FAQ – Cost

Q:  Wow.  That’s a yacht!  You must be rich…
A:  Really I’m not.  Well, I am.  But I’m not any richer than you.  We’re both rich!

That often leads to things like a comparison of other lifestyle attributes.  I’m happy to talk endlessly about my daily driver car – a 2005 Prius – that I’ve driven 100,000 km in the last 24 months at a ridiculously low Total Cost of Ownership.  I guess what I’m trying to say is that most people I know spend what seem to me to be exorbitant sums on things that I don’t got and don’t miss.  I view having this boat as a privilege, but its not as big a deal as it seems.

I bought this boat with a notional budget of $5,000 per year for all operating expenses – fuel, insurance, maintenance, winter storage, docking and lock fees.  That’s not very much in the boating world, and if you put it in terms of a car ownership cost, I could be driving a new car instead of my 12 year old hybrid.  Nobody would think I was rich if they saw me driving a 2017 Accord 🙂

Q: Ah, but how much does it cost to buy?

I paid us$24,000 for the boat, about $37k landed in Canada.  I had a top budget of $50k.  I had an inheritance of about $60k and wanted to fund a couple of years of cruising from that money, as this is Jeff’s boat rather than a family boat.  Again, I am fortunate.  

So I go to boat shows and I see boats that are essentially a modern version of my boat, and the prices are in the mid-high six digits.  That to me is for the rich folk.  This boat is the floating equivalent of my old Prius – functional, efficient, and relatively affordable.  I like that.

I should also say that I am an obsessive DIY boater, and that I spent 15 years of my young life working on and around yachts, including a successful 4 year stint as a broker.  So I came into this with a background and skill set that I felt comfortable with in terms of identifying the right boat for my needs and budget, buying the best boat I could find at the best price, and maintaining the boat myself.  I’m also completely comfortable selling stuff, and am confident that I can sell the boat when I am done with it, and that there is a good chance that I can recoup a significant portion of the purchase price.

Whew.  So bottom line is that it probably doesn’t represent as big a financial burden as you thought.

I’ll talk about money lots here.  It matters to me, and maybe will help others who are contemplating doing something similar.

Q: what about fuel costs?

I did keep a detailed spreadsheet last year.  Don’t have it handy, but I did do some detailed fuel consumption analysis.  I wanted a boat that I could travel on without worrying about fuel costs.  And I’m a greeny sailor.  In 2016 I traveled about 3500 km over three months and used about 2300 l of fuel.  That’s more than I’d like, and I hope I can reduce my per km consumption this year.

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