Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 06-14-2017, 01:36 PM   #1
Guru
 
twistedtree's Avatar
 
City: Gloucester, MA
Country: USA
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 4,803
Is a sailboat really "cheaper" than a trawler?

I regularly see it asserted that owning and operating a sail boat is cheaper than a trawler. Is this really true?

If you compare two comparably sized and equipped boats, one sail and one a trawler,mis one really less expensive to buy? And to operate?

It seems to me that in most comparisons, what's really being compared is minimalist boating vs comfort boating. Ans sail boats tend to be more minimalist than power boats. But it really has little to do with power vs sail. At least that's how it seems to me.

What do others think? If you compare equally equipped power vs sail, where and how big are the purchase and operating cost differences?
__________________
Advertisement

__________________
www.MVTanglewood.com
twistedtree is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-14-2017, 01:47 PM   #2
Veteran Member
 
Rickized's Avatar
 
City: Woodside,Ca
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Roam'n
Vessel Model: Westcoast 46
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 30
Here is a good read comparing costs. What Steve compares are of equal build and comfort.
Rick
__________________

Rickized is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-14-2017, 01:48 PM   #3
Veteran Member
 
Rickized's Avatar
 
City: Woodside,Ca
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Roam'n
Vessel Model: Westcoast 46
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 30
Oop's here is the link.
SetSail FPB » Blog Archive » Operating Costs – Sail Vs Power
Rick
Rickized is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-14-2017, 02:04 PM   #4
TF Site Team
 
City: Westerly, RI
Country: USA
Vessel Name: N/A
Vessel Model: 1999 Mainship 350 Trawler
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 1,669
I think costs like re-rigging (standing and running) and new sails works out to almost equal to a sailboat engine re-power. So, technically in a sailboat, there are two propulsion systems which need to be replaced periodically.

I don't think a sailboat is much, if any, less expensive than a comparably sized trawler of the same year.
Shrew is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-14-2017, 02:13 PM   #5
Moderator Emeritus
 
ksanders's Avatar


 
City: SEWARD ALASKA
Country: USA
Vessel Name: LISAS WAY
Vessel Model: BAYLINER 4788
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 4,295
I think that if you compare sail boats to "Coastal Cruisers" then the costs are closer to each other.

If you compare a 50' sail boat to a 50' passagemaker type boat then the sail boat is cheaper to buy.

One of my neighbors in Seward offered his extremely well equipped and maintained fairly late model 50' sail boat for sale last year. If memory serves correctly he was asking in the low 300's

You can buy allot of really nice fairly late model 50' coastal cruisers for te same money.

Not so much if you are looking for a 50' passagemaker.

But....

His sail boat has probably half the interior room as our coastal cruiser.
__________________
Kevin Sanders
Bayliner 4788
Seward, Alaska
www.boatparts4less.com
ksanders is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-14-2017, 02:16 PM   #6
Scraping Paint
 
City: CT
Country: US
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 963
For long distance liveaboard cruisers, just the fuel. . .
john61ct is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-14-2017, 02:36 PM   #7
Guru
 
City: Between Oregon and Alaska
Country: US
Vessel Name: Charlie Harper
Vessel Model: Wheeler Shipyard 83'
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 1,483
Not that long ago we had $4 diesel. The current lower prices will eventually raise. All the easy oil is long gone. We're not making more crude and all the algae to fuel, and other affordable propulsion promises have yet to come true.
I have a power boat that gets about 1km to a gallon and at near 70, I figure I can live out my time with diesel. However the comparison between sail vs power works out now, fuel will eventually be more costly for power cruisers.
Lepke is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-14-2017, 02:39 PM   #8
Guru
 
Nomad Willy's Avatar
 
City: Concrete Washington State
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Willy
Vessel Model: Willard Nomad 30'
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 15,805
Do sails wear out from sitting in the hold or use and abuse?

If sails were lightly used I'd say the sailboat should be much cheaper. Most just have a small (10-40hp) engine, that is dirt cheap compared to trawler engines .. especially twins. Sailboats are not in covered moorage and I'll bet they take the weather much better. Cheaper to moor.

I'd say sailboats are considerably cheaper. BUT .... if sails were worked hard w lots of adventurious cruising the trawler could be cheaper. A well maintained steel FD trawler could be much more economical than a heavily used sailboat.

But looking at the average 35' boat w typical and comparable use I'd say the sailboat would still be a bit less costly to operate.

Rereading my post I think comparing these two types of boats is not apples and apples. You'd need to compare the sailboats w only F D power boats to be a good apples to apples comparison. And then comparing only similar disp boats.
__________________
Eric

North Western Washington State USA
Nomad Willy is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-14-2017, 02:46 PM   #9
Guru
 
Egregious's Avatar
 
City: Sunset Beach, NC
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Polly P.
Vessel Model: Monk 36
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 555
If you're going to ride bare sticks up and down the ICW then a sailboat is cheaper. If you actually sail, then sails and rigging are expensive to keep up and replace.
Egregious is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-14-2017, 02:48 PM   #10
TF Site Team
 
Larry M's Avatar
 
City: JAX, FL
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Hobo
Vessel Model: Krogen 42-120
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 7,734
We lived and cruised on a 43 foot sailboat for 10 years of which 6 years was crossing oceans. It was basically outfitted the same as Hobo; water maker, refrigeration/freezer, central heat, etc. We weren't camping. The interior square footage was smaller and the purchase price was about 20% less than Hobo. I think for us the sailboat was cheaper to operate. We sailed ~30,000 open ocean/passage miles. That doesn't include gunk holing or coastal cruising. If we did the same miles in Hobo the costs would probably be around $36,000 just for fuel ($4/gal) and add ~4800 hours on the engine. How to figure engine repairs/maintenance/consumables I'll leave that to others.

A new set of sails was $13K, standing and running rigging was ~$7K. the sails were good for 10 years and the standing rigging for ~15 years. The running rigging ~$500 every 2 years.

Hull and exterior costs are higher on Hobo just because of the size difference. We had all teak decks on the sailboat and those costs were higher.

We rebuilt both engines and Hobo's cost more but has twice the horse power.

We bought the sailboat to cross oceans and we bought Hobo because we were done crossing oceans.
Larry M is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-14-2017, 02:51 PM   #11
Enigma
 
RT Firefly's Avatar
 
City: Slicker?
Country: Bumpkin?
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 12,462
Greetings,
Mr. tt. It may be some "snobbery" that has generated the impression that sail is cheaper. Closer to nature, non polluting, quiet, environmentally friendly etc. We've all heard the "arguments".

We haven't boated too much in areas that have been conducive to sailing, you DO need space, after all, so as a result pretty well 99% of the sailing craft we've encountered have been under power. The "iron spinnaker".

In conversation with sailors on a couple of occasions they noted they were motoring because 1) the wind was too strong 2) the wind was too weak 3) the wind was from the wrong direction 4) no room to maneuver....Go figure.

I may have misinterpreted Mr. Dashew's article but I think I read it was more expensive to run sail given the miles he traveled.

Given the above, I'll stick with power thank you very much although I HAVE been on a sailboat 3X, I think. Thankfully never left the dock (yup, snobbery).
__________________
RTF
RT Firefly is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-14-2017, 03:07 PM   #12
Guru
 
twistedtree's Avatar
 
City: Gloucester, MA
Country: USA
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 4,803
Quote:
Originally Posted by ksanders View Post
I think that if you compare sail boats to "Coastal Cruisers" then the costs are closer to each other.



If you compare a 50' sail boat to a 50' passagemaker type boat then the sail boat is cheaper to buy.



One of my neighbors in Seward offered his extremely well equipped and maintained fairly late model 50' sail boat for sale last year. If memory serves correctly he was asking in the low 300's



You can buy allot of really nice fairly late model 50' coastal cruisers for te same money.



Not so much if you are looking for a 50' passagemaker.



But....



His sail boat has probably half the interior room as our coastal cruiser.

Do you know how the sail boat was equipped? I suspect that may account for a big chunk of the difference between the sail boat and equivalent passage maker. Does the sail boat have heat and air conditioning? A big watermaker so you can have more than a tea cup a day, and a shower per week? A fully equipped galley with dishwasher and trash compactor? laundry? Stabilizers? A full size marine generator and not something bought at home depot?

Although I'm poking at having a less comfortable passage maker, that's not really my point. My point is that if you reduced down the equipment on a 50' power passage maker to match the 50' sail boat's equipment, would the purchase price be a lot more the same? I think it would be a lot less. Maybe not the same, but a lot less.
__________________
www.MVTanglewood.com
twistedtree is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-14-2017, 03:18 PM   #13
Scraping Paint
 
City: CT
Country: US
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 963
I have hardly any of that stuff in my current S&B home, and had none of it for the vast majority of my life.

Never thought of it as a sacrifice or less "comfortable" either.
john61ct is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-14-2017, 03:23 PM   #14
Guru
 
dhays's Avatar
 
City: Gig Harbor
Country: United States
Vessel Name: Kinship
Vessel Model: North Pacific 43
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 8,006
In general, a sailboat is not equipped with as many comforts as an equally sized power boat. Even if both have a generator, the sailboats is smaller. If both have AC, the sailboats will be less effective. If you did upgrade a sailboat's systems to equal that of a power vessel, then the costs would likely be equivalent.

However, as was alluded to above, I think if you want to put together a boat for passagemaking, then you can do it much cheaper with sail vs power. Granted, the sailboat will not have the same level of luxuries, but it will tend to give you a better ride when the seas get up.
__________________
Regards,

Dave
SPOT page
dhays is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-14-2017, 03:43 PM   #15
Guru
 
Nomad Willy's Avatar
 
City: Concrete Washington State
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Willy
Vessel Model: Willard Nomad 30'
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 15,805
A thought,

Equal size will not be same length. Relatively modern sailboats have an elongated diamond shaped shape. Power boats carry their beams far further into the both ends and offer huge increases in space from it. Sailboats suffer a big loss in space halving the hull shaped very pointed at both ends (to be easliy driven) so a 40' sailboat may have less space aboard than a 34' powerboat. And more obviously there's much more cabin as one goes up on a powerboat. Again it's hard to get to apples and apples.
__________________
Eric

North Western Washington State USA
Nomad Willy is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-14-2017, 03:49 PM   #16
Senior Member
 
cool beans's Avatar
 
City: Norfolk, VA
Country: USA
Vessel Model: Bayliner 3870
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 279
Hey, I'm a sailor turned power boater. . .I'll throw in my 2 cents!

The sailboats I'm going to talk about are the production sailboats across dozens of different brands who churned out hundreds if not thousands of boats over several decades. These boats can be had from "free" to a buck a pound in various levels of condition. The volume of used mass production sailboats keeps their prices down as there is an endless supply to choose from. These are the boats I think of when someone starts a "sailboats are soooo cheap to operate" discussion with me when they find out I went to the dark side. It's obvious these people have never properly refit a sailboat.

So, you are starting out with a 30-35 foot boat you can pick up for $3k-$7k in usable condition. They are cheap to buy. There really is no comparison in the trawler world. Maybe the small power cruiser market is closer?

Now, none of the "sailors" I know have any idea about life expectancy of equipment. For example, a standard response I get about how old the standing rigging is, is; "It's stainless steel, it'll last forever" Then again, in my neighbors case, he only sails his 35 year old original rigging in 7-9 knots of winds. It's starting to brown around the swages, but might last him years until he sells it to the first person who show's up with $1500

Same goes for sails. I don't know of anyone who thinks sails wear out. If a seam opens up, they hit with the sewing machine and keep going. Sail cover starting to rot off? That's what god made sail tape for! Hell, I've seen large holes in a mainsail due to rats that were "fixed" by laminating layers of sail tape together. Looked like crap, but worked since he was a fair weather sailor. Sail shape? It's a triangle, right? It's not bagged out, it's kept in a bag. . .

I've seen plenty of running rigging used until the sheath separates, only to be replaced by Homedepot line off the spool.

There is an endless supply of used boat hardware for cheap if something breaks.

If the inboard engine breaks, you replace it with a transom bracket and "craigslist" special outboard for $350.

These boats have zero systems to maintain, so there isn't much to break or fix.

In my experience, sailboaters of the above type tend to be cheap or broke. And the sailboats themselves seem to be able to tolerate much more neglect and "duct tape n' bailing wire" band aides then a trawler.

I would say that sailboats aren't so much cheaper, it's that they can be used cheaply. I took care of my boat "the right way" and spent a chunk of money on it. I got 25% back when I sold. I wish I would have went the cheap route in the end. . .

Who knows, maybe trawlering would be cheaper too if there were warehouses filled with used engines from scrapped trawlers like there is used sails from scrapped sailboats. One local chandler tried to give me sails just so he could free up shelf space

But as has been mentioned before, I'm not sure you can get a good comparison going since there are so many variables.
cool beans is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-14-2017, 03:52 PM   #17
Guru
 
psneeld's Avatar
 
City: AICW
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Freedom
Vessel Model: Albin 40
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 19,424
Once again...compare apples to apples....if you even can.

An uncomplicated, economically rigged, spartan sailboat cruising with or without its engine can be pretty inexpensive.

A top of the line, professionally maintained sailboat can be hugely expensive....used hard...maybe astronomically expensive.

My trawler costs me way less than my friends 42 Catalina sailboat. He spends more on it every year than I do on my trawler..... probably 2 to 3 times as much....I cruise about 2500 miles a year, he cruises about 25.

So...how do you want to compare the 2?

It is really up to you how expensive either would be....and in reality, how would anyone directly compare the two?
psneeld is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-14-2017, 03:56 PM   #18
Guru
 
twistedtree's Avatar
 
City: Gloucester, MA
Country: USA
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 4,803
Quote:
Originally Posted by john61ct View Post
For long distance liveaboard cruisers, just the fuel. . .

I certainly don't deny the cost of fuel. But at same time, my moorage costs are probably double my fuel costs. We aren't full time long range cruisers, but we get around to the tune of probably 3-5 thousand miles per year. And in the total cost of ownership, I think fuel is a relatively small %
__________________
www.MVTanglewood.com
twistedtree is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-14-2017, 04:09 PM   #19
Guru
 
twistedtree's Avatar
 
City: Gloucester, MA
Country: USA
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 4,803
Quote:
Originally Posted by cool beans View Post
Hey, I'm a sailor turned power boater. . .I'll throw in my 2 cents!

The sailboats I'm going to talk about are the production sailboats across dozens of different brands who churned out hundreds if not thousands of boats over several decades. These boats can be had from "free" to a buck a pound in various levels of condition. The volume of used mass production sailboats keeps their prices down as there is an endless supply to choose from. These are the boats I think of when someone starts a "sailboats are soooo cheap to operate" discussion with me when they find out I went to the dark side. It's obvious these people have never properly refit a sailboat.

So, you are starting out with a 30-35 foot boat you can pick up for $3k-$7k in usable condition. They are cheap to buy. There really is no comparison in the trawler world. Maybe the small power cruiser market is closer?

Now, none of the "sailors" I know have any idea about life expectancy of equipment. For example, a standard response I get about how old the standing rigging is, is; "It's stainless steel, it'll last forever" Then again, in my neighbors case, he only sails his 35 year old original rigging in 7-9 knots of winds. It's starting to brown around the swages, but might last him years until he sells it to the first person who show's up with $1500

Same goes for sails. I don't know of anyone who thinks sails wear out. If a seam opens up, they hit with the sewing machine and keep going. Sail cover starting to rot off? That's what god made sail tape for! Hell, I've seen large holes in a mainsail due to rats that were "fixed" by laminating layers of sail tape together. Looked like crap, but worked since he was a fair weather sailor. Sail shape? It's a triangle, right? It's not bagged out, it's kept in a bag. . .

I've seen plenty of running rigging used until the sheath separates, only to be replaced by Homedepot line off the spool.

There is an endless supply of used boat hardware for cheap if something breaks.

If the inboard engine breaks, you replace it with a transom bracket and "craigslist" special outboard for $350.

These boats have zero systems to maintain, so there isn't much to break or fix.

In my experience, sailboaters of the above type tend to be cheap or broke. And the sailboats themselves seem to be able to tolerate much more neglect and "duct tape n' bailing wire" band aides then a trawler.

I would say that sailboats aren't so much cheaper, it's that they can be used cheaply. I took care of my boat "the right way" and spent a chunk of money on it. I got 25% back when I sold. I wish I would have went the cheap route in the end. . .

Who knows, maybe trawlering would be cheaper too if there were warehouses filled with used engines from scrapped trawlers like there is used sails from scrapped sailboats. One local chandler tried to give me sails just so he could free up shelf space

But as has been mentioned before, I'm not sure you can get a good comparison going since there are so many variables.

Good points. I'd summarize by saying that if you want to go minimalist, boating is much cheaper. And it's easier to go more minimalist with a sail boat. But in this case I think the savings come from being minimalist more than anything. I've seen plenty of power boats that are clearly operated on a shoe string, and there is nothing wrong with that. I'm not trying to suggest a boa needs to be outfitting any particular way. I'm just looking for an objective attribution of the savings.
__________________
www.MVTanglewood.com
twistedtree is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-14-2017, 04:12 PM   #20
Guru
 
twistedtree's Avatar
 
City: Gloucester, MA
Country: USA
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 4,803
Quote:
Originally Posted by psneeld View Post
Once again...compare apples to apples....if you even can.

An uncomplicated, economically rigged, spartan sailboat cruising with or without its engine can be pretty inexpensive.

A top of the line, professionally maintained sailboat can be hugely expensive....used hard...maybe astronomically expensive.

My trawler costs me way less than my friends 42 Catalina sailboat. He spends more on it every year than I do on my trawler..... probably 2 to 3 times as much....I cruise about 2500 miles a year, he cruises about 25.

So...how do you want to compare the 2?

It is really up to you how expensive either would be....and in reality, how would anyone directly compare the two?

Right. It's much more about the level of appointments in the boat, and the level of maintenance. Sail vs power is almost incidental.
__________________

__________________
www.MVTanglewood.com
twistedtree is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off





All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:26 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.0
Copyright 2006 - 2012