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Old 24-06-2011, 07:16   #1
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Sailboat Maintenance

Our last powerboat was a Trojan F27, which we bought when it was 11 years old. It was the first used boat I had ever bought, since I did not intend to keep it long. (Ha!) The surveyor missed a couple of items, which we had to take care of. We spiffed the boat up a bit, and by the time we had it three years, it had absorbed another $4,000 over the purchase price. After that it was just bottom painting every two years, and another set of plugs, cap and rotor, just before we sold it, after eight years. Overall, pretty darned lucky.

When I read now about boat maintenance, I hear all kinds of figures thrown about, sometimes quoting 10-20% of boat value annually for 'maintenance'. I never know what the writer means by 'maintenance', whether this includes dockage and insurance, which to me are fixed costs and are not part of 'maintenance'. To me, maintenance is boat fixing and spiffing up, replacement of whatever breaks.

I don't know anything about what it takes to maintain a sailboat, other than that it needs new sails every 10-20 years, depending on use, and standing rigging every 10-12 years. (I understand that to mean stays and shrouds), and running rigging as required.

I would appreciate it if I could get an overview of what is involved in sailboat 'maintenance', besides the obvious. How much does it really cost?

Thanks in advance.

Nomad
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Old 24-06-2011, 07:30   #2
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Re: Sailboat Maintenance

The cost of maintenance varies depending on a lot of factors such as age (of boat and owner ) and size of boat (bigger boats are more complex) and how the boat is used. I spend more on maintaining a seven year old boat (bought new) that is cruised six months a year than I do on a 23 year old boat (also bought new) that is sailed on weekends in fresh water. A big factor is how handy you are. Boat labour is not cheap! I know lots of folks say you need a certain percentage of initial cost every year but that only works in the long, long run. A new boat should require little maintenance. Maintenance does not include dockage and insurance, it only pertains to what is required to keep the boat in good sailing condition. Different folks have different views on "good sailing condition". Some folks replace parts before they fail, others wait until a failure.
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Old 24-06-2011, 07:37   #3
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Re: Sailboat Maintenance

If the boat is wood, you can expect a minimum of 1000.00 per month, averaged over the course of the year. That figure varies depending on what needs fixed and how much you do yourself. This year it will be alot more for me. I am however renewing paint and some rigging this year.

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Old 24-06-2011, 07:59   #4
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Re: Sailboat Maintenance

Thanks for that, Rick. Boy, I sure would like to get together with you for a few hours to pick your brains. (I'll leave a little, honest!)

I have heard that the standing rigging requires replacement after 10-12 years. Why is this?

Also: If I look at a boat for prospective purchase, how do I preliminarily evaluate the condition of the sails/rigging before I bring in the surveyor?

Nomad
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Old 24-06-2011, 08:04   #5
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Re: Sailboat Maintenance

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Originally Posted by Nomad57 View Post
Thanks for that, Rick. Boy, I sure would like to get together with you for a few hours to pick your brains. (I'll leave a little, honest!)

I have heard that the standing rigging requires replacement after 10-12 years. Why is this?

Also: If I look at a boat for prospective purchase, how do I preliminarily evaluate the condition of the sails/rigging before I bring in the surveyor?

Nomad
Others may chime in, but I think the time frame for replacing the standing rigging (10-12 years you were told) is much longer than that and that getting 20 yrs. out of a sail that is used a lot is stretching it (hah).
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Old 24-06-2011, 08:20   #6
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Re: Sailboat Maintenance

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Others may chime in, but I think the time frame for replacing the standing rigging (10-12 years you were told) is much longer than that and that getting 20 yrs. out of a sail that is used a lot is stretching it (hah).
I figured the average was about ten years for a sail, but one fellow (might be lightly used) claimed 20.

So, how long for standing rigging? And why does it need replacing?

Nomad
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Old 24-06-2011, 08:20   #7
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Re: Sailboat Maintenance

On stainless wire rigging you have to look for rust, mare's tails and check the swages and tangs and turnbuckles.. Rod rigging can be expected to last at least 50,000 sea miles but requires more than simple visual inspection.

Sails are easy to check. Torn, bagged out, stitching gone, luff stretched etc.
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Old 24-06-2011, 08:24   #8
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Re: Sailboat Maintenance

i was told 20 yrs for standing rigging. has proven about right for what i have seen , unless the boat has been raced, then is a different game. gooodluck/
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Old 24-06-2011, 08:27   #9
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Re: Sailboat Maintenance

maintenence issues for a boat are dependent on how much you use the boat, and how well you maintain it.
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Old 24-06-2011, 08:39   #10
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Re: Sailboat Maintenance

nomad-- didnt you do any maintenance on your trojan?? a sailboat is a powerboat with a stick, keel, and cables and rags. lol not much difference in overall maintenance-- have to still check oil, have to still change it, have to still make sure all the parts work-- no difference. just add a stick and rags and make sure the rags dont shred and make sure the cables dont snap and the stick doesnt fall on yer head. and make sure the rudder and keel stay in place.....
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Old 24-06-2011, 08:53   #11
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Re: Sailboat Maintenance

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Originally Posted by Nomad57 View Post
I figured the average was about ten years for a sail, but one fellow (might be lightly used) claimed 20.
So, how long for standing rigging? And why does it need replacing?
Nomad
It all depends upon how much and how the boat is used. If rarely used/sailed the lifespan of the sails and standing rigging is quite long.
- - Every time you sail the boat in moderate or more conditions the stainless steel "wire" stretches a little. The higher the load on the rig the more often the wire is stretched and does not return to its prior length. This causes loose rigging and is why sailboats need "tuning" by a rigger every few years. Eventually the wire has reached it limits of stretch and becomes brittle. Then you get the "hooks" or broken individual strands that can cause nasty cuts if you grab the wire.
- - And this stretching also affects the terminals attached to the ends of the wire and can result in cracks.
- - If the amount and type of usage of the sailboat is not known then the "10 year" guideline kicks in to advise you that replacing the standing rigging should be considered. Insurance companies also like the 10 year guideline when assessing how much to charge you in premiums or if they will insure you at all.
- - One way to guess that the standing rigging is near it limit is to look at the turnbuckles. If they are screwed down almost to their limit then the wire is most probably fully stretched. On initial wire rigging we try to get the lengths so that the turnbuckle is no more than half way screwed down after the rig has had its first "tuning."
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Old 24-06-2011, 15:52   #12
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Re: Sailboat Maintenance

Thank you, osirissail, that was quite an education. I have a better understanding of it all, and a better idea of what to look for. I knew none of this, when I went to look a boat a few weeks ago.

Regards,

Nomad
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Old 24-06-2011, 16:04   #13
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Re: Sailboat Maintenance

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nomad-- didnt you do any maintenance on your trojan?? a sailboat is a powerboat with a stick, keel, and cables and rags. lol not much difference in overall maintenance-- have to still check oil, have to still change it, have to still make sure all the parts work-- no difference. just add a stick and rags and make sure the rags dont shred and make sure the cables dont snap and the stick doesnt fall on yer head. and make sure the rudder and keel stay in place.....
I sure did. Most of it was during the course of winter layup or spring commissioning, nothing out of the ordinary. I knew, however, that there would be differences, due to the stick, etc., and diesel vs gas. Our Trojan had the same type of engine as in our car, was bullet-proof, and easy to maintain. Part of the reason for the low maintenance was the way we treated the boat/engine.

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Old 24-06-2011, 18:53   #14
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Re: Sailboat Maintenance

I would suggest that 10 years is good life span in rigging for offshore work. In additional to stretch the biggest worry is rust and corrosion. Lower swedge fittings are very prone to catching small amounts of water and rusting. Steel expands with rust and this causes the fitting to crack. Dye testing kits are cheap and easy to use, check your rigging once a year. With 1x19 s/s wire by the time you have broken strands, your rig is in serious danger.
Rod rigging is subject to work hardening over spreaders (the reason discontinuous rod was invented) and at the pressed ends. Most rod manufacturers recommend re-ending rods at 5-7 year intervals. Cracks in stainless are very serious as are pin holes (indicates crevice corrosion). The photo below shows a six year old piece of 5/8 inch rod from a 165 foot sailboat. Crack was 2/3 of the way through the rod. Lucky it was a stays'l stay and not a cap shroud!
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Old 24-06-2011, 20:43   #15
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Re: Sailboat Maintenance

You've been asking sensible questions Nomad, and so you're getting good answers from a wealth of experience.
It would be good if more folk new to sailing adopted your approach.
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