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Old 22-10-2017, 08:38   #1
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Another Cost of Maintenance Question

I know there are lots of questions on here about cost of maintenance, but I couldn't find exactly what I'm looking for.

We have always been certain that we would buy a used boat. However, we have tossed a cat into the mix that we would be willing to consider buying new. I'm running financials to figure the cost of ownership. I have pretty good figures on cost to maintain a used cat (thanks to all you fine people here!). However, I do NOT have any idea how to calculate maintenance costs for a new cat. I know that there are always going to be repairs, etc, even if the cat is new.

Should I just calculate minimal for the first 5 years.. then the standard 5-10% after that?
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Old 22-10-2017, 09:40   #2
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Re: Another Cost of Maintenance Question

You'd probably be wise to plan on the 5-10% figure for a new boat too. As used boats come with a lot of basic equipment that new boats don't, & buying it really adds up. Everything from safety gear to docklines. Plus, after owning the boat for a short while you may decide that you want a spinnaker, or some other expensive bit of kit. So if you've already planned a healthy boat budget, even for a new boat, then these kinds of purchases won't be nearly so painful. And you'll find that the items will probably really boost your enjoyment of having & using her.
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Old 22-10-2017, 10:07   #3
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Re: Another Cost of Maintenance Question

It really depends on what you mean when you say a "maintenance" budget. If your idea of boat "maintenance" is to fix things when they break, then yes you might be able to get away with a significantly smaller budget for the first few years of a new boat's life. And of course, it matters greatly if you are supplying your own labor, or if your labor is limited to signing checks.

If you actually plan to MAINTAIN the boat, then costs for the initial years will not be greatly lower than they will be in the long run. Of course, a well maintained boat will, in the long run, be cheaper to keep up to snuff than one run on a "fix it when needed" philosophy.

Think about the number of individual pieces of equipment on a modern sailing cat... hundreds of them. If each item has a maintenance schedule once a year, (and many, if not most, would be more often than that) you have an average of more than one maintenance project a DAY--every day--of every year, even if nothing ever breaks. Of course today's project might be as simple as lubricating the bearings in a block, but it still needs doing for the boat to work.
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Old 22-10-2017, 10:15   #4
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Re: Another Cost of Maintenance Question

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Originally Posted by billknny View Post
It really depends on what you mean when you say a "maintenance" budget. If your idea of boat "maintenance" is to fix things when they break, then yes you might be able to get away with a significantly smaller budget for the first few years of a new boat's life. And of course, it matters greatly if you are supplying your own labor, or if your labor is limited to signing checks.

If you actually plan to MAINTAIN the boat, then costs for the initial years will not be greatly lower than they will be in the long run. Of course, a well maintained boat will, in the long run, be cheaper to keep up to snuff than one run on a "fix it when needed" philosophy.

Think about the number of individual pieces of equipment on a modern sailing cat... hundreds of them. If each item has a maintenance schedule once a year, (and many, if not most, would be more often than that) you have an average of more than one maintenance project a DAY--every day--of every year, even if nothing ever breaks. Of course today's project might be as simple as lubricating the bearings in a block, but it still needs doing for the boat to work.
Never thought of it this way... We are definitely the kind of people that put ourselves on "maintenance schedules"... to prevent surprises as much as possible. So, I would think that those "scheduled maintenance" items would cost the same on a new boat, or a used boat. I mean, filters, lubricants, oil changes, etc.. cost the same on a new boat as on a used. it's the 'fix it' things that are the unknown....
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Old 22-10-2017, 18:02   #5
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Re: Another Cost of Maintenance Question

The other thing about new boats is that it's pretty much the norm for them to have various mechanical, electrical, & sail handling hardware hiccups. Anywhere from leaking ports or deck fittings, to X, Y, or Z being wired or plumbed in improperly.

In an ideal world most of these things might be covered by warranty. But this is the real world, so you have to figure that you'll be sorting some of these things out yourself, or hiring someone else to do so. And either way it can get expensive.

And you also have to figure that you won't always be near a factory authorized service center when problem X pops up. Plus which, some defects in the boat that can be traced back to her original construction & fitting out, may not show up for months, or sometimes years. Though they can wind up being quite costly to fix.

Some to many/most of the above things have been sorted out in a used boat, IF she's been well cared for. And purchasing a boat in this category can save you a lot of coin. Especially as she'll also likely come with all kinds of spare parts, fasteners, paint & varnish, sealing goops, etc. The sum total of which can equate to many thousands of dollars. Sometimes, tens of thousands. Particularly if for example, she has a large sail wardrobe.
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Old 23-10-2017, 15:31   #6
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Re: Another Cost of Maintenance Question

God, we know exactly what you’re talking about. We had a 32’ sailboat and eventually found ourselves with a new cat. When it grew up we were pretty surprised to find out he was a Maine Coon, and with all the hair and extra tonnage, we had to bump up to a 40’ just to stay ahead of the game!
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Old 23-10-2017, 22:59   #7
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Re: Another Cost of Maintenance Question

Initially, either old or new, you'll want some extras the boat didn't come with.
Dingy, electronics, canvas, A sails, solar panels....the list goes on.
While a new boat will be more reliable than used, you have to pay 3x as much for that privillage. And no you don't get it back when you sell it. It's a huge suitcase of greenbacks you'll kiss good bye. After 5 or so yers you have a used boat and will replace minor things occasionally. Big ticket items are sails and rigging after 10 or so years? If you sail year round.
So in summary, your budget decides new or used. If money is no object then buy new and enjoy the shiny gelcoat while it lasts. If you've always bought new cars every 5 to 10 years then I expect that standard will prevail.
Myself, I've never had a car or big boat less than 8 yrs old, and reliability doesn't suffer because of it. Some things just need to be changed every so often.
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Old 24-10-2017, 03:27   #8
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Re: Another Cost of Maintenance Question

I see big factors being overall size, type of engine/drive, and where/how you sail will greatly govern the actual maintenance costs.

Once you are above 50 ft the forces on the sail in a big blow can easily rip battons pockets, damage track cars, and destroy deck blocks. To big multihull owners that cruise in heavy seas and squally conditions these type of maintenance items generate some big $ bills fast.

Volvo engines with sail drives are neat, however, not neat in remote areas of the Pacific where I have seen sailors stranded for weeks waiting for parts. Parts which may carry hefty import duties.

First year on a brand-new boat will likely be your highest cost year for everything except for hull out and bottom paint.

2nd year is likely your lowest.

Then years 3-4 creep back up to 1st year.
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Old 25-10-2017, 02:58   #9
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Re: Another Cost of Maintenance Question

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Originally Posted by pbmaise View Post
I see big factors being overall size, type of engine/drive, and where/how you sail will greatly govern the actual maintenance costs.
Yes, how much, & how a boat is sailed is likely the biggest issue governing upkeep costs.

Once you are above 50 ft the forces on the sail in a big blow can easily rip battons pockets, damage track cars, and destroy deck blocks. To big multihull owners that cruise in heavy seas and squally conditions these type of maintenance items generate some big $ bills fast.
I'm not real clear on why you're saying that the gear on bigger boats is more damage prone than that on mid-sized ones. Might you be kind enough to explain this a bit more please.

Volvo engines with sail drives are neat, however, not neat in remote areas of the Pacific where I have seen sailors stranded for weeks waiting for parts. Parts which may carry hefty import duties.
Yeah, I'm not a big fan of sail drives either, due to maintenance issues. Including that you have to haul the boat out to do what's fairly simple, routine maintenance on boats with regular prop shafts. And there are also more/trickier chores that need doing to keep them mechanically happy.

First year on a brand-new boat will likely be your highest cost year for everything except for hull out and bottom paint.

2nd year is likely your lowest.

Then years 3-4 creep back up to 1st year.
Adding necessities, & then nice to haves, plus toys, to a new boat can drain one's wallet in a hurry. As it's quite easy to spend a significant percentage of what the boat itself costs to fit her out for cruising. And this is true on used boats too, though she'll likely have a fair number of these systems, & equipment already onboard, as opposed to a new boat.
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Old 25-10-2017, 09:21   #10
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Re: Another Cost of Maintenance Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by scarlet View Post
I know there are lots of questions on here about cost of maintenance, but I couldn't find exactly what I'm looking for.

We have always been certain that we would buy a used boat. However, we have tossed a cat into the mix that we would be willing to consider buying new. I'm running financials to figure the cost of ownership. I have pretty good figures on cost to maintain a used cat (thanks to all you fine people here!). However, I do NOT have any idea how to calculate maintenance costs for a new cat. I know that there are always going to be repairs, etc, even if the cat is new.

Should I just calculate minimal for the first 5 years.. then the standard 5-10% after that?
Answering your question requires speculating on a speculation, something almost impossible to do. Kinda like asking "if I had a brother would he like cheese?"; since you don't have a brother there is no way to know if he would like cheese or not.

I hauled out my Seawind for a bottom job recently and had the ECI in one 9.9 Yahaha replaced. The yard manager noted both the outboards were 2012 and indicated he could repower the boat (both engines) for $US6,000 installed. This is just one example of how wide a cost range there is for different boats. I have a composting head and so far the only thing I have done is replace the 50mm exhaust fan with a 90mm fan I bought on ebay, got 10 of them for $US12. No way you can replace a joker valve and hoses for anything close to that; not to mention the blood, sweat, and tears involved.

When my windlass went bad I removed it, took it to my brothers shop, spent a day cleaning it, and went to a local electric shop to buy a new motor for $US89. Sourced the race bearings for about $6. A new windlass would run well over a grand and have plastic parts instead of the metal ones in my old one.

I could go on and on about how the cost of maintaining a boat is boat specific, specific to how much the skipper/crew can do, and where you source things. I have never come close to the 10% estimate; but I do a lot of work myself, try and keep up with the bottom growth, and went to great lengths to buy a boat that is easy to maintain. On my last cruise I was at a dock in Clearwater and talked to the skipper of the boat across from me on the dock. He had an estimate of $US120,000 to replace the engines on his motor boat; and the mechanic said it could well be more.

Without knowing which boat you will buy, how you will sail/cruise it, and the level of your skill to maintain it it is really impossible to answer your question.
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Old 25-10-2017, 09:46   #11
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Re: Another Cost of Maintenance Question

I worked twice for new boats with new owners. I did all cost analysis for these people too and supervised all upgrade / maintenance.

Imho the early years were VERY expensive. New owners wanted new things and repair of some brand new systems entailed extra costs not covered by warranties.

In one case a new +1mio boat swallowed over 250k in extra costs in the first year. In the other case well over 100k - only because the new owner had 'only' this much.

I do not know how you price the downtime too. Both boats had at least 4 months of downtime each in the first year.

My own and biased view is that the minimum cost of running a new boat is from say year 2 to year 5. Before and after they seem always to cost more.

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Old 25-10-2017, 17:29   #12
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Re: Another Cost of Maintenance Question

I wrote:

Once you are above 50 ft the forces on the sail in a big blow can easily rip battons pockets, damage track cars, and destroy deck blocks. To big
multihull owners that cruise in heavy seas and squally conditions these type of maintenance items generate some big $ bills fast.

To which I was asked:
I'm not real clear on why you're saying that the gear on bigger boats is more damage prone than that on mid-sized ones. Might you be kind enough to explain this a bit more please.

My reply:
I own quite a large multihull and when I purchased it I found on board many blocks which were the largest ones available in West Marine. These were damaged from loads which were obviously far greater than they were designed to handle.

Further the mainsail showed evidence of frequent sewing owing to the battens. Pockets and complete batten failure which pierced the center of the mainsail required repairs.

Down below I also found spare sail heads, broken track cars, and broken battons.

Therefore, I was largely playing detective looking at the evidence the original owner left behind.

Clearly there was a learning curve he went through when he jumped from his 40ft trimaran up to a 65ft trimaran.

Further, it demonstrated the limitations when looking in the West Marine catalog to provision a vessel.

.....

The experiences and expenses the previous owner had to cope with is why I am very pleased to allow sailors to laugh all they want at my new rig.

I have a relatively short rig, sliding gaff pole, no track cars, no battons, low loads, and 10 knots under sail is plenty fast enough for me as a cruising sailor.

......

One reason the learning curve is so expensive with my type of sailboat is at 40 feet wide, it doesn't heel and dump the wind. If too much sail is up something is going to break. A broken 80 foot mast and damaged sails is pretty expensive.

So type of vessel and type of rig is going to have to be factored into equations.
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Old 26-10-2017, 07:26   #13
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Re: Another Cost of Maintenance Question

We have a 40' Jeanneau DS40 that we bought new in 2003 - 10 years ago we sold everything and set out - we did the east coast of the USA and Bahamas a couple of times and after the 2nd Bahamas trip we knew what we had to add to the boat if we were going to move on - spent a lot of money on upgrades =
we have now been out 10 years and we spend about 25% of everything we spend on the boat
BUT we have priorities on our spending - first and foremost the boat comes first and we try to keep her in first rate condition - we do about 2,500-3,500 nm a year
our cost for 7 years are in the dollars and cents part of this forum and we break it down into boat repairs, boat upgrades, boat parts and boat supplies
good luck
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Old 26-10-2017, 09:18   #14
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Re: Another Cost of Maintenance Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by pbmaise View Post
I wrote:

Once you are above 50 ft the forces on the sail in a big blow can easily rip battons pockets, damage track cars, and destroy deck blocks. To big
multihull owners that cruise in heavy seas and squally conditions these type of maintenance items generate some big $ bills fast.

To which I was asked:
I'm not real clear on why you're saying that the gear on bigger boats is more damage prone than that on mid-sized ones. Might you be kind enough to explain this a bit more please.

My reply:
I own quite a large multihull and when I purchased it I found on board many blocks which were the largest ones available in West Marine. These were damaged from loads which were obviously far greater than they were designed to handle.

Further the mainsail showed evidence of frequent sewing owing to the battens. Pockets and complete batten failure which pierced the center of the mainsail required repairs.

Down below I also found spare sail heads, broken track cars, and broken battons.

Therefore, I was largely playing detective looking at the evidence the original owner left behind.

Clearly there was a learning curve he went through when he jumped from his 40ft trimaran up to a 65ft trimaran.

Further, it demonstrated the limitations when looking in the West Marine catalog to provision a vessel.

.....

The experiences and expenses the previous owner had to cope with is why I am very pleased to allow sailors to laugh all they want at my new rig.

I have a relatively short rig, sliding gaff pole, no track cars, no battons, low loads, and 10 knots under sail is plenty fast enough for me as a cruising sailor.

......

One reason the learning curve is so expensive with my type of sailboat is at 40 feet wide, it doesn't heel and dump the wind. If too much sail is up something is going to break. A broken 80 foot mast and damaged sails is pretty expensive.

So type of vessel and type of rig is going to have to be factored into equations.
The reason I asked is that I've been sailing most of my life, on boats numbering well into the 3-digit range, & have rarely seen these kinds of failures. Most likely it's due to choosing the correct hardware at the start. As with some of the boats I've sailed, raced, & worked on, the times s**t broke was when the owner bought cheaper, & smaller gear than I'd recommended. Most of the math, & or, expertise for selecting the correct hardware is readily available, & when followed, failures are fairly minimal. Regardless of boat size.
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Old 26-10-2017, 09:58   #15
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Re: Another Cost of Maintenance Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailshabby View Post
God, we know exactly what you’re talking about. We had a 32’ sailboat and eventually found ourselves with a new cat. When it grew up we were pretty surprised to find out he was a Maine Coon, and with all the hair and extra tonnage, we had to bump up to a 40’ just to stay ahead of the game!


That was funny.
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