The costs of ownership - maintenance (version 2020)
On the follow up of the 2019 overall maintenance costs for The Dream, we have further updated our schedules with additional "jobs" or equipments that require servicing at special periods.
We also added some notes regarding the regularity of some of the tasks after guidance resulting of discussion with George, the best marine mechanic we have met so far. George is one of those rare mechanics that is still from the old technical training schools and that shared some of his knowledge and guided us to a better schedule for maintenance to ensure a smooth and long lasting operation of our engine.
After we decided to change our lifestyle and moved aboard The Dream we have been coming across with "guidance numbers and percentages" when researching in the speciality literature and on the sailor's community, but our experience and planning so far is telling us a different story each year.
When we untied the lines of our land life we started keeping track of our expenses in an attempt to better understand the associated cost of ownership and use of a yacht as well as the costs of this lifestyle.
The first years, more specifically 2017 and 2018 were difficult (impossible would be more accurate) not only to keep to our budget but also to understand those costs. There were upgrades to be done, refit works to adjust a few details as to how we wanted to live aboard, amongst other costs resulting from the unwinding process from our fast-paced lives to the new lifestyle.
During these years we made an effort to understand and generate an average cost for each maintenance job as well as a schedule that would help us plan for the years ahead giving us a more realistic picture of the costs regardless of our day to day expenses and lifestyle choices.
This year we finally got new white sails made specifically for long distance offshore sailing.
Our original Elvstrom DCX laminate sails were not very well cared for by the first owner of The Dream (the sails were not UV protected prior to our purchase of the yacht) and were already showing the signs of the damaged suffered during those first 3 years.
We included the sails in the maintenance schedule since very much like the standing and the running rigging these have a certain life expectancy and a huge impact on budgeting that cannot be ignored and should be planned for by yacht owners.
The sail wardrobe is probably the item that is more dependent of personal choices, sailing style and sailing grounds.
Ours are, one could say, performance sails (not racing sails) for offshore sailing and the cost reflects those choices. That on itself probably deserves a post and we will add a link here at a later date.
By generating a schedule of maintenance with the average/estimated job prices, it is easier to prepare in advance allowing us to plan for and search the locations with good facilities for us to perform the jobs.
Knowing what is needed for each maintenance job in advance also allows us to carry exactly what we need at all times, a handy number of spares.
Of course, evaluating all the related costs is not so simple, the exercise done with our yearly budgets tell us precisely that, there are many things at play between insurance for different sailing areas, different costs of living in different countries etc. But general maintenance should in principle be affected only by different Taxes, inflation and product availability.
We do not award a cost of labour (we try to do all our work) and the prices for hauling out because they differ so much even within the same region.
We try to always carry onboard enough supplies for 3 services/maintenance rounds. The reason for that is to allow us more flexibility in terms of pricing and also to be sure we are always prepared to do an unscheduled service, maintenance or repair without further delays (also because we like to go to off the beaten track anchorages even if in touristy places).
These schedules also help us to keep track of what we need for each job, what we have in stock, a reference price for each item and notes regarding the jobs itself resulting from our previous experiences or advice from marine mechanics that we occasionally meet.
The prices used in our schedule are the result of our research at good supplied and with competitive prices chandleries as it is for example the chandlery in Cleopatra Boatyard in Preveza, Greece. And are for original parts.
It is possible to find better deals online (even for original parts) but to take advantage of those it is needed a delivery address and our experience tells us that usually it takes longer than "promised" for the orders to arrive which results often in increased marina costs. We do take advantage of these opportunities but we feel they don’t reflect what would be the average cost and cannot provide an average cost if we needed to source out the needed parts locally, so we don’t include those prices in our research to generate these schedules.
The bonus of this exercise is also getting a good grasp of some of the costs of setting up the yacht in terms of safety both of boat and personal safety, and the cost of the running operation of what some call “luxury” items such as the watermaker.
***This exercise should only be viewed as guidance/reference in regards to the schedules and prices. It is recommended to read the operation manuals when defining such schedules, supplies lists and prices.
***This exercise is in a constant update due to the lessons we learn along the way.
***In the spirit of sharing our dreams and experiences we have shared this blog post in the NOFOREIGNLAND.COM website sailors community.