I have a friend, a sailor for over 60 years, who has owned the same boat for over 30 years. He's in his mid-80's now and told my husband and I, from his wise viewpoint of all his boat-owning years, to just remember a couple things:
The principle thing to remember is that the "needs" of the boat will take everything you've got--in terms of time and money--and then some. The only thing to save you from this is a competing asset like a house or perhaps kids
in college. You can't keep your kids
in college forever, they'll eventually have PhD's and be on their own. Then you'll have to face the boat's appetite straight on and hopefully hold your ground.
Remember, the projects are never done.
It all starts with the maintenance work...there will always be "improvement" projects you'll do because as things wear out you won't be able to replace them in kind either because they're no longer available or because better ways of doing things have come along since you did it the first time.
In addition to the huge number of maintenance-sparked projects mentioned above, there will also be the envy-projects and the fear-projects. The boat will work hard to make sure you generate your own envy and fear. Those are just as they sound.
Envy-projects: Others have it, therefore my boat must have it. How would it look if mine were the only boat without X (fill in the blank). When my friend started cruising, he said X started in the 60's with a holding tank
, then a roller furler
, and progressed to refrigeration
and wind charging
, and RDF and then Sat-Nav and then radar
and then a fancy custom mattress then a Tank Tender
and a chart plotter and so on...
Fear-projects: These can be coupled with the envy to become very convincingly needy. Almost all things electronic can make their way here--"my god, what do I DO without a SATPHONE? I could die of appendicitis out there!" and "I NEED a watermaker
for when the world as we know it comes to an end..." and the classic would be something along the lines of "I was lucky I didn't fall of the boat whilst going to the mast
to reef in that squall therefore I'm going to change my sails
and boom and have in-boom furling
so I never, never have to leave the cockpit
My sailing liveaboard
friend is no longer cruising and he's now on a fixed income
of social security
, no savings left (thanks to the boat and a couple kids with PhD's...) but he still spends more each month on boat maintenance than he spends on transport, food
, and his own medical
care. Think about it. The projects are never done.