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Old 05-09-2015, 18:20   #1
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Maintenance costs for an older 41'-45' catamaran

My girlfriend and I are planning to go cruising for an extended period (5 years or more). We have been learning and researching this now for two years. One of the things we have been struggling with is understanding the costs of boat ownership.

There have been a few threads on here lately regarding the costs of cruising, but these mostly cover the day-to-day living costs and running the maintenance costs. 10% of boat cost for maintenance is an often quoted figure, but that seems more like a rough rule of thumb to me, and does not include many variables, such as boat age.

To try to tackle this problem and come up with a reasonable estimate, I have tried to list every major system and piece of equipment on the boat I can think of, and come up with a replacement cost and expected life time.

I know boat maintenance and refit costs depend greatly on the size and age of the boat, so I made these estimates for the type of boat that we have in mind - a 10 year old 41'-45' cruising catamaran, with fairly basic systems (no A/C, generator, ice maker, washing machine, power winches, etc.), for full time cruising.

For many of the systems I believe I have a fairly reliable cost estimate - for many others maybe not so much. Expected lifetime is also a big question. I have tried to come up with a reasonable estimate after doing some online research, but I am new to boat ownership, and would like to vet these numbers with the cruising community.

I think of the expected lifetime as the age at which there is a high likelihood that the equipment needs replacing or at least major service, and have tried to place cost estimates on the high side, to provide a margin of error.

This is what I came up with. The first figure is the estimated replacement cost, including installation, the second is the expected lifetime:

Replace Port Engine ............... $20,000 (15 years)
Replace Starboard Engine .......... $20,000 (15 years)
Replace Spars ..................... $25,000 (20 years)
Replace Standing Rigging .......... $10,000 (7.5 years)
Replace Running Rigging ........... $5,000 (5 years)
Replace Lifelines ................. $1,000 (7.5 years)
Replace Working Sails ............. $6,000 (7.5 years)
Replace Stack Pack ................ $1,500 (5 years)
Replace Gennaker/Code Zero/Furler . $7,500 (15 years)
Replace Ground Tackle ............. $3,000 (7.5 years)
Replace Fenders ................... $1,500 (10 years)
Install Solar Panels .............. $6,000 (15 years)
Replace Batteries/Cables .......... $4,000 (7.5 years)
Replace Bilge Pumps ............... $2,000 (7.5 years)
Replace Hoses, Plumbing,
...Seacocks, Through-Hulls ........ $5,000 (15 years)
Replace All Cushions .............. $5,000 (15 years)
Replace Toilet/Hoses (Port) ....... $2,000 (15 years)
Replace Toilet/Hoses (Starboard) .. $2,000 (15 years)
Replace Offshore Life Raft ........ $4,000 (10 years)
Install/Replace Watermaker ........ $10,000 (15 years)
Replace Basic Electronics ......... $6,000 (10 years)
Replace Autopilot ................. $5,000 (15 years)
Install/Replace Radar ............. $3,000 (15 years)
Install/Replace SSB ............... $5,000 (15 years)
Replace Fridge & Freezer .......... $4,000 (15 years)
Replace Stove ..................... $2,000 (15 years)
Replace Windlass .................. $2,500 (15 years)
Rewire Entire Boat ................ $5,000 (15 years)
Replace Dinghy & Outboard (15hp) .. $10,000 (10 years)
Replace Winches ................... $12,000 (20 years)
Replace Hatches & Ports ........... $15,000 (20 years)

I also put my estimates in this Google sheet:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...it?usp=sharing

Dividing the cost by the expected lifetime, the numbers add up to a long term maintenance cost of $16,783 per year. I estimated 20% on top of that for ongoing maintenance, spare parts, etc., for a total yearly cost of $19,470. This does not include the yearly haulout and bottom painting. Insurance costs, fuel, docking, etc. have to be added as well.

Also, this is a long-term average, and I expect costs to vary greatly from year to year.

Some maintenance items are missing from this list. I have no idea of the cost or expected lifetime of chain plates and tangs for example, or how frequently water and fuel tanks need to be replaced. I'd like to ask for your help to fill in the gaps and adjust the numbers if you think my estimates are off the mark - especially if you have replaced any of these items on your boat. I will update the spreadsheet with the new numbers.

What do you think of this approach? Is this reasonable?
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Old 05-09-2015, 19:15   #2
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Re: Maintenance costs for an older 41'-45' catamaran

That is a very well thought out and detailed list.

Here is a "truism" rule of thumb I have found works for both boats & planes.

If you are keeping the item at the same level of detail, ie.. not letting things keep deteriorating and piling up, 10% of the purchase price will be the maintenance. Not fuel, add ons etc.. MAINTENANCE.

You may spend less some years, more in others. But danged if it hasn't always averaged out that way.
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Old 05-09-2015, 19:29   #3
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Re: Maintenance costs for an older 41'-45' catamaran

I hope my wife doesn't see that list.


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Old 05-09-2015, 19:39   #4
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Re: Maintenance costs for an older 41'-45' catamaran

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Originally Posted by Training Wheels View Post
I hope my wife doesn't see that list.


A sailor's greatest fear is that he will die, and his wife will sell the boat for what he told her he spent on it.
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Old 05-09-2015, 19:46   #5
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Re: Maintenance costs for an older 41'-45' catamaran

I look at cost of ownership from the point of view of wear cycles. This is exactly what your list/spreadsheet is doing. All systems wear out as does the boat itself. By that last I mean things like osmosis, worn out rub rails, UV damaged windows, rudder bearings etc.. On commercial boats, the government allows a deduction for depreciation to cover that. A recreational boat owner needs to make that allowance in addition to the operating and general maintenance costs. The IRS has a depreciation schedule you might find helpful. Basically I can expense items costing less that $5000. Items over that get depreciated over 7 to 10 years. That includes the cost of the boat which is a 10 year item. That gives you 10%/year for depreciation. To that add operating and general maintenance.

I thought some of your costs/life expectancy entries a bit over and some a bit under. Overall, it probably comes pretty close.
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Old 05-09-2015, 21:40   #6
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Re: Maintenance costs for an older 41'-45' catamaran

Quote:
Originally Posted by sheldon957 View Post
A sailor's greatest fear is that he will die, and his wife will sell the boat for what he told her he spent on it.

So true.


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Old 05-09-2015, 22:49   #7
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Re: Maintenance costs for an older 41'-45' catamaran

Quote:
Originally Posted by Training Wheels View Post
I hope my wife doesn't see that list.


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She will but it will be disguised as a credit card statement.


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Old 06-09-2015, 07:31   #8
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Re: Maintenance costs for an older 41'-45' catamaran

Good start.

Right off the bat my experience disproves the 10% maintenance cost approaching 9 years of ownership. My total operating costs - everything except my mortgage - is quite a bit less than 10%. But this reflects my DIY approach to maintenance and most major mods and upgrades.

I think your estimates are too conservative for some items. For example:

Replace engines at 15 years. My boat is 14 years old with less than 2500 hours on the engines. I have no intention of replacing them as long as I own the boat.

Replace standing rigging at 7.5 years? This is about half as long as most riggers recommend.

Replace lifelines for $1000. DIY with dyneema for just the cost of the line - it was about $300 for me.

I won't itemize them all, but many of the 15 year life cycles (replacement) you list are far too conservative. Others I've replaced quite a bit sooner than 15 years.

Replacing sails for $6000 is too low, but they'll last for more than 7.5 years if you care for them.

But your overall approach is sound. You won't estimate perfectly, but no one does.

Good luck,
Dave
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Old 06-09-2015, 16:08   #9
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Re: Maintenance costs for an older 41'-45' catamaran

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Originally Posted by 2Hulls View Post
Good start.

Right off the bat my experience disproves the 10% maintenance cost approaching 9 years of ownership. My total operating costs - everything except my mortgage - is quite a bit less than 10%. But this reflects my DIY approach to maintenance and most major mods and upgrades.

I think your estimates are too conservative for some items. For example:

Replace engines at 15 years. My boat is 14 years old with less than 2500 hours on the engines. I have no intention of replacing them as long as I own the boat.

Replace standing rigging at 7.5 years? This is about half as long as most riggers recommend.

Replace lifelines for $1000. DIY with dyneema for just the cost of the line - it was about $300 for me.

I won't itemize them all, but many of the 15 year life cycles (replacement) you list are far too conservative. Others I've replaced quite a bit sooner than 15 years.

Replacing sails for $6000 is too low, but they'll last for more than 7.5 years if you care for them.

But your overall approach is sound. You won't estimate perfectly, but no one does.

Good luck,
Dave
Thanks Dave. I adjusted the numbers a bit based on your feedback.

On the standing rigging - I thought it's frequently an insurance requirement to replace the rigging every 10 years? My estimates assume the boat is used for long-distance cruising, which would include a few ocean crossings. From what I have read, replacing standing rigging somewhat earlier than 10 years in that case is not a bad idea from a safety perspective.

Would it make more sense if I estimate 20 years instead for most of the 15-year items? I'd love to hear your thoughts and experience on which items you think require a more frequent replacement schedule.

Best regards,
Fabian
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Old 06-09-2015, 17:52   #10
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Re: Maintenance costs for an older 41'-45' catamaran

after 9 years with Tuscan Sun i would completely support the 10% maxim as being just as effective as a 50 line spreadsheet...
In truth I have certainly spent less than that in total, but i most certainly should not have been... as i am now facing some accumulated costs of $25k+ from multiple "meh, will leave that another year".. that are pretty much all now overdue
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Old 06-09-2015, 18:03   #11
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Re: Maintenance costs for an older 41'-45' catamaran

OK, Fabian, I'll try. But I do not claim to be an expert, I just have a bit of ownership experience that is exceeded by many others. So you should not count on my views alone.

Your original list with my reactions:

Replace Port Engine ............... $20,000 (15 years)
Replace Starboard Engine .......... $20,000 (15 years)
Already commented on. Too short a lifetime if you take care of them and it depends more on hours rather than years.

Replace Spars ..................... $25,000 (20 years)
Why replace at all? Only if some damage due to a dismasting or other unusual reason.

Replace Standing Rigging .......... $10,000 (7.5 years)
Too short a lifetime. Get rigging surveys when you need an insurance survey. I have replaced mine, but lower than $10K.

Replace Running Rigging ........... $5,000 (5 years)
Probably too much cost estimated and too short a lifetime for most lines. That said, I'm on my third main halyard in 8 years, but due to a non-halyard problem. Replaced just a few other lines. Cost so far way less than $5K.

Replace Lifelines ................. $1,000 (7.5 years)
Already commented on. Go with high tech line vs wire rope. Cheaper, but needs replacing more often. I'll be replacing my dyneema lines after 6 years.

Replace Working Sails ............. $6,000 (7.5 years)
Depends a lot on usage and sun exposure if dacron. $6 way too low for a typical set, but can last a bit longer than 7.5 years. Sails are an ever changing technology. I'm on my third main and second genoa. Original sym spi (X2). Acquired a reacher at boat age 8, still has a lot of years left.

Replace Stack Pack ................ $1,500 (5 years)
5 years maybe a bit short.

Replace Gennaker/Code Zero/Furler . $7,500 (15 years)
Depends on the furler - removable or fixed? May not need to replace at all.

Replace Ground Tackle ............. $3,000 (7.5 years)
I've had my chain regalvanized and then replaced by 12 years. I do a LOT of anchoring. Replaced one anchor in 12 years. Both replacements far less than $3K. BUT, I did replace a windlass at age 12.

Replace Fenders ................... $1,500 (10 years)
I haven't replaced any, but I hardly ever use them.

Install Solar Panels .............. $6,000 (15 years)
I've replaced 4 panels in 14 years - far less than $6K.

Replace Batteries/Cables .......... $4,000 (7.5 years)
I've replaced AGM batts once at 10 years. Less than $4K. Expect to replace again within two years. Undecided to switch to Li ion.

Replace Bilge Pumps ............... $2,000 (7.5 years)
Not yet. But they require periodic/preventive maintenance for small $.

Replace Hoses, Plumbing,
...Seacocks, Through-Hulls ........ $5,000 (15 years)
I replaced all seacocks and valves over about the last 5 years. Way less than $5K. Replaced one sanitary hose. Frequent flushing with Muratic acid. I'm switching to fresh water flushing which will cut down on hose deposits. Many folks replace sanitary hoses due to them acquiring smell.

Replace All Cushions .............. $5,000 (15 years)
Re-covered cockpit cushions at year 13, but reused foam. Way less than $5K. Get a good sewing machine.

Replace Toilet/Hoses (Port) ....... $2,000 (15 years)
Replace Toilet/Hoses (Starboard) .. $2,000 (15 years)
See hoses, above. I replaced the heads at year 6 because I was tired of buying replacement parts for the Jabscos. Switched to Raritan and don't expect to replace again. Routine maintenance and replacement of key components required.

Replace Offshore Life Raft ........ $4,000 (10 years)
This can be a touchy subject. I just replaced mine at age 14 for $3K, but my previous one was uncertified when I bought the boat and I did not get it re-certified because it was as much as a new one. New one requires recert every three years for $??.

Install/Replace Watermaker ........ $10,000 (15 years)
If you don't have a watermaker, you need one IMHO for serious cruising. So initial cost is high. But mine is 14 years old and no need to wholesale replace it any time soon. But you do need to replace the membrane and feed pumps over time and treat it well.

Replace Basic Electronics ......... $6,000 (10 years)
I upgraded electronics at boat age 8. Far more than $6K. I've gone thru 5 VHF radios and 4 handhelds, but they're not as $$ as most other electronics.

Replace Autopilot ................. $5,000 (15 years)
Still using original age 14, with replacement of two components. Still going strong. Treat it well by learning to balance your sail plan.

Install/Replace Radar ............. $3,000 (15 years)
Upgraded with electronics at age 8.

Install/Replace SSB ............... $5,000 (15 years)
Initial cost high, but I'm still using the original. Failed once and got repaired for far less than $5k. Replaced Pactor modem at age 12.

Replace Fridge & Freezer .......... $4,000 (15 years)
Nope. I have two refers/freezers. Had to have recharged once and dryers installed, far less than $4K. Bulletproof.

Replace Stove ..................... $2,000 (15 years)
Nope. Replaced stove top burners at boat age 12, and we cook a LOT.

Replace Windlass .................. $2,500 (15 years)
Yep, but at age 12 and for far less than $2.5K.

Rewire Entire Boat ................ $5,000 (15 years)
Nope, but I will when hit by lightning due to the electronic elect distribution sys on my boat. It will be more than $5K.

Replace Dinghy & Outboard (15hp) .. $10,000 (10 years)
Replaced dink at age 11 for about $3K. Still have original Yamaha 9.9 2 stroke.

Replace Winches ................... $12,000 (20 years)
Nope. Service them regularly and they will last forever.

Replace Hatches & Ports ........... $15,000 (20 years)
Nope. I am preparing to replace lenses in two hatches. But I have replaced some saloon windows at age 8 and am preparing to rebed another and replace two more that were replaced already next year. Just the cost of the windows and adhesive - far less than $15K.

There are countless things not listed that will vary from boat to boat. I've replaced both rudders, both saildrive boots, soft top bimini, saloon window sun shades, ceiling panels (some twice), teak decking, lighting, etc., etc., etc. I've rebuilt my genoa furler foil twice. Replaced saildrive lower seals several times and just recently replaced folding props. I'm sure I've forgotten quite a few things. The list never ends...

Good luck,
Dave
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Old 06-09-2015, 18:27   #12
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Re: Maintenance costs for an older 41'-45' catamaran

Rebuilding a boat vs maintaining one is a big difference. I usually end up pretty much rebuilding a boat before I went extended cruising. As such, my maintenance costs were very minimal for 3 years or so.
Also, you have to ask yourself if you will/can do the labor or not.
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Old 06-09-2015, 19:11   #13
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Re: Maintenance costs for an older 41'-45' catamaran

Just from personal experience, and with a well built but older (1979) monohull, I think your dollars are, for the most part, exceedingly high.
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Old 06-09-2015, 19:15   #14
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Re: Maintenance costs for an older 41'-45' catamaran

I think the numbers will vary greatly depending on whether you do your own work or have to hire it out.


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Old 06-09-2015, 19:28   #15
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Re: Maintenance costs for an older 41'-45' catamaran

Thanks Dave. This is Gold!!

I updated the spreadsheet based on your feedback:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...it?usp=sharing

I estimated 20% ongoing maintenance on top of the replacement costs for repairs, parts etc, and various odds and ends not listed (but perhaps not saildrive boots). Currently about $3K/year. Do you think that is a reasonable figure? Or should I increase that?

Best regards
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