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Old 28-08-2008, 10:24   #1
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Maintenance Questions

I'm in the early stages of thinking about buying a sailboat - possibly 25'. My immediate concerns are the larger, hidden costs of owning. The boat would probably be kept in salt water. Would this involve pulling the boat every one or two years to repaint the bottom? Cost? Any other major expenses?

I also might have the option of keeping it at my father's pier which does not have electricity or water. The only power would be an outboard so I'm not sure how the batteries could be recharged? Solar or pull them and charge?

Thanks!
Mark
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Old 28-08-2008, 10:32   #2
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Besides the haulout there will be insurance, slip fees if you choose not to use your dad's pier, repairing or replacing things that break and upgrades you may want to do....like new sails or a nav system.

If you are at a dock without power, get a solar panel for the boat to keep the batteries topped up. Your boat will have a fighting chance if it leaks somewhere with a bilge pump that has a fully charged battery to draw from.

Also, without fresh water at the pier, you will not be able to get all the salt off after sailing her. Its kind of nice to not have salt crystals everywhere. Its also easier on the metal.
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Old 28-08-2008, 10:36   #3
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All of the above, but you should be commended for looking at a sensible sized boat. The key is -- lots of things are "by the foot" on a boat, so keeping it to 25' is a good start on keeping things reasonable.
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Old 28-08-2008, 20:28   #4
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Do an excellent job of bottom painting

Have a diver visit from time to time.

Invest in a good solar panel....I have used one that is a bout 12x12 and it does a good job on batteries.

Also...your length of boat is a good start...I have seen three guys back out on boats after they bought them because thy bought too big too soon.

25 feet is a good way to learn the basics of upkeep and problem solving.
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Old 28-08-2008, 20:43   #5
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Amen to Chief and sneuman - I am on my "starter" boat. Its just on 25 feet and is a perfect learning experience. I get a fair amount of time on other people's big boats and am learning a lot about what I like and don't like in a big boat.

I sailed as a kid on a few keelboats and have a good amount of time in dinghy's. The 25 footer is a boat I feel I can't lose on. Now I am in the shopping mode for the boat I really want and when it shows up I am ready.

For our starter boat we had the goal that it would have a lot of "big" boat systems so we could learn them as well as sailing and getting experience on the water.

Our criteria:

Inboard diesel
Proper head (not a porta-potty)
Electrics - Nav lights, cabin lights, radio etc.
Split battery bank - house and start
Water tank and proper galley

Probably a couple of other I can't recall immediately. Our goal was coastal crusing and 2-3 day trips.

I have a detailed one year cost breakout I am happy to send you if you PM me with an email address.
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Old 30-08-2008, 07:52   #6
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Originally Posted by mow2000 View Post
I'm in the early stages of thinking about buying a sailboat - possibly 25'. My immediate concerns are the larger, hidden costs of owning. The boat would probably be kept in salt water. Would this involve pulling the boat every one or two years to repaint the bottom? Cost? Any other major expenses?

I also might have the option of keeping it at my father's pier which does not have electricity or water. The only power would be an outboard so I'm not sure how the batteries could be recharged? Solar or pull them and charge?

Thanks!
Mark
Maint cost is pretty variable. If you're looking to make the 25' an offshore distance cruiser, you'll have to spring for maint on heavier rigging, safety equpiment, internal ammenities, and so on. If you make her a daysailor with 'camp-out' capabilities, the cost can be comparitively small. For example, my boat is about 34' in length, and rigged to go long distance as a comfortable short term live aboard. I budget about $5K/year for maint and upgrades, not counting slip fees. In contrast, my father's boat is 26' in length, outboard, and lightly rigged for protected water, nice weather, day sailing, and has simple camp-out amenities. He budgets barely a few hundred dollars a year for maint and upgrades.

As for the outboard, if it's pull-start, and you only use the boat once or twice a week, a $100 solar panel from West Marine will keep your batts topped off from regular lights/instrument/pump use. If you electric start your engine, you're probably looking at a $1000 solar panel and charge controller, or having to pull the battery. My father uses the $100 panel, and electric start. His battery goes dead roughly monthly from weekly use. He carries a 'spare' battery that is always charged to 100%, and rotates when one goes dead.
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Old 30-08-2008, 18:45   #7
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Thanks for all the replies. Seems like the main, expected expense will be the haul-out. Is it necessary to do this once a year and what kind of cost could I expect for a 25' sailboat?
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Old 20-09-2008, 23:33   #8
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The haulout depends on where the boat lives. In more tropical environments, you'll burn through things faster (including your bottom paint). If you had someone else do the painting you're probably spending $700 or so, and here in San Diego we do it about once every two years.

A good ballpark is 10% of the purchase price of your boat, per year, in maintenance.
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Old 05-11-2008, 08:43   #9
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Thanks for all the replies. Seems like the main, expected expense will be the haul-out....
Mark,

I owned a a couple 26-footers and have to say, the cost of haul out and launching for me was far from the most expensive aspect of my average annual costs.

Both storage (on hard or slip) and insurance were notably more as was general maintenance and upgrades. As others have said, maintenace can vary greatly depending on the boat, what you can do yourself and your use and priorities.

Having to repaint the bottom comes to mind because it is a known regular maintenance issue, but that doesn't mean it will be the most expensive. Over 8 years of ownership here are some maintenance issues that I had to address on my first pocker cruiser: New circuit board and wiring upgrade. Replace 2 thru-hulls, replace all hose, rebuild head, Replace blown out headsail, Replace VHF and depth transducer, replace, lower lifeline, replace main blocks and mainsheet, repower, rebed all windows, sand and varnish wood work yearly, repaint bottom every other year, paint hull and topsides once, paint interior once, upgrade dingy, replace foot pump for sink, run new wiring through mast and replace anchor light remove sagging headliner. In addition to maintenace, with time you may desire upgrades. For me this included adding: second, better anchor, rode and bow roller, GPS, shelving upgrades, autopilot, jacklines and harenesses, solar cells, stereo, two access hatches.

The maintenance and upgrades you need will certainly vary greatly from this, but it gives you an idea of what can come up over the years, even on a small boat. It sounds like you may have free dockage and may be day sailing more than crusing which will likely cut down your maintenance and upgrade needs as well as insurance costs notably. I'll also second that in many ways a 25-foot pocket cruiser is much more affordable to maintain than a larger boat, but not in all ways. Many fees such as haul out storage, dockage, etc may start at 30 feet. Insurance may not be notably less than on a 30-footer. (In fact, I found Bahamas coverage much more difficult to get on a 26-footer.) It costs the same to to replace a 1 1/2 inch through hull and seacock or replace the head on a 25-footer as it does a 35-footer. Same with most instruments and electronics.
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