The Boatist

Sailboat Ownership, Translation Work and Tales of Minor Adventure

Retire early, be passionate, don't worry, die poor

Monday, February 2, 2015

Boat Budget

Boat expenses are falling! The time has come, once again, to review my yearly boat expenses.

Rutland 913

From 2002 - when I crossed the Atlantic and sailed into Peniche - until 2012, I was averaging about €6,000 in boat expenses per year. That's way too much for an underpaid translator. I'm now shooting for €4,000 on average: €4,981 in 2013 (including haulout, new dinghy and Rocna anchor) and €3,524 in 2014.

How did I cut costs? 
- by being assigned my own marina berth, which is much cheaper than subletting a spot;
- by reducing the insured boat value, from € 100,000 to €55,000, for a savings of about €400. If the boat sinks, I can get a damn nice used 32-foot boat for €40,000;
- by upgrading only what is really necessary and doing it cheap;
- by not staying at marinas when I'm cruising;
- by using cheaper antifouling paint, for a savings of about €300 per haulout;
- by not giving a fuck about trivialities, such as scraping the flaking paint on the mast instead of painting it.

Expenses in 2014

Cost in €
Jan. 25
Circulation tax

Jan. 29

Feb. 26
4 m of hose to protect dock lines

March 3
10  l of Galp 15W40 engine oil

March 10
2 Barlow 20 winches from US $250 + Shipping $47 Import $105

Two bearings for Rutland 913

May 19
Engine battery (70 AH, maintenance free),  previous one still good after 6.5 years, so I paralleled it to the house bank battery)

May 19
Squeegee and handle for bottom scraping – no good.

June 7

June 19
Barlow 28 winch on Ebay from US (cheap)

July 12
Two LED light bulbs for anchor light

July 29
Diesel and gasoline

Aug. 5
Diver to look for Rocna anchor/chain in Sesimbra

Aug. 6
Two bottles of wine to weep over my lost Rocna
Aug. 7
10 m of 8 mm calibrated chain for spare anchor*

Aug. 7
8 mm stainless shackle (pin retention)

Aug. 26
Small grapnel anchor (to search for the Rocna)

Sept. 2
Rockfish 1.3 kg grapnel anchor to look for Rocna

Nov. 4
Magnet on Ebay (in hopes of finding my Rocna)

Nov. 14
Shore plug + connections

Nov. 26
15m short link 10mm chain for my plow anchor*
chain + knife + engine battery cut-off switch

 Nov. 30
2 liters of ATF (automatic transmission fluid, type A)



* Spare anchors are almost useless if not attached to a least some chain.

No haulout this year. 

I lost the anchor and chain at Sesimbra, so that will put me back about €900 in 2015 for a replacement. My new escape-from-life routine these days implies leaving the boat anchored and unattended in the Algarve for brief periods. Obviously, I need a good anchor and all chain rode - I like to sleep well. On the other hand, I've been told that the insurance doesn't cover losses when a boat is left anchored with nobody aboard. So I do lose a bit of sleep after all.

To counterbalance the cost of buying a new anchor and chain, I'll skip the haulout this year, again, unless the hull is really ugly down there. I'll have to dive soon to check it out. If it doesn't look like Fidel Castro's beard, I'll scrape the worst and adjust to slower sailing/motoring speeds. I'm in no hurry. 

Having a clean prop is what really matters. When motoring, a badly fouled propeller will vibrate your transmission to an early death, make the boat go really slow, heat up the overburdened engine that, additionally, will burn twice as much diesel (at about €1.15 per liter).

I will take the wind generator to the shop once more; if Luis can't fix it, I've already researched a way to install a 100 w solar panel for about €350 euros, including the regulator and mounting on the wind generator pole.

It's no fun being on a tight budget, but it would be absolutely boring if I had millions to spend.


  1. S.O.B!! €1.15 per liter???? It's135 dropped from 1.65!!!

    Great post! I dont know where to start commenting on?!

    Great job bringing down the budget..... a constant battle. I was getting good/better than my first year (7K). Almost hit my 2k mark but BOOM, tranny protect, tiller project.... up we go again! When do the "again" stop? When do the cosmetics start? Just some free elbow grease (aspirin not included) and let her chine!
    Ahhh....boat slaves hearts bleed! But we're not bored at all!!

    1. You're still dishing out €1.35 per liter. I hope the weather in Greece compensates for all your other political/economic troubles. Hey, at least everyone is talking about the Greece, just like in the days before Christ was born.
      2k mark!! Gotta love a cheap mooring. If only there was some way I could cut Jakatar in half - sell the aft part with the engine and keep the forward part with the sails. On second thought, the sails and mast give me more grief than the engine.