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Old 02-08-2006, 12:45 PM   #1
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Default Can it be done?

I need some informed responses. Lets assume that I own outright an Ericson 32 and have zero debt. Can I cruise on a retirement income of $16K/US per year? I am desperate for advice and opinions.
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Old 02-08-2006, 07:48 PM   #2
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It's possible, depending on your location (where you will be cruising) and your desired standard of living.

Another issue is maintenance on the boat. It sounds as if it would be the only home you have, so you had better keep it in top condition. For that you should have a careful budget.

Cheap places to cruise would be Mexico, South and Central America, SE Asia. The Caribbean is very expensive, and though you could probably manage it, you would have to be very careful. Cheapest of the Caribbean is probably Puerto Rico and Trinidad (though Trinidad is not the bargain it used to be many years ago).

I would suggest some of the following disciplines:

keep track of every penny you spend

be sure that you put into some form of savings account, every month, a budgeted amount for boat maintenance, plus 5% (inflation).

If you don't spend everything you make you will be able to gradually improve your standard of living as your savings cushion improves.

One problem you need to consider. Medicare will only pay for medical care in the United States. As attractive as those distant destinations, if you have to worry about getting sick out there you should reconsider.

Fair winds,

Jeanne
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Old 02-08-2006, 08:34 PM   #3
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Open:

As I mentioned to you on the Sailnet BB, you really need to post far more specifics in order to get at least a somewhat specific and accurate answer. Walk thru the detail here (and anywhere else you choose) or expect soup to nuts answers that really aren't meaningful.

Jack
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Old 02-09-2006, 04:33 AM   #4
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What do you mean by specifics? What I wanted to know is if it's possible to live/cruise on 16K/yr. The boat is small and simple. My needs are simple, and the places I would go would be coastal US, S. America, the Caribbean and maybe the great lakes. I am not dreaming of living at marinas and sipping mai tais with my steak each night. As a military retiree, healthcare is not an issue. Would I like to sail the world? Sure, maybe someday. But for now all I want to do is live on the water and go to the places mentioned above. What more do you need to know, Jack.
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Old 02-09-2006, 03:32 PM   #5
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Hi David, I think one of the most often answered questions is 'How much will it cost'? One of the most common answers is 'It will cost only as much as you have to spend'. I intend to cruise as an entirely self funded venture and I have allocated AU$20K, which is about US$15.5K, per year. I prefer to anchor rather than to spend time in marinas and I will have a significant back-up fund in case of major emergency. I think your $16K per year is feasible providing your yacht is very well prepared and that you begin your adventure with the knowledge that the yacht is in perfect order and all the must-buy items have been bought and installed. Earning money during your trip is possible and will supplement your existing budget. Before you set out you can vacuum pack new t shirts etc to avoid the cost of new clothes...medical kit supplies, spares etc can also be stockpiled, either on the boat or with a good friend at a home base. There are several books on the subject of cruising on a low budget (Pardey's) which you can check through the internet and providing you can resurrect your military skills of self sufficiency and the occasional route march, you should travel OK> Best wishes. David
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Old 02-09-2006, 09:23 PM   #6
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Open:

Well, that's a good start: now we know you are speaking about the Eastern Seaboard (not the West Coast), the principal continent you'll be in is N America (you could have been posting from Australia, Europe, etc.) and that your 'cruising' is going to entail sailing to and in the Caribbean. See the rest of my list of suggested 'specifics' on the Sailnet BB. In particular, the condition of your boat - both how sound & fresh the systems, engine & rig are and whether the boat is suitably set up for living on the hook - is worth considering, since costs to address any of those issues could offset your cruising ('annual budget') kitty.

Assuming all is copacetic with your vessel and you start out with sufficient skills for self-sufficiency (mechanical, nav and seamanship), my 'swag' guess would be that you'll manage okay financially early-on but struggle to make the budget work longer-term, both because you don't have a lot of slack for the boat maintenance/replacements, the later use of the boat to get down into the Caribbean will wear the boat harder, and you'll find boat-related costs down in the Caribbean to be a bit higher. Theoretically, your $16K is probably enough but the devil's in the details.

Two suggestions for you:

1. Think carefully about how you plan to use the VA and local military base facilities for your medical care; this can be very sticky these days when your lifestyle is itinerant. Several vets recently explained to me that, once out on the road and cruising, accessing facilities for meds and services is very difficult since records are not always on-line and local facilitie can expect you to be 'registered' locally. I'm not an expert on this but it's well worth some research if routine med care & daily script meds are a part of your lifestyle.

2. The general impression I get is that you want this topic to be a relatively simple one, and are frustrated when it's not treated in the same fashion by others. We've done extended cruising (on tight budgets; no income) 3 different times and those experiences have taught me that the more carefully you look at the details on the front end, the longer the financial plan will survive. Another learning has been that two common sources of cruisers's financial plans failing are rarely considered but end up having a big impact: keeping the boat sufficiently maintained and old/tired gear replaced, and the impact of inflation. Both these issues are longer term in scope and so initially may be underestimated.

Good luck to you.

Jack
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Old 02-09-2006, 10:17 PM   #7
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Thank you Jack. And considering what you and others have said I am very near making the decision to wait. Reason being; I am about to enter RN school and know that if I do go that route that I will be employable at decent money just about anywhere. Originally I was to purchase the E32 at 30K and have another 10K for upgrades etc and still allow myself another 10K buffer plus the 16K annual budget, I am now thinking that why not go ahead and spend a couple years in school..get my RN license, and then work my way into a cruising lifestyle. You see, I have had this dream for 20 years and it so happens that the Gods have blessed me with an opportunity to sell my home in Florida at an obscene profit. BUT I have also been accepted into a nursing program and can see my income level doubling as a result of that training. A quandary! So then I have to decide: do I go now, or do I wait? If I go now then yes, it will be a struggle at times but, I will be living the dream that much sooner. If I wait; then I could have more $$$$ available and be able to work ANYWHERE to supplement the lifestyle. My former life was 20 years in the US Navy as a Hospital Corpsman (HM1(FMF)). But since retirement in 2002 I have been a deputy sheriff (a job I have grown to loathe). I have also have been divorced and have had the kids leave the "nest" so I am very much at a point when I can cast-off and do WHATEVER I WANT. And if it matters I am 45 years old. The more I read the responses and hear from those who are "out there", the more I think that I should wait and go for the RN licensure. After all, I really would like to be able to sip a mai tai while grilling that steak.....
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Old 02-10-2006, 01:18 AM   #8
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Ahhhh.

Is it better to sit in a hot bath at home and dream of a cockpit on a hot night.....

Or sit in the sailboat cockpit and dream of a hot bath at home?

Tough choice.

JOHN
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Old 02-10-2006, 09:04 PM   #9
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But then again, damn I so want to get off the "track"...Arghh!
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Old 02-10-2006, 10:01 PM   #10
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Open, now that we know a bit more I realize your fundamental Q is not the one you posted, which was a budgetary one.

The Q you are really facing is: should I retire now, at least for some extended period of time, or should I continue working (for now) and, in concert with that, change careers. That's a very different Q and relates to financial planning in retirement a lot more than to a cruising lifestyle.

It also seems you've answered your initial Q yourself. If having a portable career and being able to work as you cruise is important to you, then it would appear you've concluded it isn't feasible to consider an open-ended fixed-budget/limited-budget cruising lifestyle.

Good luck on the forthcoming choices.

Jack
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Old 02-10-2006, 10:20 PM   #11
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What are you anyway Jack, some kind of shrink?
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Old 02-10-2006, 11:18 PM   #12
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<font face="Arial"></font id="Arial">My wife & I sailed our 37' boat from Guam to the Caribbean (via the Red Sea) in 24 months. We spent $18,000 which boils down to about $750 per month. We suffered no major breakdowns or problems and always had cold beer in the fridge. If your boat is seaworthy there is absolutely no reason you cannot voyage indefinately on the budget you mention. The only thing you cannot afford... is not to go!

Kirk McGeorge ~~~_/) ~~~ s/v Gallivanter ~~~ St Thomas
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Old 02-11-2006, 02:54 AM   #13
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Thank you for a straight answer. Are you still cruising or have you done what you set out to do now? I have been to Guam also, albiet just to stop over for fuel on our way from Hawaii to Okinawa on a C-130 but it sure was gorgeous from the air.
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Old 02-11-2006, 07:58 AM   #14
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Openseas,

I feel your indecision and pain.

I am stuck in my profession for another 10 years and would not be able to use my skills on an itinerant basis, while cruising.

Good idea, the RN one. Just make sure they will accept you in say Mexico without a work permit.

In case you have to return to the US for a medical event: Consider pallying up with an airline flight attendant or gate agent or pilot for access to inexpensive buddy passes/tickets.

Also see how Alex Dorsey does it here: www.projectbluesphere.com

Buy his DVD to help him along.

An Internet business seems to be the way, if one does'nt have a large stock portfolio to feed your cruise habit.
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Old 02-11-2006, 10:56 AM   #15
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<font face="Arial"></font id="Arial">Dave,

You ask for simple advice & opinions. In my opinion, yes, you can easily cruise on an Ericson 32 on a retirement income of $16K/US per year and I adivse you to stop dreaming about it and go out and enjoy life.

I, too, am a Navy Veteran and just celebrated my 50th birthday by taking a victory lap around the lagoon in our dinghy.

Seriously - if your boat's already paid for, seaworthy & well maintained, and assuming you're in fair health, comfortable with your boat (and yourself), out of debt and you're not a crack addict... you can easily live quite well cruising on the budget you mention.

See my response to topic "picking up and sailing away".

How you wish to live is entirely up to you. I have personally met a BUNCH of world cruising sailors loving life on a fraction of your pension. And on the other hand, I've seen many other sailors spend a fortune trying to impress one another at the yacht club. My wife & Aye lived well on just $750 per month on our last extended voyage, with little thought given to being frugal. We always had cold beer in the fridge, always ate well and always had a bottle of wine to share in great anchorages including Yap, Borneo, Phuket, Turkey, the Greek Isles, Malta & Many Many More. And, God willing, there will be many more to come

I reckon that about all you really "need" is a strong boat & ground tackle, a bunk long enough to stretch out on, good charts, GPS, a self steering device and a dinghy small enough to stow on deck or below. An EPIRB is comforting and you'll see more places if you have an electric windlass.

In closing - I'll share three sentences I read while checking into our first port in Egypt:

"On an ancient wall near Cairo, where a dusty pharoh blinks,

deeply graven is the message - It is Later than you Think.

The clock of life is wound but once, and no man has the power,

to tell just when the hands will stop - at late or early hour.

NOW is all the time you own... the past a golden link,

Go cruising now my brother - It is Later Than You Think."

There you have it,

Kirk
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Old 02-11-2006, 11:21 AM   #16
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Thank You.......
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Old 02-11-2006, 09:42 PM   #17
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Ah, Kirk, you say it so well, and it's so true.

And where, my friend, are you? Close enough to St. Martin that you might get there before the middle of April? If so, give us a shout - we'll be there until April 18, then back to the States for more surgery for Peter. It's been too long since we've seen old cruising friends.
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Old 02-12-2006, 05:51 AM   #18
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G'day Kirk, Many opinions are expressed here on this wonderful cruising board and I have learned from them. I have learned some things also from the occasional self absorbed experts who disguise opinion as fact. It is with the greatest of respect and admiration I vote your recent poetic offering as the most poignant I have read since joining this community. There is always in my mind a lingering doubt that I do not know enough and that I am not well enough prepared. And although I am an optimist with much sailing and coastal cruising experience I read others' opinions and conclude most people know more about sailing than me. In short, there is always a reason why I cannot chuck it in and go cruising tomorrow. Your 6 lines to me are an epiphany...more so because of the casual manner of their presentation. Thanks mate. Hopefully I will one day have the pleasure of buying you and the very wise Jeanne P, a beer or three. David.
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Old 02-12-2006, 11:13 PM   #19
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Hey- we've been living (And maintaining a sailboat) on just under 20K a year ONSHORE. You sure as the dickens can do it in a paid for boat cruising with some modicum of care in how you spend your money. I'm on Soc Sec and we do have some other income but not a great deal.

Sure you can do it.
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Old 02-13-2006, 04:07 AM   #20
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I believe you are talking luxury here - I lived on $3.00 / day and allocated what I needed to the boat when I had to. I work for 8 weeks a year doing odd-jobs to support the basic food habit and live off what-ever happens other times. sailing is just that - free wind. more motor = more gas/diesel = $...

see my website logs on www.freewebs.com/krissteyn/ for details.

never walk past a marina tip without looking in !

always shop at thrift stores - I got some wonderfull t.shirts for 50c from the places I visited the year before...

offer to crew on fancier boats to vary the experience...

remember - if you are not having fun - dont do it !

enjoy the sailing - RETIRE
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