Look at today’s blazing hot sailboat market, and you could find some super deals. But buyer beware! The real cost of owning a sailboat could be more than you think. Follow these easy sailing tips for a reality check on what it might take to get a small used sailboat ready for coastal or offshore sailing.
Take “Time Out” for This Reality Check!
Imagine that you are out for a stroll around a marina and come across a boat that catches your eye. You run over to the brokers quaint office next to the marina dock and ask about the boat. You can bet on hearing all the good things and the price just can’t be beat.
Before you do one thing more, count on an additional 33% and 50%. This assumes that the sailboat in question has no hidden damages and can pass a marine survey.
Let’s pretend that you walk back to the boat with the broker and conduct a quick once-over survey of the boat. All seems well; no glaring leaks inside the cabin from the portholes or hatches. No excess water in the bilges.
The engine appears to be well taken care of and starts, shifts, throttles, and stops smooth and easy. Her sails, running rigging and standing rigging seem to have good integrity, without breaks, bends, cracks, distortion, abuse, or neglect. And her boat anchor and ground tackle are in good shape, well cared for, and show minimal signs of deterioration, rust, or corrosion.
Add 33% to Get Her Ready for Coastal Cruising
Plan to spend an additional 33% on top of the purchase cost to get a sailboat ready for coastal cruising.
Hull, Deck and Rigging
Older sailboats may have hull problems such as blisters or water intrusion into the core (wood sandwiched between specific areas on the deck to stiffen and strengthen the deck). Older boats may need running rigging replaced if it has become chafed, worn, or sun damaged.
Part of the standing rigging may need to be upgraded. A surveyor will be able to test the metal integrity of wire shroud and stay ends and turnbuckles to determine if microscopic cracks are present. After years of use and exposure to spray and rain, this can be a common defect on used sailboats.
Upgrade or add to the sail inventory. No matter what the advertisement says, 8-10 year old sails are past their prime. Stretch, wear, UV light take their toll. At the least they will need a major overhaul. And you may need to replace one or more sails. Consider that on a 27 foot cruising boat, the typical mainsail can cost more than $1000 dollars. That’s labor, additional reef points, and materials. Save lots of money if you learn to repair or make your own sails.
Anchors and Ground Tackle
Beef up the ground tackle. Nothing adds more to the overall safety when sailing than your boat anchors. Carry at least three for coastal cruising. Ground tackle will include …