We have often been asked as to how much did this last season cost, and how did it compare to the cost of boat ownership in the UK. In an attempt to answer this we felt that for a true comparison we needed to add in all the real costs of sailing (excluding maintenance and ‘toys’ as these would be comparable wherever the boat is based, although if you are not up for “DIY” then labour charges may vary). So we have aded in costs for the car journeys to and from home (including ferry charges for France), berthing fees at other marina’s when cruising, diesel and electric fees and lift out and storage for annual maintenance.

On this basis we have produced 3 sets of figures:

1. A full year in the UK (Mayflower, Plymouth) 01.04.14-31.03.15

Berthing fees                                                                      4099.85

True travel from home to boat based on 20 round trips       1300

Electric, diesel, lifts and other berthing costs  (approx)          950

Total £ 6350

2. This years cruise down to the Vilaine for period 01.04.14-31.03.15

This is obviously unrepresentative as it includes two months at Mayflower, one of which was at a higher (visitor) rate, together with visitors rates at marina’s on route at either daily or weekly/monthly rates.

Berthing fees                                                                  3464

True costs of travel from home inc. ferry charges and Brittany Ferries club fee (which gives discounts on charges)                                 1636

Diesel etc (electric is free on French marina’s and included above for the UK ones)                                                                                110

Total £ 5215

3. Estimate of costs 01.04.15-31.03.16

Berthing fees @ La Roche Bernard on a 6/12 in and 6/12 out contract. This allows for a certain number of free lifts per year, a max of 3/12 total afloat in either the winter or summer period, but cruising away does not count, so if you are away for two 3/52 cruises plus two weeks of local overnight trips, you could actually be afloat for 5/12 in the summer. and if you don’t come over for a month at the height of the French holiday season, the boat comes out!  There are unlikely to be any other marina fees as included in this cost is the Passeport Escales which gives free reciprocal berthing at over 60 French west coast ports

Cost  (based on this year + 5% possible increase)              1984

True costs of travel from home inc all ferry charges etc, and based on eight round trips (this is probably an over estimate)                       2890

Diesel etc                                                                               100

Total £4974

Even with the high costs of ferry charges adding to the true travel costs, it seems that keeping our boat in France is around £1500 cheaper or 78% of UK costs. With sensible planning you can spend all the time you need on the water and by making six not eight round trips, probably reduce the travel costs down again by a further 750, i.e. 66% of UK costs. In this we have not included a charge for storage ashore in the UK over the winter as some marina’s do not charge. If yours does, you can see how some people claim that keeping a boat abroad can be half UK costs!


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