The Cost of Cruising or Voyaging on a Sailboat

There always seems to be a controversy over the cost of owning and maintaining a sailboat.  One other place where there are usually disagreements, is in the cost of cruising or voyaging.  I recently came across a posting that better-defined the difference between cruising and voyaging.  I did not think there was a difference, but after reading this it became apparent that there is.

Here is the post:

Lat. 38 wisdom.

To be truly challenging, a voyage, like a life, must rest on a firm foundation of financial unrest. Otherwise, you are doomed to a routine traverse, the kind known to yachtsmen who play with their boats at sea… “cruising” it is called. Voyaging belongs to seamen, and to the wanderers of the world who cannot, or will not, fit in. If you are contemplating a voyage and you have the means, abandon the venture until your fortunes change. Only then will you know what the sea is all about.

“I’ve always wanted to sail to the South Seas, but I can’t afford it.” What these men can’t afford is not to go. They are enmeshed in the cancerous discipline of “security.” And in the worship of security we fling our lives beneath the wheels of routine – and before we know it our lives are gone.

What does a man need – really need? A few pounds of food each day, heat and shelter, six feet to lie down in – and some form of working activity that will yield a sense of accomplishment. That’s all – in the material sense, and we know it. But we are brainwashed by our economic system until we end up in a tomb beneath a pyramid of time payments, mortgages, preposterous gadgetry, playthings that divert our attention for the sheer idiocy of the charade.

The years thunder by. The dreams of youth grow dim where they lie caked in dust on the shelves of patience. Before we know it, the tomb is sealed.

Where, then, lies the answer? In choice. Which shall it be: bankruptcy of purse or bankruptcy of life?

Stuart Kiehl

I really like this!  It sums up that which I have always felt, but not put into words.  I would much-prefer being considered a voyager as opposed to a cruiser.  I see far too many people that constantly toil with their 401k or their retirement investments so that they can continue most of their land-locked lives once on their boats.  This is not how I want to live when I cast off the dock lines for the last time.  I want an existence that is more in lines with how Kenneth Neumeyer wrote about in Sailing the Farm.  An existence where you live as much as you can off the sea and off what you can harvest and grow there.  Sailing much as our ancestors sailed and living much as they did.  To see how some want to budget $3000 to $4000 a month for their cruising lifestyle seems opposed to the whole idea of living on a sailboat.  To each their own, and I guess if you want to be a “cruiser” then you may need that sort of budget.  Even $1500 seems extravagant to me.  Besides, this is a really bad time to have investments in anything that is not tangible.  The stock market is really volatile.  Even when you hear the “experts” say that it is going up, it is mostly inflation that has devalued the dollar that makes it appear to have gone up.  Then when you remember that the last crash of the stock market almost seemed orchestrated, you realize how little control you have over your wealth if you allow it to become embroiled in anything that is controlled by the banking cartels.

Our plans will include about $500 a month for expenses.  We do all our own maintenance, which I have leaned to do from life and owning three sailboats.  Not that we couldn’t afford to have someone else do the work – we could.  The wife is an attorney and I am a semi-retired engineer that runs her office.  We do everything ourselves because we want to be self-reliant.  I have far too much pride to pay someone else to work on my boat when I can do it myself.

I guess it’s all in how you want to retire.  If one man wishes to marina hop up and down the coasts, then good for him.  Our dream includes sailing across oceans and visiting islands where you have to drop an anchor because there is no marina.  Islands where you might be one of the only people there, or where you can meet the natives and briefly become a part of their community before sailing off to a new place.  It’s been done and is being done all the time.  Many people out there are sailing and living off the sea, and finding new friends all over.  I recently read somewhere that “you can’t spend a dime crossing an ocean“.  As it is, you will only be able to spend money when you are in port.  If you have to restock provisions or buy parts to repair something broken then you will have to spend.  Otherwise the costs of sailing from here to there are zero.