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  Topic Review (Newest First)
11-02-2002 01:13 PM
Lin and Larry
Cruising Advice

Bernard Moitessier said it, ''Cruising costs as much as you have". When Larry and I first set out, we spent the equivalent in todays dollars of about $800 per month to adventure on our 24 footer, eating out on shore at least two or three times a week when we were in port, only going in to marinas when we were working on other peoples boats (reparing, rerigging, doing woodwork). But we did spend a lot to keep our boat in top shape, buying the highest quality sails, and such. Now we are voyaging on 29 foot Taleisin, going to far flung destinations and spending the equivalent of $l700 a month. Difference? We''ve our writing has made it easier to earn the extra so now we do things like allowing me about $75 a month to telephone my friends and family cause I enjoy hearing their voices, buying gifts for neices and nephews, renting a car instead of taking a bus, eating at better restaurants,moving into cottages ashore for a few months every few years, ordering special books from the US, carrying and using a West Marine cataloge. Would we be able to cut back to the old budget, yes if it meant giving up our adventuring. We discuss a lot of this in details in our book Cost Conscious Cruiser and in fact several folks we''ve met along the way say our chapter, The game Plan,which gives the best assessment we can of the choices facing people who dream of going at different ages and stages in their life, has been helpful to them.

Best thing we can say is, as a I once read in a simple little book by Allen Watts called the Wisdom of Insecurity, you can never cover every contigency, and trying to insure complete security before you set sail is an impossiblity. But, the easiest way to make it all affordable is to go smaller, go simpler and avoid trying to take all the conveniences of your shore based life with you.

What kind of boat do we sail, where have we been? Classic Wooden cutter, no engine, no electronics, no problems, lots of grand adventures including about 175,000 miles of voyaging and 2 circumnavigations, working along the way but always keeping a security account equivalant to the replacement cost of our mast and sails and six months living in the bank.
11-02-2002 02:39 AM
Cruising Advice

I have found a couple of good cruising cost sites. There are many out there. On is:
and another is
Hope this helps.
11-01-2002 05:12 AM
Cruising Advice

Hi Steve
Read your post re: cruising costs. Everyone is right that it''s nearly impossible to give cost specifics but I will share what we learned. We are getting ready to leave for a cruise to the western caribean and beyond. We are sailing a 39 foot fiberglass sloop built in 1981. We are doing a MAJOR refit this year, and doing all the work ourselves. This is important to our cost projections because we will be intimately familiar with all of the boat systems (also my husband is a mechanic) and able to do all but very major repairs ourselves. Also, many of the systems on the boat (i.e. the entire electrical system from battereis to wire to solar panels) will be brand new. We are having a moderately complex boat in terms of systems: 12 volt refrigeration, windlass, GPS, etc. but NO air conditioning, watermaker, electric winches, bow thrusters, TV/VCR, large inverters, etc. This all has to be taken into consideration since, as I am sure you know, a larger and/or more complex boat will have significantly higher maintenance costs, especially if you are not a handy D-I-Y-er. Also boat material: my parents'' aluminum boat costs twice as much in yearly upkeep than our fiberglass one, adjusted for size.

OK, then you have to decide how you want to live. We feel that the lifestyle we want cruising is similar to what we have at home. That is, fairly simple. We don''t eat out at restaurants very often, never go to movies, we enjoy cooking good meals at home and a bottle of wine and a book. Cruising, we will eat at restaurants only if they are the less-than $5-per meal type, maybe a couple times a week at times, but not regularly. We have budgeted for only for very infrequent marina stays: we''ll anchor out. We won''t be staying in resort areas and hitting the bars every night. We won''t be renting cars or taking island tours unless by local chicken bus. We will choose our cruising destinations largely on the cost of living.

We''re getting our ham licenses so that we can use free ham email. This reduces long-distance phone calls to relatives.

Given the above considerations, our plan is: We will have $10,000 emergency fund for major repairs, medical emergencies, etc. We will carry travellers/major medical insurance and boat insurance (these costs are paid for, not part of the estimated monthly expenses). For our cruising kitty, our estimated monthly expenses (to include each county''s fees, food & household expenses, fuel, maintenance, incidentals) is $1000 for the two of us and our young daughter.

I hope that this is of some help, although I realize it''s all conjecture as we''re not out there yet. However, I have done a lot of reading and research and spoken to other cruisers and i feel that this is doable.

Good luck!!!

s/v Namaste
Portland, Maine
11-01-2002 04:49 AM
Cruising Advice

We are 35 and we''re leaving in one year.

Going cruising was always a "far-off" dream until last year. I was diagnosed (out of the blue) with breast cancer. Facing my mortality at such a young age absolutely changed my perspective. We are not going to put off this dream, even though we are financially completely unprepared for such a thing. But we are going to make it happen. We are living a much more spartan lifestyle right now in order to save pennies for our cruising kitty (a movie in a movie theater is an unheard-of luxury); we bought a solid boat that needs much work -mostly cosmetic- and we are spending every single spare minute working on her. We''ll rent out our modest home while cruising, although the rental income will only cover the mortgage, which is high since we borrowed against the house to buy the boat....if/when we decide to return we''ll need to sell the boat in order to get back into the house financially. We''ll probably also have to start from square one job-wise. But we deem it a worthwhile risk.

We have a 6-year old daughter and we feel that this experience is more valuable than if we stayed here, worked, and saved for college. My parents took me and my brothers on long cruises and I can never thank them enough for doing so. The chance to see the world, see how other people live, meet people from other cultures, etc. was incomparable.

Although some people do think we are crazy to give up the little financial security and stabilty we''ve built by age 35, I think that LIVING life NOW is so much more important.

So, one way or another, we''re going. We are going to live the dream.
11-01-2002 04:11 AM
Cruising Advice

Hi Truewest,

Are you guys still cruising? I was very intriqued by your post since we are also in our 30''s, "not independently wealthy", and refitting a boat to take off in. Would love to hear more about your cruising. We are East Coast and will be heading to the Caribbean in one year.

s/v Namaste
10-30-2002 09:57 AM
Cruising Advice


I would like to offer some advise which I hope will be helpful. My wife and I were in the same situation in our early 40''s. We wanted to go so bad, we could taste it. Every time we felt a breeze stiffin our minds would wonder. It took us about 2 more years until we could leave and not worry about our finances. Eventhough it hurt, we''re glad that we waited. Being able to pull up anchor and go on the slightest whim is GREAT and not having to worry about finances makes it that much sweeter.

Both my wife and I consider "cruising" & "living-aboard" while you work to be two seperate life styles. Don''t get me wrong, they both beat what we were doing before.
The first time you sail away from some new friends that live-aboard & work and see the envy in their eyes, you will know exactly what I mean. Also, contrary to popular belief, life does NOT end at 40 (but it does seem to go down-hill a little faster). I''m 61 and my wife has been 40 for about 18 years. We actually seem to enjoy cruising more now than when we first began. We have slowed down even more and view events and places in a different way now.

Also, if you sell your house now and must return later, I seriously doubt you will want as much in a home as you do now. Remember, you will be going for a boat to a house. You will feel lost in even the smallest of houses.
Good luck!!

10-30-2002 09:18 AM
Jade Sky
Cruising Advice

Hello All,

I just spent the last hour reading all of your comments. This is very interesting to me. And obviously we are all somewhat in the same place.

The intense desire to effect this change in lifestyle is one of my most important goals. We''re almost there. We own a beautiful Fair Weather Mariner/ Westsail 39, have adequate (I hope) passive income set up, and some equity in Real Estate. The thing we don''t have set up, to our satisfaction, yet is enough additional funds, so as to not have to sell our real estate, and yet be able to live a comfortable lifestyle in a 2nd or 3rd world country during our olden days. (USA-so cal) will be too expensive to return and not have substantial income. We are in our late 30''s, no children, 1 dog. Once we leave land life we do not want to have to return for the purpose of creating income.

This is really hard because I want to leave now, or as soon as the boat is cruise ready. I know that if we sold the house we could, but we don''t want to find ourselves in the position of getting priced out of the market, just in case.

I''m finding these last 2 years to be extremely difficult. It almost hurts. I''m so ready to go. Patience and perseverance bring the greatest rewards.

So, long story short, I guess we''re trying to juggle that responsibility edge at the same time as electing to sacrafice a stronger financial level for later.

But the draw to go now is that each year we age, health dimishes. That''s reality. I want to be living this lifestyle with as much energy and passion as possible. And since none of us knows what''s going to happen in the future, I would rather regret doing something than regret not doing something.

May you all follow your bliss!

s/v Cassiopeia
10-29-2002 02:51 PM
Cruising Advice

My wife & I cruised for 12 years along the eastern seaboard. In those years we have formed some very strong opinions about other cruisers and the life style in general. My comments are not intended to burst anyone''s bubble, BUT.

It''s wonderful to have a dream; it''s significantly different to actually live it. Alot of the opinions I have read in this thread are based on nothing more than dreams. "Just do it" has done great things for Nike; unfortunately it is terrible advise. This is not to say that some people don''t manage to live the dream of cruising by dropping everything and sailing off into the sunset, some are successful, most aren''t.

My wife & I just discussed how many cruisers we have met over the years that actually made this approach happen sucessfully. We could think of only 7 (3 families and 4 couples), yet I can remember at least 50 that tried and failed. There is one significant flaw with this approach = REALITY.

WE know dozens of cruisers who ARE extremely happy with their chosen lifestyle and they all had one thing in common: they had a plan which began years before the cruising actually started. Almost everyone of them were financially secure when they made the move. Their boats are insured, they have medical coverage, they have a reliable source of income and they have an "escape" plan.

If you truely want to go you need to have a realistic plan (especially when it comes to finances). It may take years, but it is truely worth the sacrifices. We could have left years earlier then we did, but we never would have made it as long as we did.

10-29-2002 08:40 AM
Cruising Advice


I can understand why you want specifics in addtion to the general good advice you''ve gotten so far. If you don''t wish to buy some of the many books out there which list costs amongst other things (BTW- I don''t own any either), can you do a search on the Internet to get more specifics? I would hope there would be more than just the one website you listed.

I do know that there is at least one (and probably several) SailNet articles which detailed the cost breakdown and described the location and type of cruising that was done. Just do a search here for it/them.

Good luck with your planning.

10-29-2002 08:28 AM
Cruising Advice

Thanks for the replies, however, I am looking for examples. I undertsand that no one can tell me how much it will cost me to cruise with my boat - that is not what I am asking. What I seek are people who are willing to share their experiences with specific examples. Did you circumnavigate? How much did it cost you per month? Sail the Chesapeake for a month? What did it cost? What''s the break down - how much for maintenance, how much for provisions, how much just plain spent on other stuff?

So far, there is only one person that I know of who has spelled out what his expenses where for his cruise and that''s Destiny Calls at This is just one example. I''d like to know what others spent and what they got for their money.


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