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Old 09-08-2013, 03:43 AM   #1
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Default Budget Cruising

I have recently read that the age of budget cruising has passed. Gone, apparently, are the days when cruising offered the financially disadvantaged an opportunity to thrive in a millionaire's environment.

The DIY sailor, with an old boat kept together with love, spirit and knowledge...and with just a little bit of money was once able to sail the seven seas free of exorbitant anchorage fees, free of hideous entry and exit fees, and free of the shackles placed upon the sailor by the evolution or more and more powerful, and expensive, technological 'necessities'.

In a recent article in, I think, Cruising World, Jimmy Cornell produced an updated version of one of his surveys which looked at the cost of cruising. If indeed one needs $50,000 per year to cruise in today's world, I need to sell my boat and go back to work.

While it is always interesting to see breakdowns of cruising budgets, it can also be quite dispiriting. I don't have a washing machine on board, or an entertainment station and I retain a degree of traditional purchase on the new sophistication that cruising seems to have become.

I don't need marinas very often, or a washing machine, or to run my diesel all day to keep water hot, batteries charged, refrigerator cold etc. and I have a reasonably good idea about the things which need to be done to keep my boat shipshape in ocean voyaging readiness.

Is the budget cruising sailor an anachronism; a quaint reminder of days long gone? Or are commercial interests driving an ever expanding market out of the reach of the thrifty, and firmly into the world of overt consumerism and colour matched foul weather gear, welcome mats and special, expensive little hooks to hold our fenders because, apparently, a clove hitch is no longer good enough for the job?
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Old 09-08-2013, 05:32 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Auzzee View Post
Is the budget cruising sailor an anachronism; a quaint reminder of days long gone? Or are commercial interests driving an ever expanding market out of the reach of the thrifty, and firmly into the world of overt consumerism and colour matched foul weather gear, welcome mats and special, expensive little hooks to hold our fenders because, apparently, a clove hitch is no longer good enough for the job?
Auzzee, you hit the nail on the head.. like so many things these days, over commercialism has brainwashed people into 'needing' all the fancy gadgets, and his and hers oilskins.
My dear beloved, late father, sailed for more years than I care to think about, with no 'essential, you-must-have' gadgets, gizmos or whatsnames, and with no luxuries like fridges and washing machines on board - ok, so the longest we ever spent aboard at any one time was a week to 10 days, and I accept that if you are cruising the world you need some creature comforts, but a washing machine ?????? I can imagine what he would say if he were here, and no, - I can't put it in this post!
We had paper charts, binoculars and a sextant made by dads chum, (no I can't explain this one, its too long ago to get the facts right) we had a small stove, and my dads famous 'biscuit tin oven' toilet facilities were 'basic' - but we had a GREAT time, and I have such fond memories of those days spent 'messing about in the boat'. My mother would tell you of the teacher who, on reading yet another 'what I did in the school holidays..' essay from me, about sailing, asked if we ever did anything else!
There are old school sailors and there are sailors who wouldn't dream of leaving port without the 'essentials'. I know with whom I would sail.

Fair winds to you all.
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Old 09-08-2013, 08:41 PM   #3
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Great post! It brings to mind an old Roger Miller country song... 'king of the road'. You just need to set your priorities and "know every engineer on every train, All of their children, and all of their names, And every handout in every town, And every lock that ain't locked, When no one's around" (free anchorages and lower priced onshore amenities).
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Old 09-09-2013, 04:44 PM   #4
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D'y'know, since I posted (above), I've had a think about things.. and we did have a washing machine - it was a bucket of water, and it doubled as a dishwasher when the need arose - and we did have an 'entertainment station' - it was called a transistor radio. It was all so much more simple in those days!
cheers all!!
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Old 09-10-2013, 12:52 PM   #5
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Good topic Auzzee good input guys. For me doing without frills etc is minor compared with howto avoid being forced into a beyond-my-means port due to weather or need of repair and chances of that happening are increasing due to the global ever rising cost of shoreline property. Thus, I think it is no longer not only a matter of "sailing to the next water hole" but also keeping abreast on "sailing to the next free anchorage / lowprice onshore amenities" etc. CL and the fellowship found herein facilitates budget cruising. A dream solution is get the united nations to buy recoup shoreline and allow for free public folk ports etc.
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Old 09-11-2013, 07:13 PM   #6
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Auzzee, as others already stated you have smacked the nail bang on the noggin... but there are remedies for this go-ape with boatbucks trend.

To encourage others, let me tell you my experience. It's said that once you buy a boat expect to pay 30-40% extra to get things ship-shape.

Not true. HOW and WHERE you obtain the bits and pieces however is critical. Near big yachting centers like Miami you will inevitably find used-stuff marine purveyors and can often buy at 50-80% off. Also never buy anything with "marine" in the branding. That alone adds a 30% premium. Diesel parts you will find cheapest under farm or agricultural listings, there is nothing special about them to make them "marine diesel". Similarly, ebay, craigslist and marine flea markets offer good deals and Yanmar parts can be had at thirdworld prices too with a bit of sleuthing around.

By far, my biggest expense has been flying W-E coast of USA to get to my boat. Mooring $$$ have been a close second but lately I found a free anchorage along the ICW. Sails: plenty of lightly-used ones are about for 20-30% off the custom price.

Like in any sport or hobby there are those that need the cache and pat-on-back to tell them they have arrived and made it, are the BMOC now. Color co-ordinated hitches and britches included.

The fact that they are able and willing to pay these outrageous mark-ups keeps their ego up and the industry afloat. The good news is there are other and much less expensive ways to keep your boat afloat and in good condition. A few scratches and some fading adds character to what otherwise would be a lifeless bleach bottle. The rust stains on my anchor platform remind me of pleasant memories and gently rocking at anchor in far away places. Do you really want the shore power cord plugged into a gleaming receptacle to remind you that the meter is constantly running?

Ivo s/v Linnupesa
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Old 09-11-2013, 09:16 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Hill IV View Post
...For me doing without frills etc is minor compared with howto avoid being forced into a beyond-my-means port due to weather or need of repair and chances of that happening are increasing due to the global ever rising cost of shoreline property. Thus, I think it is no longer not only a matter of "sailing to the next water hole" but also keeping abreast on "sailing to the next free anchorage / lowprice onshore amenities" etc. CL and the fellowship found herein facilitates budget cruising. A dream solution is get the united nations to buy recoup shoreline and allow for free public folk ports etc.
Auzzee--don't tell most of the West Coast cruisers I know that the era of budget cruising is over-- folks are still managing it quite nicely

Joe--you hit my issue entirely: its not the equipment that can eat up the dollars, its being forced into a costly marina during weather or due to repair needs that will really eat up the budget. I have a couple "pet peeves" about this. It's actually not simply a problem of waterfront property going up in value--it is also local ordinances banning anchoring in perfectly good anchorages and/or filling up anchorages with mooring balls that the locals can park a boat on (and not use) while blocking access to anchoring/mooring by people who really need an affordable spot while in transit.

Your proposal about "by recoup shoreline and allow for free public folk ports," etc, is in support of something called the "public trust" doctrine that most countries are supposed to be abiding by. This doctrine goes back to Roman times and basically tells us that roadways and navigable waterways cannot be owned--they are there for "the people" to freely travel upon including resting while in transit. Most countries (um, including Sweden) also include shorelines of the navigable waterways as restricted in use and thus require some sort of "public trust" use on those shorelines. That could be marina, boatyard, shipyard, or other facilities that encourage the (commercial or not) public use of the waterways.

If we don't want things to get worse, all traveling mariners should notify local zoning, harbor commission, and national government authorities (as appropriate per country) when they see things like condos, homes, schools, hospitals, retail (not marine related) along the waterfronts which are impeding the use of the waterways by traveling sailors like us. Backing off the soapbox and onwards:

Linnupesa is right about buying via other-than-marine sources when possible. We get all our engine parts at the NAPA auto parts store because our (Cummins) engine happens to be one that was also used in Dodge trucks (thank goodness!). Sometimes used sails, especially as the "spare" or backup sails are a great idea as well. These days, some import sails (Rolly Tasker comes to mind, don' t know if I spelled it correctly) are also a really, really good deal. Other ways of cost savings? Sometimes be creative...We used very low stretch polyester line made for arborists (by Sampson Rope Company, and confirmed with the mfr that it would work well in high UV setting aboard a boat) as our halyards and jib sheets. The stuff was only 25% of the cost of line with the same spec (stretch and load) sold for running rigging use. There are many ways to save. I'm not into cherishing my rust, as Linnupesa seems to be, I prefer to clean things up. But--marine salvage stores are a great place to get things at cut rate, yes.

Speaking of cleaning things up, I've got to tease you guys about the washing machine thing! I actually don't consider it an unnecessary extra but rather as an important bit of kit to keep our boat running efficiently and to have a happy crew aboard. As many of you may know, my single real luxury aboard the boat is a marine/rv washer/dryer. I never use the dryer feature--instead I hang clothes to dry--but I find the washer to be very water-efficient (more so than effectively cleaning the same quantity of clothing by hand washing) and it doesn't consume excessive power to run (indeed it must run on a generator like our little Honda EU2000). It does require pressure water. We have hand pumps elsewhere on the boat, but the washer has its own pressure water pump. Cost? well, we used it in our shore-side home when rebuilding our boat (to see if we could "live" with such a small washer/dryer). So, it's been in use since September 2006 (7 years) with 4 of the years being on the boat afloat. It cost about $700US including shipping and it has used a maximum of about $230 fuel (in the 7 years) on generator. I actually think I've been conservative on that estimate and it's been more like $130 in fuel, but hey...Water lugged from shore of course, and was free. It has saved me about $1292 in coin laundry expense (assuming a cheap $3.00/large load) and countless hours of lugging laundry on and off the boat. So, to date I'm what... $362 ahead and every year going forward from here, I'll be, at a minimum, saving a little over $150/year in coin laundry costs and can do my laundry anywhere/anytime. Oh, we did replace a belt once--that came from the NAPA auto parts store at $4 or so.

So, what is it that makes the washer seem like a luxury to most men but a necessity to women like me? huh? guys? Its saving me money and time and effort all around. It was a sound purchase and good "budget" decision especially for ports where a load of laundry is more than $3. And don't tell me you can do just as good a job by hand--I've done laundry by hand, and nope, it's just not as clean as what I can get via a good machine.

What we don't have that all other boats seem to have? we don't have refrigeration, pressure water (other than mentioned for the washer and a deck wash-down), don't have roller furling (use hanked on sails), no electric winches, no electric anything much... We still don't have a radar --heaven help us, I bet you all have radar, but I consider it an "extra" and costly. Staying in port or at anchor during fogs has worked for us. If we were sailing high latitudes (which most cruisers seem to avoid) we'd likely have it though. We don't have a chart plotter (only the laptop and a hand-held Nokia n810), no fancy gps (just two little puck gps). No handy/dandy wind instruments or gizmos that one can really sail without. The biggest gizmo we got was a FLS and I admit it as pure and simple "luxury" to purchase it. And, yes, not having all those things means we don't have to fix them or replace them so it saves $$$. Gee, we still don't have a motor on our dink--and we're none the worse for wear in terms of having to row it, sail it, or paddle the canoe when going somewhere. The S= speed part of our DST (depth, speed, temperature) transducer stopped working within 3 months of installation. We didn't fix it. D is important, T is nice to know, S? well, if we're in a tideway it would be nice to know the speed of hull through the water but we seem to be doing just fine w/o it.

Back to the start, I still don't see the equipment being the big thing that eats up cruisers' budgets though. It's the flights home to see family, rental cars, side trips, eating out, clothes, hefty bar bills, diving trips/equipment, and a variety of other costs that nibble away at the cruiser's budget until there's not much left. The boat often gets substandard equipment while the local entertainment and bar-tab is huge. That's my observation of where some of the money goes in cruising these days.

Fair winds, and clean clothes for all,
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Old 09-14-2013, 09:02 AM   #8
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Redbopeep you write well. Re yr great breakdown on economic benefits for having a washingmachine got me LOL )) fun tease and you sold me on a washing machine too yet realistically its so far down on me need-to-have-list that I'll hv to make do with washing-by-hand for now. Thanks for mentioning the "Public trust doctrine". Bit of law history I along with too many others have apparently forgot about.
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Old 09-14-2013, 09:05 AM   #9
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Re anchoring: here in Sweden we're suppose to be able to anchor anywhere for upto sixty days although not within 100 meters of someones private property nor disturb them. I believe it has something to do with our "all mans rights" law allowing crossing or camping out overnight on private property. Problem with anchoring alone and being away from the boat for very long is there is always a risk of kids or worse thieves getting onboard.
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Old 09-14-2013, 09:08 AM   #10
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Re cost docking: Here in Stockholm it is very easy to buy a boat yet near on impossible to find a place to have it. Marinas are outrageously priced for 90% percent of us. So we join boat clubs and that makes it affordable. The waiting list to get your own permanent dock space even in a club though is abt 7 - 8 years. This past summer season our clubs' harbour captain fixed me a docking space for the whole season. Usually we lend out unused dockspace to each other and you take their watch or work duty.
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Old 09-14-2013, 09:12 AM   #11
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Re buying stuff: Our club has its own flea-market every spring. I bought a 7.5 kg real Bruce anchor with pattern number for 300 SEK. We also have blocket.se its like e-bay. As well if you ever sail to Stockholm there are two nice ladies have a shop Tåg och Virke on Skeppsholmen island accross from the kings castle that sells all kinds of used boat equipment at fair prices and sometimes even great bargains.
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Old 09-18-2013, 04:42 PM   #12
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Hi Auzzee,

spot on with your thread on "Budget Cruising" - $50,000.00 a year!!!!!!! what type of cruising is this ????? all comments have covered it all. my only contribution would be that it must have been a MISTAKE !!!!
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Old 09-22-2013, 06:25 AM   #13
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When I sailed to the Antipodes in the mid 70's, there were no fees for anything. Anchoring in Russel or Opua was easy, was unrestricted and fish plentiful. The wharf in Opua was covered in mussels and Bernard Moitessier and I ate Mussels Provincial, which he cooked, several times a week together. Entry into the country was free; no visas required.
We had a free slip in Tutukaka at the sportfish club and a free slip in Auckland. Beer was good, and cheap, as was food and so many Kiwis put themselves out taking us on tours of the island in their cars.
Australia was much the same; no fees, visas or regulations. Whether anchored in the river in Bundaberg or off the fishing pier in Mackay or off Cairns; no fees and warm hospitable people, park your dinghy anywhere. A week anchored out on the reef without anyone even coming within sight, let alone water cops hassling us. Lizard Island, a private resort in those days, also welcomed us and nary a word about money.
Fish were plentiful everywhere in Oz, where we could trade a 30# box of banana or tiger prawns or a bucket of scallops for a pint of duty free whiskey (about 6 bucks), with the fishermen. There were no tour boats, dive boats or water cops anywhere from Bundy to Darwin; only the sport fishing boats from Cairnes that traveled out to the fishing grounds beyond the reef, and the occasional scallop or prawn boat.
Cooktown to Darwin took about two months and we never saw more than a handful of sailboats after leaving Thursday Island until we arrived in Darwin. We hunted roos, walaby and even took a small boar, never mind more lobster than we could eat at Cape Wessel and a few other spots.
From reading the posts on here it seems all that has changed and I mourn for the freedom and ease with which one could cruise the Antipodes in those days.
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Old 09-24-2013, 03:01 PM   #14
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Where have all the fish gone? Long time passing... when will we ever learn? To the tune of "Where have all the Flowers gone?" //Public trust doctrine advocate
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