How much does it take? All of it!
One of the most frequently asked questions concerning cruising is: "How much does it cost to cruise around on a sailboat"? Granted most of these type questions pop up on sailing/cruising forums because, for the most part, people realize that is a pretty personal question to ask someone. As a person who dreamed about cruising for years before getting a sampling of it in 2006, I had often wondered the same thing and I searched high and low for answers. I finally found the answer….. "As much as you have".
This is not far from the truth. If you have 'mo money', you will spend 'mo money'. The same thing is true for landlubbers. You would be shocked to see just how little you could live on….if you had to (we all waste much more money that we realize).
This is probably one of the most discussed topics on cruiser's forums and blogs throughout the cruising community. The comments and input are as varied as the posters themselves. There are so many variables in the cruising lifestyle, and these variables will drastically affect the monthly expenditures of a cruiser. We will try and discuss these variables in order to understand the wide range of cruising budgets out there today.
I will say that a crew of two on a small (32-36 footer), safe, reasonably equipped monohull COULD cruise longterm on an annual budget of $15k-$18k. Another couple on a larger (48-50 footer), safe, well-equiped, monohull COULD spend $60k-$70k a year or more. Needless to say, these couples would have very differing lifestyles and probably very different opinions of what "comfort" and "fun" is. They would also have differing abilities as far as boat repair and maintenance is concerned. Most everything is a series of compromises.
After researching this topic for years, and after cruising in the Bahamas for 6 months, we think we have a pretty good idea what it will take for us to cruise long-term.
We will be posting a series of blog entries concerning the costs of cruising. Once they are posted here on the main blog we will also put them on the MONEY STUFF page (see tab at the top of the page) so they will be in a consolidated location for easier reference.
For the sake of simplicity we have broken down the budget expenses into 3 main categories with sub-categories under each. The main categories are your LIVING EXPENSES, BOAT EXPENSES, and DISCRETIONARY EXPENSES. Of these categories the biggest expense (after purchase and refitting the cruising yacht) is the LIVING EXPENSES, followed by the BOAT EXPENSES, and the smallest expense category is the DISCRETIONARY EXPENSES.
Within each of these categories there are some items that you have more control over than others, depending on your desires for level of comfort, eating habits, condition of your boat, etc. What shape was your boat in when you started cursing? How often do you stay in marinas vs. anchoring out? How often do you eat ashore vs. cooking on the boat? How often do you take inland trips in the countries you visit that incur lodging and transportation costs? Do you sail as much as possible vs. cranking the engine that requires fuel? Do you carry insurance on your boat?
We will try to identify and discuss some of these items and help you determine where you stack up as far as cruising budgets are concerned. This is basically an aid for those who are thinking about cruising, but are not sure it is within their economic means. It also good for those who are already out there cruising to compare what they are spending vs. the budget that is presented here. As always, comments are welcome. What are your cruising expenses annually?