Shoving Off & What we learned from our Sailboat Service
We’re beyond committed to this new chapter of our lives, we’re all in. The piggy banks have been smashed and anything that work on the sailboat has been sold or donated. We’ve been jumping at every learning opportunity and most days we’re so excited about the adventures ahead we struggle to relax.
There are a lot of different steps to go from landlubber to seafarer, and were trying to share each of them. However, throughout the process there has been one overwhelming feeling we’ve gotten more than once. Out of my league, over my head, fish out of water? None of these phrases quite fit, but I’m not sure what does.
We’re both sensible people (or so I think) and we both came from working class families that busted ass to make ends meet. I think those humble beginnings are what made us such savers in our sedentary lives. We never lived above our means and always worked hard to create savings, not debt.
So, it feels strange to purposefully put ourselves back in a no savings position. However, for some insane reason we know it’s the right thing for us to do. We know what kind of adventure we are about to embark on and we know it’s going to be worth the investment and then some.
As we were gleefully preparing Curiosity and getting ready to shove off the dock we were handed a piece of paper that nearly caused an aneurysm. It was our service invoice.
OUCH! Looking at the five figure number I couldn’t help but think to myself, “this is what it must feel like when a guy gets kicked in the nads”.
In all fairness, we had an idea of what we were in for, but we ended up going substantially over our expected amount. Our survey and haul out had revealed there was some work to do in order to get our boat “off shore” ready. The survey list was the need-to-do list. Then there were some wants and small repairs that got added to the list. Looking over our invoice it didn’t take long to figure out where the money had gone.
Aside from the sticker shock, there was the overall beat down that came with being in service. It was far more draining than we had anticipated and we felt unprepared for it all. So, we sat down and thought about the experience as a whole. What did we learn from this experience and what can we do to make for a better experience next time? That is what today’s video is mostly about, what we learned from our sailboat service experiences. That, and saying goodbye to a ridiculously awesome toy as we shove off the dock.
How fantastically silly is that cruzin cooler!?! I can think of sooo many times I would have loved to have had that thing while RV’ing around the country, not to mention how perfect it would have been for Burning Man. We did hold a fun little contest and gave it away to one of our Patreons. The cruzin cooler is now on its way to Ventura California where it will be used to hand out worms to kids at the Rotary Club Fishing Derby and then become a raffle item for the rotary club. Sounds like the cruzin’ cooler has fun times ahead.
Ok, switching gears back to sailboat service.
You may be thinking, but you bought such a nice boat? Why so much work? I know it seems crazy but as solid of a boat as our gal Curiosity is, she is still 11 years old. Nothing lasts forever, especially on a sailboat. So, while we have a great boat with great bones, there are still a heap of moving parts to consider. And, we’re quickly learning that it’s not a question of if a part will fail but when it will fail.
When it comes to the safety of our boat we don’t want to cheap out or be unprepared. Also, preparing and outfitting a sailboat for full time living and traveling around the globe is a different set up in comparison to the recreational sailor and coastal cruiser.
Over the course of the first three months of owning our boat we spent 45 days of it in and out of service with the team at Just Catamarans. The work is solid, the service guys were great to work with and we learned a ton. I’ve read a lot of blogs, watched videos and talked to every salty sailor willing. We’ve learned from every interaction but none of it prepared us for being in service.
Lessons learned from Sailboat Service
Dock Fees – Budget for dockage while in service.
Sailboat service isn’t like RV service. In the RV world it’s common to be allowed to stay on property at no charge while you are in for service. This is not the case in the boating world. The service guys don’t own the marina and have to pay for the dockage, which means we have to pay for dockage. It didn’t seem like a big deal at first but it is surprising how quickly $65 a day adds up.
Estimates – Get an estimate for anything and everything.
Getting an estimate may seem obvious. What we made the mistake of doing was giving the go ahead on small items along the way without first getting an estimate. “Hey, while you are here, do you know if this small thing can be easily fixed? It can, oh great let’s do that”. Doh! Always get a written estimate first! We had a few things repaired, that had we taken the time to get an estimate, we would have held off or done the work ourselves at a later time.
Time Frame – Plan on double or triple the time frame any service center estimates.
Delays were one of the most frustrating parts of being in service. It left us feeling stuck and tied to the dock when we wanted to be elsewhere. Sailboats, much like RV’s are unique individuals. Unlike mass produced vehicles that are carbon copies of one another, sailboats are not as mass produced. This creates a lot of unknown variables when it comes to service and parts. Which all leads to delays. Our new rule of thumb will be this: double or triple the time frame a service adviser gives us. This way, we’re not disappointed when the delays happen.
Money – Everything marine is expensive.
We underestimated how complicated marine work is and how important it is to have quality parts. Certain things, such as our solar install, ended up being far more complicated than we could have ever anticipated. However, it’s also super sturdy and should take the beating of a hurricane if need be. Then there are the extra maintenance items that keep popping up. Seems there is always something in need of a tune-up or repair due to the harsh environment of the sea and sun.
Now that we’ve taken care of our major upgrades, and many of the big 10-year maintenance projects, the service budget should settle down.
We’ll keep track of all the numbers and eventually share the costs of everything once we get a chance to break it all down into more appropriate categories. One things for sure, if it’s a big fix where we will need to be at a service center, we’ll just assume that it will cost us around $1k per day to be at a service dock.
Most written sources we came across told us to expect to spend a minimum of 10% of the boats value in maintenance every year. In our case that would be at least $30k. That would be ridiculous and every salty sailor we’ve talked with doesn’t spend anywhere even close to that percentage annually. Perhaps that might be the case if we never did any of the work ourselves and paid top dollar to have a service center do everything. But even then, $30,000.00 per year seems crazy. Of course as newbies with an aging boat we’re on par to hit this number when it’s all said and done for year one, but hopefully year two is a different story.
Cleanliness – When in service, expect to get dirty, real dirty.
I like to keep a clean boat. A clean boat means it’s easier to spot a problem…but mostly because it just looks good. Cluttered or dirty spaces leave me distracted and unable to concentrate. So, I tend to be extra picky about it all. A working dock is essentially a nightmare for me. Everything, everywhere is dirty. Bottom paint, chemicals, metal shards causing tiny specks of rust everywhere…and the list goes on. Keeping a clean boat while in service is nearly impossible, unless you want to upset all the workers and give yourself a stress-attack. Eventually I decided it wasn’t worth the extra stress to keep a perfectly clean boat, but we did take a soapy brush and water hose to the high traffic parts of the deck each evening after the service guys left. We decided a quick 10 minute daily scrub and an intense two day super clean before leaving the dock would be sufficient.
Education – Service is “free” education.
One very big upside to being in service was learning how to fix things. Over the course of our time in service, we spent a lot of time asking questions, observing and working on projects ourselves with supervision. It was like a crash course in mechanics and maintenance. We learned about everything from engines to patching through hulls. It has given us the confidence to take on projects and repairs ourselves…thus saving ourselves money down the line.
Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.
―Thomas A. Edison
Get It Done – Sometimes, we just want the job done.
We could have saved ourselves a good amount of money by doing a lot more of the work ourselves. But that would have delayed our departure date big time. We had a big, daunting list of things to do before we crossed any oceans big or small. Coastal cruising wasn’t a problem but leaving civilization was. We were able to get a lot of work done in a fraction on the time it would have taken us otherwise. Plus, the professionals know what they’re doing and we’re still learning. We choose to pick up a few extra side jobs to help cover the costs and get it done. This means the work is complete and we’re out exploring the world sooner.
But Wait, There’s More!
Sadly we’re not done. As we mentioned in the video we’re just doing a 2 month shakedown cruise. We plan to come back to Dania Beach and have Just Cats haul us out and replace a few through hull fittings, our PSS dripless shaft seals and bearings along with whatever else comes up that needs to be repaired or replaced. Soon we’ll need new sails, new running rigging, new standing rigging and a host of other items before we leave for good, but I doubt we’ll be able to afford it all this go around…but we’re ok with that.
The plan is to not touch a dock for the entire two months. We need to live on the hook as much as possible to save up. From Ft. Lauderdale we’ll sail south to the Keys. No real destination at the moment, just plans to complete boat chores, do some video editing, fly the drone and enjoy the cruising lifestyle. It should be great couple months away from the dock and it’s an extremely important step to get us mentally and physically ready for our Bahamas trip in late October.
Want more? These are some of the good reads I have found on outfitting and servicing a sailboat to sail about the world:
- Captain Fatty Goodlander – How To Inexpensively and Safely Buy, Outfit, and Sail a Small Vessel Around the World
- Windtraveler – Don’t Spend A Boat Load
- Turf to Surf – Outfitting A Boat To Sail Around The World
- Sailing Totem – Cruising costs, routine maintenance, and the 10% (15%, 20%) rule
Did you find this video and post helpful? Want to say thanks? Here are a few ideas and you’ll notice most of them don’t cost you a dime: https://www.gonewiththewynns.com/tip-jar
Your turn! Please share your thoughts and surviving service tips in the comments below, one small tip could save someone else a “boat load” 🙂
I just discovered your channel. I love your videos and how honest you guys are and willing to share the painful lessons you’ve learned. This has been super helpful as my husband and I just went catamaran shopping in Florida 2 weeks ago. We haven’t put an offer in on a boat yet. We won’t be able to go sailing until early October (lease end date, jobs, etc) so I think we won’t start submitting offers until September time frame. Super scary thinking about owning a boat but I love your attitude about living life and daring to do things that seem daunting.
Well, I’m a bit late to the game and just found your Youtube channel a few days ago and have been binge watching ever since 🙂
Have you found the time yet to get an estimate on all the service costs?
My wife and I are seriously thinking of buying a catamaran as well (might take 2-3 years though) and I’m fanatically researching as much as I can 🙂
Your channel is the first that I came across that is realistic in expectations and I love the fact that you entered as totall noobs and just went for it.
Hope to hear from you.
Jenifer van der Sluis
My husband and I have something we call “pi-time”. When estimating time to complete jobs like repairs, packing for a move, getting paperwork or documents gathered and completed estimate how long you believe it will take… then multiply by 3.14! 😉
When I was in the Navy and we were in the yards we would put butcher paper down held by double faced tape. This would be done wherever we thought people would be working or walking. This saves a lot of time on clean up. Every day after work would also involve a one hour cleaning of every area that was being worked on.
I am planning on building a 66 meter trihull in the near future and will be traveling the world with it.
The ageless question…hindsight. Now that you have been up the creek a ways (as it were), would you have preferred to buy a newer boat to avoid the hassle and costs of service dock or was the path you chose the right one financially speaking. I’m facing a similar decision buy newer (pay up front) or buy older and refresh. I am lucky in that I am very capable of doing most work myself, gen mechanic, electrical skills, cabinet maker by trades. However it appears much of the costs are in replacing expensive “marine” items and outfitting the boat for the cruising life.
When you consider the answer remember that “outfitting for cruising” is an up front expense that won’t be repeated again in such bulk.
I”m like you guys, I’m a neatness Nazi and don’t like things that don’t work well or at all. However I have learned patience over the years and take things in stride much better now. I expect part of my sailing journey will be some sort of daily maintenance along with sights, new places, and experiences along the way.
Thanks for the great videos, I am living my sailing dream through you guys until my girl and I are ready to shove off.
Even a brand new boat will require a significant amount of work and customizing and would have been far more expensive. We’re not unhappy with any of it, including the work done. It’s all simply a learning curve. We’re on the other side of most of the big stuff now. So, things are smoothing out and its mostly upkeep now, which is exciting.
Just started watching you 2, and your growing on me, unlike a wart. I am 65 this year and have ended a career in aviation. I love the technical side of what it takes to sale The last 10 years I have been building airplanes, 1 to 4 seat home built.
where can I go to do good sail classeds:
Just a thought ….. since the boat is a primary resident or second home and qualifies as such, loan interest is tax deductible. Then it stands to reason (worth looking into) that just as anyone with a primary resident or second home can take advantage of the Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit (solar cost) someone with a boat as a primary resident or second home should qualify for the same credit. If allowable (big if) then 30% of the cost of solar equipment and installation is deductible as a dollar for dollar credit off taxes owed.
T C Spencer
How long is the anchor chain and do you have a depth finder?
How long do you have to stay out of the state to satisfy Florida sales tax law? Brunswick is close….
We have to be gone for 6 months. We’re ready! We haven’t stayed in one state this long in over 6 years!
Manson & Cindy
Thanks guys. I just increased my budget for the work I expect to have Just Cats do next spring based on your newest video! How long do you guys plan to stay in the Bahamas? We chartered there (Abacos) this past winter. Loved it!
You are so right about estimates and in writing. I got estimate on my home a/c between $810.00 and $1,200.00
, Called a friend and he recommended a friend it cost only $270.00. The latter was a grandson of my sargent 50 years ago and he gave me a special deal. Glad I have a good memory. Love you be careful.
Cant. Rob Casden
Love your entertaining and grass-roots educational videos! As a cruising sailor with many ‘blue water miles” I think your using as much lithium battery power and solar panels as you can possibly afford is very wise! Just make sure you have temperature sensors on the batteries and high quality external multi-stage regulators on the engines.
As someone who has dealt with lightning damage to sailboats for many years I’d also love to know what Kent Grimbeek’s suggestions are for lightning protection on your catamaran?
Jack, S/V SILVER GIRL
Very interesting. BTDT. I especially identify with the comments about getting educated. We also agree about TowboatUS. But I don’t think that they work in the Bahamas, unless there I something new.
I apologize for the error using the term dirty movie I’m not sure how that happened voice recognition, poor proofreading.
What I meant to say… I hope there’s a movie someday.
Enjoy very much following your adventure and you’re learning. I’m very jealous excitement and the fun you must be having.
There is no doubt in my mind dirty movie and a book will be a wonderful offering for people who love sailing as I do but could never afford to take the Ultimate Adventure as you have.
Smooth sailing be safe.
I would like to receive any information that would help me to follow you both on your adventure.
Beautiful little video on the fun of learning. As you say – education is never free.
The way you two comment on costs reminds me of the reaction from our kids when they got their first paycheques and discovered how much less they have in the bank than they thought they would.
Pleased to see your dreams are working out.
Thank you so much for this. I’m so grateful that the two of you stopped making “everything is cheerful puppydogs and rainbows” videos and started making some more honest ones. I am very frustrated with the lack of progress on my tiny house project and the delays and setbacks I have been experiencing. But, seeing this video really made me feel better. It reminded me that delays and missing deadlines and is one of those frustrations that EVERYONE seems to experience when undertaking big projects. Best to just chill out and not let it bother you too much. I still have no idea when my builder will be done, but this video will at least let me sleep easier. Thanks again, and I look forward to your next update.
The Phantom 3 drones are easy to fly. Earlier this summer I handed my brother the controls while over water – a great place to fly. Be careful over buildings and people (rules) and absolutely stay far away from aircraft and airports. Anyway, release the sticks and the phantom holds position and altitude. Press the home button and it returns to where it took off from. I use a tablet for FPV as the screen is much larger. Also helps spotting objects and keeping them on the screen. FPV overall just makes for a natural flying experience. Flying backwards is very dangerous (actually so is forward when there are electrical lines which are nearly invisible) because it’s blind – but you can get great shots. Within 20 flights I could fly backwards (straight) down a country road to film a Ferrari approaching, then pull to the side as it passed and spin the drone to keep the car in sight. Have fun with yours Jason.
Hey guys, you are absolutely amazing. I accidentally discovered your videos at youtube and easily got hooked since yesterday. Yes, boat service is very expensive. Especially for your boat. It’s large with a lot of equipment. Anyway, you mentioned about getting a drone. I would recommend to you to watch this video: https://youtu.be/UaRpTclSwX0 produced by Rick Moore. Rick sails around Caribbean islands for a while and produces very cool videos. Rick uses his drone a lot. Hopefully his videos can help you with drone decision. Thanks for sharing your experiences!
Thanks Sergey. We already have a drone and have been using it on land…just haven’t had the cojones to fly it on water with the high winds and no “return to home” position. We just need to build our confidence on a calm day. I will check out rick to see if he has an tips for flying out on the water.
Nikki:), based on what I watched, your cojones made of steel:) Anyways, I was exploring Rick’s youtube channel yesterday. I checked his subscriptions and guess what….? He’s subscribed to your channel:) It’s such a small world:) He is watching you guys! Cheers
Congrats on getting through your first (and hopefully longest) stay at the service dock. A couple months of potting around the Keys sounds like just the ticket for your first real taste of the cruising life. I also really admire your resolve to spend as much time as possible on the hook. You will learn a LOT this way, and some of the lessons will likely be hard(ish) ones. Anchoring properly and securely is a real skill, and one of THE most important ones to develop. You will see some real doozies of anchoring related cluster %#@s in your future travels, but good technique and lots of practice should keep you guys from being one of them! Fair winds to you.
I am glad you’ve completed your service, but feeling your frustration at the unexpected cost.
Thus reminds me of an old question.
“What is a boat? A hole in the water where you throw your money. “
Take a look at the Splash Drone. It’s waterproof.
Thanks for your reply, Nikki, about docking prices. I had planned on Full Time RVing when I retired but circumstances did not make it happen. I have been following you, and Jason, on your experiences in RVing, and now Sailing, and find it very enjoying and will continue to follow your adventures. I also like the fact that you have two other “Sailors” on board with you. Each one has their own ” Four Sea Legs” Ha, Ha!
We just sold our motor yacht after having it about five years. It was much older than yours. One of the biggest things that we learned was not to say to any service Center, ” while you’re at it”! Those “While you’re at it’s” can add up fast. What seems like a small job to you, can become a big expense. One more thing you will discover while boating is that it is extremely hard to get a written quote on anything. That is because they aren’t sure what they’re going to run into, I guess. Not trying to discourage you – just sayin… BOAT = bring out another thousand or two or three. ? Have fun you two!
Excellent videos and a shakedown cruise is definitely the way to go.
Here’s a thought to make it a more serious shakedown cruise.
Get a 150-200 miles from land. Imagine a large wave then hits your boat and ruins all your electric wiring so that nothing electric works. You have no autopilot, generator, engines (unless you can pull start them), power winches, radios, depth finders, radar etc. Even your handheld GPS got knocked off the shelf and broke. Fortunately, you still have a compass, either the main one on the boat or handheld versions.
Then, using only sail power and muscle, get back to land.
Definitely a trying exercise, but if you do it, you will know that you’re capable of doing it if disaster does strike. And if you can’t do it, you’ll know what you have to work on.
Enjoy the boat!
‘Boat’ Unit = ‘bring on another thousand’
‘Cruising’ = ‘working on your boat in exotic places…’
nothing could be more fun…0
Love your spirits ! Keep me updated!
Those numbers are staggering. If you can move ahead and get the actual experiences it doesn’t matter so much, if you can pay the bills. It’s fascinating to know how this little part of the world works. I like the people you introduce us to. Everything you do seems solid, worthy of commitment. Alas, I doubt I will ever follow you down this path or waterway.
Unfortunately, the rolling cooler just seems absurd. A lot of boaters and light plane owners use electric folding bikes (or non-electric). You see a lot of folding bikes named “The Mariner”. Electricbikereview has reviews and a forum.
T C Spencer
What are your income sources to pay for sailboat insurance, classes, survey, service, etc?
Are you planning on visiting Fort Jefferson whilst you are in the keys? Might be a nice place to fly your drone? Apparently the snorkeling is amazing near there too. Some parts of the Keys and the Tortugas look pretty shallow though, so your depth gauge will be well used… Happy sailing.
We will eventually get to the dry tortugas but not this shakedown trip. Not enough time to make it that far but in the spring for sure! We hear it is amazing.
We got a taste of life aboard a cat last week. Friends have a 37 ft motor cat docked in Marathon, FL and we a got to experience a wonderful comparison to our toy hauler life-style. Things are tight on a cat! We missed the moving around room, easy chairs, a regular refrigerator, plenty of storage space, and especially a roomy bedroom/bathroom that we take for granted in an RV. We went aboard a neighbor’s 44 ft (regular type) yacht and found it a little more in-line with an RV. Being 14′ wide was like having full-length slideouts on each side. I learned firsthand about the routine chore of scrubbing crud off the hulls that build up in only a few weeks. I actually enjoyed the work. Found some lobster friends living in the rocks under boat while cleaning the hulls. The boat’s owner showed me how the lobsters are ‘tickled’ out of their hiding places, caught, and measured. They would’ve been dinner but were too small.
The attraction of the sea can be overwhelming. We met several other families who live full-time on their boats and they wouldn’t trade the experience. I agree. It would be a lot of work and $$$ but living on a boat would be a great experience in spite of the drawbacks. This was one experience I didn’t want to end.
Oh Randy, sounds like you got bit by the cruising bug. 🙂 It is a lot of work and money but what adventure isn’t? It is all worth it! The spaces are laid out differently. I feel like we have a lot more room on our boat than we did in our RV. But we didn’t have a 5th wheel, we had a 33ft motorhome. Hopefully your friends will invite you on board again…this time with bigger lobsters around!
I kind of like the inflatable PFD comment. 🙂
Hopefully, she is ready to sail now and repairs will be minimal!
Love the picture of Nicky with the cold pea’s on her head. I can feel your pain
Thanks for continuing to share… I think we learn along with you. We’re not sailors, but we are RV’rs, and (runabout) boaters, so, as it goes with these things, lessons learned, money spent, lifestyle still being lived and enjoyed. I admire your adventurous spirits! Every little thing gonna be alright! Safe and fun travels!
I followed your RV adventures and it helped me as I bought my first RV & prepared it for travel. My RV is 16 years old so I knew there would be a lot of repairs but it feels good to KNOW all the brakes are brand new etc. and the total cost of sale price plus repairs is still less than other Arabs of the same quality. I know a lot of people who want to sail will benefit from the experiences you are sharing! It is inspiring to see you live your dreams!
In one of your recent video’s you had a list of potential future purchases. Things you felt you’d need eventually. One of those things was a light wind cruising spinnaker. I’ve sold my boat and have a sail that might be perfect for you. (Similar size boats) If you have interest and are willing to do a bit of research with the sail mfg., it might tell you a lot. (UK Sailmakers 1-718-885-2028). It’s a blue & off white 1.5 oz. UK Sailmakers Tri Radial Flasher in an ATN brand Spinnaker sleeve. http://www.atninc.com/atn-spinnaker-sleeve.shtml
This is an asymmetrical light wind sail that’s in a sleeve (dousing sock) and to fly the sail the sleeve is unfurled above the sail. No pole is necessary. It flies forward of your head stay like a big kite. Tri radial flashers are very powerful and expensive new. It’s 49’6” serial #16804 and was originally for a 42’ Catalina. It came with the boat when I bought it. The seller said he didn’t think it was ever used. I also never used it, and it’s sat in my house in it’s sail bag in perfect condition.
If you decided this would be a good fit for you, after a bit of research, I’d send it to you, and allow you to set a fair value based on your finding and condition etc. I’d sell it to you for half of that value & shipping, and I know your expenses have been killer lately so I would allow you to pay me within six months or so. I sell a sail I can’t use and you get a good deal. Sorry this is public but I couldn’t figure out a way to make it private to you.
Let me know
Thank you so much George! With all of this downwind sailing we seem to be doing we decided to bite the bullet and purchase one…wish you would have emailed a few weeks earlier 🙁 Oh well.
Thank you for sharing with all of us.
Have you hooked up with any other boat people in a cruising community?
Will you need a satellite phone?
We have been meeting up with fellow boaters and sailors along the way. So far, lots of fantastic people and we are learning from them as well. Not sure if we will get a satellite phone but we will get something.
Love hearing your adventures …..as we are adventurers also. We can only do sections of the river cuz we have to work and I only get so much vacation.But the adventure is wonderful. Stayed in downtown Chicago this summer on our boat 25 foot Bayliner. Traveling from the Mississippi R to Lake Michigan. The people we meet are awesome and the memories will make us who we are…. Keep On Keepin On
You’ve probably already heard this suggestions, but have you considered removing the outboard from the dinghy and mounting it on the stern rail? It removes some of the weight from the davits and lessens the load on the fiberglass and the entire supporting structure. The downside of course is having to find a way to get the motor from the transom of the dinghy to the stern of the boat.
We have but our current dinghy is simply not practical. The center console is what makes it so heavy. We will go with a much more basic dinghy that will be a 1/4 the weight. It will be much better for traveling world wide.
WOW!! Docking fees 65$ per day. To me that not only seems ridiculous but outrageous to boot. What do you receive for that fee? Seems as though you should get a fabulous free dinner for that fee. I seem to think that is why you see so many vessels anchored off shore. I have seen other videos, concerning boats, with a sign where they are docked with the dock price on the sign, visible.
$65 a day isn’t so bad considering the location. RV parks around here are just as much if not more.
Ouch on that invoice! But now it’s done. Go and enjoy!! I envy how you two “make it happen”. I know there is a lot of elbow grease involved, which will make the next invoice much less. Have fun and congrats on your new adventure!
Sooooo……. In the long run, are you glad you’ve become full-time sailors? Sounds like it gets scarey to me.
It’s all good and is going to get even better. We have no regrets and are truly looking forward to what’s ahead.
I love that you can save money while “living on the hook.” Like boondocking, but for boats!
I also really appreciate what you said about money. Saving is so important, YES, but as I was saying to someone today, so is happiness. So is challenging yourself. So is doing something meaningful with the people you love. Our savings are ridiculously small and would make any financial planner cringe, but… we have faith that we can make our RVing lifestyle work (and we work our butts off, as do you guys, so there’s that, too!)
Service bills are tough, don’t get discouraged!
Here are a few suggestions for you getting off on the right foot:
Get a service manual for your Yanmar(s). Engine & Gen set. Try Amazon or google it and get a PDF and save it.
PDF : http://www.marinesurveyorontario.com/yanmar.pdf
Carry spare raw water impellers & gaskets for both and a spare alternator belt(s).
When the impellers self destruct pces may end up in the heat exchanger. Remove them as req. Don’t leave them in there!
Change the impellers every year or sooner.
Snorkel under the boat and keep all the raw water pick ups clean of growth.
Most marine engines have internal zincs (and you know how important they are) Many may have one in the end of the heat exchanger. Yanmars have them in the engine and should be changed every 500hrs or sooner. Depending on the model (assume you have 3cyl) there will be three, one in the cyl. head and two in the block.
Change your engines oil & filter regularly, they will last much longer and give you less trouble if you do. See the service manual for service periods. Get a manual oil extractor pump and do it yourself.
Learn how to bleed your fuel system of air and don’t run out of fuel, which would require a bleeding of trapped air in the fuel system
Save money! You can get your sails inspected and serviced by a sail loft instead of outright replacing them if they are not in too bad of shape. Sails can last a looong time if taken care of. Repair rips & tears asap. Carry SAIL REPAIR TAPE temp for temp repairs while out at sea.
Fair winds and following seas for you both!
Meant say …Live the life …I suppose love the life will also work
Having been a boat owner for twenty some years I had to smile at all the lessons you learned while in the service yard.
I think about everyone has to learn to care for their own boat and all the systems on it. Espically if you plan on sailing great distances as you will be doing.
I learned from my father in law who was a sailor all of his life with some major yatchs.
Even with all of his experience teaching me firfifteen years I always was learning something new.
You will find once you leave Florida and make shore at your first cursing destination you will discover a whole new type of crowd who have been doing what you plan too. These people will have experienced years of what could go wrong, you don’t have what, and how to fix it and what to carry.
You will find by getting to know as many of these people as possible your enjoyment of sailing will grow even more as your confidence level go up.
My wife and I are really enjoying your series as we are now on the other end of the life schedule and a little too stiff to do what you are now setting out to do.
Best of luck and fair seas.
I know it was a lot of money but it’s so much better to get major repairs you personally can’t do completed in Florida where you have your pick of experienced techs & parts you can at least get within a few days as opposed to having to have these repairs done where they may not even speak the same language & parts take weeks to be flown in. Love your videos!
Love you 2
Keep going and please for the love of God love the life I wish I could for me.
Your adventure looks exciting, we wish you well. I hope you two will consider inflatable PFD’s and wear them when sailing. Being life long sailers and power boaters the only thing that can guaranteed is that some day someone is going overboard. If it also happens with a bump on the head it can be deadly real fast. It usually happens in bad weather when it can take a long time to get back to to the person in the water. We sailed in San Francisco Bay in 25 knots of wind and would do a man overboard drill by throwing a life jacket overboard. Usually we lost it!
We will have them on board before we take off to the bahamas.
That was a great, heartfelt, interesting entry. I am an RVer and miss you guys. But we still really love your videos and have been using them as we prepare to sell our Holiday Rambler and buy another used coach. You guys are so funny and sweet. My 16 year old daughter (my traveling buddy) and I love your stuff. She wants a marriage like yours. Great example! Wow. Hope the sailing thing is so friggin awesome for you. I keep following you even though I have no interest in sailing. Thats how good you guys are! Shelby and Lily from Southampton, NY. (if you ever sail by Southampotn, stay with us!)
Come on you two have to have the financial means to be it the world of yachting. No income?
Thank you for being young and full of life I will always dream of living on the ocean. And through I can for now I will just run with my RV.
I have intimate experience with the expenses and thrills of sail boating. “Been there, done that” keeps coming to mind as I read your reports. You’re doing magnificently well all things considered, and it’s a delight to read. Oh, and I’m keeping up my monthly catfood money subscription, too. Tell them their Uncle Larry wants them healthy! At least one week a month. 😉
Ha ha, thanks a million! We are slowly but surely getting the hang of it all. I have a feeling we will still feel like sailing newbies for a few years. You will be happy to hear that we just ordered a new batch of wet food for the cats and they do love their Uncle Larry!
Joyce and Peter Tatler
Love you two. Well done. It does hurt when you get A big bill but you will be over it soon. All done now. Enjoy the next 2 months if I were rich I would pay the bill for you xxx
BOAT… Break Out Another Thousand!!! All of us boat owners have learned that lesson. Me more than once lol.. just not all of them are brave enough to share it with the world. Money is like the tides, sometimes it’s rolling in and sometimes it’s rolling out! Too bad your leaving our Florida just about the time for the storms to fade and the bugs disappear! BTW I was always told the 10% rule included everything, fuel, dockage, maintenance, insurance for a typical part time vacation useage. Enjoy the Bahamas! Endless beauty and hideaways!
I’m done. I was dreaming about it seriously. But now, with your average of $1000 a day for service maintenance, I’m out. My retirement project will be on wheels. Tanks anyway for your tips. I will continue to follow you on your YouTube channel and I’m sure that your journey will be filed with lots of great moments that will make us dream for many hours to come.
P.S. If you’re thinking taking passages with you for a week or two, we are in.
Even service on an RV can easily reach the same numbers. Don’t get too discouraged. Our expensive mishaps don’t have to be yours. There are lots of people out there sailing and doing it on far smaller budget. Check out Sailing Uma if you want a different perspective. They are on a smaller mono that they have renovated and are now out sailing the Caribbean. I personally enjoy following them and their determination is contagious.
Wondering how you weathered Hermine? Did you feel it’s effects at all? Inquiring minds want to know. Take care love following you and your adventurous life
Luckily, we were much further south than where Hermine hit. So we just had some thunderstorms.
You guys are awesome proud of you thank you so much for sharing all of what’s been going on I hope your shake down cruise goes as planned I can’t thank you enough for sharing all of your experiences the ups and the downs the good and the bad remarkable video Will keep you in my prayers best of luck
Multihulls are nice, but expensive to buy, maintain, and DOCK. Which is some of the major reasons I chose a 35 foot Monohull. And I still spent a good deal of money outfitting for my World Cruise. My 10 year plan goes into effect at 9am October 31st – Departure for Mexico from San Diego (after a 5 year refit & local cruising)…
So far, we haven’t been charged any extra for dockage. We have paid the same rates as a mono. Cats are slightly more money but it really depends on the boat. We have seen 43ft mono’s that are more expensive than our cat. My personal opinion on boats, rv’s and any style of travel in general…it costs what you can afford to pay. We’ve seen a variety of boats from 3K on up sail around the world. I am currently reading some of Captain Fatty Goodlanders books and he is one of those super frugal sailors that I need to learn a thing or 20 from. 🙂
Hang in there!
Ron & Jodie Ray
Driving and owning a car: for the common man or woman
Driving and owning a used RV: for those who have a savings account
Driving and owning a new RV:, for those who have saved for years ( the PWM group. I.e. people with Money)
Sailing and owning a nice Leopard Catamaran : For the PWLM group. ( people with Lots of Money) commonly known as RICH People! I don’t know about you guys ….but short of winning the lottery…I’m never going to be in this group! If you guys can figure out how to afford this …I applaud you ! I want you guys to succeed! Best of Luck and please be SAFE!
We’re not rich by any stretch but we are good at saving our money. We still work (we’re not retired) and the boat is the only thing we own. When we started this we sold our house, then our cars, then all of our furniture and everything else. The boat is the only thing we own. If you take a look at every single asset you have, total it all up and there is your budget. There are lots of people living the RV or Sailing lifestyle and they all have different budgets. Some spend $500 a month and others spend $4000. Same could be said for people living in traditional apartments and houses. It’s more about choosing how you want to live. In an apartment, house, van, RV, sailboat, tiny house….
We have been enjoying your videos and thanks for sharing your learning experiences. Have an awesome next 2 months!!
PS I can understand not wanting to fly the drone after seeing the one your captain lost in Alaska!
But if only I had half the “nads” BOTH of you have.
B T Dubbs, why solar over wind-turbine?
A turbine can be noisier but no shading issues, less real-estate.and works on cloudy days and during bad weather.
Spec-creep will get you every time but rest assured, you did (just about) everything right. As newbs on a used boat, you should make sure everything is trustworthy. You watched & learned stuff that may someday save your life, not just a few $$$. You got caught up in your new adventure and skinned your wallet, lesson learned. You now have an awesome / safe / functioning boat and much of that cost won’t come back around for a few years. Having spent too many winters in boatyards, doing my own work I know it is not easy or inexpensive but the opportunity that boat affords you (while you still love it… and can still do it…) will go a long way to making this particular life lesson easier to get past. Looking forward to enjoying your future adventures.
PS If you haven’t yet priced new sails or standing rigging, don’t do it until AFTER you have enjoyed some time on the water. Happy thoughts… Happy thoughts!
Scott Helmann- Rapid City South Dakota
You two are totally awesome! I am so excited for you both but I also find myself a bit disturbed about some of the hater stuff out there you are having to endure. You worked very hard and saved hard to get where you are at (I did that personally too) so remember it’s just stinkin thinkin and that stuff just belongs in the trash. Just drop it off in the garbage bin where it belongs and continue to follow your adventurous dreams! Clear skies and steady winds ahead!
Jon & Lori
Ok Guys, I will offer this out again as I have not received any response from u guys, We have plenty of free dockage along with a great Anchorage if you want. I have area for dingy dockage or Cat dockage and a car to run errands, We have High Speed internet Ubiquity sending hubs. We are located in Marathon Florida Keys on the bayside which is the LEE side calm side Plenty of water and great sunsets. easy run to Key largo or Key west….Just let us know. We are beginning our cat Search also in the next year.
Lori & Jon
Thanks a million for the offer and perhaps we will take you up on it in the spring. We were trying to make our way to marathon but I don’t think we will make it. Because we had to hunker down for the storms we are not going to make it as far down south as we wanted. We are heading to Indian key in the next day or so. If you are around we could always meet up.
Sounds Like a Plan……Put us in your contacts if you email me I will send you our phone numbers and the address so you can Goggle earth it and see the quiet area i am speaking of. We Still at grind stone in Miami 5 days week and in the Keys on the weekends We would love to meet you guys !!
Lori & Jon
Thank you for sharing. Your blog is by far my favorite that I follow. I appreciate the honesty of your coverage which includes maintenance and cost. I’m not a boater but its been an eye opening experience to follow your journey. Also, if you ever get tired of blogging about sailing I would love for Nikki to blog about her fashion/wardrobe . I love her style. All the best!
What’s your opinion on Lithium batteries? Are they ready for prime time?
The reason I ask, my wife and I have a 5th wheel with 700 watts solar and 4 Trojan T-104 batteries and would love to get rid of the extra weight, yeeesh each one is 70 lbs.
Your not the first ones to mention problems with Lithium batteries, just ask Samsung 😉
My biggest concern is the proper charging rate for them, most RV chargers including solar charges don’t have the correct mapping for safe charging. I know some Lithium batteries have satellite charging PC boards mounted inside to help control the current rate, did they fail on your system.
Best of luck and relax if you can on your upcoming trip.
Just bought 4 Relion 75 AH lithium batteries for my 40 foot motorhome. The existing 13 year old inverter/converter lead acid charge profile is pretty close to what the lithiums want, both charge and float. I end up with about 90% state of charge instead of 100%. Some day when I’m rich and famous I’ll upgrade the inverter. In any case, I get more usable AH’s than the boulders I dumped.
Behan - s/v Totem
Thanks for the nod, guys – appreciate that you enjoyed our post on maintenance costs. Love your review here – spot on! The good/bad/ugly/learning of it all.
Jamie would love to talk to you about sails when you’re ready – whether he can help decode anything, or offer a quote, whatever helps. Hope we can catch up with you in the Bahamas or beyond!
Having lived more than 20yrs in Sarasota, Fl along with loving the water, I’m hoping you guys are using great sunscreen. What’s forgotten is the areas from reflected sunlight (Jason).
Sails, rigging and most anything else by Tom in Guatemala…,free docking…do it yourself or have him do it.
Joshua M. Weaver
Sorry for the expensive overhaul but I was smiling while you were talking about learning from the service technicians and I could not help thinking about Jason and the RV air compressor…… :o). It will all work out in the end, keep your heads up and have FUN!!!!
You once mentioned the “Haters out there”.
Could it be that the haters are driven by their hatred of boats after owning them for a while and constantly working on their boat? Or paying the massive cost of the service guys?
Hope this costly process ends for you soon…
I think that may be a reach as that isn’t the type of criticism we have gotten. We’re newbies, so we don’t always know what to expect and this was one of those times. We’re learning and trying to stay tuned into our fellow cruisers (which is why I provided the links at the bottom) as they help to give us a little insight, fist hand experience and perspective on things.
Informative and helpful, getting a peek from you about the preperation for fulltime cruising and the sailing life. Just love the way you put yourselves out there, your transparancy in sharing the good, the bad and the ugly is awesome. Your becoming a favorite!
Safe travels, always.
You mention being able to save whilst cruising for the next two months. Does this mean you’re still able to run a business while on the water? I’m hoping to be sailing my own boat in three years time but expect to have to fund the whole thing from savings.
Best of luck to you both.
Life Lessons, we all go thru them. And guess what there will be more. Now at last the excitement begins. And may that last a long time. Learn lots in this shake-out. Fair winds and smoother sailing…..Mike
You’re an inspiration to us all. As a landlubber, the only sailing advice I can give you guys is this… Once underway, Jason should throw those white sunglasses he seems so fond of overboard.
Awe, I like the white sunglasses.
My partner and I have a dream to do this as well in the future. Your blogs are so helpful and exciting to us. Great job. Please keep them coming. Safe travels.
Perhaps the added solar panels and new davit system and replacing the lithium batteries could have waited until you had the boat for at least a year and had a better idea about what is important when sailing? No?
We have had several issues with our generator so we don’t trust it fully. We knew we wanted and needed more solar power so that was all a no brainier. We were not going to replace the lithium batteries but we had them inspected and turns out they were not safe. One was missing a BMS all together and another had obvious overheating issues. So they had to go but more on that in an upcoming video. It was more the string of little unexpected things that kept turning up and slowly adding up. Running rigging that was worn and unsafe, additional engine issues, throttle cables that had to be replaced, delamination, hard top repairs from an over strained dinghy system and the list just kept growing. So, they were things that were all important when sailing and we were advised not to go anywhere far without fixing these issues.
Sorry to hear about your painful bill experience! We’ve had a few RV bills that made our hearts drop. A quick question: How do you guys get internet when at sea?
So far, we are using the same set up we had with the RV. Even 5-10 miles out we still have service sometimes but even still we are anchoring near towns. Once we set off further, then we will have some figuring out to do.
Check out Network Innovations in Ft. Lauderdale. They will have a solution for you.