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Old 07-04-2012, 23:02   #1
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Crusing on a Budget

We're looking to take a sailing voyage from San Diego to Boston via the Panama Canal. We're hoping we could get some budgeting advice from someone who may have completed a similar voyage. Our vessel is a 32' Challenger and we have a crew of four. Thanks for your time.
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Old 07-04-2012, 23:46   #2
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Re: Crusing on a Budget

Sounds like a great sail jrblack, welcome to CF.
I would like to do that voyage from east to west, good luck. I am sure you will find a few on CF that have done this before and will be able to help.
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Old 08-04-2012, 00:51   #3
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Re: Crusing on a Budget

There are many posts on here about cruising on a budget, as low as $500 a month for one person. I think you would get more replies if you could state what your budget is or would like it to be.

I am not a cruiser yet, but been researching and preparing my boat

Some of the musts for staying within a budget is:

1. Anchoring out, no marinas unless needed
2. Sail, dont motor...no timetable
3. Eat on the boat, and eat less meat(meat is expensive)
4. Learn how to repair everything on the boat yourself
5. no alcohol when in port(i know I know)

From all the book I am reading or browsed, Lin and Larry Pardey, Annie Hill and post on forums such as this these are the things I think would be required to stay within a tight budget. A looser budget may allow for more. Hope this helps
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Old 08-04-2012, 01:18   #4
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Re: Crusing on a Budget

We have lived aboard & cruised for 12 years & every year is different.

With out knowing more detail it is almost impossible to provide a reasonable answer.

Whatever enjoy.
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Old 08-04-2012, 01:47   #5
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Re: Crusing on a Budget

I'm not sure budget and canal passage fit together, specially if you need to go back to return home. Its not on my schedule for almost 6-8 years, till I'm ready to go all the round. I'm glad I was able to start sorta young (34) so I can really take time in seeing stuff. I could cruise for 20 years and still be ahead of people waiting for the right time/money/kids to go.
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Old 08-04-2012, 02:05   #6
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Re: Crusing on a Budget

Are you seeking advice about what costs to expect or about how to do the trip as cheaply as possible?
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Old 11-04-2012, 02:16   #7
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We would like to know both.
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Old 11-04-2012, 02:16   #8
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Originally Posted by Adelie
Are you seeking advice about what costs to expect or about how to do the trip as cheaply as possible?
Both would be great
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Old 11-04-2012, 20:35   #9
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Re: Crusing on a Budget

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jrblack83 View Post
Both would be great
Is that 4 adults or 2 adults & 2 kids?
Is the goal to get the boat to Boston, or to have an adventure?

OK so ways to do it cheap: C2B hit the high points

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cruiser2B View Post
1. Anchoring out, no marinas unless needed
2. Sail, dont motor...no timetable
3. Eat on the boat, and eat less meat(meat is expensive)
4. Learn how to repair everything on the boat yourself
5. no alcohol when in port(i know I know)
To expound on C2B's list I would say:
1) Carry multiple anchors of several types. I would have a main anchor 2 sizes up from what is recommended on 100-150' of chain plus 200-400' rope. Carry a Danforth or Fortress for soft sand and mud, carry a Luke/fisherman/Hershoff for rock and weeds, carry an undersized anchor for the stern and for kedging and backup anchor sized as recommended for your boat or 1 up and of a different type than the main (sometimes one style works with a certain bottom and another won't). Put a chain stopper on the bow and at least 2 oversized cleats too (windlasses aren't meant to take anchoring loads, only retrieval loads). Get a windlass, probably the best would be a used Seatiger 555 which is a 2speed manual. A new manual windlass would be fine too. The key idea here is two-fold, if anchoring is convenient and you have the equipment to do it right so your are more confident in the results, you are more likely to do it. Secondly, being able to anchor properly may save your boat and your life, best insurance there is.

2) Your boat is a bit light on sail area. This will affect you most when sailing in light winds. If you had cash to burn there are a number of things like raising the mast that could change the underlying design to increase sail area. The one modification that you could make to the design would be to add a removable forestay for a staysail. This won't help you hard on the wind where the headsail and staysail will interfere with each other but on most reaches there should be some improvement. In addition to added area the rigging will provide better and redundant support for the mast. The cheapest thing you can do for light air performance is to get a nylon sail, specifically a drifter. A drifter is a large genoa made from nylon and cut rather full. It won't point as well as a flatter cut Dacron sail, but in really light air you want to foot off a bit anyway. There are a number of used sail outlets where you can pickup drifters, staysails, or whatever in decent shape at a reasonable price. If you had money you could get a CodeZero or an asymmetrical which would provide some improvement over a drifter, but not enough to justify the money when the budget is tight. If your boat already had a symmetrical spinnaker and your crew is 4 adults it may be you will make use of it regularly, but you will still want the drifter for reaching or on the wind. With 2 adults on board, a spinnaker is likely to be more work than you want to expend, and you almost certainly take it down at night so make sure that you have pole you can wing sails out on.

3) Get a pressure cooker and learn to use the short cuts it provides. Don't cook more than you will eat at a sitting, no left-overs. Left-overs are an argument for a fridge and that is a real budget killer; marine fridges are expensive themselves and require upgrades to the electrical system at least equal to the cost of the fridge. If someone is still peckish at the end of meal give them fruit, veggies or bread.

4) Minimizing the extras minimizes what you pay upfront and what you have to learn to fix and what you have to pay to maintain. Keep the boat as simple as possible. You don't need wind instruments or GPS repeaters or networked electronics or chart plotters. You need a depthsounder and a GPS. A knotmeter/log and a VHF would both be very nice, but they are not strictly necessary. Consider building your own nesting dinghy instead of buying an inflatible. Likely a bit cheaper, definitely more durable and less prone to theft.

Misc:
I would convert the head sink to storage shelves floor to ceiling.
Add water tankage within the boat.
If you anticipate long term cruising, add batteries and solar panels now, minimizes running of the engine with fuel costs and wear and tear. If this is just a trip to Boston, the fuel costs to keep the batteries topped up will be less.


Costs along the way:

I have a friend that went thru the canal 3 yr ago and he says it was $3k. I would expect it to take in the vicinity of 2-3wk to make the transit what with paperwork, boat measuring, getting line handlers, helping someone else transit quid pro quo for line handling. You will need to feed yourselves during this period. The fee schedule for the canal I found says something like $500, but I think there are a lot of extras that you have to pay for like measuring and the pilot fee.

Count on sailing 100mi per day getting to and from the canal. Count on taking at least a week at any stops you make, since clearing in and out usually takes so much time and can be such a hassle, most people are unwilling to stop for only one or two days.

If you choose to go up the ICW, I would expect you will motor a lot more. Consider staying outside and sailing up the coast. East-coasters should weigh in on this.

Are you in San Diego now?
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Old 11-04-2012, 21:00   #10
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Re: Crusing on a Budget

We don't stay in marinas when we cruise, and we average $500 to $1000 per month anchoring out and eating the same food that the locals eat. The more we motor, the more it costs.

If the boat is in excellent shape, you won't have much gear to replace during the trip. If the boat has lots of old gear on its last legs, you will have to factor in the cost of what must be replaced during the trip.
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Old 14-04-2012, 06:25   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maxingout
We don't stay in marinas when we cruise, and we average $500 to $1000 per month anchoring out and eating the same food that the locals eat. The more we motor, the more it costs.

If the boat is in excellent shape, you won't have much gear to replace during the trip. If the boat has lots of old gear on its last legs, you will have to factor in the cost of what must be replaced during the trip.
That is a small boat for 4. Anchoring out bad idea. Will need time away from each other. Lots of time! Btdt. $2000/month more realistic. Great places to visit. Will be a rough trip in any season, especially in the carib. Plow best anchor with all chain. Triple b if you can afford it.
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Old 14-04-2012, 07:13   #12
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Re: Crusing on a Budget

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adelie View Post
.....
Costs along the way:

I have a friend that went thru the canal 3 yr ago and he says it was $3k. I would expect it to take in the vicinity of 2-3wk to make the transit what with paperwork, boat measuring, getting line handlers, helping someone else transit quid pro quo for line handling. You will need to feed yourselves during this period. The fee schedule for the canal I found says something like $500, but I think there are a lot of extras that you have to pay for like measuring and the pilot fee.
.....
The Canal transit is $650 for a boat under 50ft, $60 to rent lines, $2 per tire. Plus food for the line handlers and adviser. It is easy to do the paperwork yourself without an agent in Balboa. The wait time depends on the time of year you are there, anywhere from a few days to 10-14 days. typically on the shorter side.
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