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messias 17-02-2016 07:30

Trailer-sailers costs Vs fixed moorings
Hello all,

Curious about this...
Without a doubt, trailer-sailers have a lot of advantages in terms of cruising ground options (if you´re willing -and capable- to tow it far away), but I am curious of all the costs involved in this, as opposed to having a fixed mooring somewhere (of course, I am aware that it also depends on the "somewhere").

I mean, trailer insurance/trailer maintenance (bearings, hubs, tyres, etc)/ tolls (for those of us who are unfortunate to live in countries where they charge you a kings ransom in tolls)/extended fuel costs/etc... wouldn´t it almost break even with a fixed mooring cost?

I only ask this "cost wise"...

Thanks for the enlightment...

NewMoon 17-02-2016 08:26

Re: Trailer-sailers costs Vs fixed moorings
I trailer a 26' power cruiser, not a sailboat, but do have experience on costs, over nearly 80,000 miles of towing this boat.

Boat/trailer weighs close to 12,000 pounds. Trailer is galvanized triple-axle with disc brakes. Truck is a Dodge Ram diesel pickup. Nearly every summer I take it from home in Utah to Prince Rupert BC where we launch, a round trip of about 3,800 miles. Some other shorter trips.

I do the trailer maintenance - brakes bearings etc. Takes 3-5 half days each year - it's pretty heavy gear. Brake/bearing parts cost about $100-$200/year. Tires (truck and trailer) $200-$300/year. Trailer insurance is trivial.

The boat stays in better condition, kept dry and clean on its trailer when not in use.

Most of my cost of trailering is the truck and its fuel. If you already have a capable tow vehicle, maybe you consider mainly the fuel.

Except for purchase of the truck and trailer, trailering costs are heavily dependent on how far you tow each year. For me, the maintenance costs are a small fraction of what it would cost to keep the boat in a slip. Truck fuel is significant, towing as many miles as I do.

a64pilot 17-02-2016 08:37

Re: Trailer-sailers costs Vs fixed moorings

Originally Posted by NewMoon (Post 2048424)

The boat stays in better condition, kept dry and clean on its trailer when not in use.

This is what would drive me to trailering, and what made me stay with trailerable boats for years, my tow vehicle being a Chevy C3500 four door Dually. Unless of course your down at the boat several times a month and spend considerable time maintaining it.
Any boat that is of a size that it's practical for it to be kept out of the water, under a roof, will age much more slowly than one left in the water subject to the sun and weather.

Wanna buy a truck? I know where there is a good one for sale :biggrin:

The Garbone 17-02-2016 09:15

Re: Trailer-sailers costs Vs fixed moorings
I initially was going to get a smaller trailer sailor just for the cost issue. No monthly fee, I have a trailer tag so no additional registration of the trailer (boat is registered of course but that is $14 a year).

I had a decent tow vehicle for moving a 22 or 25 footer, then I took the wife to look at a 25, 22, 30, 36, 27 foot boats.

We decided on a 27 in a slip. We use it more not having the hassle of hauling. Have since upgraded to a 30 ft boat.

We rid ourselves of the truck that got 12mpg and cost $700 a year for insurance not including upkeep, tires, hoses, belts batteries. It was older but the $3500 we sold it for was nice.

Here in Florida we pay $8 a foot for a slip per month, $50 a month for a diver to keep her clean, $160 a year for liability insurance.

gjordan 17-02-2016 10:27

Re: Trailer-sailers costs Vs fixed moorings
Note that the OP is posting from Europe. Prices are very different, and almost no-one drives one ton dually trucks. I just bought a 22 foot trailer sailor, so that I could introduce the new love in my life to as much as possible to decide if we will purchase a boat that requires a slip, and commute time to the slip. We will launch in 4 or 5 weeks in the local lake, and if things go well, we will tow her up to the San Jauns for 2 or 3 weeks in August. In the fall we may tow, or sail her down to the Channel Islands, but the return trip will definetly be on the trailer. If you hope to do some adventuring, but not living aboard full time, then a trailer sailor makes (I think) very good economic sense and the freedom to go places that non-trailerable boats cant easily go. Much depends on what type of sailing you want to do. Are you happy sailing in the same area every time, or would you like to cruise (on a budget) to as many different places as you can in a small boat??? I cant begin to tell the financial difference in Europe, but here in California, it is much cheaper to keep the boat in the back yard for the winter, than paying for a slip. The other advantage is that when I get off of the computer I will walk to the back yard and re-bed another window, and sand some more of the neglected teak. Back to the original question, does the OP have space to store the boat and trailer for free over the winter, or would you be paying for some kind of storage either way?? After years of keel boats, I am looking forward to the trailer sailor adventure. ______Grant.

bensolomon 17-02-2016 10:30

Re: Trailer-sailers costs Vs fixed moorings
I own a 15ft Chrysler Mutineer and a 37.5 Hunter legend. I love them both, but......
I use the Hunter much more because she is ready to go and takes the whole family for weeks at a time. I have trailered my 15footer all over and could even put my family on board. But the bigger boat gives us more actual sailing and time together.

Check out this video of the mutineer:

And check out this video of the Hunter:

There are more videos on my site, but you will get the very different capabilities of the two different boat types u are looking at.


Sent from my XT1254 using Cruisers Sailing Forum mobile app

nautical62 17-02-2016 10:48

Re: Trailer-sailers costs Vs fixed moorings
I think it depends on where you want to sail and how much boat you need. In my opinion there is a big difference between a light weight trailer sailor like a Catalina 22 or water ballest boat used to sail lakes and protected bays and trailerable heavier weight keelboat for coastal, Bahamas, etc.

I have owned two trailerable sailboats that I've taken to the Bahamas, a Westerly Centaur and Telstar Trimaran, and my conclusion is that it's the worst of both worlds, not the best. For me, there was nothing fun or easy about towing 10,000 lbs. 1,200 miles each way to go cruising. Buying a tow vehicle was a notable expense. Then of course you have to add the cost and maintenance of a heavy duty trailer. Insurance covering the Bahamas cost the same whether I kept the boat on the trailer or not. The Westerly was certainly capable, but fairly small for extended cruising. The Telstar was notably lighter, also small and had way too much under deck slamming for upwind sailing in any notable seas.

I did like being able to do major work in the convince of my back yard. That was the one really big benefit.

Overall, I think I got a better value out of the two non-trailerable cruising boats I've owned since.

Now, I think a lighter powerboat or lighter trailer sailor you can easily tow to different locations for short trips may be a whole different story.....

a64pilot 17-02-2016 11:32

Re: Trailer-sailers costs Vs fixed moorings
I can tell you in my case, the tow vehicle cost more than anything it ever pulled, you can put serious cash in a large enough truck so that you can safely tow >10,000 lbs.

I started out looking for a trailer sailor as I had no idea if this sailing thing was for me or not, but as the Gulf is 150 miles away from me that meant not only pulling it down there and back every weekend, but having to stay in motels overnight, motel costs and fuel towing the boat back and forth every weekend seems they would quickly overcome slip rent.
So I decided to look for a boat that stayed in the water, seeing as how in my case a 50' slip cost the same if it had a rowboat or a 40' boat in it, I ended up with a 38' boat.
Long stretch from a trailer sailor I know, but by the time you figured in stepping and un-stepping the mast, trailering and launch and retrieve etc., that ate into sailing time.

tbodine88 17-02-2016 11:41

Re: Trailer-sailers costs Vs fixed moorings

Originally Posted by messias (Post 2048374)
Hello all,

I only ask this "cost wise"...

Thanks for the enlightment...

Cruising is one thing, storage is another. Four years ago I thought I was going to lose my job. So I pulled the boat out of the marina and parked her in my back yard. I still go sailing when its warm, but in the winter and when I'm not sailing, she sits back there and costs me nothing.

BTW, I've lost the job four times since then, so when unemployed that marina payment doesn't haunt me.

For "cruising" this year I spent about $200 gas, $450 for trailer bearings and new bunks

gjordan 17-02-2016 18:42

Re: Trailer-sailers costs Vs fixed moorings
I think the location of the OP is very critical to his original question. I think that most vehicles in the Czech Republic, or Portugal are much smaller than what we Americans drive, so the heavy end of the trailer sailor boats would probably not be a consideration. I bought a 22 foot Catalina so that I could tow it behind a small or medium family sedan. Gas mileage is a real important thing for hauling long distances. My older 4 by 4, 3/4 ton pickup would pull much more, but at 8 miles per gallon, I try not to drive it much. We dont yet know if the OP plans to leave the boat in the water for the summer season, or launch and retrieve every weekend. Both are legitimate ways to use a trailer sailor. The difference in work and cost is something any owner must figure out (or guess at) for themselves. Just another 2 cents worth. _____Grant.

messias 18-02-2016 06:21

Re: Trailer-sailers costs Vs fixed moorings
First of all, thank you very much for all your answers here.


Originally Posted by gjordan (Post 2049004)
I think the location of the OP is very critical to his original question. I think that most vehicles in the Czech Republic, or Portugal are much smaller than what we Americans drive

That is a fact... (I drive an old renault :) ) and the other big payer in the game is the (lack of) backyard. :facepalm:
Unfortunately, most of us europeans with a regular job and average income, can only afford to live in appartment buildings... houses and backyards are far in our imagination (as far as good pension, but that´s another story). Garage for the car is usually an extra expense and etc, etc, etc... you get the picture :whistling:

All of that (and the fact that a big road trailer insurance is NOT cheap at all over here as well, plus the annual mandatory survey on it AND the car), made me bring up this thread, to see if I was making my calculation wrong

...guess I´m not:banghead:

For a trailer-sailer (and really make use of it as such) I would have to change the car, pay for winter storage, added insurances costs for both trailer and a bigger car = more expenses, extra expenses on tolls and increased fuel costs.

Oh well... still boatless.

John_Trusty 18-02-2016 06:39

Re: Trailer-sailers costs Vs fixed moorings
I'm about to trade a trailer sailing 22 foot for something bigger, so here's my calculation (if you can afford both). The value of sailing should be based on entertainment time per money expended -- just like paying for a movie. I have tried trailering to lakes, storing with mast up and just trailering to a ramp "dry sailing", and leaving her in a rented dock -- all with advantages and associated cost.

I found that trailering and stepping the mast (about 30 min in each direction) was not worth it -- an hour of hard work for a couple hours of sailing on a different lake. Dry sailing was better, but still moving gear to the boat, climbing up on the trailer, and launching took an additional 20 min to start and 15 min to finish sailing. As BenSolomon noted, sailing from the slip is marvelous and we more than doubled the use from the boat as a result. Slip rental and club membership doubled our boat storage costs, but with short summers we need to take advantage of every warm day to sail. Hence the reason for switching up to a larger boat and enjoying more time.

a64pilot 18-02-2016 07:21

Re: Trailer-sailers costs Vs fixed moorings
By chance is a "Yacht club" with a launch ramp and a lot where you can leave the boat an option?

messias 18-02-2016 07:29

Re: Trailer-sailers costs Vs fixed moorings
Yes, that will probably be the most wise option I have... once I have a boat back! :biggrin:

Dave22q 18-02-2016 08:27

Re: Trailer-sailers costs Vs fixed moorings
If you compare apples to apples it's an easy call. Unless your residence is far from your cruising grounds and you drive it frequently, the trailer is less expensive. Extra gas/wear on your car is nothing compared to reduced maintenance and insurance costs and the risk of theft from an unattended boat is cut to zero.

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