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  #1  
Old 10-03-2007
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Estimating Cruising Costs

I know this question will cause many a chuckle. But..... I have a strong desire to do some cruising and I have no idea what one should expect in terms of average costs (umm, weekly, monthly or whatever). I need a starting point. If anyone keeps records, I would love to hear from you. I know there are many variables and I know there will be surprises.
Thanks........... Joe
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Old 10-03-2007
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Jojo-

This really depends on a lot of factors... like the type and size of boat... how many people you're talking about, what part of the world you're cruising in, whether you like to stay on the hook or in marinas, whether you need to run a diesel genset to produce electricity or have wind/solar, etc.

Some have done it for as little as $500 a month....others spend $3,000 a month... A bigger boat will have some costs that are higher and some that are lower. Maintenance, dock, mooring and haulout fees will be higher, but often, the larger boats can be a bit more self-sufficient, having water makers, solar and wind electrical generation capability.
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Old 10-03-2007
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I'm by far from experianced in extended criusing but I think most of the costs are provisions, fuel, and for those that JUST HAVE TO.. $tay at Marina$.

Eh.. I like being out on the hook and using the self reliable nature of my boat. We have gone 4-5 days without needing to put in anywhere while on Chesepeake Bay. Showers on the boat are a real joy even if they are short.
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Old 10-04-2007
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Cruising world did an article on this a couple of years ago - had actual budgets from six or seven boats ranging from minimal to very well fitted. The lowest figure quoted was about 15K a year, and the highest was just under 70K.

It would be worth checking out the article if you can find it somewhere...it was fairly comprehensive. I think that there is a running thread on this as well over on http://www.cruisersforum.com/
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The rule I go by is-

Cheaper than staying ashore, but you'll still spend more than you planned.

Unless your name is Reid...............
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Beth Leonard's new book goes into this in some detail using several examples. Much of my pre-cruising budget is going into self-sufficiency and stowage (water maker, generous ground tackle, solar and wind, plenty of room for food stowage, etc., onboard clothes washing, etc.). The idea is to make my trips to shore optional for services and to reduce to a predictable degree my "living" budget...in order to retain control over discretionary expenses.

I wish to avoid marinas in general, but if I spend 30 days on the anchor, I wouldn't object to a weekend docking if a lot of shoreside facilities and attractions were nearby. But the simple fact is that those facilities...or in many cases the marinas themselves...aren't going to exist in quite a few of the places we intend on going. Consequently, I don't think a yearly budget of $25,000 2007 dollars per year is too low, considering that we will have invested a few times that in making ourselves on the boat fairly autonomous of the shore.
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Beth Leonard's The Voyager's Handbook would also be a good reference, since she has two or three budgets for cruisers for comparison purposes.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
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her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Old 10-04-2007
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Here...read this:
http://www.bethandevans.com/costofcruising.htm
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Without getting into specifics...because there's already some good advice above...the one thing that I can tell you is that in my experience of cruising the Abacos for 3 or 4 months we (my wife & I on a well equiped 35 foot sloop) spent remarkably little...well, less than I'd anticipated. Having said that if we'd resisted the urge to buy the almost always disappointing cheeseburger and stuck to drinking rum rather than beer we could have spent a lot less. It's a few years ago now but my wife kept a calendar with all our expenses written on it and we still have it if you're interested in the nitty gritty.

We spent one night every 12'ish days in a marina to fill up on water, run the a/c, do the laundry, pick up fresh food (sort of fresh anyway), drink beer and eat the aforementioned overpriced cheeseburger. The rest of the time was spent living on the hook, eating fresh fish & conch, drinking rum drinks and generally loving life.

If you think you want to spend a lot of time 'on the hook' my advice is spend time and money getting your boat equipped for it while you have an income and then head off and enjoy. We had a nice big battery bank, wind generator, a stupid amount of fresh water storage, wind scoops for ventilation etc etc and everything else in good reliable working order (reliable...yeah sure...this is a boat...something always breaks but that's life).
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Old 10-05-2007
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Thanks

A hearty 'thank you' to all that responded to my inquiry. I was pleasantly surprised by the number of responses. The information provided has given me the 'green light' so to speak. I am still a year or so away from my dream but I feel good about it right now.
I will probably buy a boat on the East Coast somewhere and get to know her for a few weeks before starting East. I lived on St. John for 3 years and owned a 37' Islander while there. I sailed all over the VI but never got the chance to go 'down island'. I still have many friends there on the Island and will probably make that my home base.
Perhaps I will meet some of you personally some day.
Thanks again.......... Joe
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