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Old 24-02-2014, 11:05   #1
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cost question

I'm sorry to ask, yet ANOTHER cost question... I've read through everything I can find on the forum, and frankly.. I'm more confused than ever.. so, I'm hoping I can break it down into a few easy questions:

1. I've read mention over and over on this forum to calculate 10% of the cost of the boat for maintainance... per year... Is that a good ball park?
2. does that include Insurance and dockage fees, haulout and dry dock over the hurricane season? or should I calculate more for that? (I already have the figures of 1-2% per year for insurance... and about $20 per foot for dockage)
And lastly.. the complicated one..

3. if maintainance is 10% a year, that would mean $20,000 a year on a $200,000 boat... and $50,000 a year on a $500,000 boat. Lets assume that both boats are 45'... that's a HUGE difference! over a 10 year period that's $300,000 MORE for the more expensive boat.. that doesn't seem to make sense.. assuming both boats have, basically the same LOA and beam... and the equiptment (albeit different age and quality) Can someone break that down for me?
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Old 24-02-2014, 11:11   #2
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Re: cost question

It's a ballpark, from-the-hip estimate.

Your mileage can, and will vary, depending on how you view maintenance, and doesn't include slip fees or insurance.

If you want, make it 8% instead. Or even 5%.

It's not that exact a science, and you can certainly adjust it, but you should be planning something in.
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Old 24-02-2014, 11:21   #3
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Re: cost question

expenses are a lifestyle choice. its very easy to blow 10% a year on maintenance and repair, $20 a foot in a nice marina with all the comforts, hull insurance, meals out etc. theres a reason yachting is considered a rich mans activity. you can and many do fire-hose boat bucks into it.
the other approach would be to do your own maintenance/repairs, and not just to save money on labor but to know your boat better. live on the hook or a mooring, great exercise paddling/swimming to and from the boat. carry liability insurance only, this forces you to make better decisions. keep your boat as simple as possible, the less there is the less to break. learn to really sail and mothball the diesel.
ive been on boats that cruised on literally a couple of dollars a day and we had a blast. the lifestyle is what you end up paying for...
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Old 24-02-2014, 11:44   #4
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Re: cost question

I think 10% is a crude example. I rarely spent that much once the boat was outfitted and being cruised. You need to make your own list for a particular boat and location. It's easy to go two years without new bottom paint in the northern cold waters. Not so much in southern climes... etc
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Old 24-02-2014, 11:50   #5
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Re: cost question

Scarlet, those who use the 10% figure do not include docking/storage on the hard as they are not maintenance costs. An annual haul-out for anti-fouling etc., would be included. Please keep in mind that many cruisers prefer to anchor their boats and use dockage only from time to time.

In addition, I don't think that anyone is suggesting that the 10% per year figure would apply to all boats. Certainly, over the first several years of ownership of a new boat, that would be extremely high. When dealing with a used boat, it is contingent upon the age and condition of the used boat at the start of service for the new owner. In your hypothetical, if one 45 foot boat costs $500K and another $200K, we can assume that the more expensive boat is much newer (if not new) and in much better condition. In those circumstances the yearly maintenance could actually be less (if not much less) than on the cheaper boat.

You must keep in mind that sails, standing and running rigging, canvass, diesels, hatches, portllights, equipment and electronics all have a limited life expectancy. Life expectancy will vary with not only age, but also use/abuse.

The diesels on my 20 year old cat have about 3400 hours and have been meticulously maintained (including rebuilt injection systems, frequent oil/filter changes, and other parts replacements as required). I fully expect to get 6000 plus hours out of them with continued good maintenance, although can expect some additional repairs during that period of time. Recently replaced diesels are, therefore, a very good thing on a used boat. Diesels on boats from the charter trade that have 5-6000 hours, however, are ones which will have a limited additional life-expectancy regardless of their age. Remember, replacement is very expensive - to replace my two Yanmar 3 gm30's would currently cost about $25,000.00.

Sails are also expensive - on a 45 foot cat, you could expect to pay about $15,000.00 for new working sails from a recognized loft (to say nothing of any storm sails, drifters, spinnakers). Here, life expectancy depends upon not only age, but use/abuse and the quality of the sails to begin with. Most boats coming off charter will have only working sails and they will generally be at the end of the their life-expectancy. In my 4 years of ownership, I have purchased a new mainsail, staysail and am replacing my genoa this year. I have puchased 'offshore' quality sails and expect them to last about 7-8 years, with a likely need to be recut in the interim, (once being used on a full-time basis - my present 4 - 5 month per year use in fresh water would allow them to last much longer).

Standing rigging should last for about 7-8 years in a salt water environment and the cost can easily get into the $4K to 5K range on a 45 foot boat. Items such as lifelines will also need sporadic replacement - especially if the boat is equipped with the typical vinyl covered lines that trap moisture/salt around the wire. Figure on $ 2- 3K to replace these with high quality, 1X19 wire and fittings for a dual lifeline/gate set-up. Life expectancy for vinyl covered wire is also about 5-7 years, depending upon use (more in a fresh water environment).

Batteries - it depends upon the brand, type and whether or not they were abused. Even if charging was carefully monitored, 7 years is about tops for most 'golf cart' type lead-acid batteries. To replace the house bank/starter batteries/windlass battery on a 45 foot cat intended for long-range cruising can easily run $3 to 5K.

Hatches, portlights and fixed portlights will also eventually need replacing and 10 years, in my experience, seems about tops if the boat is used continuously in tropical areas and the windows have not been covered. Depending upon the number and size of hatches/ports, it would not be difficult to spend $10K even if they are sef-installed. I am in the process of replacing all of the hatches/ports on my boat and it was a northern, fresh water boat for all but 3 1/2 years of her life.

A canvass dodger, bimini, sail cover can also run into the $5-$8K range (my custom bimini/full cockpit enclosure cost $5K alone). Life with full time use is probably 5-7 years with window replacment along the way.

Anyway, I am sure you get the idea. That is why, when shopping for a used boat, the price can vary so much. The boat with low hours on the diesels and recent sails/rigging can end up being much cheaper, even in the relatively short-term. For that reason it is very wise to avoid paying too much attention to the listed price of two boats of the same vintage as condition and likely high-ticket maintenance/replacement costs can change the picture dramatically.

Brad
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Old 24-02-2014, 11:55   #6
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Re: cost question

Maybe the real point is that systems on boats wear out or become obsolete in 7-10 years.

If you don't plan for that, your boat will join the host of boats out there with non-functional or marginal systems, so you might as well plan ahead for it and not be surprised.
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Old 24-02-2014, 12:05   #7
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Re: cost question

Quote:
Originally Posted by robwilk37 View Post
expenses are a lifestyle choice. its very easy to blow 10% a year on maintenance and repair, $20 a foot in a nice marina with all the comforts, hull insurance, meals out etc. theres a reason yachting is considered a rich mans activity. you can and many do fire-hose boat bucks into it.
the other approach would be to do your own maintenance/repairs, and not just to save money on labor but to know your boat better. live on the hook or a mooring, great exercise paddling/swimming to and from the boat. carry liability insurance only, this forces you to make better decisions. keep your boat as simple as possible, the less there is the less to break. learn to really sail and mothball the diesel.
ive been on boats that cruised on literally a couple of dollars a day and we had a blast. the lifestyle is what you end up paying for...
I think we would want to go somewhere in the middle. We are planning on doing alot of anchoring... which will save.. and we would probably do almost all of the small maintainance stuff ourselves. We would leave the tough stuff.. (like engine work, etc.. ) to the experts.
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Old 24-02-2014, 12:23   #8
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Re: cost question

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Originally Posted by letsgetsailing3 View Post
Maybe the real point is that systems on boats wear out or become obsolete in 7-10 years.

If you don't plan for that, your boat will join the host of boats out there with non-functional or marginal systems, so you might as well plan ahead for it and not be surprised.
We are looking at keeping our boat for 10 years. We are meticulous with our house and cars, so it is reasonable to assume that we will also be meticulous with our Cat. so, more than likely, everything will be replaced at least once during our ownership..

I guess this question isn't so much about "cost of maintainance" as it is about "cost of ownership". I'm trying to find that "sweet spot" (the balance between a good quality boat, that is comfortable for us, and not breaking the bank). And there are so many factors.

I know it's difficult to estimate the cost of ownership for one year.. as you never know when an engine will die.. or sails need replacing. But, it should be easier to estimate an overall average for 10 years.

I just want to make sure that we don't overbuy, or underbuy. If we could keep our 'cost of ownership' at about 50% of our income..amoratized over 10 years.. that would be about perfect...

I'm just lost as far as estimating that..
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Old 24-02-2014, 12:54   #9
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Re: cost question

its the "experts" who charge expert prices. maintaining a diesel isnt rocket science and neither is rebuilding one. same with sail repair, electrical, fiberglass etc. you can find a youtube video for just about any task. my point is you can choose to pay or you can choose to do it yourself, and that decision will have an enormous impact on your cost of ownership.
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Old 24-02-2014, 13:03   #10
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Re: cost question

10% is nothing more than a SWAG number. New or used doesn't really play that much into it in general terms.

While an older boat may have a failing watermaker, it may be relatively simple to replace as all the plumbing and thru hulls already exist. A new boat may not only need a watermaker, but you may need thru hulls, wiring and other complications sorted out. (not suggesting you need a watermaker by the way).

Also, it's often highly variable. You may have a year where you spend 2% and the next year, the engine could sieze up, a sail gets shreded in a storm and leak causes rot and suddenly you spend 20-30%.

Being new to boats, I would suggest erring on the high side but don't count on it being an exact number.
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Old 24-02-2014, 13:06   #11
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I don't know what the "right" percentage is but that's not the point. The point is that boats cost a significant amount to maintain. Those costs tend to increase as the square of the length so a 40 boat is twice as long as a 20 foot boat but will cost 4x as much to maintain. Whoever it was that pointed out that a lot of the boat systems wear out on a 10 year life cycle made a good point. In our case (30+ year old powerboat) that 10% figure has been pretty close for 4x years of ownership.
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Old 24-02-2014, 13:33   #12
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Re: cost question

Quote:
Originally Posted by scarlet View Post
We are looking at keeping our boat for 10 years. We are meticulous with our house and cars, so it is reasonable to assume that we will also be meticulous with our Cat. so, more than likely, everything will be replaced at least once during our ownership..

I guess this question isn't so much about "cost of maintainance" as it is about "cost of ownership". I'm trying to find that "sweet spot" (the balance between a good quality boat, that is comfortable for us, and not breaking the bank). And there are so many factors.

I know it's difficult to estimate the cost of ownership for one year.. as you never know when an engine will die.. or sails need replacing. But, it should be easier to estimate an overall average for 10 years.

I just want to make sure that we don't overbuy, or underbuy. If we could keep our 'cost of ownership' at about 50% of our income..amoratized over 10 years.. that would be about perfect...

I'm just lost as far as estimating that..
So plan conservatively, then. 10% probably isn't a bad way to go.

That's maintenance and upgrades. Plan separately for insurance and docking fees, but those things are easy to accurately estimate. If you plan 10% a year over 10 years, you're probably in the correct ballpark with room to spare. At least then you'll have a choice about whether to replace things or not.
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Old 24-02-2014, 13:34   #13
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Re: cost question

If cost is an issue, going with as small a boat as you can live with is imperative. The bigger the boat, the more it costs to maintain and the more replacement stuff costs. Also, the less likely you'll be able to do the replacement/repairs yourself. Southern Star has given a very good representation of what is involved in maintaining a boat. Think his estimates are a bit on the rich side but the summary of what things will need attention is excellent.

Our previous boat cost us very little to maintain for the 10 years we owned it. Other than a bottom job every 3 years or so, slip fees, and insurance. Did all the maintenance to systems and diesel myself. The boat was new when we bought it. The subsequent owner paid for our 10 years of our good fortune not because the boat wasn't maintained but that things like rigging, sails, diesel, etc just got old. They had to replace the rigging, sails and, eventually, the diesel. They did get very good use out of the boat, however. They did a sailing charter business before leaving for SoPac and cruising for years.

My current boat has a similar history but I'm the owner much down the line who's gotten to pay for the aging components. Boat came with a new diesel but the sails were shot, the rigging old and a bunch of leaks that required refinishing the deck to cure. Probably in the neighborhood of $3000 a year for upkeep and improvements. Still, didn't pay a whole lot for the boat so the ratio of cost of boat to maintenance is pretty high. but a whole lot less than buying a new boat.
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Old 24-02-2014, 13:38   #14
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Re: cost question

Quote:
Originally Posted by scarlet View Post
We are looking at keeping our boat for 10 years. We are meticulous with our house and cars, so it is reasonable to assume that we will also be meticulous with our Cat. so, more than likely, everything will be replaced at least once during our ownership..

I guess this question isn't so much about "cost of maintainance" as it is about "cost of ownership". I'm trying to find that "sweet spot" (the balance between a good quality boat, that is comfortable for us, and not breaking the bank). And there are so many factors.

I know it's difficult to estimate the cost of ownership for one year.. as you never know when an engine will die.. or sails need replacing. But, it should be easier to estimate an overall average for 10 years.

I just want to make sure that we don't overbuy, or underbuy. If we could keep our 'cost of ownership' at about 50% of our income..amoratized over 10 years.. that would be about perfect...

I'm just lost as far as estimating that..
As mentioned the 10% guesstimate is a "running average". Some years will be less, some will be more based on what needs replacement in a given year.

One reason more expensive boats of a given length cost more to maintain is that they generally have more complicated and expensive systems. Generators, inverters, solar and wind power, etc. all add up very quickly. And when those things break, they cost a bomb to replace. The quality of hardware/gear is also higher on a more expensive boat. Your Lighthouse 5000 windlass croaks? That's $5k right there. Rod rigging needs replacement? That's almost double what wire will cost you.

One strategy that you should pursue is finding a boat that has been recently refit by the previous owner. A refit adds value to a boat but nowhere near what it cost to perform in all but the most unusual cases. Boat's depreciate in value, so find one that's older, been well maintained, and with a recent refit it will give you the most bang for your buck.

A good strategy to follow is to buy the smallest boat that meets your needs. Longer boats not only cost more to slip, but they have heavier (i.e. more expensive) hardware and rigging, cost more to haul and paint and so forth. I know many people who have bought more boat than they needed only to sell within a few years and buy smaller because the costs ended up being more than they had foreseen and could bear.
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Old 24-02-2014, 13:50   #15
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Re: cost question

And don't forget to factor in what everybody seems to ignore - depreciation.

People seem to think this is not a real cost but if you buy a boat for $500K and sell it for $200K in 10 years this is a cost of $30K per annum even ignoring the very real issue of opportunity cost (the loss of investing that income over 10 years).

You will get a bunch of people here stating that they bought and sold for the same price but they are in a tiny minority. The blunt fact is that boats depreciate especially in the first few years.
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