Cashelmore

J4x maintenance costs

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What’s an average annual maintenance budget look like for a J40/J42/J44/J46 boat? Let’s leave out sails, campaign costs, slip fees, and taxes for now since those are pretty variable.

What’s a good rule of thumb for bottom paint, cleaning, rigging, engine work, fixing random stuff, electronics, etc... on an annual basis? 1% or 2% of the boat’s value per year?

Or are there some good threads on this topic already?

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Most of the items you are asking about are not J/boat specific.   They also vary significantly depending on where you live.   A local marina will give you a quote on bottom paint and an annual engine service.   There are annual costs that you will pay every year:   Slip or mooring, winter storage & hauling, insurance.   Bottom painting if you live in a region that requires new paint each season, winterization and engine service.   Cleaning if you like it, (weekly, bi-weekly, monthly?).   Check with local boat owners to find out what they are charged for these services.    With a few hours of work, talking to marinas and other boat owners, you should be able to figure out a baseline annual expense level for the boat in your area.

That's the easy part.  The hard part is the non-regular expenses.   Sails need to be replaced.   Some on a planned, regular schedule, some after a sudden event.   Engines die and need rebuilding or replacing.   Rudder bearings don't last forever.   These are big-ticket items, but only needed periodically.   

When we bought our J/110 I was advised to expect an annual budget of 10% of the purchase price of the boat toward owning it.   Initially I came out way ahead, but then I had to buy a new mainsail.   An engine rebuild set me back quite a bit.   In my experience, about 30% of the expenses are regular, planned items.   The other 70% are the big ticket replacement items.   So over the past 12 years we have owned the boat, I'd guess we have spent 6-8% of the purchase price annually.   I do much of the work myself, and we live in an area with relatively low mooring and storage fees.  

Another big factor you need to consider is how you plan to use the boat.   If you want to win lots of offshore races regularly, you will be replacing sails often, which is expensive.   If you plan to cruise the boat on the coast and beer can race it, your sail replacement fund can be far smaller, and wear and tear on the rig will be minimal.

The J/4x's are terrific boats.   Great cruisers, formidable racers.   Providing you find one in good condition, I don't think there is anything about them that makes owning one more or less expensive than most other boats in their class.  

 

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The answer to this is almost impossible to quantify - to start with there is a BIG difference in running costs of a 46 versus a 40 - you want to ignore cost of sails, slips, etc but that is all part of the cost. A set of rags for a J 46 will be 50% more than for a J 40.

As far as maintenance goes - how fussy are you? how much do certain things annoy you to the point of not being acceptable? are you buying premium parts or discount?

How much are you spending on the boat and how much to do you have available for annual running costs?

I would say that 10% of the cost of the boat - excluding slip fees - is a minimum expectation.

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The older the boat the higher the maintenance costs

Depends on what kind of owner you are. If you are a proud maintenance nut who likes everything 100% budget $20K a year for a 10 year old boat.

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We keep track, but I don’t want to look. I would say Greyhound is probably right on the money. If you have to ask...??? 

A lot depends on use, and how you use it. We do most maintenance ourselves. That keeps costs in check. We also work hard to keep the boat in excellent condition. We won’t go offshore with the boat not at 100%. Nothing on the boat is cheap to replace, but it is also spec’d with good equipment and solidly built.

You will get out what you put in. 

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Honest question, but how do you spend $20k/year just in maintenance unless you’re campaigning it hard and breaking stuff?

I can change the oil and filters myself. And no need to hire out swabbing the deck.

For costs, I’m thinking more like 3k every few years for bottom paint, 10k every 15-20 years for rod rigging, a few hundred a year for a halyard or a sheet, maybe a 2-5k in case a head, fridge, a winch motor, etc.... breaks. Maybe 10k in electronics once a decade. Maybe a mast what, once every 30 years? A few k in canvas/covers every 5-10 years? A grand in oil, nuts & bolts, varnish, gelcoat mixture, foulies, etc...

There must be a huge list of stuff I’m missing. What’s on it and what does it cost?

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On 8/17/2020 at 10:20 AM, adrianl said:

The answer to this is almost impossible to quantify - to start with there is a BIG difference in running costs of a 46 versus a 40 - you want to ignore cost of sails, slips, etc but that is all part of the cost. A set of rags for a J 46 will be 50% more than for a J 40.

As far as maintenance goes - how fussy are you? how much do certain things annoy you to the point of not being acceptable? are you buying premium parts or discount?

How much are you spending on the boat and how much to do you have available for annual running costs?

I would say that 10% of the cost of the boat - excluding slip fees - is a minimum expectation.

Not trying to ignore slip fees, sails, and insurance. Slip fees vary by location and I can look up what my exact costs would be. Similar deal for insurance: it’s easy to get a quote.

Sail costs are pretty variable too, depending on material selection and frequency of replacement. I’m not good enough yet to where I think I’ve ever lost a race because my rags aren’t as good as the next guy’s. So my sail budget would be pretty low compared to the top boat in town.

I’m not a new boat owner or racer so I know the basic drill. I’m considering upgrading significantly in size though and the one big variable cost I’m not as accurate at estimating are repairs and maintenance on a much larger boat, a J46 in particular. Hence the fairly generic question.

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You know what they say... if you have to ask you can’t ..., 

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12 hours ago, Cashelmore said:

I’m not a new boat owner or racer so I know the basic drill. I’m considering upgrading significantly in size though and the one big variable cost I’m not as accurate at estimating are repairs and maintenance on a much larger boat, a J46 in particular. Hence the fairly generic question.

This provides some background.    As boats get bigger, the individual pieces cost more (a genoa block for a J/24 may cost $50, the same block for a J46 may cost $200) due to larger sizes to take bigger loads.   If you have owned and maintained a keelboat previously, most of the expenses you will see on a J/46 will line up with what you have seen on your smaller boat, they will just cost more.   Some costs scale directly by boat length (slip fees, haulage, cleaning, etc.).   If you have a 28hp aux in your current boat, the annual service for the 75 hp aux will be more, but not much more.    

Where the costs can really start to add up and surprise you is when you increase the number of systems.   If you have a pretty stripped down boat currently, and you want a bigger boat with refrigeration, generator, autopilot, radar, watermaker, windlass, etc., your cost to maintain and periodically replace the systems will be much higher than you are used to.   All of these systems require some maintenance, and all have finite lifetimes.  In general, the bigger the boat, the more systems most owners equip them with.  And this drives costs up quickly.   If you are looking for a systems-rich boat, the age of the various systems should play a big part in determining the value of a used boat, and will drive your expenses in the first few years of ownership.

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$4,000 for haul out and paint every other year

$5,000 for rigging every 10 years

My boat is going on 20 years now and I think we sunk about $2000 last year grafting the existing NMEA0183 B&G Hydra 2000 system into a NEMA 2000 chartplotter, as well as a V-60B AIS transponder radio, next year we will probably add an autopilot if this virus continues to limit racing to single handing. I expect that project to cost another $2500. I probably have another 5 years before it becomes difficult to find old Hydra 2000 compatible display units. A new Hydra H5000 setup is, ballparking, $15,000 to match our existing capability on the boat. Probably more. The year after that will probably swap out the battery charger and batteries with a lithium solution, that's another $2500. Probably budget $1000 a year for electronics and electrical system on average.

Another $500 per year for engine/fuel system maintenance and consumables, double that if you're paying someone to do it.

If you're doing offshore, your safety equipment all expires on average every three years, that's another $1500+ every three years

We blow up something on the main sheet traveler assembly at least once a year, that's $250, lately it been three times a year say $500

Running rigging, probably replace $200 worth of lines per year, minimum

Boat detail by a third party is $1500 in my parts

$6700/year... my boat is insured for $65k so that's pretty close to 10% but if I just used smoke signals and sextant navigation, and worked the crew harder to polish the hull it would be $4,200 which is about 7% which is about in line with what Champlain Sailor quoted. I also do most of my own work so double that if you're hiring a "pro".

Any time my order basket on defender or receipt at west marine is under $500 I just consider that a win and count it as "free"... If you have to ask you can't afford it, that's probably correct in many things, particularly in boats. If I were going to do it over again I'd get an Express 27 or J/80 and halve my expenses for about the same overall experience.

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The design life of all things marine is 15-20 years. All the J/4x boats are in that age range, so things are starting to age out.

In the last 5 years, I've had to replace almost all of the major systems: the fridge, electronics, standing and running rigging, anchor windlass. If you race, add sails. Engine is still original.

If you want to keep your boat in pristine condition, take the new cost of the boat, and divide by a 20 year design life: that's your yearly expense. Over the 13 years I've owned my J/42, that's almost exactly what I've spent.

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I went from a 36 ft to 47 ft and running and repair costs doubled - that just the way it is.

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On 8/18/2020 at 8:00 PM, Cashelmore said:

Honest question, but how do you spend $20k/year just in maintenance unless you’re campaigning it hard and breaking stuff?

I can change the oil and filters myself. And no need to hire out swabbing the deck.

For costs, I’m thinking more like 3k every few years for bottom paint, 10k every 15-20 years for rod rigging, a few hundred a year for a halyard or a sheet, maybe a 2-5k in case a head, fridge, a winch motor, etc.... breaks. Maybe 10k in electronics once a decade. Maybe a mast what, once every 30 years? A few k in canvas/covers every 5-10 years? A grand in oil, nuts & bolts, varnish, gelcoat mixture, foulies, etc...

There must be a huge list of stuff I’m missing. What’s on it and what does it cost?

Let's see, 43'er on SF Bay

$1524/year insurance

$375/month slip

$130/every 2 months hull diving

 

Just got new standing rigging, didn't get any change from $10k. Do it every 10 years, that's $1000/year

Dropped $15k on new electronics. I think you can get 15 years

Dodger was $4500

We make our own canvas covers

Halyards are $1k/pop if built, $500-600 if I buy the line on sale somewhere. Which I do. I get many years as I take them down every weekend when sailing is over. Yes, I take them all down. Some people think I'm nuts, but my halyards last forever.

Foulies? Say $300 every 2 years, for 1 set. On clearance. Bibs might not match the jacket

Gloves? I use gardening gloves

Lifejackets, about $300 for a nice ocean kit every 5 years or so. $60 for the re-arm kit.

Oil and stuff? minor, I don't bother checking. 

Plain bottom job? You're not getting much change from $5,000, and 'maybe" you can stretch to 3 years.

I bet I drop a couple hundy/month on "i should get one of these..."  This week it was some new dock lines. Winter is coming.

Minimum it's $1k/month

 

Don't ask me about racing.

 

 

 

 

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On 8/18/2020 at 11:12 PM, Cashelmore said:

Not trying to ignore slip fees, sails, and insurance. Slip fees vary by location and I can look up what my exact costs would be. Similar deal for insurance: it’s easy to get a quote.

Sail costs are pretty variable too, depending on material selection and frequency of replacement. I’m not good enough yet to where I think I’ve ever lost a race because my rags aren’t as good as the next guy’s. So my sail budget would be pretty low compared to the top boat in town.

I’m not a new boat owner or racer so I know the basic drill. I’m considering upgrading significantly in size though and the one big variable cost I’m not as accurate at estimating are repairs and maintenance on a much larger boat, a J46 in particular. Hence the fairly generic question.

I think you need to say out loud how much you are prepared to spend to maintain your J4x and see what reaction you get......

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FYI, just tearing down the winches for a cleaning and a look-see

I'm in for $300 so far in misc roller bearings/bits.

I've not pulled the big boys apart yet. 

8 winches total, a 40/43/55/70

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7 hours ago, adrianl said:

I think you need to say out loud how much you are prepared to spend to maintain your J4x and see what reaction you get......

Comprehensive insurance: ~$1900 / year

Property / luxury tax in CA: ~$4000 / year :angry:

Slip: $700 - $900 / month depending on the marina

Diver: $60 - $120 / month depending on whether it's 1x or 2x / month

Maintenance: $500 / month (just a total WAG), of which, say, $200 is for cash expenses and $300 is to budget for some of the larger items below

Total: $21k to $24k / year, or a little under $2k / month for all operating costs

How far off is this?

 

Big ticket maintenance items out of the maintenance reserve mentioned above:

Rig every 15-20 years. It was last done a few years ago so there's at least a decade left.

Figure a halyard or sheet every year on average: $500 / year?

Bottom job: $3000 every 2 years

Electronics: $1k / year for an addition / gadget and complete replacement for $15k every 20 years?

 

How far off is this?

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4 hours ago, Raz'r said:

FYI, just tearing down the winches for a cleaning and a look-see

I'm in for $300 so far in misc roller bearings/bits.

I've not pulled the big boys apart yet. 

8 winches total, a 40/43/55/70

Nice. How often do you do that? Once every 5-10 years?

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15 minutes ago, Cashelmore said:

Nice. How often do you do that? Once every 5-10 years?

No, should be done annually

a bearing gone bad can ruin a $1000 spindle

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On 8/19/2020 at 8:48 AM, Champlain Sailor said:

As boats get bigger, the individual pieces cost more (a genoa block for a J/24 may cost $50, the same block for a J46 may cost $200) due to larger sizes to take bigger loads.

 

On 8/17/2020 at 10:20 AM, adrianl said:

there is a BIG difference in running costs of a 46 versus a 40

I have a 12 metre racer/cruiser monohull (not a J-boat) that I've owned for and campaigned for 12 years in the PNW. 

I've found that the gear my boat requires (e.g. lines, blocks) is just at the upper limit of the gear normally carried in stock by the local marine shops. If the boat was any bigger I'd have to special order pretty much everything, which accounts for part of the difference between the running costs of a 46 versus a 40. 

The size of the sails for the 40 are also at the upper limit if what is manageable by "normal" people. For example, wrestling the 150 Genoa onto the deck requires decent strength, but not giant goons recruited just for that purpose. 

Personally I think the 40 is in the sweet spot - just big enough for serious ocean work, but still small enough to be manageable by my wife and I, and be competitive in weekend regattas and RTB-style club racing. 

I'm glad it isn't any bigger.

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22 minutes ago, gspot said:

 

I have a 12 metre racer/cruiser monohull (not a J-boat) that I've owned for and campaigned for 12 years in the PNW. 

I've found that the gear my boat requires (e.g. lines, blocks) is just at the upper limit of the gear normally carried in stock by the local marine shops. If the boat was any bigger I'd have to special order pretty much everything, which accounts for part of the difference between the running costs of a 46 versus a 40. 

The size of the sails for the 40 are also at the upper limit if what is manageable by "normal" people. For example, wrestling the 150 Genoa onto the deck requires decent strength, but not giant goons recruited just for that purpose. 

Personally I think the 40 is in the sweet spot - just big enough for serious ocean work, but still small enough to be manageable by my wife and I, and be competitive in weekend regattas and RTB-style club racing. 

I'm glad it isn't any bigger.

Although it's maybe a bit more displacement...

@Amati's 40'er, and @El Boracho's 50'er are light displacement designs, loads will be lower than my mid-displacement 43'er. Much lower than the J36

 

The design weight of a J46 is 24000 pounds. SantaCruz 50 design weight is 16000 pounds. 


Yes, the monkeys that need to deal with a #1 on deck are likely taking the same steroids as the rigs are similar size, but all the loads will be lighter on the Santa Cruz. My boat is actually heavier than the Santa Cruz, but my rig is smaller so my #1 is "almost" manageable. I don't use it.  I love my 130.

I think the brains at J did a nice job on the J40 for a couple. the 46 is more about sailing with some friends/crew.  (I'm a big fan of the 46, but she's a big little boat)

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42 minutes ago, Raz'r said:

Although it's maybe a bit more displacement...

@Amati's 40'er, and @El Boracho's 50'er are light displacement designs, loads will be lower than my mid-displacement 43'er. Much lower than the J36

 

The design weight of a J46 is 24000 pounds. SantaCruz 50 design weight is 16000 pounds. 


Yes, the monkeys that need to deal with a #1 on deck are likely taking the same steroids as the rigs are similar size, but all the loads will be lighter on the Santa Cruz. My boat is actually heavier than the Santa Cruz, but my rig is smaller so my #1 is "almost" manageable. I don't use it.  I love my 130.

I think the brains at J did a nice job on the J40 for a couple. the 46 is more about sailing with some friends/crew.  (I'm a big fan of the 46, but she's a big little boat)

Even industry guys waffle on medium vs big boat gear for Amati, and I really have wanted to go with more of a sport boat/ dinghy approach, but she is a 40’ boat, and just the leverage of the length leads to shock loads that are significant, plus the AW tends to be higher, so I’ve been moving away from the dinghy/sports boat gear approach- haven’t broken anything, but less effort would be nice.  If I can just figure a dinghy setup for light air that seamlessly switches/ morphs into the big boat thing once things hit 6-8 TW.....

J 40 looks like a great SH boat.  

What kind of underbody shape is on yours? IIRR, it’s an Andrews? I remember kind of a 30 sq m - ish low wetted surface approach- struck me as very nice in chop.  Efficient too....
 

 

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20 minutes ago, Amati said:

Even industry guys waffle on medium vs big boat gear for Amati, and I really have wanted to go with more of a sport boat/ dinghy approach, but she is a 40’ boat, and just the leverage of the length leads to shock loads that are significant, plus the AW tends to be higher, so I’ve been moving away from the dinghy/sports boat gear approach- haven’t broken anything, but less effort would be nice.  If I can just figure a dinghy setup for light air that seamlessly switches/ morphs into the big boat thing once things hit 6-8 TW.....

J 40 looks like a great SH boat.  

What kind of underbody shape is on yours? IIRR, it’s an Andrews? I remember kind of a 30 sq m - ish low wetted surface approach- struck me as very nice in chop.  Efficient too....
 

 

Andrews 43/. Yes, a big chunk of the weight is in a pretty big bulb at 9' draft, so she crushes it upwind. Downwind in breeze she's nicely behaved. We've not really had her in surfing conditions yet. 

 

image.png.8e4a40590030fb561759068c8388b33f.png

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2 hours ago, Raz'r said:

Although it's maybe a bit more displacement...

@Amati's 40'er, and @El Boracho's 50'er are light displacement designs, loads will be lower than my mid-displacement 43'er. Much lower than the J36

 

The design weight of a J46 is 24000 pounds. SantaCruz 50 design weight is 16000 pounds. 


Yes, the monkeys that need to deal with a #1 on deck are likely taking the same steroids as the rigs are similar size, but all the loads will be lighter on the Santa Cruz. My boat is actually heavier than the Santa Cruz, but my rig is smaller so my #1 is "almost" manageable. I don't use it.  I love my 130.

I think the brains at J did a nice job on the J40 for a couple. the 46 is more about sailing with some friends/crew.  (I'm a big fan of the 46, but she's a big little boat)

1 hour ago, Raz'r said:

Yes, a big chunk of the weight is in a pretty big bulb at 9' draft, so she crushes it upwind. Downwind in breeze she's nicely behaved. We've not really had her in surfing conditions yet. 

To me that's part of the attraction of J Boats. They crush it upwind. Plus most of them can be shorthanded, so you don't have to assemble a crew for a day sail.

Santa Cruz boats are nice but they purpose built for downwind racing and don't go to weather worth much. They're also basically impossible to single or short hand without a ton of modifications. Yeah, I know Hal Roth went around the marble solo on an SC 50 but it wasn't an off-the-shelf build and he wasn't an ordinary sailor.

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You obviously want the J46.  Its a beautiful boat.

 

But this again...  

2 hours ago, Cashelmore said:

Santa Cruz boats are nice but they purpose built for downwind racing and don't go to weather worth much. They're also basically impossible to single or short hand without a ton of modifications. Yeah, I know Hal Roth went around the marble solo on an SC 50 but it wasn't an off-the-shelf build and he wasn't an ordinary sailor.

I don't understand how is a #3 & main impossible to single or short hand without a ton of modifications?   As mentioned before  --  on most of the SC boats the runners are not critical and the mast wont immediately fall out of the sky tacking or gybing.  Runner management upwind is easy plus you most likely have better mainsail shape control.  You don't want to use a traditional spin pole - just tack an a-sail to the bow.  What am I missing? 

Lighter boat lighter loads.  Most of these SC ULDB's have been pushed hard racing upwind and down for well over 20,000 miles with very few major issues.   I don't think a typical heavy mass production price point cruiser/racer would have the same fortune if constantly pushed to the edge.   

 

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2 hours ago, Cashelmore said:

To me that's part of the attraction of J Boats. They crush it upwind. Plus most of them can be shorthanded, so you don't have to assemble a crew for a day sail.

Santa Cruz boats are nice but they purpose built for downwind racing and don't go to weather worth much. They're also basically impossible to single or short hand without a ton of modifications. Yeah, I know Hal Roth went around the marble solo on an SC 50 but it wasn't an off-the-shelf build and he wasn't an ordinary sailor.

That's not my experience, I owned (in a partnership) a Santa Cruz 50 for a couple years and a Transpac. I could get that thing to absolutely motor upwind. Yeah, there was a LOT of driver activity involved to do it, but we would be smoking.  Cut it back to a #3 and a single reef and set the autopilot. You'd still be going damn quick. A couple of us doublehanded it occasionally but would never put up the 1, and would letterbox the kite. We did not use the furler.

But, hey, a J46 is an amazing boat. Nothing wrong with it and a lot right with it. It will take some $s to keep it in good nick, and they're older so there's more that will need fixing than any surveyor will find, but you won't do wrong unless you can't keep it in a slip, pay insurance and bottom jobs.  Buy used sails if you need to.

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6 hours ago, Raz'r said:

Andrews 43/. Yes, a big chunk of the weight is in a pretty big bulb at 9' draft, so she crushes it upwind. Downwind in breeze she's nicely behaved. We've not really had her in surfing conditions yet. 

 

image.png.8e4a40590030fb561759068c8388b33f.png

White, black and red! :wub:  

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19 hours ago, Cashelmore said:

Comprehensive insurance: ~$1900 / year

Property / luxury tax in CA: ~$4000 / year :angry:

Slip: $700 - $900 / month depending on the marina

Diver: $60 - $120 / month depending on whether it's 1x or 2x / month

Maintenance: $500 / month (just a total WAG), of which, say, $200 is for cash expenses and $300 is to budget for some of the larger items below

Total: $21k to $24k / year, or a little under $2k / month for all operating costs

How far off is this?

 

Big ticket maintenance items out of the maintenance reserve mentioned above:

Rig every 15-20 years. It was last done a few years ago so there's at least a decade left.

Figure a halyard or sheet every year on average: $500 / year?

Bottom job: $3000 every 2 years

Electronics: $1k / year for an addition / gadget and complete replacement for $15k every 20 years?

 

How far off is this?

The number that sticks in my head is 10% of the cost new/year. Pretty accurate for 20 years....if you don’t hit that, save it for refit/refurbish new mast etc...

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On 8/24/2020 at 9:46 PM, Cashelmore said:

Diver: $60 - $120 / month depending on whether it's 1x or 2x / month

How far off is this?

Minimum of 100% off. You must be in SoCal.  :lol:

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Diver: $60 - $120 / month depending on whether it's 1x or 2x / month

Beat me to it.   $90 for a 30'er here.

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