''budget'' was assuming $40K for the boat which would leave me $60K to live on/sail with. Assuming an avg budget of $650/mo for living expenses (more than I need for myself now) it would last 8 yrs. Yes, I know ''the Best Laid Plans'' but I have to start the numbers somewhere.

Anyway, I''m finding the type of forgiving, seaworthy boat I''m thinking I want for singlehandling (full keel, displacement hull) of the size I''d want (31-34'') in that price range is older, likely to have problems requiring high $$$ maintenance, already ''fully depreciated'', etc..

So my question is this: Should I consider allocating more of my budget toward the purchase of the boat thus decreasing my ''sailing kitty'' budget? i.e. look for a better, albeit more expensive $50-60K boat and take a hit on the ''kitty'' leaving $40-50K in the living expense (etc.) budget? That would still provide me 5-6 years cruising time.

I read someones post saying (and I paraphrase) ''if you have to ask how much the boat cost, you can''t afford it'' whereupon the reply was ''if I waited until I could afford it I''d never be sailing... I''ll buy the boat and figure out how to pay for it later''.

In other words, should I spend more $$ on a better boat than I''m seeing in the <$40K range and worry about the living expenses later?
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post #2 of 26 Old 06-18-2004
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Budgeting: boat vs ''''kitty''''

You should be able to find a perfectly adequate single hander for less than $40K. I would actually suggest that you budget something in the high 20K range and leaving a reasonable budget for fitting out. If you have your heart set on a full keel boat boat dispite its liabilities and handicaps for what you are proposing, there are still a number of very worthwhile options out there.

If you open your choices to consider moderate fin keel boats the problem becomes very easy. Some likely candidates that come to mind would include the following:
Aloha 34;
Cal 34;
C&C Corvette 31: Great boats
Chris Craft Cherokee (32'')
Ericson 31c
Galaxy 32
Pearson 323: (Near the top of my list)
Rhodes Swiftshore: (33'' Seafarer)
Seawind Ketch 31''If you must have a full keel.)
Southern Cross 31:
Tartan 34 (which would be extremely high on my list)

Good hunting,
Jeff
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post #3 of 26 Old 06-18-2004 Thread Starter
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Budgeting: boat vs ''''kitty''''

I''ve taken a look at some of the boats you''ve mentioned and honestly they just aren''t my style. Racers/cruisers like C&C''s & Beneteau''s and/or production boats like Pearsons & Tartans may be popular but boats that list accent stripes as a feature just aren''t my cup ''o tea.

Getting there in a hurry is not a priority. Getting there without having to re-glass a bulkhead or deck/hull joint because of a 10 hr passage in heavy chop is not a option. Gas engines and centerboarders are DEFINATELY out.

I''m more a traditionalist I suppose... a canoe stern/tiller, wide displacement hull with a nice galley & nav station looking out dogged portholes type, i.e. likely a Westsail 32 wannabe. Point is, although I''ll probably remain in the Fla/Carribean area if I decide to head off to Tahiti or visit the Med I don''t want to have to look for a different boat.

I''ve considered the ''buy cheap and rebuild/refit'' (Cheoy Lee Clipper 33, Mariner 32 Ketch) but in the end I''d have more $$ in the boat than it''s really worth.

That''s why I was wondering if it wasn''t maybe better to spend more up front than I planned, thought I could ''get away with'' (and cross the bridge of where the living expense came from when I came to it).
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post #4 of 26 Old 06-19-2004
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Budgeting: boat vs ''''kitty''''

First of all, all of the boats on that list are available with diesels in your price range. Second of all, all of the boats on that list were there because they were capable of sailing quite well in Fla/Carribean area and would be better boats if you decide to head off to Tahiti or visit the Med than most of the long keeled heavy displacement boats out there. Very few if any of these boats would be considered ''racer cruisers or even performance cruisers''. All of these boats on the list are there because they offer sufficient robustness to do what you are proposing and then some, and come back in better shape than the leaky teaky''s that you were proposing.

Well designed centerboarders offer tremendous advantages for cruising the venues that you are proposing and frankly should be high on your list. I have known of examples of at least half of these boats (if not more) that have done successful circumnavigations. (Cal 34, C&C Corvette 31, Ericson 31c,Pearson 323, Rhodes Swiftshore: Seawind Ketch 31''(First fiberglass boat to do a circumnavigation), Southern Cross 31, and Tartan 34)

You need to get past your prejudices if you are going find a boat to do what you want to to do within your price range. As someone who has owned, designed, and spent a lot of time on a wide range of boats, full length keels are an anacronism that offers no real advantages in a small fiberglass boat. I strongly suggest that you do a lot more homework, and then get realistic so that you actually have a chance of finding a boat that suits your needs before your Soc Sec kicks in. ;^)

Regards,
Jeff
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post #5 of 26 Old 06-28-2004
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Budgeting: boat vs ''''kitty''''

M:

I wish I could add to Jeff''s comments but I''ve run out of time. Read Jeff''s post yet again; what you need to know is there.

Jack
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post #6 of 26 Old 06-28-2004 Thread Starter
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Budgeting: boat vs ''''kitty''''

I''ve looked at the boats Jeff mentioned (at least pics anyway). Some bear a second, more in-depth look (going to see a Southern Cross in a couple weeks).

I don''t have any prejudice against modern designs at all. However, since I''ll ultimately be putting my life at stake on whatever boat I end up with I do have some basic prejudices

Beyond that I do have to say I abhor the ''clorox bottle'' boats. I know that''s a hackneyed (and probably unfair) term but we all have our differences when it comes to asthetics.
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post #7 of 26 Old 06-28-2004
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Budgeting: boat vs ''''kitty''''

I will leave the discussion of "which boat" to JeffH (IMO you should listen very closely to what he says). I will address your budget. I have seen figures on the minimum cost to cuise ranging from $500 to $1000 per month. While I realize that you CAN live on $500 a month, you CAN NOT maintain a sailboat to any reasonable degree for that sum.

Go into any boatyard or anchorage and you will find countless boats for sale that have had little if any maintenance done on them in years. In most cases their owners were on a tight budget, could not afford to maintain the vessel and eventually they ran out of money. The boats are not safe and in many cases they are beyond the point of being salvagable.

Any responsible boat owner will tell you that you must constantly maintain your boat and at some point you will need sails repaired, new hoses & belts, new running & standing rigging, bottom paint, zincs,etc etc etc.

So where does this leave you? If you purchase a boat for $30k and spend another 10-15k getting it ready to cruise, you also need to budget another $15k to maintain it over the next five years. (Of course, you can always sail it for a few years without any maintenance and let it join the the legion of other derelict boats.)

I do not want to discourage you, but you should go into this with a full understanding of the "true" costs.

Good luck with your plans
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post #8 of 26 Old 06-29-2004 Thread Starter
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Budgeting: boat vs ''''kitty''''

Not to worry, I respect/appreciate what Jeff_H has to say. As I''ve mentioned elsewhere, we do have somewhat different ''philosophies'' but his experience on various types sailboats is definately helpful and his analytical approach enlightening.

I also fully appreciate what it costs/takes to maintain a boat as well. I was once a licensed Coast Guard captain (on a 43'' stinkpot) and completely restored a Rhodes 19 (including installing mahogany toerails, new keel frames/bolts, duckboards, deck/hull paint and even some nice, decorative marlingspike etc.. Sailed her offshore up/down the coast and enjoyed every minute of it which is what planted the seed I''m watering today.

I don''t think $3K/yr is an outrageous sum to consider for maintenance. It certainly wouldn''t hurt to ''earmark'' some such sum just in case. But I also think the annual maintenance cost will depend on the choice of boat and the onboard systems.

Fortunately (as I''ve mentioned elsewhere as well) I''m a backpacker, not a ''RV camper'' and certainly not trying to replicate my shore life comforts on a boat (I just inherited some $$$, I didn''t win the lotto . By & large the most complicated systems onboard will be diesel, propane, windvane, solar and the fresh/saltwater plumbing (galley/head/bilge). As a possible compromise to my shore comfort I will consider refrigeration (although I''m leaning away from it). Only electronics will be VHF, CW/SSB (I''m a licensed ham), a hand held GPS and a simple depthfinder. In short, I definately plan to K.I.S.S.. No digital pilots, chartplotters, radar, A/C, watermaker, hot water heater, etc. wanted/needed.

I''ve also got the skills to do pretty much all my own maintenance (with the exception of diesel mechanics which I''ll learn). I''ve got good fiberglass, electrical/electronic, wood & metal working skills.

Finally, I have no intention of buying a boat that will take a year to (re)outfit. Whatever boat I buy will have a sound hull, fresh sails, rigging, etc.. and configured for shorthanded sailing. If it doesn''t, well, I''ve waited years to get here, I can wait more if needed to find the right boat for me. This is not to say I think I''ll be able to find a boat I can just step on and sail away. No boat is perfect. Just I''m not going to buy a boat that needs the deck replaced or new standing rigging and/or change the windvane because I just have to have an Aries.

Bottom line is, I know what it takes to maintain a boat (never let it get ahead of you) and short of a freak catastrophe or doing something stupid (always a possibility can manage any maintenance costs to be in an acceptable range.

But I hear you. I distinctly remember, back when I was a ''professional boat driver'' how when the boat had to be in the yard how it was definately nice to have someone else paying for the repair
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post #9 of 26 Old 07-01-2004
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Budgeting: boat vs ''''kitty''''

A friend of mine has a Pearson 365 Ketch presently for sale in St. Thomas for, I believe, $45,000.00 and NEEDS to move up (two kids, dog, wife). He''s completely anal about maintenance and I think the Perkins rebuild was put in not too many years ago. It''s one tough boat, has all the goodies, and would undoubtedly suit your needs. There''s also a Southern Cross 28 for sale in good shape and the owner''s up in Wisconsin, but to me, that''s the epitome of hobby-horsing.
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post #10 of 26 Old 07-01-2004 Thread Starter
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Budgeting: boat vs ''''kitty''''

At 37'' the Pearson is too much boat for me. I''m staying under 34'' LOA.

Interesting comment about the Southern Cross being a ''hobby horse''. Is this from 1st hand experience?

On paper at least her B/D is avg but ''motion comfort index'' is pretty high (39''ish). Although not my 1st choice the Southern Cross 31 is on my short list of boats to look at.
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