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-   -   How to learn to maintain a sailboat without going broke? (https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f47/how-to-learn-to-maintain-a-sailboat-without-going-broke-169023.html)

cruisernewbie 05-07-2016 16:36

How to learn to maintain a sailboat without going broke?
 
I am looking to buy a small sailboat and need to learn how to maintain a cruiser so that I don't go broke owning one. Any good books or classes to learn this? I live in San Diego, CA.

Thanks!
Ben

vjm 05-07-2016 17:36

Re: How to learn to maintain a sailboat without going broke?
 
Don Casey's "This Old Boat" and Nigel Calder's "Boatowner's Electrical and Mechanical Manual", a download of the maintenance manual and parts list for your engine, and the internet will take care of most things. Research everything exhaustively before you do it, someone will inevitably have asked the same thing and the answers out there can be checked for cost analysis pretty easily.

sandy stone 05-07-2016 17:45

Re: How to learn to maintain a sailboat without going broke?
 
Yep, and if you're like most of us, you can start on small, old boats, where the parts aren't too expensive and cosmetics isn't such an issue, and gradually work your way up. Before you know it, you'll be able to patch up just about anything. Better than most of the yard guys.

zedpassway 05-07-2016 17:55

Re: How to learn to maintain a sailboat without going broke?
 
How to make a small fortune sailing a boat: Start with a large fortune.

How not to go broke if you don't have a large fortune, get a very small boat.

Water, especially saltwater, and the things that live in it, will try to eat your boat, and you too if you're not careful. Most of your time will be dealing with these eating forages by the water and the stuff that is in it.

Get a small sailboat. Dry dock it near the water. Get a pair of VR glasses that show you out on the water. Use them. Your boat will be in pristine condition forever.

Sailing is a lot like leasing a car that already has 100K miles on it. And not everything that costs will be even in the water trying to eat the boat, it will be paying humans to allow you to have the water eat your boat.

FSMike 05-07-2016 18:23

Re: How to learn to maintain a sailboat without going broke?
 
Here's your first tip - Those books you were talking about? Only buy them used lol.

fungod 05-07-2016 19:23

Re: How to learn to maintain a sailboat without going broke?
 
Consider a partnership. I have been in on one for 16 years and we each pay $3 per day to own on SF bay. 6 partners in a 30'. I did not want to spend a fortune and still sail as much as I want. It has worked well and I sail about 70 days a year.

https://addiction30.tripod.com/id27.html

Here is some info in forming a partnership. Good luck.


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The Garbone 05-07-2016 19:32

Re: How to learn to maintain a sailboat without going broke?
 
Pay cash, no more than you are willing to loose.

cruisernewbie 05-07-2016 20:34

Re: How to learn to maintain a sailboat without going broke?
 
Thanks! Well I am looking for smaller 25-30' sailboats that can be easy single hand cruise between San Diego, Catalina and Ensenada. Liked the Santana 30/30 that I test sailed today quite a bit. I budget under 20k for cash purchase of the boat, plus an extra 10k for maintenance fuel and slip fees per year. Does that sound about right? Planes are more expensive to own.

Stu Jackson 05-07-2016 22:06

Re: How to learn to maintain a sailboat without going broke?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by cruisernewbie (Post 2160261)
I budget under 20k for cash purchase of the boat, plus an extra 10k for maintenance fuel and slip fees per year. Does that sound about right?

Nope. It might if you separated the fuel & slip fees out.

Good luck, good advice so far, including the tongue in cheek ones.:smile:

cruisernewbie 05-07-2016 22:59

Re: How to learn to maintain a sailboat without going broke?
 
Ok so slip fees here in San Diego are between 450-600/month for under 35' boat.
Thats max of 7.2K, fuel burn 100g per year using bare minimum just to get into/out of harbors.

Slip fees: 7.2k
Annual Fuel cost: assume $11 per gallon x 100 ~ $1200

Repairs/Maintenance: ???

I would be interested in what to expect from folks who own sailboats.

gamayun 05-07-2016 23:10

Re: How to learn to maintain a sailboat without going broke?
 
It really depends on the condition of the boat at the time you buy it and what you want to do with it. Since you have plans to sail to Ensenada and Catalina, you'll want to make sure it's in good shape for offshore conditions (maybe beefed up running rigging and purchase of an EPIRB, for example), rather than just bay or nearshore sailing. When you get the boat, just start a list and figure out how to do the repairs yourself. There might be appropriate classes in diesel maintenance and how to apply epoxies and such, but you can find most anything by perusing the internet and talking to your dock mates. This would save you 3-4 times it would otherwise cost you to hire someone else to do the work for you. Also, prioritize the list and use it to establish your budget. Not everything needs to be done right away and it's really easy to get carried away with boat projects :whistling:

UNCIVILIZED 05-07-2016 23:52

Re: How to learn to maintain a sailboat without going broke?
 
Aside from reading everything that Nigel Calder's written, there are plenty of classes & schools around. I'm a bit out of the loop with regards to those in your locale any more, but in the PNW for example, the Wooden Boat School offers a lot of classes covering different systems on boats. As do many other colleges, trade schools, & vocational programs in said region. Ditto on many other areas.

One way to find more info & POC's, the classic one, is to walk around the sailing & marine service providers part of town, & start chatting folks up. As well as picking up all of the free periodicals that you find there, ditto on scouring the bulletin/message boards (paper type). And of course, once you get a lead or three, there will also be plenty of links to online opportunities & resources. Including crew pools, & local online sailing forums, etc. For example, Facebook, Meet Up, & many others.

Another option is to crew on a racing boat, even if just for the laid back, Wed. night Beer Can Series, & volunteer for every job onboard. To include assisting with maintaining the boat, so that you can get some hands on time under supervision.

chuckr 06-07-2016 00:09

Re: How to learn to maintain a sailboat without going broke?
 
I grew up on a farm and we did a lot of work ourselves to keep stuff running only a bit of it translated to boats. We made the decision to buy new as we could afford and it was a tax thing ect. But one of the main reasons is I did not know a lot about how to take care of a boat. Over the past 13 years we have learned a lot.

We have a basic rule - no one works on our boat unless I help. If I don't help you don't get the work. I have a pretty fair understanding now how to do stuff. Unfortunately my age is now catching up with me and it is getting harder to do stuff.

And some stuff I would never attempt. Like we had our auto prop pulled last year and rebuilt as we did our windlass. I have pulled the windlass and changed out the gypse but a total rebuild is beyond me. We kinda know what I can and cannot do but still maintain if you work on my boat I am your assistant.

sailorboy1 06-07-2016 04:42

Re: How to learn to maintain a sailboat without going broke?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by cruisernewbie (Post 2160318)
Annual Fuel cost: assume $11 per gallon x 100 ~ $1200

Find a new fuel stop!

Sea Dreaming 06-07-2016 05:53

Re: How to learn to maintain a sailboat without going broke?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by sailorboy1 (Post 2160409)
Find a new fuel stop!

Agreed!

pickpaul 06-07-2016 06:00

Re: How to learn to maintain a sailboat without going broke?
 
+1 for Don Casey.

a64pilot 06-07-2016 07:38

Re: How to learn to maintain a sailboat without going broke?
 
Buy an older, less expensive boat and learn by doing.
Best way to learn is from your mistakes.
If your mechanically inclined, it's not hard, just sometimes difficult to get to, and to accomplish 15 mins of work requires two hours by the time everything has to be removed to access whatever it is your working on.

sailorchic34 06-07-2016 07:48

Re: How to learn to maintain a sailboat without going broke?
 
Every boat out there for sale, needs some maintenance. It might be replace some or all of the running rigging. Some of the electrical may not work. Raw water impeller needs replacing. Add a sail or two and a bit of standing riggings, new filters and oil for the engine. Maybe a dinghy and motor, lifevests, new flares, etc,etc,etc.

The first year or two of boat life will be higher in maintenance as there is always something that needs to be repaired.

You need to know
engine mechanices, or at least how to change oil and filter and bleed the injectors.
Electrical, AC and DC
Plumbing
Refrigeration
wood working
painting/varnishing
sail making, or at least sewing small rips.
fiberglass work.

I would budget $10-$15K for a 28-30 foot boat and another $10K to fix it up. Yes you could buy a boat for more money, but it will still need work. No matter what you pay for it.

Buy a boat with a solid hull, solid mast and rigging and ideally good sails. Everything else will need work sometime or another anyway. Probably sooner then later.

Also invest in a good set of tools,
sockets, imperial and metric, standard and deep
wrenches
allen wrenchs
assortment of plyers, pipe wrenches, vice grips, etc
screwdrivers
hammers, punch, etc
multi-meter
headlamp or two
crimper and crimps
wire

Just the tools will set you back a $1000 or so.
For any boat you buy, allow at least $5000 for maintenance and upgrades (not including a haulout and bottom paint). $10,000 would be safer reserve for maintenance.

Also allow $2500 for haulout and bottom paint, zincs, etc.

jrbogie 06-07-2016 08:02

Re: How to learn to maintain a sailboat without going broke?
 
not sure what you mean by 'without going broke'. everybody has his/her own budgeting practices. some will allow you to enjoy your life WITHIN YOUR MEANS and others will send you to the poor house. just understand that a sailboat is a depreciating asset that requires tons of upkeep. only you can keep you from going broke. good luck.

leftbrainstuff 06-07-2016 08:12

Re: How to learn to maintain a sailboat without going broke?
 
Don Casey and Nigel Calder's books are great references.

There are some good places to learn including the wooden boat classes in Sausalito and Seattle. However it will take years to reach a threshold from zero to competent maintainer.

The faster solution is to start simple. Buy a small and simple boat and tackle small jobs so you gain experience, you can make some mistakes and not break the bank learning.

You might also like to help others by working on bigger boats. You supply a pair of hands, a willingness to learn and someone else funds the costs.

As for skills you want to strive to be the fillowing:

1) cabinetmaker carpenter
2) mechanic
3) low voltage electrician
4) stainless steel fabricator
5) composites fabricator
6) system integrator
7) plumber
8) upholsterer

I have 3 trades (mechanic, airframe welder and toolmaker) and 3 engineering degrees (mechanical engineering bachelors, masters in materials and grad dip in military systems integration). I use all of my 60,000 hours of experience and all my skills each and every month maintaining and upgrading our Liberty 458.

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OS2Dude 06-07-2016 08:16

Re: How to learn to maintain a sailboat without going broke?
 
Find and join a sailing club near you. Offer to help others with their boats. I learned a lot helping others, and it lets you see way more things than you will see just on your own boat. It helps you know what to look for when you look for another boat, and gives you an idea on what other boats are like, including the features you like and those you don't.

sailrfred 06-07-2016 08:43

Re: How to learn to maintain a sailboat without going broke?
 
Just bought my first sailboat this year and got a 20 year old boat that passed the survey quite well. Got the bonus of 3 previous owners that had equipped her quite well and budgeted a yearly maintenance fund of 10% of the price of the boat. So far I've learned so much about plumbing that I'm considering taking my local certification exam ; ). To date things look well and is has been a very enjoyable and stress free experience.


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basssears 06-07-2016 09:01

Re: How to learn to maintain a sailboat without going broke?
 
+1 on both these books (if you can struggle through and read start to finish you'll get a great appreciation of the overall big picture, but you can also use both just to read about the specific issue you're dealing with).

Also this forum has a huge amount of information on it, once you're logged in go to the Search dropdown and use "Google Search", much more effective than the regular search box... odds are someone else has had the same problem and hopefully posted a solution, if not post solid specific questions (not "what's wrong with my engine" but "Universal XXXX won't start when warm") and pictures if you can and the kind folks here who know much more than I do seem very willing to help.

Quote:

Originally Posted by vjm (Post 2160147)
Don Casey's "This Old Boat" and Nigel Calder's "Boatowner's Electrical and Mechanical Manual", a download of the maintenance manual and parts list for your engine, and the internet will take care of most things. Research everything exhaustively before you do it, someone will inevitably have asked the same thing and the answers out there can be checked for cost analysis pretty easily.


basssears 06-07-2016 09:10

Re: How to learn to maintain a sailboat without going broke?
 
The rule of thumb seems to be to plan on 10% of the purchase price, per year, for maintenance. A new chart plotter is not maintenance that's an upgrade, we're talking pure maintenance of things that break, lines, sails, bottom paint, zincs, etc

As far as purchase cost, whatever you have budgeted for purchase DO NOT SPEND IT ALL on the purchase... reserve some for the pressing needs you WILL have to take care of once the boat is yours and you really go through the survey recommendations and the other things you find.

For reference, we bought a 32' bought and immediately spent equivalent of 25% of the purchase price MORE to solve recommendations from the survey and other problems that cropped up while solving survey recommendations... and again, these were maintenance / safety items, this doesn't include luxury items like diesel heat (which we really like, but...)

Quote:

Originally Posted by cruisernewbie (Post 2160261)
Thanks! Well I am looking for smaller 25-30' sailboats that can be easy single hand cruise between San Diego, Catalina and Ensenada. Liked the Santana 30/30 that I test sailed today quite a bit. I budget under 20k for cash purchase of the boat, plus an extra 10k for maintenance fuel and slip fees per year. Does that sound about right? Planes are more expensive to own.


reed1v 06-07-2016 09:18

Re: How to learn to maintain a sailboat without going broke?
 
We took a course in basic repairs and maintenance of diesel engines. Much better than just reading books. You really need to work on an engine to understand what its all about. A lot of community colleges offer such courses.
We took one that was sponsored by an engine manufacturer. Nothing quite like replacing a broken shear pin on the transmission clutch assembly. Won't find that in most books. Nor how to patch a crumbling exhaust manifold in order to get to port without being suffocated. Lots of tricks of the trade that are real helpful you can only get word of mouth rather than eyeballs to books/internet.

cruisernewbie 06-07-2016 11:17

Re: How to learn to maintain a sailboat without going broke?
 
Million thanks folks! All great advice. I just ordered these books and will digest them and also join a local San Diego sailing club and scout out classes to learn maintenance. I enjoy tinkering with stuff and don't mind getting dirty. Plus my retired father is very handy and would love to come down and hang out working with me on the boat.

I do enjoy the way the Santana boat handles and its not too big compared to the much larger Benetteau I learned on for the sailing cruising course I did some time ago.

snort 06-07-2016 11:20

Re: How to learn to maintain a sailboat without going broke?
 
MaineSail (poster on CF) is a great resource for boat repair knowledge. (Just bought some butyl tape from him and it arrived quicker than you can say Jack Robinson...or Bob's your uncle).

Here is his website: Welcome To MarineHowTo.com Photo Gallery by Compass Marine How To at pbase.com

knockabout 06-07-2016 17:55

Re: How to learn to maintain a sailboat without going broke?
 
marina costs can vary some marinas charge more for short term and reduced rates for long term / if you book long term then decide to sail they may not refund while you are out so you are paying for your berth as well as cruising costs / rule of thumb don't buy anything unless you absolutely need it and then try to have three uses for it / replacement wet weather gear, gloves etc /good working spares are ok after that before you bring another item on board you must throw two out / b-o-a-t = bring out another thousand / well maintained boat moored at floating pontoon without movement from that pontoon still costs / mooring fees $6000 or so/ insurance can vary depending on your policy excess etc / and haul out and antifoul or bottom scrubbing diy or pro / deterioration through uv and wind chaffe etc / then normal electrolosis , salt water corrosion etc / water ingress electronics / use by date on safety equipment / then you have to maintain and feed yourself if not liveaboard you have a land vehicle and place of abode usually more costly than your sailing dream / perhaps talk with your local marina they may put you in touch with a resident in your area that can clue you up on hidden costs

captlloyd 06-07-2016 18:44

Re: How to learn to maintain a sailboat without going broke?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by cruisernewbie (Post 2160717)
Million thanks folks! All great advice. I just ordered these books and will digest them and also join a local San Diego sailing club and scout out classes to learn maintenance. I enjoy tinkering with stuff and don't mind getting dirty. Plus my retired father is very handy and would love to come down and hang out working with me on the boat.

I do enjoy the way the Santana boat handles and its not too big compared to the much larger Benetteau I learned on for the sailing cruising course I did some time ago.

''I enjoy tinkering with stuff'' and ''my father is very handy''. That is all I need to know that you will have no problems maintaining a boat. Bone-up on marine stuff and you are good. Some folks on this forum do not like to get their hands dirty. They are more prone to use their wallets. :popcorn:

seasick 06-07-2016 19:24

Re: How to learn to maintain a sailboat without going broke?
 
Familiarize yourself with the various marine hardware consignment stores in San Diego.
Hugh's, Sea Chest, Downwind ect. Here you will find many of the parts you will require for pennies on the dollar. Take a course on Diesel engine repair and or read as many threads as you can bear on the subject specific to the engine on your boat. Ask lots of questions. Learn to sew sails properly. Most importantly learn to use the search function on this site and search on the topic of that which you hope to repair or upgrade that day. You will find these the most important lessons you can learn on the subject of boat ownership.

basssears 07-07-2016 06:09

Re: How to learn to maintain a sailboat without going broke?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by captlloyd (Post 2160983)
''I enjoy tinkering with stuff'' and ''my father is very handy''. That is all I need to know that you will have no problems maintaining a boat.

This quote is very true... this mindset of getting after it and figuring it out and making it work is what it seems to take to maintain a boat without on a somewhat reasonable budget (nothing truly reasonable about it...)

Quote:

Originally Posted by captlloyd (Post 2160983)
Bone-up on marine stuff and you are good.

But note this quote too... read the books carefully and check out some of the other references like MaineSail and then make sure you're doing things the MARINE way... don't just bring your general on land handiness to the water, they do things (wiring, plumbing, on and on) a little differently on boats in a lot of situations (for reasons that are usually very logical).

jasonleeau 07-07-2016 18:27

Re: How to learn to maintain a sailboat without going broke?
 
Good advice Mike. But does this mean someone used them successfully and no longer had a use for them or someone bought them and gave up because it was too damn hard!! Having done lots of boat maintenance on my own and fathers boat I've enjoyed nearly every bit of it. Just wish they had Youtube 15 years ago!!

lesterbutch 07-07-2016 18:56

Re: How to learn to maintain a sailboat without going broke?
 
Always remember the old saw, BOAT means "Break Out Another Thousand". If you don't have discretionary funds you'll end up with another old saw, " there are two good days in the life of all boat owners. "The day you buy it and the day you sell it!" But I keep buying the damn things!

cruisernewbie 08-07-2016 18:39

Re: How to learn to maintain a sailboat without going broke?
 
True and thats why I budget for repairs beyond purchase cost.

SV THIRD DAY 08-07-2016 20:02

Re: How to learn to maintain a sailboat without going broke?
 
User Groups...if there is a website group for your specific brand/model/type of boat the folks on there that have already been there done that will become your most visited website!

A perfect example of why you want to do your own work if you are on a budget:
You can install one of our water makers yourself for a little skin and blood donation to the bilge and tight locker spaces or you can pay a professional installer from $1500 to $2500 for the installation for you.

Celestialsailor 08-07-2016 20:31

Re: How to learn to maintain a sailboat without going broke?
 
SD is a real expensive place to have, keep or maintain a boat. Ensenada on the other hand...:smitten:

cruisernewbie 09-07-2016 12:14

Re: How to learn to maintain a sailboat without going broke?
 
Very true, in fact when I checked San Diego area marina prices for slips for boats under 40', it was over $400 for a tiny slip. Mooring balls are far less expensive however.

Anyways, for now, I am in a few groups to get my sailing fix on until the right boat comes across my path. I may keep sailing with others in the short term and invest my cash in high growth stocks and then buy a nicer boat once I have the experience. For example, I love the Hinckley, Oyster, Hallberg-Rassy designs and craftsmanship sailboats but these are super expensive used. Well at least the smaller ones under 40' are less pricy. Still, more expensive than say a Hunter or Tartan which are nice boats.

Getweh 13-07-2016 06:10

Re: How to learn to maintain a sailboat without going broke?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by cruisernewbie (Post 2160318)
fuel burn 100g per year using bare minimum just to get into/out of harbors.

Ok so I used 3.5 (three and a half( Gallons of fuel last year, but i use engine to get in and out of SLIP or ANCHOR... other than that, I sail.

IdoraKeeper 13-07-2016 07:02

Re: How to learn to maintain a sailboat without going broke?
 
Start by learning what not to do. Head down to the mooring field at the inner harbour and check it out. Most of those guys are already broke.

finefurn 14-07-2016 05:16

Re: How to learn to maintain a sailboat without going broke?
 
I was in the same position 5 yrs ago. I was totally new to sailing, a client had a 17 ft daysailer he was willing to let go to a good home for short money. 2 yrs later I decided I needed a bigger boat. I was given two 20 ft Ensenadas that could be best described as dumpsters. Beware ! The most expensive boat is the FREE boat. But what you'll learn in the process of restoring it is priceless. Most importantly have a suitable place to work on the boat, and don't be afraid to make mistakes and do it over. Search the Net, many "YouTube" videos on just about everything, Join a forum such as this, there's an incredible wealth of knowledge out there. Whatever the problem, somebody else has already had the same problem. Subscribe to the Mag "Good Old Boat". I use "Jamestown Distributors" as a parts supplier. best prices and they have free tech support and a forum.

Marty


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