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  #1  
Old 12-04-2011
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yearly maintenance tasks & costs for sailboat

Hi all,

Wondering if you’d be willing to suggest a book/online article (or share personal thoughts) that reflect the likely yearly/ongoing sailboat maintenance tasks and their approx. costs for a 25-30'er? Don Casey’s book “Complete Illustrated Sailboat Maintenance Manual” looks pretty broad and detailed from looking online and I’m interested in your suggestions.

As background, I raced dinghies growing up and for the last dozen years have day-sailed sailed extensively and cruised for 1-2 weeks a year out of a great keelboat club in Boston (~25-40 ft boats.) I’d like to buy a boat in the next few years now that the kids are at a good age to spend more extended time on the water. I'm very comfortable with boat handling, however I have little experience maintaining a boat myself since the club always did that when the boat was returned or the season ending. I’m certain it will take more time and money than even I anticipate, but I’d like to school up on the tasks, time and money (typical repairs, bottom painting, engine maintenance, winterizing, electrical, plumbing, etc.) required before approaching the actual purchase. It might even help push me into or away from particular boats (e.g., outboard vs. desiel, etc.)

Thanks and fair winds!
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Old 12-04-2011
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The devil is in the details.
If you go the marina and slip route I'd guess a conservative yearly expense would be around $5K per year (3.5 for summer slip, 1.5 for winter storage). Moorings are usually cheaper and closer to $1K for the summer bringing the yearly nut to more like $3K.
If you live near the water and have space to keep your boat on your property, it can be worth it to pay for the hauling to bring her home for the winter, instead of paying a boatyard.
You need to locate some marinas, yacht clubs and even sailing clubs near where you would like to keep it and get some prices from them.
You will spend more then just what the 'rent' costs especially in the first year or two.

You mentioned outboard motors. I'm not a fan of them on sailboats unless they happen to be trailerable sailboats. Trailer sailors can be the cheapest option overall but come come with some limitations.

If you can find a sailing club where the members do the work it is likely the cheapest route.
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Last edited by CalebD; 12-04-2011 at 10:14 PM.
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Old 12-05-2011
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Thanks for the info, CalebD. Would you say that several weekends in the spring and fall are a minimum for maintaining a boat that is in good condition? Or is it a lot more than that? I understand issues will pop up that require extra time and $$$, but on average is that a fair assumption?

I'll keep pouring over posts in the maintenance forums here and will pick up the book too. Like planning for a cruise, more preparation can lead to fewer surprises. Want to make sure I understand the full set of needs before taken the ownership plunge.

Thanks again!
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Old 12-05-2011
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Where in the Boston Area

I keep my boat down in Hingham (31 ft Catalina) and the costs for a slip and winter storage is closer to $6k. On top of that you have bottom paint ($200/gallon for good stuff and I need 2 gallons for 2 coats and it takes about 2 full days to prep and paint), desiel maintenance ($200 a year if nothing goes wrong, about 1 day spring and fall), polishing and waxing the hull (about $50 in supplies each year and $150 for a decent buffer), winterization of the engine and water system ($50 in supplies and a days time; unwinterizing in the spring takes about a day), washing you sails ($200-500 depending on sail loft; some people do this every year), boat insurance ($600 per year with the environmental liability MA marinas make you carry) and then there are the non annual items (running rigging, standing rigging, new sails, major engine work, rebedding hardware, new batteries, etc.) I budget about $1,000 per year for these items and my boat is 10 years old; depending on the condition, an older boat may cost you more. We also have an inflatable with an outboard, that costs about $200 a year and another 2 days to maintain.

Some of these costs can go up pretty quickly depending on the marina. We are having some fiberglass repairs done this year and are staying at a different marina. You can't do your own bottom work at this yard. So we have to pay $13/foot per coat for our bottom painting.

All that said, I usually budget somewhere between $8-10K each year for the boat (and usually go over budget due to some new piece of equipment I may want, this year I have my eye on a new chart plotter and radar for around $2,500). I am sure there are others that do it for less and others that do it for more. With our old boat (24 ft C&C) we were closer to $5-6K a year.

The important thing is I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. We spent every weekend (usually Thurs to Sun) on the boat from the end of April through 2 weeks ago and several week long vacations. I am depressed that the boat is on the hard and can't stop thinking about next season. We will plan 2 week long cruises for next year and many weekend trips over the winter.

Good luck and fair winds. If you ever need any help looking at boats, send me a PM. I love climbing through boats and thinking about the possibilities.
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Old 12-05-2011
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GREETINGS EARTHLING; The most rewarding things about boating is being able to do the bulk of the jobs yourselves. Learn to sew for the sails and the upholtery; engineerings for the fittings and the rope sheathes , Lern to weld and get yourself a good weldering set I have found theaes to be invauable, always doing jobs or making attachments to make the job easeyer. Learn rope work for decoration and practical posserbilities, woodworking for the interior and other work aboard. Ive had sailing boats 24' and a 22 cruser in the family since I was two I'm now 54 and have spent over thirty years with a sail training association in volved in the running of refitts to big comerscal sailing boats 72' but still have a small sailing dinghy used for playing and keeping the skills going. No better than a day spent sailing Try todo as mutch as possible yourselves and with in your family and friends GO SAFE

Last edited by captflood; 12-05-2011 at 10:03 AM. Reason: more info
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Boat Maintenance Budget

A good friend and former boat owner recently asked me the same question as he is contemplating making the plunge into boat ownership again. I've pasted what I sent him below.

"As for budgeting boat expenses, that's not so easy and is certainly subject to a lot of "what if's"; however, I'll give it a go.

The basics for Chula every month:
Slip $ 270.00
Insurance $ 100.00
Sea Tow $ 12.00
Registration $ 4.50

I've put off a quite a few repairs this year due to wedding expenses and could easily throw several thousand dollars at things I'd like to do. The most pressing for me right now would be the following:

Roller Furler $ 2,300.00
Chain Plates $ 1,000.00 - $ 1500.00

Might need a bottom job in another year $ 1,200 - 1,500.00

I've spend about $ 300.00 to 400.00 every year on basic sail and bimini repair due to wear and tear
Probably another $ 500 - $ 1,000.00 on other misc. items
Hopefully you wouldn't need to repower like I did, but if you do consider $ 10,000 - $ 15,000.00

Would like to replace my Windows $ 1,000.00
New Ports would be nice too $ 1,000.00
And air conditioning $ 2,000.00

I think a new Mainsail would be Awesome $ 1,500.00
With a Stackpak $ 800.00

A new main wouldn't really look right without a new jib $ 1,500.00

And a new bimini and dodger...Along with new matching sailcovers....With my boat's name stitch on them $ 3,000

The boat now looks like crap now compared to the new sails and other new canvas....New paint job $ 10,000.00

A great looking boat deserves some updated electronics (New GPS, radar, chartplotter, wireless instruments, LED lighting, refrigeration, solar panels, wind generator, and kickass sound system) $ 20,000 plus

Now that the boat is finally ready to go cruising guess I need to splurge on a dingy $ 10,000.00

And now that I have a new dinghy guess I'll need some davits too $ 3,000.00

Can't be hauling that anchor up by hand, I'll need an electric windlass $ 3,000.00

Now that my boat is looking like a yacht I'm going to need to become more active in the yachting community
Yacht Club Membership $ ?????????

Are you sure you want to venture down this road again?

Good luck on the boat purchase.....I will support you 110% on your decision!"
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Old 12-05-2011
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Boston,

I am a trailer Sailor. We launch our Lancer 25, Sparrow, every time we sail. She takes a little over 30 minutes to rig and launch. But, other than gas, that's it. We go out for up to a week at a time and enjoy every minute of it. All other times, Sparrow is nested in the driveway, ready for a fresh coat of paint, new rigging or whatever I feel like doing myself. Last year was an expensive one. I spent about $500 on paint and supplies and $100 on new lower shrouds. During the winter, I reupholstered the salon. That was about $150. But even with these expenses, it's pretty short money. So, by doing it ourselves we save $500/month.If we weren't trailering, we wouldn't be sailoring.

If I may be bold, consider a trailerable of decent size. Pick up a copy of The Complete Trailer Sailor by Brian Gilbert (or something similar). Among other things, he includes 50 or so boats in the back with specs, drawings, photos, pros and cons. It might help you to choose a new hole-in-the-water.

Don
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Old 12-05-2011
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I would look at Nigel Calder's 'Boatowner's Mechanical and Electrical Manual'; he has a detailed checklist on maintenance items for winterizing, as well as checklists to look at before going offshore or planning a more serious journey. All of his books are great, he's very thorough so I'd recommend him whatever you buy. I live on my boat so I'm not sure my experience is valid for your comparison, but I will repeat something I believe I read on this forum:

The rule of threes as pertaining to boat maintenance: Any marine project you undertake will cost triple your initial estimate and take three times as long as you expected. Any attempt to incorporate the rule of threes in an estimate will result in a further tripling of costs.

Not sure whose quote that is, I feel like it is in one of the regular's signature block or something. Happy sails.
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Old 12-05-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DonScribner View Post
Boston,

I am a trailer Sailor. We launch our Lancer 25, Sparrow, every time we sail. She takes a little over 30 minutes to rig and launch. But, other than gas, that's it. We go out for up to a week at a time and enjoy every minute of it. All other times, Sparrow is nested in the driveway, ready for a fresh coat of paint, new rigging or whatever I feel like doing myself. Last year was an expensive one. I spent about $500 on paint and supplies and $100 on new lower shrouds. During the winter, I reupholstered the salon. That was about $150. But even with these expenses, it's pretty short money. So, by doing it ourselves we save $500/month.If we weren't trailering, we wouldn't be sailoring.

If I may be bold, consider a trailerable of decent size. Pick up a copy of The Complete Trailer Sailor by Brian Gilbert (or something similar). Among other things, he includes 50 or so boats in the back with specs, drawings, photos, pros and cons. It might help you to choose a new hole-in-the-water.

Don
My experience is the same. For very low dollars you can't beat trailer sailing. Plus, when your boat is right in your yard, you can work on it anytime, or just look at it while relaxing or having a drink and have new insights and ideas.

I do an Internet search for boat launches and can usually find a town or state launch with no fees near where I want to sail. Then I pay only gas money to drive there and launch. I already own a truck. Sometimes I pay a small fee if I like the spot.

I keep one boat at a slip I own on a lake. With a solar panel and battery, it costs me not one cent more to sail all day and electric motor home if the wind dies, than it does to leave it at the dock.

I also cut down trees and sawed out heavy lumber and built my own docks, so I kept costs down.

Get a crummy canoe or small boat and practice your fiberglass skills on it, then you won't be afraid to tackle anything. I was paid to haul a broken canoe to the dump, brought it home instead.
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Old 12-06-2011
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These posts have been really helpful and have provided exactly the info I was hoping to get as well as some new considerations. Now I can really appreciate why the sailing club membership fees are so high - it's actually a bargain financially... though as others have pointed out, boat ownership provides more than that.
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