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post #1 of 9 Old 09-07-2006 Thread Starter
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Realistic Boat Ownership Costs

Hey guys, I am sorry if this has been asked before, but I am looking for some help.

How much does it actually cost to own and maintain a small sailboat? I have an opportunity to buy a Bristol 22 for $500. It was sailed this year and is servicable but needs cosmetic/electrical/plumbing work. No motor no trailer.

I was told that it is $500 for winter storage and $1250 for a mooring with one haul in and haul out. Ignoring the question of how much the "re-fit" work will cost (becuase that is probably another whole discussion) what other costs should I be looking at.

I am graduating from college in the spring, have a good job lined up but lots of loans to pay off. I am just trying to gauge if I can afford to jump on this boat at this point in my life.

Thanks in advance!
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post #2 of 9 Old 09-07-2006
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Where are you?

Storage costs vary a lot depending on your location. Here in coastal carolina one is prety much stuck with marina docks fees that run $8 to $14 per foot per month and there is often a minimum footage like 35'.

In the southern Long Island Sound there are many harbors with large mooring fields and launch service provided. That can be much cheaper.

If possible stick with a small trailerable boat. Storage costs are low and you can camp/travel on it. I met a fellow years ago while anchored in St. Micheals MD inner harbor. He was from Mich. and sailing around waiting for his wife to fly in and join him and they were camp/cruising the Chespeake. The boat was a pop-top ?beneteau? that could be towed behind a small car. They had previously sailed/camped/cruised Baha Mexico and Fla keys on the boat from thier Michigan base.

Very few people get thier monies worth out of larger boats. We are hoping to beat the odds but at this bout we are behind the curve and in danger of experiancing the proverbial middle age expensive dream.
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post #3 of 9 Old 09-07-2006
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In addition to moorage costs, there is need for boat insurance (at least liability, if not more comprehensive coverage). For a small boat, this may be about 150 - 200. Also, regular maintenance--boat wax, cleaners, new hardware and periodically new sails. It all adds up. For my 22' and 23' boats, the first one older (1977) needing work, and the second one newer (1984) in good shape, once I had done initial work to get them the way I wanted, I usually spent about 1,000 on moorage, 150 on insurance and averaged about 1,000 per year on maintenance/gear replacement over a 12 year period. Now that I own a 30' boat, costs are significantly higher.
Hope that helps.
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post #4 of 9 Old 09-07-2006
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I know you would like to have an exact dollar amount, but that just is not going to happen. It varies too much on how you use the boat, what type of shape it is in, how often you run into the dock (haha), and a thousand other variables that cannot be guessed.

That being said, I will step wayyyy out on a limb and make a really rough guess:

1250 for slip (per what you said). 300 for insurance. 50 gas. 1000 for maintenance (bilge pump broke, need a new line, fender deflated, winch handle fell over the side). These numbers will not (NOT) count refitting. If your whole boat is redone and is new, well, it it could be less. Still, I think a grand for a 22 foot boat will be real ballpark. Thus, my ballpark guess would be 2500-3000/year.

Just remember, buying stuff for boats is a whole lot more expensive than you can imagine. Go walk through West Marine and you will get an idea.

Have fun. Hope it works out.

- CD
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post #5 of 9 Old 09-07-2006
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A trailer might be a worthy expense

For 15 years, I have owned a 26 ft Macgregor. I store it on the trailer for $35/month in Ohio. Launch fees are usually free or small at parks.

My insurance for inland waters is $200 per year. I buy a rider if I trailer it to the coast.

I might spend $20 per year on gas.

I probably spend $500 per year on the engine, new batteries, maintenance, toys.

My boat might be less of a pain to launch and retrieve. It's water ballasted and the centerboard draws entirely into the trunk. A Bristol 22, I believe, has a fixed keel which makes the trailering game less fun. Be aware that if you do invest in a trailer, the trailering might be too bothersome and that might result in less sailing.
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post #6 of 9 Old 09-07-2006
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And for a 22, most of a gallon of bottom paint every spring. $65-200 depending on which one you think works. The little things like that can add up.

At $500 I'd guess it needs new sails, there's a wide variation in costs for them but if you really like sailing, you'll want them. Maybe $2000-2500? for a basic main+genoa on that size? (Old blown-out sails are like a v8 engine running on four cylinders.)
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post #7 of 9 Old 09-07-2006
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The trailerable boat like MacGregor 26 probably would be a better choice in light of things. Whatever you choose, good luck. Had I known "then" what I am now learning, I'd have been working on my first sailboat when I was 12, instead of my first car. ;-)
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post #8 of 9 Old 09-07-2006
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If you have a good job and you love sailing please buy the boat- and use it. I wish I had when I graduated college instead of standing at the harbor staring longingly at the boats for years. If the initial numbers of the moorings and winter storage don't make you balk and you are willing to do most of the work yourself you can afford the boat and it will probably be the best fun you can have. Don't fully rebuild the boat right from the start. Do the essential repairs and sail a little. Find out what is really important and decide what you want to refit this year, the next and the following to help spread out the costs. In the meantime, the trick will be to use the boat...alot. If you find that you don't use it get rid of it-it's too expensive. But I have never met a sailor who said "I use my boat all the time but it's too expensive". On this note don't put the boat on a trailor unless you are planning to travel with it. It's generally more than anyone wants deal with to rig and launch a trailored boat for a quick afternoon sail or anchor out for a sunset picnic. I am sure a lot of people will disagree with me but it does seem that I see a lot of disused(covered with fall leaves in August) boats in peoples driveways. I therefore think it makes the boat "expensive"
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post #9 of 9 Old 09-10-2006
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I'd agree with sailphoto. Keeping the boat in a slip makes it much more likely that you'll be using it, even for fairly short day-sails. The more you use a boat, the less it effectively costs per hour you use it. That can make a world of difference between complaining about how much your boat costs you, and enjoying it.


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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

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