I think if people are looking for a definition of 'the frugal sailor' they could look more closely at such esteemed predecessors as Sandy Mackinnon and his 'Voyage of Jack de Crow'; or Frank and Margaret Dye's 'Sailing on the Edge of Fear'; or even Charles Stock's 'Sailing Just for Fun'.
OK, so maybe Frank Dye has more in common with 'adventurers' like Serge Testa, or young Matt Rutherford's 'Solo the Americas', or perhaps even David Lewis' 'Ice Bird' adventures, but one can hardly argue the 'derring-do' angle for Stock, who sailed mostly weekends and holidays in his local English Channel
waters, for years and years, sailing the same stretch of water
But all did a lot with a little boat and not much money.
In recent years, Kiwi Jon Tucker and two of his sons emulated aspects of Kiwi David Lewis' trip in their home-built steel sloop
Snow Petrel, and on a tight budget
, but they had to equip the boat with lots more gear
than Lewis did in the seventies, so should they have gone 'cheap' as he did, with only a sextant
, or was the expense of the HF radio
'allowable' under the 'Rules of Frugality'? [tongue very firmly in cheek]
I think the key thing to note is that if you don't have a lot of cash, but still want to go sailing, you must by the nature of the beast demonstrate frugality, as per the dictionary definition.
Even Frank Dye shipped his boat to the USA, for example, and then flew out himself to sail the rugged east coast
. Hardly a 'cheap' exercise, but it was no doubt cheaper than buying
and fitting out a boat in the States to do the same trip. His was already set up for the job, and being only 16ft long, wasn't too expensive to ship.
boat operators exist to serve those slightly less adventurous than Frank.
But is it 'cheap' to utilise a charter
, rather than buying
a boat yourself and coping with the ongoing bottomless pit of expenses? Or is this a 'frugal' option also?
I think we can all agree that anyone who A) has loads of cash, and B) throws money at a problem in order to solve it, probably isn't a frugal sailor.
But to argue that the owner of a large motor
yacht is being frugal simply because they shop at local markets, or purchase diesel
in bulk where it is most cost-effectively purchased, is to argue a non-sequiteur........anyone rich enough to afford a large motor
yacht could easily have purchased a smaller one, or a second hand one, and saved a huge sum to enable them to sail more often and travel further. The latter approach should be considered frugal, I think.
But I do think we are getting off track, as the OP stated the notion of the 'frugal sailor' was seeking a bargain boat buy that enabled someone to sail who otherwise might have considered sailing to be beyond their means.
And of all the options suggested, trailer
boats - what are called in this country 'trailer-sailers' - epitomise this approach. Trailed to the water
, rigged and sailed, then de-rigged and trailed home again. Can even be trailed long distances to sail in another area much more quickly than one could sail there, for example, to fit in with limited holidays and time off work.
(and certainly 'haul-out' jobs) can be done in the driveway, by the owner. Being smaller anyway (around 30ft seems to be the max possible for a trailer
boat) everything is smaller and thus 'cheaper' - or should that read, 'more cost-effective'....?
And where moorings are limited and marinas
, keeping the boat on your driveway is both sensible and cost-effective, but also is an 'enabling' strategy, although it does perforce limit the size of the boats one can choose from.
In Oz, the national road transport rules prevent a car and trailer combo being greater than 19m in length overall, including overhangs (like a mast), so with a larger wagon or 4WD required to tow a larger trailer boat (again due to towing weight regs) the biggest boat probably can't be longer than 10m (33ft), allowing for 6m for the tow vehicle and 1.5m for the hitch bar, and 1.5m overhang for the mast
. Total 19m.
Actually there is often disputation over the overhang length, but I have researched it carefully and in NSW where I live there is only a legal
requirement to add a red flag if the overhang of the mast/boat is greater than 1.2m. The 'overall' length can't be more than 19m, so as long as your combo is within this it's legal
So there are *some* limitations placed on self-towed boats, but as anyone needing to move a larger boat will know, there are towing firms that can do this legally (for a fee).
So if you have a large beam cat (ie: anything over 2.5m seems to be illegal in most places) there is often an 'oversize load' law that enables it to be hauled by a certified operator. So smaller cats with say a 6m beam might be OK, but anything over this would need special permissions and major dramas to move, which is why cats tend to go no further than the hard of the local marina.
So cat owners tend to opt for 'anchor out' as their frugal storage
option, rather than a marina, but if SWMBO insists, then finding a 'cost-effective' marina berth can be desirable, but will not be 'as cheap' as anchoring
So perhaps larger cats are limited to those with more means than the 'most' frugal, although there are certainly enough Wharrams being lived aboard world-wide to perhaps put the lie to such an assertion.
So again, I think we'll have to agree that it is 'different strokes for different folks', and that one man's [sic] frugal is another's extravagance.
But how I wish we had the profligacy of AU$2000 boats in good condition that seems to be the case in the USA, and to a lesser extent Europe
. In Oz we struggle to find anything larger than a dinghy
for less than AU$5K, which seems to be about the benchmark for a 'fixer-upper 'glass monohull
I rarely see open-bridge-deck cats for less than AU$10K, and any Farrier that comes to the market in less than perfect condition will still ask around $10K for a homebuilt ply/glass boat from the seventies. Anything over 30ft is over $50K, and usually double that.
In the 30-40ft range, a 'bargain buy' in Oz is anything less than a grand a foot, so $15K for a 30fter is a bargain but will need major fitting out and prep work....usually.....there are occasional discrepancies to this rule
So adding the cost of moorings, maintenance, marina fees
(not cheap here) it is probably not a wonder few families opt for sailing, and it tends to be a boyzone thing.
We also don't have either the history
of coastal sailing that you have in the US, UK and Europe
, nor the coastal estuaries and rivers that enable this. We have few decent sized harbours, all of which tend to be crowded on nice weekends in summer, and our rivers tend to have dangerous bar crossings that make sailing the coast hazardous for small boats, thus tending to force people into larger, less cost-effective craft.
I know I'm generalizing, but the biggest number of boats in this country are small power boats - trailer boats to 6m length - and are mostly used for fishing
. Easier to 'rig' and get into and out of the water, quicker to get from A to B, but certainly not 'cheap' to purchase
- yet hundreds do so each year....at full retail price....!!
I don't know if there's an answer for us here, but certainly in the States cheap boat availability makes getting on the water a much more cost-effective proposition than it is here on Oz.
So are we less frugal, or is frugality more about location and availability, coupled with sailing traditions...???
And if,as the OP suggests, more people could be going sailing than currently do so, perhaps the question that needs to be asked is 'how do we make this clear to the wider population..?"
Aren't we CFers just preaching to the converted...???