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Old 08-02-2006, 14:57   #1
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pirate Cruising Budget

First of all, I have found this forum to be incredibly helpful - so thanks to everyone for their time, patience, and wisdom.....and so I (again) turn to your collective knowledge.....
I know the subject of a cruising budget is kinda like asking how high is up.....but for 2 people, I'm thinking $1,300 - $1,500/month should be fine providing you don't eat at the Bitter End Yacht Club every week...and if you enjoy searching out the local, cheaper places and cooking on board......any input for this soon-to-be-cruiser (hopefully)?
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Old 08-02-2006, 15:07   #2
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Dare I make another mention of the bumfuzzle site... but they do a good job of cataloging current expenses. Sort out what you would / would not spend your money on and voila.....

I agree it's hard to find up-to-date info on costs... this is at least one current source. http://www.bumfuzzle.com/

Now I'm off to walk the plank...
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Old 08-02-2006, 20:16   #3
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Some calculations...

It is quite an interesting exercise to add all the figures on the Bumfuzzle site and then to work out a montly average.
In 2004 they averaged about $2700 pm and in 2005 they averaged about $3150 pm.
This is starting out with a near new (2002) boat.
They do not include figures for depreciation or for forgone earnings (the money that would have been made if the purchase price had been invested). I would guestimate this to be about 20% of the purchase price.
I dont know the price of what would have been a one yr old cat but a 2002 Wildcat 35 is listed on yachtworld at $189K.
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Old 08-02-2006, 20:46   #4
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cruising budgets

Our cruise of the pacific last year cost us about $ 1500 NZ to $2000 NZ a month. It would cost you more if you were cruising places like New Caledonia where we plan to go this year due to everything there being french. It all depends on what lifestyle you expect and if eating fish is your enjoyment. We bought most of our food at markets and ate out once or twice a week. This budget included fixing our boat as well but nothing too bad went wrong!! In the past I cruised for a full year and it cost me $12000 NZ per year but on a smaller yacht and we were living it fairly frugally.
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Old 09-02-2006, 08:24   #5
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IB, We just returned from eight months in the western Caribbean and we spent an average of $1400.00 US per month. We stayed in marinas occasionally, ate out a fair amount and did a great deal of inland travel. But where you travel will be a big factor in how much you spend. The western Caribbean and the eastern Caribbean are two different worlds as far as costs and expenses. So that will be a difficult question for folks on the board to answer. Your biggest expenses will be food and fuel. So how much will you motor? Then a major breakdown in some far away place can bust the budget for a year. Chuck
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Old 09-02-2006, 08:56   #6
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I love hearing people's detailed budgets. Keep 'em coming. The Bumfuzzle people live very large. They never cook and they travel extensively. It would be interesting to compare two voyages of similar lengths and destinations where one is on the high end and one is on the frugal end. One similarity I'll bet is they both had fun!

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Old 09-02-2006, 09:46   #7
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We've got a regular couple we know cruising USA / Caribbean right now - and doing it on £400 (about US$700) per month - although we'd personally find it tough to do the same. Forget hard - we'd find it impossible.

But we sailed in company with this couples Vindoo 35 in Portugal two years back and the slim budget meant they worked harder than most to eat / live off the ocean, did not consume quite so much grog and did not have it chilled, and preferred to anchor than stop in any marina. But they did achieve the major objective of getting away whilst they were young enough to enjoy the challenges - as opposed to still dreaming about it.

And Sue said when we met 'we're UK regular workers, and if we spend more per month - we'll only be back to the UK sooner'.
With UK's grey skys, that's a pretty good incentive to keep cruising costs low in the sun.

Vindomar continued in 2004 over to the Caribbean, spent 2005 cruising the islands and then up and back down east US coast, and are now I believe prepping to re-cross to the Azores / home possibly in 2006.

Can only admire what they've done - and all on US$700 per month.

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Old 10-02-2006, 07:37   #8
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Don't forget the boat

Even the bumfuzzle site; although excellent in helping inform about the cost of crusing, doesn't really discusse much on the way of boat maintenance. Boat paint, mast painting and replacing of sails and rigging etc need to be factored into the equation somewhere.
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Old 10-02-2006, 14:24   #9
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Boat maintenance factor....

Many cruisers seem to consider maintenance to be an operating cost and include it in their monthly budget.
The confusion seems to come when casual owners come to sell their boats after a long period of disuse.
Whenever I get the overwhelming desire to buy a boat virtually all that I see within my area and price range have had an extended period of disuse, and factoring this into a budget makes them very expensive.
So where a cruising boat may have depreciation that varies from zero to around 10% pa(depending mainly on the age and the desirability of the boat and the skill of the owner), a neglected boat could have depreciation around 25%. (These figures are guestimates based on obsevation and anacdotal evidence, and so are given for discussion purposes only).
The difference would suggest that a figure of 15% of boat value could be considered for maintenance. A highly skilled and motivated owner may spend less.
The analysis is made more difficult because different boat components wear at radically different rates. ie compare the depreciation on a mast and on the latest bit of elctronic hardware.
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Old 14-02-2006, 12:35   #10
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the budget

We love Pat and Ali but seriously take their numbers with a grain of salt -- they're incredibly kind and nice to post those intimate details but your mileage will vary immensely. Their boat was pretty f'd at one point in the trip (hull and one engine) so you have to factor another $40k for year in somewhere.

I know that you've heard it a million times but I have to confess that once you hit the one year mark something mysterious happens. Most the stuff that can break has by this point -- especially if you started out on the west coast of the US and are now mostly across the Pacific. Your finances start to stabilize a bit. We average about $1.2k per month these days and seem to eat out as much as we want, marina aren't really much of an issue in the so-pac since they're few and far between and beautiful lagoons are plentiful. We have a little refit on tap for Oz soon (mostly replacing the bowsprit and boomkin) and have ordered a new main and spinnaker from Hasse sails.

One area of caution: we wary of buying things you think you really need (but don't) while you're fitting out for the trip. Try to punt as much as possible 'til you know if you even like cruising. You definately don't need an SSB/pactor modem/watermaker/reefer etc to cruise Mexico. That being said if I was doing it again I'd replace all running and standing rigging (replaced about 75% before leaving and another 15% along the way) and get a new suit of sails. I basically only trust four things onboard: rig, sails, windvane and wife.
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Old 15-02-2006, 14:48   #11
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"You definately don't need an SSB/pactor modem/watermakefr/reefer etc to cruise Mexico. "

Why Mexico?

reefer because food is cheap
SSB/pactor because of the internet caffes?
watermaker because there's water for free?
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Old 15-02-2006, 14:56   #12
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Awfully good info from all -much appreciated. One last thing - to cruise solely throughout the Caribbean, I am operating under the assumption that I don't need a SSB radio - don't see why I couldn't get all I needed via the VHF. THoughts?
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Old 15-02-2006, 16:54   #13
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yachtboy

While I don't think a full send/recv SSB unit is a 'must-have' item I definately recommend having a little HF radio unit onboard.

I've been using a Grundig Yachtboy 400 for the past couple of years with great success. I listen to weather nets, HF voice and get all the weather faxes I could ever want (via cxn to old laptop).
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Old 16-02-2006, 06:42   #14
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IB:

There's very little VHF service in the Caribbean. Even in the small subsection that most cruisers populate (the E Caribbean chain), you'll find VHF to be of limited value. And while you don't *need* HF capability, the reason it's often appreciated is that reaching the NE corner of the Caribbean (St. Martin) is hard work, made much easier by staying current on wx f'cast info. (It's also made easier by learning to assess the wx f'cast data yourself and not listen to what Joe, on the next boat over, thinks it means).

HF receivers - e.g. Warren's Yachtboy - are a cost-effective way to have very limited HF capability, altho' one of the many things a SSB transceiver gives you is a much more sensitive receiver (you'll hear far more) and a better antenna (ditto). Personally, I thought using a Yachtboy was a clever idea until we had one aboard a few years; they are pretty flimsy and, once you start to troubleshoot the fail-prone areas (e.g. the internal antenna connection), you are introduced to how they can build these highly capable units for relatively affordable prices.

Cost estimates which span a cruising season or a year or two can be hugely misleading for those of us out long-term; this point is made in different ways by several of the previous posts. If you find a boat in the Pacific that's been out for two years, they are still living off the upfront costs of prepping the boat (fresh rig, new systems, initial stash of spares, etc.). If you look at a boat that's been out five years and they are wrapping up their cruising, you'd need to see how well the boat sold before you could evaluate how much money it really 'cost' them to be out cruising and 'using up' the boat. FWIW the annual cost for maintaining a boat that's doing water sailing">blue water sailing over an extended period seems to average out to 5-10% of the current value of the boat, annually. (See e.g. Beth Leonard's Voyagers Handbook). This may seem quite high but e.g. look at Warren's reference to his future refit in Oz: two sails and some structural work will probably exceed 10% of the value of his W32 on the American market (~$50K). In addition, a bottom job and perhaps a few other small items will be needed. When we started cruising WHOOSH, our first-year boat maintenance budget was almost zip. We're now starting year 6 and, if I average it out over that period, we're up to approx. 6% on an annual basis. OTOH WHOOSH is in better shape than when we left. This percentage would no doubt be lower for boats that are more lightly cruised, cruised in seasonal climates where the boat sits for 6 months in a winter berth, and/or cruised for a shorter period before being sold or retired to day sailing.

Complex subject and tough to extrapolate on, too.

Jack
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Old 17-02-2006, 13:04   #15
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SSB

VERY good points on the SSB - znd Jack - your comments from WHOOSH were terrific - thank you. Never having had one, an iniitial look at a SSB is intimidating, but I figure I'm smart enough - I'll figure it out.....
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