Monday, October 03, 2005

The cost of sailing - 977 DAYS

The cost of sailing. The average person puts $1k a year into just maintaining their car. I been in this business 18 years and have had many argue that they put less, but they are usually using the “ignore” breakdown maintenance plan and treat their car like a reverse stock market. It usually doesn’t work. Our customers who keep their cars maintained like they should get to choose when they spend the money. The ones who avoid it spend more, and they don’t get to choose when they spend it. Well, sailboats work in a very similar way. I constantly hear people griping about how much their boats cost. I don’t think they keep track how much their car costs them. The average Michigan family spends 7K a year on automobile transportation for payments, insurance, gas, maintenance, licensing etc. A typical 30-40 foot sailboat is going to run you about the same bill over a fifteen year period if you slip your boat and pay for storage in the winter. This IS a huge investment. But is isn’t the end of the world compared to what my customers pay for their cars. For that price I get a waterfront home that allows me to take my family on adventures all over the great lakes. Priceless.
The cost problem comes from the expectations of what something costs and what it really costs. The problem with most people’s boats is that they haven’t been building the cost of owning the boat into their life since they were sixteen. Now the boat starts demanding what is know as a “boat buck” (one thoooouuuuuussand dollars) for bottom care and sails and rigging and all the junk that seems to find its way screwed or bolted on and the griping starts. The reality is that something 30 feet long has a lot of care it is going to need. Washing, painting, fixing, tuning etc.
To those who like griping: I hear that golf is a good addiction for wannabe sailors. Try it.
To those who are thinking about owning a boat: You take the amount you think this is going to cost and multiply by five. Or ten. Do you really want to do this? They say that the two best days of a boat owner’s life are the day you buy the boat and the day you sell the boat. The latter comes from unreasonable expectations. Please please go into it with eyes open. You will only ruin it for yourself and turn even more people off from this phenomenal sport that now ranks behind bowling in popularity.
My budget for the boat has a hefty maintenance tag. On purpose. I watch people do stupid things to their cars all day at work. They try to cheat the maintenance god and it always gets them. I don’t like things that break at 3AM 45 miles from shore. It is worth every penny.

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