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Old 06-04-2015, 09:39   #31
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Re: Quit your job and live on a boat in the Caribbean

Having circumnavigated from 1996 - 2003 aboard a 39 foot monohull, while missing all of Europe, but not Cape Town, we (two adults and two preteens when we started) watching finances closely, averaged about $1000/month.

I did all my own work, had acquired many spares before leaving, but found based on where we went and where we were going, needed a watermaker. And yes we caught and stored rain water, but that wasn't enough. Fresh water in places like Chagos isn't readily available especially when you are there for months at a time. To conserve fresh water, Dishes were always washed when sea water was clear. Body washing was also done with sea water, and sometimes followed with a rinse of fresh. After the watermaker was installed, we still used sea water for most things, but could now comfortably rinse with fresh.

Incidentally, we had 12volt watermaker that was fed with solar panels wind generator, and of course, the engine. However, as I reoutfit the boat, I will still use the same watermaker, but wished I had sprung for the engine driven because of the significant difference in output.

When I single handed and was in Baja for most of 1980, I found I could comfortably live off fresh fish and veggies for less than $30/month. However, ocean passages haven't provide anywhere near the number of fish that Baja offered. In addition, at that time, everything on the boat was new, but fairly basic with just a depth sounder, VHF, ham radio, autopilot and windvane, oh, and of course, a sextant since GPS wasn't available and Satnav was way beyond my means.

And then finally before I get carried away reminiscing, there is the quote that is undoubtedly in many places on this forum, as well as on the Pardey's website:
Sailing with Lin & Larry Pardey

What if the spell of a place falls upon a youthful heart, and the bright horizon calls!
Many a thing will keep till the world's work is done, and youth is only a memory.
When the old enchanter came to my door, laden with dreams, I reached out with both hands.
For I knew he would not be lured with the gold that I might later offer, when age had come upon me.


Richard J. Mac Cullaugh, Viking's Wake

No matter what size boat, what you have on board, or where you go, when you have your health, you have it all!

All the best!

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Old 06-04-2015, 10:00   #32
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Re: Quit your job and live on a boat in the Caribbean

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Probably it would be useful to read this book "A Sail of Two Idiots: 100+ Lessons and Laughs from a Non-Sailor Who Quit the Rat Race, Took the Helm, and Sailed to a New Life in the Caribbean". I found it very interesting and informative.
Thanks SY Delma! Just ordered the book off eBay!
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Old 06-04-2015, 10:02   #33
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Re: Quit your job and live on a boat in the Caribbean

You don't need to get a 38ft catamaran and go to the 'bean to retire and sailboard, and not work 60 hours a week in the office for the 'man'.
And if you like motorcycles, why would you not want to keep doing it?

You can just quit your job, move into a small house outside the bay, like I dunno, sacramento delta, and kite board and live simply and slowly.
Or get an RV (a small one and travel the great usa, and visit all the lakes in the country to boat on, ride the bikes too, and that will keep you busy for quite some time doing 'nothing'.
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Old 06-04-2015, 10:16   #34
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Re: Quit your job and live on a boat in the Caribbean

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Me and my wife are in our mid 40s, living in the San Francisco Bay area and working in the tech industry.
If you are in SF Bay, why not hit Mexico and the Sea of Cortez?

The Oakland boat Show is April 9th-12th.
Get over there and check out the boat, gear, and scene.

Sure your Dream may be the Caribbean....but Mexico and the Sea of Cortez is damn easy for you to get to ASAP.
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Old 06-04-2015, 10:45   #35
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Re: Quit your job and live on a boat in the Caribbean

As for cost of the life style, we have been out 8 years and we have put put their pur cost data for the past 6 years. Do a search under my name or under dollars and cents for 6 years of cost data.
It is our total cost data not just some. It includes everything we spend from drinks to food to boat repairs to trips home to medical; everything.


Some on this board seem to want to forget some items that they deem not "cruising cost" but to us who live full time on board and cruise full time all costs should be included.
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Old 06-04-2015, 10:49   #36
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Re: Quit your job and live on a boat in the Caribbean

there are more and more folks willing to share what it cost them to Cruiser. Four years of Full Time Cruising Cost numbers for a Family of 4 Cruising Mexico.

http://www.svthirdday.com/PDF/expenses.pdf
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Old 06-04-2015, 11:53   #37
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Re: Quit your job and live on a boat in the Caribbean

Thanks Chuckr. Very nice work! It seems to me that you averaged $2.500/$3.500 per year. Thanks for sharing!

Sv Third Day: Thanks for the tips on Sea of Cortez. I go there once or twice a year, to San Felipe and La Ventana. But don't know much about cruising there. Always been on land. From your spending report it seems to be less expensive than the Caribbean, plus the added bonus to be so close to California. I'll definitely check out the boat show in Oakland next week!
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Old 06-04-2015, 12:21   #38
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Re: Quit your job and live on a boat in the Caribbean

We struggled to find out financial information when we we started out. We still hear people say 'it depends on......' and they are generally correct.
If you speak (write) to the crew of Delos, a >50ft Amel, they shall tell you they started out with a budget of $3k per month and therefore they spent $3k per month.
Then money got tight and they suddenly found they were spending half that. As on land, you tend to live according to your income. We certainly did.
We are are a family of 2x adults and 4x children. In the Caribbean & US we found our cost of living to typically be in the order of $1500-2000 per month. We eat out as a treat only and anchor when ever its possible. We try to life reasonably and always have plenty of refrigeration on board as well as the luxury of a washing machine. One investment we never have begrudged on any of our boats are solar panels (always >900watts) and our 12v water maker. Both allow us independence and avoid the need to visit marina's. In places like the Red Sea / Indian Ocean they are critical to allow you to stay where you want and as long as you want.
In the Med we had similar costs to the Caribbean, but we did tend to eat out a little more as we found places like Turkey have some very nice cheap seaside taverna's and calamari to die for. One of our favourite taverna's in Kekova Roads always delivers fresh bread early the following morning to boats that frequent them (never have worked out how they know whom is from which boat when a boat arrives after dark).
In the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean we struggle to spend anything like $1k per month - and that perhaps accounts for us loving the area, and the fact that many parts are not spoilt yet.
Buy your veggies in the local market, not in a super market. Anchor in a protected place, eat the majority of your meals on the boat. When travelling on land, if possible take a tent and camp. In Europe we bought a second had car and spent months touring very economically. We did the same in the Middle East (before the recent conflicts). We shall do the same when we eventually get to Australia/New Zealand. Several people we have met determine their budget by their rental income from their houses.
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Old 06-04-2015, 12:56   #39
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Re: Quit your job and live on a boat in the Caribbean

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Regarding lifestyle, there's no way I can carry my present lifestyle in the Caribbean, even if I wanted to! It must be more frugal!
Forget being frugal. You will not. We are not. People are so much alike.

Take your annual spending (house, housing, food, clothing, entertainment, clothing, transportation, add your debt cost (credit cards, mortgages), etc.

Divide by 12.

This is your monthly budget - there are websites where you can compare cost of living say NY to Fort de France, etc. (E.g. Papeete may be more costly to live than NY, Panama may be less costly, etc).

Adjust.

Then find your free cash flows (interest and dividends from your savings and investments).

Compare.

Or else divide your bulk wealth by the a.m. monthly budget.

This is how many months you will be having fun out there.

Really it is so very easy to tell where the financial juice dries out. And it tends to coincide with where the quit jobs and go now dream ends up too.

Am I sounding like I am telling people not to quit their jobs?

;-)
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Old 06-04-2015, 13:13   #40
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Re: Quit your job and live on a boat in the Caribbean

A different perspective. To start, I am not a Cruiser and may never be, just a dreamer and a wannabe. I started raising kids about 30 years ago and will be raising children for at least the next 8. I've never had more than a two grand in the bank and yet we have lived well, or well enough. After 2 heart stents about three years ago I decided I cannot leave my family millions but I can leave them memories. I have said goodbye to a lot of people that did not make 50. My Dad did not make 52 and he dreamed a lot about traveling with my mother after the kids were gone and he could retire. All I can say is I hope you go and make memories and share them here so I can read them while I wait and hope to some day join you.
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Old 06-04-2015, 13:25   #41
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Re: Quit your job and live on a boat in the Caribbean

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Take your annual spending (house, housing, food, clothing, entertainment, clothing, transportation, add your debt cost (credit cards, mortgages), etc.

Divide by 12.

This is your monthly budget
Then add $1000/mo for boat storage/marinas/insurance/maintenance (including the long term items that occur every few years) and if you are financing the boat add that. There subtract land living costs of house/utilities if you not keeping it. Then since you probably have work related health care, add that into you budget if you going to have it.

For my wife and I that becomes $3037/mo.
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Old 06-04-2015, 15:14   #42
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Re: Quit your job and live on a boat in the Caribbean

Thank you so much for all your responses guys! I'm finding something useful in all of them.

By reading some of the threads in this forum, I have the impression that quite a lot of people who took the decision to live on board and cruise around the world, did that after a major life event: they either retired at a senior age, lost their business or they were simply laid off. That and the fact of course that they loved sailing. But the life event seemed to have had a major contribution.

It'd be great to hear from people who gave up a good and well paid job, a career and a comfortable life on shore.

As I hope it is clear from my previous posts, the reason why I want to do this it's not simply because I want to quit my job and live out of my savings where the cost of living is cheap. If that was my goal there would be plenty of other options.

I grew up on the cost of the Mediterranean sea and as a kid I used to spend a lot of time going fishing with my dad. I'm attracted to the sea and ocean, I love sailing, I love kiteboarding. So does my wife. I would be happy to give up the other passion of mine (motorcycles) to pursue these two.

Please keep the good advice and your stories coming!
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Old 06-04-2015, 15:20   #43
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Re: Quit your job and live on a boat in the Caribbean

I gave up my job as did my wife to sail........I'm a doctor and my wife a teacher. We have no regrets.
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Old 06-04-2015, 16:08   #44
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Re: Quit your job and live on a boat in the Caribbean

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45 years old is young. in 20 years you will be 65 still young enough to go sailing. however once you leave your jobs and downsize to a boat it may not be so easy to come back when you are done with the caribbean dream. in fact it may be impossible. hard to believe but you will miss the starbucks and your work life when they are gone. just one man's opinion but either way it should not be a tough decision
We have done it. Don't miss the Starbucks lifestyle... they have them on St. Thomas now

Seriously, we are a lot like you and Mike... mid 40's, also in IT, but we left Northern Virginia and that lifestyle and I'm really glad we did. Nothing for us up there and we were so very tired of sitting in an IT office where everyone works all weekend for someone else. We make half what we did when we were in the house in VA but have 10x the fun and we actually save quite a bit of money.

However, we aspire to be voyagers and not just be rum chair lizards. So, while the Caribbean and SoPAC is cool, we also like cool Autumn nights in New England. Don't think small. We would like to think we have what it takes to go far but we will see. Our goal now is to figure out a place to call home when we finally swallow the anchor.

Plan on spending a lot on extras once you get that boat... we have put at least as much as our boat is worth into it above the purchase price. At least if you desire to live with conveniences...
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Old 06-04-2015, 16:42   #45
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Re: Quit your job and live on a boat in the Caribbean

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Thanks for the encouraging words Mike! Regarding lifestyle, there's no way I can carry my present lifestyle in the Caribbean, even if I wanted to! It must be more frugal!
Yup ... when you have no choice, then the choice is easy. . I'm sure you won't miss those mochalattayappaclappchinnios

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The other big expense in my life is my passion for motorcycles. I spend much of my free time, modifying, wrenching and riding my 3 motorcycles. There are no trails or tracks to be ridden on motorcycles on the islands!
My spouse and I both own motorcycles, although "real" bikers laugh at ours. Mine is a big, honkin Yamaha Majesty -- 400 CCs of raw power Ann's is even bigger; a 500 CC Piaggio. We're hanging on to these for the next year or so while we're still dealing with Canadian winters. Our plan is to cruise through the warm months, then camp out of the bikes while we stay ahead of the frost line. We'll head for southern USA and Mexico, then toodle our way back north via the west coast. All part of the fun of being homeless .

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What I think I would be doing in the Caribbean is: kiteboarding (the passion I share with my wife), sailing, snorkeling, swimming, fishing, reading and, of course, fixing the boat. I don't think I'll miss much the intelligent conversations under the fluorescent with my co-workers.
Sounds absolutely enlivening. Go for it . Hope we see you out there some year. We'll likely head towards the Caribbean eventually ... although Ireland tugs. Who knows...
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