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Old 11-29-2012, 09:43 PM   #161
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Sailboat Annual Expenditures

Hi all -- we've been considering changing to the "dark side" from our 37' 1985 Passport sailboat. BUT reading this thread is confusing!

We keep track of our expenditures annually and other than the years we were out of the USA, we average between $15K - $20K/year between insurance, slip fees, maintenance (ok, we do have alot of teak, but the last two years I've been doing the varnish myself), and other stuff.

We spend six months a year on the boat cruising - last winter in the Exumas, before that in the Western Caribbean all the way to Cartagena, Colombia & back....

So REALLY, it costs less to own a trawler? -- we're hoping for either a Lord Nelson Tug or an older Grand Banks.

I keep pinching myself, we love sailing but are looking ahead ....

Cheers -- Jan
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Old 11-29-2012, 10:01 PM   #162
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While I've never owned a sailboat I suspect that for the most part the annual costs will be very much the same. I don't know how insurance compares but if you have a 36' sailboat, moorage costs will be the same as a 36' powerboat. You most likely have a diesel engine, so oil, filter, and service/maintenance costs will be comparable to a single engine diesel cruiser.

A cruiser doesn't have rigging and sails to maintain, but it usually has canvas covers, bimini, etc., and many have masts and booms with a degree of standing and running rigging.

The diesel cruiser's fuel cost will most likely be higher since they tend to have bigger engines and are not as efficiently driven as most sailboats. But fuel is not much of a cost either way compared to the other things like moorage, insurance, etc. And if one lives in an area where the sails can be used more often than not (NOT the case in the PNW) then this reduces the fuel cost even more.

All the other stuff--- plumbing, wiring, toilets, galley equipment, anchors, windlasses, haulout costs, and so on are comparable I'd say, in both types of boats assuming the same size and length.

Powerboats tend to have more in the way of electronics and other expensive goodies although this is not always the case.

So my guess is that if you move from your present sailboat to a diesel cruiser of similar size and age you won't find a huge difference in annual ownership costs. What you spend the money on will be somewhat different in some cases. But I bet the amounts turn out to be very similar.
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Old 11-29-2012, 10:43 PM   #163
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Long thread and I haven't read all posts but would like to contribute so folks can get an idea of what us bottom feeders do. I paid 75k for a 35' trawler that was in decent shape. Payments, slip fees and upkeep were about 1k a month...I did all the labor. She brought in about 12k a year from being in charter service, but she was in the water over 300 miles away and I worried too much about her.

Today I cruise in a 40 year old 28' houseboat, and although she's not a true trawler, she can act like one -- sleeps 7 with all the amenities of the previous 35 footer, 2 to 3 gallons per hour at 6 to 8 mph. Papers say she'll do 30 mph, but I've only had her to about 25 briefly; we cruise at 6 - 8 mph. Pics here from the eBay auction.
https://picasaweb.google.com/1019668...08584190965266

Here's the numbers for Big Duck
Boat ~11k - winning eBay bid
Bringing her to SC from Las Vegas ~2k
Getting boat/trailer water ready ~7k

Engine and outdrive maint ~.5k
Boat maint ~.5k
Trailer maint ~.5k (includes tires)
Insurance - $350
Personal Property taxes - 0
slip fee - 0
haul/bottom paint - 0
I used to keep meticulous records of expenses so I could refer to them when I got older, but now that I am older I don't care, so I don't really keep track any more...these are all gut numbers.

So, for less than $2,000/year she not only satisfies our water passion, but makes a great travel trailer as well. Of course we need to figure in 8 - 10 mpg for the van while towing, but never doing motels (or campgrounds) makes up for a little lousy mileage -- the joy for me though, is the elimination of the "Where should we stay?" fiasco...should we spend $100+ for the night, or gamble that we'll luck out and not get bed bugs or have drug deals going on in the next room - I heard hollering and screaming in the motel room next to mine and when the cops came I heard thru the wall that a man was stabbed to death next door. We've never had a problem of any kind in a WalMart parking lot.

Most of my boating friends say I should spend some effort/time/money 'cleaning her up'. To them, boats are something to be proud of, or maybe something flashy like jewelry. Big Duck is not pretty by any stretch of the imagination, but pretty costs time, money and worry and as long as The Duck will keep us safe and comfortable, we'd rather use those resources for adventure .
You're Way Cool!

I appreciate your input and wish you great future adventures!
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Old 11-29-2012, 11:21 PM   #164
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While I've never owned a sailboat I suspect that for the most part the annual costs will be very much the same.
The sail boat fraternity may say unkind things about powerboat fuel consumption. But they buy and replace and repair sails, which are far from cheap. And if they are racing as well as cruising, the sails lose shape fairly quickly,that reduces power, speed and competitiveness, they need new ones for racing and relegate the old ones to cruising.
The wind may be free, but what catches it to power the boat, is not.
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Old 11-29-2012, 11:28 PM   #165
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I used to keep meticulous records of expenses so I could refer to them when I got older, but now that I am older I don't care, so I don't really keep track any more...these are all gut numbers.

"will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I'm 64."

It's amazing the things we think are important when we are younger and now find that they are not nearly as relevant.

I am in the camp that thinks this thread should not be counting the cost of purchase/loan payments/depreciation. The posts laying out the of annual operating costs are what have been of interest to me. The capital cost is a whole nother discussion.
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Old 11-30-2012, 12:36 AM   #166
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The sail boat fraternity may say unkind things about powerboat fuel consumption. But they buy and replace and repair sails, which are far from cheap. And if they are racing as well as cruising, the sails lose shape fairly quickly,that reduces power, speed and competitiveness, they need new ones for racing and relegate the old ones to cruising.
The wind may be free, but what catches it to power the boat, is not.
My friends with 32-46 ft sailboats tell me they spend about $10,000 every 10 years for sails and rigging. That compares favorably with my $1000 per year fuel costs.

Perhaps, my costs for replacing bimini/FB sidewall/window canvas is close to what they spend per year for fuel.
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Old 11-30-2012, 12:39 AM   #167
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I've had both, and I believe the change from sail to power happens when the need for comfort begins to displace the call of adventure -- and there IS a price.

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Old 11-30-2012, 12:45 AM   #168
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I've no canvas (no need: no wood or exposed heads to protect) but have sails on my motorboat. Doesn't that make me even?

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Old 11-30-2012, 01:45 AM   #169
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Perhaps, my costs for replacing bimini/FB sidewall/window canvas is close to what they spend per year for fuel.
I forgot those pieces of canvas. It varies, but sailboats may have canvas sail covers, aft bimini, and boom tent to protect the cockpit area from sun.

Just got a quote for a new windscreen cover, $605, new flybridge cover, a large complex tonneau type(not bimini), $935 , plus $200 to restitch the "fence" cover around the back of the flybridge.
How do those prices compare to USA?
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Old 11-30-2012, 02:08 AM   #170
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They seem very reasonable. Of course what can be even more reasonable is if you or your spouse can do it for you. Restitching the flying bridge railing panels, for example, is a relatively easy job. Which is easy for me to say since I don't do it, my wife does.
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Old 11-30-2012, 08:59 AM   #171
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I've developed a spreadsheet over the years to estimate the monthly cost of my boats, cars, and houses. At one time in the last decade I had 3, 4, and 3 - but seeing the net monthly cost was a strong incentive to help me whittle that down a bit to 1, 3, and 1. When I take the monthly cost times 10 years, and think of how much longer I'm going to have to work to replace that, it can really add some perspective.

So here's what my annual boating costs are for my 44' ferrocement boat built in 1979 with an estimated value of $60K:
$720 - Insurance (State Farm since new, no annual survey requirement)
$3,432 - Moorage (covered 50' slip on Lake Washington at a yacht club)
$300 - Electricity (mostly heat in the winter)
$326 - Licensing
$2,400 - Maintenance (4% of value per year)
$2,400 - Upgrades (again, 4% of value per year)
-------
$9,578 - Annual cost

I have more rows in my spreadsheet, but they're all zero. No payment, no tax savings from a 2nd "home", no depreciation, no lost interest because - at the moment - I'd get essentially that if I invested the value of the boat in government securities.

From time to time I get an itch for a larger boat, which (in the case of a used Fleming) I would likely finance. The funny thing is, there isn't a huge swing between owning outright and financing a boat. Interest rates right now are pretty low (I think I've seen them in the 3-4% range), there is some tax savings, and - per my calculations - it just doesn't affect the monthly cost that much. For instance, in my spreadsheet a net (after tax) monthly cost of a $400K 55' boat is $3,687 if financed versus $2,805 if owned outright.

Where that $3,687 really gets scary is when I extend that out 20 years - the total is close to $700K! How many extra years would YOU have to work to accumulate that much after-tax savings? Even my relatively inexpensive trawler comes out to $191K over 20 years.

Another couple of factors my model accounts for - and which haven't been mentioned - are sales tax and broker commission. In WA state we have essentially a 10% sales tax - yes, you can get some of this back if you itemize. And while I used a broker when I sold my C-Dory earlier this year (I think he charged 6% and he literally sold the boat the first day he had it on the market), I've always sold my boats myself in the past. But, realistically, I think a lot of folks should build that (typically 10%) commission into their plan.

One thing that keeps my costs down is moorage in a covered freshwater slip in a private yacht club. It takes years to get a 50' covered slip at my club (and at other clubs like SYC), and it also ties you down. Lots of folks in my club rent space in Anacortes or La Conner for the cruising season, but the idea of our moving to a place where our slip would no longer be convenient (e.g. to Bainbridge Island) is quite sobering.

Anyway, that's how I roll, er float!

Edit: I just realized I left out the operating cost - that's a separate budget that I honestly don't track well. Our biggest expense there is the restaurants we eat in, but we eat out a lot when we're at home so is that really a cruising cost? <smile>
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Old 11-30-2012, 10:42 AM   #172
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This thread (titled: “Your annual $ Numbers”), at some 9 pages and over 171 posts, started by Daddio (aka – Unscathed Sandy Storm Survivor – on boat in a harbor no less ) has certainly run the gambit regarding boat costs as well as some thread creep that I feel offered a few high points too.

Way I see it:

At - - > “...$148 bucks per week for sheer boating enjoyment any day we might like ain’t too shabby!! IMHO” (quote from my # 13 post on first page of thread) means that every day of my life I need to fork over $21.11 to keep my boating lifestyle fully up and running. Well, if I can’t figure out a way to average $21 per day for the best and most pleasing hobby in the world (my and many other boaters’ opinion) then I had better start a lemon aid stand at end of the block, errr dock... cause at today’s costs for lemon aide at a kids’ stands (have you noticed at $0.75 to $1.50 per paper cup ) then I should be able to do the $21.11 plus some extra cash (wow, think about three lemon aid stands on three blocks/docks!) for even a bigger/better boat . Not that I want one right now... our 34' Tolly tri cabin is just fine at this current stage of life! When/if I/we retire with ample capital and decide to cruise the Pacific coast till we drop (Mex to Alaska with SF as home port)... then the BIG One will come into focus... I do have plans!!
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Old 11-30-2012, 11:25 AM   #173
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Gosh, just having fun, but since you mention it, there is a certain amount of yacht club posturing that people in other locals (besides Alaska) have described to me, in the form of "my boat is better, or bigger, or more expensive, than yours" comments and inuendo dockside.
Maybe it's just curiosity.

I'd love to know what the TRUE cost of ownership is for say a nice Nordhaven, or Kady Krogen in the 40' range.

I suppose I could go out and explore financing, and then guess at the rest, but I thought we were sharing 'boat ownership' costs, not just operating costs.

I have an old 42 foot trawler (although I can brag we both have CBK HINs) . It'd be nice to know how much others are sinking into their addiction and compare numbers is all. Owning an older boat comes with it's own set of gotcha costs. It would be nice to see the comparisons.

Heck... beyond that, we share the same moorage, insurance is based on agreed value, economy is what it is and the rest is just posturing.
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Old 11-30-2012, 12:07 PM   #174
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Slip costs, taxes, and labor costs can vary widely, depending on location. Some folks have haul out and winterizing costs, some don't. For that matter, if you own a boat 12 months of the year, but can only use it for six months, your costs for actual use would be higher than someone who can use their boat year round.
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Old 11-30-2012, 12:15 PM   #175
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Maybe it's just curiosity.

I'd love to know what the TRUE cost of ownership is for say a nice Nordhaven, or Kady Krogen in the 40' range.
I'd like to compare the total cost of owning a older boat with lower purchase price but higher maintenance expenses Vs a new(r) boat with its higher purchase but lower maintenance costs.

Basically is the older boat really much cheaper if you catch up then keep it in 100% condition?

Is the newer boat really any more expensive?

For those that think paying cash for a boat means the cost doesn't count, thats just not true. If you pay $250K for a boat cash then you are paying a cost for that cash. If you assume a 5% rate of return then that cost is $12,500 annually.

Maybe others can choose to ignore the purchase/financing costs, but for me they are real dolars, and my real wife really counts them.
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Old 11-30-2012, 12:26 PM   #176
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I'd like to compare the total cost of owning a older boat with lower purchase price but higher maintenance expenses Vs a new(r) boat with its higher purchase but lower maintenance costs.

Basically is the older boat really much cheaper if you catch up then keep it in 100% condition?

Is the newer boat really any more expensive?.
A few things to ponder:

A newer boat will have a greater depreciation cost than an older boat.

An old boat that has been fixed up (at great expense) will still be an old boat when it comes time to sell it.

Do you want to spend your time boating or working on boats?
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Old 11-30-2012, 12:27 PM   #177
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Some Sailor

For operating costs, not capital -

In comparison to my 48' 2003 DeFever a 47'/52' Nordhavn would have:
  • No costs for HX/raw water pump servicing on main engine ie dry stack
  • No costs associated with raw water after cooler maintenance
  • No costs for varnishing 100' of caprail
  • 50% more costs for 2X per year waxing due to higher free board
Other operating costs are +s and -s.
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Old 11-30-2012, 12:27 PM   #178
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Basically is the older boat really much cheaper if you catch up then keep it in 100% condition?
Also... like my old gal is in need of paint. Built in 1980, I'm looking at a $15K paint job. Canvas work... engine work, etc.

I like my old gal, but comparing numbers is always fun. I have to assume for example, my neighbor down the way could (if he chose) share the actual cost of purchase, finance and operation of his Kadey Krogen. It might be out of my reach, but it's just a number.
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Old 11-30-2012, 01:31 PM   #179
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I see two basic qestions coming up here (1) new vs old boat costs and (2) capital cost on new vs. old. Many costs are independent of boat age, i.e. marina costs and the like. On (1), I think operating costs are quite similar on new vs old boats where the mechanicals are the same or similar. There is no reason for age to make a material difference. As to maintenance an upkeep, older mechanicals/electronics can be upgraded so that there should be little difference between new and old. I think that the initial cost of upgrading/restoring onld systems to virtually new condition is the major cost difference between new and old. As to hull and superstructure, one assumes an older boat requires more expense to maintain. I just am not sure at what point a new boat becomes and old boat with regard to those kinds of repais/maintenance. I suspect that if a routine schedule of maintenancce is maintained. the cost evens out fairly quickly in the life of a boat.

On (2)-is the cost of the boat, new vs. old a sunk cost? With the concurrent lost opportunity cost from using the cash to buy the boat? If you are concerned about the lost opportunity cost you would defintiely finance your boat. Every lender has a calculator to show you how the interest cost v lost income, with the tax advantages, such as they are, makes it imperative that you finance your boat with them. I do these calculations for clients many times as they look at investment opportunites. The real issue to me is: Do you look at your boat as an investment oppotunity? If so, these calculation are important, including the decrease in value from purchse moving forward. In our case, buying our boat with cash was not a "lost" opportunity for those funds to earn investment income. Even though the initial cost of our 58'KK, even used, was substantial, the income lost by spending the money was not all that substantial in the current economy, and was certainly not enough to overcome the enjoyment we get from the boat. Any future capital appreciation of those funds might well not outstrip any future increase in the cost of the boat we wanted. We would gain nothing in that case by putting off the purchase. So, in that sense, we break even.

So, yes, we sunk a bunch of money in a depreciating asset, and it costs us a fair amount to oewn it, but in return we get an appreciating enjoyment out of our life. A more than fair tradeoff for us.
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Old 11-30-2012, 03:02 PM   #180
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Maybe others can choose to ignore the purchase/financing costs, but for me they are real dolars, and my real wife really counts them.
To me there are two "costs" to having a boat. The first one is obviously its purchase, be it cash or finance.

It's surprising to me how many people, particularly people contemplating getting into a cruising boat for the first time, don't think any farther than that, the purchase price. They equate it to a car, perhaps. You plunk down a bunch of money to buy it and then there will be "some" maintenance costs down the road.

So the second cost is the ongoing cost to own and operate the boat which unlike the purchase cost, never goes away which is why it needs to be broken out separately from the purchase cost.. We actually didn't really consider this ourselves when we decided to buy a cruising boat.

This is the sole value of that "ten percent" formula. In today's economy maybe it should be more like fifteen percent, I don't know. But it's a way of conveying at least a basic idea of the ongoing costs a person is going to have to cover for as long as they own the boat. Of course it's not a number that's going to apply to every boat. There are an infinite number of variables that will affect someone's true ownership costs. But when you want to point out to someone, particularly someone new to this kind of boating, what they need to be prepared for you have to tell them something they can immediately relate to. Burying them with the kind of specific detail we've been discussing in this thread will either confuse them or scare them off the boating idea completely, or both.

Hence the ten percent formula. It's simple, it's at least in the ballpark of reality, and it gets the point across right away: this boat is going to cost you a fair amount of money each year to own and operate so you'd better be able to afford that.

This how our broker explained it and it was critical information for us to have at that point as we were deciding whether or not to takr the plunge. We didn't need to know at that point every little thing that might go wrong or how much it was going to cost to fix them. We just needed to understand that a boat was going to cost us money as long as we had it and "this is about how much."
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