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Old 01-02-2015, 07:37   #1
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The Frugal (AKA poor) Sailor

Inspired by several threads on cruisers forum, and especially by a wonderful thread continued by David Old Jersey Shoestring Sailors (Cruising on $500 per month - part II) I thought it would be good idea to offer some comfort to people who dont have hundreds of thousands of dollars and want to go sailing.

Firstly, for those with a little spare cash, but not a lot of it, due to family commitments or work or whatever, then the emphasis needs to be on quality and reliability over newness. In car terms, we would all like the Lexus but the Ford is all we can afford, and guess what? It will do EXACTLY the same job as the Lexus.

Do not be put off by the sailors here who talk about their boats and destinations and equipment costing more money than your house. That is just the way it is for those that can afford new and wonderful. you/I cannot afford that without selling up everything plus the firstborn. Sometimes in circumstances, we cannot even do that because of mortgages etc.

First establish your use of the vessel. Coastal? Freshwater? Distance offshore? Equipment required? Once done you can go looking.

What do all the boats shown at the bottom of the page have in common?

They are all under $7000 dollars. This is only a random selection of vessels for sale on ebay UK. The owners of the vessels have upgraded and fixed faults along the course of their ownership.

Age is your friend. An older vessel like one of these, with a careful survey will save you thousands upon thousands of Pounds and dollars and Euros.

You will not believe what can come with an older vessel. One that I surveyed, had 9 sails in good order. New rigging in 2011, new lines, 8 assorted lifejackets, Full older electronics suite, bottom had been re gel coated, keels reseated, all new interior and headlining redone. Came with little used 10 horse outboard, an inflatable and a 3 horse outboard. It was $6K for everything. A fully proved vessel that had been from the UK to Greece and sailed the Med for 5 years.

Rule 1 for the frugal sailor.

Save up to buy the boat outright with no debt.

Do not be making repayments in this price range. It means you can have cheaper insurance and every penny you put into the vessel is from choice and not requirement. If it needs to sit in your drive for a while to have work done in it...... it costs you nothing.

You can buy a 24-36 foot vessel in this price range in excellent condition. If you have more money to pay CASH, then look around.

Anyone can get into sailing for under 10K. If you were to look at my Westerly Centaur, you would be impressed by the gleam and polished bright work, not to mention the engine and interior decor. I can only take credit for the polish and attention to detail but the real work was done by the previous owners, and for that I have benefited enormously for a cost of less than £7000. Boating is my hobby, and right now it takes second place to some commitments I have to fulfil. There is nowhere barring ocean crossings that I would not take this boat. It is sturdy, seaworthy, well looked after and fit for the water. It has full electronics, radar, autopilot, spare parts and safety equipment. I have spent less than $1500 on additions, which were a personal choice, but not necessary for the vessel. It is kept on a berth for a small amount each month but could equally be at home on a mooring ball for less than £300 a year.

A sub- $10,000 boat, well chosen and paid for, is a boat that will get all the family on the water and depending on what comes with it in complete safety. It won't be a Lagoon catamaran or an oyster 53, but if chosen well will be vessel with a huge pedigree and seaworthy.

I am hoping that those that live aboard all those either through choice or no choice who opt to be frugal sailor's will add their experiences, comments and observations to encourage those who want to get into sailing but don't have the financial wherewithal to buy a premium vessel.

Remember this. If you are in the Bahamas in your 27 foot older vessel standing you at $7K looking at a fellow C.F'r in his 35 foot vessel standing him at $150K...... You are still in the Bahamas.
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Old 01-02-2015, 07:44   #2
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re: The Frugal (AKA poor) Sailor

Your rule #1 holds for all sizes, types and expense of boat.

Frugality is a universal thing - regardless of one's budget or how much their boat cost.

It is more about living within one's means and not overpaying for things - and not just living at or below a certain income/expense level.

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Old 01-02-2015, 07:53   #3
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re: The Frugal (AKA poor) Sailor

Iíve heard that the Grand Canyon was started by a frugal cruiser who lost a coin in a ditch.
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Old 01-02-2015, 07:53   #4
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re: The Frugal (AKA poor) Sailor

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Originally Posted by colemj View Post
Your rule #1 holds for all sizes, types and expense of boat.

Frugality is a universal thing - regardless of one's budget or how much their boat cost.

It is more about living within one's means and not overpaying for things - and not just living at or below a certain income/expense level.

Mark
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Old 01-02-2015, 08:06   #5
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re: The Frugal (AKA poor) Sailor

oI would agree with the premise of this thread except for one thing. Even a frugal sailor can do better than a Ford. And the boats shown all rate higher than a "Ford" on my sailboat scale. :-)

I am now on my second quality boat and have not yet spent more than 3k on boats that having come with healthy running inboards and good sail inventory. For the patient person willing to spend some hours in doing the research, it is simply amazing to me what people are wanting to part with especially in January/February and in some locations March.

Don't be fooled by expensive ad campaigns designed to get your attention for the latest and greatest. There are ways to cut so many corners and still be safe...
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Old 01-02-2015, 08:06   #6
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re: The Frugal (AKA poor) Sailor

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Originally Posted by HappyMdRSailor View Post
I wish somebody had told me this earlier...
As my mother used to tell me: " I can tell you, but I cant tell you much"
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Old 01-02-2015, 08:09   #7
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re: The Frugal (AKA poor) Sailor

there is an equation here......time rich divided by cash poor=the frugal sailor
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Old 01-02-2015, 08:36   #8
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re: The Frugal (AKA poor) Sailor

I like this thread, Weavis. This has always been our method of owning boats, and we have owned some very good seaworthy boats. We mostly bought cheap for cash from people who had various reasons for needing to unload, fixed them up on a pay-as-you-go basis, kept systems simple yet safe and enjoyed the heck out of them. Three of them we lived aboard which gave us an additional financial edge...no house payments. We are doing the same thing again (one last time) for our final cruising boat, $15K for a Cape Dory 33. Once again with a bit of elbow grease, a modest yet adequate (for safety and seaworthiness) additional refit investment, and keeping it simple we will have a fine, comfortable, capable vessel that can take us anyplace we might want to go.

With no boat debt and starting out with everything freshly refit our retirement dollars will stretch a long way.
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Old 01-02-2015, 08:37   #9
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re: The Frugal (AKA poor) Sailor

Quote:
Originally Posted by weavis View Post
As my mother used to tell me: " I can tell you, but I cant tell you much"
Boy howdy weevis... We shoulda listened just a bit more...
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Old 01-02-2015, 09:14   #10
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re: The Frugal (AKA poor) Sailor

While not being of the frugal mindset, I have always been looking for a bargain! Two words of advice... Do NOT take a vessel ill prepared to sea beyond her or the crew's capabilities. Too often I have pulled folks out of dire situations at sea because either they or their vessel were not up to the conditions. Second, learn to deal with disasters at sea. It is very different than land based difficulties where help is a phone call away. Self sufficiency, knowledge and equipment for emergencies are prerequisites for leaving the dock on a day sail or a passage.
I am all for saving a $,£ or€ but spend wisely on safety equipment, particularly used if in good nick. I recall picking up a canister 8 man life raft for $200 off a Far East commercial vessel a number of years ago. Had it re-supplied, checked out and re-certified in Ensenada, MX for $100US, four cases of Tecate beer and food for a party of about 15, family members of the raft re-cert crew. So for about $350, I had a virtually new raft, flares, food, etc., and peace of mind to,cruise Mexico for a couple of years.
'Just sayin'... you can do it on the cheap but do it! Phil
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Old 01-02-2015, 10:29   #11
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re: The Frugal (AKA poor) Sailor

After seeing so many expensive boats that are rarely used, I went with a very low cost boat. I wasn't sure if cruising was for me and I'm still not sure.

The good news is I only have about $7,000 in the boat so far after buying a new main, new outboard, bottom paint, some new running rigging, etc.

Insurance, liability, is only around $15.00/month for $500,000 worth of coverage.

There is a place maybe a day and a half sail from here where I can store the boat for $3.00/foot/month if I decide I'm through with sailing for a while.

My boat was loaded with equipment since the PO was returning from a 2 year cruise to Florida from Massachusetts.

The boat is strong enough to sail most anywhere I'd want to go and it has done quite well in winds to 35 knots. Can probably handle more but this is what I have dealt with on it personally.

I'm thinking more people should sail a smaller, more inexpensive boat when not actually cruising or living aboard just because to pay the maintenance , slip fees, etc for a larger boat that just sits at the dock most of the time seems to be a bit of a waste.

You could always get that big boat after you retire then spend your time prepping the new boat and selling the old one before you actually go cruising since you'll have nothing but time anyway.

Also, you can experiment on these old boats. I'm about to repaint the bottom and the topside hull on my boat.

What I know about painting boats is what I read online and on the side of the paint can.

I did find out the original 40 year old gelcoat was beige. Sanding is almost complete.
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Old 01-02-2015, 10:38   #12
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re: The Frugal (AKA poor) Sailor

I always found that there are usually a lot of good deals on boats bought by not so frugal sailors two years ago.

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Old 01-02-2015, 10:50   #13
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re: The Frugal (AKA poor) Sailor

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Originally Posted by Tellie View Post
I always found that there are usually a lot of good deals on boats bought by not so frugal sailors two years ago.

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Exactly !
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Raise your words, not your voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder.
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Old 01-02-2015, 10:55   #14
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re: The Frugal (AKA poor) Sailor

Quote:
Originally Posted by thomm225 View Post
After seeing so many expensive boats that are rarely used, I went with a very low cost boat. I wasn't sure if cruising was for me and I'm still not sure.

The good news is I only have about $7,000 in the boat so far after buying a new main, new outboard, bottom paint, some new running rigging, etc.

Insurance, liability, is only around $15.00/month for $500,000 worth of coverage.

There is a place maybe a day and a half sail from here where I can store the boat for $3.00/foot/month if I decide I'm through with sailing for a while.

My boat was loaded with equipment since the PO was returning from a 2 year cruise to Florida from Massachusetts.

The boat is strong enough to sail most anywhere I'd want to go and it has done quite well in winds to 35 knots. Can probably handle more but this is what I have dealt with on it personally.

I'm thinking more people should sail a smaller, more inexpensive boat when not actually cruising or living aboard just because to pay the maintenance , slip fees, etc for a larger boat that just sits at the dock most of the time seems to be a bit of a waste.

You could always get that big boat after you retire then spend your time prepping the new boat and selling the old one before you actually go cruising since you'll have nothing but time anyway.

Also, you can experiment on these old boats. I'm about to repaint the bottom and the topside hull on my boat.

What I know about painting boats is what I read online and on the side of the paint can.

I did find out the original 40 year old gelcoat was beige. Sanding is almost complete.
This is the kind of encouragement for people Im trying to foster.

GOOD boats can be found at others expense. Not everyone on here wants to sail around the world. Most are quite happy locally visiting the harbours and coves. For me in the UK, because its not my primary cruising ground of choice but IS where I am, I really enjoy the Bristol Channel and surrounds. When I go cruising where I want to be, then I will have my modest Catamaran that is well found by previous owners. I like things that have been worn in...
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10% of conflicts are due to different opinions. 90% by the tone of voice.
Raise your words, not your voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder.
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Old 01-02-2015, 10:57   #15
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re: The Frugal (AKA poor) Sailor

Quote:
Originally Posted by oldragbaggers View Post
I like this thread, Weavis. This has always been our method of owning boats, and we have owned some very good seaworthy boats. We mostly bought cheap for cash from people who had various reasons for needing to unload, fixed them up on a pay-as-you-go basis, kept systems simple yet safe and enjoyed the heck out of them. Three of them we lived aboard which gave us an additional financial edge...no house payments. We are doing the same thing again (one last time) for our final cruising boat, $15K for a Cape Dory 33. Once again with a bit of elbow grease, a modest yet adequate (for safety and seaworthiness) additional refit investment, and keeping it simple we will have a fine, comfortable, capable vessel that can take us anyplace we might want to go.

With no boat debt and starting out with everything freshly refit our retirement dollars will stretch a long way.
When do you think you will be heading off this time?
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Raise your words, not your voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder.
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