The Boatist

Sailboat Ownership, Translation Work and Tales of Minor Adventure

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

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Marina vs Mooring

"A man is never lost at sea."  - Ernest Hemingway
Is Hemingway's motto also applicable to a mooring?

Jakatar has been on a mooring in Alvor since July 2019. What are the advantages and disadvantages of keeping a boat on a mooring 350 km from home compared to maintaining it at a marina 15 km away?
Marina - Mooring Costs Comparison


In Euros €

Marina (Peniche, Portugal)

Mooring (Alvor)


Initial cost of mooring divided by 10 years



Cost of building a mooring. Built it myself suspended from the boat (see previous post)

Yearly marina/mooring fees




Yearly costs of visiting the boat



15 km to Peniche x 100 visits

350 km to Alvor x 10 visits

Fenders and lines / chain








Total per year

€ 2,050

€ 790


What I like (or used to like) about keeping the boat at a nearby marina:
1. Easy to visit without the need to take and deploy a dinghy;
2. Electricity and water on demand;
3. Other boaters to socialize with;
4. Easier to do boat maintenance and restoration work;
5. The annual 1-month round trip to the Algarve was always a mini adventure.

What I like about keeping the boat on a mooring farther away:
1. Visiting the boat is like going on a holiday, an escape;
2. Less expensive;
3. Greater sense of adventure, even though I already live in a beach town;
4. Less worries about fenders, dock lines and storms (the mooring field is way more protected, and I've never lost a minute's sleep due to bad weather.

Since I like both options, I should own two sailboats.
Ideally, I would buy a small inexpensive boat and keep it nearby for day sails. It is a somewhat known fact that small boats are sailed way, way more than larger boats. Haven't bought the small boat yet because I've been too busy crewing on friends' boats and on short and multi-day trips. Sailors have a hard life - too many choices. 

Jakatar in the background, waiting for some action. On my last visit, on October 26, the sunken boat's mast was visible only at low tide. Somewhat dangerous in my opinion. 

The channel leading to the entrance. I've never seen so many sailboats anchored/moored here in winter with people living/staying aboard. Must be virus refugees.

The anchorage basin

Alvor by night

Going for a walk on the beach. Ironically, I do a lot of walking on land when I visit Jakatar.


  1. Heyya Man! Long time no see!
    Yeah, marinas are too expensive and too close to things to bump into. Yet soo easy. Mooring is where it's at but ya wet your feet usually. But 700 clicks is so far away. Mine was only 50 and seemed too far away and I was always worried about a leak or vandalism. How some people just dump their boats on a mooring and just leave them for a year (or more) leaves me speechless!
    At least you've got your boat in the water! My last two seasons on the hard have taken its tole but I sleep better....especially now that we're locked down …again!!

  2. The lockdown gave me writer's paralysis! Besides, my yearly cruising was limited to a 2-day trip to Sagres.
    I don't pay anything for the mooring. 790 euros is mostly for travel expenses, and worth every penny. Obviously, I still have ALL the other boat ownership expenses. I don't lose a minute's sleep about having the boat on a mooring far away. Jakatar has only one underwater throughull, 2 automatic bilge pumps and a solar panel. As for vandalism, there are much more luxurious boats in the anchorage to be vandalized and haven't heard of any problems.
    Haven't you gone sailing in your pram while the mother boat is on the hard?

    1. Quite a bit of pram sailing actually...but not enough. Not enough swimming either. I only had 11 sea "contacts"! A dry summer it was.