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Old 16-03-2006, 15:55   #1
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how much does it cost to liveaboard and cruise?

OK, so I know this is going to vary dramatically depending on lifestyle, etc, but can I get an informal poll on how much folks spend each month? I have no clue, so I'm looking for some numbers to start with.

I'm trying to figure out what amount of cash would be self-sustaining if I deserted land life. If I were to do this I'd most likely bum about Mexico, dunno after that. I'd liveaboard in the Bay Area for a while first. If lifestyles translate from land to water - I'm way cheap to begin with - I live reasonably comfortably on what's considered the poverty line for a single person in SF (according to the SF Chronicle).
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Old 16-03-2006, 16:51   #2
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Well annqueue.

It depends upon your lifestyle. Some people like to eat very healthy foods. Which can be pricey? And alot of people like to drink alcoholic drinks everyday.

It really depends on your lifestyle. Some people can cruise and liveaboard for less than a $1,000 a month? And with others more than that? It also depends on the marina you tie your boat up at?

The list is so long!! And like I said, it depends on your lifestyle mainly?
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Old 16-03-2006, 21:40   #3
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annqueue, The cost of cruising is very subjective, dependent on your comfort level, size and type of boat, and the locations you intend to cruise. That is of course assuming that you are asking about the cost of cruising, not just living aboard at dock. In your area, the poverty level is supposedly $40000 per year, although no one can afford to live there for less than six figures. At least, not beyond paycheck to paycheck. Even living aboard at dock is cheaper in the bay area than renting an apartment. The thousand a month figure is a good average starting point for cruising budget.
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Old 16-03-2006, 22:12   #4
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The cost of cruising goes up by the square of the number of meals and drinks you consume off the boat. You can cook all your own meals, catch and/or grow most of your own food, be content with a swimming suit and a couple ot T shirts and get by on virtually nothing.

FWIW, in '76-'77 we cruised French Polynesia for a grand total of $1100 including boat stuff. We ate fresh fish, lobster, goat, wild pig and free range beef that we either caught ourselves or helped the locals catch. We grew our own sprouts and learned to love Green Papaya as the sole available fresh vegetable. Coconut cream was a staple of our cooking. We spent somewhere between 3 and 10 hours every day either diving or hiking and hunting. We picked and prepared fresh Marquesan coffee that lasted us for months. Anyway you get the idea.

The boat was very thoroughly provisioned when we left so you would probably have to add another $750 in 1977 dollars to the money we spent. The $1100 did count all the reprovisioning we did along the way, fuel, souvenirs, a few miscellaneous boat parts, a couple of meals in French Restaurants and more than a few cold Hinanos at the local markets.

We lived austerly but ate like kings. My wife is a great cook and was always whipping up something like Lobster Neuberg, spicey barbequed goat or something from the oven.

We had just finished building the boat when we left so all systems were new and required very little in boat maintenance. The boat needed to have new bottom paint and the starter motor rebuilt when we got back. The working sails were still serivcable but a new suit of sails wouldn't have hurt. The reacher drifter was blown out and had more patches than a quilt so definitely needed to be replaced. The spinnaker and storm sails were in excellent condition.

You can translate those expenses into '06 dollars and it's still less than $600.00 a month. Could you cruise any cheaper, it's doubtful. Could you multiply that by a factor of 10, definitely.

To cruise cheaply, you have to stay out of marinas, restaurants and bars. Your boat has to be set up simply. The expensive electronic toys, refrigeration and doo dads on boats end up owning the skipper. They inevitably fail and seem to drive people crazy going to extreme lengths and expense to keep them in repair. The cost of ownership increases drastically with size. Systems become too unwieldy for one person to handle and complexity too great for anyone but a mechanical/electrical engineer who grew up on a self sufficient farm and could fabricate a smart bomb from tin foil and household chemicals. We ran into one of those out there, a real McGyver, btw.

One thing we did find. For those who wanted to continue to cruise, they found a way to do it. If you are serious about going sailing, you will find a way to live the life.

Aloha
Peter O.
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Old 17-03-2006, 03:47   #5
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Excellent analysis Peter O! Lots of content, in a few words.

Not only do the “do dads” cost time & money to maintain; but they deplete the initial kitty, that could have been spent on cruising sustenance.

I’d also aggree with Kevin, that $1K/mo is a good rough budget baseline for basic cruising (with all the provisos others have mentioned).
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Old 17-03-2006, 07:09   #6
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Just a note to check into liveaboard opportunities in the Bay area. Sounds inexpensive - until you find that there is a multiple-year waiting list for liveaboard slips, some areas prohibit liveaboards, etc. California is notorious for poor slip availability - particularly liveaboards.

Good luck with your cruising plans.

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Old 17-03-2006, 07:31   #7
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Annqueue:

I'd like to second Gord's comment about Peter's analysis and would encourage you to break down the variables he mentions and think about each of them WRT your *likely* lifestyle and locations.

Here are a couple of add'l thoughts intended to add a bit of perspective:
1. Peter's first year cruising, in French Polynesia, would likely have been his cheapest; the costs of a First Year, with larder full and gear spruced up, is usually the lowest for everyone. Part of the answer to your Q is how long you plan to live the lifestyle as the cost of maintaining the boat (as gear wears, new needs are identified, and as spares are used up in routine maintenance) inevitably climbs. Most crews' lifestyles also "climb". E.g. making do during year #1 without a good HF/SSB receiver so you can e.g. listen to the BBC for news & entertainment may hardly seem like a hardship, as every aspect of cruising is new and interesting. In year #3, not having several sources of news & entertainment may seem a hardship.
2. SF Bay area is obviously expensive. Parts of Mexico are very INexpensive...but others much more so. French Polynesia, if that's the direction you subsequently head, is very expensive and also requires some cash flow management due to their bond requirements. OTOH heading thru the Canal into the W Caribbean will blend an inexpensive cruising region with an expensive Canal transit. Along with YOU, THE BOAT and DURATION, the LOCATION influences one's expenses significantly.
3. This subject gets a lot of air time on the web. I'd encourage you to use the search engines at each of the 'good' cruising-oriented discussion boards if you want much diversity of comment; there's already a great deal of content out there. One thing you might try, if a bit of research sounds inviting, is to skim the posts in each thread while looking for concrete figures. Even long threads can be scanned in only a minute or two and yet will yield perhaps 10 data points on what given individual crews are spending. And FWIW a good thread to start with is at the SSCA Discussion Board: http://www.ssca.org/sscabb/index.php...pic=222&page=0
4. While scanning, try to also pick up categories of expense as you may find a few you didn't realize existed or you have no feel for; that would build a better overall understanding. As one example, we spent more money to clear into either Mexico or Guatemala than we've spent cumulatively in 3 years visiting the Atlantic islands and visiting 9 European countries. Some aspiriing cruisers with tight budgets don't even consider clearance fees in their financial planning...which may be okay but also maybe not. Looking for the 'surprise' categories might be helpful to you, too.

Good luck to you on your research & your plans.

Jack
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Old 17-03-2006, 08:30   #8
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Maybe Mico Verde will chime in on this. Their take on this topic is excellent and they're out there doing it now.
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Old 17-03-2006, 08:57   #9
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I've referenced this before.... Like them or not, the Bumfuzzle crew does a good job of listing expenses for their circumnavigation. Easy to decide what you personally would / would not spend money on while reviewing their expenditures.

http://www.bumfuzzle.com/

Heard from another couple "out there" who planned upon $1500 / month but found that to be too little.

As others have said, the true answer is "It Depends."

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Old 17-03-2006, 09:55   #10
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Peter - O

Peter-O:

Now this is what I envision crusing to be all about! The thrill of catching/cooking all local foods and dishes is something we are trying to learn how to do... even if that means doing it in the North Atlantic and Bahamas/FL area for now.

We are trying to learn everything we can about edible plants, the history of what people ate, sources of food other than the grocerty store, etc...

When we do not have charter guests, we are practicing eating this way and trying to live off of nothing. Ideally, we both want to be "survivalist" types who can understand nature and live off of it while sailing.

Someday, when/if we will have enough money to cruise indefinitely without chartering, we plan to dump all our "gizmos" overboard (figuratively) and give natural living a shot. Your excellent post really speaks to me. It's great to see other people have done something like this.

PS: I may try my hand at hunting deer next year in Maine. We have a great freezer (thanks to Mark from this forum) and once it's up and running, I'll be able to put a lot of meat in there. Of course, there would still be a lot left, so I would have to give a bunch away. I'll post my hunting questions later... ha ha ha
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Old 18-03-2006, 13:12   #11
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All good replies!
From someone "bumming around Mexico" I would agree with the $1000/mo figure IF you mostly stay out of marinas, bars and restaurants, and try to catch fish every chance you get. Practice wise provisioning (stocking up on staples at big markets instead of buying little bits at inflated prices from the local tienda), don't buy much exotic (imported) booze, and basically live simply.
OTOH, if you like to live it up, 4K/mo might barely cut it!
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Old 19-03-2006, 09:58   #12
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For your interest, there is a list of several cruisers and their budgets at http://www.stingo.co.za/ select "odds and Ends" from the menu on the left of the home page, and one of the options is cruising budget.
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Old 20-03-2006, 12:57   #13
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thanks!

Thank you all for the wonderful responses. Now I've got a bunch of places to start & things to think about, at least. I'm sure I'll have more questions as things progress... if they progress... I'm still trying to decide if this lifestyle is something I want to get into. Life really becomes about the boat.

I've already been warned about liveaboard slip (un)availability here. Apparently the secret is to know some folks living aboard and make friends with their harbormaster. Either that or buy a boat in a transferable slip, but I'd really rather not buy a boat just based on its being in the right slip.

As for the $40K poverty level in the Bay Area, well, I live just fine on $18K a year here. I save the rest of my income. So you see I'm no stranger to cheap living, I'm just clueless about boating! My partner, however, has been to Mazatlan on Somebody Else's Boat. I'll refer him here.
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Old 20-03-2006, 17:03   #14
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THat $40k figure is just what the press is saying. Comfort level is, on land, as much a factor is it is aboard a boat. Check Richmond marina for a possible livaboard slip. Also, if you choose the bay, there is supposedly a environmantal restriction limiting live aboards to 36' or bigger. I have encountered it in several marinas in the bay. The delta is another good consideration for a live aboard location. Slips are available. Try the Rio Vista Area.
The unfortunate reality that applies both on land and aboard is the more you have, the more you need. If you can get by on public transportation, renting a small apartement in a not so good neighborhood, and limiting your entertainment to cheap interests, $1200 a month will do fine. If you want good electronics on your boat, watermaker, solar panels, wind generater, and all the other goodies that take maintenance, and rely on other systems that take maintenance, the cost of living aboard will be higher. If you need to be in a slip so you can work every day, and require a specific location such as San Francisco, and need a marina with all the amenities, such as 30 amp power, showers laundry room (yes there are marinas that do not have these things), you will find your cost of living quite a bit higher. When cruising, if you have the ability to repair every system on your boat, are comfortable anchoring out all the time, and are not buying Mexican beer, your costs will be low. Every time you go into a marina, expect it to hurt. Especially in Mexico In Baja, and Sea of Cortez, slip fees are on par with California. Haul outs are generally cheaper, but it will still cost you several hundred per year to haul out in a boat yard, and buy paint and zincs. I know a couple that left 2 years ago for the Marquesis and then Australia. By the time they got to Australia, they had spent $360. Their little Aries 32 was very self contained, and they are very thrifty people, so I would consider this a bare minimum OTOH, $4000 per month? I think I would be too hung over from partying to sail
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Old 20-03-2006, 17:25   #15
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