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Old 08-11-2003, 19:26   #1
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pirate Dreaming of leaving next year!

Hi guys,

I took sailing lessons last summer and just recently returned from a bareboat trip to Tortola to see if I liked this whole sailing idea introduced to me by my boyfriend ,an experienced skipper. Well, I loved it and we plan to take off next year if we can find a boat that won't go over our planned budget. I have an 11-yr-old daughter that I will homeschool. We have lots of ideas about provisioning and outfitting the boat after our trip on a Benetau 473. Our plans are to buy a 50 ft Benetau or a 47ft Trinidad. I would love to hear from cruisers that have done the whole life change thing and from those that are planning the same crazy escape. So be prepared to answer all of my questions.
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Old 08-11-2003, 23:01   #2
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Well, fire away with the ???. You're on the right site. And welcome to the addicted world of sailing. Most people become affraid or sick and will never go out again. Your one of the lucky ones.

A few of us are Ole Salts and some Wannabees but you should get some fairly staight stuff here.
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Old 09-11-2003, 07:28   #3
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Us Too

Dawn and I are making plans to let go the mooring next year as well. We have been making plans for years. Sold the house, moved into an apartment 7 years ago. Hired and started training my replacement at work 3 years ago. Bought a 1996 Tobago 35 18 months ago and sailed it home from Martinique to St. John River Valley in Canada. We are now working hard on boat, on finances, and on necessary knowledge base.

Hope to push off next November. Would love to compare notes.
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Old 09-11-2003, 19:15   #4
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Ok you asked for it!!!
1. I am not rich, so how much a year should I be looking at to spend on a tight but not all beans and rice budget? It will be three of us,two adults a a pre-teen. Every magazine we read says something different. We were thinking 15,000 min if we were lucky and didn't have lots of repairs on our voyage.

2. Whole visiting the BVI, I was very disappointed with the cost of living. Can you tell me where are the safest areas that are also inexpensive and interesting to visit? In the BVI, the cheapest meal was $40 for hamburgers and fries. I know we won't always be able to afford to eat out but every blue moon I would like to dine out, have a drink or two, and sight see without breaking the bank.

3. We would also like to know if we could buy a boat outside the United States or register it in say Puerto Rico and not pay sales tax?

4. Do most cruisers pay for insurance on their boats?

5. How do families that cruise make a living while out cruising? I haven't talked to anyone but articles that I have read don't make it sound easy. We don't want to count on it but it would be nice if we could make a few extra bucks to have a little fun every once and a while.

Ok that's it for now. I'll be sure to fire off at least 5 more questions next time.
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Old 09-11-2003, 19:34   #5
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Sonosailor,

We are behind you guys in the race to leave the concrete jungle. Robert and I will purchase a boat early next year when our rental property sells. Two more houses to go? We do live in an apartment and have been selling things on Ebay for a while now. I am interested to know how you are planning to finance your adventure, if I am not being too nosy. We are planning to invest the money and live off interest while supplementing with work when we can during the cruise. Where are you planning to go first on your journey? Our Journey will depend on where we get the boat from, the cost, and the timing of the year. We hope that by next summer/early fall we would have bought and outfitted the boat to our liking. Tell me what changes you are making to your boat. Have you been to any crusing classes?

Till next time
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Old 09-11-2003, 20:03   #6
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$15k would be a pretty lean cruising budget, most especially if you’re taking care of the boat with that money as well. Even so, some do it for quite a bit less & live accordingly. I’d guess that that’s do-able, especially if you have a kitty stashed back for maintenance & repairs.

Mention of costs of living in various areas can be found in other threads or you could start one for more discussion. Bear in mind that most if not all of the Caribbean lives on imports, much of what you’re used to at home will be more expensive but “going native” can be a good way to travel well on a budget. i.e. local seafood & produce instead of burgers & fries (almost nobody else in the world eats beef like we do). Also be aware that while most cruisers spend the vast majority of their time in port, one sure way to put the brakes on spending is to be at sea.

Offshore purchasing of boats has been discussed but possibly not to the degree that you'll require for a decision, another good thread option & we’ll hope for responses from people that have done it & know what the associated expenses are.

As near as I can tell, few people insure their boats for offshore cruising. Two adults with a child are considered short handed & in that case offshore insurance is expensive but should be available if you want it. The same applies to health insurance & life insurance … it’s there if you can afford it but under your circumstances the costs will be such that you’ll really have to consider the expenditure & whether or not it’s worth it.

While I don't think that any of us would claim to have definitive answers to questions about how another might earn income while cruising, we've discussed such things quite a bit & you may find ideas that will work for you. For example, without 30 years or so of tooling experience one of my options might not be available to you but I'm sure you have knowledge & skills that would mystify me. Somewhere within the range of your own interests & experience you'll find options & opportunities.

You might take some time to read through threads of interest to you & stimulate some thinking. You're also asking good questions that would make good discussion threads. Now that you've introduced yourself, come on out & play. If we bite you'll like it, I promise.

Troubledour

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Old 14-11-2003, 17:58   #7
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Toubledour,

Can you give me a break down of cost while out cruising? I want to know what kind of things you spend on and how much(roughly) things cost. Also, tell me how much you think an average cruising budget is per month.

Thanks
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Old 15-11-2003, 08:19   #8
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Hi Kia:

Got your email - hope you like Dawn's website about my trip home.

Dawn and I are not rich, and have not had super incomes - she is a teacher and I am a water & sewer engineer for a small municipality. What we did from the start is controlled our output. We have lived frugally, and overcame the instinctive and cultural pressures to have children. We sold our home 7 years ago, and moved into a modest apartment in an unfavoured part of town. No smoking, no coffeeshop runs, no giant SUVs, enjoying homemade wine and beer. We intended to keep to a very small budget for a boat - expecting to stick close to GordMay's advice (elsewhere in the Forum) - but the unexpected happened.

Like many of my generation, our dreams got a boost in an unfavourable way. My father passed away, and left me some money. I chose to put all of it towards the boat, and ended up with a well beat up Tobago 35. That, and the fact that we are close to 50 are our secrets to a reasonable cruising budget. We are hopeful that our money, all in equity, will suddenly reappear as the stock market continues to heal.

We hope to maintain insurance for the boat - as it represents a big part of our retirement savings - but expect it to be expensive. Conversations with other cruisers is that, including insurance, you can expect to spend ~10% of the boats original cost per year to keep it in good safe working order. It is this reason that many people keep the size of the boat in check. You may be making the same mistake we have, buying more boat than you can afford to maintain. I think we can survive this over the short term, but over time, we may see the error of our ways.

We have had a life of sailing Hobie Cats, thanks to a side job of selling them, and have supplemented our knowledge over the years with Power and Sail Squadron courses. Right now, I am working towards my Ham Radio license.

Offshore experience is limited to volunteering on two really tough boat deliveries, getting Cat Tales home from Martinique, and day-sailing through the Caribbean.

Presently, plans are to enjoy the Atlantic from New Brunswick Canada to Venezuela. Interestingly, we presently are including plans to get back to Canada each summer.

The (British) Virgins are a little more expensive than the rest of the islands, and offer much less opportunity for the cheaper foodstuffs. The other islands do offer better opportunities to "go native" as Troubledour suggests; with local small markets for fresh produce, chicken, and fish. I have never been to the US Virgins, and would like to learn more myself.

Please keep the questions coming. It would be great to pick you up on the way down the coast next fall.
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Old 15-11-2003, 14:00   #9
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Cost of Maintenance?

The often cited, 10% of boats value per year, may be a good long-term average cost of maintenance.

A newly outfitted, and well-found boat should cost much less to maintain, at least, for the first couple of years out. I would guess that full-time cruisers spend less than 5%/value per year. - and even less years one & two.

Cruisers generally do all their own maintenance, and nearly all their own repair. The wiser ones do this in a timely manner, so that things never get out of hand. You will save considerable time and expense by taking care of little things, before they become bigger things. Living aboard, you see things develop, so can implement preventative maintenance, rather than suffer repairs. You also have time to do the required maintenance. In fact, (at least psychologically) time should become your major capital asset, replacing money.

There are a lot of good websites describing “Cruising Budgets” - do the “Google”.

Cruising budgets, and cost-saving stratagems are an interesting subject. Lets hear some more ideas!

BTW:
Maggie & I set out for 6 months in the Bahamas with $300 US and a decent larder.
We've also set out with $10,000.
Spent nearly all of it - both times!

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Old 16-11-2003, 08:59   #10
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Bought a boat in St.Croix some years ago and did not pay sales tax.

You can buy a boat in Florida and not pay the 6% sales tax if you take the vessel out of Florida within 90 days.

Several Florida residents have tried that, but got caught and charged with the tax and penalties...

Plenty of boats for sale in the Islands however, but it would be more expensive to outfit and modify 'em to your liking down there.

Cruising budget:

There was a recent article in one of the glossy magazines about that.....It could range from $5,000.00 to $50,000.00 per year.
It is all up to the cruiser(s).

My experience is that $1,000.00 per month is generous if the boat is paid for and in good shape.......But, then I don't go to marinas if it can be avoided....
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Old 16-11-2003, 20:50   #11
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Please excuse the delay, more semi-nice weather & I spent the weekend taking advantage of it.

I haven't gotten out there yet myself & can only speak to generalities or share what I’ve read. Like most wannabes I read everything I can find & constantly review my options. My own financial projections weren't totaling up to "comfortable" & I recently shot my wad on income producing real estate. I don't expect that to set me back time wise, I'll be ready to go at about the same point in time that I would have been otherwise, but I do expect to be in far better shape when I do go.

On the question of costs ... as you're seeing from others that's simply too subjective a subject to nail down tight. Look at your own life on the hard & the choices that you make compared to the choices of those around you ... people live differently & spend differently.

Example, I've had a thing for cars all my life. I still have my first car ('69 Firebird convertible) as well as the only new car my dad ever bought ('66 LeMans convertible). I also own a couple of older BMWs, an '82 320iS (delightful shifter-cart of a daily driver with 245,000 miles) & an '88 M5. Most people assume that I've spent a fortune on these cars & to this day my ex screeches about the "expense" but of the 150 odd cars of my own that I’ve bought & sold in the last 27 yrs, I’ve never lost money on any of them.

In fact, I can assure you that each of the new cars that I bought for her cost more than any two of mine & they're no longer around ... they simply didn't hold up like mine do. My investment in my own cars has been far more time & skill than cash & in the case of the classic Pontiacs, decades of care. Many people these days simply wouldn't tolerate 20+ yr old cars for primary transportation but mine have never failed me, not once ... why get rid of what works ? We all make our choices & I choose not to blow hundreds of dollars per month on depreciating "assets" that, after 50 months of a 60 month loan, aren't worth any one of the remaining 10 payments.

I've done the same thing with houses, I tend to buy them under valued, make improvements & end up with actual equity & not crushing debt. The trade off that I make is that I probably sweat a little more than most, any tool that you can think of ... I own 2 of them, my hands are not pretty & I know things about machines & houses that would make most scream & run for safety.

I'm officially rambling here, but I think you get the point. In my own opinion, what you need to do is think hard about what kind of person you are, what you like, what you like to do, what you're willing & unwilling to do, etc. Hauling your boat & painting the bottom yourself will cost less than having a yard collect the boat & then return her to your slip when completed without your ever doing more than cutting a check. Virtually everything that comes up as a cruiser will present choices that will effect costs & you'll need to anticipate what choices you'll make & budget those choices.

I'll close with this ... there's a guy that cruises the Ohio & has for many years ... in a canoe. Every time I see the guy his canoe is wallowing along with maybe 3" of freeboard, his possessions are packed in & lashed down around him, he's occasionally towing a dink along behind & he's always flying the biggest freakin’ Confederate flag I've ever seen from his stern. How he paddles up wind / up current with that load & that flag, I'll never know but he does it & he's been at it for years.

He's a bit reclusive & doesn't like to visit much but he's completely self sufficient, doing exactly as he wishes with each & every day & is probably happier than most of the people I know. Not bad for a guy that's actually "homeless". Most of us wouldn't be happy with camping year round out of a canoe, but he is & he's not stuck on the hard preparing for "someday".

It's all about choices. Read, think, ask questions & know yourself. If you need to do it on the cheap, develop skills that will apply to maintaining your boat, your finances & your lifestyle without costly professional assistance. If you already possess those skills, are willing to utilize them & are able to fatten your kitty a bit, you should be able to live very well on money that simply isn’t adequate for a typically middle class lifestyle on the hard.

Troubledour
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Old 16-11-2003, 22:37   #12
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More helpful to you, perhaps (certainly more helpful than I am) would be the sailnet site. Beth Leonard's articles are especially good, they're informative & well written by one that's been there & done that.

www.sailnet.com

a good sample along your line of interest ...

http://www.sailnet.com/collections/a...leid=bthlnd058

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Old 19-11-2003, 09:57   #13
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Thanks guys for all of the valuable information and the web site sailnet. I'm getting lots of questions answered. As promised I will continue the tradition of picking your brains

1. After looking over many boats I noticed that refrigeration/frezzing is pretty sparce. I wonder how one can live off the small amount of food you can place in those things? What happens when you go on long passages? I'm a thin girl but I like to eat hearty foods.

2. Ok, talk to me like I'm a second grader! Explain what you mean by refit. Does that mean that you tear everything out of the boat you don't like and spend years trying to get it to your liking? Forgive me for sound like a young naive kid but I am. I don't have that kind of time. I want to get out there now, while I am still young and brave enough to do it. Tell me what kinds of refitting changes normally take place.

3. (This is probably more of a personal preference question than anything else) I been on a lot of boats trying to figure out if I would be happy calling if home for months possibly years at a time. Some of the boats shown to me by the broker I didn't want to spend ten mins on much less any extended time. We have a budget of 150,000 to spend. Should we just buy a used boat that will give us the size that we are looking for storage or should we buy a smaller new boat? The broker that we are working with keeps trying to tell us that we shouldn't look at used boats because of the maintence issue. We keep telling him that we don't want to spend 250,000 for a fully kitted out boat because it will eat up our kitty money. After looking at some of the used boats (mostly charter boats) I almost want to agree with him.

4. What about resale value? Suppose we cruise for 5 years and we decide that we want to be land dwellers again. I'm worried that we won't get our life savings that we have invested back What have you heard?

5. Last one!!! I know there is probably a thread on it somewhere on this site. I am a very cold natured person and have hated winters in Michigan every since I was a kid. Knowing that bit of information. I wondered what you guys think about getting a mono or multihull boat. I know sailors have been arguing about this for years. Sonosailor and I have already had this conversation. What do the rest of you guys think. My boyfriend thinks that cats are nice but not good for heavy weather. I think the are absolutely gorgeous inside. You can tell I am not worried about how they sail, but I hear they are fast.

Ok, guys until next time. :kissy:
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Old 19-11-2003, 12:12   #14
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Question #1

I would recommend getting some books on the logs of old mariners like Columbus, Magellan, Cook or Balboa.
They would load up as much fresh provisions as possible (barrels of apples, grapes, bread & so on) as well as nonperishable (rice, beans, sugar, jerky, can goods (in jars) & so on). They would live off of the fresh stuff as long as is remained eatable then start on the rice and beans along with caught fish and seaweed. Rice and beans can be cooked in seawater, which helps to preserve the fresh water.
Try not to become dependent on a freezer. An offshore motor vessel doesn't have a problem but a sail vessel needs to rely on solar, wind, water generators or a genset to keep the batteries up.
I find that can soups and rice, can tuna (or other fish) mixed with garnishes, bagged chips, minute soups or noodles in a cup, and cereals with dehydrated milk works real well on long trips. The first day out I usually take a roasted chicken and veggies. I very seldom eat any beef anymore. And when the weather is good I'll BBQ as much as possible.
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Old 19-11-2003, 12:59   #15
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Question #2

A refit in the old days (wooden vessels) included replacing fasteners, planks, re-calking the planks, hatches and stuffing boxes as well as today’s refit.
A refit today (fiberglass) is repairing or replacing any questionable rigging, machinery, hull fittings or electronics.
Not necessarily everything! It's basically to get a vessel safe and seaworthy.

Rigging may include fore/aft stays, shrouds, spreaders, or even a mast and chain plates. As well as winches, track, cars and blocks.
Machinery may include engine belts and hoses, starter, alternator, water pumpS, transmission overhaul, prop and/or shaft assembly. Or even a whole new engine and accessories. This could include repairing or changing out galley or plumbing.
Hull fittings may include thru hull fittings (electronics too), rudderpost and bearings, steering station, lights, keel bolts and joint and strut.
Electronics may include any or all of nav and communication equipment.
Then there is all the survival equipment too.

I'm sure a lot more could be added to this list, but this is the basics.

The best thing is to get a vessel in a well-maintained condition with a real good survey if you want to cruise right away. The refit, if any, would be minamal.
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