Most boats much under 40' will be a little cramped for more than two persons after a few months. Kinda depends on the people though. Most boats under 32' will feel pretty crowded with just a couple, after a few weeks. Again, depending on your tolerance levels.
$30k will get you around the world, if you already got a boat. You can probably figure on taking a couple years, at least. There will be repairs
, groceries, port fees
, marina fees
for stuff that quits on you, including rigging
, entertainment expenses, fines and bribes, clothing
and personal gear
, stuff like that. In addition to your regular budget
you also want a reserve amount for in case of catastrophic mishaps like a blown engine
, severe grounding, dismasting
, etc that you hope to never experience but is always a possibility.
You may get back home after only spending half of that $30k and never touching your catastrophe reserve. Or you might end up begging family
and friends to wire you money
or Chittagong or Tripoli. It really depends on you. Party animal? Air conditioning
and ice cubes type, or are you more in tune with the backpacker/hippie lifestyle? Good at fixing stuff and making do, or not so good?
Depends on the boat, too. Some boats just seem cursed and stuff is always failing, while an identical boat might never need anything fixed, it seems. Some boats are set up for economical long distance cruising, some aren't.
$10k for purchase
and $10k for upgrades is about the lowest realistic budget
for the boat itself, and doubling that is much, much better. Yeah you COULD get lucky and find something for $6k that is ready to go RTW, but if you are waiting for that, you are dreaming, not planning. Sometimes dreams come true but mostly dreams are just dreams.
Finding a used boat
suitable for circumnavigating with little knowledge of cruising boats and a tight budget is another dream. You need a local mentor to keep you straight. It could happen, but likely won't, without expert help.
You need a good deal of experience before you tackle a circumnavigation
. Ideally you would start by going for day sails
for someone in Wednesday evening beer
can races, on someone else's boat. You could also take lessons, of course, and self-teaching in a day sailer is do-able. I am self-taught, and taught myself in a boat I built myself, self taught at boatbuilding, too. I can't say it was a smooth or easy road, though. If you opt for learning
in your own boat, you really need someone to go along with you the first several outings, to make sure you are perfectly clear on the fundamentals of piloting, Rules Of The Road, important laws and regulations
, safety procedures, etc. I didn't have that, but growing up on and around fishing
boats of various types helped. From day sailing
, work into overnights and inshore cruising, then coastal cruising. Then some nearby foreign destinations like the Bahamas
, Central America
. Frankly, taking off cold on a circumnavigation
with little or no experience, I give you at best a 20% chance of success. Follow a logical learning
and experience progression over the course of several years and learn to fix or make do, and learn to just be a good sailor, and they are much, much better. It would be quite realistic to expect to see you sail your boat back home in one piece, if you do things the right way.
Don't push things to the limit. Stretching the envelope too much and it will pop on you. BE PREPARED. With good preparation and a well developed skill set, luck is your enemy, which is how it should be, but it is an enemy that you can generally overcome. For the ill prepared, luck is your friend, one you need and rely upon, but it is a very unfaithful and treacherous friend that lets you down when you need it the most.