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Old 16-07-2009, 08:25   #16
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for 2duty free booze is aweful stuff---buy it in caribean for less---rum is delicious when made in cane garden bay and only 4-10 dollars/bottle--1 bottle lasts me forever----lol....food in caribean----prices in usvi and bvi grocery stores is same as in california markets.....who uses taxis?? they are costly and source of rip off----use the dollar bus which is 2 dollars to white folks lol(in usvi)....dried beans?? lol get real----food is goood in the local markets---not too pricey unless youre looking for caviar or chips and such. doritos are 8.75/1 pound bag..they are nasty anyway...lol.....when i was in usvi and bvi in december the cruising budget was less than i use on board my boat in san diego---we ate better also.....walking never killed anyone.....nor did riding bikes.....many ways to save money---anchoring out is far better than marina life---get to see what is going on in areas missed by marina life---so--a good cruising budget can be 300-400 dollars per month for 2 even with a dinner per month in cuzzins ...lol........
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Old 16-07-2009, 08:58   #17
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I realize this debate has been going on for ages, but is IS a central issue in cruise planning, so all is good!
My 0.02 worth is;
buy in large quantities where food is cheap, cases of canned goods and staples can be had for very little money even in the US ( I am surprised that food is not as cheap in the USA as I thought it was). Provision the boat fully one time. Generally I keep about 9 months worth on board. things such as paper towels. TP, rubbish bags etc are unheard of outside major countries. Items like good quality olive oil can be had in large quantities quite cheaply. Good O.O, parmesan and garlic make a wunnderful dinner! cracked black pepper is good. Buy munchie food in major countries. Vacuum sealers are wonderful.
Read " voyaging on a small income"
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Old 16-07-2009, 09:01   #18
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donot forget to troll for fishies--they love silver shiney things.....and bit well on them----fresh fish is wonderful....helps out the budget, but donot expect the fishies to jump into boat---they like to fight the catch....yummmmmmy.....
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Old 17-07-2009, 16:50   #19
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We've been studying up on this topic too as we were hoping to plan a cruising budget and keep it modest. Pretty much the advice we got from people is estimate how much, then double it, then triple it again. I thought that was pretty pessimistic so I started reading some books and I was delighted to find out that not everyone felt that way. It is possible to cruise on next to nothing, but it appears to have a lot to do with your standard of living.

Voyaging on a Small Income by Annie Hill
Ocean Cruising on a Budget by Anne Hammick
The Cost Conscious Cruiser by Lin Pardey
Self-Sufficient Sailor by Larry Pardey

Hope that helps!
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Old 17-07-2009, 18:09   #20
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It is possible to cruise on next to nothing, but it appears to have a lot to do with your standard of living.


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Old 17-07-2009, 19:43   #21
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Reading the posts I see fishing as a source of food. Ok, my question is do you troll or or jig for the fish. I recently purchased a Standard Horizon CPV350 GPS Chart Plotter with VHF radio. It can also be a fish finder which is optional. I know how to fish in New England but not to familiar with fishing down south. I do like what I see in cruising expenses as my early retirement is $2000.00 per month for a few more years until I can collect SS if it's available then I should be close to $4000.00 per month. Would be nice to cruise on 1000.00 per month and put 3000.00 away towards bigger bluewater cruiser. Right now I will be setting out from Boston MA to the Keys on the 24th of Sept. on my 27ft. Cherubini
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Old 17-07-2009, 21:04   #22
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There are all different kinds of cruisers and I’m sure some of them are or were fairly serious fishermen. Still I think serious fishing is unusual for cruisers. We and everyone we met in the Bahamas and eastern Caribbean merely trolled when they happened to be sailing somewhere anyway. And, I don’t know that anyone ever altered course in search of better fishing. Once at anchor and where legal, many cruisers will snorkel or dive for fish with spears. But again, I don’t recall seeing anyone line fishing from a dinghy.

FWIW we encountered a single hander from Maine in a ‘77 Hunter Cherubini 27' several times. We last saw him in the Venezuelan islands. In good condition the boat you have is capable of island hopping the Bahamas/Caribbean. Go now.
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Old 17-07-2009, 22:19   #23
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Originally Posted by Rayallyn View Post
Reading the posts I see fishing as a source of food. Ok, my question is do you troll or or jig for the fish. I recently purchased a Standard Horizon CPV350 GPS Chart Plotter with VHF radio. It can also be a fish finder which is optional. I know how to fish in New England but not to familiar with fishing down south. I do like what I see in cruising expenses as my early retirement is $2000.00 per month for a few more years until I can collect SS if it's available then I should be close to $4000.00 per month. Would be nice to cruise on 1000.00 per month and put 3000.00 away towards bigger bluewater cruiser. Right now I will be setting out from Boston MA to the Keys on the 24th of Sept. on my 27ft. Cherubini
how to fish from a sailboat---get a nice pole. get a silver colored cheeeepo lure. get some wire leader--i use 30 pound test line and 45 pound leader....cordell hotspot or rattle trap=same thing....rattle trap is better made and more spensive.....drag the lure behind the boat so it doesnt jump out of the water---soon ye will catch dinner----isnt difficult--i donot even really know how to fish..but i catch 'em really goood and have me some fine dinners....and good sailing......isnt hard to do--just do it.....goood luck and have fun--i also cruise for under 350/month...isnt difficult to do----that is the rate for 2 people.......fair winds...~~~~~/)~~~~~~~ btw---blue water has lots of wonderful critters in it--many fish ---you will enjoy it.....
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Old 18-07-2009, 05:07   #24
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I borrowed my son's trolling rig for our first offshore passage, to Bermuda. The first fish on (a small, tail-walking white marlin) snapped the 45 lb. monofilament, and I was out of business. For our next passage, to the BVI, I bought a 5-1/2' Penn Senator rod and a Shimano reel with 90 lb mono line and 120 lb mono leader. Only one fish out of many caught was big enough to snap that line, and I'm glad he did 'cause he was too big!

On our offshore passages and sailing amongst the Lesser Antilles, we almost always caught something when the line was out. Many, many dolphin fish (up to 48' long), little tunnies, big-eye tuna, bonita (don't like 'em) and barracuda. The most successful lure was a tarted up cedar plug, painted dark green with a yellow belly and a touch of red. The plain cedar plug did well, too. Next best was an 8" green squid.

I tried varying the length of line out, and found that the best results came when the lure was about 100' behind the boat, and skipped on the surface at the wave crests. I tried weighted lures, but never caught anything with them--surface worked every time. Watch out for the brown boobies, 'cause they'll try to take the lure, too.

At anchor, you can try for jacks right off the boat using a spinning rod with 10 lb mono and jig heads with flexible plastic "minnow" lures. Even better, dinghy up into the mangroves and cast right up to the roots. I've caught some nice mutton snappers that way.
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Old 28-07-2009, 12:56   #25
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I am encouraged! Our budget is going to be about $1,000 per month for everything including boat maintenance, etc. We have poured alot into the boat already and we are not counting that. Also, I will provition heavily before we leave for the month or more in the Bahamas.

I cook alot from scratch (todays flat bread turned out great) and beans and rice will definately be there but there will be quality and variety. (I still need to learn to catch and clean fish). We will only grab lunch on shore once in a while and it will be inexpensive. Laundy? I thought I would do my own as we have a watermaker.
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Old 28-07-2009, 13:07   #26
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Because of the warmth while cruising you will find you can wash most clothing in the sink. We live in swimsuits,and wash them by hand. Sheets, and towels are what mostly needs a laundry......i2f
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Old 02-08-2009, 14:46   #27
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Originally Posted by LittleFlower View Post
Hello everyone! I'm headed south for the winter on my boat, likely alone or possibly with a friend. I have no specific plans for locations (E. Coast, Bermuda, Virgin Islands, S. America) or length of the trip (3-10 months). Its all up in the air. Any suggestions?

More importantly, I'm interested in knowing an estimated cost of cruising/month. The total cost would include all expenses such as: food, supplies, gas, water, occasional dock or mooring, charts, cruising guides, repairs, etc.

There are two reasons I ask: 1) so I know about how much money I need to have saved 2) because I am splitting the cost with my friend and would like to let her know what to expect. We have agreed to share all expenses.

I understand that I will get a large range of estimates as people's experiences and thriftyness varies. Fill me in. I appreciate your help.

Teresa
Teresa -

I understand your concern but your question is very general. It would help if you could provide some additional information, such as:

What boat do you have now?
Do you have charts, cruising guides, and other navigational items onboard?
Are you going to install a chartplotter/nav computer?
Is your boat ready to sail (good sails, running engine, good lines, anchor, dinghy....)?
Do you have enough anchors and rode to outlast a storm?
Do you have storm sails?
Do you have the proper safety items onboard (flares, PFDs, EPIRB, VHF, rain gear, medical kit,...)?

What are your eating habits (eat out, eat aboard, limited food likes, allergies...)?
Do you know how to fish?
Do you drink alcohol or smoke?
Do you party hard?

How are your cooking skills?
Are you water friendly (like to swim, snorkle, wind surf, surf,...)?
How do your hobbies integrate with the adventure?

It appears your plan is "to head south". Good direction, but can you be more specific? East Coast to Bermuda?, Bermuda to Virgin Islands without the Bahamas? Virgin Islands to South America without the Windward and Leeward Islands?

Some basics:
Food will be cheapest in the US

All countries have custom, immigration, and port fees to enter and leave.

Some countries have very limited anchoring times or require you to take a mooring ball at about $15/night.

Some countries (Bahamas @ $300/year) require a cruising permit.

Mail and phone call fees are much higher outside of the US. Do you have Skype?

If your boat is well prepared then 8-10 months should be fine for bottom paint and zincs.

Gas will run you $4-5/gallon and diesel about the same. Propane/LPG is about $25 to fill a 20# bottle. Going to the dock to get gas/diesel is only going to add to the cost. Do you have jerry jugs so you can tote gas from a station (where it's generally cheaper than at the dock) to your tender to the boat?

Local foods are enjoyable but can be either expensive, past ripe, or impossible to find. Can you live without fresh veggies and fruit or be willing to pay $3 for an overripe tomato, slightly brown head of lettuce,...?

Depending on how much you use your tender, gas can be a big expense. Can you row/sail your tender/dink? Are you using a big or small outboard? Big will allow you to get places faster, tote more stuff, and outrun bad weather at the expense of economy.

Filling your water tank can be expensive. In some places you'll be charged $0.50/gallon. Do you have a way to catch rainwater to fill your tank? Do you have jerry jugs so you can find cheaper/free water in town and tote them to the tender and boat to fill your tank?

Can you live with free weekly, 3-minute showers or pay $5 for a 10 minute one at the marina?

Can you do your own laundry or are you willing to pay $7/pound for someone to wash them for you?

Are you planning any land excursions?

Do you have medical insurance and medair insurance?


I lived in the Caribbean from 1992-2000 on a 37' sloop. I averaged $500/month on the hook. I spent the money on: food, water, gasoline, occasional trip to the dock to recharge batteries, and diesel. I had a wind generator so my batteries were in good shape but I had engine driven refrigeration. I had a rain catchment system that helped keep the water tank reasonably full. I also had $100 set aside from the $500 for emergency repairs (which I didn't need until I was dismasted).

Before I left I had all the charts, cruising guides, and navigational info onboard. I used a cheap GPS and plotted out my route on the charts. I didn't have air conditioning, a clothes washer, chart plotter, or a generator. I did have lots of fans, a bimini and dodger over the cockpit, 3 large hatches for air flow, a good fridge/poor freezer, alcohol stove/oven, a new 100 gal water tank, new batteries, a good VHF and SSB, sufficient safety equipment (but no life raft), 10' inflatable tender with a 15 hp outboard, newish sails and lines, all chain rode on the main Bruce anchor, and line of the spare Danforth and Fortress anchors, and good weather gear">foul weather gear (because you'll be surprised how cold rain can be).

I also stocked up on supplies so I could live out of the provisions for many months and supplement what I needed/wanted if it was available and reasonable in price.

I didn't frequent the bars unless it was 2-1 and free muchies and then I was gone as soon as the prices went up. If I drank alcohol I bought a bottle and mix and drank aboard my or other boats. I don't smoke or do drugs.

During that time, you could anchor about anywhere. Moorings were just an idea to get revenue from boaters. There were no limits on stays in anchorages. You could go from island to island and paperwork costs were low.

I'd plan on 1/2 gal of water a day/person for drinking, brushing your teeth; 1/2 gal/day for dishes; and 3 gal/week for showers. That's 10 gal/week/person.

If you eat simply with rice, pasta, and other cheap carbs as the base, light amounts of protein, and the occasional sweet you could get by for about $40/week/person. If you can catch fish, conch, or lobster you can save a bit but I'd plan on eating from what you buy. Meat can be expensive, chicken tough or freezer burned, and pork hard to find. If you like cabbage then cole slaw will be a staple. If you can bake bread you can broaden your dining choices. I'm a big fan of PB&J but I after finding Nutella, it's now PB&N sandwiches or on toast.

Since there are few large population centers in your general direction, you'll be stocking up in the bigger locations for times when that fantastic, gin clear anchorage, small island captures your heart. You'll pay more down island simply due to economics - smaller populations, higher transportation costs, longer transportation runs, limited choices. If you see it in the market, buy it then. Many times you'll come back the same day to find it gone and nothing coming in for months. Find out when the supply ship docks and be ready to shop before the sun rises. The local's will; and most smart boaters.
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