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Old 08-23-2005, 12:36 AM   #1
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Default Taking a year off to go sailing?

I would like some constructive advice on the purchase of a cruising sailboat. My wife and I are completing the sale of our business and are talking about taking a savatical for awhile before we dive back into the business word. We live along the gulf coast of Texas (Galveston Bay) and would like to spend some time in the Caribbean. We are talking about taking a year off and sailing south. We are not complete newbie’s to sailing both my wife and I have been sailing for a number of years but we have spent most of our adult lives working, nose to the grindstone and now have this (what we see as) a once in a lifetime chance to break away and spend some time for us.

The funds that we have for the purchase of a cruising sailboat are about 50k. My first questions would be is it realistic to think that we could purchase a boat that would safely make a voyage such as this for 50k. Since my wife and I will be literally “debt free” the chances of a successful cruise are good but is there any good advice out there that would shed some light on what it realistically costs to live and cruise aboard a sailboat?

There are a lot of logistics involved in a “going sailing” plan. We won’t sell our home in Texas but could possible lease it out for a year. Our cars would probably go into storage along with our house hold goods. What about things like Banking? Or how do you get mail while afloat? Has any body written a good step by step guide to the great escape?

Advice wanted


PS…Oh by the way, our business partners and friends all looked at us with crossed eyes when we mentioned that we want to sail away for a year. – What, not work 24 hours a day? - Maybe one shouldn’t mention such things until you’ve shoved off.
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Old 08-23-2005, 12:07 PM   #2
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 16

Hi Dave,

It's a great feeling getting ready for this...

As far as boat costs in the US, let's leave that to someone else. The issues of how much it costs are covered everywhere by everyone - it's the thing everyone wants to know. The truth is that it costs as much as you have and just a bit more! There are lots of books - at the "frugal" end you could try any of the books by Lin & Larry Pardey www.landlpardey.com up from there are a range of other books try www.paracay.com for some examples.

For web resources, others will tell you about the places that they know my suggestion is www.noonsite.com as a bit of a starting point. As far as mail is concerned there are a number of mailing services - they receive all your mail and when you let them know that you will be somewhere they send you a parcel c/- the post office. Other people just get a family member to do both that and the bills.

Years ago I got my bank to do all of the bill paying stuff for me and to transfer money as required to do that. I don't know whether that is still a viable option.

I'm looking forward to the other replies on this subject.

Have fun


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Old 08-23-2005, 10:00 PM   #3
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Yes, I believe you can get a boat suitable for cruising the Caribbean for 50K. You of course can't get a large, or new, boat for that price, but for a year or two it shouldn't matter anyway.

The problems will be with regard to repairs and maintenance of the boat. Things break and wear out on any boat with regularity, and with a used boat you never know what is going to break down next, so you should plan to spend a few months with the boat before heading away from the US, just to iron out the glitches.

Costs to cruise. You will find that the major expense is food, and food in the islands (except for the Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic) will be significantly higher than in mainland US. If you are comfortable with anchoring out most of the time, sailing even when the wind is slight (not much of an issue in the Caribbean where it almost always blows hard and harder), marina fees, and fuel and oil won't be a huge issue. Budget several thousand $$ for repairs/maintenance. You might be able to get away with almost nothing with regard to clothing expenses.

Be sure that you maintain health insurance. Find a professional outfit to forward your mail (family tend to not understand the way things work outside the US, and they don't see mail forwarding as quite as critical as you do. We use St. Brendan's Isle in Green Cove Springs, FL). With the exception of property taxes, I pay almost everything on line.

If you plan to rent out your house you should be sure you have a reliable firm managing the property. The 10% of gross rentals is a small price to pay for managing your home while you're gone.

I've put down quite a few cruising hints/tips/etc., in my Cruising Dictionary: http://www.cruiser.co.za/faq.asp

Check out the links to my various cruising pages.

Fair winds,

In 1986 we went cruising for a few years. After 20 years and 50+ countries and several oceans, we are STILL "cruising for a few years".

MV WATERMELON (New) | Cruiser's Dictionary, free ebook

= Cruiser's Dictionary, North America,
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Old 08-25-2005, 11:07 AM   #4
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 1

I found some info for you on cruising costs. The webpage has a spreadsheet of cost over a three year period. Im a CPA so spreadsheets kind of excite me, what can I say. (ha,ha) You should find it informative.

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Old 08-30-2005, 11:41 AM   #5
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The cost of your cruising depends much on where you tend to cruise. For example: Just as was said before me, the cost of food can easily exceed that in the US, such as the eastern caribbean.

But, the cost of food, and most anything is far cheaper than the US in many other places (like Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras).

Also, another thing to think of is medical. Yes, if you have insurance ask them about coverage while "traveling" into other countries and inform them of the countries you are checking out. If you don't have insurance (and many times if you DO) keep in mind the costs in many places for medical care. I am now living in the Rio Dulce, Guatemala. My example is my own experience....

Back in November I had a ruptured disk in my neck (between 5-6). I went to Guatemala City on a Monday night, without an appointment. With a call the next morning I had an appointment for that day with a Neuro-surgeon. I had the MRI that day, the results 15 minutes later, and surgery was scheduled for the next morning. My case was severe, almost losing the use of my right arm. The cost for the surgery, hospital stay (huge beautiful private room), surgeon (4 hours of surgery), titanium cage, etc. was half of what our 20% co-pay with the insurance would have been in the US. Not to mention the wonderful medical personnel here. So, plan your cruising grounds with everything in mind, not just fuel, or day to day stuff.

What you are about to embark on is a journey well worth any giggling or "you're nuts" comments from friends and family. They did the same thing to us and they're still back at their jobs living a dream vicariously through us now.

Enjoy the ride!

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Old 09-21-2005, 09:20 PM   #6
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Capt Dave

If you are still looking for a specific yacht, there is one I think is worth a look.

When we were buying ours, there was a 1969 Pearson 44' ketch for sale that was slightly out of our reach, but was perfectly set up for two people cruising, including a semi-open doghouse containing wheel station and galley!

I received an email from the brokers yesterday stating that she wasn't selling, and that they would be interested in offers.

Now she was up for a tad under $60k, and required some tidying, but I think now they would be open to suggestions.

She was on Yachtworld, or at brokerage@quayyachts.com

Just a thought!

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