I used to own/operate an 88' wooden ketch
and have experienced a few things. So here are my answers to your questions;
1. How often do sails
need to be replaced? Is the in-mast a huge advantage?
This varies upon usage, but I have a foresail on my 1968 Columbia
26 that is original...
or composite or glass?
again up to taste, but for bang for buck and repair-ability, go with glass and learn how to make minor repairs.
3. How often does the boat need to be lifted and painted?
There are ways around this- but usually is wise to pull the boat out of the water at least once per year, but if you are in the north (because of tide variances) many frugal sailors beach their boats at high tide and let the tide go out allowing the vessel to lay down on a nice sandy beach somewhere, they they scrape and paint
one side, inspect for damage, check the zinks etc, then allow the boat to float up on in coming tide turn her around and do it again with the other side... so if you are sailing on a budget- there is one hint on how to save money
, lots of little tricks like that.
4. I plan on cruising both coasts. What type of a budget
should I plan for expenses other than provisions and slip fees
I have never sailed the West Coast
as a civilian, or crossed the Panama Canal
so don't know anything about the expenses there, but it is quite possible to follow the Intra Coastal Waterway (ICW) all along the East Coast
from Massachusettsa to Florida
; a trip I have made a fair number of times, if you study the ICW charts
you can find anchorages
dotted all along the East Coast where one doesn't need to pay for dockage. DOCKAGE will eat you up. The more "heavenly" the area the higher the dockage. There was one A-hole in Key West
who plainly told me that if he could charge for the shadow from a boat he would. On the other hand, for the most part you can not ask for better neighbors than live-aboarders. They are almost always ready to lend a hand with a project
on your boat for the promise of a cold drink or a hot meal!
5. The boat will stay at the Marina while I go back and forth to work, so what kind of concerns should I have for a boat being unattended for extended periods.
In nearly ten years of boat living I have only ever had one instance of someone coming aboard my boat and taking anything. If you are in a mariina the best security
is getting to know those who live and play around you. Marina folk tend to keep an eye out for each other, other than that a couple simple locks really should do the trick. Other than that security
should be about the same as if you were shore side and living in a house or apartment- if you're going to be away for any length of time tell a neighbor and ask for one eye to be kept on your boat. It won't ensure badies won't mess with your stuff but you can't live 100% safe, can you.
6. What type of security systems are out there?
For a little extra get something that makes noise
and let someone know how to a. shut it off, and b. how to contact you.
7. What is the preferred method of communication? HF, satellite
when making a crossing or being out of sight of land. I know this is a lot, but any help is appreciated.
; ALWAYS let someone know that you are getting underway, what your projected route
entails, and that you expect to contact them by ____... and ALWAYS contact your contact person when you say you will, so if you are over do by a fair amount they can act accordingly.
Make sure your radio
works well, satelite is even cooler, cell phones reach out 3-4 miles and do amazingly well in most cases.
Hope I've helped.