We often get questions regarding the true cost of a second hand boat as after the initial acquisition cost even a previously well-maintained boat will have a yearly cost.
As Impi has reached the ripe old age of 10 and our insurance company Pantaenius has a deductible for part replacements older than 10, I thought to do an exercise listing all the parts that are less than 5 years old.
Quite a massive undertaking , involving going through all the invoices in different currencies as over the last 5 years Impi was in 5 different countries buying spares in 8 different currencies! I separated out maintenance items and just went for replacement parts and materials.
It became easier with the help of my.waveapps.com, an accounting program that stores all your receipts online. Once I had figured out how it works I was able to store all receipts online and list transactions in multiple currencies.
As we spent most of the time in Australia I then converted all bills in Australian dollars. Of course over the last 5 years there have been fluctuations in currency so the figures need to be taken carefully.
There is a saying that you need to spend about 10% of your acquisition cost yearly to keep a cruising lifestyle up. So a boat costing AU$600000, will have an annual cruising cost of AU$60000.
That cost however will depend on your own skills, how you use your boat, the area where you are sailing and what your lifestyle expectations are.
For us the priorities on Impi are safety, comfort and esthetics whilst sailing around the world spending most of the time at anchor.
So if we accept that the cruising budget is 10% of the acquisition cost of the boat, then the cost of new parts and materials on board Impi took up 50% of the annual cruising budget over the last 5 years. So if you buy a 5 year old boat and are intending to sail it for the next 5 years, it will give you some idea as what your boat requires if you want to keep her up to date in line with similar priorities as our own.
How was the new parts and materials budget spent?
On Impi we attach high importance to being safe whilst doing extended mileage. For example we explored Australia by boat from Thursday Island in Northern Queensland to Hobart in Tasmania. We sailed from Raja Ampat in NE Indonesia through Southern Indonesia to the Anambas in the South China Sea in one season.
It therefore comes as no surprise to us that our biggest cost in replacement parts has been in sails, ropes, deck gear and rigging.
We installed a second autopilot, upgraded navigation instrumentation and replaced our AIS , decklights and navigation lights.
We also went on replacing all thru hole fittings. Together these areas represented 45% of our parts budget.
Comfort and Esthetics
Whilst we are environmentally aware we treasure our creature comforts on board. This has enabled us to enjoy 8 years of sailing. The installation of lithium batteries and upgraded electrical systems underpin a lifestyle on board not so different from what one might expect on land. In actual fact on the few occasions we have stayed on land it was nearly always less comfortable! 14% of our new parts budget went on that.
Replacement upholstery inside and outside, new taps, toilets, mirrors, fans and some hatches took 9%.
Refrigeration, cooking and washing machine cost us 2% of our budget.
Staying at anchor
5% of our budget went on costs associated with anchoring: 2 anchor chains, new motor and gear box for the windlass, extended anchoring rope and stern lines due to deep anchorages in Raja Ampat.
We replaced our tender when it was 8 years old, taking 8% of our budget.
Brent is a qualified diesel mechanic as well as civil engineer and keeps a close eye on all engines on board. Replacement parts for generator and engines came to 7% of our budget.
The unwelcome surprises
Due to poor manufacturing of SD50 sail drives and the fact that Yanmar did not provide a warranty for their product, the installation of SD60’s was the element that should not feature here. We really wish that as more people buy boats, consumer rights for boat holders improve and poor product warranty will become a thing of the past. 10% of our budget went on SD60’s.
So if you are thinking of buying a second hand catamaran to cruise worldwide and you have similar priorities and skills to us, this blog will give you an indication as to what you may expect to spend on new parts. Cheers guys, Impi out!
Upgrading the bulkheads on the Lagoon 440
Lagoon manufactures the Lagoon 440 with bulkheads in part fibre glassed in
and in part with a resin type putty.
Later models such as Impi which is a late 2009 model have the entire main
bulkheads from Mid hull STBD to Mid hull PRT glassed all the way around,
however some earlier models were not glassed on the top section where the
deck meets the bulkhead under front windows / above the water tanks. The
issue then is that the mast movement can work this section loose so it,s
important to remove the water tanks and glass that section in if not already
While one is busy doing this and with the water tanks removed, also glass the
entire ‘box sectionʼ all the way around. Personally I think the outer sections
which are left open so in the event of water gathering / flooding there will run
into the boat and to the bilge pumps should also be sealed up … and make
sure when sailing to have a lock pin through the hatch opening ‘buttonʼ so it
cannot open by mistake.
That box in any rate has openings to allow water to flow into the ocean through
the bottom of the box, however, it’s extremely important not to have cardboard
or any other materials that could deteriorate and block those – one should
have a false floor to cover these if necessary and only keep items there that
will not block the vents. Sometimes the sea water can back up and flow in
through these vents although there are scoops to avoid this when the boat is
moving forward, it can happen in following seas, so therefore water must be
able to flow in and back out of that compartment – this is particularly
important if you are going to seal the box entirely – which as mentioned I think
should be done as it will trap air better in the boat if upturned etc.
To recap – the main bulkheads are glassed in from midship of one hull to
midship of the opposite hull, the outer sections are fitted with a resin or resin
putty type bonding material which although very strong is not strong enough to
hold in severe flexing situations.
For this reason when we purchased Impi we decided to tackle the serious parts
of this – let me use the worst section as an example – itʼs no secret that on %
440 and some 450ʼs the weak point is the port side bulkhead under the
forward cabin section where one climbs over to get into bed.
By removing the drawer under the bed on the 440 as well as the bed wooden
boards that support the mattress, one can use a phone to photograph behind
this section where the join runs up the outer wall.
It will reveal if the putty is cracked and in such a case will require some
surgery. Even if not cracked one should grind back this putty and glass the
section in entirely.
Another place to look is up the wall above the bed – if already cracked off
there, it is going to be a big task, as usually if one catches this early enough
you can just glass the bottom section up to underside of the bed solidly and it
will support the entire board sufficiently.
To work in here is awkward but perfectly doable.
On Impi we cut an oval access point through the bed wooden support on which
the mattress rests (one can always cut it to the size of a hatch cover if you so
desire and build in an access hatch there, but one can also just leave it as a
‘holeʼ with a temporary lidʼ.
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