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Old 03-03-2021, 13:33   #1
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I think I messed up!

I've been browsing CF today and came upon a post that made me realize my budget was probably all wrong, so wrong that living aboard might not be as feasible as I thought. (By Hesti, his is the second post down ( https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums...-242614-4.html.) He writes:
"My favorite rough annual budget figure for sustainable upkeep (maintenance and repair) on a really good and safe condition level is around 10% of the cost of a similiar sized new boat when outsourcing in western industrial countries."

Over my months of research I'd come to the conclusion that my husband and I should expect to pay roughly 10% of the boat's value in yearly upkeep/maintenance. But I had been calculating that 10% on the *purchase price* of a ten year old boat, not the new cost. There is a big difference (for us anyway) between $25k a year in maintenance and $50-60k.

To put it simply, should I expect to pay - on average - $25k a year for a 2010 $250k boat or $60k? Thanks!
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Old 03-03-2021, 13:48   #2
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Re: I think I messed up!

No way you will need to spend 60k/yr in upkeep unless you are doing a major refit with new sails and new engine every year.

I am finally leaving on my boat to go cruising full time this summer and I haven't spent 60k total in my purchase price and full refit combined.

You could spend an unlimited amount, some people probably spend that on a single race, but you don't need to.

If you do nothing yourself, and the boat has had a tough life requiring continual repairs, then I could see hitting 60k/yr. If you can't do your own work, then buying a boat in top condition makes sense.
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Old 03-03-2021, 13:51   #3
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Re: I think I messed up!

What you'll spend will depend somewhat on the exact boat you buy, how much of the maintenance you do yourself vs pay to have done, etc. How you use the boat will factor in somewhat as well.
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Old 03-03-2021, 13:56   #4
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Re: I think I messed up!

Yeah that figure is too high. Keep in mind too you'll have good years and bad years. If you can do a refit while you have an income it helps, as that could keep you going for several years on the same equipment and only pay for the occasional failure, haulout / bottom job. We spent about 15k on our boat in 2 years time (about 7% of market value each year), but that included new charging systems and galley equipment which should last for 10 years pretty easily.
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Old 03-03-2021, 13:57   #5
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Re: I think I messed up!

Angela,

Very difficult question to answer. It would be very helpful to say something about what you intend to purchase.

I glean you were expecting to buy a 10 year old boat for $250,000. And assuming that boat new would have cost $500,000 to $600,000.

Cat or mono?
35’ish, 45’ish, 50’ish?
Do you have a short list?

All that said, we have an old steel boat, 44’ center cockpit. Very simple boat. Purchase price 2008 was $93,000. On average we spend maybe $15,000 in boat maintenance and replacements. This year with covid we took that lost time and had a lot of upgrades and repairs done, pretty extensive work list. That cost us about $40,000, but this was a once in 10 or 15 year event. So the spending can be lumpy.

But that includes yard fees, hauling, all in.

And we are live aboard which is harder on a boat.

Probably the best resource for this question is Beth Leonards book. It is getting dated but it should hive you some good insight. She deals with budgeting extensively and runs 3 scenarios. The book is worth the investment for other reasons as well.


https://www.amazon.com/Voyagers-Hand.../dp/0071437657
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Old 03-03-2021, 14:03   #6
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Re: I think I messed up!

I suppose it also depends on how much of a DIY'er you are. I do most jobs myself. My costs probably would have doubled hiring someone.
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Old 03-03-2021, 14:08   #7
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Re: I think I messed up!

We like a 2011 Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 45DS, about $250k in (supposed) excellent condition. Not buying for another year but it will be this boat or one very similar in age and price. I would say we will try to do the interior maintenance and leave the bottom to the experts. We are not ocean-crossers, more like Bahamas, Caribbean, BVI etc.

On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the most handy man that ever lived I would put my husband at a 5. (Good thing he doesn't read this forum.) I still say we could probably do plumbing, wiring and most of the engine upkeep. I'm not super strong physically but I'm a fast learner and want to help out.

Given this, does 10% of the purchase price in yearly maintenance sound about right?
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Old 03-03-2021, 14:24   #8
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Re: I think I messed up!

My wife and I lived aboard and cruised modest, comfortable and sound vessels for 45 years. During those years I enjoyed the independence and fulfillment of doing much of the care and maintenance myself, though we did by a new vessel in 1973 and a third used vessel in 1985. We purchased a new Yanmar for our 26 year old boat in 1999; replaced sails and rigging and kept our boats in good and operational condition.

It was our observation, during these decades aboard, that we enjoyed more discretional income than our colleagues living in traditional houses ashore and with similar incomes as ours.

I have known people who spent many times more than we did with all service done by marine yards on very expensive vessels and others who lived aboard spartan old small boats with less expense.

I expect that you can find yourself able to live comfortably aboard with the same variety of choices that people have with choosing houses and find something suitable between the "shack" and the "McMansion"..
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Old 03-03-2021, 14:29   #9
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Re: I think I messed up!

And, luck, and bad luck, certainly play a large part.

The main thing is, take care of the expensive stuff. Treat your diesel like a new born baby. Love it. Take care of it. Same with your rig and sails. Fix small stuff like fittings, chainplates, stays, when they start to look tired. Cover that mainsail up when you're not using it with the sail cover. Dacron hates sunlight. It will last longer that way.

And, mainly, learn to fix stuff yourself. There is a boat across from me, who keeps half the marina repair people in our area in business. I don't think I ever go to my boat that he doesn't have someone working on something on that boat, usually stuff I do myself. His maintenance bills have to be scary big. That doesn't mean they have to be.
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Old 03-03-2021, 14:38   #10
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Re: I think I messed up!

These general rules are not to be taken too literally. It really depends on the boat, the location, the crew's expectations, and how it is used.

If you drive your boat long distances, hard on the wind, then you can expect greater maintenance costs. If you take it easy, you'll break fewer things, and costs will be smaller.

If you DIY most things, the costs will be considerably cheaper than hiring out the work. Most maintenance work on a boat is far from rocket science, but a lot of it takes time and grunt work. That's why it's expensive to hire it out.

There definitely are years when we hit or exceed the 10% number. There are many more when we come way under. Much of it is under your control. Don't worry, you'll figure it out.
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Old 03-03-2021, 14:46   #11
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Re: I think I messed up!

Also keep the boat as simple as possible. Some folks spend a lit of money on fully integrated electronic systems. And that is fine. But they are expensive and hard to repair yourself.

We do not have a water maker, washer dryer, hot water, and a lot of other things.

I did install a way to make my oil change easier. Some folks install remote oil filters. If that makes it easy for you then that may be a good investment.

I had mast steps installed and I have used them too frequently. It was an up front expense that has well paid for itself. But surely is not for all.

Bottom line is yiu can make it work but may have to go more simply that you expected. That is not a bad thing. If you don't have it then it can not break. Like hot water, many find it a bare necessity, we do not.

Make your boat anchor friendly. Good anchor and good windlass. Great dingy. Marinas cost a lot. We never even take a mooring unless there is no option. Just that can make a huge difference in your budget.
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Old 03-03-2021, 14:55   #12
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Re: I think I messed up!

Quote:
Originally Posted by hpeer View Post
Also keep the boat as simple as possible. Some folks spend a lit of money on fully integrated electronic systems. And that is fine. But they are expensive and hard to repair yourself.

We do not have a water maker, washer dryer, hot water, and a lot of other things.

I did install a way to make my oil change easier. Some folks install remote oil filters. If that makes it easy for you then that may be a good investment.

I had mast steps installed and I have used them too frequently. It was an up front expense that has well paid for itself. But surely is not for all.

Bottom line is yiu can make it work but may have to go more simply that you expected. That is not a bad thing. If you don't have it then it can not break. Like hot water, many find it a bare necessity, we do not.

Make your boat anchor friendly. Good anchor and good windlass. Great dingy. Marinas cost a lot. We never even take a mooring unless there is no option. Just that can make a huge difference in your budget.

This is a big one. Figure out what stuff you need, or will make good use of. Don't buy stuff just because everyone has it, etc. You can always add or upgrade stuff later when you determine you need it.
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Old 03-03-2021, 14:59   #13
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Re: I think I messed up!

10% of the boat new! no, no, no... unless you pay for expensive marinas to do all the work while you sit at their docks and you proactively replace things that are not broken because they are 'getting old'.


We spend more like 10-20% of the boat's current value.. of $40k for a 1975 Tartan 41, which is like $400k new. or maybe $5k - $8k annually. This assumes you do most work yourself and the boat is in decent shape and doesn't need an engine replacement.. $5-$7k annually has covered many things over the years, replacing standing rigging, pumps, standard annual things like impeller and filters, as well as some upgrades like better batteries when we replaced the old ones, wireless instruments when the old failed, better auto helm, etc.
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Old 03-03-2021, 15:01   #14
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Re: I think I messed up!

read through the thread and doesn't look like many have addressed the OP's actual question, which seems to me to be 'is the 10% of value pa for maintenance based upon the new value of the boat, or the price you've paid for a second hand boat'

for me, it is based upon the price you actually paid for the second hand boat...although this is kinda counter-intuitive as you'd expect maintenance costs on older craft to be higher than on a new one. on the other hand, nobody is going to spend $60k pa to maintain a $250k boat !

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Old 03-03-2021, 15:36   #15
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Re: I think I messed up!

Using any % calculation is a waste of time and effort IMO. A pump costs what a pump costs, a sail a sail, hoses are hoses.

Instead look for documented boat upkeep costs on a similar boat to the one you plan, that is used as you plan to use yours, and the same level of outside labor to what you feel you can do.
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