cruising costs, maintenance and price of the boat (sailboats versus motorboats)

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by Vega, Apr 28, 2006.

  1. fcfc
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    fcfc Senior Member

    You have the same problem as military. They want to cruise economically (if can be said of military) and be able to go fast.
    The way they found is to use 2 independant propulsion systems.
    The hull is semi displacement.
    For low cruise, they have diesel engines turning feathering (variable pitch) props. All optimized for displacement speed. The penalty they have compared to a true displacement is the hullform (15%) and prop (2-5%). I hope the hi speed hydrojet intake is closed : no drag.
    For hi speed, they stop diesel engines, feather the slow speed props, and start the gas turbine coupled to the hydrojet, all optimized for hi speed. The penalty they have is only the drag of low speed shafts and feathered props.
  2. john.G
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    john.G Junior Member

    Seems to me this thread has evolved from power vs sail to becoming about different powerboat hulls. SO.....

    My family have been involved with small commercial vessels since the 1920's and like most business operations we keep pretty detailed records. I'm prepared to do up some comparisons between different style's but it will take awhile to do so first I'd like to see if we could generally agree that the comparisons would be reasonably fair. I'll stick with vessels that are in my time in order that I can give first hand information as well as numbers rather then have to dust off old log books. I'll also stay away from commercial trawlers as the hydralic power requirements throw any fuel comparisons out the window.

    Vessel 1: heavy displacement fishing vessel LOA 48' , 120HP slow revver
    Vessel 2 : gamefishing charter vessel, LOA 40', 2 x 400 HP diesel
    Vessel 3 : semi displacement fishing vessel LOA 35' 180 HP diesel

    I'll rely on someone else to supply details of sail because I don't know enough about it.(well before my time)

    What I propose to do is a detailed analysis of sea time, engine hours,maintenance costs, & fuel consumption over a period of years. these are commercial vessels and the hours will be excessive by any cruising standards (they don't make money at anchor) and the maintance schedules will reflect current commercial practice (replace it before it breaks rather then have downtime) but I think that will only help give a better idea of the true costs involved in each hull type.

    I don't see how you can really make any other comparison as even if they were all the same length the displacements would really vary.

    This may take a few days
    2 people like this.
  3. Milan
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    Milan Senior Member

    End enormous increase in technical complexity and much higher initial cost and maintenance costs. No concern for the Navies but it doesn't seem very practical for yachts - such a boat would be very expensive to buy. Buyers of motor boats in this price category who want speed can afford to ride fast all the time.
  4. Vega
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    Vega Senior Member

    Nice…I am waiting.

    You are right about this thread; we are looking now to different types of hulls and different motorizations. We are still looking at cruising costs, but the ones regarding sailboats and motorsailors have already been made. Regarding motorboats there are a lot more different types, from displacement to semi-displacement till planing hulls, and a lot of different possibilities regarding power to the same boat.

    So this part of the analysis is not done and your input is more than welcomed.

    To fcfc, Ari and Vikendios (and this is extensive to all), may I suggest that we become more specific?

    I mean, Vikendios is preparing to cruise three months in a year. I want to do that in about 5 years (and I am choosing a boat for it), Ari has dreams of extended cruising and fcfc…I don’t really know.
    What I am proposing is to take a look at each personal criteria and cruising intentions and try to find in the market, new or used boats that best fit their needs, all things considered, initial price, operating costs and personal satisfaction.
  5. Milan
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    Milan Senior Member

    "…may I suggest that we become more specific?… personal criteria and cruising intentions and try to find…new or used boats that best fit their needs, all things considered, initial price, operating costs and personal satisfaction..."

    Aside from buying, (new or old), I would ad building option.

    Personal intentions - I'm planing to get a classic sailing ship master license - I'll take the first step on that long way in the autumn, beginning first year at this school: That will keep me busy for quite a vile.

    So, I didn't take part in this discussion for my personal needs, I'm interested in (almost) everything what floats.

    At some point in my life I would like to sail extensively on my personal boat. I'm most interested in the remote corners of our world. I have quite clear picture in my mind of the boat which I want. She will be very economical, basic, simple boat. Everything on the boat has to be simple enough to be repaired on the spot by myself. (That means reeeeally simple, as I'm not an exeptionaly capable and handy kind of guy, just ordinary wood / steel / sailcloth butcher and both- left-hands mechanic "skills"). She will be built in steel, double chine origami method. Rig will be a gaff schooner, very lean hull, (length 15 m beam 3 m). Load caring capacity about 1.5 - 2 tons max. Although built from heavy material she will have water line length / displacement ratio of the light displacement boat. (That's because of the light load, light interior and exeptionaly long water line). She will also carry plenty of sail area so she will be a fast boat in all circumstances.

    But back to the topic, I'm very late with answers as usually but better late then never.

    "...there are some misconceptions about the size of the engines of power boats. Some …put some ridiculous powerful engines in them, others think that what you need is a motor that can do just about ¾ of the hull speed of the boat.
    It is not like that, the motor has to have a reserve of power to use when things go wrong , I mean when you are caught in bad weather. The power needed for that can easily triple the one you need for just carrying the boat at hull speed. In a motorboat you have to have that power, for safety..."

    Hm…yes - for the "normal" powerboat. But I was talking about light displacement deck saloon sailing boat hull. She needs considerably less power because hull form is very efficient for displacement speeds and her hull and super structure (windage) are very low by powerboat standards. That's why she could move against the strong wind with a small engine. And if the wind is really strong you can always choose a curse at an angle to the wind as you would in a sailing boat.

    "...Yes, but then it will not be a motorsailor, not a motorboat. And you will have to pay the rig and the sail maintenance..."

    No, she wouldn't be a motorsailor, she would be a powerboat with a steadying sails. It's a big difference. If you don't expect a lot from your rig, just some steadying effect, some assistance to the engine and emergency back up in the case of engine failure, rig and sails can be very low, simple, and cheap. Solid wooden masts with a gaff sails attached with a pieces of rope.

    Any way, I think that we can conclude that there isn't economical production powerboat at the market which can compete with a production sailing boats on the terms which you defined. But I think that it is possible to custom built one. Take a look at the Gerd's new design for example:,en/,en/

    Built in steel, origami way, I bet she will be very economical. By the way, talking about origami, there is now DVD available of the building of the BS 36. It really is unbelievably fast building method, video makes that very clear:


    Attached Files:

  6. Vega
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    Vega Senior Member

    Let’s then ad the building option.

    I was avoiding that because most people have misconceptions about the price of a boat and think that if they do it, it will be less expensive.

    Of course it depends on your skills, but if you are really good at it, you should be a boat builder. For most middle aged people, that have a normal success in their lives, their time is a lot more valuable than the time of a young but competent welder or carpenter.
    So, if you build your boat, it will turn out to be more expensive than if you have it built by competent craftsmen, while you earn money doing what you are really good at.

    So, for having a reasonable idea of the costs, please go to one or several metal shipyards of your country (they are good and not expensive), show them the plans and ask them a quote for the building of that boat. It will cost you nothing and certainly it will also be a valuable piece of information for you.

    Calculatig the cost of a boat is a really difficult and tricky business and if you are not an expert in that area, you probably will not have a clue. You will not be able to calculate the number of hours needed for the various different stages of the building of a boat. That’s why there are so many rusty hulls lying around everywhere.

    So, Milan, yes to the building option, but get us a professional quote of the boat costs.

    (I have done that already, for other boats, and I think you are going to find that there are no inexpensive boats, and that the less expensive are, by far, the ones that are mass produced.):(
  7. Wellydeckhand

    Wellydeckhand Previous Member

    here an article of old marine married couple with years of experience in sailing but think motor-cruiser save alot of money in the long run?:)

    What if we use Junk Sail will the cost of sail maintance will be lower?


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    FAST FRED Senior Member

    "Solid wooden masts with a gaff sails attached with a pieces of rope."

    Today most would opt for an aluminum light pole , heavy wall, but far lighter than solid wood, cheap to purchadse , cheap to maintain.A cruisers dream.

  9. Milan
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    Milan Senior Member

    What ever is cheapest locally. Where I live, with loads of boats everywhere, it's not difficult to find some broken aluminum mast for next to nothing, but there are many areas in the world where solid wood is still the cheapest option. Weight isn't very important in this particular case, as masts would be very short.

  10. Vega
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    Vega Senior Member

    After Milan, I will try to be as clear as he was.

    As I have said, I hope to be cruising three months in a year, in about 5 years and after that, sometime in the future, more.

    About cruising grounds, I have no intention to circumnavigate, but I would like to cruise where I find it agreeable. Probably Med, Black Sea, North Europe, Caribbean, South America, Azores and who knows.

    For doing this I want a boat, different from the one I have know.

    The one I have can sail between 6 and 7 knots and can motor at 6.5 knots. Regarding speed I want a boat that can motor at 8.5 knots and sail between 7 and 8knots.

    As I am going to sail not only in the summer, I want a boat that can be steered from the interior.

    I also want an easy sailing boat, a boat with a bigger security margin, and a bigger RM ( at least 50% more) than the one I have now, a boat with a weight of at least 7 T.

    I want a comfortable boat, a boat in which I can enjoy the panorama, even when it is cold outside, and a boat big enough to have a couple living, but also to occasionally have the company of sons and grandsons. This means a big cabin, and at least another small one and the capacity of occasionally sleeping six.

    But, like Vikendios, I can find, when the time comes, that after all I would prefer a motorboat.

    If I chose a motorboat, I will want a boat capable of cruising at 15 knots ( I find quite boring to motor slowly), without a big consumption.

    That option will restrict my cruising grounds to coastal cruising, with occasional small passages in settled weather, so it will mean only the Med, Black Sea and North of Europe.

    Regarding living space, the criteria will be the same as for the sailing boat.

    About money, I would like to spend as little as possible, but I would point to a global cost of about 350 000 euros. And I want a new boat, or a used boat with one or two years. I want to enjoy life and not to be worried with maintenance problems or disagreeable surprises, besides that’s nothing like the pleasure of having a brand new boat.

    About surprises, for understanding what I mean, take a look at this thread:

    Dreaming about boats is half the pleasure, so I will try to share with you all, what I have found in the market regarding boats that meet the criteria I want, at that price (motorboats and sailing boats).

    I would be very interested about other cruising options, other criteria and other boats and budgets.:)

    After all, cruising is cruising (sailingboat or motorboat) and I think we can find a lot of common ground because cruisers use their boats and travel a lot more extensively, so regarding total costs, operating costs are a lot more important than for the vast majority of other boaters.
  11. Vega
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    Vega Senior Member

    Regarding the motorboat option, there are not many choices to fit that criteria.
    One is the Shannon 38. The interior is rather small, but it seems to be a very interesting boat, regarding speed and consumption.
    I have asked for the price.
    The boat has a version with flybridge.

    "SRD is an acronym for Schulz Reverse Deadrise. The aft hull sections of the 38 are radically different from all other powerboats which have convex or positive deadrise hull shapes. By inverting these aft sections on the SRD 38, tremendous lift is produced, while the forward sections provide laminar flow that prevents suction. This revolutionary hull design (U.S. patent pending) enables the SRD 38 to reach speeds in excess of 25 mph with one half the engine horsepower of comparable powerboats.

    The SRD hull shape gives an exceptional flat ride plus excellent all-around performance in waters just 2 feet deep. The speed-to-horsepower ratios and fuel economy of the SRD 38 are extraordinary when compared to semi-displacement and deep V hulls, making the SRD 38 truly unique. With only twin 150HP diesels, the prototype reached a top speed of 25 mph and cruised at 20 mph burning only 11 gallons an hour total, for a fuel burn of about two miles to the gallon.

    Deep V and trawler hulls at their best use one gallon per mile, and water jet boats obviously burn even more fuel than that. The range of the Shannon SRD 38 with standard tankage is almost 500 miles.

    For those interested in even more economy and range, the SRD 38 was also designed to accommodate surface piercing propeller drivers, a truly 21st century solution."

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  12. Vega
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    Vega Senior Member

    While I am waiting for the Shannon´s price I have found this one, the Liberty 40.

    It is a nice boat and it comes with 2 x 240 HP Yanmar Diesel or 2 x 315 HP Yanmar Diesel.
    It has a somewhat long and narrow hull and that will probably allow not to waste too much fuel.
    It is a 9T boat, a class B boat and it looks seaworthy for its kind.

    I have asked about prices of the 2X 240 HP and consumption and I have got this answer:

    “Our standard boat with bowthruster and twin 370 (for up to 32 Knots) quote 372.000 ex Vat delivered in Italy (maybe just few thousands more for Portugal delivery).
    I assume the same with twin 240 will be cruising around 16/18 and to have top speed around 22/24
    The cost will be more or less 30.000 Euro less, but this is a planing boat, I don't suggest so small engines. Probably cruising at 20 with the 370 might be more economic than go 18 with the 240's due to the weight of the boat, and stronger torque of the bigger ones.”

    And I guess he is right. I have recently seen the data for a somewhat similar boat with several engine configurations and the smaller engines were the more wasteful.

    It is an open cockpit boat, but one of the photos, the one with the television shows a closed cockpit….but of course, even if possible, it will be an extra and that will be considerably more expensive.

    It is a very nice boat, but for 444 000 euros (with taxes) and without extras it is out of is a pity, because it seems really a nice boat, with very good interiors, even if that second cabin looks really small. A lot better than the Shannon, regarding interior space and comfort.

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  13. Ari
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    Ari Patience s/o Genius

    Love to have a power boat for circumnavigation..too bad cant afford the fuel cost..Chinese junk sail are real cheap to built and motor sailor will be the choice..Since the size are considered big for do the cost..looks like we have to plan our journey to places that allowed us to anchor out of a marina..
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    FAST FRED Senior Member

    "Love to have a power boat for circumnavigation..too bad cant afford the fuel cost.."

    The fuel cost is determined by size and speed.

    Go small and slow and fuel is cheap.
    Eg a 36lwl sailboat will burn about 3/4 of a gallon per hour at 6K.
    Thats almost 10 nmpg , not bad.
    Going fast is where you can burn fuel at 1 nmpg .

    Its the "Need for Speed" that gets expensive.
    Most long range small boat sailors barely do 100nm a day , setting a boat up for a 5K cruise is over 100nm per day , and should be affordable.


  15. OneIjim
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    OneIjim New Member

    A local paper here in WA. state ran a front page article recently about the Boeing company’s latest think tank proposal------passenger jets that fly slower----to save on fuel!!! Have we reached the economic and social pinnacle of energy consumption? Sailing vessels may in reality use as much fuel as a power boat at times.
    I have tacked up the pearl river in Mississippi a short distance from the Gulf to get out of the way of a storm. To get to the river we had to reef the main because our 3 hp out board could not push us through. The sail saved our tail.
    Anything recreational that uses nonrenewable energy, like wind or solar, will become increasingly ‘Not politically correct’. I can see power boaters boasting that they use Bio-fuel to escape that wraith of the huddled masses.
    At the very least all pleasure craft should be limited to hull speed. (Boy I know I’m in trouble now!) This of course will create a demand for longer and still longer craft. Wow, We all want bigger boats anyway, don’t we?

    I can just see it, huge tall masted sailing ships carrying crude to the fuel starved marinas around the world. Snohomish county, Wa .state is studying its capacity to grow corn for bio-fuel,”have we reached the economic and social pinnacle of energy consumption”?
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