Quite a few people, either commenting via our blogs or our YouTube videos, have expressed an interest in what its cost us (so far) to get to the moment of actual sailing. So that's what I'll be breaking down in this blog. In each section I'll talk a little about our thought process and show the cost and I'll include a pure numbers list at the end of the blog. I am not including any of the scuba diving equipment costs here as it is not something everyone will choose to purchase. The prices are in Euros and Australian Dollars. If numbers don't interest you, I can highly recommend Aannsha's blog this week as it is full of interesting things that have nothing to do with numbers.
Buying the boat
As permanent liveaboards, with aspirations to eventually sail back to Australia, we had an idea of certain things we wanted when it came to boat buying time. Let's take boat length as an example. Crossing oceans comfortably meant we wanted a vessel over 40 feet, but we didn't want anything bigger than 47 feet because there's generally only the two of us on board (unless we're crossing an ocean) and handling a big boat with a shorthanded crew can be difficult. The other factor about boat length is the maintenance and marina/haul out costs which increase rapidly the more footage you have.
With that in mind we eventually bought a 1995 Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 45.1. Her length overall (LOA) is 14.15m (46'42) so she just scraped into our size range. We paid 75,000 Euros (AU$118,600) which may have been a tad high, but she's in very good condition for a 23 year old.
Condition of the vessel leads me on to our next cost which is the pre-purchase survey. This is a non-refundable expense which the buyer pays in full, so the key for us was to do a lot of research on line about what major things to look at when you first view a vessel. For example (if she's out of the water) does the hull show signs of blistering (osmosis)? If she does then walk away. Is there a lot of water in the bilge? Tracking down leaks can be very time consuming and expensive. How many hours are on the engine? Does the engine compartment look clean and maintained? Is there an engine service history record? If a vessel passes the initial viewing and she's obviously not falling apart, then go ahead and book your surveyor. Try to find a surveyor not associated with the marina or broker that you're buying from. It reduces any potential bias.
Be there on survey day too, if you follow your surveyor around (our guy didn't seem to mind) as he/she does his/her job you get to ask questions and learn a lot about your potential purchase in a short space of time. It also provides you with lots of info for negotiating on the price once the survey report is issued. I'll talk more about that later in this blog.
Our total surveyor cost was 1,240 Euros (AU$1,986) broken down like this;
Pre-purchase survey: 998 Euros (AU$1,598)
Sea Trial: 82 Euros (AU$131)
Travelling Expenses: 160 Euros (AU$256)
(21% Spanish VAT of 215 Euros (AU$344) is included in those prices)
It's highly recommended to haul the vessel out of the water for survey day and that is another cost you have to cover. In our particular case, with an extra two days on the hard stand to let the hull fully dry before checking the moisture levels, our haul out cost was 573 Euros (AU$905).
Making your mark
As liveaboards with long distance cruising in mind, there were certain additions we wanted on our boat to make daily life easier and give us as much self sufficiency as possible. The first thing was custom made stainless steel davits on the stern to make raising and lowering the dinghy easy for two people. The davits also serve as a mounting for our solar panels. The davits cost 4,725 Euros (AU$7,470) to have made and installed.
We have 600 watts of solar panels installed which (when it's sunny) provides us with all the power we need to run our computers, watch movies, power the fridge and light us up at night. The total cost for materials and installation was 3,233 Euros (AU$5,111) broken down like this;
4 x 150watt polycrystaline panels: 1,136 Euros (AU$1,795)
12v 50amp MPPT controller: 320 Euros (AU$506)
220v 800watt inverter: 315 Euros (AU$498)
Victron BMV 700 battery monitor: 187 Euros (AU$295)
Cables, connectors and sundry items: 284 Euros (AU$449)
Labour: 430 Euros (AU$680)
(21% Spanish VAT of 561 Euros (AU$887) is in addition to those prices)
Essential items to buy
In my previous blogs I have gone into all the details as to why we had to purchase some of the next items, so I won't rehash that info. Here's the list of most of the essential items we bought;
2,249 Euros (AU$3,555) - Zodiac Cadet 330 dinghy
2,305 Euros (AU$3,644) - Mercury 8hp 4-stroke outboard
1,670 Euros (AU$2,640) - Arimar open sea 9650 4-person life raft
1,304 Euros (AU$2,062) - Mantus 38 kilo (85lbs) galvanised anchor
300 Euros (AU$475) - Import duty on anchor
360 Euros (AU$569) - modification to stainless steel pulpit to fit anchor
3,044 Euros (AU$4,812) 50% of the cost of replacing the standing rigging
There were a lot of incidental things that were purchased and fitted along the way too, which collectively added up to 21 hours of labour. These included antifouling, offshore flares, anode replacement and spares, 150 metres (492 feet) of line, water and diesel jerry cans, etc; 3,540 Euros (AU$5,596).
The cost of a surveyor is worth it
The whole survey took about 9 hours and at the end of the day our surveyor announced that overall the yacht was in very good condition. A week later we received the written survey report and shared it with Jose the broker. This is where a good relationship with your broker and a willingness to negotiate and compromise from both parties is essential. Here I'll break down some of the repair/replacement items that were negotiated and the cost born by the vessel owner. In our unique case the 'owner' of the vessel was Jose the broker because he'd taken her in part exchange for a new Hanse yacht that he was selling to the previous owner.
Jose agreed to cover the cost of the following items;
Replacement of five through hulls and seacocks that were badly corroded.
Removed the rusty rudder stock quadrant and replaced it with a custom made stainless steel one.
Made several small fibreglass repairs, including the base of the rudder.
Replaced the hot water cistern.
Replaced the 3 service batteries and 1 engine battery.
Replaced the cooling element and compressor of the fridge.
Replace the float switch of the bilge pump.