The cost of keeping/running your first cheap small boat

steve yates

Well-known member
Joined
16 Oct 2014
Messages
3,747
Location
Benfleet, Essex/Keswick, Cumbria
Visit site
I've been looking for a little micro cruiser as my first boat to learn in, covered in another couple of threads..

But one thing that's a bit eye opening is the cost to keep it. I live in Keswick, Cumbria but want to sail in the sea, not round the lake.

A swing keel on a trailer like a skipper 17 will cost me around £500 a year to keep on a farm somewhere, but then needs collected, driven, rigged, launched, recovered, derigged, and returned, so the time outlay us considerable, plus the fuel costs.

Whereas a pontoon berth in maryport would cost approx £1000 pa, but I suspect would get me considerably more sailing done, as it's turn up, cast off and go.

But then if I had a bilge keel like a pirate express, the crane age charges are eye watering , £180 a time!
Which makes a trip to different cruising grounds expensive!

Added to that, the charges seem to be often for 20 ft or less, so maybe a smaller boat wouldn't be as cheaper than a 19 or 20 footer?

What other costs would I expect to fork out in a year! And is there much difference in cost of running a 20 ft boat against a 17ft one?

Thanks
 

Tranona

Well-known member
Joined
10 Nov 2007
Messages
40,581
Visit site
Many of the costs are not directly related to size. Think of your purchase cost of the boat as a down payment for a lifetime of expenditure. Of course boating can be cheap if you avoid mooring charges, storage , craneage etc, but once you start paying to use other peoples' property you are into fixed annual costs - which do of course do rise with size.
 

ronsurf

Well-known member
Joined
17 Jan 2007
Messages
7,107
Location
Plymouth, D-heaven
Visit site
I'd say there's very little difference. You may save on the 17 footer if you can trailer it in and out yourself, but that's an involved process and may involve slipway charges.
For my 20ft bilge keel boat, mooring fees are about £600 a year, and I keep it in all year (it's very sheltered)/ Insurance is £120 a year and that's about it. Marina's around here (Plymouth) can be up to £3500 pa. There are swinging moorings around £400ish a year, but that is only from Easter to Autumn, the boat would have to be moved or taken out of the water over the winter.

I found that looking for a mooring before I got a boat was challenging, but when I actually got the boat it was suddenly a lot easier. I would try looking for a drying mooring which are usually cheaper, or getting your name on a local council mooring. There may be boat owner groups (There are a couple in Plymouth that look after the moorings) that are often cheaper. Both these usually involve waiting lists.
Things get a lot more expensive above 24/26ft, and not much cheaper below 22ft.
 

Fantasie 19

Well-known member
Joined
23 Mar 2009
Messages
4,443
Location
Chichester, West Sussex
Visit site
I'd say there's very little difference. You may save on the 17 footer if you can trailer it in and out yourself, but that's an involved process and may involve slipway charges.
For my 20ft bilge keel boat, mooring fees are about £600 a year, and I keep it in all year (it's very sheltered)/ Insurance is £120 a year and that's about it. Marina's around here (Plymouth) can be up to £3500 pa. There are swinging moorings around £400ish a year, but that is only from Easter to Autumn, the boat would have to be moved or taken out of the water over the winter.

I found that looking for a mooring before I got a boat was challenging, but when I actually got the boat it was suddenly a lot easier. I would try looking for a drying mooring which are usually cheaper, or getting your name on a local council mooring. There may be boat owner groups (There are a couple in Plymouth that look after the moorings) that are often cheaper. Both these usually involve waiting lists.
Things get a lot more expensive above 24/26ft, and not much cheaper below 22ft.

+1 on that...

I had a "small" 19 footer, and now have a "normal" 20 footer, both bilge keel.. no noticeable difference in costs.... I keep mine on a drying mooring, club owned, about £400 a year all in (so mooring all summer, lift in/out, winter storage in club yard, plus club membership) and then £135 on top for insurance... outboard service approx £90.... fuel varies but around £50.... then factor in the biggies like new sails (genoa last year for the 20 cost about the same as the one for the 19) every 5+ years...

Having launched the 19 footer from a trailer a few times, I'd never do it from choice... took hours.... and no doubt if I'd done it more often I'd have improved, but even so, life's too short - a fixed mooring for me.. :D
 

Daydream believer

Well-known member
Joined
6 Oct 2012
Messages
18,820
Location
Southminster, essex
Visit site
Wet gear, lifejackets, dinghy, antifoul paint & brushes etc, insurance, sail repairs, running repairs, fuel. Travel too & from, outboard repais, engine repairs. Club membership of you are socially inclined- helps with problems if you are in a club
There is no such thing as cheap sailing if you want to do it properly. However you can bodge on a budget but unless you like working on bits & foraging for spares then it aint much fun
 

ronsurf

Well-known member
Joined
17 Jan 2007
Messages
7,107
Location
Plymouth, D-heaven
Visit site
Wet gear, lifejackets, dinghy, antifoul paint & brushes etc, insurance, sail repairs, running repairs, fuel. Travel too & from, outboard repais, engine repairs. Club membership of you are socially inclined- helps with problems if you are in a club
There is no such thing as cheap sailing if you want to do it properly. However you can bodge on a budget but unless you like working on bits & foraging for spares then it aint much fun
This is probably true but it's not a lifetime commitment. Do it as cheap as possible for a year and see whether it's worth it. Owning a boat is not for everyone. The day I bought mine a huge storm came through and I lay awake at home thinking about my boat, knowing it was about 50m from Princess Yachts and that I was now responsible for it!
You can have a much more varied and interesting (and less stressful!) sailing experience by putting yourself out and offering yourself as crew. You'd certainly get an idea whether sailing is for you.
I would estimate a small boat costs about the same as a second hand car to run, taking into account an MoT, tax, insurance, petrol and maintenance. Paying for mooring may seem like dead money, but it's better than a boat sitting on your driveway never going anywhere. That really is dead money.
 

lw395

Well-known member
Joined
16 May 2007
Messages
41,951
Visit site
My first yacht was a 28ft Impala.
Cost about £12k to buy, sold it after 4 or 5 years at a small loss.
It came with loads of sails, so I didn't buy any, but spent a bit on repairs.
Mooring was a club one in Portsmouth Harbour, about £400 a year all in.
Insurance, antifoul, lift out and storage ashore are the major costs.
Buying 'must haves' like a rigid tender, outboard, inflatable, LJ's, fenders, GPS, VHF, Charts, good oilies for two easily ran away with another grand or two.
Plus the cost of visitor moorings, eating out in Devon and Cornwall, but I don't grudge the cost of actually using a boat, compared to the cost of having it and not using it.
We also dabbled in autumn and spring racing and RTIR, which adds a bit of cost.

Beware of the cost of replacing loo, cooker, electronics, batteries, running rigging. These things seem to have shortish lives.

It all adds up to sound a lot, but it's often money you'd spend on doing other things or having a nicer car.
 

Mataji

Active member
Joined
3 Jul 2012
Messages
402
Location
Plymouth
Visit site
You live in Keswick!! And you want to learn to sail!! Get yourself anything small you can find cheaply - Skipper 17 is fine if you like them, West Wight Potter would be ideal but anything around that size will do - and put it on Derwentwater. Don't know what Nichol End charge for moorings these days but it will not be a fortune. You will be able to sail EVERY day. You will be able to sail in all weathers. After a year or so you will have a lot more idea about both sailing and the costs of keeping a boat. (But you will then buy a bigger boat and find you are spending more and more and more.)

Many people believe Derwentwater is too small a lake for good sailing, but with a small boat it is a wonderful place.
 

ValleyForge

Member
Joined
1 Jul 2005
Messages
915
Location
Nr Kendal
Visit site
The new marina on Windermere made by the council would cost you an eye watering £4k pa as they have a strange pricing system, presumably to cater for the Cheshire Navy. (an awful lot or a really amazingly large lot). You could ask Roa Island Boat Club for ideas on launching & moorings around the Walney channel, interesting & semi sheltered waters for a small craft. Maryport of course is controlled by a tidal gate, so not quite turn up & go (apart from when the gate bust that is). Don't know about tying up in the outer harbour so a chat with the harbour master (or local equivalent) would answer. Ditto Whitehaven presumably.
Regarding boat size & costs its all down to condition - & trailer condition, really.
 

ProDave

Well-known member
Joined
5 Sep 2010
Messages
15,040
Location
Alness / Black Isle Northern Scottish Highlands.
Visit site
when I bought our boat, I did it all wrong. I bought the boat from a broker on it's trailer and brought it home. then started thinking about how to sail her.

At 18ft 6 on a trailer with a lifting keel, some might class her as a trailer sailor. One launch and recovery (3 weeks later) convinced me if I was trailer sailing that boat, I wouldn't do much sailing. It's a small boat that lives on a trailer at home for the winter, and in the sea for the summer.

I started by driving around the coast, looking at all the harbours, initially looking to see which had the best slipway but that soon turned to where is the best or cheapest place to keep her afloat. and it's because moorings are less expensive up here that I chose to keep her afloat.

See if you can join a club or users association or something. Group crane in and out costs about £50 a lift so that's £100 per season.
 

Retired in Crete

New member
Joined
24 Feb 2012
Messages
1,179
Location
Agios Nikolaos, Crete
Visit site
I would suggest that you try to find a boat park close to the water where you can park the boat fully rigged.

I kept my first boat, fully rigged on its trailer, in Brightlingsea Council Boat Park which was only a hundred yards or so from the council run slipway. I could be launched and away within 15 mins of arriving.

Just a suggestion

John
 

Lakesailor

New member
Joined
15 Feb 2005
Messages
35,238
Location
Near Here
Visit site
Having launched the 19 footer from a trailer a few times, I'd never do it from choice... took hours.... and no doubt if I'd done it more often I'd have improved, but even so, life's too short - a fixed mooring for me.. :D
My 17ft Seahawk took 40 minutes from arriving at the slip to mooring to a jetty, rigged....single-handed. It's just a matter of thinking everything through. Don't lash you lighting board on. Make some proper brackets that slide into place or attach to cleats. Have each trailer lashing the right length with the right loop, shackle or carbine clip on. Have your mast and rigging bundled with bungy cords so that all the stays are in the right place when you undo the last strap. Have the right spanners and pliers in the cockpit.
Have your outboard at the right angle for towing with a chock to prevent it dropping. Have a red bag for the prop that just slips on or off.


Planning and familiarity.
 

Kermit

Member
Joined
11 Aug 2009
Messages
291
Visit site
I would suggest that you try to find a boat park close to the water where you can park the boat fully rigged.

I kept my first boat, fully rigged on its trailer, in Brightlingsea Council Boat Park which was only a hundred yards or so from the council run slipway. I could be launched and away within 15 mins of arriving.

Just a suggestion

John

Wow, that's brought the memories flooding back, I used to rent one of those spaces for the tender, but mainly to have somewhere to leave the car. I used to rent a mooring from the water taxi guy. £120 for the suumer and £60 to leave her in for the winter.
 

Kelpie

Well-known member
Joined
15 May 2005
Messages
7,767
Location
Afloat
Visit site
My 17ft Seahawk took 40 minutes from arriving at the slip to mooring to a jetty, rigged....single-handed. It's just a matter of thinking everything through. Don't lash you lighting board on. Make some proper brackets that slide into place or attach to cleats. Have each trailer lashing the right length with the right loop, shackle or carbine clip on. Have your mast and rigging bundled with bungy cords so that all the stays are in the right place when you undo the last strap. Have the right spanners and pliers in the cockpit.
Have your outboard at the right angle for towing with a chock to prevent it dropping. Have a red bag for the prop that just slips on or off.


Planning and familiarity.

+1
The biggest I've trailer sailed is only a Wayfarer, but it is well worth thinking through how to streamline the whole process. Have a rope/strap/cord for each job and get into the habit of using it only for that job. Have a bag for keeping them in so you aren't constantly walking back and forth from the car. If you regularly sail with another person, get used to dividing up the tasks so that you aren't tripping over each other.
 

DownWest

Well-known member
Joined
25 Dec 2007
Messages
12,779
Location
S.W. France
Visit site
My 17ft Seahawk took 40 minutes from arriving at the slip to mooring to a jetty, rigged....single-handed. It's just a matter of thinking everything through. Don't lash you lighting board on. Make some proper brackets that slide into place or attach to cleats. Have each trailer lashing the right length with the right loop, shackle or carbine clip on. Have your mast and rigging bundled with bungy cords so that all the stays are in the right place when you undo the last strap. Have the right spanners and pliers in the cockpit.
Have your outboard at the right angle for towing with a chock to prevent it dropping. Have a red bag for the prop that just slips on or off.

Spot on; But what takes you so long? Mate sails a small gaff cutter. With a bit of refinement, it is now down to around 10mins or less to arriving at slip to sailing off. My sloop rigged nordic double ender usually takes around the same, except I don't take an outboard for sea use. What actually takes the time is the shuffling of the trailer and car to a park. FWIW we have several slips around here that don't charge.


Planning and familiarity.
 

Kermit

Member
Joined
11 Aug 2009
Messages
291
Visit site
+1
The biggest I've trailer sailed is only a Wayfarer, but it is well worth thinking through how to streamline the whole process. Have a rope/strap/cord for each job and get into the habit of using it only for that job. Have a bag for keeping them in so you aren't constantly walking back and forth from the car. If you regularly sail with another person, get used to dividing up the tasks so that you aren't tripping over each other.

I was going to say this, but you have. When I used to regularly cruise in a Wayfarer, John and I could rig the boat quickly as we each did the same tasks each time. We barely had to speak while rigging the boat or getting her ready to travel home.

We just fell into the routine rather than arranging anything. It did speed up the process though.
 

steve yates

Well-known member
Joined
16 Oct 2014
Messages
3,747
Location
Benfleet, Essex/Keswick, Cumbria
Visit site
Thanks folks, I've been offered a mooring in a drying harbour at Harrington, at £60 per metre annually plus vat, which will be around half the price of maryport and Whitehaven marinas, since they both have lock gates which open a couple of hours either side of high tide, there doesn't seem to be much difference in access terms to the sea. Anything I should know about leaving a boat on a mooring?any dos or dont's?
 

jac

Well-known member
Joined
10 Sep 2001
Messages
9,181
Location
Home Berkshire, Boat Hamble
Visit site
Thanks folks, I've been offered a mooring in a drying harbour at Harrington, at £60 per metre annually plus vat, which will be around half the price of maryport and Whitehaven marinas, since they both have lock gates which open a couple of hours either side of high tide, there doesn't seem to be much difference in access terms to the sea. Anything I should know about leaving a boat on a mooring?any dos or dont's?

No 1.
Make sure that Keel, Rudder , Outboard are properly raised AND CAN'T SLIP BACK DOWN. ( Lesson courtesy of my Uncle who nearly trashed a rudder on an Iroquois)

No 2.
Keep a copy of the local tide table at home

No 3.
Scout round the area at low tide before putting boat on the mooring. You need to locate anything big hard and pointy that the boat might settle on at low tide - e.g. abandoned anchors, mooring sinkers etc.
 
Top