Tartan 27' owner
Join Date: Jan 2008
Thanked 114 Times in 106 Posts
Rep Power: 9
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.
"The cure for anything is salt water~ sweat, tears, or the sea." ~Isak Denesen
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