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Old 01-10-2007, 14:08   #1
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Budget for Circumnavigation

Please direct me to the right thread if this has been discussed before...

I know this is very subjective, but what is the minimum thumbsuck $$$ that one should have in the kitty, cash flow wise, for a 3 year trade wind circumnavigation with wife and 2 toddlers? Assume the cat is around 7 years old with no major problems, but include normal wear and tear (maybe one or two haul outs?), red tape money (all check ins/outs, bribes, Panama etc etc), food, booze, diesel, kids stuff, wife stuff, basic medical stuff, restaurants every now and then, sightseeing, mooring fees, will be mostly anchoring out, DONT include flights home, unexpected medical bills or major breakdown.

This is the kitty required for everything after you depart, not the kitty required for getting the boat ready.

Any input would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 01-10-2007, 14:18   #2
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This site is sort of taboo around here, but on bumfuzzle.com they did a pretty good job of keeping tabs of their expenses. It's a good starting point.
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Old 01-10-2007, 14:51   #3
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The Bumfuzzles are only taboo for some -- personally, I've found them quite entertaining, approachable and helpful.

If you want, Fishman, since their budget information is some of the most detailed and current that is publicly available, I took it and put it all into an Excel file for my own planning purposes.

Shoot me an email and I'll be happy to send it to you.

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Old 06-10-2007, 09:12   #4
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Thanks for pointing me to the Bumfuzzle budget. According to their figures I worked out that over 44 months of cruising they spent approx $130k - which is an average of $3000/month (so 3 years = $108000). I assume this includes all sorts of flights, holidays at home etc. I am hoping to to do it for a lot less/month - use their figures as a worst case scenario.
Anybody else have any figures?
Thanks
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Old 06-10-2007, 09:28   #5
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I'm planning on 1000 per month (about $2000 US). I found the 'Bumfuzles' entertaining, but they obviously had a shed-load of money. Most cruisers can't afford to eat out/rent cars etc as often as they did. I may be wrong, but I think the guy was a commodities trader in Chigaco.
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Old 06-10-2007, 09:59   #6
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I'm planning on 1000 per month (about $2000 US). I found the 'Bumfuzles' entertaining, but they obviously had a shed-load of money. Most cruisers can't afford to eat out/rent cars etc as often as they did. I may be wrong, but I think the guy was a commodities trader in Chigaco.
You are correct, Troutbridge. Pat Schulte was indeed a commodities trader in Chicago, and he owned a seat on the CBOT (Chicago Board of Trade). When they were asked how people so young could afford to do what they were doing, they were honest when answering. When they were then told by the questioner that that sounded like an easy way to make money, they would ask, "Do you know anything about soybeans?"

Obviously, commodities trading isn't for everyone. It is demanding, high-pressure, intense activity that few people are really good at. Even those who go into commodities trading as a profession don't all succeed equally. Many go broke, in fact.

The (late, probably) Steve Fossett was also a commodities trader in Chicago early in his career. He, too, did quite well, and it set him up to pursue his "World Records" quest.

I know that many people on this board are highly resentful toward the Schultes, but I think an unbiased, open-minded person would observe what they have accomplished in their young lives and applaud. So what if they didn't "love" sailing. It didn't prevent them from buying a small-ish cat and sailing her around the world.

As to their budget, keep in mind that their light-hearted, fun-loving approach to living the dream of circumnavigating meant they had a unique set of priorities. Remember, too, that they had the capital to afford to do it their way.

Not in their day-to-day budget numbers are the big expenditures to keep their vessel going. Their Wildcat had to be practically re-built in New Zealand so they could resume their trip. That was the only time they flew home, IIRC, and it cost them almost a half-year waiting for the completion of repairs, but it did not stop them.

Like Intentional Drifter, I admire their guts and tenacity. I continue to follow their on-going adventures at bumfuzzle.com and I hope they never stop pushing the envelope.

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Old 06-10-2007, 13:06   #7
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I only read their story up to the Marquesas, I was truly inspired by how little they knew in the beginning and how far they got! Made me realize that there is no reason why my wife, kids and I should not go! "If they can do it....."
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Old 06-10-2007, 19:46   #8
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I think that "traditional" sailors threw a lot of darts at them and certainly a lot of things could have gone wrong that they may not have been able to handle.

But it points out that with modern equipment, modern navigation and some intelligence long range cruising is quite achievable for the average person. They were very lighthearted about it al but I am sure that they asked a lot of quesitons along the way - When to make crossings and so on. I think if they had had to do it in a wooden boat from 1963 and traditional navigation they would still be doing circles in the pacific somewhere.

I mean look at how many people get up Everest these days. You got money and just about no adventure is unobtainable.
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Old 06-10-2007, 20:39   #9
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The cost of living on a modest sailboat is small. Going around the world in the tradewinds and sailing to remote destinations is relatively cheap. Since the time of Joshua Slocum and Harry Pidgeon, hundreds of people have circumnavigated on a shoestring.

Most people don't want to live on a shoestring. They visit expensive places, eat at expensive restaurants, take expensive tours, and purchase expensive toys.

The cost of living high sinks more sailing dreams than icebergs, reefs, and storm-tossed seas combined.

If the goal is to sail around the world on a small affordable yacht, you can do it on less than a thousand dollars a month. If the goal is to live high as you sail around the world on an expensive large yacht, then you better have a large bank account.

On Exit Only, we lived on $500 to $1000 per month when out cruising in paradise. It was only when we returned to "civilization" that our expenses substantially increased.
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Old 06-10-2007, 21:23   #10
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Don't be fooled by their apparent "attitude" and seeming ineptness - Pat and Ali are very, very far from stupid. Like many of Jim Carey's early characters, I think much of it was showmanship calculated to get attention. And, they did it very well.

Having carefully reviewed their spending figures along with their logs, I would say that they lived pretty high. They stayed in some nice (read: expensive) marinas and didn't lack for booze and pizza, no matter the cost. I'm using their figures as the "upper margins" of expenses and planning to spend much less. The views and the water are the same, for everyone.

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Old 06-10-2007, 21:31   #11
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I enjoy your posts, Dan, and trust that you will accept the following as my attempt to defend people I've met and respect.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ex-Calif View Post
I think that . . . a lot of things could have gone wrong that they may not have been able to handle.

. . . it points out that with modern equipment, modern navigation and some intelligence long range cruising is quite achievable for the average person.

In a court of law, this would be the point where the defense attorney jumps to his/her feet and shouts, "Objection, your honor! Assumes facts not in evidence!"

Unanticipated events could befall any of us, at any time, and until they do it is fair to say that we may not be able to handle them. Your judgment that the Schultes possess only "some intelligence" is, I can assure you from having met them and done business with them, far short of an accurate portrayal of either Pat or Ali.

And your characterization of the Schultes as "average" people whose accomplishment of a circumnavigation isn't extraordinary is perhaps unintentional. If the feat were as easy as you infer, then many of the "average" dreamers on this Forum would be doing it too.

They were very lighthearted about it al but I am sure that they asked a lot of quesitons along the way - When to make crossings and so on.

Again, this assumes certain "facts." Even a casual reading of their logs reveals that they are much more inclined to go their own way - their preference was always to sail alone, as well as to anchor away from the mob when at all possible.

What comes through clearly in their logs is that the generally older cruising crowd was off-putting to the Schultes, and they almost never sought guidance from the cruisers they met along the way. When other cruisers offered unsolicited "advice," the Schultes without fail, if the logs are accurate, rejected it.

What isn't clear in the logs is that Pat Schulte, especially, is exceptionally intelligent, that he read all of the essential cruising material both before and during their voyage, and that he was a much more competent mechanic than his logs might make one think long before he ever owned a boat.

I think it is Pat's self-deprecating writing style that makes some people assume the Schultes were just lucky. I like the quote of Seneca the Younger, "Luck is when preparation meets opportunity," and the Schultes were indeed prepared, and gave themselves the opportunity.

I think if they had had to do it in a wooden boat from 1963 and traditional navigation they would still be doing circles in the pacific somewhere.

This is gratuitous, Dan, and unworthy of your generally well-reasoned thoughts.

I mean look at how many people get up Everest these days. You got money and just about no adventure is unobtainable.

If you're referring to the loathsome practice of well-to-do "mountaineers" being short-roped up Everest for an obscene amount of money, I think the equivalent would have to be a "mariner" hiring an experienced captain to sail him around the world. Obviously, the Schultes didn't do that.

They were the only crew aboard Bumfuzzle, and their accomplishment deserves the respect of anyone who has only dreamed of sailing around the world - I'm reasonably certain that others who have actually achieved a circumnavigation respect them.

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Old 07-10-2007, 01:56   #12
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I'd agree almost 100% with Tao Jones. There is absolutely no reason why, with study and preparation, an inexperienced sailor shouldn't buy a suitable boat and embark on a lengthy voyage, be it a circumnavigation or an extended cruise. Incidentally, by preparation I don't mean spend years 'working up' to the long trip. I'd agree about the writing style (I found it entertaining). The only 'counsel' I would offer would be to not automatically reject advice from people you may not naturally identify with. I can quite see how a 'brash, wealthy young couple' would get up the noses of long-term cruisers, equally I can well see how many cruisers can come across as 'old farts'. Some times people you don't identify with do have useful information, so it is a mistake to automatically reject it. So far I've only made one 18 month extended cruise, the 'big one' starts next year. I started off with some opinions and book knowledge, I now have some practical knowledge and some of my opinions have changed. Life is a learning experience, I've tried to evaluate advice given by people I don't agree with...being human, of course, I don't always practice what I've just preached.
Glad to read Maxing out's budget comments, I'm looking forward to an enjoyable cruise.
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Old 07-10-2007, 04:51   #13
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My motto is "just do it..." which is why I like Bumfuzzle. I built two wooden boats (one was a 60 ton ironwood ketch) with zero experience. Now with all my subsequent experience I would be able to come up with plenty of reasons why building a wooden boat in a foreign country is a crazy idea...(and then not do it). Sometimes knowing "too much" will leave you too scared to go out the front door! There comes a point where one must take a leap of faith and just go for it, irrespective of your experience. I like Bumfuzzle also because I can show my wife that a couple with far less experiece than us pulled it off no problem....
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Old 07-10-2007, 19:14   #14
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I enjoy your posts, Dan, and trust that you will accept the following as my attempt to defend people I've met and respect.
TJ - Maybe my post came across as derogatory towards Bumfuzzle in some way. Perhaps I could have expressed myself better. But rest assured I read both sides of an issue with as little bias as possible and form my own opinion - right or wrong. I didn't mean to "attack" them - I am actually quite ambivalent towards them.

"I think that "traditional" sailors threw a lot of darts at them " The missing word is "unfairly."

I think the "traditional" sailors often feel that this nautical world requires some sort of apprenticeship or other sacrificial earning of rights that Pat & Ali had not made at the begining of their adventure. There are lot's of posts around here tellilng people to go get experience and then when someone does they get blasted for going off-shore without a babysitter.

I disagree with that. The only way to earn your stripes is to get the miles in. Take bigger and bigger steps to fill up the experience bag.

"They were very lighthearted about it all but I am sure that they asked a lot of quesitons along the way"

They spent several weeks in Florida with the broker at the beginning of the cruise. I am also sure he was well read - that's my point. He just didn't pick up the keys and launch. Cruising the carribean is a great way to start.

I think you are right. Their entire aura is one of a little controversy - Marketing 101. They did a great job at this.

Polarizing large groups of people is what it's all about and here we are still talking about them. For this single thing alone they must be respected.

The only thing I will push back on is that Pat and Ali "are" pretty average for boaters. Based on those I have met in the boating life the average intelligence is quite high. You have a very large community of people with large amounts of disposable incomes.

I just don't put them on a pedestal. But I don't put anyone on a pedestal. As my dad said, "Even Hedy Lamarr squats to pee."

Know if I just knew who Hedy Lamarr is? - LOL

PS - My comment about navigation may have been gratuitous but I won't retract it. They relied on electronic navigation - big deal.
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Old 07-10-2007, 21:47   #15
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They spent several weeks in Florida with the broker at the beginning of the cruise. I am also sure he was well read - that's my point. He just didn't pick up the keys and launch. Cruising the carribean is a great way to start.

This is a valid observation, Dan. They were compelled to stay in Florida while they were waiting for their USCG docs, and they were having Bum brought up to snuff for a planned world cruise. Without a doubt, their broker's husband (a very experienced South African sailor) was vital to them at that stage. His years of experience probably saved them a lot of grief that they wouldn't have had a clue about at that point.

I agree with you, too, that starting their cruise in the Bahamas was very important, allowing them to gain confidence in relatively safe waters. They were there for a little more than six months (they inadvertently overstayed by a week, IIRC), and it should be noted that Pat came close to losing his vessel while there.

The only thing I will push back on is that Pat and Ali "are" pretty average for boaters. Based on those I have met in the boating life the average intelligence is quite high.

I had thought you felt they were just average Americans, Dan, so I'm glad to read your clarification. In fact, one could say that they were, perhaps, less than average sailors - Pat seemed to feel that was the case.

At one point in his logs, he said something like, "It wasn't an ideal sailing day, but then we're not ideal sailors." And even after Bum was extensively repaired in NZ, they never did manage to get a real turn of speed out of her.

I just don't put them on a pedestal. But I don't put anyone on a pedestal.

This brings to mind Steve Martin's line, "A man should put a woman on a pedestal high enough to look up her dress."

PS - My comment about navigation may have been gratuitous but I won't retract it. They relied on electronic navigation - big deal.
My point about the gratuitous nature of your comment about them sailing in circles forever if they had had to attempt their cruise without modern electronic navigation aids was because it simply isn't possible to know what they would have done in that case. My belief is that, because the Schultes are intelligent people who could easily learn how to employ a sextant, they would have done so. That they chose to rely exclusively on their electronic aids may not be seamanlike, but that hardly makes them any different than 99.9% of other sailors who have come to the sport since those aids became ubiquitous.

They strike me as people who figure out what they want to do, determine what is required to do it, then do it. I find that admirable.

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