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Old 10-01-2017, 21:41   #1
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How Cheap Could It Be Done

So, in all honesty, I'm going to place a crazy question to y'all. If me and a buddy got the wild notion to sail the Pacific, live aboard a fair amount, how cheaply could we do it?

Looking at as small a budget as possible, a 25-35 foot boat, and the plan bring to sail from Cali to Hawaii and around the SW Pacific, with little need for too many creature comforts, how cheaply could this be safely ccomplished?
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Old 10-01-2017, 21:44   #2
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Re: How Cheap Could It Be Done

Sorry. "got a while hair" ??
Forgive me, I'm known to be slow...pre-dementia ??
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Old 10-01-2017, 21:46   #3
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Re: How Cheap Could It Be Done

Quote:
Originally Posted by brianlara 3 View Post
Sorry. "got a while hair" ??
Forgive me, I'm known to be slow...pre-dementia ??
Typo, sorry. Autocorrect is NOT my friend.
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Old 10-01-2017, 21:58   #4
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Re: How Cheap Could It Be Done

To keep it simple, there's the food part of the equation, & then boat upkeep.
So if you eat simply, & catch, grow, or barter for much of your food, then that part's cheap. You can even eat on less than $100/mo in the US if you do it right.

As to the boat upkeep part. Again, barter as much as possible. Get adept at improvising. Use things like galvanized wire, splice your own rigging. Use house or industrial paints, etc. Then you can do that part fairly inexpensively as well.

Total, maybe a few hundred $ US/month. Less if you're both savvy, & frugal. Since Sterling Hayden says it well...

A QUOTE FROM STERLING HAYDEN’S BOOK, WANDERER
To be truly challenging, a voyage, like a life, must rest on a firm foundation of financial unrest. Otherwise, you are doomed to a routine traverse, the kind known to yachtsmen who play with their boats at sea… “cruising” it is called. Voyaging belongs to seamen, and to the wanderers of the world who cannot, or will not, fit in. If you are contemplating a voyage and you have the means, abandon the venture until your fortunes change. Only then will you know what the sea is all about.

“I’ve always wanted to sail to the south seas, but I can’t afford it.” What these men can’t afford is not to go. They are enmeshed in the cancerous discipline of “security.” And in the worship of security we fling our lives beneath the wheels of routine – and before we know it our lives are gone.

What does a man need – really need? A few pounds of food each day, heat and shelter, six feet to lie down in – and some form of working activity that will yield a sense of accomplishment. That’s all – in the material sense, and we know it. But we are brainwashed by our economic system until we end up in a tomb beneath a pyramid of time payments, mortgages, preposterous gadgetry, playthings that divert our attention for the sheer idiocy of the charade.

The years thunder by, The dreams of youth grow dim where they lie caked in dust on the shelves of patience. Before we know it, the tomb is sealed.

Where, then, lies the answer? In choice. Which shall it be: bankruptcy of purse or bankruptcy of life?

Sterling Hayden

Here's one example of folks doing it on the cheap https://www.morganscloud.com/2016/03...what-it-takes/ www.gafferhannah.blogspot.ca
And you'd also do well to read Annie Hill's Voyaging On a Small Income.
Voyaging with Annie Hill


However, the bottom line is probably that if one spends time overanalyzing things vs. actualizing them, then the adventure won't happen.
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Old 10-01-2017, 22:11   #5
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Re: How Cheap Could It Be Done

This question comes up a bit I see. First, you must understand that setting sail under the influence of a "wild hair" will possibly kill you both, and that you need to be thoroughly familiar with boating on the vessel you are taking (and you did not say what kind of vessel you are talking about, which makes a substantial difference in cost). You also don't say what your experience level is, what sort of navigational skills you have, whether one or the other (or both) of you have any experience in handling repairs on the vessel type and construction method, and you have not stated your level of spryness either.

Additionally, how comfortable are you using the head in the sight of your friend, how often do you need to actually shower or bathe, have you desire for a lifeboat, do you have a Radio operator's license or a Marine VHF or SSB radio laying around, do you have/desire an AIS unit, can you use a sextant, do you have a GPS unit, do you need water purification facilities, how much do you eat and are there any foods you don't want, need refrigeration, need AC, want an icemaker, crock pot, alcohol stove, electric devices (TV or fans?), LED or incandescent lighting for navigation, engine type, spares, engine servicing skills, do you require any medical coverage in terms of prescriptions or items for first aid (which you will most likely need sooner or later), what time of year are you wanting to start this, how much can you forfeit comforts for tech, do you need other navigation technologies that may or may not already be in the mystery vessel when you obtain it, I mean, who knows what the answers to these things are? Are some or none of these things already in that boat, I mean, we need something to go by here. You may have an idea of what you are willing to do without and what your skills will allow, but you will only know what you don't know if you have some experience (and we don't know if you even have that).

Essentially, we have no way to answer you yet, as you have not given anything specific with which a real suggestion can be formulated, other than stay ashore until you take such a venture more seriously (so that you will have a better chance of surviving these thoughts).

Also, you can get a boat for free if you look for it long enough, you can pay $150k OR MORE for the boat you describe (vaguely), and either of them can be easily lost at sea if you are a novice or just plain unlucky and without a backup plan (as could you and your associate). Unless you have rich relatives that leave one to you, the free boat will likely not live long until it is refurbished PRIOR to departure, and it can cost you many thousands (and more) just to make it barely seaworthy, or it may already be ready. We have no way to predict the condition of a theoretical vessel that you may one day locate.

I don't want to rain on the parade, but surely you do realize that this question as originally posted is ridiculous and unanswerable, don't you? I have never boated the Pacific, and can still formulate a better estimate of what I would need for my boat than you can for the mystery vessel you are thinking you will locate at some unknown location. And that is with me transiting the Panama Canal to get there. In fact, even making that transit, there is no way I can predict the cost of the Pacific because I don't know where you are going (she is a mighty large ocean), when you are going, your skill level, boat condition (rigging, sails, spars, winches, deck condition, hull condition, last haulout, engine status, battery banks, electrics and electronics...).

There is a reason that this sort of question does not get answered well until about five pages into the thread, most of which will be not sunshine and wildflowers for your wild hair "plan"...
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Old 10-01-2017, 22:20   #6
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Re: How Cheap Could It Be Done

SF, you went to a lot of time and effort to potentially save these guys from hell. Well done.
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Old 10-01-2017, 22:22   #7
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Re: How Cheap Could It Be Done

That is why I'm on here, to find some things out. I'll likely have a well typed reply for you in the morning, responding and answering your various questions, but for me it's getting late, so till then, goodnight.
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Old 10-01-2017, 22:23   #8
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Re: How Cheap Could It Be Done

Not trying to be mean, mods, but really... there surely must be more material available to actually answer such a question, should there not??

Uncivilized is right about the monthly issue in terms of consumables, but that is by far likely the lower figure if the boat is a leaky tub with crappy sails and rigging (which will need maintaining along the way). It cost me a ton for new rigging and sails for my tiny 27 footer, cost 750 and 1000 per for main and fore, and those are just factory sized ones from a discount Canadian loft before shipping. In Florida they cost more from the local lofts I have contacted.

If I go with a spinnaker and extra sails of other sized, it changes, and if I use Craigslist and eBay those figures change as well (for the better, thankfully, but then they are used sails, so caveat emptor there). We need more info to be able to give an answer the OP can actually use with any real chance of coming in even close to realistically guessing costs.
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Old 10-01-2017, 22:25   #9
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Re: How Cheap Could It Be Done

The other thing is that costs for a 25 foot boat are massively different than they are for a 35 footer too!
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Old 10-01-2017, 22:27   #10
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Re: How Cheap Could It Be Done

Just browse through some of the posts (other than the OpenCPN ones) of boat_alexandra.

Basically, he's just about sailed around the world on zero dollars in a little Bristol 27.
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Old 10-01-2017, 22:34   #11
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Re: How Cheap Could It Be Done

$5-10K buy and outfit.

$500-750/mo living and maintenance.

That will keep you going for 18-30mo if you are semi-lucky, then you will probably need to plunk down several $k for a boat refit which would then keep you going for another 18-30mo until the next refit.
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Old 10-01-2017, 22:41   #12
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Re: How Cheap Could It Be Done

Easy....however much you want to spend ranging from $10k and up.
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Old 10-01-2017, 22:53   #13
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Re: How Cheap Could It Be Done

If the boat is well fitted out to start with and has few 'systems' to break down then it should be do-able on a very small budget. Just make sure the equipment you have is all in good order, that you have spares, and that you know how to fix stuff.
Getting organised will be you main expense.

Once you get moving....

Food you need anyway... ashore or afloat.

Can't speak about Hawaii but once in the South Pacific you should be able to avoid marinas 99.9% of the time... even in NZ . I know a chap who is currently renting a pile mooring not many miles from central Auckland for $60 a month... and those are New Zealand dollars. My last westbound crossing I only paid once .. in Bora Bora... 3 days on a mooring... plus a few dollars for FW. Oh and you will want a bit of cash for diesel.

Entry and exit fees may cost a few bob in each country but not that much.

Of course you will spend money when in port.. beer and bus fares mainly.

You would want a few thousand at least set aside for emergencies.

I don't think BoatAlexander should be put forward as an example to follow.....
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Old 10-01-2017, 22:55   #14
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Re: How Cheap Could It Be Done

To keep things cheap, the easiest way to do things is to use the technology (& levels of complication/gear) found in say 1900, or 1950. You can still sail quite safely, & have grand adventures... while exhibiting/learning much better seamanship than currently is common. And do it on a fraction of today's budgets. The how much depends on where one's priorities lay.
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Old 10-01-2017, 23:46   #15
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Re: How Cheap Could It Be Done

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Originally Posted by UNCIVILIZED View Post
To keep things cheap, the easiest way to do things is to use the technology (& levels of complication/gear) found in say 1900, or 1950. You can still sail quite safely, & have grand adventures... while exhibiting/learning much better seamanship than currently is common. And do it on a fraction of today's budgets. The how much depends on where one's priorities lay.
Uncivilized, again, I think you are definitely onto something here. Priorities rule your wallet. That and willingness to expend effort and learn about splicing your own lines, and other seamanship skills prior to or during a trip (but before they are emergency solutions that were not learned in time).

I think this dependency upon a high living standard is probably one of the (if not THE) biggest cost a person will experience on a regular basis when it comes to life in general, in fact. When we are willing to live with less than top shelf options and technological gadgetry, things get simpler, they get less costly, and we learn to live with less. We don't need most of the things we have in general as a society, and if we can just divorce ourselves from wants and deal only with needs and some minor pleasantries now and then (that we can make ourselves to keep the costs down) I also think it entirely possible to really stretch the dollar.

Of course, that means the person must handle external hull repairs based on tidal flows and beaching of the boat, maintenance of the boat underway rather than waiting for faltering (or just in-use and stored) gear to actually break, perhaps store and eat powdered eggs and milk at times, and survive on beans and rice now and then too. Pulling in a non-reef fish may be of help now and then (though I have been hearing that in the Atlantic pelagic fish have been invaded by cig. poisoning toxin as well as the reef fish, to include the ever-delicious mahi-mahi, sadly, though I would still be tempted...).

I grew up using cinder blocks and boards for furniture (yes, not kidding) so even a dining room table is a luxury to me (we used to use a wire spool!). My parents raised 6 kids on little. We ate lots of rice, chicken backs, necks, and feet (yes, chicken feet, we raised the birds ourselves too in most cases), eggs when the birds layed them, and occasionally ate the goat or burro that harmed one of us kids (my dad would obtain stock and if one of us got harmed by the animal, it hit the dinner table that night in many cases, and yes, we did eat the burro). I have no idea how many gallons of goat milk and powdered milk I have consumed as a child. Good thing the family dog never bit one of us, because Dad would not have hesitated even a moment.

My wife would never be content to live the life I grew up with, and I have no doubt that I could live darned cheaply at sea. She is not nearly so interested in that level of experience, though it is definitely a level of freedom that many don't understand because they are indeed tied to the consumerism that we are living in today as a society. One only has to consider that you can't go to the store for impulse purchases if you are not within sight of land or attached to the Internet, and you have limited space for infrequently used crap on a boat!

I have no doubt that day to day living costs can be danged low for someone able to make the necessary adjustments to life to relish the simple things, but most people cannot do that, I believe. It is just too far for them to handle the shift in priorities, and they miss "the good life" that actually sucks the life out of them while they are trying desperately to get to the next paycheck so that they can add further to their debt load and finance more lifestyle choices that they cannot actually afford with what they already have in hand. Thus is our social structure.

I know that food-wise, a couple people can live in the US on less than $200 a month. I know this for sure, as I do it now. They won't have name brand stuff in most cases, and they will have to cook but it is easily possible, especially if they are not gorging themselves. On a boat, it would be even easier to do because there is less temptation to buy crap you don't need and don't have room to store, if you shop intelligently. That is even without bartering food you tire of for new items in foreign ports or among other cruisers.

For repairs, no telling what the costs are because it depends on the status of the vessel at start, the handiness of those on board, and how skilled the crew is at dealing with repairs and especially bad weather (with attendant potential damage if they push the vessel too hard). It also depends on just what systems are on board, all as others have already stated.

So for OP, set expectations of luxury and existence, decide on available budget for initial fitment and condition of vessel (and maintenance of her systems), figure out how well one can feed self from the sea (you can drag a line along the way, but cannot count on always hooking something edible and getting it on board before something else takes a bite) as well as how you are going to cook or smoke it, and a budget can be created that will get you close, though you will still have requirement to set aside something for emergencies as again, others have stated.
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