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Old 01-11-2012, 06:03   #31
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Re: Keeping down maintenance costs for cruisers

From what were reading, it seems that there is an answer after all...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kettlewell View Post
Keep it simple and old school.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptForce View Post
My $380 Garmin Map GPS sits on a piece of PVC pipe with a weighted zip lock bag of gravel in a drink holder at my binnacle. My 1989 Nexus autopilot is "married" to my 1973 Benmardrive pump. My cheap Humminbird depth sounder tells me depth at a fraction of the price.

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Originally Posted by Boracay View Post
The way to keep costs down is to keep the boat size down.
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Originally Posted by carstenb View Post
The most effective way to keep maintenance costs down is to be a DIY (...) A boat can look like hell but be well-maintained
Does one need the modern and "expensive-supposed-to-break-soon" things and gadgets? From the examples above, its an easy math. Of course the boat will probably not be the star in a boat show, but...
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Old 01-11-2012, 06:36   #32
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Re: Keeping down maintenance costs for cruisers

IMO 3 steps:-

1) Buy well (both in condition and in quality).

2) Personal Knowledge (of everything - what needs maintainence and being able to identify problems before they get expensive. Plus what usage is unneccesarily stressing the boat / equipment).

3) DIY - the more you can do the better, not simply for saving money but also by adding to personal knowledge bank (see above). Even when you can't or simply don't want to do something you personally knowing WTF needs doing and how does save money - even if only by folks not being able to BS you).

3 1/2) Less is More - if it ain't onboard, then it don't break, don't require maintanence nor replacement. All a personal choice on comfort / fun levels, no universal rights or wrongs.



You have 3 choices of when maintanence gets done:-

1) Before you buy (by someone else!) - or before you leave (by you!)......it's called putting maintenance into the bank!

2) When using the boat (locally or "out there") - how much of that depends on how much was done (or not done!) at step 1!

3) After you sell (by someone else!).

Obviously in an ideal world the boat would be bought with shiney new and quality stuff onboard (or installed before pushing off to distant places) - all good to go (for 7-10 years) with only preventative maintanence done along the way.......and the refit sold to someone else a few years down the line ........but in practice likely that will be a mix of steps 1 and 2 (i.e. if your sails are 5 years old - does it make sense to replace with new now, or in a few years time?......same for a squillion other things, where it makes sense to wait until something breaks or is not unreasonable to take a punt on.......electronics don't all suddently go pop after 5 or 10 years).

My guess is that many of the "Horror stories" come from folks buying boats based on the boat size and attractiveness of the scatter cushions in the lounge plus the number of gizmos installed (hey, we all like gizmos ). Whereas if the money was spent instead on something that didn't have the build quality (and life expectancy) of veneered MDF Kitchen cupboards might also find that the fixtures and fittings also installed were also longer lived.......the most expensive route to buying a boat is in parts - off the shelves of a Chandler (same as for buying a car).

and of course the old favourite of confusing being able to purchase something with being able to afford to. Everything is too expensive when you don't have the money.

and IMO being able to live without certain things (aircon?) is a useful cost saver, whether that is permanently (if it's not onboard it can't break!) or only temporaily until fixing becomes cheaper / less of a PITA.....everyone has own comfort level on stuff.

BTW the above not saying that old and heavy is the way to go - in ye goode olde days plenty of ***** boats were built ........but Google pretty good at identifying those after a couple of decades . and sometimes less .


Quote:
Originally Posted by ArtM View Post
What are the costs?

- Broken running gear
- Corroded parts
- Worn out sails and lines

Answer: start with quality and learn how to maintain and to use without abusing.

- Faded, peeling, cracking gelcoats

Faded - Live with! (and pay at resale - or the repaint in 10 years. or carry on living with).

Peeling - Not sure if that is Osmosis repair or delam. On either the cheap answer is to buy neither! For that some decent boat history on the internet is priceless - plus seeing a few examples yourself (including at below price / condition point of what you intend to buy at).

Cracking Gelcoats - don't drop stuff on the decks! If it's stress related then you bought the wrong boat (unless the brochure proudly claimed that the boat was designed to flex so much it starts cracking the gelcoat).


- Damaged hulls - Answer: Don't hit stuff!

- Blister maintenance - Answer: A bit of pre-purchase research on the boat builder / models, plus keeping fingers crossed! "they all do that" is not a good answer.

- and bottom painting - Answer: suck it up . The cheap way is to antifoul in a tidal region where it is legal to do so between tides (on the beach or on drying pads). No tidal range? Sh#t outta luck . Learn to swim / dive .

So it seems to me that, given this, there would be value in creating materials and designs that would minimize or even eliminate these costs.

- What do you do to minimize maintenance costs?
- Would you post your maintenance budget?
- Is it possible, or cost feasible to build cruising sailboats with almost no parts that would break, corrode, fade, or wear out?
- What are the barriers to getting more widespread adoption of better, more durable technology into these boats?

Folks claim they want "the best" (quality that will last a 1000 years, and survive a thermonuclear strike) - but the Market says that most won't pay for that.....indeed, IMO most would be silly to do so.

Unsurpisingly, no easy answers - if there were that would take half the fun of boats away .
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Old 01-11-2012, 06:46   #33
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Re: Keeping down maintenance costs for cruisers

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Originally Posted by Bash View Post
Too many people start out wondering what is the biggest boat they can afford. A better question might be, "What's the biggest boat you can maintain?"
BINGO! Here's the issue in a nutshell.

I would make only a slight modification. Instead of asking, what's the biggest boat you can maintain? My suggestion would be to ask, what's the SMALLEST boat that will serve my needs? That smaller boat is going to be less expensive to buy in the first place, and easier and less expensive to maintain over the long run.
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Old 01-11-2012, 07:00   #34
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Re: Keeping Down Maintenance Costs for Cruisers

Yup...The easiest way to reduce maintenance costs is to eliminate systems. If it's NOT on board it can't break... Take all of your land based habits and addictions with you, and yes, you'll be doing repairs,, And worse yet, you'll be cruising from one repair facility to the next... All the while you're not having any fun because your ice maker is broken and you can't live w/o ice.
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Old 01-11-2012, 07:06   #35
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Re: Keeping down maintenance costs for cruisers

Quote:
Originally Posted by David_Old_Jersey View Post
Less is More - if it ain't onboard, then it don't break, don't require maintanence nor replacement.
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Old 01-11-2012, 07:22   #36
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Re: Keeping Down Maintenance Costs for Cruisers

The only way to keep costs down is to maintain systems and DIY. Lots of times if you pay to get it done by someone else the labor is more than the parts.

I don't believe that a used part is always all that cost effective. Most of the time the savings compared to doing the work is minor and you later regret it.

I don't really believe that costs scale to boat size as much as gets stated. Some instead of being measured as the replacement cost should be compared on a cost/mile or cost/hour used.

Lots of things that cost a lot are things that are really not even needed except that it makes sailing more enjoyable.

Over the last 2 years my maintenance costs are $5224 or $2612/yr. But the most expensive part of that was to replace a 10 year autopilot and have repairs to my 10 year old head sail done. If I would to take those 2 items and average them out for the 10 years of use the yearly cost would be about $1900. And my boat is in good condition and I'm not letting it fall apart.

The extreme bitterness of poor quality is remembered long after the sweetness of a cheap price is forgotten!
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Old 01-11-2012, 07:23   #37
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Re: Keeping down maintenance costs for cruisers

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Originally Posted by denverd0n View Post
.................. Instead of asking, what's the biggest boat you can maintain? My suggestion would be to ask, what's the SMALLEST boat that will serve my needs?.................
I'm all for this! The only reason we're on a 41' is that we had our two teenage children with us and though they moved away long ago we've remained. Before children we did well with 30'. If I were alone 25' would do well. We've had our 41' for 27 years, but if we move we'll be looking for something under 35'. I think most who are accustomed to the space in houses don't realized how small can function. For me a large boat would be a mobility, financial and maintenance handicap.
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Old 01-11-2012, 08:04   #38
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Re: Keeping down maintenance costs for cruisers

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So why was it going to cost the guy $5000 for titanium as opposed to $3000 for SS in post #5? That's a little more than 1%.

I would think the manufacture of the chainplates would be the same, the only difference would be the material.

Is it something in how titanium has to be shaped?
It's not the shaping its the amount of material. A titanium chainplate can be about 1/2 the size of a stainless one if it is designed that way because titanium is so much stronger. On a retrofit sometimes we are constrained by the size of the rest of the system, not by the strength of what we need. So a stainless part that's lets say has a cross section area of 2 inches, in titanium could be 1 inch.

On really highly engineered parts we can actually go even smaller. Most of the material in a chainplate is actually there for corrosion allowance not strength, so since titanium doesn't corrode we just have to match the strength of the wire. Which gets down to some scary small chainplates. They were something like 1/4" x 1" chainplates for a Columbia 50.
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Old 01-11-2012, 08:10   #39
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Re: Keeping Down Maintenance Costs for Cruisers

Hmmm.....a wild thought just struck. A titanium mast! Drools on beard, reaches for lottery ticket....
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Old 01-11-2012, 08:57   #40
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Re: Keeping Down Maintenance Costs for Cruisers

Really excellent advice here ; many hard lessons and much disapointment and/ or broken dreams can be avoided by following the sage advice above. Too many who have 'the dream' try to recreate their land life afloat while providing for every possible contingency,they often will end up with overly complicated craft that will prove impractical for reasons that will only become apparent after time.
Your boat may become your home but it will never be a house .I suppose those with VERY DEEP pockets can fund a seagoing life style without any compromises, but the rest of us mortals should be thinking in terms of what is realistically possible and practical.
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Old 01-11-2012, 10:21   #41
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Re: Keeping Down Maintenance Costs for Cruisers

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If I would to take those 2 items and average them out for the 10 years of use the yearly cost would be about $1900. And my boat is in good condition and I'm not letting it fall apart.
A few hundred a month is much more acceptable. A person could earn that (if need be) doing odd jobs.

A few thousand a month, on maintenance and repairs alone, seems extreme and would be a major challenge even for the very well funded cruiser.
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Old 01-11-2012, 10:28   #42
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Re: Keeping Down Maintenance Costs for Cruisers

Insurance, registration, depreciation, fuel, oil and berthage will far exceed maintenance costs....
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Old 01-11-2012, 10:39   #43
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Re: Keeping Down Maintenance Costs for Cruisers

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Hmmm.....a wild thought just struck. A titanium mast! Drools on beard, reaches for lottery ticket....
Won't work. Aluminium will be lighter. Not that I don't look into it too. Because masts are in compression not tension and the stiffness of the metals is pretty similar. You might be able to reduce the size by 5% or so, but that's it.
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Old 01-11-2012, 10:41   #44
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Re: Keeping Down Maintenance Costs for Cruisers

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What do you do to minimize maintenance costs?
We focused on this when we built hawk, and there were three very clear answers:

#1 install as few systems as possible
#2 for the systems that are being installed, pick ones with as few moving parts as possible
#3 install as little 'yachting finish' (eg varnish and gloss paint) as possible

I can tell you after 14 years now, that, if you actually follow thru, the above do work to vastly reduce maintenance.
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Old 01-11-2012, 10:49   #45
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Re: Keeping Down Maintenance Costs for Cruisers

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Won't work. Aluminium will be lighter. Not that I don't look into it too. Because masts are in compression not tension and the stiffness of the metals is pretty similar. You might be able to reduce the size by 5% or so, but that's it.
A mast needs to bend or prebent to suit MOST applications, there's not much better than aluminium for the masses and certainly for a cruising boat.
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