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Old 13-03-2016, 10:20   #16
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Re: 6 month sabbatical cruising costs

Thanks for posting this. The costs of living information is interesting, but I really appreciate your frankness about cruising alone. I have spent similar amounts of time cruising up and down the east coast, but mostly New England, which is three thousand miles from my home. I've found crew much of the time, but spent a lot of time being alone on the boat and sometimes sailing solo. The upside is that I have made some new friends and met a lot of interesting people, but also felt lonely at times. For that reason I am looking forward to the coming cruising season with some mixed feelings. I have been contemplating the Bahamas next winter. You have given me something to think about.
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Old 13-03-2016, 10:52   #17
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Re: 6 month sabbatical cruising costs

Wow, you did quite well! That seems cheap to me rather than expensive as you say - although it's all a matter of perspective. Not counting the boat cost (which maybe you can recoup when selling) you lived on only $14k for 6 months, in an area of the world where some people pay $2k+ just for a one week vacation. And you would've had close to those same costs to live on land.

Appreciate the very honest post. Singlehanding is really hard and draining. I wonder how different your experience would have been if you had a second person.

Your experience also reinforces my thought that it's much better to keep cruising preparations and actually cruising completely separate - ie, have enough time for refit and necessary jobs before starting cruising. Replacing an engine while cruising and various other things breaking doesn't sound like fun - much better to get it done at home while still working (but that probably only would've been doable if you bought a boat close to home).
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Old 13-03-2016, 11:30   #18
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Re: 6 month sabbatical cruising costs

My costs for 6 years is approximately the same.
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Old 13-03-2016, 12:06   #19
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Re: 6 month sabbatical cruising costs

Same as????
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Old 13-03-2016, 12:39   #20
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Re: 6 month sabbatical cruising costs

Great post.
Thank you so much for sharing, especially the details.

Sometimes the dream doesn't go as expected. But that does not make the experience any less valuable.

I realized my long time dream of crossing the atlantic back in 2010. I had a rude awakening when I realized that instead of an exciting sailing challenge as part of a team, I was actually the designated driver on a 4000 mile booze cruise.

I think you also had some bad luck.

I paid much less for my own Pearson 30 than you paid for your Pearson 28. Mine was better equipped, in better condition, and just plain bigger. In the 5 years I owned it (and sailed it hard in every kind of weather), I never had a major repair/cost/expense to contend with. I'm not trying to negate your experience, but I do think getting a good boat to start with makes a huge difference.

Size does matter. Regardless of the size of the boat, you still need the same amount of stuff...WWGear, charts, food, water, etc. Also, a fixed stove is IMHO a necessity. I like the simple ORIGO stove. Its the difference between good cooked food on board, eating out all the time, or eating camping/cold food. I don't feel the same way about refrigeration though. I've spent weeks drinking tepid water (I bottle it myself you know). It just makes that ice cold drink when you finally get ashore taste even better.

Anyway, just wanted to thank you for sharing. I respect you for going. The hardest part is trying. It is so much easier to just stay ashore and dream. Although you had some rough times, I think you came out stronger, and will be thinking of those experiences often in your daily routine ashore.

You are a sailor in my books.
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Old 13-03-2016, 14:01   #21
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Re: 6 month sabbatical cruising costs

Yes, a great post! Thank you for the lucid and entertaining story. Valuable for anyone wanting to understand some of the realities of boat ownership and traveling via, and living aboard, a small sailboat. Your feelings, appreciations and frustrations were well conveyed.
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Old 13-03-2016, 14:19   #22
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Re: 6 month sabbatical cruising costs

Fantastic writeup job by the OP! Thanks for sharing!

Just think of it now with all that you have learned: if you ever want another boat and another boat (or no boat!) adventure, you will be able to avoid all the greenhorn pitfalls and get a better boat, for less money and spend less while staying out longer. So to say: the money you spent this time will pay wisdom dividends thru your life!

Well done, both the trip and the post!

Cheers,
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Old 13-03-2016, 16:18   #23
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Re: 6 month sabbatical cruising costs

Awwww, shucks, thanks for the kind words everybody! It's gratifying to hear that it was informative for others thinking of the cruising life, and hearing from the old CF salts that I've admired for a long time makes me feel like I've joined the club! No worries about blowing up my ego - hand-turning a recalcitrant 35-year old diesel for a month and a half is a very humbling experience

If anything, I hope that this honest appraisal will help others who are tempted down the same path and worried about the boat, the money, the lifestyle, etc. As others on the thread have pointed out, if it's money that's holding you back - these expenses should be viewed as a worst-case: if you do a self-survey following any of a number of internet guides, and have a basic level of prudence and competence, it's unlikely that you'll suffer anything worse than a blown engine (i.e. rig or hull repairs). As I and others have pointed out, you could cut costs more and get more boat through extending your search period, buying in a less expensive location than Florida, or choosing to cruise different grounds (Great Lakes, mid-Atlantic). Hamburking, I actually saw your P30 for sale on CF during a down day in the Keys and thought about abandoning it all and cruising the Lakes instead! Funny how life comes full circle sometimes.

Thanks again for the kindness, everyone.
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Old 13-03-2016, 16:52   #24
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Re: 6 month sabbatical cruising costs

A wonderful post. You may have come to the conclusion that it was not for you but 30 years from now you won't be saying ...... I wish I'd tried it.
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Old 13-03-2016, 18:51   #25
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Re: 6 month sabbatical cruising costs

Honestly one of the best posts in forever what real live aboard is like on a shoestring.

Don't sell yourself short on cruising. You know that many of your problems were associated with two things: 1st problem was the boat. It was not set up in many ways correctly for serious cruising. Anchoring, lee cloths, sun protection, cooking + refridgeration. So, you took a licking and you learned as we all do that set-up is critical to comfort and safety. You had a certain budget ... And I can tell the way u write that u r educated and pretty in-tune with what u r about. The second problem is not a problem... It is more about predilection ... A need for companionship. Life, for many of us, is always better with a companion to share time with, solution seeking, intimacy, work load divided up, and only about 100 more things.

So, young grasshopper, you had a great adventure that will be with u to your last breath. Now figure out how to get a decent boat and a new main squeeze who thirsts for adventure like u do. I guarantee u that u haven't slaked your thirst for boats or aquamarine blue waters yet. Proud of you. Loved your writing style.
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Old 13-03-2016, 19:35   #26
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Re: 6 month sabbatical cruising costs

I agree, great thread. I also agree that the right companion would've made this a lot more fun. But it's great that you did this. It's something most people only dream about.
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Old 13-03-2016, 20:34   #27
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Re: 6 month sabbatical cruising costs

Brownoarsman, this is the most amazing post I've ever read here. Even though I am a motorboater, and probably at least 20 years older than you, your experiences and your ability to describe them (warts and all) should be required reading for anyone dreaming about the salty life on a sailboat. And as a Floridian who has cruised some of the locations you visited, my only comment is that you did not mention the mosquitos and no-seeums (big grin).

Reading your eloquent post, I gleaned that sailing solo on long passages is physically and emotionally taxing and most assuredly tests the boundaries of one's courage. I also related to the importance of having confidence in your boat, your sailing skills and your engine. You took this sabbatical at an interesting crossroads in your life, and I wonder if you see that this adventure was a huge leap of faith that required immense faith in yourself. I applaud you.

I also wonder if after you spend a few more years in the rat race, you will begin to yearn again for another extended cruise. Or to retire on a boat. And I agree with other commenters, now you possess the invaluable knowledge to do it again only so much better. I would guess that your next boat will have a well-equipped galley. Even if dinner is just hard-boiled eggs and canned spinach, with some fresh local fruit for dessert, nothing will ever taste better than a meal you prepared on board, with the anchor well set in a calm harbour.
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Old 14-03-2016, 11:19   #28
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Thank you for the wonderful post you have answered many of my concerns.
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Old 14-03-2016, 12:06   #29
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Re: 6 month sabbatical cruising costs

I appreciated the OP's real world comments about how draft limits you. I'm always trying to advise people cruising Florida & the Bahamas not to exceed 4' if possible. Also his comments about avoiding the sun were right on. It's hard to explain to someone who hasn't been there but you really get baked.
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Old 15-03-2016, 01:08   #30
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Re: 6 month sabbatical cruising costs

Nice post.

Should be required reading for anyone new to cruising who is contemplating a similar project.
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