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goprisko 29-04-2010 10:47

Cruising on $500 per Month . . .
6 Attachment(s)

As a circum-navigator, I offer this thread to everyone interested in cruising on a budget.

In this case the budget is $500 US Dollars per month...

This is a tight budget, and one we barely fit into, but the sort of budget necessary for
younger folks to cut ties and set off...

I offer the following break down of expenses for such a budget based upon a crew of two:

Food $ 150
Port Entry and Clearance $ 50
Entertainment $ 50
Sail maintenance $ 50
Fuel $ 50
Haulouts $ 50
Repairs $ 100
TOTAL $ 500

I am assuming a haulout every 3 years costing $ 1800 including paint and yard fees.

I am assuming Sail repairs will be done by the crew and $ 600 / year is set aside for

I am assuming the engine is used as little as possible, LPG is used for cooking and costs $12 / month the balance being fuel for the main engine, with the dink rowed or sailed.

I am allowing $1200 / year for repairs and up grades to the boat itself.

My entertainment allowance is based upon potlucks.. inviting guests aboard for tea..
limiting drinks severely.

The food budget assumes meat is a luxury, bread is baked aboard, legumes and vegetables are the bulk of the diet, and dining out is a rarity.

Now... what sort of boat makes sense for this kind of cruising???

If we look at those who went on such budgets... the Pardeys for example... we find
the following characteristics...

Tiller steering
Heavy Displacement and 24 - 32 ft OAL
Masthead cutter rig
aft cockpit
hard dink which is rowed or sailed
very small engine ~ 4 HP or none
Ice Box
Oil Lamps
Paraffin stove
Paper Charts

Wanderer III, Taleisn, Seraffyn, the Southern Cross 31 fit this category..

Your comments and suggestions are welcome..... and PLEASE examine the below
photo to reinforce why you might do this...


slomotion 29-04-2010 11:56

My experience island hopping around the Bahamas/Caribbean is that as long as the boat is basically OK, you can pretty much make any budget work. When we were cruising in 2000 and the market crashed a lot of the cruising community experienced a sudden loss of wealth and income. Most just kept going and many did so on less than $1000 and probably $500 a month. And their boats were generally a lot bigger and better equipped than your list.

I find the Sail Maintenance and separate Repair category kind of odd. Is changing oil and replacing an oil filter a "repair"? In 2 1/2 years of cruising, our sail maintenance/repair costs were zero. But we were far from circumnavigators. I have never had much interest in crossing oceans. But, one of the nice things about crossing an ocean is that it's almost impossible to spend any money while doing so.

Christian Van H 29-04-2010 13:41


Originally Posted by goprisko (Post 444072)
Your comments and suggestions are welcome..... and PLEASE examine the below
photo to reinforce why you might do this...

Two things:
1. Your budget is too low for your 45' boat.
2. Please post more pics of Leslie and Jackie... :D

Bright Eyes 29-04-2010 14:41

I'd cut the sail maintenance and haulout costs in half and give alchohol its own category with a $50/month budget.

I'm not talking from experience, I just like to drink :)

goprisko 29-04-2010 16:09

Well, well, well....

Of course I am thinking about more than a year or two.....

Please suggest alternative amounts for an expense category.

And... yes... changing oil, filters, etc is maintenance and must be budgeted...

And.... sails cost money... the wind is not free... harnessing it to drive a boat in a desired direction puts wear and tear on sails... one good storm can cost a bunch as happened to me crossing the Gulf from Mobile to Tampa... We encountered a gale, continued motor sailing into it and at that time had to hand steer. My mate spelled me and persisted in flogging the leach of the main due to steering too close to the wind. That leech had to be repaired at a cost of nearly $1000. The damage occured during my nap of 4 hours...

On a brighter note...
I came up with a list of candidate boats...

Southern Cross 31
Cape Dory 30
Tartan 30
Baba 30
Pearson Vanguard
Pearson 30
Bristol Channel 28 Pilot Cutter

I'm thinking our hypothetical sailor must count his pennies, and the max budget ready to go is $30,000. With less even better


goprisko 29-04-2010 16:19

Pearson Vanguard
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The Vanguard was designed by Cecil Rhodes... and is typical of CCA boats of that
era. I just saw one for sale at $ 10,000. With a displacement of 5 tons she has sufficient carrying capacity for our hypothetical cruiser...

Looking at the attached layout, shows her to be tiller steered, she originally had the atomic 4 engine... but doubtless most you will find today have been repowered, most likely with a 4-108... which is a good engine with great parts availability.


goprisko 29-04-2010 16:28

Cape Dory 30
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The CD 30 came with both wheel and tiller steering(cutter only). Since only the
cutter rig makes sense in a boat of this size, we'll discuss only that model.

Displacement is 5 tons, again suitable for our hypothetical cruiser.

The boat came with a Volvo Diesel, which is a good engine, with difficult to obtain, and very expensive parts. Try to find one that has been repowered with something else.

Available used at $ 15-20 K for one built in the 70s

A very good boat..


goprisko 29-04-2010 16:37

Tartan 34
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I am skipping the T30 because at 4.5 tons, it's displacement is too light. However,
Tartan produced the T34 during the same period and this S&S design is perfect at 6 tons displacement for our hypothetical cruiser.

Additionally, boats are available at $10-24 K depending on condition.

See the below drawing.


goprisko 29-04-2010 16:47

Southern Cross 31
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Designed by Tom Gillmer, and built in Rhode Island by CE Ryder, to a high standard.

This boat can and has gone around the world... With a displacement of 7 tons, this
boat has the carrying capacity to take your stuff with you.

This boat is one of the more expensive... with asking bids of $35K and boats going for $24 K.

See the plan below for more info...


goprisko 29-04-2010 17:03

Baba 30
The Baba 30 is a very nice boat that sells for $50-70 K at this price, it is far beyond
the means of our mythical cruiser.

The attachment has the interior and exterior plans for this boat.

Babas have cruised extensively, and are very good boats.


goprisko 29-04-2010 17:10

Bristol Channel 28 Pilot Cutter

Designed by Lyle Hess for Larry Pardey at 31' and reduced in size to 28' for construction in GRP, this is a very proven boat. Unfortunately, it is a cult boat that
sells in the $ 150-250 K range..

You'd be better off building one from Lyle's plans....


goprisko 29-04-2010 17:15

Falmouth 30 Cutter
1 Attachment(s)
If you are into a building project... ala the Pardeys... this may be the boat for you.

The designer is responsive.. the plans are low cost.. the boat is a good one...

It has the following specs:.....

Length on deck30 ft 0 in
Beam9 ft 11 in Length waterline28 ft 8 in
Draft5 ft 9 in Displacement18,000 lbs
Ballast6800 lbs Sailing rigGaff cutter
Sail area596 sq. ft Fresh water220 litres
Fuel capacity130 litres Building time5000 hours
Skill levelHigh Price $600 Canadian funds
Design #1096 SheetsAvailable from Paul Gartside Ltd.


pressuredrop 29-04-2010 17:44

let us not forget ye old allied seawind, another thomas gillmer classic.

indy, i love your boat because it looks like a bigger (center cockpit) version of mine (see my avatar)

anyways, i got my boat almost a year ago for 5k, have close to 10k into it, i have done 100% of the work myself and always will, and looking at about another 15-20k before shes ready for anything... at which point i will show her anything and everything i can.

i got an old monitor for $400 from a real nice old guy. and a manual windlass i got for $50 and got working for $175 in parts.

anything can be done really cheap if you are persistant and patient

i am a cheap bastard and plan to live that way when i cruise.
500/month aint unreasonable at all

but then again, i have no sig. other, and am not a big drinker

200 pounds of a good selection of grains/beans/legumes/oats etc can last a long time and not cost a tremendous amount at all, supplemented with fresh sea food when every possible, what more could one ask for to eat?

a big enough water tank will allow you the ability to load up on rain water and not need a watermaker...

honestly i cant wait to hone my skills enough to be confident ditching the engine... i still think about it everyday, but i need more experience before i go that route, but that is the ultimate freedom, and there is something to be said for cruising engineless (much less maintenance costs being one of them)

and what a coincidence i have a hard rowing dingy (7'4" x 4' lapstake shell)
i have an old 4hp evinrude yachtwin (28lbs) on it but it crapped out a few month ago so ive just been rowing and i love it.

Indy, thanks for the encouragement, its nice to have a thread like this amongst all the you need 2000/month to cruise threads.

i think the bottom line is if you are a minimalist, you can do it as cheap as you damn well please, and if your not, you cant do it cheap...:whistling:

Mariness 29-04-2010 17:51

I can't comment on most of your categories, but I do have 1 question: How are you getting only $150/month for food? Is food a lot cheaper in many other parts of the world? We are only 3, and 1 of those doesn't eat much yet, but we spend quite a bit more than that even though our food spending is lower than average, nationally and for our income bracket. I suppose it helps that we don't drink, but I just don't see that happening unless there's something I don't know about eating while cruising.
Could you maybe show us an idea of what that cost covers - what you are purchasing and eating?
Or is it just a land-sea thing - sail off into the sunset and you suddenly spend less on food?

Surveyor 29-04-2010 18:34

Personally, I would fish nearly constantly. Fishing in exotic places, as well as while in transit, is a big part of why I want to go on such an adventure in the first place. Catching fish, crabs and other crustaceans could offset a lot of food costs while adding entertainment value. I would want to invest in fishing/snorkeling equipment, a couple of cast nets, a couple of bait traps and a sturdy dink with an over sized anchor. A hookah rig might not be a bad investment either.

Fishing and cruising, a perfect match and a means to achieve a realistic $500/mo budget.

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