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Old 04-07-2010, 01:55   #1
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Powerboaters - Tell Us What it's Like

I don't know if this is allowed. I belong on the sailboat side but have been lurking onto a few of the powerboat threads. Didn't even know there were powerboaters on this forum. We had a few (sailboat) threads - how to cruise on $5000 per month and even $500 per month. I might have missed them but I didn't see any Nordhaven owners post anything. OK, so you guys are in a different league altogether and good luck to you. But just for the fun of it, what sort of a budget do I need to cruise on a 70' Nordhaven or are you too shy when it comes to money talk?

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Old 04-07-2010, 02:01   #2
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Depends on your fuel needs. Fuel has to be the biggest single expensive item in any power boaters budget, even in The States where its still so cheap.
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Old 04-07-2010, 03:47   #3
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A global figure including all maintenance, fuel, port charges and anything else you can think of would be around $130,000 a year. A rule of thumb that seems to work remarkably well is 10 to 15 percent of the cost of the boat. On a full displacement trawler the fuel cost is probably the least significant item. Goodness knows how high fuel costs would be on a truly cruising planing hulled boat, horrendous I'd imagine. Most boats like that can never get far from the fuel dock so have limited utility.
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Old 04-07-2010, 05:25   #4
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A global figure including all maintenance, fuel, port charges and anything else you can think of would be around $130,000 a year.
Sue and Phillip have been doing it on around $25,000 a year (but not on a Nordhaven)

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Cruising Costs

Lifeline has been our home since June 2001, when we retired. We no longer keep a land base or car and have pared down our furniture and household goods so they fit into a 10ft x 10ft garden shed. So we have very little “non-cruising” expenditure once money has come into our bank account. We live off income of under $25,000 ($US21,000) per year.

That budget bought us a comfortable lifestyle cruising in Australia, where we would spend around 6 months a year island hopping approximately 2,000 nautical miles along the Great Barrier Reef and east coast of Australia. When in “away” ports we would mostly use public transport and our bikes but occasionally hire cars, eat out a few times a month, buy gifts for our family, have lots of photos developed, cut our own hair and sometimes stay in marinas. When in our “home port” we might be in a marina for up to two months a year.

In Southeast Asia that same budget buys a luxurious lifestyle where we eat out every night, hire cars regularly, travel to other countries often, have our washing done, buy orchids for the table every week, hire professionals to make our awnings and do some of our boat work and have our teeth capped .
Currently the boat is permanently moored in Sutera Harbour so the expenses will have gone up marginally, but fuel costs will be down.

I have just spent the last couple of months up in these areas and can confirm that this budget is still fairly valid, especially if not attached to a Marina.

Long Distance Motorboat Cruising – Is it Possible on a Small Budget?
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Long Distance Motorboat Cruising – It Is Possible on a Small Budget
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Old 04-07-2010, 07:37   #5
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...what sort of a budget do I need to cruise on a 70' Nordhaven or are you too shy when it comes to money talk?
First, I think this type of discussion is very healthy and beneficial. Instead of pitting one group of cruisers against another, learning about each other is much more productive.

I'm glad that I don't have a 72' Nordhavn - I think the world changes a lot at that level. I don't find too many 70' boats gunkholing around or even anchoring in beautiful anchorages much. I'm sure they do, but I don't see it.

We have a 53' full displacement trawler. She's a wonderful boat - we live on her for most of the year. In the 9 months aboard this year we traveled about 3,500 nm and put about 700 hours on our generator. We balance staying at marinas with anchoring and this last year was spent mainly anchored. We run our generator for about 3.5 hours a day at anchor (that's a real average over 7 years of cruising - I don't know why so many people under-report their generator use). Our largest use of our house bank is refrigeration, like most boats. We have a full refrigerator with a large stand-alone freezer capable of storing all non-fresh food for about 4 months. We have a washing machine and separate dryer and my wife loves using them - makes her happy - so go girl and use them whenever you want. We also use a lot of power on computer use - multiple laptops, long range WiFi, cellular with amplification, etc - all connecting us and allowing us to run our business.

Looking back at our logs, we used about 2,300 gallons of diesel costing about $7,000. We burn about 3.5 - 4.5 gallons per hour pushing us between 7.5 and 8 knots. We have twin John Deere engines and active Naiad stabilizers. We did 5 overnight passages between Maine and Key West (and back) sprinkled around mostly short day hops (35 nm or so). Our marina stays were tilted to a couple of long ones - 10 weeks in Charleston (we really wanted to explore the town), one week at Crisfield, and one week in St Augustine. All other marina stays were single nights. Our longest anchorage was 30 days on a mooring in Marathon and 20 days at anchor off Miami Beach.

Fuel is certainly a large percentage of our expenses but the biggest is maintenance. I lump replacements and enhancements into our maintenance category so it might not be a true maintenance number. For example, I replaced our house inverter, monitor, fusing and major wiring during this year with a true sine, nicer unit. I also added a new anchor and added a new saltwater washdown system. Those aren't really maintenance but get included in that figure. It seems that there's always something to replace or repair.

In total, it looks like we spent about $30,000 over 9 months. That includes yearly items like insurance and taxes as well as things like food, restaurants, rendezvous', entertainment, etc.

Here's what I'm curious about. If you're on a cruising sailboat going the same 3,500 nm per year or so, how many years will a set of sails realistically last and what will they cost to replace? I know that fuel costs have increased much faster than the cost of Dacron but I also know that sails aren't cheap. Taking out some of our cost of fuel and doing laundry I'll bet there's not much difference in our budget than any coastal sailor's.
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Old 04-07-2010, 09:30   #6
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We have a 58 ft Taswell that we have lived aboard the last 10 yrs. We average about 4000 miles each year. We motor at 8kts using about 2 gallons/hr. We sail off the wind at 9-10 kts and frequently pass trawlers. We sailed from Tortola to Bermuda this Spring using the engine for 50 hrs - about 125 gallons including the genset. The boat has been called a floating condominium by other boat owners who were embarassed by how slow they were in comparison. We have a waher-dryer, 32 in flat screen, trash compacter, ice maker, and all other "power boat" convienences .Sails can be a large expense, but good cruising sails should last 40-5000 miles with yearly maintenance.I spend about 500 on the sails each year on the average A new set for my boat - main , genoa, and staysail - would cost about 20k if shopped around - I bough the genoa from U K Hong Kong for 3500, delivered. Standing and running rigging maintenance are costs you don't have - we spend about 1000/yr on average. Other costs such as bottom painting, slippage, etc. should be similar to yours. My engine maintenance cost are probably less than half of yours as we have one engine that gets used less. Having said all that, we are moving back ashore this Fall in Sint Maarten and will sell our sailboat and probably buy a smaller powerboat for short trips in the Islands.
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Old 05-07-2010, 05:33   #7
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The biggest expense on a Nordhaven or any mega yacht is the depreciation. You buy it new for say three mil and ten years later you can only get 850k for it. That's 200k down the drain every year.
I think a run of the mill trawler costs about the same as a good sized sailboat to operate.
My trawler has 1000 sq/ft of living space with 8 ft ceilings and a 1000 sq/ft of deck space, full size washer dryer, restaurant kitchen, full size freezer and refer, standard shower stall, and I carry a 14 ft alum dinghy on top. I carry 3000 gals of diesel and 2000 gals of water.
I do burn a lot of diesel, and I have to listen to it.
Sailing is no doubt more fun, but I could not live permanently in a confined space.
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Old 13-07-2010, 23:28   #8
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Many of the motor boat advantages are stated above-I would like to add the following-In coastal and intercoastal use the available option of semi-displacement hulls with multiple speed ranges allows for fuel efficent hull speed and the availability of high speed when needed(10-18k). The other big plus for us is the open and daylight layouts available on many motor boats . We also find the ability to reliably estimate arrival times and make accurate travel plans a big plus. In inland use where moorings and docks and prime anchor sites are crowded and there is competition for spots the motor boat trumps the sail boat. I keep a good sailing sail boat for sailing and I cruise a motor boat.
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Old 14-07-2010, 00:37   #9
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But just for the fun of it, what sort of a budget do I need to cruise on a 70' Nordhaven or are you too shy when it comes to money talk?
Well I must admit, I'm a bit suprised (pleasantly) by the replies. Even though I said Nordhaven, I was mentally just lumping all the powerboats together. I remember one 40nm coastal trip I did a couple of years ago. I got half way there with the wind directly on the nose. I got sick of tacking. It was pretty choppy and I wasn't making much forward progress anyway. So I put the motor on and bashed into it for the last half of the trip. My fuel bill was $16 and the whole trip took me 12 hours. My friends left at the same time in a Maritimo 55, took 2 hours and next morning their fuel bill was about $1600. I think they left with full tanks but am not certain. Obviously trawlers must be a lot better than that. I've never really been interested in the planning hull power boats, but if there's any trawlers at the Sydney boat show, I might just have a look.

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Old 16-07-2010, 12:30   #10
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I'm an ex-sailor looking at something a little more comfy for cruising southern Florida, the Bahamas and maybe Cuba. I won't be getting a 70' Nordhaven. My budget will be for something about half that size.
When I cruised on a sailboat(35' Cal) the costs were about $1500/month. But that was 10 years ago.


Also would be interested in what make of boats would be safe for crossing the Gulf Stream to Bahamas or Cuba and would be able to be cruised away from marinas for extended periods.

Thanks,
Norm
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Old 25-07-2010, 06:47   #11
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We were in Nantucket a few days ago, and a 55 ft 'Sea-ray on steroids' pulled in to the next dock. They had just come the 180 miles from Port Washington in 6 hours. Burned 540 gallons, or 90 gallons an hour, at 30 knots. The price at the Nantucket fuel dock was $4.58/gallon, so they had just sucked up over $2000 in a half-day's run.

We have a 45 ft Beneteau, and burn 1 gal per hour at 6 knots when we motor. New sails cost us $8,000, and last about 12 years. Standing rigging replacement every 12 years is about $4k. We keep our costs down by living on the hook--we have been on the dock 5 days this year, and don't pay for mooring balls.

We are shopping for a powerboat, and one of the curious things about them is that they all have square sterns, even the slow-speed trawlers. That is a huge increase in drag compared to an efficient hull shape, and doubles the fuel consumed. Maybe they were designed by BP??

I think we will probably average about 4,000 miles per year. I am hoping to find something in the 36 -40 ft range which burns 3 gal/hr at 8 knots, and I estimate we would have a fuel bill of about $5-6,000/yr at current prices.
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Old 25-07-2010, 08:58   #12
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We were in Nantucket a few days ago, and a 55 ft 'Sea-ray on steroids' pulled in to the next dock. They had just come the 180 miles from Port Washington in 6 hours. Burned 540 gallons, or 90 gallons an hour, at 30 knots. The price at the Nantucket fuel dock was $4.58/gallon, so they had just sucked up over $2000 in a half-day's run.

We have a 45 ft Beneteau, and burn 1 gal per hour at 6 knots when we motor. New sails cost us $8,000, and last about 12 years. Standing rigging replacement every 12 years is about $4k. We keep our costs down by living on the hook--we have been on the dock 5 days this year, and don't pay for mooring balls.

We are shopping for a powerboat, and one of the curious things about them is that they all have square sterns, even the slow-speed trawlers. That is a huge increase in drag compared to an efficient hull shape, and doubles the fuel consumed. Maybe they were designed by BP??

I think we will probably average about 4,000 miles per year. I am hoping to find something in the 36 -40 ft range which burns 3 gal/hr at 8 knots, and I estimate we would have a fuel bill of about $5-6,000/yr at current prices.

While rather unconventional, I have seen several sailboats sans mast and rigging as cruisers. You get the hull you are used to, increased load capacity and efficiency all at the same time. It probably will generate comments and a lot of folks taking pictures of you but personally I think it is a pretty smart thing to do.
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Old 25-07-2010, 09:12   #13
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If you're on a cruising sailboat going the same 3,500 nm per year or so, how many years will a set of sails realistically last and what will they cost to replace?
Good quality, brand new sails will run two to five thousand, depending on the boat. And they will realistically last for many, many years if properly cared for. Sun is the killer - cover them always when not in use.
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Old 25-07-2010, 12:19   #14
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Greg, I commissioned a 78' Nordhavn a couple years ago, delivered the 84' to Seattle, and get most of my income running other folks big white boats.

Nordhavn's are fine boats but they require fuel to operate. As efficient as they are and with marina diesel going for USD3-4.00/gallon or about USD1/liter, that can lead to a significant cost. If you assume your single engine Nordhavn with moderate sized genset use 15 gallons/hour, that's about USD 50/hr operating costs. This will reduce considerably when you're on the hook.

With gensets, most motor vessels have not become as energy efficient or concerned as sailboaters. Most of the Nordhavn's I've been aboard had the genset sized so that it could power the entire vessel at max load, so the requirement to keep things efficient weren't as high on the list as other items.

The other costs are who's on board? I've worked as Captain for owners who wanted to fish and enjoy the experience, not do daily grunt work and others that wanted a few months of practical experience before setting off on their own dream.

If we consider the basic 70', no stabilizers, single engine w get home spare, dual moderately sized gensets, dual watermakers, AC, pressure plumbing, and other creature comforts the cost can rise considerably.

If we use the 90/10% rule where you spend 10% of your time cruising (90% on the hook), don't frequent marinas, and have a modest life style, you're going to be on the lower end of those who run hard all the time, hit the marina, and like to dine out. Your cruising area, time of year, time underway, and time frolicking, all affect the annual cost (nothing different there between power and sail).

So if I figure 12GPH/48LPH for a single engine Deere 266HP at cruise and 3GPH/126LPH average for a 40KW genset, a 10 hour day underway, I'm looking at 120Gal/480L for the engine and 70GPD/280LPD for the genset (24 hours).

There have been Nordhavn's that have been rigged as DC boats but it was not a resounding success, so I think you're back to gensets. Add in an oil change for the genset and engine every 200 hours (or whatever the engine/genset folks say), fuel filter changes, and other basic PM and you get an idea of the basic power costs. You can sometimes save some money on diesel if you buy over 1000gal/4000L but that may not be the case where you choose to fill.

Adding in preventative maintenance, gas for the tender, things that break, things that wear out, and a few spares will increase the operating cost.

One plus is that you have a lot of storage, and depending on the options, a larger fridge and freezer. That can make provisioning cheaper than those who have limitations.

I'd think USD120,000 wouldn't be unrealistic.

There are 8760 hours in a year, and about 4000 hours of daylight. If you motor daylight hours and use the 10% rule, that'd be about 4800gal of engine fuel (12gph x 400 hours), 24,000gal of fuel for the genset (3gph x 8000 hours), two oil and filters change for the engine, 40 oil and filter changes for the gensets, and maybe a zinc or two, a raw water impeller or two, and other used items. If we use USD 3/gal and round the total fuel cost to 30,000gal, the I get the diesel cost at about USD 90,000 for diesel and another few hundred for the oil, filters, zincs, impellers, and small parts.

The actual numbers are going to depend on your equipment, cruising style, and other factors that are unique to you.
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Old 25-07-2010, 14:27   #15
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Interesting comments Capt Abbott. I understand that the first Nordhavn 78 has yet to be delivered. I'll check with Dan next time we speak. I'll ask him to tell me which vessel it was you commissioned so that I can remind you.

I am unable to find any correlation with the fuel consumption figures you quote for the average Nordhavn, certainly your figure of 15 gallons an hour is way over the top. You mention a 266HP John Deer engine, I can only assume your presence on Nordhavns has been fleeting at best. With regard to generators, most Nordhavn's have 12 to 18 KW sets, many with a smaller set as well. The smaller set is always found to have the greater hours used.

Of course I'm just an amateur owner, It could be that with your professional background you may be better informed.

P.A.E. announces plans for 78-foot yacht Build time is around 14 to 16 months.

One other thing, Using your figures a Nordhavn would need a fuel capacity of 6,187 US gallons to achieve the company's proven range of 3,000NM, allowing for a 10% reserve. Except for the N86 and the as yet un-launched N120, non of them have a fuel capacity near this volume.

P.
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