Rough Yachting Budget

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EasyGoingPatrick
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Rough Yachting Budget

Post by EasyGoingPatrick »

Hi,

I am hoping soon to begin sailing for the first time in my life, and I would like to be able to work out some kind of VERY approximate budget.

Things like buying the boat, insurance, training and mooring costs are all easy enough to find, but where can I find a very approximate figure for how much I might expect to have to spend on maintenance on a yacht of X-metres length? And - though I accept that this figure will vary wildly depending upon how a yacht is maintained - I'd like to get an idea of depreciation. If I spend, say, £100k on Make/Model-A, and I keep up all required maintenance, what might it be worth five or ten years from now?

I realise this is a big ask, but I am likely to be stretching my budget big time here, so I need to have at least a vague feeling for these numbers. After all, it would be heart-breaking to buy a yacht, fall in love with her, only to have to sell her a year later because I find I have overlooked a major expense I just cannot afford.

Any advice would be very much appreciated.

Kind wishes ~ Patrick
Complete sailing beginner. I welcome any help or advice anyone is able to offer.

Jeff
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Post by Jeff »

Hi Patrick. I guess this is a bit like asking how long is a piece of string. Can only tell you my own experience with three boats... and that is, where there's a will there's a way. If you can't afford to re-engine your boat when your engine gets a bit long in the tooth, you'll pay someone to fix it instead - and if you can't afford to pay someone to fix it, you'll do the research, buy a few tools, rope in some friends and do that yourself.

If you buy a complete lemon you perhaps can claim against your surveyor who should have spotted the issue(s). But that can be hard and might not cover the problem that manifests.

Most people say to budget 10% of the boat's value annually for keeping it in good condition. Many people say that's OTT but it if 5% goes on routine stuff, you're saving 5% each year to cover the rarer (unexpected?) expenses.

A new sail, new rigging, new upholstery (if you don't DIY) are all remarkably expensive for what they are. But all can be DIYd if you have the time and motivation.

Personally though if my total budget to buy the boat and get through year one was £x then I'd probably try to buy a boat for about £2x/3 leaving £1x/3 spare for unexpected problems.

We've always found unexpected problems with all the boats we've bought.

Of the two we've sold, both within 3 years of initial purchase, we've lost about 10% of the buy price when we sold. So not too bad really.

I guess that makes it easy. 10% a year plus 10% loss at sale.

Your hypothetical budget then:

Buy: -£100k
Year1: -£10k
Year2: -£10k
Year3: -£10k
Sell: +£90k
= £40k to own it for 3 years.

With a little effort though as I said above I think you can undercut that 10% considerably. And if you buy a bargain in the first place, that's likely a popular boat in the future when you re-sell, you could do very well indeed.

BUT!

I'd very very strongly recommend against a £100k yacht as your first purchase though!

Why not buy something for £10k and play with it for a year. You can get _lovely_ boats for £10k that are capable with a few add-ons of ocean crossing.

Or is this to be a liveaboard? (sorry can't recall your original plan)
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EasyGoingPatrick
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Post by EasyGoingPatrick »

Hi, Jeff,

That is all extremely interesting and very helpful. Thank you.

I did already have in mind that I should buy short of my budget, to leave cash to sort out problems, but I was probably thinking more like 20% than the 33% you suggest. I will revise my figures accordingly.

I do take your point about getting a much cheaper boat initially. I have agonised over this. I suppose because of my age, I am trying to run before I can walk, and I will think seriously on your advice and look at some boats. I guess one thing drives me to go off the deep end, and that is the guy I knew years back, who - with little or no sailing experience that I knew of - built his own 63-foot yacht (having bought a hull) and then sailed off up to Scotland to live aboard it. The guy was bright, and did what I am doing now - he read and read and read... Guess he could easily have come a cropper, which would have been a disaster after spending eight years and thousands working on the boat. But he was fine. Still, I'm not sure I am anywhere near as bright as him, so maybe I'll take your advice instead.

Thanks again for the detailed reply.

Kind wishes ~ Patrick
Complete sailing beginner. I welcome any help or advice anyone is able to offer.

Jeff
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Post by Jeff »

What do you want the boat for? What do you hope to achieve?

Do you enjoy DIY?

How many people will be crewing and or sleeping aboard?

Do you intend to live on it as opposed to spending up to a week or two now and then?

Where do you hope to go in it?

Unsure of the answer to this one but I wonder what age of boat is the ideal for the least depreciation combined with the least problems. Guess it depends on the previous owners.
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EasyGoingPatrick
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Post by EasyGoingPatrick »

Those are very good (and big) questions. I will try to answer them without writing a novel.

Initially (and obviously, I guess) I want to learn to sail. I do have my reasons for wanting to try to do this in a less-structured way than simply joining a course, which I'll explain if pushed but am somewhat embarrassed about. I guess this is one area I have thought least about. I wouldn't dream of buying a 40-foot yacht and simply pointing her at the open sea as my method of learning. I guess I am hoping I can maybe find a friendly marina, which I can join, and maybe I can get to know someone who might be willing to show me the basics. (I'd pay a reasonable fee if requested or simply contribute towards costs. Might be a way for someone to get a bit of subsidised sailing in, and - who knows - we both might end up making a friendship in the process.) Anyway, as I said, this is an area I have so far thought least about, but clearly needs sorting before I acquire my own big lump of fibreglass.

To begin with, I think the boat will have to be based close to my home (East Coast, between Whitby and Humber), so that I can sort out any initial problems with the boat (which we've mentioned), and build up experience. Most of the time, it will be my wife and I as the whole crew. We would like to be able to spend a handful of days/nights aboard. Eventually, however, we would like to sail the boat to the Eastern Greek islands and moor her there. I'm aware this is a substantial journey, and I wouldn't attempt it until I had gained a good amount of experience, fitted out the boat with whatever she needs, and maybe acquired one or two temporary crew (which I am hoping can be obtained via one of the websites that advertises to match up crew and boat owners). My eventual aim - if things work out - is to be able to spend whole summers cruising in the Mediterranean, living aboard.

I am okay at most DIY. I've rebuilt car engines and whole motorbikes, and once fitted out a whole marine aquatic shop single-handed. I am, however, aware that many DIY jobs can be a different affair onboard a yacht. I'd hope, with the help of Google, magazines, and forums like this one, I can figure out how to do most jobs. Whenever I feel out of my comfort zone (I never did learn to weld, for example), I'd pay a professional.

I'm aware all of this sounds a bit fluffy and possibly even unrealistic, but I have always been up for a challenge, and I haven't read anything yet to indicate that I am being completely insane with this dream.

Kind wishes ~ Patrick
Complete sailing beginner. I welcome any help or advice anyone is able to offer.

Jeff
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Post by Jeff »

Wow, fantastic plan!

While I think you're completely definitely able to build up the practical skills by having people aboard and using your boat a lot, however, I don't think you'll pick up good navigation skills by osmosis too. Really strongly recommend doing the RYA Dayskipper theory course. Do it immediately. It might also be a pre-requisite for your insurance - and it's extremely enjoyable, interesting and informative. It teaches all the lingo you'll need to be able to understand what people in the boating world are talking about, the rules of the road and most importantly some good navigation and passage planning skills. You'll learn to understand the charts and use them to safely get from a to b. It is _nothing_ like reading a map.

Are you any good at vectors? Interpolation? You will be!

I did that by internet correspondence. It was an excellent start.

Then I did the VHF radio course which gives you the licence you need to legally use a VHF... which is pretty essential.

That's nothing to do with your original question. Sorry.

Nor now are my comments about the unsuitability of a 40 foot yacht for someone with no experience at all :)

You might get away with it. It might be fun and frollicks in the sun. But there might well be less risk, less cost and more fun if you spend some time as the skipper of a smaller boat first.

I know what you mean though - if I had the means when we bought our first boat I'd probably have bought a much bigger one. And I'd probably have been fine.

(Don't ask Terry though. He's had his transom damaged twice by people operating boats bigger than they're used).

But back to your original question...

10% a year.

And for kitting a yacht out to cross Biscay before port hopping to the Med - maybe add £5k+ (a total and complete guess). You'll want a really decent life-raft, more insurance than the usual UK user, epirb(s), SSB? Unsure actually - never done it :)

And I can't recommend solar power enough. It'll presumably be even better in the Med. I'm sat here now sucking in 10A from my two 80W ebay cheapo panels. Free power!
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EasyGoingPatrick
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Post by EasyGoingPatrick »

Hi, Jeff,

Thanks for those additional comments. Particularly helpful to hear about the real-world usefulness of solar panels.

Sorry I didn't make it plain in my previous post that I had already taken onboard your previous suggestion to do a RYA and VHF course. (As a computer programmer, I will be a little embarrassed if I can't sort out vectors, etc.) The thing I have a bit of a problem with is the idea of jumping on a yacht with ten strangers and trying to learn sailing that way. I may as well come out of the closet as it were: I suffer from a chronic anxiety illness that would make such a situation extremely difficult for me. Hence my wish to find a less formal introduction to sailing. I still do want to learn all I can, and I hope one day even to be able to do the practical courses to go with the theory, though I may have to try to pay to do them 1:1 on my own boat.

Incidentally, I'll post this as a separate topic when I get round to it, but can anyone recommend any friendly marinas/training schools on the East Coast, between Whitby and the Humber? I'm aware I am not in the best place in the UK for sailing, but moving's not really an option, so I will have to go with what I've got.


Kind wishes ~ Patrick


PS - Hope you are getting in some good sailing in this pleasant weather.
Complete sailing beginner. I welcome any help or advice anyone is able to offer.

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Post by Jeff »

I thought as I typed that about courses that I'd maybe said it to you before. Sorry for repetition.

I'm not a stranger to social anxiety issues by any means Patrick. My sailing and boating has really helped me actually.

But in that case then, rather than use this plan as an opportunity for extreme aversion therapy, why not do what I did. Do the RYA course as a correspondence course on the internet (I did mine with Teach Me Interactive) and then buy a smallish boat. Take it out solo on longer and longer trips - building up your experience as you go.

If you can get a swinging mooring for it it's a) much easier to park solo and b) much cheaper and c) much more beautiful a place to spend the night.

My first mooring was a Weir Quay in Devon. I spent a lot of time there tinkering on the boat, it was beautiful.

No idea about places to moor between Whitby and the Humber... Isn't there only Scarborough, Whitby and Hull itself with deep(ish) pontoon berths? Perhaps there's buoys available up the Humber estuary but perhaps that notorious stretch of water isn't the ideal starting place.

Could you push as far as Hartlepool? There's a big cheap marina there with lots of vacant berths... but there's a lock to negotiate in and out depending on tides.

North Wales has a fair bit to offer I think?

Other than that you might consider having a boat somewhere further afield. You might get more use out of it due to less tidal restriction and better weather. The south Devon and Cornwall coasts are gobsmackingly gorgeous - well worth the monster drive each way if you can stay for more than a couple of days each time.

Are there flights from near you to Exeter?

Moorings on the Exe are cheap and available.
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EasyGoingPatrick
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Post by EasyGoingPatrick »

Plenty for me to think about there, Jeff.

I'd perhaps consider a boat further afield, but how do you then go about doing DIY projects on the boat? Whenever I am working at home on a project, I am always amazed by just how many tools I end up using. I seem to need half the garage sometimes. Even if I had some kind of a van in which I could put a load of tools, if the boat were on a drying and/or swinging mooring, I wouldn't be able to get the tools out to the boat.

On a larger boat, maybe you could have tools permanently onboard and maybe even have a small workshop, but on a smaller boat none of this would be practicable.

I'd be interested to hear your thoughts (and anyone else's, too).


~ Patrick
Complete sailing beginner. I welcome any help or advice anyone is able to offer.

Jeff
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Post by Jeff »

Hehe I had ALL my tools on my first boat - 26 foot Centaur. And the whole boat became the workshop during periods of work. And I definitely was able to get the tools to the boat on a swing mooring. Where there's a will there's a way :)

But if I could have had the boat closer to home it would definitely have been better!

But if the compromise is boat close to home, easy to work on, but in a useless location for actually getting good use out of it, or boat somewhere fantastic and a bit of an effort to get to/work on; know which I'd choose.

Reductio-ad-absurdum... get something broken and stick it in your back yard.
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Discus
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Post by Discus »

Arriving late to the party on this one (so to speak) but I'll add my views, so take them with a pinch of salt! Our yacht budget consists of a few headings:-

Mooring and storage over winter
Ongoing maintenance
Upgrades (the fun bit!)

I suppose, that this year, the total budget will be around 10% of the value of the boat, mainly due to a bit more being spent on the upgrades and the ongoing maintenance (new canvas work all over and the engine was pulled for realignment). In an ordinary year, the budget would drop to around 6-7%. Mooring and storage take up the biggest chunk (unless you are Jeff!) and will be substantial if you are marina based. The issue of budget is a bit open ended, but the think you have to remember is that costs rise exponentially according to boat length. Given your example of a 63 footer, I would say that size of boat is self limiting. At 63 feet, you will need crew, mooring will be very expensive and hard to come by, sails and running gear will be very expensive. I also agree with Jeff in that I would start with a smaller and cheaper vessel. You can get a good boat that has space to live on and can take you anywhere for less than half of your budget. We have a 35ft yacht that isn't huge inside but carries all tools, clothes, spares, food and the partridge in a pear tree easily. I also think that distance isn't necessarily a barrier. We live a 3 hour drive from the boat but use in almost every weekend in the summer when the weather isn't tragic. I even contemplate keeping it in Scotland which would be a 6 hour drive each way!
The RYA theory courses are a great start. I have never done a practical course and hadn't sailed until 2005. You can pick up the practical stuff as you go along and still avoid the bad habits. I too think that being stuck on a yacht with strangers for a week would be my idea of hell. You can hire a good skipper to show you the ropes on your own boat virtually anywhere.

Go see a few boats and gauge the size you actually need from there.

Rob

EasyGoingPatrick
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Post by EasyGoingPatrick »

That's all good stuff to add to my growing mental picture, Rob.

I'm a bit surprised by your comment that the costs increase exponentially with yacht length. I'd pretty much already guessed that it wasn't a linear increase, but I wouldn't have expected prices to soar. Anyway, it is a moot point really, because I have already heeded previous advice and decided that I'd be unwise to venture beyond 40ft - even if it were my second boat.

Do you have any idea what kind of money you're talking to hire a skipper to do a bit of training on your own boat?

- Patrick
Complete sailing beginner. I welcome any help or advice anyone is able to offer.

Discus
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Post by Discus »

Budget around £125-£150 a day to have a skipper out with you on your own boat. You can book them for a 5 day stint or on a daily basis. You can get them to show you the basics or concentrate on specific aspects that you want to improve eg marina parking or anchoring. When my dad bought his first boat in 2005, it was trucked from Plymouth to Inverkip on the Clyde. We had a yacht master out for a day with us to show us the ropes so to speak. Although the guy was a bit ...... 'brusk' shall we say, after one day, I was happy to skipper the boat on coastal passages of 10-15 miles straight away. Even reversed down a row of finger berths in the marina to get us out when it all went a bit wrong. Mind you, you would have to ply me with drinks to get the full story! If you are looking for a bit of inspiration about how you can go from novice to ocean crosser then can I suggest you read a book called 'Breath of Angels' by John Beattie. Great read and shows what an 'everyman' can do with little experience. A truly excellent read, although out of print now, you can get a copy off eBay for a few quid. Worth every penny -Whitby to the Caribbean on a 35ft yacht in about 1994.

Cheers

Rob

EasyGoingPatrick
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Post by EasyGoingPatrick »

I will look up that book. And one day, I'll press you for the full story about your marina antics.

Thank you.

- Patrick
Complete sailing beginner. I welcome any help or advice anyone is able to offer.

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