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Old 01-11-2012, 11:13   #46
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Re: Keeping Down Maintenance Costs for Cruisers

If the smallest boat that meets your "needs" is bigger than the biggest boat you can afford to maintain then you need reexamine your "needs". If you are not honest with yourself then you will probably experience a slow, painful destruction of your finances and your boat.

If you have not owned a bigger boat before do not underestimate the cost of repairs and maintenance. The "scary" stories I read about repairs are often posted by newer boat owners who were not prepared for the cost of owning a boat and/or are without the skills to D.I.Y.

The only ways to mitigate cost are to be paranoid about maintenance, K.I.S.S. and D.I.Y. If you choose to D.I.Y., you will soon understand why boat yards charge so much, high quality work takes time, experience and care.

No, I am not a boat yard owner nor am I trying to peddle titanium. I've just owned (and own) enough boats to have experienced this heart ache first hand.
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Old 01-11-2012, 11:26   #47
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Re: Keeping Down Maintenance Costs for Cruisers

+ 1 on the reduction of systems. Some ideas, that I am sure most of you have already thought of:
1. No hot water. Eliminates electrical connections, engine connections (heater loop) and a bunch of plumbing.
2. No electric demand pumps. Foot pumps only.
3. Minimal electronics, if networked, go NMEA 2000 (not 0183), as it is the simplest to install and configure.
4. A simple sail plan that can be serviced with a minimum of sails.
5. No generator
6. No AC systems. Instead, install a very good sine-wave inverter, easily accessible so that you can plug directly into the unit.
7. No heating/cooling. If you do indeed need heat, then install stand-alone heater, diesel or kero, that has a flue.

Install everything with an eye to being able to access the gear in question. If you cannot get to it, you will not maintain it.

Chris
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Old 01-11-2012, 12:45   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArtM
How do you locate them? How much does that save you?
We found a complete used diesel eng and tranny with low hours. So far the small things I have used off if it would have added up to 3x what we paid for it.
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Old 01-11-2012, 13:01   #49
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Re: Keeping Down Maintenance Costs for Cruisers

Something that just struck me is noone has mentioned what to me is likely the best savings in repair work you could make...

Before heading out, go take a semester long class in Diesel engine repair, and electronic installation. Most community colleges will have something along these lines, and the ability to really work on your own stuff will make a world of difference in what you have to pay for, and how much you will have to pay.

Just being able to act as the assistant for a professional mechanic may save you as much as $80/hr, and if you can do a lot of the simple work like disassembly before the mechanic gets there, so all he has to do is fix the complicated stuff, you can save thousands on some repairs.

The same goes for electronics, and being able to chase down electrical problems.

Learning how to sew, and do simple rigging work (splicing, adding grommets, ect) can also save you huge down the line. Every time I see someone spending $50 a splice it just hurts my feelings, particularly since I know it took the rigger about 15 minutes.
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Old 01-11-2012, 13:44   #50
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Re: Keeping Down Maintenance Costs for Cruisers

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If you cannot get to it, you will not maintain it.

Chris
+1

and +1000 when it comes to the engine(s!). Probably the best money saver is a hydraulic ram on the engine hatch - fitted by the PO!.....would give half a chance for him to have had a peak at least now and again because access was so easy, and maybe also even have put a spanner on from time to time. maybe......
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Old 01-11-2012, 14:00   #51
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Re: Keeping Down Maintenance Costs for Cruisers

how to keep repair costs down, even with a 41 ft boat--find out what might break and deal with it BEFORE IT IS EMERGENT PROBLEM. saves many dollars and much stress....
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Old 01-11-2012, 14:06   #52
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Re: Keeping Down Maintenance Costs for Cruisers

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Before heading out, go take a semester long class in Diesel engine repair, and electronic installation. Most community colleges will have something along these lines, and the ability to really work on your own stuff will make a world of difference in what you have to pay for, and how much you will have to pay. .
Great suggestion. As it happens, I have a lot of mechanical and electronics knowledge. When something breaks, I know what is wrong with it, and what is needed to fix it.

My trouble is that I am not good with tools I often end up damaging nearly as many parts as I repair! The repeated trips to the hardware store to pick up specialized tools, parts, and supplies negates much of that savings.

So one of my "money saving plans" is to buy a very expensive (read "high quality") set of tools, install very durable parts - the best I can find, and have a big supply of solvents, oils, and anything else that will help assure that I don't break more than I fix!

Being older and wiser now than when I was younger will also help - I think. I believe impatience has been one of my impediments to being a better mechanic.
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Old 01-11-2012, 14:12   #53
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Re: Keeping Down Maintenance Costs for Cruisers

at least you can hold tools--i have to hire folks to do my work as i am not physically able to use the tools any more.
money saving plans donot work. you have to do that by accident. emergencies spring up to remove the best planned savings from your grasp. btdt...
i am making my 41 formosa cruise out of country on limited income--is easier to do things when not having to spend entire income on food and monthly expenses---now i spend it on repairs , fuel, and getting out of one locale for another...is awesome. is do able on little dough--so is finding a decent boat for hardly any money.
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Old 01-11-2012, 14:27   #54
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Re: Keeping Down Maintenance Costs for Cruisers

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Originally Posted by zeehag View Post
i am making my 41 formosa cruise out of country on limited income--is easier to do things when not having to spend entire income on food and monthly expenses---now i spend it on repairs , fuel, and getting out of one locale for another...is awesome. is do able on little dough--so is finding a decent boat for hardly any money.
I hope we get to meet you the next time we're in the islands. Currently planning a cruise in February (i.e. on a cruise ship) which doesn't leave a lot of time for visiting, but if you're there I'd enjoy meeting you, your boat, and your cat!
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Old 01-11-2012, 15:50   #55
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Re: Keeping Down Maintenance Costs for Cruisers

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My trouble is that I am not good with tools I often end up damaging nearly as many parts as I repair! The repeated trips to the hardware store to pick up specialized tools, parts, and supplies negates much of that savings.
One technique I have learned through much trial and error is to stop, think, and ponder. In other words, if I find some repair isn't going the way I expect, stop! Then it is usually a very good idea to leave the repair, make myself a drink, maybe go swimming or read a book, and then sleep on it. Then, in the morning, with the mind and body refreshed, pull out the books, look at the problem from every angle, ponder! Much time spent pondering the problem often reveals a new and better way to tackle the issue that seemed insurmountable, and often prevents the hasty attack of the problem that leads to damage and breakage beyond the original issue. Also, it is very rare that you can spend more on a specialized tool than you would spend for a repairman's time, and then you have the tool forever. Once in a great while some repair requires something that you are unlikely to have onboard, like a hydraulic press or a lathe, and you need to enlist a machine shop or other professional to help, but you can often reduce the price of the repair by half or more by doing the disassembly and reassembly. Then taking the parts to an industrial or automotive place, instead of the marine repair shop, can make a big difference too. Some things, like electronics, are often cheaper to just replace than to attempt any repair in the field, but it is often very cheap to send them off for a fix at the factory.
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Old 01-11-2012, 16:01   #56
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Re: Keeping Down Maintenance Costs for Cruisers

My favourite technique is 'go for it'.

I have found that most things are actually way easier to fix than we assume.

The remainder has to be counted as collateral damage.

b.
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Old 01-11-2012, 16:09   #57
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Re: Keeping Down Maintenance Costs for Cruisers

Quote:
Originally Posted by witzgall View Post
+ 1 on the reduction of systems. Some ideas, that I am sure most of you have already thought of:
1. No hot water. Eliminates electrical connections, engine connections (heater loop) and a bunch of plumbing.
2. No electric demand pumps. Foot pumps only.
3. Minimal electronics, if networked, go NMEA 2000 (not 0183), as it is the simplest to install and configure.
4. A simple sail plan that can be serviced with a minimum of sails.
5. No generator
6. No AC systems. Instead, install a very good sine-wave inverter, easily accessible so that you can plug directly into the unit.
7. No heating/cooling. If you do indeed need heat, then install stand-alone heater, diesel or kero, that has a flue.

Install everything with an eye to being able to access the gear in question. If you cannot get to it, you will not maintain it.

Chris
I do like this concept; however, I don't comply with any of the seven on the list. There seems to be a huge mix of factors that keep costs down. I think that DIY may be a large advantage for me as well as having more than forty years liveaboard cruising. One other thing that helps me keep costs low is having been on the same boat for 27 years. Knowing your boat and all the systems is a big advantage.
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Old 01-11-2012, 16:24   #58
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Re: Keeping Down Maintenance Costs for Cruisers

Maybe it is too obvious, but buying non-marine can save a lot, and often gets you better quality. For example, figure out which automotive oil filters your engine takes and buy them at WalMart for $3-$9 each. Same with engine oil--can't beat standard Rotella, Delvac, or Delo diesel oil at WM prices. I purchase 3M silicone sealant at Home Depot and Lowes for a lot less than in the marine stores, and it is identical stuff. Some of the best chafing gear I have found is nylon climbing webbing, which is really a hollow tube of woven nylon. The reason I bought it is that it appears to be identical to some I saw in a marine store for about five times the price. There are many automotive, truck, and industrial alternators that are far superior to most so-called marine alternators, at a fraction of the price. Sams Club golf cart and mobility batteries are the same as the marine ones sold at West Marine, only half the price. For water systems a bunch of folks on here recommend Pex plumbing from Home Depot or Lowes. I also frequently buy my reinforced nylon and PVC hose there for a lot less than at the marine stores. There is zero difference between the small fire extinguishers you buy at WM and the same ones, but in white, you buy at marine stores. The next time you need anchor chain check with your local industrial supply place. They may not stock the galvanized chain you need, but they can probably get it on the next truck shipment in and at a good price. It goes on and on.
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Old 01-11-2012, 16:47   #59
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Re: Keeping Down Maintenance Costs for Cruisers

yer gonna want a generator, an you are really gonna want a honda. only way to keep down costs. get good quality and buy only once.
prepare for failure so it doesnt happen. when something fails, everything seems to go at one time. try to prevent that......
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Old 01-11-2012, 16:49   #60
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Re: Keeping Down Maintenance Costs for Cruisers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kettlewell View Post
Maybe it is too obvious, but buying non-marine can save a lot, and often gets you better quality. For example, figure out which automotive oil filters your engine takes and buy them at WalMart for $3-$9 each. Same with engine oil--can't beat standard Rotella, Delvac, or Delo diesel oil at WM prices. I purchase 3M silicone sealant at Home Depot and Lowes for a lot less than in the marine stores, and it is identical stuff. Some of the best chafing gear I have found is nylon climbing webbing, which is really a hollow tube of woven nylon. The reason I bought it is that it appears to be identical to some I saw in a marine store for about five times the price. There are many automotive, truck, and industrial alternators that are far superior to most so-called marine alternators, at a fraction of the price. Sams Club golf cart and mobility batteries are the same as the marine ones sold at West Marine, only half the price. For water systems a bunch of folks on here recommend Pex plumbing from Home Depot or Lowes. I also frequently buy my reinforced nylon and PVC hose there for a lot less than at the marine stores. There is zero difference between the small fire extinguishers you buy at WM and the same ones, but in white, you buy at marine stores. The next time you need anchor chain check with your local industrial supply place. They may not stock the galvanized chain you need, but they can probably get it on the next truck shipment in and at a good price. It goes on and on.
I always wonder about this sort of thing.

I mean, let's face it, the marine community is constantly charged higher than the corresponding "land-based" item.

Is there really a difference? LED's made for your closet work just the same on the interior of your boat. The galvanized chain used for between poles in a playground is the same as the one you use for your anchor ( just 3x the price).

Everyone seems to say,"Oh yeah. It's marine. Small audience, big R&D." and that may be true for refrigerators and watermakers, but anchor chain, propane stoves, ballcock valves, etc. Really?
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