Jackie Parry – author


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Cruising Clinic – What budget do I have to purchase a boat?

Only you know your financial situation. It’s time to be honest with yourself!

In the first article we wrote:

1) What budget do I have to purchase a boat? Whatever budget you have it is extremely likely that you will find a boat you love just that ‘bit’ over your budget. This amount does NOT include:a) all the unexpected problems found during survey that need to be fixedb) all the things the vendor neglected to tell you that needed to be fixedc) all those things that just pop up at inopportune times that need to be fixed

d) on-going maintenance and repairs

e) additional equipment (your own ideas/wants)

Summary: Keep at least 10% of your budget for those unexpected issues.

What’s the real question?

The more pertinent question is, what do I get for my money? And, what other factors do I have to consider?

What do I get for my money?

What do I get for my money?

Advice

The best advice is research, research, research. While sailboats vary dramatically in size, layout, design and price, after some in-depth researching you will create a feel for the value presented. Sorry to harp on, but it is all about research. And to only consider the boat purchase cost on its own is foolhardy.

Learn

Researching will expand your know-how. Ask questions, seek advice, you will be amazed how your knowledge grows. We spent two years searching for our second boat, all via internet (we wanted to buy a boat in America to experience the Pacific Ocean for a second time).

$0 – millions

You can spend millions or a few thousand. Actually, a few hundred if you are willing to put in the time/money to make is seaworthy. But then you have to consider whether you want to GO cruising now or WORK for several years on a boat first.

Other considerations

As mentioned previously, it is not just the initial purchase, boats have to be maintained constantly. The marine environment is extremely harsh. Without proper care your boat can quickly become un-seaworthy. The problems will spiral out of control – causing the costs to escalate out of control. Everything that moves wears out and will need replacing eventually, this includes sails. As a guide, everything that moves lasts about ten years, motor, winch, sails etc, then it will need an overhaul or replacing.

Costs to keep in mind: see here for full article on calculating your costs. Your on-going expenditure will depend on:

  • From what point you started, ie condition of boat
  • Equipment on board

A smaller, seaworthy, good condition boat is far better than a large, poorly maintained, vessel that will just become a money pit!

Size matters.

Size matters.

Size matters

The size of the boat will matter. We reckon about ten feet per decade. So:

  • If you are ten years old, you want a sailing dinghy of ten feet.
  • In your twenties you can get by on a twenty-seven footer.
  • When you reach thirty you may want a bit more comfort and so on.

It’s almost like a foot for every year of your life (up to about fifty). However, larger boats can be more expensive (longer length means a longer bill at marina), you may need more gear (longer rigging, larger sails). That said, you can make savings with a bigger boat by stowing more spare parts and stocking up at cheap locations.

Fibreglass/Timber/Steel/Aluminium/Ferro

Boat material will be a factor. Which material do you like working with best? That may make you a saving if you can work on it rather than employing someone else to do the work.

Our priorities when buying a boat

Watertight integrity

Seaworthiness

Material/keel setup

Heavy displacement (for crossing oceans)/handling capabilities

Equipment (is it all working? Can you maintain it?)

Age/condition

Can we accept, repair, replace, are familiar with all the things that are not perfect.

When we bought Pyewacket, we had to install solar panels and wind generators.

When we bought Pyewacket, we had to install solar panels and wind generators.

The Answer

The answer as per cost is dependent on:

  1. Where you are buying (USA, Caribbean, UK, Australia, Europe . . .)
  2. Condition of boat
  3. What equipment does it comes with?
  4. What skills do you have?
  5. What is your budget (allowing for additional unseen/planned costs and running costs)?

More reading

The Real Cost of Owning a Boat: here.

Here’s a neat UK link providing an idea of what you’ll get for your money: here.

More help

Next time we’ll talk about WHICH boat.

Our book, Cruisers’ AA contains lots more helpful information.


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Cruising Clinic – How much does cruising cost?

When Noel and I decided to go cruising, as a complete beginner I had two very pertinent questions on my mind. I asked these questions as we hopped on the back of Noel’s motorbike, searching for a boat.

‘So, what’s it going to cost, running a boat?’

He replied, ‘Everything we’ve got.’

A little perplexed, but not yet deterred, I then asked, ‘What’s so great about sailing anyway?’

Noel, with his brutal honesty and years of experience with boats replied, ‘Getting in to port.’

‘Good grief’, I muttered. After about two hours of silence while I digested these little gems, I said, ‘Why do it then?’

Without hesitation Noel responded, ‘It’s the closest thing to freedom I know.’

That did it for me. It was right then that I was sold on the idea. Sixteen years later I still see the wisdom in his answers.

What's so great about sailing . . .?

What’s so great about sailing . . .?

I’ll write about the ‘what’s so good about sailing?’ question down the line. Right now, I guess you’re thinking, ‘well so what?, that doesn’t help me very much.’ However, think about this: cruising WILL cost you everything you have, if you let it.

So, let’s look at the right questions to ask to see if we can make sense of all this:

1) What budget do I have to purchase a boat?

2) What will it cost to run?

3) How will I earn money along the way?

4) How can I save money along the way?

Boats can be as expensive or as cheap as you make them. We find that living on board is a cheaper way to live, but we know how to save money, I am extremely prudent with our dollars and we employ smart tactics. AND you have to start with a good boat, then maintain it – constantly (a job a day, however big or small).

We were still trying to figure out where to stow everything!

We were still trying to figure out where to stow everything!

Now, let’s try and find some answers.

1) What budget do I have to purchase a boat? Whatever budget you have it is extremely likely that you will find a boat you love for a ‘bit’ more and go over your budget. This amount does NOT include:

a) all the unexpected problems found during survey that need to be fixed

b) all the things the vendor neglected to tell you that needed to be fixed

c) all those things that just pop up at inopportune times that need to be fixed

d) on-going maintenance and repairs

e) additional equipment (your own ideas/wants)

Summary: Keep at least 10% of your budget for those unexpected issues.

A job a day kept Mariah ship-shape.

A job a day kept Mariah ship-shape.

2) What will it cost to run? It depends on where you started from. If you are really lucky and have a good, well maintained boat, then it will also depend upon:

a) the size of your boat*

b) amount of use (little use is not always a good thing)

c) your skills (can you maintain it and carry out repairs? Or do you need help?)

d) your time

*(great examples on actual living costs on various sized boats, on Sail Far Live Free: http://www.sailfarlivefree.com/2012/12/what-does-it-cost-to-go-cruising.html)

3) How will I earn money along the way? Be creative. Use the skills you have. Other cruisers need expertise in all areas. We’ll tackle this subject later on too. However, running your own business is not easy on land, don’t expect it to be easy while cruising. You have the added challenge of communications.

4) How can I save money along the way? This is the easy bit – if you are prepared to change your lifestyle.

Stop spending it! Really. Don’t eat out all the time, figure out how to fix stuff yourself. Learn how to get the best bargains on boat equipment, learn how to keep food for weeks and weeks (without a fridge if necessary, we did for nine years), anchor out and avoid mariner fees. I could go on and on, and I did in our book Cruisers’ AA (accumulated acumen). I’ll supply more tips down the line, on each of these subjects.

If this all sounds off putting, well you’ve given up too soon. Cruising life is fantastic, but it is not for everyone. If you like a challenge, can adapt to new situations and want to enjoy your life in a way you never dreamed of – then maybe it is for you.

A good boat to start with & on-going maintenance will ensure you get to all those places you dreamed of.

A good boat to start with & on-going maintenance will ensure you get to all those places you dreamed of.

I’ll write more on all these subjects (1-4) in the coming weeks. Cruisers’ AA (accumulated acumen) covers all this and much more in far greater detail, see www.jackieparry.com for more information – available in paperback & ebook). (Or look at the top of this page and follow the links!)

You can sail to the most wonderful places & experience new escapades!

You can sail to the most wonderful places & experience new escapades!