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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
...because you really want to sail but are a bit short of cash right now ? :(

Every day there is a new "what do you think of this boat ??" type of post from someone who desperately want to sail but doesn't have much saved up. It can be very tempting to read a description of a boat - go look at it - and see that it is indeed big enough to stand up in,, that it has a mast and sails and a toilet and even a fridge ! All for $10,000.00 ! Deal of the century !

Anyone thinking about buying a boat needs to understand that there are maintenance costs associated with it.

It is easy to underestimate these. I have a 30 foot boat that was described as "in very good condition" when purchased. The surveyor told me "this is about as good as it gets". I keep track of what I spend on her. Here is the list for this spring:

188.6 Launch
137.28 Step Mast
11.3 Aluminum Swage clips
98.88 Replace Electric Buffer/Scrubber
53.53 Screws and washers
48.77 Step Ladder
100 Move Cradle
28.76 AA Batteries
267.99 Tools
134.85 Tools
97.25 Cabin lights
38.22 Bimini Straps
427.8 Fenders
94.89 Bumper
28.97 Boat Soap
135.58 Vinyl Lettering/ Fibreglass repair kit
176.8 Water Fill hose and Marinetex
101.7 Windex and Screws
187.54 Deck Light and Wire
77.78 Lazy Jacks
169.33 VC-17
114.45 Garden Hose and Rack
111.25 Pressure Water Hose / Fittings
23.2 Cleaning stuff
36.98 Chain
57.85 Screw Caps
197.75 Faucet
45.37 Bilge Cleaner
33.89 Sink Drain
20.34 Pinstripe
71.87 Pinstripe
98.72 Hose Clamps and Snap Shackle
114.25 Halyard

$3,531.74 GENERAL MAINTENANCE COSTS


Then there are the things I replaced over the last 12 months... (Costs before taxes - actual receipts are at my office)


750 Hot Water heater
700 Stereo
1100 2 Batteries
200 Starting Battery
180 Bilge Pump
130 Water Pump

$3,060.00


Then there are club/marina/mooring fees and insurance costs. These vary depending on your region and boat but find out what they are and remember that you are going to have to come up with that money every year.

You can look at this list and say "I don't need that item" or "I can do without this thing" but you're going to end up spending the money on something.

If you don't have a lot of money - don't try to buy a bigger, cheaper boat. Get something that you can afford to maintain so that you can look at her with a light heart and a smile on your face thinking about how much pleasure she brings to your life rather than the drain she puts on your finances.

HTH

Good Luck ! :)
 

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Nice post.

You might also note that owning a sailboat is an ongoing nonsensical financial arrangement, and not a one-time financial "oh, why not" sort of deal.

Just in the last couple of weeks, I've spent the following in pounds sterling:

Epirb: 390
Ditch bag: 50
Lifesling: 85
Charts: 30
Pilot Book: 20
Diver to scrub bottom of boat: 100
Teflon boat polish: 70
boots: 35
Letters for horseshoe float: 4
Rolling flat water hose (for French docks): 35

The list goes on, in an insane sort of way, but at the same time it's rewarding (the new horizons opening up, that is).
 

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On the one hand, owning a sailboat is one of the dumber things you can do. Financially, there is no justification. Not to mention all the time you spend working on it (I've always looked at the ratio between work-time and tiller-time, and haven't always been pleased with the ratio).

On the other hand, you're born, and then one day you're dead. Might as well do something fun and irrational in-between.
 

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Jim H:

I just have to ask you this: in your avatar (I assume it's a picture of you), what is that black thing in the background?
 

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I'd like to sell you two more batteries for what you paid for the last two.
 

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This year for me....

Insurance renewal $1,200
3 Day Haul/Bottom Paint/Zincs/Buffing/Waxing/Bulbs $1,600
New Standing Rigging and Furler $6,000
Sail repair and new luff tape $160
Misc tools/supplies at West Marine $470
Fuel and Oil filters and oil $61
Mooring Paint and Drop $145
Mooring Tender Service for season $800
Dingy Repair $200

TOTAL $10,636

And this is for a 1983 32' boat in immaculate condition. This is just parts and labor for the rigging and bottom paint. It doesn't count the 50+ hours I spent doing maintenance, cleaning and repairs this season to get her ready as well.
 

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If you can get by on 10% of your original purchase price for annual costs, you are lucky.
 

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There is no such thing as a cheap boat. I bought a 30 footer 3 years ago for about half of the going rate. I currently have as much invested as a good one would have cost and am still fixing it. I am not counting the typical yearly costs just repairs.

My advice, decide what you want and find one that has be well looked after by someone who loves boats. Pay a premium and go sailing.

Gary
 

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Me [email protected]!!!

Yea my last boat was a very simple Starwind 19. Cabin big enough for two to spend a couple nights on easily. No engine, electronics or head. I loved that boat! Sailed more than I ever have. Fast forward a couple months, bought a Catalina 27 for $8,000. $1,500 for rigging, about $350 for engine parts not counting my labor. $425 on the head and pump for pump out and it's still not fixed. Waiting on yard bill that will prob be over $2,500 easy and I need new sails. Except the yard bill everything else I've done myself and its still like throwing money away hand over fist. If I could ever design my own boat it wouldn't have any of these systems, hopefully when I et everything done I acan do some sailing, but then its time to update the mainsheeting rig and the traveller, more cash!!!
Its real easy to underestimate costs. I bought a Pacific Seacraft 25 that I planned to refit, had to bail after several weeks and several thousand dollars.

I alsmost stepped up to a Starwind 223 instead of the Catalina, wish I had sometimes. I could be sailing now with about $7,000 in my pocket! Not to mention the dockage would be cheaper too.
 

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One of None
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So.. and those that buy new boats go out and spend just about as much plus they have a lifetime of payments. At least owning a older boat I can fix/ replace things as I can afford them, biding any major breakage that can also happen to new boats.
 

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I agree with Denise, boats aren't cheap to maintain, but both of mine are paid off, Which cuts a large chunk of the expenses.

A lot of expenses depend on your boat, and what you consider 'mandatory' equipment. If you have a few grand wrapped up in electronics, then you have to wrap even more into the electrical system to support them. Add in a water heater, and you almost double your water system, throw in AC and you have to upgrade the electrical again, Larger electrical demands mean a larger generator/battery bank/inverter.

The more things you have on the boat, the more/larger support systems you need for them, and the more those support systems are going to add to the annual maintenance costs.

Ken
 

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Jim H:

I just have to ask you this: in your avatar (I assume it's a picture of you), what is that black thing in the background?
Nothing ominous. My daughter took the picture a few months ago during a cold, winter sail on the Solent, and the black thing in the background is our companionway hatch open to the dark interior of our Rival 34.

The image is also confusing because it is on it's side, to keep me from looking straight up... :)
 

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Its real easy to underestimate costs. I bought a Pacific Seacraft 25 that I planned to refit, had to bail after several weeks and several thousand dollars.

I alsmost stepped up to a Starwind 223 instead of the Catalina, wish I had sometimes. I could be sailing now with about $7,000 in my pocket! Not to mention the dockage would be cheaper too.
I've been collecting stories over time of people up "upgraded" to a larger boat, but then sailed less, spent more, and honestly missed their previous boat. Some actually go back and buy back the boat they had, or the same model again.

We own a 34 footer that seems to be "just on the line" of being either "just big enough" for longer cruising or "just too small" for longer cruising. So far I have two stories of previous owners who regretted upgrading from our model of boat, and having gone 4 or 8 feet longer. One bought back his 34 20 years after he sold it, and was refitting to go sailing again in a smaller boat he felt he could handle better and afford to do up right.

A counter-point to "buy the biggest boat you can afford" is the question of being able to afford all the maintenance, gear, moorage, and handling challenges of bigger boats in the long term.
 

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Bought our boat new, so we had a warranty (almost never used it, there were very few problems), had it equipped exactly the way we liked it. But it was still expensive besides the purchase price -- insurance, extra gadgets, spare anchor, deciding to get cockpit cushions, winter haul and storage, etc., etc. We don't pay extra for dockage as we have our own dock, but a dock near our house would be 4-5K for a season. It all brings to mind a publication that I consider to be an oxymoron - Practical Sailor. No such animal. Would I do it again? In a heartbeat.
 

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I will have to snap some pictures of the cheep boats in the harbor because NOT everybody takes care of them OR even paints the bottom :)
 

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Yea

A counter-point to "buy the biggest boat you can afford" is the question of being able to afford all the maintenance, gear, moorage, and handling challenges of bigger boats in the long term.

Smaller is better in my view. I'd rather have a seaworthy 28 footer any day than something larger. I find I dasysail and just plain use the boat more. I have friends that live on a 42 footer that only go out when they are making long passages.

Jim, I've been eying a Rival 34 here in Charleston for while, very basic set up which I prefer, but a previous survey mentioned some half dollar sized blisters on one side of the hull. I had been waiting for the price to come down but got impatient and bought this Catalina to use for a couple years while I save for a cruiser. Too bad its eating up most of my savings :)

I would never borrow money for a boat
 

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I've been collecting stories over time of people up "upgraded" to a larger boat, but then sailed less, spent more, and honestly missed their previous boat. Some actually go back and buy back the boat they had, or the same model again.
Same thing with a buddy and a power boat,he wanted a boat and was planning to buy my old 15 foot outboard, instead he ended up buying some I/O with a 350 V8. Turned out he had to work so much overtimme to make the payments that he hardly ever got to use it. Sad thing is that we raced accross that lake a few times, and I could stay right beside him all the way he'd just start pulling ahead in time to slow down and turn around.
Figured out that it was costing him over $300/hour to use that boat, while mine was only $2/hour

Ken.
 

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I find I dasysail and just plain use the boat more. I have friends that live on a 42 footer that only go out when they are making long passages.

Jim, I've been eying a Rival 34 here in Charleston for while, very basic set up which I prefer, but a previous survey mentioned some half dollar sized blisters on one side of the hull.
I agree with you about the day sailing-- 34 feet was about right for us to take off for a day sail without much fuss and muss. In the future, maybe 37 feet would be okay, but 40 feet still seems large for slipping out for a few hours of sailing. Maybe we're lazy...

Rival 34s aren't immune to blistering (and nor are Camper Nics or other boats). We were lucky in that the last two owners of our boat were "spare no expense" types and we bought into a professional epoxy bottom job that was just one year old and has been doing great (copper coat, low maintenance).

Minor rule here-- older boats (ours is a 1973) may always be harder to sell because they are expected to be rough (and some may be past rebuilding), but those kept in close to top shape can be a pleasure to own.
 

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Yep

Minor rule here-- older boats (ours is a 1973) may always be harder to sell because they are expected to be rough (and some may be past rebuilding), but those kept in close to top shape can be a pleasure to own.
Unfortunatly it seems all the older boats I've found are neglected. I would love to find an old gem that was taken care of. I guess most of those are the ones that people keep. Unless they are moving up to something bigger :)
 
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