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Old 03-24-2007, 09:06 AM   #29
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I've been reading for weeks the different views and perceptions on crew verses paying passengers verses free trips verses cost only etc etc. Well after extensive discussion we seem to have exhausted a lot of ideas except what is the cost?

It might be a good idea to find out what different people consider the cost of cruising.

What is the cost of cruising? Lets look at a 40 -50 foot yacht on long voyages with yachties who live afloat and/or have recently had 6 -12 months at the sea.

I for one any very interested to learn more. What are the costs, insurance, depreciation, maintenance, fuel, food, local charges etc. I for one would love to have some feedback on this. Has anyone developd a spread sheet of accounting sheet to process and keep a record all this type of data?

So thanks to all who make some time to contribute/reply to this one.
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Old 03-24-2007, 12:19 PM   #30
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I'll start this, though no matter how hard anyone tries, this "cost of cruising" is a slippery and hard-to-pin-down subject.

This is for a US-registered or documented boat, US citizens, US dollars.

Size of boat: 40' probably is about half as expensive, in the long run, as a 50' boat to cruise on.

Depreciation: Only if you considered this as a temporary lifestyle or as a commercial, profit-taking venture, does this come into play, and there is no answer anyway. Each and every boat make will have its own values - new and used. Add to that the difference in the maintenance and upkeep of the boat, and this is an impossible figure to come up with. Since it's not an out of pocket expense, it doesn't fit into any category anyway.

Insurance: For blue water cruising, it's about 2.5% of insured value if the owner has a new enough boat to insure. For US coastal cruising, it's somewhere around 1% of insured value - please don't take these figures as absolutes because there are too many variables, including only liability, no hull coverage. For an older boat, a survey is usually necessary to determine value, and boats older than 10 years need to be resurveyed every 3 (to 5) years to warrant seaworthiness and value. A survey costs between $200 to $500.

Maintenance: This should be around 2% or more of the value of the boat each year, but that's a figure that is pulled out of the air (it could be much higher should the value of the boat be atypically low) and is used as a sort of annuity - newer boats initially will have fewer things break and need replacing (provided it's a higher quality boat to begin with), and with each year older, more pieces, parts and things will require repair or replacement up to and including the sails. Again, the bigger the boat, the more expensive - sails for a 50' boat might be 25% more expensive, in general, than for a 40' boat, there will be more and/or bigger . . . pumps, rigging, line, wires running through the boat, plumbing lines running through the boat, etc. Haulouts for bottom paint can vary from annually to every three years, though the three year figure means that someone is diving on the boat on a regular basis to clean and keep barnacles and growth down. Also, more paint would need to be put on the bottom each time so it could last longer as it is wiped off with regular cleaning. The bigger the boat, the more bottom paint needed to cover, at about $200 a gallon (on our 39' boat, 35' LWL we put on 5 gallons of paint every ~3 years. Annually, one would put on about 5 quarts to 2 gallons to cover). Yard costs for haulouts are too variable for me to even guess at a worldwide figure. In the US it's going to cost $800 to $1,000 for haulout, power wash, sand and paint. I might have seriously underestimated this.

Further on maintenance. Though some items with moving parts will wear out with greater use, a boat wears out and its gear degrades just sitting there in the sun. The salt water environment is exceedingly harsh and wax, grease and lubrication are very important. Winches on so many boats are not serviced as frequently as they should be - indeed, they are not serviced at all on many boats. With regular service, cleaning and greasing, they will last for decades with little in the way of parts needed. If there is no regular maintenance, they might need a total overhaul or replacement in only a few years. Winches are vital, and expensive, gear. That's just one piece of gear I've focused on - a boat is full of items like this.

Fuel: In the Caribbean we burned about, but less than, 88 gallons per year in fuel (our fuel tank held 44 gallons, and our 37 HP engine burned about 1/2 gallon per hour). We sailed, didn't motor, had solar panels and a wind generator for most of our electric needs. In SE Asia where there is less wind we still sailed as much as we could, but we probably used two to four times the fuel, and half of that was probably to keep the batteries up; in some places more. A 50' boat is probably going to burn, at minimum, 1 gallon per hour, and location and choices could incease fuel consumption dramatically.

Food: Nobody can estimate that for you. I prepare lots of rice, stir-fried dishes, and do not buy pre-prepared meals. About the only thing I buy that is already made is spaghetti sauce. We caught and ate fish as much as we could and I would try to find other seafood - clams, lobster, etc. I avoided canned vegetables as much as I could, dried and fresh vegetables and fruit were/are a large part of my budget. In the more underdeveloped places we visited we did a lot of trading for fresh produce. My food costs were therefore usually much lower than many other boats, except that I have a weakness for pates and cheese of every kind, all of which were imported most everywhere we went.

Food in the Caribbean and S. Pacific is 20% to 50% higher than in the US (US food costs are low compared to Europe, for example, but high compared to Latin America or SE Asia). Food is so much of a variable that one must consider their landbound costs and eating habits to even approximate what it will cost on board.

I am not trying to make it difficult for someone to calculate how much it costs to cruise, it's just that the reality is so variable and dependent upon age, size, and complexity of the boat, the cruising grounds, and the skill and abilities of the owner of the boat.

Finish. In 1990 we met a Canadian couple in the Caribbean who had available $1200 (Canadian) per month (husband's pension) for their total expenses on the boat, and were very careful in their expenditures. The wife even made most of their clothes. Another couple had an even smaller annual budget ($12 Canadian per day, or under $5,000 per year). They had a small simple boat, caught most of their protein, foraged for vegetables and fruit when the could, and made all of these efforts fun. They were exceedingly generous, always bringing a food gift when visiting another boat so although their lives were quite spartan, they were not freeloaders and were welcome on everyone's boat in the anchorage. They also circumnavigated on this small, tight budget.

This might help you understand better why I squawk at any "shared expenses" for crew that exceed about $15 or $20 per day.
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Old 03-24-2007, 12:26 PM   #31
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The "Bumfuzzles", who recently completed a circumnavigation, kept very carefull record of their expenses. Link:

http://www.bumfuzzle.com/Pages/Main%20Pages/Cost.html
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Old 03-24-2007, 12:58 PM   #32
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@KaptainKen

That link certainly gives a lesson on "How to Spend" on a circumnavigation. However, they must of really had a good time.
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Old 03-24-2007, 03:33 PM   #33
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What amazes me about the Bumfuzzles is that their grocery costs are quite high, and their restaurant/bar bills are incredibly high. for a couple who I assumed had no cooking skills at all, their grocery bills are higher than mine, and I spend a lot on groceries.

If you read their blogs, you would have learned that they had quite a bit of trouble with their boat in the beginning, spending a great deal of money (IMO) on correcting problems on a relatively new boat. I do not believe that their problems are typical of new owners. well, we didn't have that number or size problems with our boat, anyway.

And I do think that they enjoyed themselves. Since they apparently could afford what they spent, good for them!
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Old 04-01-2007, 01:05 AM   #34
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The answer is real simple - it costs about as much as you have available! Like the rule of closets, you always accumulate enough stuff for one closet than you have. Seriously though, studies have been done by various cruising magazines over the years and the best one I saw broke it down this way.

1. Young healthy couple on small sailboat with small engine and no fancy do-hickies onboard - about US$10k per year. No marina stays, eat on board, no trips by air back home. Virtually no medical costs due to youth.

2. Retired or about to retire couple on medium size boat - 40ft +/- about US$20K per year. Maybe one night in a marina after a crossing or very long passage. Occasionally maybe a cheap dinner ashore. 1 trip home by air each year to see the grandkids. Few if any medical visits but had retirement medical coverage from their jobs.

3. Retired couple on large boat - marinas most all the time. Meals ashore when restaurants available. Lot of do-hickies on the boat. Several air trips home per year. Car rentals, etc. These folks do it right.

I just spent 8 months in the Dominican Republic living on board, taking tours, eating out everyday and drinking every happy hour. In a 3rd world country like that I was hard pressed to spend US$500 per month. Same thing in Puerto Rico or the Virgins and the US$500 wouldn't last a week.

So where you go and how you go has more effect on the total costs. More time as sea means less opportunity to spend. More time in modern tourist harbors means more money spent.

The best part of the cost article was the summary where they said to take your shoreside living costs and divide by 3 and that will be about your cruising costs. Shoreside costs include house, car, and all that stuff. In other words if you spend US$20k cruising per year, the same lifestyle ashore would be about US$60K or vice versa.
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Old 04-01-2007, 03:52 PM   #35
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Lloyd,

We are full-time liveaboard sailors who've been out chasing the horizon since 1993 by working a while and then cruising a while. We've been living purely by our witts and have no outside income. When the kitty runs low, we stop and work.

During the first five years we spent time traveling and working in Hawaii, Micronesia, Australia & Papua New Guinea. On our last great voyage, my wife and I took two years to sail from the Territory of Guam to the Territory of the U.S. Virgin Islands. We were aboard our 37 ft pilothouse sloop. The boat was paid for and insured by our own diligence and hard work. My wife was 37 and I was 45 at the time.

On that particular voyage, we put 16,000 nautical miles and smiles in our wake, while gallivanting across the Pacific, Indian, Mediterranean, Atlantic & Caribbean. Our logbook shows that we dropped our anchor in about a hundred places and caught about a hundred fish along the way.

We suffered few major failures but we had to fix things in nearly every port. Nothing ever had to be shipped in.

We always lived as high on the hog as we wished and we danced, saw the sights, ate well, had cold beer in the fridge and a bottle of wine to share wherever we went. We preferred to eat at home while swinging on the hook but checked into marinas if necessary and always made a point to savour the local styles of cooking at least once in every port.

We never really thought too much about being frugal yet didn't dip into the kitty foolishly. We lingered in places we liked and quickly departed those we didn't.

We're healthy and lucky and will remain that way forever - God willing.

On our last great voyage, we spent just over $18K in 24 months, so...

How much does it cost (us) to cruise?

$750 per month.

Which - at that rate - we can't afford not to cruise, enjoy life and see the world.

To Life!

Kirk

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Old 04-02-2007, 03:54 PM   #36
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Dear Gallivanters,

Great response except....now I am wrestling with my concience. Just when do I give up work and have the courage to let go of the shore line... I've got the boat and I've got some money but even so..... Lettign go is the hardest part.

Enjoy your sailing and maybe one of these days we'll pass or meet on the high seas. Thanks for reply.
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Old 06-11-2007, 07:55 PM   #37
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I would imagine that a lot depends on what expenses you "leave behind" - any mortgages, etc. You have to eat wherever you are - you have to see a dentist or doctor every now and again, wherever you are.
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Old 06-13-2007, 11:39 AM   #38
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A very good article on the subject HERE.
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Old 06-30-2007, 04:05 PM   #39
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Willskene,

Was instantly drawn to your post as we have only just purchased our dream boat and as with all dreams so far nothing is to plan. I have had precious little sailing experience in my life despite serving in the RAN for the last 14yrs but the idea of a yachties life has lit a fire in me and for that I will never stop thanking my partner who opened this wonderful world up for me. But that aside and knowing I have nothing of the experience or knowledge on this Forum I will simply put forward a few of my thoughts.

In answer to your question about the type of vessel. We have gone down the Cat rode and have a Chincogan 40' owners version. The space is amazing, I must admit I was concerned initially about the space onboard the boat we would ultimately call home but the 7.29m beam makes her feel enormous and more than two people really need. With regards to how she handles I have nothing but praise, my batism of fire was delivering her from the Gold Coast Aust to just North of Cairns Aust, not a long journey but day one dealt us 35knot gusts and a tsunami warning (day of the tsunami in the Solomon Islands).

I trusted every word and instruction from my partner and our boat 'Fortuna' never missed a beat even under the shaking hands of a first time deckie. I have so much to learn but can honestly say I feel safe, comfortable and the happiest I've ever been stepping onboard Fortuna.

I wish you the best in your dream Will and will leave you with a favourite quote of mine. To become rich you can do one of two things. A. Earn more money OR B. Require less.

Lloyd,

My partner and I have spent the last 12mths making all sorts of plans and backup strategies and changing our minds at every corner. For us the time came the day we submitted our discharges from the Navy. That first step is all it takes and the confidence in yourself and your dream. That and a good dose of reality. Fact is there is always some form of work to fund expenses. Just like gallivanters said if you have to stop and work you just stop and work! Big Deal! We could make endless lists as to why we should wait to go cruising but all we need to do is stop writing lists and get out there!

Thanks to everyone who posts here your experience is greatly appreciated. Hope to see some of you out there one day.

Live the dream!!

Mel and Damien
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Old 06-30-2007, 05:30 PM   #40
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After cruising for 7 years, the average mentioned above seems in line with my experiences. For the more frugal in small monohulls the average is about US$500-1000 per month. For larger monohulls when you include maintenance and everything else it is more like US$2k per month plus or minus US$500. For Cat's add 25% or more.

Have you ever looked in the bilges of a catamaran? There is a factory installed hatch down there. Are they trying to tell you something? Monohulls get knocked down - mast in the water - and come back up just like the kid's punching bag. Catamarans take a heavy gust or knockdown and you find out what that factory installed hatch is for.

IMHO - Cat's are great for island sailing or coastal sailing, but taking them over the oceans is not for the inexperienced or even moderately experienced. The rule of thumb for ocean passages is if the height of the waves equals your beam you can get a roll-over. 30 to 40+ waves in the southern ocean are quite common and even northern ones occassionally see that size and more. Mono's roll and come back upright. Cat's stay upside down! It's a bit tricky to trim the mainsail while its pointing at the ocean floor.

Several articles and experience have pointed out that the speeds of the cruising monohull and cruising catamaran are virtually the same. After you load the 2 tons and more of "stuff" you absolutely have to have onboard, Cat's ride deep just like monohulls.

Like most things, it is the operator not the machine that makes it safe or dangerous. Prudent planning and staying away from potentionally dangerous conditions make either boat fine. In-experience is quickly fatal in a Cat, whereas a monohull is more forgiving of stupidity.

Operating costs of a cat are higher because you have 2 of everything spaced widely apart. Saildrives on Cat's are known as the mechanics retirement program. The dissolve and break very easy. Drop down outboards are the best option, but most big cat's have inboards.

Food for thought . . . good luck!
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Old 06-30-2007, 06:56 PM   #41
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My Gosh, what a load....

Costs ranging from $10.00 to thousands. I sail for years with a small kid on board and I can tell you that it will cost you as much as you would like to spend. I heard of a guy that included the cost of an airfare per year in his cruising budget..... nuts.

Go and do it, you can spend just as much as you like.... if you want to live on $10.00 per month, you can do it, likewise, if you want to spend $10,000.00 per month, you will. The bottom line is..... it depends on how badly you want to go sailing.

One other thing, .... someone gave you a run-down on multi hulls being build with a hatch underneath.... another load of bull. You sail your boat the way it is intended to be sailed... with care and awareness...... it is no different from sailing any other kind...... just be aware of the boat and what and where you are.
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Old 06-30-2007, 10:09 PM   #42
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Hello Vic de Beer,

It is somewhat arrogant for you to describe everyone else's well considered opinions as '..What a load...'. Your non specific observation that 'it will cost you as much as you would like to spend' is a cliche that is simply wrong when you take into account the need to maintain your craft in an ocean ready state. Equally, it makes sense to budget for the things in your life that are important. A more appropriate cliche is, 'it will always cost more than you originally planned'.

Many cruising families are middle aged and therefore have ageing parents. Of course it makes perfect sense to budget for airfares even if you do not need them. Living a frugal life is possible in all situations, whether on land or sea, but unless you are content to live in a marine trailer park, you will have maintenance costs irrespective of 'how much you would like to spend'.

I sail a monohull and, as with you, believe physics is on my side in the event of a knockdown, providing the vents, ports and hatches are closed and capable of withstanding pressure, and that the battery bank and other heavy objects are properly tied down so they can't slam through the cabin top or cockpit sole.

What I, and I suspect many others would be very interested to hear from you, is about your experiences cruising with a small child. This is a subject which is raised on many forums and in magazines frequently. Many respondents can reply with conjecture whereas you could provide a first hand account.

Fair winds.

Perhaps revitalise this previous post on the topic of cruising with kids. http://www.cruiserlog.com/forums/ind...showtopic=2792 Auzzee-Moderator
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