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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:

  1. Money to buy our sailboat (our new home)
  2. Money to live
Being total newbies to sailing we really have no idea how “big” a 35′ boat is (in actual living space, etc.) We are really looking forward to our trip to Florida where I think a lot of these questions will be answered.
Pricing boats on the net though (catamarans especially) is a bit scary. Where could we possibly find the money for a 44 footer?

The following article (original poster DON CASEY), which I am reposting from a thread on, 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.


  1. What a great line….”The best cruising boat of 2003? That’s easy. It’s the one that takes you cruising in 2003.” Soooooo True!!

    I would love to get 5% interest today on my money…..Sign me up

  2. Richard Pendergast (Hello Texas) - Reply

    Words of wisdom. It is amazing how many people have boats but never go cruising because they can never get finished with their upgrade t0-do list. I glad that you all are out there showing the way.

  3. Hi there and happy anniversary to both of you – great articles I love your style. I am just wondering if this is your initial boat and if you have a description of your boats, i.e. length, name, year. I am sorry to ask this question jut wondering what a good size boat would be for 2 adults and a child, (good place to look for one on the www) where did you get yours?
    I like the home schooling idea you mentioned in one of your posts, are there many boaters you know who live a lifestyle like that.

    Best wishes from Canada and thank you for your time, Frank (210 four Winns, Lake Simcoe, Joe, Muskoka & Joseph) 🙂

    • Hi Frank

      Yes, this is our first and only boat. It is a PDQ 32 (32′ long by 16′ wide). We feel it is plenty big for the two of us but there’s not much room for extra crew or family.

      As for home schooling, there are multiple children living here on boats and most home school. Only ones that are here (Grenada) year round send their kids to the local schools and even some of those families still opt to home school. It seems to work.

  4. Starting at the beginning of the blog and will read through accordingly. This was a great reminder to not get caught up in the beauty and aesthetics of a boat when looking around for our new home. Valuing possessions over enjoyment of life is the exact reason I want to leave land, so it’s good to remember that when investing in the next box we’re fitting into. <3

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