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Operating costs

On the various forums I am a member of people constantly ask about annual operating costs.  On the Nordhavn Dreamers site owners constantly quote the 10 percent figure.  Meaning you will spend 10 percent of the value of your boat annually to maintain and cruise it.  I always get a good laugh about that.  As you delve into the figures you realize they spend most of their time in marinas versus at anchor, fly home frequently, pay someone to do most of their maintanence and waste money on things like $3000 wax jobs.  The annual cost for Moby Duck has been a fraction of that 10% number.  The two major costs are fuel and insurance.  Both can vary greatly.  I have filled up in Ecuador at $1.00 a gallon and also filled up in Hong Kong at $4.50 a gallon.  My largest fill up was in the Philippines at $2.75 a gallon.  Considering that equates to 8000 mile range under power with my 2000 gallon tank it is a good deal.  Double the range of a similar sized Nordhavn, Selene or Krogen.  Because of that range you can choose to fill up at the least expensive places.  That is just one of the reasons I love Moby Duck so much.  In addition, just in case you decide to use no fuel, Moby Duck is equipped for sail only operation in favorable weather conditions like in the trade wind belts.  You can also extend that 8000 mile range to 12000 by motor sailing. The other major cost is insurance.  My ocean crossing insurance with a 2% deductible was $8000 annually.  Once I got to the USA west coast and limited my cruising area to the S. California area my insurance dropped to $1200 annually with a 1% deductible.  My annual costs while ocean crossing equated to about $20,000 a year.  
Many people spend a ton of money to stay at expensive marinas.  Moby Duck is so comfortable at anchor you will not want to.  You will not believe how energy efficient the all LED lighting and the daily use 24v systems like refrigeration, and gray, fresh and black water systems are.  The boat holds two propane tanks for cooking.  They last for years. The whole boat was designed specifically with energy conservation and comfort in mind with limited generator/diesel fuel use.  The wind generator and solar panels almost completely power the boat indefinitely.  The only time you will need to start the generator is to use the washer or dryer, a/c or scuba compressor.  I remember on my Nordhavn 55 you had to start the generator at least once a day to charge batteries.  Most owners needed to charge twice a day.  Even the water maker on MD is efficient enough to run off of renewable energy.
Another major expense for most people is that they want to fly home.  In addition to the cost of flying home there is the need to put the boat in an expensive marina and pay someone to look after it.  MD was my "home".  The key to low cost cruising is to cut your ties to a land based home.  Have family and friends meet you in exotic locations.  
Most people have the huge expense of haul outs for bottom paint annually.  I clean the bottom myself.  When you pay someone to do it they will use whatever cleans it the fastest.  They could care less.  Usually a metal scraper that takes a chunk of bottom paint off with each scrape.  I use the softest instrument I can find to carefully scrape any growth off without removing the bottom paint.  My bottom paint typically lasts 3+ years.
I took classes on conducting my own maintenance.  You would be amazed at how easy a simple common rail Tier III 4 cylinder engine with keel cooling like the John Deere is to maintain.  Mainly it is just filter and fluid changes with the occasional impeller change.  The only maintenance I pay someone to do is the valve adjustment which is very inexpensive.  The Northern Lights generator is just as simple.  You use it so infrequently that it rarely needs attention.
If you are the type of person who enjoys off the beaten tourist path type places you will find that food is very inexpensive.  Remote areas of the Southeast Asia, Mexico, South and Central America all have really good restaurants for $1.00 to $2.00 a meal.  Due to the lack of electricity/refrigeration everything is really fresh.  Your breakfast eggs came from the chicken walking at your feet.  Your fruit juice drink comes fresh off the tree.  Your seafood was just caught.  Your steak was wandering around grazing that morning.  Your vegetables have been plucked fresh from someone's garden.  If you read my blog you will read that once we learned how to fish properly (a long story) we caught one fish a day while cruising.  We never got tired of that.  I was so worried and stocked up on way too much food for my ocean crossings.  I guess, better save than sorry.  
So, in summary, I neither consider myself frugal or a spendthrift.  Somewhere in between and my cruising costs were probably  less than what I would have spent if I had been land based.  Forgot that 10% number!  
         
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 If you would have any questions or would just like to talk Ducks feel free to contact me at mvmobyduck@gmail.com
Moby Duck in Romblon, Philippines
Moby Duck in Romblon, Philippines
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