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jbosborn 25-03-2010 17:04

Challenge: Sail Around the World on $15k ?
I am a 24 year-old teacher (Math and Biology) living in southern California. I need a break from teaching and I want to sail around the world.

The challenge: I have only $15,000 cash saved up.

The challenge gets BIGGER: I have little sailing experience (merely ASA 101 and 103 certified).

Even BIGGER: I may have to single-hand it, but I am looking for a friend to go with me. For the sake of this brain-teaser, let's assume I am going to single-hand it.

My thoughts so far on meeting these challenges...

Give up alcohol (already done) - expensive luxury.
Hope to buy a seaworthy boat in LA for about $5k.
Live on the hook.
Eat rice and beans.
Learn to fish.

Sail up and down the So Cal coast for practice.
Once comfortable, sail to Channel Islands (do this all summer).
Weather in October is prime (regarding safety) to go around Baja tip.
Get more experience in Sea of Cortez.
From there, see how comfortable I feel with my experience - then either go to the Caribbean (for more practice) or head to Peru and follow Kon Tiki's route to make my first trans-oceanic passage.

I accept that there will be risk involved.

The main goal is to cruise for a year on $15k (including boat purchase). If I circumnavigate the globe, that is icing on the cake (very appetizing icing).

Everyone's thoughts and ideas...

Portobello 25-03-2010 17:48

Interesting idea - but I'm sure with a $5k boat things will need replacing, repairing etc and that is where the budget can blow out. I'd probably need that in food alone for the year or so it would take but I like my food! :-)

maxingout 25-03-2010 18:33

It can be done, but doing it would be rather arduous.

Webb Chiles made it more than half way around the world in a boat that cost $5000 - Chidiock Tichborne - more than twenty-thousand miles in an eighteen foot open boat.

Most people don't have the perseverance of Webb Chiles.

You can do it if you can take the abuse. Read the story of Webb Chiles and his open boat voyage. Then decide if it is worth the effort. You might want to try putting a life raft in a swimming pool, and move on board for a couple of months. If you find it to your liking, then set sail on your $5000 boat.

boatman61 26-03-2010 09:36

It can be done... rigging can be replaced with galvanised wire and mechanical fasteners when needed.. sails repaired by yourself, carry sailcloth, needles, waxed thread and palm, glass fibre, epoxy and polyester filler, wood plugs and some 12inch squares of ply for emergency repairs... some epoxy that cures underwater is also a must. Good set of hand tools, drill, saws etc..
Fresh greens/fruit are essential to keep healthy, grow bean sprouts in a bucket of water(use rainwater gathered in catcher), buy green banana's they ripen as you go, carry semi dried fruits and canned..
Also fish gets tedious so supplement now and then with soya mince with beef stock cubes.. makes a great chilli. Onions are great they last ages and are crammed full of vitamins, garlic is another long life and good for blood... for your rice boil with some turmeric 1/4 tspn.. another source of anti toxins and great for sorting out boil and sores.. just clean the area, sprinkle on and cover with band aid, dries it out and aids the healing. Chillies are strong in antibiotics so use the dried ones when fresh run out in your cooking.. adds a nice kick. Green bananas sliced into thin rounds and fried are delish snack food, Coriander grows easy and fast, tastes great so a small pot of earth is good to carry as well.
Alcohol is incredibly cheap in many places so occasional indulgence is cool.. just stock up where cheap and refrain where expensive... also a good sterilizer..
Store clothes and spare bedding in strong re-sealable ziplock type bags.. two clean spare sleeping bags sealed away are a must, they stash into awkward spaces easier leaving space for the less pliant gear... Drink tea at sea.. save your coffee for anchor.. you need to keep the bowels going and coffee is a blocker..
Varnish your eggs to make em last and store in the bilge.. or hard boil em and store in large plastic jars in vinegar..pickled eggs.... yummy. carry as much extra water as you can in 2 litre plastic coke bottles or whatever you get hold of.. that way if your tank pollutes you have a safe separate supply..
Phew... that's it for now... Over to the next guy...:rolleyes:

Sonrisa 26-03-2010 09:49

do it! It doesn't have to be an open boat, you can occasionally find a deal on something small and seaworthy. A contessa 26 or similar.

Randyonr3 26-03-2010 09:56

I've seen a couple different post as yours here on the west cost..
If I had 15k and wanted to sail around the world, I'd hook up with someone else wanting to do the same thing.. There are many stories of people that have crewed their way around..
The BaHa Ha Ha will be taking place in October and many will be looking for crew, and once in Mexico, Many boats will be headed for PV and then again the Puddle Jump to the south Pacific.
Post a note at the local West Marine in your area and run an add in Lattitude 38 and who knows, you may run across a nice lady with a boat looking to travel..

Randy 26-03-2010 09:57

Why not consider crewing on someone else's boat? You lose some freedom of independently deciding itineraries but the timing would likely be similar and compatibility is the same issue wheter it's your boat or the other guys.
It really simplifies having to find a capable boat and really get it ready for a circumnavigation which often takes years.

Bill_R 26-03-2010 10:00

You should pick up a copy of John Vigor's 'Twenty Small Boats to Take you Anywhere'.

In it he mentions the Catalina 27 and Cape Dory 25D as capable boats. The 25D has a diesel motor, but maybe you could get by with an outboard.

These are cheap:
1975 Cape Dory cd25 sailboat for sale in New Jersey
1978 Cape Dory 25 sailboat for sale in Wisconsin

Good luck on your journey!

matrix 26-03-2010 10:33

why not go to one of the places known for lots of shattered cruising dreams and pick up a boat cheaply? Make crazy low offers? I almost purchased a very sound Ericson 27 already in P.V. for 5k but someone beat me to it! :D You could crew your way down there easily in the fall from san diego.

Also if you wanted to do the caribbean then a low-cost deal on the E.C. makes more sense presumably? If you are on a super limited budget I would try to avoid doing a canal crossing... :confused:

I think hitchhiking on some some other boats is really valuable. I am hoping to set off down to Mexico this fall as well, but going this past summer and sailing from Oaxaca to El Salvador really helped me to be more clear on the realities of it, especially in terms of my own knowledge gaps and what kind of gear was really required.

How come you want to replicate the Kon Tiki's path for your first voyage as opposed to more favored/common passage routes towards the south pacific?

jbosborn 26-03-2010 10:59

With respect to replicating Kon Tiki's path: I read the book and loved it, plus I figure if the currents and winds carried Kon Tiki across the Pacific, it is likely a favorable route. I am open to suggestions for other routes.

Is it expensive to take a 25' sailboat through the Panama Canal? (I've always wanted to do it - I like Theodore Roosevelt.)

dniello 26-03-2010 11:25

Dude, you gotta do it. Im in the same boat....have the same goal. Although the replies have been encouraging on this thread, most ive experienced want to talk you out of it. Im convinced that 90% of the battle is just doing it, and figuring things out as you go. Just dont sink.

gonesail 26-03-2010 11:27

i would say that if you already owned the boat then you could do it on 15K easy .. but probably not if you need to buy the boat first :rolleyes:

sailorboy1 26-03-2010 12:22


Originally Posted by jbosborn (Post 425859)
I am a 24 year-old teacher (Math and Biology) living in southern California. I need a break from teaching and I want to sail around the world.

Burned out after only 3 years? Time to focus on the bigger picture of working a while longer, saving more, getting more sailing experience, and then going.

dniello 26-03-2010 12:24


Originally Posted by Don Lucas (Post 426271)
Burned out after only 3 years? Time to focus on the bigger picture of working a while longer, saving more, getting more sailing experience, and then going.

See man!!! This is exactly what im talking about. Then next thing you know after a few years of saving...youll knock up some chick and be in a virtual prison. Do it!!!!!!!

sabray 26-03-2010 12:33

A large percentage of new teachers end their careers after only a few years teaching
a story that I think is worth a read is a book called seaworthy. The story of an odd adventurer William wills. A bit nuts or extreme but an amazing story. Among other things he did a similar trip to kon tiki but very differenly.

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