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I know there are people who cruise with almost no cash and manage, some use thousands of bucks per month and wonder where the money goes. What I wonder is, how much a average, modern cruising couple, with a average size boat (ca. 10-12 meters) spends incl. maintenance, insurances etc. If I consider the healthinsurance (for 2), my boat and the living costs for 2 people, inclusive now and then  a country excursion or a small extravagancy like a nice restaurant, I always come to about 2'500.-- US-$ minimum. Am I totally wrong, or does this match with your experiences? Wave

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Nev and I spend an average of about 10 to 15 thousand US per year presently living and cruising on Peace (Tiki 46) full time. You will find us anchored out when not in Rhode Island on our own mooring for the summer. We eat aboard, NEVER go to marinas, almost NEVER got to restaurants, are fully insured with health (medicare with Blue Chip for Medicare) and comprehensive boat insurance (thru St Margaret's). We do all of our own boat work and keep upgrading - new engines this year are 20 hp Yamahas.

We have done it on half that amount when funds were tight. There are countries where food is cheap and countries where it is expensive. The Wharram design lends itself to low maintainence costs because you built everything and can repair everything you built. Actually, the boats can earn some money for you too. You could have some paying guests for the day or the week end. Plenty of room.

I have known folks living in houses who can spend 10, 20, or 100 times more than their neighbors. They all are sure they could never manage to spend less. Living economically while living well is something you can learn to do. You can do it elegantly with waterfront views from the deck of your Wharram.

ann and Nev
The ability to live on little money (if that is what one is aiming at) has not much to do with cruising. It has more to do with your way of living in general. I would think most people spent about the same as living on land or a more or less constant percentage of that. Its probably between 500$ and 20,000$ a month for a couple. For those who care I found some good ideas in Annie Hills book 'Voyaging on a small income'. Certainly does not appeal to everyone.
Have a good day
Ralf
The reason for learning to live low cost is so you CAN go cruising. Working at a job to earn money keeps you staying in one spot to attend to that job and that job limits you to holidays and weekends and that is NOT cruising. Unless you have some transportable way to earn money on a boat that is moving around from anchorage to anchorage, you have to stay put and work. If you need less money, you can have greater freedom to take off and go cruising. That is what it is all about in our case. We have come to love the lifestyle that is compatible with maximum freedom. We delight in the luxury of abundant free time
Thanks for the replies. For the ones who think it is boring, why not simply ignore the discussion?
The question was not in particulare about the philosophic background of "lowcost cruising", rather more to get finally a average figure from the average cruiser in these days. Bluewater sailing can not be done for almost free anymore, there are cruising permits, fees, isurances, flights, sooner or later costly repairs or replacements and other cash isues. Of course costs can be different depending the region one explores as well.

How ever, thanks for efforts of you guys. Sailors all over the world become more and more the target of "businessmakers" so I think it is worthwhile sometimes to exchange experiences, facts and figures.

Meanwhile I found some websites which should confirm my own estimations:

http://www.searoom.com/CostsToday2006.htm

http://www.sailblogs.com/member/melon/?xjMsgID=13147

http://www.sailblogs.com/member/melon/?xjMsgID=13153

reg. Wave
Having cruised and livedaboard for 12 years on 4 different boats, alone, with wife, and with a family, I can definitively state that it takes exactly how much you have to cruise long term. This is an absolute truth that every new cruiser must deal with.

I have cruised on as little as $234 per month with 2 people - that is all that I had, and I made it work.
I have cruised on as much as $861 per month with 4 people - that is all that I had, and I made it work.

If you have $2500, that is exactly how much you will spend per month, but I promise that you can get by with far less.
Yes Budget Boater, this is logic. How ever, I also know many who get "locked" on ther boat
and many who sail with boats which are not really seaworthy or save, due to lack of cash-funding.

Of course as a "handyman" (specially as a cabinetmaker) one can make easier a living anywhere, but not everybody has got the skills for this. I know, I still have to learn a lot about doing things myself, but I'm pritty confident about this.

We plan to document our journeys and expeditions with quality fotos and videos, what means we'll spend lots of time visiting remote places at sea and on land. There will be costs for transportation, hotels, guydes etc. We try to gain our funds adequate to our plans - what means 100% financial independency for some time.
Our main themes shall be:
Sealife in general, indigenous ethnic groups-/people, volcanoes, reefs and of course stories about the "daily life" on board of a small boat.
If we finally can spend 2 to 2'500 US p.m. we'll be happy, if less our "live on board adventure" will start anyway at Dec./Jan. 2011/12.

We'll keep you posted.

reg. Wave
Ann and Neville Clement said:
Nev and I spend an average of about 10 to 15 thousand US per year presently living and cruising on Peace (Tiki 46) full time. You will find us anchored out when not in Rhode Island on our own mooring for the summer. We eat aboard, NEVER go to marinas, almost NEVER got to restaurants, are fully insured with health (medicare with Blue Chip for Medicare) and comprehensive boat insurance (thru St Margaret's). We do all of our own boat work and keep upgrading - new engines this year are 20 hp Yamahas.

We have done it on half that amount when funds were tight. There are countries where food is cheap and countries where it is expensive. The Wharram design lends itself to low maintainence costs because you built everything and can repair everything you built. Actually, the boats can earn some money for you too. You could have some paying guests for the day or the week end. Plenty of room.

I have known folks living in houses who can spend 10, 20, or 100 times more than their neighbors. They all are sure they could never manage to spend less. Living economically while living well is something you can learn to do. You can do it elegantly with waterfront views from the deck of your Wharram.

ann and Nev

Thanks Ann & Neville, I know know that I relay on the about correct figures for my intentions. Wave

sorry if I resume an old post. but it's very interesting to me. i think the big problem is not how much you need to survive, but HOW to earn enough to survive. if you are not cabinetmaker or if your boat is not big enough to carry people around the world HOW can you get enoough money to buy bread? and even if you are cabinetmaker will you find a job in the next new port?

   If you do a good job building your boat, you can surely find work in any anchorage helping other boaters do standard maintainence and small boat building jobs like putting in a spice rack or binocular case.  It always amazed me how helpless some nice folks are and they will be grateful for you helping them.  They probably did not have any experience building anything. 

    Another way to earn is to help other folks learn about cruising by visiting your boat while you go along.  They may have a million questions which you can answer truthfully from your own experience. 

    I did odd jobs in boat yards.  These were low pay jobs but my expenses were low so it did not matter.  The yard guys helped me learn about maintainence when I was an ignorant beginner cruiser who knew nothing about engines, electrics, etc etc etc.  I was so ignorant it was a shame.  Luckily the guys liked my monohull and my cooking.  We swapped so my budget was not flattened.

     Painting boat bottoms is always a good way to earn.  Somebody always wants help with that job.

     Likely others will have a million better suggestions.  Good luck!   Ann from Ann and Nev



adriano meis said:

sorry if I resume an old post. but it's very interesting to me. i think the big problem is not how much you need to survive, but HOW to earn enough to survive. if you are not cabinetmaker or if your boat is not big enough to carry people around the world HOW can you get enoough money to buy bread? and even if you are cabinetmaker will you find a job in the next new port?

For what it's worth, $2500/month is not much less than our family lives on ashore, including house payments, health insurance, and all the costs related to keeping our boat.

 

And as A&N point out (and one of the reasons I'm looking at a Wharram as our next boat,) most of the parts on a Wharram are self-fabricated from readily available raw materials. That often means an order of magnitude or better saving over the same item from West Marine. (If you were really hard core, you could even do your haul-outs anywhere you had 4+ feet of tide, something I can't do with my fin-keeled racer/cruiser.)

 

Also seconding A&N on picking up money while cruising. If you're frugal and handy, there's no good reason your cruising kitty can't grow, often times doing things you enjoy doing (or at least enjoy more than sitting in a cubical.)

 

More possibly related thoughts here:

On Consumerism, Living the Dream, and Hope

 

 

We just met a smart guy who is so well set up to earn money while cruising it is astonishing.  He was a computer guy and can come aboard any cruiser boat and fix the darn things!   Most cruisers did not grow up with email but we really love being able to sail and still keep in touch frequently with folks at home even after we are no longer sure where we live anymore because we have sailed here and there for so long, a lot of places feel like home.  So if you are computer clever, you can just print COMPUTERS on your sail cover and folks will want you to come and fix their machines.  If no money changes hands, you will have no trouble with the governments so just do the work and suggest things they can do to help you out.  Like pick up something from the grocery store or fill a 5 gallon jug with diesel or petrol.  Perhaps you need some rope....   Nev often fixes things on people's boats but we never ask for anything and somehow that starts a whole chain of mutually helpful activity which usually ends up "paying" us back in lots of wonderful ways and brings the relationship into the friend category and out of the commercial category and that is always much more fun.  Try it and see.  Other good things you can fix are outboards even simple stuff like cleaning the carburator or changin the sparks.  Take a course and write OUTBOARDS on your sail cover.  Learn simple 12 volt electrics and add that to the sail cover  -  ELECTRICS.  Come on!  You can learn this stuff!  It will make you FREE!!!

    Ann and Nev

Interesting discussion. I would like to put another plug in for Voyaging on a Small Income. Two other books that I found helpful and relevant are Sailing the Farm (out of print I believe) and The Cruisers Guide to Fishing by Scott & Wendy Bannerot. Both books are quite good.  Scott and Wendy's book belongs any any cruising book with tackle on board imho.

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