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Old 11-12-2008, 04:49   #1
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Costs...

I'm a hopeful of becoming a liveaboard... and I'm looking to get an idea of costs and related items for a sailing yacht... I'm looking at a few different boats, of varied hull types (wood, ferro cement, fiberglass), and essentially wondering what I'm getting myself into with each different type... which is the most suitable for a liveaboard in the tropics (sailing grounds would vary between Hawaii, Central America and the South Pacific Islands), my job allows me to work for two months and be off for one at a time, so are there any catch-22s with that sort of schedule, specifically I'm wondering if I should be looking out for anything when leaving on a 2 month trip away from the boat.

Thanks for any input anyone can give me.
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Old 11-12-2008, 07:15   #2
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Thanks for any input anyone can give me.
That's such a broad question; there isn't a good deal of assistance we can reasonably give you. Perhaps you could do a bit of reading and narrow down your question(s) a bit.

As for purchasing in the next two months, I would advise that you wait. There will be boats for sale in the future also.
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Old 11-12-2008, 07:30   #3
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Welcome aboard Aviatorhi. Consider this the first step in the long journey towards your ATP - LOL.

Like airplane operating costs, even more so, boats costs are all over the place in terms of cost so Maren is pretty correct we really can't give you an educated opinion.

Try our search engine and read some threads on costs to help formulate some sort of definition.

However, to get the conversation started here is what I would offer based on your question about hull material. All hulls are going to require routine maintenance.

Steel - Is going to require interior and experior maintenance. If done properly the interior can last a long time. The exterior is visible so you have clues about when to grind away rust and repaint. If maintained poorly a steel hull can be a nightmare requiring tons of cutting out of thin/rusted panels and rewelding in new ones.

Aluminum - As a subcategory of metal boats Aluminum has it's own problems. It has different corrosion mechanisms as well. It can be light weight but will need maintenance much like a steel hull.

Fibreglass - Fiberglass is subject to a few ills and there were "suspect" periods where osmosis (blistering) was a big problem. Cored hulls are lighter but can suffer from delamination, water intrusion and other ailments. However, overall we probably have no idea what the half life of fiberglass boats being built today will be. 50 years? 75? 100?

Ferrocement - It just sounds scary! Cement doesn't float, right? Not a lot of professional yacht builders did ferro. These will likely be plans built boats. If done properly they are like tanks. There is a 53 footer here that was laid up in 1981 in Australia. She is a beaut and has been everywhere in the south pacific. Once you get your head around the fact that it's ferro and the builder did it right the maintenance is actually quite low.

Wood - You just gotta have a passion for wood. It is a labor of love that has its reward in a beautiful boat. But you work on it constantly. Theyu say that to own a wooden boat you start at the stern, sanding, varnishing, polishing, replacing and rebuilding as you go forward. When you reach the bow you go back to the stern and start again. I am way too lazy for wood. The only thing I would consider for my laziness is a 16-20 foot open dayboat.

If I had to guess I would say in terms of maintenance cost / time from lowest to highest.

1. Ferro
2. Fiberglass
3. Steel
4. Wood


But that's just my opinion.
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Old 11-12-2008, 15:35   #4
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Thanks Ex, I've actually completed that ATP journey you mentiona about, this is a purchase I'm most probably going to make within the next year, reason I posted here is because there are a lot of oppinions to be found all over, most of the ones I've found in the past are oppinions in the "extremes" ie. "you're stupid if you don't go (insert hull material here) because...". Thanks for the input though, I'm looking for the "lowest maintenance" hull only because I would be leaving the boat alone for 2 months at a time and would like to be able to enjoy it as much as possible during the 1 month at a time I'll be at it.
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Old 11-12-2008, 16:45   #5
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Originally Posted by Ex-Calif View Post

If I had to guess I would say in terms of maintenance cost / time from lowest to highest.

1. Ferro
2. Fiberglass
3. Steel
4. Wood

But that's just my opinion.
I would definitely put fiberglass as #1 as far as low maintenance. I have two friends with ferro boats in the latitudes similar to what you are talking about (Florida), and both have constant issues with galling and are always doing maintenance with epoxy and topsides painting. Steel boats are dryer and feel great, but the maint is $$$ unless you're a welder. The French really like aluminum boats, but I don't know about them.

My two cents
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Old 11-12-2008, 17:59   #6
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leaving the boat for 2 months could get tricky
first, it will cost you, maybe that's not a problem
second, it needs someone to look after it to some degree. In a marina it might need less attention than on a mooring. but even then it should get looked at once in a while.
time of year and location might make it more tricky. try to stay out of cyclone season while you leave the boat. might not be there when you get back.
untended boats can be an easier target for thieves.
might 2 months be an issue with customs in some countries?
a closed up boat sitting in the tropics for 2 months?! mold city. best bet is running A/C but that should be monitored regularly by someone and of course it requires electricity, at a dock not a mooring. otherwise plan on having good ventlation with several solar powered vent fans
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Old 11-12-2008, 18:46   #7
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Gettinthere: Thanks... that's exactly the sort of info I was looking for, things to think about that I hadn't thought about yet. Customs and Costs are not an issue in the places I would be staying. But the prospect of "mold city" got me looking at where I would want to ideally be "based" so to say. I'm pretty sure wood would be a no-go for sure, given the amount of time I'd have to spend sanding and varnishing living in the tropics and Fiberglass might not be ideal, so it would seem as if ferro-cement would fit the bill more than the others for this sort of set up in the tropics.
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Old 11-12-2008, 18:50   #8
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Aloha Aviator,
I've owned fiberglass and wood boats and have had friends with steel boats. Here's my take on it.
If you have to leave your boat don't buy wood. I had to leave mine for months and it was all a catch up maintenance problem. Wood boats like to be lived aboard and sailed frequently in cool to cold water. Wood boats are prime targets for worms and other such creatures if they are not hauled for new bottom paint annually in the tropics.
Fiberglass. Many fiberglass boats sit in marinas for years at a time without anyone ever going aboard. What sinks fiberglass boats is thruhulls rotting away and bilge pumps running out of power or clogging.
Steel hulls. Rust never sleeps and where steel and wood meet is always a moisture collecter. My friends with a steel boat had to replace wood bulkheads because where the wood met the steel the wood rotted. They also had to replace the steel where the wood met because the steel rusted. Not a good thing.
I would look for a good old (pre 73) production solid fiberglass hulled boat. 32-36 LOD, aft cockpit with a diesel engine.
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Old 11-12-2008, 18:53   #9
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On Ferro. There are good well built production ferro boats. There are also ferro boats built by owner builders who didn't have a clue as to how to do it and their armatures are rusting and expanding and cracking the concrete.
Good luck on finding the good one, surveying and insuring it.
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Old 11-12-2008, 21:36   #10
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Yeah - I put ferro on the top of the list because of the great experience and build quality of the one here. He doesn't dock but stays at anchor so he doesn't get dings.

I wouldn't buy ferro, I guess, unless I really knew what I was doing.

There are lots of boats that get left near here (Malaysia). While mold and mildew can be a problem, I haven't spoken to anyone that made it a stand out or complained too much. Any boat left for a couple of months is going to need an interior airing, and wipe down, for sure.

With the number of boats to choose from out there it's a good idea to pick a hull material and stick with it. Otherwise the choices boggle the mind and you get analsis paralysis.
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Old 12-12-2008, 02:54   #11
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Originally Posted by aviatorhi View Post
I'm pretty sure wood would be a no-go for sure, given the amount of time I'd have to spend sanding and varnishing living in the tropics and Fiberglass might not be ideal, so it would seem as if ferro-cement would fit the bill more than the others for this sort of set up in the tropics.
I don't think it's quite as simple as that.

For example, there isn't just one type of wood boat. That is, not all wood boats are traditional construction method. Some are wood composites where the wood is sealed in epoxy (no worms) and clad in fiberglass. There are still challenges with this method of construction, just as with each of the others. Steel rusts, Aluminum is difficult to paint, fiberglass blisters, exotics are quite expensive and ferro is highly variable in construction quality.

In my opinion, you would do well to spend a fair amount of time really learning the disadvantages and advantages to each of them.
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Old 29-12-2008, 21:30   #12
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Juct my two cents, as I am not an expert, but....

I would not even look at a ferrocement hull. Not even peek. I don't think you can get insurance on one. And while there have been sea worthy boats made from it, its not the norm. Buyer beware.

Wood. Beautiful to look at, when its someones elses. Seriously, only for the serious boater that knows what he/she is getting into.

Steel. Personaly I find them unattractive. hard chines, rust stains, but easy to fix anywhere. I would not go there.

Aluminum. Known as a good material for a hull, but quite expensive, difficult to repair, paint and since I just pulled out a aluminum water tank that was full of holes due to sitting in a wet bilge, I don't think its for most of us.

And that leaves of course, what most of us have. Fiber reinforced plastic.
Yest plastic. Cause that is what a fiberglass boat is. Built right, it will last a life time. Realitive easy to repair. Can take a beating, looks good, and is insurable.
And that is the kicker. Cause unless you can pay cash, and will stay far away from marinas, you need to be able to insure it. So stay with the middle of the road pack.
You can spend your time learning about all of the ins and outs of each type of hull, but in then end, most will go with FRP, so don't waste your time.

Also you won't go far in 1 month. If your schedule is tight, meaning you have to be back by a specific date, you will not want to venture far. You will be at the mercy of the winds and they will not cooperate with you.

Better to save up your off time and spend 4-6 months at it.
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Old 29-12-2008, 23:25   #13
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FWIW

I have a 40 footer my maintenance costs this year were less the 2500.00

I wouldnt say she is falling apart either..
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Old 30-12-2008, 01:37   #14
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Stillraining...shes very nice...does your cost include storage/dockage?

I also have long periods away from the boat and prefer fiberglass.

If I were building/buying an expedition yacht for use in waters with many known hazards it would be steel.....but I would also have crew to help with the maintenance...steel does not necessarily mean hard chine’s.

If I were building one with my own hands for offshore cruising it would be cold molded wood.

I saw one of the most beautiful cruising boats I have ever seen, on Guam...it was Ferro cement....insurance can be difficult.

I've been working on a floating island design for a couple years now...it would be Ferro cement.

It really does depend on many things….but for purely ease of maintenance for a absentee owner, I would say glass.
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Old 30-12-2008, 02:14   #15
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James

No thats just maintenance...Insurance and morage not included...nor upgrades or additions to gear one may want either.

As we all know the sky is the limit so to speak..but thease boats dont necessarily have to break you to mantain them...and I think that is a question the OP was after as well...yes we will have years when the major things need replacing like sails or engines etc but so does a car or home...so be prepared for the odd 10K year and if unlucky maybe even back to back one year but in all the years Iv owned boats there has been very few "have to right now" kind of major repairs...But I have never lived aboard or crossed an ocean either so take what I have to offer with a grain of salt.

To the OP...If I were in your shoes...Id go the other direction and buy a beater boat in some idealistic spot and just veg out on it for the month you have... bay sail it or short inter island hopping at the most to get your feet wet so to speak and see if this is somthing you want to do..If it disappears in a storm..oh well..
As others have said you wont really have a month by the time you figure in flying, lay over days etc..and distant travel will be out .

http://yachtbroker.escapeartist.com/...565/index.html

Less chance anyone would steal it as well.
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