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Old 19-06-2021, 07:04   #16

Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 6,262
Re: New sailor from UK

Quote: "what I doing is trying to estimate a budget..."

Well, then - let me give you some fundamental rules for budgeting for a yacht:

a) No man should ever spend more money on a boat than he can walk away from with a smile still on his face.

b) A great many people can find the money to BUY a boat. Not nearly as many can find the money to KEEP a boat.

c) The cost of keeping a boat depends on its displacement. Displacement, and therefore ownership costs, increases according to the third power of the increase in length. Thus if boat A is twice as long as boat B, the ownership costs of boat A may be expected to be 2 x 2 x 2 = 8 times the ownership costs of boat B.

Now for some practicalities: You are English, even if it be only in the sense that you reside in the UK. You might therefore, for cultural reasons, be able to live aboard, and to cruise happily, in a twenty six or twenty seven foot boat. I am Canadian, wherefore I, for cultural reasons, require thirty feet. I was, in King Arthur's time, Danish, and I would, back then, have been able to get by with twenty four feet. And small feet at that! Had I washed up on an American shore rather than in this 'ere colony, I should have required at least thirty six feet. Keep this point in mind and note the "culture of origin" of any advice you may get in regard to "minimum" boat length.

I chose TrentePieds because that is what she is - thirty feet, and therefore affordable in terms of Ownership Costs. And because my wife went "Ooh, I LOVE this" the moment she stuck her nose down the hatch. As for sailing characteristics: I can sail anything you give me to sail. Boats are like dogs. A dog owner has to accept that every pooch has a personality all his own and adapt to that personality. Just so with boats.

TP was dirt cheap to buy because a previous owner had made "improvements" that severely detracted from the boat's handling under sail, but as I said.... We bought her for a sum that was ONE THIRD of what the PO had spent on a completely new rig c/w sails three years before we bought her! So do get to know what "improvements" really ARE improvements, and what "improvements" merely detract from the boat's utility. And what "improvements" you can live with or remedy at reasonable cost.

A subsidiary lesson to learn in this regard is this: Don't get taken in by advertisements in the glossy boating mags, nor indeed by the editorial fillers between the ads. "Glossies" have far more to do with marketing than with seafaring! Learn enuff about yacht design to be able to discern - for yourself - what makes a boat "fit for her trade", i.e. fit to be sailed in the waters in which you intend to sail her. The Solent is NOT the Irish Sea. And neither of those waters is the Salish Sea, let alone French Polynesia. Here is a book to start with - thorough, lucid, and enuff for a novice: Francis S. Kinney, Skene's Elements of Yacht Design. Might set you back twenty quid. An "oldie but goodie" used for many years as the introductory text in formal courses on yacht design.

Now, back to the money: My OWNERSHIP budget for TP is a thousand bux a month, call it 600 quid. Can't be done for much less if you expect/desire to keep her in good nick, though IF you eschew the "improvements" flogged in "the "glossies", all of which add unnecessary complexity and require costly maintenance, you might be able to do it for less. So there you have it: Thirty feet is, for me, the "sweet spot" in terms of bang for the buck. Were I to go to, say, 40 feet, i.e. go to a boat 1.33 times long, I would expect my MONTHLY OWNERSHIP COSTS to increase to £600 x 1.33 x 1.33 x 1.33 = £600 x 2.36 = £1,400! Bear that in mind as you pick your "ideal" boat!

I hope that will help you to approach your dream in a fashion less starry-eyed than that of many a novice :-)


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Old 19-06-2021, 07:43   #17
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Re: New sailor from UK

TP, thank you for such great comment. Could you explain what makes that massive difference in maintenence between 30 and 40 feet boat? Why is there such a big jump 600 to 1400 a month?
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Old 19-06-2021, 07:46   #18
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Re: New sailor from UK

...not all who wander are lost!
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Old 19-06-2021, 07:52   #19
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New sailor from UK

Buy a nice white plastic boat , the U.K. is full of Jenny’s, Bennys and Bavs happily sailing the Irish Sea , the North Sea etc etc.

Don’t fall for this “westerly “ nonsense , get a boat you can afford , that doesn’t break the bank , spares knowledge etc exist and it’s not too expensive to maintain

Consign Skenes to light historical reading while comfortably seated in a big armchair.

From my own searches boats in the U.K. are overpriced at present. Be prepared to go further afield. Greece is a good place to look
Interested in smart boat technology, networking and all things tech
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Old 19-06-2021, 08:04   #20

Join Date: May 2021
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Re: New sailor from UK

Originally Posted by shyboos View Post
TP, thank you for such great comment. Could you explain what makes that massive difference in maintenence between 30 and 40 feet boat? Why is there such a big jump 600 to 1400 a month?
They get bigger quickly.
Extend length a bit, beam (width) also extends a bit, depth also extends a bit so from 30-40 might be doubling the size.

When on slip to clean bottom, 40 footer might need twice as much scrubbing, bottom paint although only slightly longer.
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Old 19-06-2021, 09:45   #21

Join Date: Jun 2015
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Re: New sailor from UK

Quote: "Could you explain what makes that massive difference in maintenence between 30 and 40 feet boat? "

Sure, but do understand that boats are riven with complexities and there are huge variations in maintenance requirements not only between different marques of the same size, but also between individual boats of the same marque and size. So any discussion like this can only serve as a departure point for developing an understanding of, and a "feel for", these things. Some smidgen of familiarity with the principles of Cost Accounting will also help :-)

As I'm sure you know, displacement is a just a different name for weight. We needn't go into the matter of flotation here. Just note that if a boat has a displacement of say 9K lbs (as TP has) then she displaces 9K lbs of water and weighs 9K lbs. Now imagine that her hull were a solid object, rather than a hollow one, and made from a uniform material throughout. That material would have a certain price per pound, say £1 per pound, and the "cost of materials" for the hull would therefore be easily determinable as 9,000 x £1 = £9,000.

Now double the linear dimensions of this imaginary hull and the weight becomes 9,000 lbs x 2 x 2 x 2 = 9,000 lbs x 8 = 72,000 lbs and in consequence the cost of materials becomes not £9,000 but £72,000.

While mathematically correct, this explanation is obviously a gross over-simplification, because a boat is an agglomeration of dozens upon dozens upon dozens of "systems" and individual parts. As displacement increases, the forces that wind and wave impose on the boat grow. The "gear" must therefore be sturdier and in consequence more weighty as the size of the boat increases. You can therefore go through the same logic for even something so simple as a rigging screw. By the time you've done that for all the components of the boat, you'll find that increase in displacement is a reasonable (although not quite accurate) proxy for increase in maintenance cost. Empirical observation bears that out.

In a twenty seven foot, two ton boat you do not need a capstan. In a forty foot, 10 ton boat you do. TP's capstan, a bit of a wimp really, would cost about 1,000 quid (taxes in) to replace if it needed it. In a five tonner like TP, for the kind of sailing I do, in the water where I sail, I do not, even at my advanced age, NEED a capstan. In a ten tonner, say a 36 footer, I would!

The switches that operate the capstan are toys. But that's what you get for the money. When they pack it in, as they will, the cost to buy them is not ferocious, so if you know what you are doing with electrics, you can replace them yourself. If you can't do that, marine electricians around here charge 60 quid an hour.

And so it goes.

I transfer Can$1,000 (= £600) a month in the "TP account" which is kept separate from all my other financial affairs. Obviously the balance fluctuates, but over the long haul, major expenses can be covered by the balance just like the ongoing fixed monthly expenses like moorage and insurance are. Such a separate account is, with wonderful irony, called a "sinking fund" :-)!

When you buy an older 27 foot, two-ton boat, you may get by with an outboard motor slung on the transom. Particularly if you day-sail or weekend-sail in benign waters. In a 30 foot, five ton boat, that gets dodgy particularly in waters such as the Salish Sea with tidal streams that often run eight knots. In a bigger boat than that, an inboard diesel becomes, IMO, mandatory. A well treated diesel lasts forever and a day. but if you do have to change it, a good diesel like a Beta in a five tonner will cost you about 9 thousand quid to replace. Bigger boats require commensurately bigger engines.

In these waters we count on installing 4hp per ton displacement, so TP would require a 20HP machine, a 10 tonner like a Pacific Seacraft 40, say, would require 40HP.

As for sails, when you have to replace them, as you may have to do every ten years or so depending on where you sail and how hard you sail, they can be within reach cost-wise, or they can set you back a king's ransom. Because the previous owner of TP, being obviously naïve about sailing and having ODed on glossy mags, fitted such a pedestrian cruising boat with roller furling sails (the main being mast-furling, no less!!), I need to budget as a minimum the equivalent 6,000 quid to replace a 200 Square Foot main and a commensurate 135% genoa!

So let's loop back to the top of this missive: The numbers I have given you are NOT DETERMINABLE WITH PRECISION! Neither is the time they will smack you in the face. But if you don't have the brass behind you when that happens, you can find yourself in a very awkward spot. And so can your boat.

As I said, Empirical observation supports using displacement as a proxy for establishing cost estimates for yachts.

All the best

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