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Old 10-05-2011, 10:27 AM   #1
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Join Date: Sep 2011
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by Lin and Larry Pardey

Required reading. A classic. I’ve snoozed on this book before, but this time through it seemed even more useful and thorough.

All of Lin and Larry Pardey’s gems and nuggets of wisdom percolated up through my fur and into my brain over the span of a few deep sleeps. I awoke each morning refreshed and intrigued by their insights. The Pardeys make a persuasive case for simplicity and downsizing.

They back up their recommendations with cost-benefit analyses, observations, surveys and their own experience. Very well laid out, clear and concise.


The Pardeys advocate buying a smaller (preferably second hand) boat in order to get out cruising faster and be able to stay out longer – cruising funds stretch farther with a shorter boat. they do the cost analysis to demonstrate this dramatically. Smaller boats cost less every step of the way.


They recommend eliminating unnecessary boat systems to ‘make your boat unstoppable’ – to cut down on the number of breakdowns experienced. No fridge, no electronic media entertainment, no electric, watermaker, or autohelm. A tiller instead of wheel steering. Rethink everything and eliminate whatever you can is their mantra.

The Pardeys even eliminated a flush toilet in favour of the ‘bucket and chuck-it’ method. Something I may decide to introduce my First Mate 'the Can Opener' to. Sounds not unlike using kitty litter…

Build necessary systems that are optimised and simplified is their corollary. They offer several solutions in detail with great diagrams that they have used successfully for many years on their own boat.

One mysterious note

The Pardeys refer to an average monthly spend for cruisers of $1000/month – in a book that was copyright in 1999. Over on the Shards’ Distant Shores blog: ‘Budget for Cruising’ post in 2011, the Shards estimate that ‘budget cruisers’ spend about $1000-1500/month and ‘beans and rice cruisers’ do it for $800-1000/month.

It sounds like budgets haven’t changed too much in 12 years. Hmm.
  • Could this be explained by different definitions of ‘budget’ cruising? Probably.
  • Do the Shards refer to Canadian dollars? Unlikely and CAN$ are currently nearly par with USD anyway.
  • Do these budgets differ in their inclusion/exclusion of major repairs and parts and upkeep in the monthly budget? Most certainly.
  • It could also be that $1000/month is a nice round number and people in their surveys self-report to the number they feel comfortable with. There may be a disconnect between planned spend and actual spend if accounts are eyeballed instead of being meticulously tracked. This would help explain the number of people that overrun their budgets and wind up heading home sooner than planned. Apparently it happens a lot.


Overall, this book is my best addition to the library yet.

I’m gonna slip this under my First Mate’s pillow and watch the results. He says you need to open books up to get their full value. My First Mate 'Can Opener' is a bit quirky that way. Personally, I find closed books provide a less slippery, more stable sleeping surface.

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Old 10-05-2011, 10:32 AM   #2
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Any one have any other favourite 'cost of cruising' type of books to recommend?

All recommendations much appreciated.


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Old 10-07-2011, 11:09 AM   #3
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Two of the most liked quotes that I have heard about cruising...

"Cruising Definition: Working on your boat in exotic places!"

"How much will it take to go cruising?... As much as you have!"

There are many wonderful books out there, but how one lives is such an individual endevour that I think it is wise to look up the costs of the things you will need while cruising, in the areas you plan to cruise, and then do your own math.

My first trip cost far more than my last trip! You get better at managing, and at spending with time and experience. Most of that experience is an individual thing! Some folks cruise like they are on a forced march... They hurry from here to there doing the beans and rice thing and trying to get the most mileage and things seen before they have to get back to work. Others have a comfortable retirement and amble ever so slowly from leisure destination to leisure destination while never seeing the untouched places. There are just too many variables in cruising to put a price tag on it.

Our personal experience is a bit different, though we are not alone... We pick a spot central to great sailing and wonderful destinations and then get work. We have found that this allows us to save money for the things we normally could not afford to do on a non-working cruise, and it allows us to see an area more as the locals do. ( Not always a good thing!) We then cruise on our days off. While this isn't always what comes to mind when thinking about cruising, many are doing it just this way.

While we are getting closer to retirement, we have taken the oft' given advice that I think you will find in the Pardey's book of getting out there. TOO MANY PEOPLE WAIT UNTIL IT IS TOO LATE! I work as a daysail captain, and hear from a guest weekly that they had planned to do what we are doing, but health issues, jobs, or some such thing always got in their way... And so many of them regretted not just going.

I asked the wife just yesterday if she had any regrets about our lifestyle... She told me that I could keep the house that we own stateside, and she would keep the boat and stay in the Caribbean! Whew... Good thing I have another cruising boat. (Oh, and this was after spending hurricane season here!)

If you AND your spouse want to go cruising then by all means develope a plan and work it! If you are unsure, drop us a line and we will arrange a "taste", so that you may decide! I seldom try to find the "best" books on the subject... I try to find "all" the books on the subject! Often I gleen only one or two nuggets of useful info out of a book, but it was still worth reading the book.

So here I set at the keyboard on our smallish (34 foot) cruising yacht with a hot cup of tea in the Caribbean. In a few hours I will start the dinghy and motor 300 yards to the 42 foot boat that I sail for a living, when we are not sailing the wonders of the islands and enjoying the choices we have made. On-board I will make 6 new friends who did not come here to have a bad day, take them sailing, take them snorkeling, make them a terrific lunch served with champagne, and then sail them home. After picking up the mooring and dropping a safety anchor, they will linger, not wanting to leave... and we won't rush them, because we understand! That, and because it reinforces the decisions we have made, and helps us to really appreciate being here!
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Old 10-07-2011, 11:44 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by The Cruising Kitty View Post

Any one have any other favourite 'cost of cruising' type of books to recommend?

All recommendations much appreciated.

The Cruiserlog.com Ship's Library http://www.cruiserlog.com/forums/index.php?showforum=36 is a GREAT place to start your search for reviews or ideas about books on cruising.
"Do or do not. There is no try." - Yoda

What we're doing - The sailing life aboard and the Schooner Chandlery.

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