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Old 19-10-2014, 18:43   #1
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Quantifiable Costs

We are planning on heading down the Mississippi, through the islands, connect to south america, then through the Canal and up to Seattle. We are trying to come up with a budget (a broke college students budget) for the trip.

I am hoping you guys could help assess some quantifiable costs.

Food: What should we expect to pay for staples. Local vegetables, corn, potatoes… ya know, the lets eat cheap stuff? How should I expect those prices to vary through the regions.

Water: The most basic thing yet. Whats it cost to fill tanks up?

Anchorage: We're not trying to pay to park, is this something we can do consistently through the entire island chain?

Alcohol: Cause… well, yeah. We could stock up a certain amount on this and have a little consumable ballast. Whats a handle of rum cost down there?

Maintenance: What sort of things should I expect that I am not expecting? This would be from your experiences.

Also, any advice on how to have fun cheap, the local style would be appreciated. We're trying to shoot for under a $1000 a month, no frills. The cheaper the better
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Old 19-10-2014, 19:08   #2
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Re: Quantifiable Costs

What is your current budget for food?

Can you fish?

Can you speak any language besides English? (It will make a difference for how much you pay for food, primarily)

Do you know what the costs are for the canal itself? Clearing in fees for the countries you want to visit?
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Old 19-10-2014, 19:46   #3
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Re: Quantifiable Costs

Food, max $20 a day I think, ideally around $10 or $12.

Not familiar with the clearing fees and could use some help on tracking those down. Right now were on a loose plan, no exact destinations.

My language skills are lacking, i can speak a small amount of french and am planning learning spanish over the next year. I would assume spanish is going to be my best tool. Planning on tuning that up and practicing it.

I have read up on the Canal… expecting an expensive passage. Going to budget $2000 Hoping we don't miss the timelines on the locks.

I can fish… and intend to. I've have fished lake michigan a lot as a kid. Down riggers and the such. not familiar with what the standard equipment would be for island fishing down that way.
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Old 19-10-2014, 20:19   #4
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Re: Quantifiable Costs

"We are planning on heading down the Mississippi, through the islands, connect to south america, then through the Canal and up to Seattle. We are trying to come up with a budget (a broke college students budget) for the trip. "

Fuel - I have several friends who have done the Florida - San Diego trip in sailboats. Most recently a very experienced cruiser took a 34' sailboat from Ft. Lauderdale to San Diego. He is a professional captain and has been sailing for over 30 years.

He came out the west end of the canal, put on the sail covers and MOTORED every inch of the 3000 nautical miles to San Diego.

I cruised in Western Mexico for almost four years with several boats that had come from Florida. One was a professional captain who had run Caribbean charter boats for many years. They too motored every mile from the panama canal to La Paz.

None of those boats were able to sail more than 10% of the time coming north from the Canal.

I sailed as far south of Zihuatenejo (just north of Acapulco) and then sailed north to Mazatlan. My logs showed I sailed 15% of the time in that 600 mile stretch. My boat is very well equipped for light wind sailing and I will sail anytime I can make 3 knots VMG.

You will also be motoring almost every one of the 1200 nautical miles from San Diego to Cape Flattery.

So - plan on burning at least 4,000 nautical miles of fuel.

There are few anchorages between Pt Conception and Seattle (done it four times) so you will spend a lot of nights in expensive US West Coast marinas. Once north of Port Orford (California - Oregon border) I am not aware of any anchorage for a small boat until you get to Neah Bay / Cape Flattery at the entrance to the Straits of Juan de Fuca.

Or - head way west (like half way to Hawaii) to try to sail. In that case you'll need food and water for at least 40 days from San Diego to Neah Bay or 100 days from Panama to Cape Flattery.

I've been sailing for over 40 years and have quite a few blue water miles in a lot of boats. I've pounded north along the the Baja and US West Coast three times and will probably never do it again.

The worst day of sailing I have ever experienced was in early May 50 miles west of the Baja peninsula trying to go north in a beautiful, perfectly maintained, and well crewed Tartan 42.

Water: The most basic thing yet. Whats it cost to fill tanks up?

There is NO potable water available between Cabo and Ensenada/San Diego. You will need to carry water for at least a 14 day passage going north and it could easily be a 21 day trip if the weather is adverse, which is common April - October.

Along the Western Mexico mainland - the ONLY potable water available is in marinas and you have to be a paying customer to use it.

Your idea is romantic but from Panama to Cape Flattery will be miserable, hard work, scary, and dangerous in places.
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Old 19-10-2014, 20:35   #5
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Re: Quantifiable Costs

We cruised on $500 to $1000 per month in a simple lifestyle sailing downwind.

As soon as you turn the corner in Panama and head north, you are going to be sailing to windward or motoring to windward. If you sail hard, you are going to break a lot of gear and it could get very expensive. If you motor a great deal, your expenses will shoot up as well.

If you want to do it on the cheap, ship the boat overland and then go do a charter in the Caribbean. Your boat will be in good shape when it arrives at its destination, and you will probably be money ahead.
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Old 19-10-2014, 20:38   #6
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Re: Quantifiable Costs

Quote:
Originally Posted by theller View Post
We are planning on heading down the Mississippi, through the islands, connect to south america, then through the Canal and up to Seattle. We are trying to come up with a budget (a broke college students budget) for the trip.

I am hoping you guys could help assess some quantifiable costs.

Food: What should we expect to pay for staples. Local vegetables, corn, potatoes… ya know, the lets eat cheap stuff? How should I expect those prices to vary through the regions.

Water: The most basic thing yet. Whats it cost to fill tanks up?

Anchorage: We're not trying to pay to park, is this something we can do consistently through the entire island chain?

Alcohol: Cause… well, yeah. We could stock up a certain amount on this and have a little consumable ballast. Whats a handle of rum cost down there?

Maintenance: What sort of things should I expect that I am not expecting? This would be from your experiences.

Also, any advice on how to have fun cheap, the local style would be appreciated. We're trying to shoot for under a $1000 a month, no frills. The cheaper the better
What kind of boat will you have? Many who do the canal west go out towards Hawaii, and then go back to the PNW. Bashing north is tough, tough, tough, and depending on the time of year, dangerous. Once you get north of San Francisco, there are not a lot of places to pull in, and some of the bars across rivers may be impassable.

Get some pilot guides to help you out.
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Old 19-10-2014, 23:15   #7
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Re: Quantifiable Costs

Well, thats a reality check.

The boat is an 83 Oday 28, deep keel tall rig. Diesel is original, very low miles… i still don't know that I want to put my faith into 4k NM of motoring on it.

Just looked at a wind plot… it really comes hammering down that west coast. I could still see myself doing it, but not on 28' of boat. It sounds like I'll be selling my boat when we finish our caribbean cruise and looking for a live aboard in seattle.
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Old 20-10-2014, 10:10   #8
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Re: Quantifiable Costs

Also... After looking at a few mind maps, it appears that there is little to know wind up the west coast of central america for most of the year, but I gather from your response that for a few months it really howls. Is there any chance of finding the sweet spot in between? I don't mind sailing up wind.. No agenda, no timeline. Taking on massive seas are another matter.

Sent from my Nexus 5 using Cruisers Sailing Forum mobile app
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Old 20-10-2014, 11:08   #9
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Re: Quantifiable Costs

"I don't mind sailing up wind.. No agenda, no timeline. Taking on massive seas are another matter."


Have you spent 40 consecutive days trying to sail directly into 15 knots of wind (20 knots apparent) and five foot swells?

It is not the wind that is the problem -it is the swells and wind chop that make it so miserable and slow. Those four to six foot swells start in the Gulf of Alaska and just roll south-southeast with a constant 10 to 15 knot NW wind pushing them along.

The Tartan 42 I mentioned was an IOR (International Offshore Racing) boat with a big rig, big deep keel, a lot of really nice sails. Heading north-northwest we could sail at about 40 degrees to our desired course while making six-knots down the swell and slowing to four knots up the swell.

Up-Down-Up-Down... Speeding Up, Slowing Down, Speeding Up, Slowing Down...every 12 seconds for 24 hours a day and making a VMG of 3 knots... for two weeks. Constant water over the bow, spray in the air. You can't stand up down below, you can't cook, and just staying in the bunk to sleep, mid-ships of course, is a chore.

It is over 4,000 Nautical Miles on the rhumb line or about 6,000 miles of sailing hard on the wind from Panama to Cape Flattery. If you can make a VMG of 3 knots (as we could in a big powerful offshore race boat) then you are looking at 2,000 hours of sailing - let's say 80 days if we are optimistic.

There is NO, NONE, NEVER more than 14 days of decent weather in the eastern North Pacific between San Francisco and Cape Flattery. At least twice a month a full gale will blow up and last for up to five days between San Franciso and Cape Flattery. During the winter those gales are SSW with 20 foot seas and during the summer they are NNW and 15 to 20 foot very steep, short period breaking waves that would be deadly for your boat. (Use a web search for “Windy Alley” and Mendocino or read the many posts on my web)

During the June – November timeframe there is never more than a five-day window between full gales in the Santa Barbara channel, Pt Conception, and the coast between Conception and Monterrey.

During the April – October timeframe there is seldom a day between San Diego and Cabo San Lucas that you don’t have more that NNW 15 knots between noon and mid-night with five foot or greater seas.

Then there is the schedule problem.

You can't be sailing from Panama to San Diego anytime between June 15 and November 1 (what - 15 tropical storms or hurricanes in that area this year?)


... and you can't be anywhere between Pt Conception and Cape Flattery between November 1 and April 30.

SO - how do you schedule that?

Spend December to April sailing from Panama to San Diego, wait in San Diego for the North Pacific storms to abate and then pound north in the June to October time frame?


I am sure it can be done but you really need to read a lot of the posts here about-

the Baja Bash

Summer winds at Pt Conception, Cape Mendocino, Aragos, Flattery
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Old 20-10-2014, 11:18   #10
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Re: Quantifiable Costs

On an Oday 28 I would ship it to seattle after doing some cruising in the Caribe or at least the Bahamas. It will be way cheaper, you wont loose your life. I would not want to try that trip in less than a very well found boat. From the Canal to Seattle the ocean will disassemble an Oday and the like.
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Old 20-10-2014, 19:34   #11
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Re: Quantifiable Costs

To hell with shipping it. I picked it up for less than the cost of shipping. The idea is that if I can get it to a sailing community, I can sell it and start jumping up a few feet on every move. I'm an mechanical engineer and I grew up a carpenters kid so these sort of things are just my type of project.

The idea my girlfriend and I have been discussing is sailing the caribbean for a good long while, selling the boat and looking for something in Seattle or I might work a contract engineering job in florida while we prep a boat for the baja bang out.

Tacoma, Have you got a size recommendation for that cruise. How big do I need to go before I could consider pulling a small crew out to the Big Island? Any suggestions on older boats with good sturdy roots that can be found for reasonable money and brought back to prime and be capable of the trip?

The idea of sailing into Seattle and seeing Mount Rainier on the horizon still has its allure.
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Old 20-10-2014, 21:32   #12
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Re: Quantifiable Costs

Tacoma, Have you got a size recommendation for that cruise. How big do I need to go before I could consider pulling a small crew out to the Big Island? Any suggestions on older boats with good sturdy roots that can be found for reasonable money and brought back to prime and be capable of the trip?

The idea of sailing into Seattle and seeing Mount Rainier on the horizon still has its allure.


I learned to sail in Puget Sound and raced there for many years and cruised from the south end of Puget Sound to the north end of Vancouver Island. After four full years in San Diego and Mexico I too really missed the Pacific NW weather and scenery.

We own a Caliber 40 cutter: ( 42’ LOA 22,500 pounds and equipped with seven sails and a very stout and seaworthy blue water boat). In 2004 we had owned her for 10-years including the 2,500 mile sail from Tacoma to Z'town in Western Mexico and wanted to get back to Tacoma and that beautiful view of Mt Ranier.

We looked at the options:
- sailing/motoring her directly to Seattle from Cabo San Lucas
- sail to Hawaii and then Seattle
- ship her on a truck

At that point I had made two trips from Seattle to mainland Mexico and two from Mainland Mexico back to San Diego and a trip from Neah Bay to the north end of Vancouver Island on the outside.

We decided to truck our boat to Tacoma from San Carlos Mexico
- not much more expensive that doing it on her own bottom
- much less wear on the boat
- way less wear on the crew
- two weeks –vs- three months

I figured the cost or motoring/sailing from Cabo San Lucas to Seattle in our 40’ sailboat to be about $4,500, which includes 500 engine hours, 500 gallons of fuel, and 30 days in Marinas while we waited for weather windows to pound (there is that word again!) north

Here are some practical observations from my four trips along the Cabo – Cape Flattery coast and from talking with two friends who have done another six trips along the same coast:

In Coos Bay Oregon (mid-September) when we were sailing south I saw a 55' trawler come in missing a pilot house door. They were heading north and a breaking wave had torn the door off the frame

Friend in a Norseman 447 has seen 50+ knots and more than 15’ breaking waves for more than 12 hours between Cape Aragos and Punta Arenas twice in his three trips.

Between Bahia Santa Maria and Turtle Bay - I saw an Ocean Alexander 74 lose her 14' RIB off the bridge deck when, headed north, they tried to turn around (because the waves were beating them up too badly) and a breaking wave tore the dinghy off it’s chocks – Fifteen feet above the water! Actually, I did not see the event because I was spending the third night in Bahia Santa Maria in the company of 10 other boats. We convinced the OA to head out at 4 AM to “test the waters” ‘cause we all wanted to get moving again. The OA came limping back in at 10 AM with a bow portlight blown out and a flooded owners cabin. I inspected the port and it was ripped free from a 2” thick solid fiberglass hull.

During that trip from Cabo to San Diego we were in the company of 10 powerboats greater than 45 feet. We were ALL stuck in Santa Maria for a week and Turtle Bay/Isla Cedros for another week due to very large NW waves – mid-April to mid-May. A Swan 65 (big, strong, powerful) sailed from Cabo the same day we did and arrived in San Diego four days AFTER we did. They said they got the s**t beat out of them. Their small dodger was torn off and they tore two sails in the breaking waves.

I’ve talked with 55’ sailboats sailing near us outside Cape Mendocino who were just as miserable as us in our 40’ cutter.

A captain I know took a Beneteau 49’ trawler from San Diego to Seattle last year. They spent two full days at 3 knots powering up and over 15’ breaking waves and 35 knots trying to get from Punta Arenas to Cape Aragos.

A very close sailing friend with a Norseman 447 (46’ LOA 35,000 pounds) has sailed the boat from Seattle to Mexico three times, Hawaii once, and Cabo to Ft. Luderdale once. When it came time to get his boat from La Paz back to Tacoma – he put her on a Dockwise boat, flew home, picked her up in Victoria and thought it the best $10,000 he ever spent. He also trucked the boat from Jacksonville back to Tacoma rather than engage in the trip you are contemplating. He is wealthy, experienced, and retired with tens of thousands of miles at sea in his Norseman and he trucked it!

I am a very aggressive sailor, have lot’s of heavy weather and blue weather miles, and a boat I’d trust anywhere and I would never consider the trip from Cabo to Cape Flattery.

The bottom line – NO pleasure boat under 100’ and 100 tons would be a sure bet for comfort.

You can make the trip and survive and maybe still have a boat under you if
- you are very patient
- an excellent weather forecaster
- make very good decisions
- are willing to spend many, many thousands of dollars

You will spend at least a year doing the Panama-Cape Flattery trip and way more money that selling your O’Day in Florida and buying one of the thousands of great boats available in the Pacific NW. Check out Yachtworld used boats for Puget Sound – it is remarkable how many great cheap boats are available.

I’ve included a photo of Mt Tahoma (Mount Rainer for those of you who refuse to acknowledge the importance to Tacoma, WA) from Commencement Bay.

I have hundreds of Puget Sound and San Juan Islands sailing pictures at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/tacoma...7631562057583/
and
https://www.flickr.com/photos/tacoma...7631544666500/
and https://www.flickr.com/photos/tacoma...7631560579562/
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Old 20-10-2014, 21:50   #13
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Re: Quantifiable Costs

"How big do I need to go before I could consider pulling a small crew out to the Big Island?"

A friend sailed (single handed) from Puerto Vallarta to Hilo, Hawaii in a 28' Bristol Channel Cutter and had a great sail.

Another couple I am close to sailed their Cape George 31' from Zihuatenejo, Mexico to Sydney, Australia.

Size is not so important on an Oceanic tradewind passage. Sails and crew are.

Getting to Hawaii is easy - getting to Seattle from Hawaii can be work.

Sail NNW from Hawaii for a week, hard on the wind, until the wind blows cold - then bear off and reach for two weeks to Cape Flattery in 55 degree air and water.
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Old 20-10-2014, 22:08   #14
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Re: Quantifiable Costs

Quote:
Originally Posted by theller View Post
Food, max $20 a day I think, ideally around $10 or $12.

.
Once you get to central america and Mexico $20 is enough to live like a king. On that amount you could (literally)dine on steak and lobster every night (if you cook yourself) or go out to eat at medium priced restaurants, including drinks.

If you catch some fish, $1-$2/day should be enought to keep you in staples like like, beens, coffee, sugar, etc.
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Old 20-10-2014, 22:15   #15
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Re: Quantifiable Costs

"Any suggestions on older boats with good sturdy roots that can be found for reasonable money and brought back to prime and be capable of the trip?"

I asked Yachtworld to show me sailboats 26 – 36’ up to $25,000 in Washington.

Some interesting ones that I know about

- 1975 Morgan 36T – a fast one-ton class ex-racer $24,900
- 1982 Shock New York – sturdy and fast $20,000
- 1978 Tartan 10-meter (33’) - back when Tartan was still really good $15,800
- 1928 Endeavour 32 – sturdy cruiser from C&C $22,000
- 1984 Newport 33 – a decent fairly sporty cruiser $22,00
- Catalina 30 – many from $19,000 to $23,000 – a lot of boat for the money
- 1980 Sabre 30 – a rock solid great sailing boat $15,500
- 2000 J/80 – fast and near perfect Puget Sound light wind day sailor and maybe good for a night or two with just a couple $24,500
- 1977 Cal 34 – Cal was a solid boat builder and they sailed well $12,500
- 1974 Cal 2-29 I raced against a bunch of these and they were good $14,500
- 1973 Ranger 29 – I raced this one for years and lived aboard for a year $5,900

there are many – many more
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