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Old 24-10-2021, 20:45   #1
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The nitty gritty, Making money while you're cruising The South Pacific

I'd like to start a discussion where people can share their experiences of funding the cruising kitty while abroad, and or saving for the initial leap into the voyage.

I'd Like to exclude the whole youtube sensation, go-fund me approach from this discussion as my partner and I have discussed this and neither of us feel that this would be the best approach for us.

I should share a little background on our side and elaborate briefly on our plans.

My partner is a full time highschool teacher and has one of her Bachelors in Education, which she got specifically so that her teaching credentials would be recognized abroad with cruising in mind.

We are both experienced sailors in different ways; she taught dingy sailing for most of her adolescence and then moved on to become heavily involved in the keelboat racing scene around the Vancouver Island Area.

I started off as a trainee in traditional sail training ships when I was 22, am 31 now and have been working in Canada, the US, France, etc on a number of traditional square rigged ships as crew-boatswain- and eventually chief mate etc since then and have done a couple Atlantic crossings and sailed coastal in Europe, the Med, West Coast US, Great Lakes, etc... Currently working for a local charter boat company in my homeport of Victoria BC.

We have bought a Tom Gilmer designed Roughwater 33 and absolutely love the boat, and we are planning on a 5 year timeframe for fitting her out properly for offshore, and doing a number of coastal cruises around BC to get used to the boat and overnight passages with eachother, before heading off to the Pacific Milk run and I hope slowly around the world. We are both fluent in English, French and her in spanish as she teaches it.

My question is wide ranging, so lets break it down

1. For those who have sailed the South Pacific route how difficult is it to pick up odd boatyard jobs and or maintenance jobs on other peoples boats? I have extensive wooden boat maintenance experience, with re-finishing, rigging, hardware installation etc, mostly transferable skills to fiberglass yachts with some re-jigging.

2. How stingey are most of the south pacific nations about work visas and official permits etc... I realize we will need certain visas to enter certain countries but are they extremely strict about people picking up piece work?

3. What did you guys do to keep your cruise afloat?

4. Keeping mostly out of marinas and anchoring out, cooking yourself and trying to keep things economical how much were you able to live on per month in the South Pacific?

My partner is planning on doing some English teaching with her qualifications wherever she can while I'm doing boat work.

Yes I have read and re-read the Cost Conscious Cruiser, and other books by the Pardeys, but it's hard to get a real world bead on things reading books by extremely exceptional people, I mean, lets be honest, how many people build their own wood Lyall Hess Cutter and sail around the world engineless on it..

Cheers

Ryan
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Old 24-10-2021, 21:10   #2
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Re: The nitty gritty, Making money while you're cruising The South Pacific

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Originally Posted by rkarakai21 View Post
I mean, lets be honest, how many people build their own wood Lyall Hess Cutter and sail around the world engineless on it.
Please, get a bar of soap and wash your fingers thoroughly.

The designer was Lyle Compton Hess.

Reference to him as Lyle C. Hess is acceptable.
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Old 24-10-2021, 21:22   #3
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Re: The nitty gritty, Making money while you're cruising The South Pacific

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Please, get a bar of soap and wash your fingers thoroughly.

The designer was Lyle Compton Hess.

Reference to him as Lyle C. Hess is acceptable.
Curious what did his mom call him when she was angry & he was in trouble growing up?
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Old 24-10-2021, 21:37   #4
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Re: The nitty gritty, Making money while you're cruising The South Pacific

Apologies for the spelling, I knew better, but really this is a little bit too much Idolatry, and irrelevant to the OP.

Cheers

Ryan
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Old 24-10-2021, 22:07   #5
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Re: The nitty gritty, Making money while you're cruising The South Pacific

As a foreigner earning freedom chips in Island communities you need to be very sensitive about not taking work away from locals.
Otherwise they'll find a way to do you in.

Key trades like Ref/AC , Electronics, etc can be done low key, but often cruisers expect help from each other, so can be awkward.

More often, project managing yard work for a wealthy cruiser who needs to be elsewhere, can be camouflaged by you acting as crew.

Deliveries and training for new to boating first time buyers is another way.

If you have Cruising Instructor Qualifications, so that you can certify the new Owners whilst on delivery, is of more value.

Filling in as crew on Superyachts that are at the last minute, temporary short of deck crew for an Owner's visit, can pay very well.
So introduce yourself to local Superyacht agents with a CV. I have hired a few cruisers like that myself in the past.
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Old 25-10-2021, 00:27   #6
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Re: The nitty gritty, Making money while you're cruising The South Pacific

I'm not sure how it will hold up in the S. Pacific but getting her TEFL can work with her teaching background.

Beyond that...Fact is the majority of folks who cruise full time are retired or semi-retired. If you can work your current job remotely, that can be viable as the main work visa concern is that you are taking away local jobs. That usually means you spend time near civilization so you have an internet connection.

If local labor is cheap, don't expect to make much and be ready to face harsh response if you get caught.
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Old 25-10-2021, 00:57   #7
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Re: The nitty gritty, Making money while you're cruising The South Pacific

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Fact is the majority of folks who cruise full time are retired or semi-retired. If you can work your current job remotely, that can be viable [...]
Indeed. Most working cruisers (and other digital nomads) bring their work along from home and don't make much of the local opportunities. If you're in the right area, there may be the chance to flip hurricane-damaged boats for decent money, you might do a little waitressing in a local bar, do some unofficial language coaching / homework help or help out in a souvenir shop. These might be a welcome addition to the cruising kitty, but for serious money, either you won't find it there at all or you will have to do it legally. This means is a lot of effort for foreigner.

To sum it up: Take your well paying work along when starting cruising.
If you can't, you have an answer why so many people don't live their dream.
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Old 25-10-2021, 07:21   #8
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Re: The nitty gritty, Making money while you're cruising The South Pacific

Yeah, I am neither retired nor do I have a well paying office job that I can work at remotely, so I am going to have to be more creative than that. I do have some commercial maritime certifications as I have been working in that field for awhile and I will be getting more.

Getting cruising instructors tickets before heading off is certainly viable and I will be exploring that.

I certainly would never want to take work away from locals, especially in the more remote places.

We were thinking of doing some extended stays in Asia, Taiwan and Japan likely, because my partner taught English there before and she could do it again in a full official capacity and make decent money for a longer period, I would just have to figure out a way that I could be equally contributing over there.

Thanks for the responses guys, appreciate it. These details are the important stuff. I know how to fit out a boat, and I know we can Navigate our way across but how to keep the ball rolling when we get there is going to be the biggest challenge.

We really want to get away while we are still in our 30's and have lots of vigour left, there are other factors, like the older we get the more likely we will be taking care of elderly parents etc... I think the time is now.
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Old 25-10-2021, 07:34   #9
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Re: The nitty gritty, Making money while you're cruising The South Pacific

Certainly not looking for extremely lucrative employment, I would work for food and fuel to stock the boat if that option was available. It might be that we have to run on saved money in the more remote areas and then spend a few months with work visas in New Zealand or Australia working whatever jobs to build up the funds again. Once we get back around to Europe I have the possibility of full time employment with one of the ships/rigging lofts I was working for over there, but everything in between needs a solid plan.
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Old 25-10-2021, 07:40   #10
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Re: The nitty gritty, Making money while you're cruising The South Pacific

How this couple affords sailing. They did eventually transition to making some money from.YouTube eventually. Both seemed to have remote jobs & rental property at the start though.

https://youtu.be/OcGH6ww3eIU
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Old 25-10-2021, 07:48   #11
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Re: The nitty gritty, Making money while you're cruising The South Pacific

[QUOTE=rkarakai21;3508235

We were thinking of doing some extended stays in Asia, Taiwan and Japan likely, because my partner taught English there before and she could do it again in a full official capacity and make decent money for a longer period, I would just have to figure out a way that I could be equally contributing over there.
[/QUOTE]

Having cruised both extensively in the 90's, I would certainly recommend Japan over Taiwan from a cruising and cultural perspective, especially remote areas accessible by boat.

Your timing is much better now as they have finally come to terms with allowing foreign registered pleasure craft to Ply their waters
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Old 25-10-2021, 08:01   #12
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Re: The nitty gritty, Making money while you're cruising The South Pacific

I don't have specific South Pacific experience, but have met a handful of budget cruisers who seemed to get by. Common thread is having a skill that is valuable to other cruisers. One Austrailian I met stayed busy for 6-months doing canvas and upholstery work. Another guy on a powerboat in Isla Mujeres MX was a welder and stayed as busy as he wanted. In the early days of Project Atticus, she found odd jobs as a marine canvas person, he was pretty talented in fiberglass work - they managed to scratch-out a living before moving into a YouTube/Patreon lifestyle (boring). Decent marine electricians/electronics skills are increasingly valuable as boats become more complex, especially in out-of-the-way places where there simply are no skills for this type of work. Can never go wrong with refrigeration/HVAC skills.

Without a specific skill, you will be competing for manual labor jobs at pretty low wages.

Good luck - you never know until you try.

Peter
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Old 25-10-2021, 08:03   #13
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Re: The nitty gritty, Making money while you're cruising The South Pacific

I was an avid diver back in the day and went spearfishing or lobster gathering anytime I stopped anywhere....I'd sell portions of my catch to fellow cruisers....my girlfriend at the time collected shells and made jewelry from them and also sold them to cruisers we met...it was a hit and miss thing, but we did ok with it..
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Old 25-10-2021, 08:48   #14
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Re: The nitty gritty, Making money while you're cruising The South Pacific

rakrakal21, I don't want to rain on your parade but you asked and you deserve an honest answer. I spent 22 years cruising, mostly in the Pacific. It is extremely difficult for a cruiser to support himself and his boat picking up boat repair jobs as he cruises. And it would be especially difficult for someone with your skill set. There are very few wooden boats cruising now and even fewer traditionally rigged boats. I know that some of your skills would be transferable to fiberglass and modern rigging, but the owners of those boat seek out experts in those fields when looking for help. How strict are Pacific nations about work permit? Very strict! If you are caught working without a work visa almost everywhere, the best you can hope for is to be simply kicked out of the country. And the local workers are not shy about turning you in if they suspect that you are taking jobs. Over the years I saw plenty of guys rowing their dinghies from boat to boat in the anchorages seeking small jobs. They seldom seemed to find anything. As for your wife teaching ESL, most of the islanders who are interested in and can afford English classes want a certified, accredited program. I think the best skills to have if people want to pick-up under-the-table income while cruising are stainless welding, refrigeration, and hair cutting. How much does it cost? We had a simple, gaff-rigged ketch and seldom went into anchorages. We were comfortable at about $2,000 a month, boat and living expenses and a flight home every three years or so. We could have been okay at $1,500. You two are young. You have plenty of time. I was 46 when I cast off. Use your skills to earn cash now, invest it wisely, and have a reliable income when you begin your cruising.Fair winds.
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Old 25-10-2021, 09:05   #15
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Re: The nitty gritty, Making money while you're cruising The South Pacific

There was a really long thread on making money while cruising a year or three ago but I can't seem to track it down. Covered the subject in great and gory detail.

I would second or third the comment from several about work permits and working in undeveloped areas. Pretty much any skill you could bring besides medical, teaching certificate or similar there will be local people doing it to make a living. In the most remote areas with very few resources you will find gaps in this but also not much of a market as well.

Not saying it can't be done but cruising through the islands trying to support yourself by doing repairs on other cruisers' boats is not likely to work.
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