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Old 22-12-2007, 12:03   #1
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New to the forum seeking help

My husband and I are considering taking the plunge into water sailing">blue water sailing and looking for advice and budgets as to how to unload all the baggage mentally, career, family, and stuff. We are 58 and 61 and sailed all our lives close to shore, but have an ocean going yacht and think we'd like to try the Caribbean.
What does it cost to live aboard reasonably for a year?
What are the anchoring and slip fees alone? It seems like it could be a very expensive deal -- yet so many people do it. Only the unknown costs scare me.
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Old 22-12-2007, 12:44   #2
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Welcome to the forum Deb. A couple of things might help you out. First - you may want to 'flesh' out your profile ... click on the word PROFILE at the top right of your screen (in the blue banner menu area). Second, use the SEARCH function middle top of your screen (also in the blue banner menu area). This topic has been talked about in many different threads. Try keyword searches of: "Cost of", "Costs", "Budget", "How much" and so on.
I think that I did that the other day with just two of those and came up with over 250 posts. Good luck.
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Old 22-12-2007, 13:53   #3
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Aloha Deb,
Costs are really determined by how primitive you want to go. If you want to bring and maintain all your stuff then it can be very expensive. If you can minimize and live on anchor for much of the time it can be very cheap. Somewhere in between is where most folks decide they like it.
Tell your family they will be on their own.
Retire from your jobs and make the boat and blue water sailing your career.
Good luck in your choices.
Kind Regards,
JohnL
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Old 22-12-2007, 15:01   #4
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Hi Deb!

If you have sufficient income to retire in Marblehead you should have no problem affording the cruising life. Eliminate the cost of heating, electricity, gasoline and insurance for your car(s), winter clothing etc., etc. and add that to your cruising kitty. Don't expect to eat out more than you do at home (although in some areas it will be much cheaper to do so) and anchor whenever possible. The important thing is to remember that you are not on holiday and absolutely cannot spend as if you were away for a week or two in the Caribbean.

Have the boat ready to go (replacements, upgrades and repairs are apt to cost you more in both money and headaches once you depart) and set aside a reasonable 'capital fund' solely for boat repairs, as opposed to monthly expenses. How much will depend on the age of your boat, sails, running rigging, the hours on the diesel etc., etc. But for a well-maintained Island Packet 380 I would think that $20,000.00 should be more than adequate for a few years of serious cruising.

Brad and Jane
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Old 22-12-2007, 16:14   #5
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Hello, Deb. Like you, my husband and I (59 and 58 respectively) are about to retire and become liveaboard cruisers. You've definitely come to the right place for advice. These people are terrific. There are some great books on the topic of budgets, All in the Same Boat by Tom Neale is one I'm reading now. I've heard that you can live as frugally as $12-15K/yr and others quote the more reasonable $20-25K/yr. Of course, there are others who can afford to live well and not worry about it. My husband and I will have to remain in the reasonable range.

So, what do you think guys? Am I on target or not?

Anne
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Old 22-12-2007, 17:14   #6
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Good job Anne.
JohnL
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Old 22-12-2007, 22:41   #7
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Deb - You have an annual budget now right? That budget includes parking the boat at a marina or somewhere, right?

So if you either close up the house or rent the house out you will eliminate a lot of the "house" costs. Some of those costs will transfer to fixing the boat more because stuff breaks more when you use it.

Anchoring and slip fees? What does it cost to run and insure 2 cars for a year? Sell the cars, get rid of their costs and buy cars when you get back.

As far as food and stuff - You can cook and live on-board about the same as on-shore with the variable being eating out a lot if visiting marinas.

Severing ties with family and friends? Well that's a personal decision. We have come to expect to be in touch with people 24X7 by email, phone and cell phone. I really don't like that too much except in emergencies. Separation makes coming together that much more special. However, it is still a small world. Almost all marinas have wireless internet, Skype works pretty good and if you can handle the roaming charges cell phones will work in most places.

In your case, you already have the boat. You are way ahead of a lot of folks. Maybe next spring or summer, you guys take off for a month down the coast to see if you like it.

If you do, pull the pin and go!
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Old 22-12-2007, 22:44   #8
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Beth Lenoard has written a few good articles on cost of cruising. I've read of people living on as little as $1.50 a day and then the skies the limit. Alot also deoends on 1) How often you stay in a marina, 2) health and boat insurance 3) Who repairs your boat.
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Old 22-12-2007, 22:48   #9
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Old 23-12-2007, 05:46   #10
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Hi, Deb, and welcome to the Forum from a fellow IP 380 owner.

You'll find a lot of knowledge and experience here, and a lot of opinions, too. I'm fairly new here myself, and one of the things I like about the Forum is the fact that differing opinions get debated back and forth with respect.

Lynne and I aren't live-aboards, but we did spend two six-month winter seasons cruising the Lesser Antilles (2004-06), and we moved to the Caribbean full-time 16 months ago. We keep our boat on a mooring here in Nevis.

Southern Star and Ex-Calif have both given you good advice, so I won't repeat what they said. You mentioned concern about anchoring and slip fees. You'll probably spend some time in the USVI, BVI and St Maarten. There are a bunch of marinas there, and their slip fees are probably in line with what you'd find in New England. Electric is more expensive, but you don't use that much. Heading down island, the marinas are fewer, and a bit less expensive, $40-60 US per night. Moorings are available on some islands at $15 to $25 US a night. Anchoring is free. We almost always anchored out to enjoy the breezes, peace & quiet, and privacy. And you'll find that other Island Packet owners will stop by in their dinghies to say "Hi".

Clearing in to each island you visit will cost anywhere from $7 to $15 US or so on most islands. BVI and St Maarten (Dutch side) are a bit more. On most islands, you're allowed to stay 30 days minimum for the clearance fee, up to 90 days on some islands. St Maarten is about $10 US per week. Food is maybe 30-40% more expensive here--everything but local produce, fish and meats has to be imported. Rum is cheap.

Charlie mentioned Beth Leonard' articles, which are good. I'd suggest buying her book, Voyagers' Handbook, Amazon.com: The Voyager's Handbook: Books: Beth A. Leonard
It's much more than a "how to fix things that break while cruising" manual. It covers just about everything about packing it in ashore and casting off the lines, including the financial and emotional (leaving family and friends) aspects. Also buy Chris Doyle's Windwards and Leewards cruising guides. He has just about everything you need to know about each island.

By the way, I met Craig, the former owner of Shawnee, in Hampton, Virginia, in 2001. We were both doing the Caribbean 1500, though I was sailing on a friend's boat that time. He showed me around Shawnee. Lynne and I bought IP 380-88 six months later. You've definitely got the right boat for what you're planning to do.

It's normal to feel some apprehension, but that's part of the excitement of taking a major new direction in your life. As you take each step, you'll build confidence, and before long it will seem as normal as driving to the mall does now (but a lot more fun!)

Deb, if you'd like Lynne's perspective on cruising down here, send me a note: hhoen3 ** yahoo.com. She'd be happy to talk to you about it.

Best wishes,
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Old 23-12-2007, 06:27   #11
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You can build your budget around your life style, your sailing area, and your sailing "style". So you can see there is no answer because there are loads of variables.

Since you have the boat, the IP, you need to see what sort of gear you need, refits, upgrades and spares. Even this is somewhat variable. Are your sails new enough for another 10 yrs? Are the strong enough for some offshore work? Do you have storm canvas and proper rigging for same?

You''ll want some safety gear, a raft, EPIRB, even SSB, droque etc, much of which you might not have for coastal.

And then there is how tricked out to you want to go? You'll need paper charts of your sailing area, do you want a chartplotter, PC nav program? A spare hand held GPS or 2... AIS, AIS B, navtex or wFax?

How is the self steering? Do you want a wind vane as well as autopilot? Do you have spares? Emergency steering?

A dink and motor is essential for you. You anchor off and it is your means to get provisions and "do things" ashore, like laundry and "culture"... and visit other friends on their boat. You want a great dink and then... a means to stow it on passage... davits or deck? How to get it up and that fair sized but heavy motor?

Ground tackle is essential. This means a windlass, probably chain and a spare anchor or two with line rodes. Most cruisers don't stay at quayside or in the few marinas since they are expensive, noisy and lack security and privacy (and you don't like to the cooling wind).

All the above and more are things you can evaluate for your boat and since you have sailed should know or be able to assess the costs.

The life style thing keys into how big you like to live and how much that will cost where you sail. To get around to shop and "culture" you can walk, hitch, take taxies, "buses", hire a car, bring bikes, and so forth. Biking up a mountain might be rather challenging. Food is another variable. How simple or elaborate do you like to eat? Food is more expensive out there than it is in the USA. And health care is also a variable.

If you scour the web you can find some who kept a chart of all their expenses and use that an annual budget guideline. Ranges are better than fixed amounts.

And who knows what will happen to the value of the dollar???

As you know it's a different cost to living in a house ashore, and it's probably a lot less expenseive, plue you have more time to do things which you might pay someone else to do, such as maintain your boat, when you lived ashore. And there are no expensive MetOpera performances to tempt you either.

Go for it!
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Old 03-01-2008, 17:12   #12
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Thanks for your reply.
I'm nervous and glad to hear it can be so cheap. I keep seeing marinas opening and high costs for slips. We want to anchor but see places filling up. We need to have a plan. We are also intimidated by the stories of crime - bars on companionway doors, etc.
Any advice on that?
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Old 03-01-2008, 19:18   #13
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Deb ! the best advice on that is : don't listen to people that had never been in the "crime" ridden countries .If you want to read firs hand accounts of cruising , log on to "cruisers web logs " and there are hundreds of cruisers who write their web logs and anybody can read it .
That would give you a better idea of crime problems than listening to a CNN lovers .
Good luck and maybe see you there in the fall .
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Old 03-01-2008, 19:20   #14
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Thanks so much for all the information. We're working on it, but still tied to land jobs -- maybe too much.
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Old 04-01-2008, 04:55   #15
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I know it's a hard decision. Last year I made the decision to retire early (I'm 58) and to go cruising. I loved my job and was well paid, so that made the decision harder, but the possibility that I would have this dream and never do it scared me more.

The price ranges you have received all seem close. We are currently in southern Spain for the winter and the marina is about $300 a month.

Go for it.

Jim
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