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Old 15-07-2012, 19:28   #1
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I did it for 500 dollars a month!

New to this forum but was reading the Budget sailor posts for 500 dollars a month? Well trailor sailors and you guys that own the pier queens here is my story. after 21 years in the Coast Guard and 3 sailboats ( Pier Queens) that never made it past freeport Bahamas, I bought a less than seaworthy 1973 Prout 35 cat for 23k worked on it for 6 months, (sunk another 6k into her) outfitted her and sailed for two and a half years to Bahamas, Mexico, Belize, Panama and to grand cayman and back to Miami.I must admit some months I spent a little more than 500 but some (Mexico I spent less than 300). I single handed her so food for only one. Port of entry was biggest cost after food, beer and fuel, 150 dollars to get in Bahamas ouch! Diving and fishing alot ate like a king, met alot of great people along the way and many crazy Candians. I lived off my CG retirement and still have health care thru them for a small yearly fee. I am looking forward to another trip soon still, this time to the Virgin Islands. For all you guys that dream of sailing away, keep your dream alive and one day make it happen!
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Old 15-07-2012, 19:34   #2
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Re: I did it for 500 dollars a month!

very very nice! Extremely jealous........i am really trying to set myself free from day to day grind!!!
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Old 15-07-2012, 19:42   #3
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Re: I did it for 500 dollars a month!

Great post!
So I'm hoping a couple can do it for $1000. Can you elaborate on the systems on your boat. Were you cruising with a minimalist mentality or bells and whistles such as watermaker, freezer, etc.
Thank you for the encouragement
Anna
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Old 15-07-2012, 20:50   #4
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Re: I did it for 500 dollars a month!

Welcome crazycat. That's the kinda thing I like to hear. Enjoy.
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Old 15-07-2012, 21:03   #5
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Re: I did it for 500 dollars a month!

food , beer and fuel.
did you buy more than one beer?
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Old 15-07-2012, 21:45   #6
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Re: I did it for 500 dollars a month!

C & A okay I'm no pee in a bucket tape the sails with duct tape kinda guy, here are most items on Crazycat..Autohelm ST6000, withSt 50 depth sounder and wind ,arogen 4 wind generator, jrc radar, garmin GPS ( I always carry a handheld also).She motors on a 28 hp 3 cylinder, 12v ref with small freezer. 31 gallon x 2 water tanks and 2 x 27.5 fuel tanks. I upgraded the head with a 20 gallon holding. 8hp inflatable with 2 hp honda- has trouble getting out of its own way in a headwind but better than rowing. I have changed ground tackle so many times I can't count. This is a big factor I have found as most mishaps are from anchoring and not really sailing. I currently use a bruce and a dansfort 150 ft of chain and 75 ft of chain line. I am the windlass but I am a bigstrong guy but only put out what I need, but a electric windlass could be in my future but I am running out of room.

bruce - Mexican beer is cheap and lobster is a great trade with the older couples. In Georgetown I traded 6 lobster and a snapper for a bottle of Candian Mist. love you Candians!!!
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Old 15-07-2012, 22:14   #7
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Re: I did it for 500 dollars a month!

You did sail in some of the least expensive waters in the Caribbean, and that is key. We can live off of almost nothing here in Panama, but when we go to French Polynesia a totally different story.

Good on you, we have a similar budget, but there are two of us and a dog and it's more like $1000 per month.
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Old 15-07-2012, 22:33   #8
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Re: I did it for 500 dollars a month!

In the mid '70s my wife and I sailed to French Polynesia and back to Hawaii for a year and a half. Spent a little over $1,200 for the entire time we were out including a couple hundred dollars for boat stuff. The boat was thoroughly stocked before we left which isn't included in the $1200 and it was 1977 dollars so you have to multiply that figure by 5 or so to get current day dollars.

We spent a lot of time in the Marquesas and Tuamotus where you either couldn't spend or prices were so high that spending money felt really stupid. I dove regularly for Lobster and got sick of eating it, we had so much. We went out with the locals and did some hunting, you can eat goat. We drug a line when out sailing and had pretty good luck. Helped ease ourselves into local milieu when we'd drop anchor and take a 30# Ono or Mahi Mahi ashore for the locals. In the Tuamotu's, spear fishing was so good, we kept ourselves in fish for every meal with excess distributed ashore. Fishing, diving and hunting was pretty much non existant in the Societies. The subsidized fresh Baguettes that we'd get every morning from a passing truck on the road in front of our anchorage eased the pain.

We didn't drink much. When it was particularly hot and thirsty out, I'd row ashore and get a cold Hinano Liter bottle from the Chinois store. I'd take it back to the boat and Faye would cook up some pop corn or shrimp chips and we'd pig out.

Think we went out for a meal once or twice but was very disappointed in the quality of the food for the cost. Faye made way better meals on our Kero stove than any restaurant we found then. The hotels on Moorea featured NZ lamb and canned peas, something we could buy from the local store and cook up for a fraction of the cost.

Our boat was new and we'd built it ourselves so didn't have any major mechanical difficulities fixed the few things ourselves that went wrong. We had no refrigeration and I'm thankful we didn't. Seemed those with refrigeration spent most of their time in hot, noisy and stinky Papeete trying to keep it running. We could get fresh produce close to every anchorage we were in in the Societies and bartered with the locals for what little fresh stuff there was available in the Marquesas and Tuamotus. Faye found some really creative ways to use Green Papaya which were plentiful. Didn't miss refrigeration at all.

Water makers were unheard of then so we didn't miss that. We never had to schlep water as we filled our tanks off the awning from occasional passing rain showers. We spent so much time in the water that showers were something we never worried about. A quick rinse down with freshwater was our limited use of freshwater and worked fine.

We helped out the locals when we could. Hunting in the Marquesas, collecting copra in the Tuamotus and a local fiberglass shop on Moorea took up a lot of our time. Hikes ashore and trips on borrowed bikes took care of our exercise needs above and beyond snorkeling.

Then there was the socialization with other cruisers which was really fascinating in it's own right. In one anchorage in the Marquesas, had a research vetenarian from Scotland, an electronics genius who'd been in on the creation of digital displays fresh out of college, a doctor of osteopathy, a Husquvarna factory moto cross rider from Sweden, a stock broker from California, a printing press operator couple from SF, and a young french couple who'd sailed a twenty some foot converted life boat from Europe. A very eclectic crowd and all under 50 with most close to 30. More than half had built their boats and no one was in a boat over 40' and with most considerably smaller.

We lived well but not extravagantly and didn't miss the trappings of civilization. As you've probably divined, the demographics of the then cruising crowd was a bit different than todays 'adventurer.' None of us had an excess of money or at least flaunted it. To do the 6 month renewal of your visa in Papeete, every one had to show the Gendarmes something like a $1,000 per person. We'd go around the boats anchored at the Quai and collect the needed cash to show the Gendarmes for the extension. Good thing they didn't mark the bills as they'd have quickly seen the Yachty recycling program was working great.
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Old 15-07-2012, 22:39   #9
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Re: I did it for 500 dollars a month!



According to some $500/month can't be done on a cat.

I will be happy with 1000/1500 month.

cheers
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Old 15-07-2012, 22:44   #10
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Re: I did it for 500 dollars a month!

It's not like that anymore......... I'm not sure what happened over the past 40 years, but things have changed. Now governments see cruisers of every shape and size as a monetary opportunity. So do the locals.

We are budgeting more than $500 for French Polynesia, and we are pretty low budget cruisers.
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Old 15-07-2012, 22:59   #11
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Re: I did it for 500 dollars a month!

YOUMEAND THE D,
Checked out your blog love Mr D! I no nothing about blogging but I can take my dingy outboard apart and put it back together in a 3 feet sea?
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Old 15-07-2012, 23:04   #12
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Re: I did it for 500 dollars a month!

Crazycat

Nice to hear it can still be done. Did you post on the $500 a month thread yet?
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Old 16-07-2012, 06:58   #13
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Re: I did it for 500 dollars a month!

Thanks, trying to give back a little for all the time I spent in a cubicle reading others and dreaming.

Quote:
I no nothing about blogging but I can take my dingy outboard apart and put it back together in a 3 feet sea?
Cool?
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Old 16-07-2012, 07:15   #14
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Re: I did it for 500 dollars a month!

Yes, Some places are cheap and some are very un cheap.
Ultimately, I lime in the most expensive part of the Caribbean because that is where the money is. Hard to earn money in Mexico.
Never had a retirement or dis ability or pension.
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Old 16-07-2012, 07:16   #15
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Re: I did it for 500 dollars a month!



Do you have any solar power?

It sounds like a very cool trip. Would like to see some pictures if you have any.

How do you find anchoring out on a cat?
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