Sunday, December 25, 2016

The Cost of Owning a Boat - "Seas The Day" (Catalina 315) 3rd Season Costs

(Image credit:

First, some references to our First Year Costs and our 2nd Season Costs for those who want the full picture of the costs of owning and using a new 30ft sailboat.  This is going to be a simple and matter-of-fact post... read the earlier ones for more explanation.

Again, there are no "startup costs" so we have "Seasonal Costs" (the cost of owning the boat for a year) and "Excursion Costs" (an estimate of the cost of using the boat).


- Mortgage was $12,000 (we round the mortgage payment up to $1000/month).
- Insurance was $1,441
- Maintenance was $1,414 (mostly cleaning, waxing, and bottom cleaning)
- Mooring & Storage was $2,445 (Haul out, winterizing, mooring care, etc.)
- Safety equipment was $571 (new anchor, mid-ship cleats for docking, etc.)
- Accessories were $658 (spinnaker lines and fairleads, replacing solar panel, etc.)
- Yacht Club expenses were $2,518 (dues, launch service, coupons, events, etc.)

That's a total of $21047 (be nice... I'm rounding), which is a little more than last year.  We still don't have much in the way of maintenance other than cleaning.  I hope that keeps going for a bit longer.


For excursion costs, I try to estimate the cost of the typical excursion be it a day out and back from the mooring in Keyport, or a longer endeavor.  I try to include actual marina costs, any special provisioning, a guess at fuel and any tips to the launch drivers.  We basically had two types of trips this year.

First is a 4 hour day on the water - starting and ending at Keyport, NJ.  A rough guess for this trip is about $40 it's really not that expensive beyond the cost of ownership.  Note that I do NOT count the costs of meals consumed on land in Keyport.  We had 15 days like this for a total cost of about $600 (again, these are guesses).

The second type of trip was our six day vacation on the Hudson River.  This was our first time doing something like this and yes, it was a bit expensive.  Marina costs were $800, provisions $150, fuel $75 and tips of $30 or so.  We also ate in restaurants a lot at a cost of $1074.  This trip cost us $2129, and total excursion costs were $2729.

So all in all, it continues to average out to about $2K per month.

So what did we get for all this money?  A great week-long vacation, 21 days on the water total, and sharing sailing and Seas The Day with 20 people (not to mention friendships and great times at KYC, etc.).  Despite my knee issues that cropped up in August and forced an early end to the season, it was more time on the water than last year when we moved.  We also learned a lot!

(NOTE:  As of this writing, I had my knee surgery in early December and seem to be on-track to resume sailing when the season starts in May.)

Finally, some have asked "why post this?"  That's a fair question and I do it each year because back when we were thinking about purchasing Seas The Day, there was little information about what it actually costs to own a new boat.  So I share this in that spirit.  Is this exhaustive?  Probably not... I'm sure I'm missing $20 spent at West Marine or at the fuel dock here and there, but I think I'm getting many of the costs.  So how would I gauge the costs of cruising on your sailboat?  I'd look at the mortgage payment and double it.  It may not work in all cases - and it certainly depends on how you keep it, etc., - but it would get you close enough to ensure your budget can handle a new boat.

I'll see you in the spring!

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Winter cover

October 16th...

Well, this is new for us... actually having everything buttoned up so early in the fall.  But with my knee issues and Vicky leaving soon for China, we had to get it done.  Pedersen's accommodated us and fast track the hauling and winterization process and yesterday we were able to install the winter cover!

So the only thing left for this season is to pay the bills!

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Closing it up

So with the season ending due to my knee issue (see previous post, below), I saw one window to get Seas The Day ready before a major storm comes up the coast. Calm winds (not too much rocking) and high tide (I don't have to struggle down a steep ramp to the floating dock) meant I could go along and help.  I somehow convinced Vicky to get up early and we headed to Keyport Sunday morning.

Basically the goal was to get all the liquids out of the boat - perhaps bedding too and then get Pedersen's to haul her out.  

We made it to Keyport around 10:00 AM and found the tide high and the sea calm - both requirements so I could help.  We pulled all the bird chasers off the boat and readied everything to load onto the KYC launch. 

It was a little sad to see the season over, but we were glad to get it done. 

After having Dim Sum with the Millers, we headed down the NJ Turnpike and stopped at Auburn Road Vineyards for a snack (and a case) before returning home to DE!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

An Early End to the Season

I've been battling knee pain for the past month.  Initially it was a "pinched plica" (a membrane of sorts) and I tried the anti inflammatory, etc.  I found a brace or two that helped a bit (see photo in the previous post), but on a recent business trip, it got worse and worse as I walked around.

So once I returned, I went to get an MRI and then to the Orthopedic Doc and had it drained.  Upon reading the MRI he realized it was a "stress fracture of the upper tibia" (a sort of deep bone bruise, he said).  I didn't get a copy of the MRI, etc., but the photo below looks almost the same.

Photo Credit.

On mine, there is no hairline crack in the X-ray (why it was diagnosed as the pinched plica) and the white area on the MRI is closer to the joint.  The basic facts are I have to baby it until a brace comes next week to unload the joint and then wear that for 3 to 6 months to give the bone a chance to heal.

There's no way to boat with a cane this weekend, and once I have the brace... well there's some bad family history where (before I was born) an uncle drowned when he fell in the water wearing a cast.  As I said relating to alcohol, I really don't want "stupid boater" listed as my cause of death, so given the fast approaching end of the season, it's time to have Seas The Day hauled.

It's a tad disappointing... we were hopeful for a few more days on the water (perhaps even a week-long break).  Vicky returns to China mid-month, so we're really only loosing a couple of weekends together (weather dependent of course), and maybe a weekend or two of solo sailing (if I had pushed it to the end of the season).  Still, we had 20 days on Seas The Day this season which was four more than last year (when I switched jobs and we moved).

I never did get to try out the new single-handing rig for the spinnaker... something for next year!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Full Moon Friday

We decided to take a Friday off and go sailing.  This is the mid-Autumn festival (a Chinese national holiday), and with the full moon, it seemed a great time to go.  So mid-morning, we headed up the Turnpike and after lunch boarded Seas The Day.

The weather report had it nice with 10 knot winds, which was true for Keyport.  But halfway across the bay, they picked up to a steady 15 to 17... a bit high for my taste.  We had almost all the sail out, and since the bay had a fair bit of "roll" to it (a longer periodic wave), it was pleasant, but you needed to keep on your toes.

We made it across and back a few times, but had trouble pointing into the East wind.  

When we had enough, we pulled in the sails and then motored around to charge the battery.  Eventually heading back into Keyport.

As we made our way up the Keyport channel, the birds were out in full force.  I was able to capture a small number of them as we passed their current feeding area.

We decided to rest a bit and wait for sunset.  It proved to be a good decision, despite the lack of clouds, the sunset (and corresponding moonrise on this full-moon night), was nice.

(A side note... after nine months of trying to sell, we just ended up renting our condo, center below.)

After the moon rose, we called for the launch and I tried to capture some moonlight over Keyport photos.

Thank God for leaf shutters!  These were hand held on a moving boat!

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Father - Son Daysail.

Each year we've been able to work it out that John and I can get away for a father - son only sailing trip.  It's been one of my favorite trips of each year.

Today was a beautiful day for sailing.  Perfect winds 8 a 10 knots with occasional gusts up to 10 or 12.   You couldn't ask for better weather.  

I like these trips because after everything is set and we're drifting with the wind, it's time to talk... it just makes for some nice quality time.  

We spent a few hours out... again sailing at different points of sail until we were back to our starting point.  Hopefully the days of sailing out and motoring back are behind me.

Afterward we went ashore (catching a couple of photos of Seas The Day on the way back) and had a nice steak dinner at Neil Michaels Steakhouse. (Great suggestion John!)

After taking care of some business (trying to rent our condo), I got back to KYC in time for the last bit of movie night.  Tonight's movie was 12 Days of Terror (a special on the shark attacks that took place here 100 years ago). 

Finally, I caught the launch out for a nice calm night on the water. It was slightly lighter than this iPhone photo, but the neighbor boats were still just dark shapes between the Manhattan skyline and Seas The Day.  

It's always so calm and peaceful out here.  

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Hot Sailing awith Deb and Nathan

Let me start off by saying my cousin Debbie and her husband Nathan are a hot couple.  And I also know that hey have a couple of hot kids (Maryanne and Brian).  How do I know this??

Because they came sailing with me today and the heat index was somewhere north of 105 degrees!

Perhaps this wasn't my smartest moment.  We're having one of THOSE heat waves... a bunch of days with heat indices in the triple digits... where the temps are in the high 90s with high humidity and you break a sweat just looking outside.  Because you know that once you open the door, your skin temperature in the 90s is cooler than anything around and that humidity just condenses on you like a cold glass of water on most other days.

Oh, I also have a crick in my knee, but that didn't stop me either.

You see a couple of weeks ago at a family reunion, Debbie and the clan were wildly enthusiastic when I said they should come sailing sometime.  They're teachers and their summer is rapidly drawing to a close, so we grabbed a day with perfect weather (except for the heat).

When we arrived at Seas The Day, the heat was unbearable... I rushed through the preparations and got the Bimini up so we had a little protection from the sun.  It was clear that there was no wind, so we motored out to the Great Beds Lighthouse.

After the requisite photo opps..., we could tell the young 'uns were getting tired and hot (sense a theme here?) and I cut the corner back to Keyport.

As we approached Keyport, we could see that they were starting the Fleet Captains Race.  This is kind of a fun race for both racers and non-racers with a cool party afterward.  I had thought about briefly joining this. We even smelled the ribs cooking while we were preparing to go out, but with everyone on the verge of heat exhaustion, there was no way we were going to wait for the party.

I did manage to get some nice "under sail" photos of some friend's boats...

This boat is the Miller's!

As we got closer to Keyport, the kids seemed to get a 2nd wind and for a brief second, I thought about pulling out the sails.  But then I remembered being a parent and how these reprieves can be followed by big crashes.  For all the heat, the kids had not kept up with drinking (water... not all sailors drink...) and I figured prudence is the best path.  

That turned out to be a good guess... by the time we got Seas The Day buttoned up and hopped on the launch, I was cooked (the kids were too).  It was a nice time if brief time on the water.  The ice cream afterward was especially welcomed.