Money, money, money
It seems to me that acquiring the money for our dream will be an even greater challenge than learning the skills to accomplish it (how to sail for starters).
As we see it we will require money for 2 areas:
- Money to buy our sailboat (our new home)
- Money to live
The following article (original poster DON CASEY), which I am reposting from a thread on www.cruisersforum.com, actually puts me a bit at ease.
If there is a single key to realizing the dream of cruising, it is restraint in what you spend for the boat. Cruising dollars are nearly always better spent on something else. Think about it. If you sell your house for $250,000 and sink $240,000 into a boat, you can cruise frugally for less than a year on what is left. But if you spend $50,000 on the boat—a realistic price on the used market for a “well-made, thoughtfully laid out boat under 35 feet”—just the interest on the money that remains exceeds $10,000 a year, meaning your cruise is fully funded in perpetuity.
A fatter kitty also means you can visit places that might otherwise seem too expensive, stay in marinas (if you like), eat at restaurants, rent cars, take inland excursions, and fly home. None of these benefits accrue from spending more on the boat, only from spending less.
A smaller investment in the boat will also reduce mental stress. When your boat represents a substantial portion of your personal wealth, the mischarted rock or out of season cyclone is never far from consciousness. A fat insurance policy can dull this worry, but away from domestic waters, hull insurance is shockingly expensive, sucking up cruising dollars in direct proportion to the value of the boat. Most long-distance cruisers go without. If you elect to insure, expect contractual restraints, such as requirements to take on additional crew for offshore passages and to be beyond a certain latitude prior to a specified date.
Nothing here should be construed to suggest buying a boat that is anything less than uncompromisingly seaworthy. A good cruising boat will also be comfortable, but that does not mean complicated. The simpler the systems aboard, the better suited the boat will be for cruising. In the most desirable places to cruise, competent technical assistance is scarce and expensive. Even if you can handle the repairs yourself, breakdowns are still a distraction. You are enriched on a cruise not just by what you gain but, paradoxically, by what you leave behind. Travel light.
Luxury, real luxury, is spending an entire day reading a good book, or enjoying the companionship of someone you love, or marveling underwater at the colors of tropical fish. And knowing you can do the same tomorrow if you want to. And the day after. Neither perfect joinery nor five extra feet of length have much to do with this—unless they prevent you from going.
I identify a cruising boat not by her D/L ratio, her centerline sink, or her inner stay, but by the white gash she cuts in a blue ocean, the spread of shade cast by the harbor awning, the mingled ring of laughter and smell of bread drifting downwind. I can’t tell you her length or beam or sail area, but I know she is big enough to carry food and water and dry clothes; a small library and big anchors; and the dreams of her crew.
The best cruising boat of 2003? That’s easy. It’s the one that takes you cruising in 2003.