Voyage of Egret Forums

Vernon, Lake Jackson, TX USA asks:
I realize there are many factors, but apart from fuel, do you have an estimate of the cost of annual maintenance/repairs? What should the owner of a new N47 budget for typical repairs/maintenance over the course of a year?

Scott Flanders from Egret responds:
Vernon, boat owners are all so different in the way we approach maintenance and repair it is an impossible question to answer. I will give you some overall guidelines however, based on what we do aboard Egret and what other friends have done. Having been in the business it isn't fair to tell you what we spend because you will spend a fair amount more. Until the latest episode with our wing engine (through no fault of the wing, installation, engineering, just bad luck in very rough weather - the anti- siphon valve stuck after checking it a couple months before) we have paid a grand total of one hours labor in our entire ownership. Actually that is not true. In Turkey we paid two day workers a total of $60.00 US to wet sand Egret's bottom. We have done all other work ourselves including painting our own bottom and changing zincs. Our parts replacements thus far have been a couple of fresh water pumps, and a shower sump pump for big items along with fuel filters, oil and so forth. It is amazing what we haven't spent. What mechanical duties we have performed are simple issues you will learn quickly if you don't know already. We upgraded Egret stabilizers to Naiad Multisea II electronic controls, added paravanes and a Dickinson diesel heater. We consider those capital expenditures and not maintenance.

Most all of our Nordhavn buddies pay to have their bottom painted, most pay to have mechanical work done but in conjunction with their own efforts. An N47 is a simple boat with systems similar to Egret. If you are handy at all, your expenses will be minimal. Another great resource is other cruisers. My personal weakness is electrical and computer type issues. We have always found another boater with these skills to help us that we in turn help them with problems in which we have skills. As systems age in 5 years or so expenses will go up but not excessively.

Another issue to consider, if your new boat will sit most of the year it will require more maintenance than if you are running it a significant portion of the year.

There is a bottom line here. Just like in your personal life at present you spend what you have. Simple and as close to reality as we can make it.

There is another expense you may want to consider. The Egret crew is very thrifty. Perhaps squeaker is more like it. This said, our little white fiberglass home gets whatever she needs without scrimping. As your cruising matures you will find various 'must have' tings. We have changed dinghies twice at a significant loss, anchors, and numerous other things. We have spent a considerable amount above our original sail away spending even with all the thought we put into commissioning and spares. There is a big difference between want and need. Quite honestly most everything we have added is because we wanted it, not because we needed it.

There are sailboats down here in the Deep South with one gps, one old laptop, no radar and so on. Egret has 5 gps's, 5 laptops with navigation software, and two radars among other things. Do we need all this back up? Probably not. We want it. You get the picture.

Sorry for all the words without a dollar figure. Let me say this with some numbers that will show hidden expenses as well as running expenses. Like in your current life they all blend to form your cost of living. This year's airline costs: After arrival in Brazil we flew to the States ($2500) Mary made a trip to the States from Ushuaia to see her mother ($3600). Our airline ticket from Ushuaia, Argentina to Miami (for the Ft Lauderdale boat show) to Bangkok (to see our son, DIL and grandson) to Miami, to Ushuaia costs $6000. These are real expenses not figured into a boating budget unless you have been liveaboards for a while and know they are real as changing oil. Boat running expenses: For less than $10,000 we have traveled from Marmaris, Turkey to Ushuaia, Argentina (from April 2006 to Dec 2006), painted our bottom, and paid for all maintenance and running expenses, excluding boat insurance.

Good luck mi amigo. Actually, its not make your own luck. Ciao.

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