Average cost to Maintain your Boat, Please.. - Page 3 - SailNet Community
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post #21 of 33 Old 12-21-2009
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Larry and Susan have it right on 3X costs and schedule for all things "boat".

For reference, this summer I paid 800 to have the boat hauled out and sanded. Then I paid 900 for paint, supplies, etc for the bottom (did the painting myself). Add another 30 for the zincs. So about 1800 total for a haul out and good paint job. I imagine that in a couple years when I haul her out for this again, it will cost 2500 (inflation).

Just replaced the diesel heater and did all the work myself on weekends. Wasn't cheap, but it was done on time, and now i know everything about the system and how to repair and maintain it. Works like a charm too.

I spend about 20K a year repairing, replacing, and adding to her. I had estimated 15K per year before I purchased her. I'm a quality nut and a live-aboard -- didn't budget for the new things I've added each year.

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post #22 of 33 Old 12-21-2009
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Mr. Pickle before you get turned off by the high prices let's see if we can get
Tartan 27', Lightning 19'
(a regular here) to tell you his numbers. He has a nice little older boat and I'm pretty sure he keeps the costs under control.

Last edited by davidpm; 12-21-2009 at 08:13 PM.
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post #23 of 33 Old 12-21-2009
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Hey Supa-Pickle and DavidPM,
I am blushing that you even thought of me! DavidPM really is the 'master' when it comes to minimizing boat maintenance payments as he kinda-sorta does not own a boat of his own. Instead he has friends who own boats that let him sail them for the price of a little work and help. He is a great sailor and a great guy to have on your boat so people keep inviting him back. I met him on Bene505's Benetteau 505 going from Montauk to the western LI Sound.
My formula works quite a bit differently. I actually own a 27' Tartan sailboat from 1967 that was purchased for $4K, with a partner. Everything worked but was obviously old etc. The purchase price IS ONLY the price of admission.
One of the biggest items that will chew up your wallet is docking fees, marinas, yacht clubs etc. I imagine that most people who use these places to keep and store their boats (27'-30') pay on the order of $3K per year if not more. There are some alternatives to these high priced 'clubs' here and there and we found one for our boat. It is a working club (meaning you are expected to work a few days for the club) but they have winter storage and have the equipment for us to launch our own mooring. The fees at such a club are generally a lot more reasonable then paying for the 'convenience' of a slip (mucho dinero); I don't really think of slips as convenient except when loading or off loading tons of supplies/provisions. Moorings are cheaper by far in the long run. Between the dues for the club, winter storage fees and summer moorage fees we spend around $1500 per year. There are ways that it can be done even cheaper and some municipalities have their own facilities which are usually far cheaper then 'X-brand' marina. The cheapest way I know of is to 'obtain' mooring rights and be able to drop your own mushroom/mooring but this still leaves open potential fees for winter storage depending on where you are, I can't recall at the moment where that is or where you would like to have a boat. The 'mooring rights' method I used for my 19' Lightning cost me $25/year plus the cost of the mooring which I had to set and take up myself. That boat is still on it's trailer on my sisters property under about 1' of snow right now.

If you end up with an old boat (42 and counting) like my Tartan 27' you end up faced with a long list of things that could be worked on, fixed or replaced. Since our boat is 42 years old it is never going to in 'like new' condition even if we addressed everything on 'the list' there comes a point of triage (choosing which tasks are safety related and which are cosmetic). As JeffH likes to point out that even if you do everything on 'the list' the boat is still a 42 Y.O. boat and will not be worth all the money and time you put into making it a glittering gem, so why bother?
We work on the things that are safety issues first and foremost, cosmetic issues take a back seat in my mind and more or less is true with my sailing buddy/partner. My buddy is great with things electrical, rigging and even the engine. Our skills overlap somewhat but I generally end up doing the messy, dirty jobs like painting the bottom each year. The poor dear dislikes the smell of chemicals and bottom paint in particular. Our different skill sets makes us better partners rather then worse. This is called: divide and conquer and if either of us had to do all the chores neither of us would own this boat but together we can wrap it up pretty nicely for the winter in one day. No boat partnership is a 'partnership of equals' but I have found that it all ends up about right in the wash.

It is all about the 'triage':
- new mainsail? Would be nice but out of financial reach right now.
- new diesel engine? Would also be nice but the Atomic 4 works and is easy to work on ourselves. I have come to like this little tractor motor and the nearly $100 I spend on oil, spark plugs, distributor caps, rotors and wires is just water under the bridge.
- gas smell in cabin from leaking carburator? This had to be fixed and is a safety issue. Less then $100 in parts from Moyer Marine and the rebuilt carb is working nicely. As a smoker this one bothered me a bit even though I kind of like the smell of gas, just not in the cabin of our boat.
- nice shiny hull and decks? Nah, 42 year old gel coat will take a lot for me to restore. The boat is still quite dry and paint aint nearly as 'forever' as gel coat is.
- replace teak toe & cap rail? Nah, every time I have fixed some of this there is always a new piece getting broken. The 'look' is great but it was a really bad idea from a maintenance perspective of owning the boat. I'll fix it when we put her up for sale, whenever that is.
- new DSC radio? A gift from a caring sole got installed and works great.
- new chartplotter? Nah, handheld GPS and charts work fine for me right now.
- new radar or SSB? WTF, I am not taking my old boat across angry oceans so fuhgeddaboutit.
- new dinghy or liferaft? See previous.
- new center board wire pennant? One day soon I will be replacing this.

My personal advice to you SuperPickle is that if all of this scares the living s*it out of you in terms of on-going costs is to consider getting a trailer sailor sailboat. With your boat safely on a trailer in front of, or behind, your house you can set it up the way you want and NOT PAY winter storage fees. The launch ramp fees and permits you may need to be a visiting trailer sailor should be much less then ANY of the other options when added up for a year. This might leave you looking at such boats as the MacGregor 26 S (sleeps 6 in a pinch) or San Juan 21' among others that some have less then good things to say about. Who cares what others have to say about your boat? I certainly don't and if I had a MacGregor 26 S I would treat it as my own.

Any old keel boat should cost you more per year then any 'not so old' trailer sailor if you can work out the details.

Good luck.

"The cure for anything is salt water~ sweat, tears, or the sea." ~Isak Denesen

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post #24 of 33 Old 12-22-2009
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At least $10,000 for southern California for a newish boat (1990 & up) with NO wood on the exterior, it's gonna be $6000 just for a place to park it. I was happily surprised to see from fastbottoms post that there IS someone who charges more for bottompaint then my yard.
And on further thought maybe $15000 would be more accurate, I've paid my sailmaker a couple grand this month, $500 for repairs to one sail & $1500-2000 for one new sail (made in the US!). If my wife had any idea she'd cut off me credit cards.

"Just call me TB"
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post #25 of 33 Old 12-22-2009
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Depends on how much you do yourself

I've had a 28' Cutter for about a year. I spent $ 1000.00 for a complete bottom paint job ( including fiberglass prep work, 2 coats primer, 2 coats good bottom coat ) but that was in mexico. I do my own engine maintenance ( yanmar diesel ), rebuilt my dinghy outboard ( head gasket, carb.,etc ), prep/varnish my own wood, clean my own bottom ( can be done on snorkel if youre good ). I usually anchor out, or maybe a mooring. Slips are expensive luxuries ( maybe a day now and then to provision or pick up friends). So for me its more a matter of investing time than money. Maintenance of my boat is my main hobby, sure beats television !
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post #26 of 33 Old 12-22-2009
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Calypso's Costs

On my 35' 1980 fiberglass sloop I figure $5,000 per year as my starting point. This inlcudes haul out, winter storage $1200, shrink wrap/winterization of engine/spring commissioning of engine$800, insurance $1,100, mooring fees (town fee is only $100 but you need to buy your own mooring, $1,500, and have it hauled/splashed and inspected annually $250/yr), sails and interior cushions professionally washed and stored $200), minor repairs, paint, fuel, and misc. supplies.

I do as much of the work I feel competent in doing such as paint the bottom, cetol the bright work, wash and wax topsides. I've also painted and varnished the interior cabin once and other small maintenance projects.

In addition to my $5K annual costs over the last 8 years I have incurred the following costs:

1. new waterpump $500 (installed)
2. new instruments (wind, speed, depth) $1,500
3. This winter I'm buying a new genoa $3,500 (as I remind my powerboat friends this is my fuel cost, as deisel usually runs me less than $100/season.)
4 Professional re-bedding of chain plates, jib track, mast boot and fixed ports $1,500
5. replaced crank case/timing cover $1,600
6. purchased 500lb mooring and tackle $1,500
7. new cockpit cushions $900
8. handheld GPS and charts $500

All I can say is thank God I love my boat and being on the water. Otherwise I could not justify such a cash outlay. To me it is all money well spent.
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post #27 of 33 Old 12-22-2009
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Originally Posted by CalebD View Post
My formula works quite a bit differently. I actually own a 27' Tartan sailboat from 1967 that was purchased for $4K, with a partner. Everything worked but was obviously old etc. The purchase price IS ONLY the price of admission.
Thanks Caleb. I knew you guys had figured out how to keep it affordable. I'm not sure I appreciate being outed as a boat mooch however.
But now that my secret is out of the bag, anyone near Westbrook CT that needs a hand let me know.
Seriously it would be cheaper and faster to just buy a boat considering all the time I spend working on other peoples boats etc. My way I get to be on a lot more different kinds of boats which is my goal for now. I've been married for 30 years but I'm commitment phobic, go figure.
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post #28 of 33 Old 12-23-2009
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I have made the calculation for the annual cost of having my 36ft mass production boat for 7 years. Bought new for 125 000 euros, sold this year for 73 000. Equipment and improvements bought over the 7 years, around 20 000 euros. Annual Insurance: 2000 euros; Annual Berth: 3000 euros; Annual maintenance (average): 2500 euros.

This gives about 18 900 euros a year, or 1575 euros each month. Christ, I should not have made these calculations…this is a lot of money!!!!

I believe next time I will buy a 2 to 3 year used boat. Not old enough to need a lot of maintenance and replacements and with all the equipment already included. If I had done that I believe I would have saved 25 000 euros.

Even so, this mean that I would have spent 15 330 euros a year, or 1278 euros a month, I mean if I had stayed with the boat the same 7 years and then sold it.

Bottom line, no matter what, it is expensive to have a boat, even a modest 36ft, mass production cruising boat.
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post #29 of 33 Old 12-23-2009
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Lot's of great answers here, and valuable information. Bottom line is if you have to ask, you probably can't afford it
I think the biggest variable is the age of the boat and the condition it is in when you buy it. In my case I have bought older boats and done extensive work to them. This is probably the most expensive scenario imaginable and I wonder why I keep doing it . At the other end of the spectrum would be a new boat, or a boat you bought from me . Another factor that I have not heard mentioned is how long you keep the boat. If you buy a boat in excellent condition with lot's of new gear and only keep it for a couple of years you aren't going to have much, if any, maintenance, just moorage, ins. fuel, etc. If you keep it for 20 years you'll have to average the high cost latter years with the low cost initial years.

SV Laurie Anne

1988 Brewer 40 Pilothouse

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post #30 of 33 Old 12-23-2009
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I am taking a different tack. I purchased a 32 year old CS27 with 5 sails in good shape and a good if old Yanmar diesel. I redid the galley and installed a Force 10 3 burner w/oven and moved the sink farther inboard. New countertops. Entire 12 volt system redone including Link 10. New head (Lavac), new traveller, Garhauer solid vang and cabintop clutches. The stove, traveller, dc panel, solid vang and odds and ends I already owned. New fuel tank and engine panel (with real gauges). I do all the work myself with the exception of the fuel tank, stainless bases for the clutches and engine panel (also stainless). Next year new rigging and a bow roller. The rigging I'll do myself with swages at the top and mechanical fittings on the lower end. The main chainplates will be redone and some core repair as well as new seacocks. Paid 14k for the boat and will have spent about 10 or 12k more by the time I'm done.
The difference is that I live aboard. At a hotel marina with a gym, pool, sauna, and whirlpool as well as showers. Winter rate 340/month, summer rate is 600/month. Including electricity. And a pretty nice view and neighborhood (see below). I don't think it's in my makeup to pay somebody to do something I am able to do myself. Besides this way you get to know the boat inside and out, every nut and bolt and wire. If only I'd learned to weld . When I'm not working on my boat I'm working on other boats, wiring mostly. There are days I don't leave the marina unless I want to.
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Living aboard in Victoria Harbour
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