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Old 15-12-2014, 10:20   #106
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Re: Cost of Cruising

In his intro the OP makes pretty clear what he wants to know is how much it costs to maintain a cruising boat. Some posters here have touched upon factors which determine the cost and makes pretty clear it depends first and foremost upon YOU.

While SailorChick may not cruise beyond Northern California waters, her mindset - imposed upon her by llimited funds or not - eximplifies a role model worthy of emulation.

If you can, perform your own work.

If you come across something you may need in the future being sold cheap, buy it now.

There is no shame in buying used from places like Minnie's in San Diego. You may find sails with very little use discarded by a 'deep pockets' sailor who thinks there's something better... Same with other boat bits.

Develop a resistance to the hype manufacturers and retailers attach to 'brand name' products and learn to read labels. Use the internet to learn similarities and differences between bottom paint, then make an informed decision about which product to buy. ABC 3 for $137/ gallon from Go2marine or a more expensive brand from West Marine costing upwards of $250/gallon?

Carry spares (you bought cheap when you didn't need them) so you don't end up having to pay outrageous amounts, including shipping down the road.

When standing rigging requires replacing invest in Noresman or Sta-Lok compression fittings. Then do it yourself. A one-time investment worth doing.

Does a new LP finish make your boat more seaworthy or last any longer? If not, consider a pass. Same with other similar jobs.

Keep your 'systems' simple and as easy to repair yourself as possible. On another forum a cruiser reveals his experience with a failed hydraulic steering system, failed generator and 'cold plate' refrigeration system. Upfront costs for the systems are only part of the equation...

Electric pumps or manual pumps? Which is more likely to be trouble free?

On and on...
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Old 15-12-2014, 11:35   #107
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Re: Cost of Cruising

Just a quick note about special tools. I have a very small bag of sockets and wrenches and was given a torque wrench from a sailor who had three. Being frugal, which is a nice way of saying I was broke, I did not have nor could not afford a ring compressor when reinstalling my new pistons into the cylinders of "Purple", my yanmar. Yes I named my engine too and no not a four letter word either.

It took me half an hour to find the answer. I had a small metal oil filter Wrench that just happened to be the right size to fit a Yanmar 3gm piston. That worked really well and saved me the cost of a special tool. I love it when one tool doubles for something else.

Of course I did have to have "Bubba" a 7-1/2" deep, 36mm, 3/4" drive socket fabricated by a welder, for the $%^&* timing gear nut on the crankshaft. That set me back $80. But that was my only extra cost when rebuilding my little 3gm30F yanmar.

Had I a larger boat with more systems or even mast cars on the main, then YES, my maintenance costs where be higher. Lucky me, I have a good old boat with a short mast and very simple rigging layout that is perfect for a single woman to sail single handed.
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Old 15-12-2014, 13:45   #108
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Re: Cost of Cruising

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Originally Posted by Wrong View Post

Electric pumps or manual pumps? Which is more likely to be trouble free?

On and on...
In my experience electric pumps suffer if they aren't used enough.... hand pumps hit the '20 year wall' when rubber components fail... and the 'new' rubber diaphragm you have had in your spares box for 20 years will fail almost straight out of the box... I've experienced that with such diverse items as Volvo FW circ pumps, lift pumps, and Whale galley foot pumps.

All well and good pulling a failed bit of kit to bits and then setting about rebuilding it... you are still going to need 'bits' to replace the broken bits, whether its the diaphragm or the brushes or whatever.

Thats why I carry spare pumps (one for every purpose ) , spare alternator, starter motor...
You will most likely be using your engine when something fails... its handy to be able to carry out a field expedited repair without having to either wait until you get to port, order the bits , and wait some more or sit down for half a day rebuilding the broken bit.
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Old 15-12-2014, 14:04   #109
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Re: Cost of Cruising

Regardless of the "depths of your pockets" creativity in appying a repair can be satisfying in addition to money saving. When the fix is needed there may not be anyone with the part for your money.

I cut out pieces from the thin ends of an old pair of swim fins to make some one-way valves flaps for my Whale Gusher manual bilge pump. I didn't need to use the pump, but I made it function and it satisfied my need for safety.

I think it's an important part of the independence that many cruisers value.
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Old 15-12-2014, 14:16   #110
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Re: Cost of Cruising

I just finished making gaskets for the endcaps on my heat exchanger out of some old flat gasket material that has been in my shop for 15-years 0 - worked fine and eliminated a trip to the store.

Here are some thoughts to keep the pot stirred and bubbly. My MANDATORY expenses for the last 13-years:

Boat, rigging, hull, electrical $1,554 per year
Diesel maintenance $198 per year
Diesel operating cost $290 per year

Total Annual minimum expense $2,042 per year

I’ve reviewed by maintenance and operation cost for our 1994 Caliber 40 (purchased new in February 1995) for the time period November 1, 2001 thru December 14, 2014. During that 13-years; Mirador sailed and motored 12,000 miles and the Yanmar diesel ran for 1,500 hours. When we left Puget Sound to start our cruise in August 2000 – almost every item on the boat (except for engine, batteries, autopilot, windlass) was less than two years old.

Nov ’01 – July ’04 Sail from San Diego to La Paz, BCS, Mx and then cruising full time in Western Mexico
Aug ’04 – Aug ’10 cruising about half-time in Puget Sound
September ’10 – sail from Tacoma, Wa to San Diego
Oct ’10 – Dec ’14 live aboard full time in San Diego and cruise in SoCal

I’ve looked for those costs that could not have been avoided – replacement of parts (no labor) that absolutely had to be replaced or repaired in order to keep the boat afloat or useable. Those replacements are for parts that wore out due to usage and do not include any “luxury” items such as refrigeration, water heaters, or water makers. Nor have I included consumables such as hose clamps, tubing, bulbs, etc.

My thought is that these are the absolute MINIMUM expenses we could have incurred while using our 40-foot boat. The following costs, incurred November 2001 thru December 2014, do not include any labor. I have had a mechanic work on Mirador only three times in 20-years of ownership so the following are only parts.

Yanmar diesel expenses $2,580
Mixing elbow (21-years old)
Heat Exchanger/Exhaust Manifold (21-years old)
Coolant Pump (14-years old)
Starter (20-years old)
Motor mount (18-years old)

Bottom Paint & Hull Repairs $4,200
2 gallons of paint in ’01, ’04, ’08, ‘12
Four round trip haulouts
Repair damage to keel due to hitting rocks in Mexico and San Juan Islands

Anchor windlass $614
Rebuild 14-year old Maxwell VWC 1500 including new motor

Batteries $1,525
Replace six 7-year old T-105s 2002 and 2009
Replace 8-year old Grp27 start battery 2002 and 2009
Replace 14-year old cables and rotten battery box

Electrical $1,200
Replace 15-year old AC circuit breakers
Replace 18-year old shore power cable
Replace five old DC circuit breakers
Replace 15-year old shore power connector/plug
Replace 12-year old inverter/battery charger

Prop - shaft - rudder $2,350
Rebuild Maxprop after 1800 hours and 9-years
Rebuild Maxprop after 2000 hours and 10-years
Replace 19-year old prop shaft that was badly corroded
Replace 19-year old cutlass bearing
Replace rusted out bottom bearing on rudder post

Rigging $725
Replace 15-year old halyards
Replace 16-year old genoa sheets
Replace 20-year old toggle on forestay

Bilge Pump $200
Replace 15-year old pump

Sails $4,000
Replace 15-year old mainsail and rebuild genoa
(I’ve assumed a Dacron lo-tech main rather than the one I had built)

Autopilot $4,200
Replace 19-year old Autohelm that had 20,000 miles on it
Repair operator damages sun gear

Insurance Surveys $900
Needed one before leaving for Mexico and another on boat’s 18-year birthday

Compass $287
Replace 18-year old compass that would not hold oil

The costs above work out to be about $1,554 per year for parts that must be replaced to keep the boat functional.

The diesel maintenance costs are interesting and work out to be $1.72 per engine (Yanmar 4JH2E normally aspirated) hour for this time period or $0.91 per hour for the life of the engine. Those are just the fixed costs and do not include diesel fuel, engine oil, and filters. During the 13-year time period we used $3,089 of fuel and $680 for oil and filters.

The fuel cost is $2.06 / hour which makes sense because we cruise at 0.7 GPH and much of the fuel was purchased in Mexico at $2.25 per gallon or Newport, Oregon at $2.37/gallon. The oil and filter cost was $0.45 per hour.

The total operating cost of the diesel, over it’s 2,850-hour life, is therefore, $3.42 per hour or about $0.57 per nautical mile.

The total Yanmar cost for the 13-years is $6,349 or about $488 per year.

That brings the annual operating and maintenance cost of Mirador for the last 13-years and 12,000 miles to be $2,042 per year.

I cannot see any way to reduce the cost of any of the items shown above.

The additional expenses to maintain and operate Mirador in the style to which she and we are accustomed were another $14,000. The main expenses incurred in this “luxury” or “extravagant owner” category were:

$3,000 extra cost for hi-tech main
$1,600 new ICOM 710-RT to replace one damaged by freak wave pooping Mirador while in Mexico
$2,400 new hi-tech super efficient refrigeration system (uses old cold plate)
$2,500 upgrades and maintenance to Spectra water maker
$ 500 water heater
$1,100 replace dinghy that was destroyed in Hurricane Marty
$ 900 purchase bigger used outboard
$ 500 replace ST50 wind instrument and knot meter

Over a 13-year and 12,000 mile period we spent $2,042 per year for mandatory and essential operating and maintenance expenses. During that time we spent an additional $1,076 per year for luxury items. Or, in our extravagant world, the mandatory expenses, those that we could not avoid, were 65% of the total expenses.

Just some thoughts to keep the cost of cruising discussion animated!
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Old 15-12-2014, 14:44   #111
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Re: Cost of Cruising

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Originally Posted by Hudson Force View Post
Regardless of the "depths of your pockets" creativity in appying a repair can be satisfying in addition to money saving. When the fix is needed there may not be anyone with the part for your money.

I cut out pieces from the thin ends of an old pair of swim fins to make some one-way valves flaps for my Whale Gusher manual bilge pump. I didn't need to use the pump, but I made it function and it satisfied my need for safety.

I think it's an important part of the independence that many cruisers value.
It's good to think about potential uses of materials before throwing them away. On several occasions plastic lids to jars have provided material to temporarily close openings and the curvature in pieces taken from plastic jugs/containers has allowed me to use the material as a temporary bearing surface on a shaft. O-rings provided with oil or diesel filters can be cut smaller, carefully aligned and glued with super glue for other applications. Used or new, o-rings and other rubber products kept aboard can be life savers.

I'm not trying to shift the conversation away from what it costs to maintain a cruising boat, but to suggest there are ways to keep costs down and in some situations make temporary repairs until such time as you are in a better position to do a permanent fix. A central theme to my cruising mindset is maintaining control at all times. Easier to do when I'm prepared and stockpiling materials is part of this. Metal, rubber, plastic fabric, etc.. This is in addition to carrying critical spares - starter, alternator, pump diaphrams, etc. - and knowing how to install them.

The fly in the ointment for me at the moment is the rising cost of haul outs and bottom paint.
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Old 15-12-2014, 15:02   #112
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Re: Cost of Cruising

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It's good to think about potential uses of materials
The fly in the ointment for me at the moment is the rising cost of haul outs and bottom paint.
There is always careening.

I helped a friend careen his Freedom 32 to replace the stuffing box with a dripless. Not nearly as difficult as we thought. There are also some yacht clubs in our area that have careening stations. Not the greatest because you end up working in mud sometimes but it can work.
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Old 15-12-2014, 15:02   #113
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Re: Cost of Cruising

well doing all labor myself attached is what my boat has cost me the not counting payment
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Old 15-12-2014, 15:06   #114
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Re: Cost of Cruising

Quote:
Originally Posted by TacomaSailor View Post
I just finished making gaskets for the endcaps on my heat exchanger out of some old flat gasket material that has been in my shop for 15-years 0 - worked fine and eliminated a trip to the store.

Here are some thoughts to keep the pot stirred and bubbly. My MANDATORY expenses for the last 13-years:

Boat, rigging, hull, electrical $1,554 per year
Diesel maintenance $198 per year
Diesel operating cost $290 per year

Total Annual minimum expense $2,042 per year

I’ve reviewed by maintenance and operation cost for our 1994 Caliber 40 (purchased new in February 1995) for the time period November 1, 2001 thru December 14, 2014. During that 13-years; Mirador sailed and motored 12,000 miles and the Yanmar diesel ran for 1,500 hours. When we left Puget Sound to start our cruise in August 2000 – almost every item on the boat (except for engine, batteries, autopilot, windlass) was less than two years old.

Nov ’01 – July ’04 Sail from San Diego to La Paz, BCS, Mx and then cruising full time in Western Mexico
Aug ’04 – Aug ’10 cruising about half-time in Puget Sound
September ’10 – sail from Tacoma, Wa to San Diego
Oct ’10 – Dec ’14 live aboard full time in San Diego and cruise in SoCal

I’ve looked for those costs that could not have been avoided – replacement of parts (no labor) that absolutely had to be replaced or repaired in order to keep the boat afloat or useable. Those replacements are for parts that wore out due to usage and do not include any “luxury” items such as refrigeration, water heaters, or water makers. Nor have I included consumables such as hose clamps, tubing, bulbs, etc.

My thought is that these are the absolute MINIMUM expenses we could have incurred while using our 40-foot boat. The following costs, incurred November 2001 thru December 2014, do not include any labor. I have had a mechanic work on Mirador only three times in 20-years of ownership so the following are only parts.

Yanmar diesel expenses $2,580
Mixing elbow (21-years old)
Heat Exchanger/Exhaust Manifold (21-years old)
Coolant Pump (14-years old)
Starter (20-years old)
Motor mount (18-years old)

Bottom Paint & Hull Repairs $4,200
2 gallons of paint in ’01, ’04, ’08, ‘12
Four round trip haulouts
Repair damage to keel due to hitting rocks in Mexico and San Juan Islands

Anchor windlass $614
Rebuild 14-year old Maxwell VWC 1500 including new motor

Batteries $1,525
Replace six 7-year old T-105s 2002 and 2009
Replace 8-year old Grp27 start battery 2002 and 2009
Replace 14-year old cables and rotten battery box

Electrical $1,200
Replace 15-year old AC circuit breakers
Replace 18-year old shore power cable
Replace five old DC circuit breakers
Replace 15-year old shore power connector/plug
Replace 12-year old inverter/battery charger

Prop - shaft - rudder $2,350
Rebuild Maxprop after 1800 hours and 9-years
Rebuild Maxprop after 2000 hours and 10-years
Replace 19-year old prop shaft that was badly corroded
Replace 19-year old cutlass bearing
Replace rusted out bottom bearing on rudder post

Rigging $725
Replace 15-year old halyards
Replace 16-year old genoa sheets
Replace 20-year old toggle on forestay

Bilge Pump $200
Replace 15-year old pump

Sails $4,000
Replace 15-year old mainsail and rebuild genoa
(I’ve assumed a Dacron lo-tech main rather than the one I had built)

Autopilot $4,200
Replace 19-year old Autohelm that had 20,000 miles on it
Repair operator damages sun gear

Insurance Surveys $900
Needed one before leaving for Mexico and another on boat’s 18-year birthday

Compass $287
Replace 18-year old compass that would not hold oil

The costs above work out to be about $1,554 per year for parts that must be replaced to keep the boat functional.

The diesel maintenance costs are interesting and work out to be $1.72 per engine (Yanmar 4JH2E normally aspirated) hour for this time period or $0.91 per hour for the life of the engine. Those are just the fixed costs and do not include diesel fuel, engine oil, and filters. During the 13-year time period we used $3,089 of fuel and $680 for oil and filters.

The fuel cost is $2.06 / hour which makes sense because we cruise at 0.7 GPH and much of the fuel was purchased in Mexico at $2.25 per gallon or Newport, Oregon at $2.37/gallon. The oil and filter cost was $0.45 per hour.

The total operating cost of the diesel, over it’s 2,850-hour life, is therefore, $3.42 per hour or about $0.57 per nautical mile.

The total Yanmar cost for the 13-years is $6,349 or about $488 per year.

That brings the annual operating and maintenance cost of Mirador for the last 13-years and 12,000 miles to be $2,042 per year.

I cannot see any way to reduce the cost of any of the items shown above.

The additional expenses to maintain and operate Mirador in the style to which she and we are accustomed were another $14,000. The main expenses incurred in this “luxury” or “extravagant owner” category were:

$3,000 extra cost for hi-tech main
$1,600 new ICOM 710-RT to replace one damaged by freak wave pooping Mirador while in Mexico
$2,400 new hi-tech super efficient refrigeration system (uses old cold plate)
$2,500 upgrades and maintenance to Spectra water maker
$ 500 water heater
$1,100 replace dinghy that was destroyed in Hurricane Marty
$ 900 purchase bigger used outboard
$ 500 replace ST50 wind instrument and knot meter

Over a 13-year and 12,000 mile period we spent $2,042 per year for mandatory and essential operating and maintenance expenses. During that time we spent an additional $1,076 per year for luxury items. Or, in our extravagant world, the mandatory expenses, those that we could not avoid, were 65% of the total expenses.

Just some thoughts to keep the cost of cruising discussion animated!
Very good analysis of costs spread over a 13 year period! It's also helpful in respect to looking at the essentials and luxuries seperately.

Retrospectively, it can be assumed a smaller boat is going to less costly to maintain by a significant amount. Smaller engine, lower required battery capacity, smaller sails, etc. However, operating costs will vary depending on the proportion of sailing to motoring you do, and I'd go so far as to say fuel consumption is really not a part of maintenance.
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Old 15-12-2014, 15:16   #115
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Re: Cost of Cruising

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well doing all labor myself attached is what my boat has cost me the not counting payment
That's some good tracking.

I don't keep that much detail anymore because I think the Bride would have a heart attack if she saw it.

In general it looks like you spend about $10K a year with $5K going towards the marina. An average of $2,500 for upgrades seems about right for local cruising to me. I would suspect that might double for extended cruising prep.
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Old 15-12-2014, 15:20   #116
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Re: Cost of Cruising

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There is always careening.

I helped a friend careen his Freedom 32 to replace the stuffing box with a dripless. Not nearly as difficult as we thought. There are also some yacht clubs in our area that have careening stations. Not the greatest because you end up working in mud sometimes but it can work.
Try careening your boat in California and you'll have the authorities in your face before you can say whatever. Hefty fines to boot.

Every place does not have adequate tidal falls to make careening possible either.

Another problem with hauling today is there is a shrinking number of yards permitting DIY. So, if you're accustomed to doing things yourself quickly in order to eliminate lay day costs, you are now in a position where you're paying labour 'for as long as it takes' - which may mean additional lay day charges - and since the trend is toward yards requiring you to purchase bottom paint from the yard at West Marine's price plus, you'll take it in the shorts here too. Don't buy paint from the yard, you're hit with an extra charge per foot for using your own.
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Old 15-12-2014, 16:35   #117
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Re: Cost of Cruising

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wrong View Post
Try careening your boat in California and you'll have the authorities in your face before you can say whatever. Hefty fines to boot.

Every place does not have adequate tidal falls to make careening possible either.

Another problem with hauling today is there is a shrinking number of yards permitting DIY. So, if you're accustomed to doing things yourself quickly in order to eliminate lay day costs, you are now in a position where you're paying labour 'for as long as it takes' - which may mean additional lay day charges - and since the trend is toward yards requiring you to purchase bottom paint from the yard at West Marine's price plus, you'll take it in the shorts here too. Don't buy paint from the yard, you're hit with an extra charge per foot for using your own.

Just a bit off in your information.. I've laid my boat over on its side a couple times.. there happens to be a nice little sandy beach up in the delta on the Georgina Slough about 2 miles south of walnut grove in the turn of the slough.. I've also seen boats on their side and having work done in may places in California, China Camp in the San Francisco Bay area is another one and the folks down about Morro Bay use the sand spit ..
As for doing your own work, Ladds in the delta lets you do your own work and use your own material, Berkley allows you also..
And if you have a Port Supply account with West Marine, your cost on bottom paint is sometimes as much as 1/2 off..
Doing your research, and applying yourself in the right situations, you can save a lot of money..
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Old 15-12-2014, 16:52   #118
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Re: Cost of Cruising

Interesting,
It was meant to be "how much does it cost to maintain a boat" but the ways to minimize those costs are every bit as relevant.
I won't be, nor do I think most here are Credit Card cruisers, I've never been that way, even if I could have afforded to, to me it's just laziness.
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Old 15-12-2014, 17:22   #119
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Re: Cost of Cruising

How long is a piece of string?

Re: LED cabin lites, these work well and they last:

LED lighting, soundproof, Sailor's Solutions Inc.

DoctorLED sucks, dead in 3 months. Marnebeam, I dunno?
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Old 15-12-2014, 18:46   #120
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Re: Cost of Cruising

Over the years I have seen many threads covering the cost of cruising, and the sheer number of posts always stopped me from starting to read.
It looks like that the cost of cruising is closely related to the length of a ball of string, but the original poster wanted to exclude the food, drinks, and concentrate on costs of the boat which are not as variable than the former.


Particularly Chuckr and TacomaSailor provided a detailed overview of his costs. Unfortunately because of these details, Tacoma’s expenditure was questioned and he felt he had to justify/clarify the expenses. The aim of this thread is find opinions and experience on these expenses, not to question them.


Sphipmac, Chuckr, Panfiltp, El Pinguino, Group9, JKnSmitty, Wrong and others provided all good insights. Zeehag and Oldragbaggers provided a more philosophical view on the matter.


It seems that the initial original question can only be answered with: “It depends”
· - On how big your boat is
· - On many systems you have on that boat
· - On where you are
· - On much and how hard you sail
· - On how much you can do yourself


Reading the posts, yearly costs range from $500 to …$50,000 (by Group9 12x$4000 was mentioned but no actual expenditure given).


I think it was TacomaSailor who gave a % cost: he came up with 3% of the purchase price for his maintenance cost. I think if you really travelling/cruising (as opposed living on board in one place with some local sailing) then the yearly cost is closer to 5 to 10% of the cost/value of the boat. And when you have a year that the expenses are lower, put that money in the “Oh Sh~t” fund (emergency kitty). I think it was …?….. who said that “we all know sails need to be replaced for certain”. That also goes for rigging, engine, gearbox, refrigeration, steering, electrics, electronics, batteries, all pumps, seacocks, tankage, cordage etc etc.



Therefore the “Oh Sh~t” fund is mainly a fund to cover big ticket items and a cover for the occasional accidents like dismasting, as AnnT.Cate wrote about.


If you are not sailing much and staying more or less in one place 3 to 5% might be realistic as you have built up a network of friends and businesses you can access relatively easily and likely more cheaply. I belonged to this group.
Using a percentage of the boat value rather than a dollar figure, negates to a large degree the variables like size and complexity of the boat.


Lastly I concur with the different slant Hudson Force put on it: “Longevity in a relationship lowers average annual expense and increases value.”
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