Affordable (Shoestring) Cruising - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 24 Old 09-23-2013 Thread Starter
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Question Affordable (Shoestring) Cruising



As the recent thread on the affordability of sailing devolved into a political discussion and got bumped into Off Topic I got to thinking about how things have changed since I first had the dream. The question of financing, how much you will need and how to get it is something each of us has to answer for themselves.

For the absolute minimalist Annie Hill's "Voyaging on a Small Income" still has some good information, albeit a little dated - she recommends to investing in government bonds that yield 10% interest to provide said small income.
Still, Annie has a lot of useful information for someone wanting to cruise on the cheap.

But building your own plywood boat equipped with oil lamps and sewing your own sails is not for everyone; perhaps not for anyone in the 21st century. Nor is living on "Pulses" beans and rice. Still, we have run into people who live remarkably cheaply - completely, or nearly, off the grid, getting by on subsistence fishing and hunting supplemented by dumpster diving and foraging.

We have met people cruising in $500 plastic classics rescued from boat yard abandonment propelled by much repaired sails with auxiliary propulsion via homemade oars or salvaged outboard motors. A skilled scrounger with an inventive mind might fully equip a cruising boat for next to nothing.

There is a lot of fun and personal satisfaction in cruising safely and comfortably without resorting to West Marine to equip your boat or Safeway to fill your larder. Lin and Larry Pardey present more reasonable means of economical cruising in "The Cost Conscious Cruiser"

There are two questions, really: First is where do you draw the line?

For example, I buy new rope for dock lines, anchor rodes and running rigging but have many times bought or traded for used cleats, blocks etc.

The second question is: Just how badly do I really want to go cruising? It is all too easy to say "I won't go without XXX"

This can just be a handy excuse but I have my own list. For instance, I won't go cruising without good ground tackle and a working VHF but I do not require a freezer full of steaks or ice for my whiskey.

I expect most of us will find a niche somewhere between an open sixteen foot dory with a rock for an anchor and a bag of chips and a six pack for provisions, and a fully equipped sixty footer with a well stocked wine cellar as depicted on the cover of the latest issue of "Cruising World"

(Although given the choice...)


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post #2 of 24 Old 09-23-2013
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Re: Affordable (Shoestring) Cruising

I keep my boat as well stocked as possible. the last 60 days cruising cost me only 80 bucks because of this. Anytime I find a favorite food item on sale I buy half a dozen and stash them away. I have a safe, simple and comfortable boat and keep ker in top notch condition.
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post #3 of 24 Old 09-23-2013
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Re: Affordable (Shoestring) Cruising

I always feel a fraud when posting to this kind of discussion, b/c I'm not (yet) out there full time. I will be starting next summer, but right now it's all been planning, and short-term cruising on the Great Lakes.

With that admission, I can say Annie and the Pardeys are our model for future cruising. My partner and I have been building a simple cruising home that, we expect, will be sustainable with minimal income over the medium to long term. When we leave next summer we will do so with a well-found and somewhat upgraded classic old boat. It's systems are safe, solid, and simple. Our operating and living expenses will (have to) be small, b/c our income will be equally small. I don't know if we can sustain a life on the water, but we're going to give it a try.

So yeah ... shoestring cruisers is what we will soon be. I don't know if we can do it, but Annie and the Pardeys and others have done it, so why can't we?
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post #4 of 24 Old 09-23-2013
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Re: Affordable (Shoestring) Cruising

Oh boy, I hate to burst your bubble but the Pardeys have never cruised on a shoe string. Simple yes, realistic boats yes, self sufficient yes but shoe string?? No They know how to live
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Re: Affordable (Shoestring) Cruising

I'm not a sailor yet.
I want a boat to go and chase the horizon.
27-32 ft. fiberglass monohul, inboard engine.
solid hull solid deck. rigging and sails.
details details details I may not be the stingiest man alive but
i am in contention.

What more do I need?

Zen is a matter of recognizing reality.
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post #6 of 24 Old 09-24-2013
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Re: Affordable (Shoestring) Cruising

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Originally Posted by vega1860 View Post
Still, we have run into people who live remarkably cheaply - completely, or nearly, off the grid, getting by on subsistence fishing and hunting supplemented by dumpster diving and foraging.
Where?


Unless its in the USA and someone has taken a boat as cheap/free accomodation. But you say "Cruising" in your title.

So tell me, where have you seen someone cruising long range dumpster diving? Subsistance hunting and fishing? WHERE?

Because its just not occuring. I have not seen one instance of it. So if its happening its not happening cruising. It may be happening with poor livaboards in the USA but they are not cruising.


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post #7 of 24 Old 09-24-2013
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Re: Affordable (Shoestring) Cruising

I don't know about dumpster diving and subsistence fishing, but I've seen cruising boats from both ends of the spectrum coming through here (coast of São Paulo and Rio). The low-budget small cruisers are usually Brazilian or Argentine or from France or Italy. These boats are usually small, very simple (hard dinghy is one of the giveaways) and the crew is on a tight budget (you won't see them in restaurants!). Of course there are the big boats too, but it seems to me pretty evenly divided here between both ends. No doubt, other cruising grounds will look different.

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Re: Affordable (Shoestring) Cruising

I too am a fraud in that I'm not cruising yet.

Cruising on a shoe string budget, I'm too old for that.

I don't mean chronologically, I mean I have too much common sense and too much responsibility towards my wife (the admiral).

You can cruise inexpensively and get by quite well on what would be a poverty level of income in many other places around the world - but you better have a kitty that includes sufficient money to replace things and repair things and maintain that floating money sink that is the boat.
If you don't have a reserve, you are just temporarily buying time until you are homeless.

Lessons learned are opportunities earned.
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post #9 of 24 Old 09-24-2013
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Re: Affordable (Shoestring) Cruising

i am not a fraud as i am out here in cruiserville with a hard dinghy--i prefer this as i have seen too many reflatables go missing complete with engine--i do row.
i donot advocate dumpster diving in mexico--you wont even find fish heads in garbage here--besides garbage here is burned daily. mexicans use things until that item is not recognizable as an item, then burn it.
to become legal in mexico one must have income--it is not easy to find haven sans income. as we are not permitted to work here until permanent residency is achieved, it is difficult to add to your income base here. there is much protection of th e local work force by th e government, unlike usa. to be illegal in mexico is to tease the local govt into kicking your butt out of country. permanently.
it is a good idea to have SOMETHING you can do that others cannot do while you cruise, and something not able to remove a locals income and food on table for his family.
under table boat repair is a start--can you fix a boat ???? diesel engine repair is a good way to create income, as are other repairs on yachts--so many sailing boats have break downs at sea--from minor stuff like air in line to major rebuilds needed.
can you sew cushions or canvas....repair sails--things that are good to find in far away places do excellently to supplement income--as long as you are GOOD at it. there are enough cranks and frauds in place already.

oh yes--i make it just fine on my hard earned ssdi dollars.


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post #10 of 24 Old 09-24-2013
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Re: Affordable (Shoestring) Cruising

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkofSeaLife View Post
Where?

Because its just not occuring. I have not seen one instance of it. So if its happening its not happening cruising. It may be happening with poor livaboards in the USA but they are not cruising.


Mark
I guess you are spending too much time in places for rich yachties.
Small boats are better designed to visit less expensive harbours and normally don't require maintenance facilities.
Anyway look at
microcruising.com for example. Guys from this site cruise in 10- 14 ft boats.
I can give several links to Russian circumnavigator's blogs. All of them travel with budgets under $800/mo
These two travel in 30 ft boat, right now they are in Indian ocean
?? ??? ? ????
These 4, yes, they have two beautiful girls born while traveling, have a big boat, however, they got it for nothing, without a rig and they restored and rebuilt it by themselves
??????????? "???????????". ?????-????????? - ???? ???, 2002-2006-2016

Rich and poor don't mix together, it is well known fact, and, I guess this is the reason you don't see the low budget sailors...

CR
s/v NEMO - Freedom 28 Cat Ketch, centerboard
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