Cruising on $30,000/year?

I’m retiring and thinking of sailing. I’m a Alaskan sailor all my life…but im thinking of US- VI or South Florida. I’ve fished all my life off boats that make so much noise you can’t think. A catamarn sounds like my kind of boat. What do you think? Can a guy figure on living free at $30,000 a year? I have no bills and no wife nor kids. At 56 it’s time to get a tan. Any commments? – Jim

Hi Jim: I agree – time to get a tan.

The cost of cruising is very much a function of how you do it. First the variables. If you anchor out (we think this much more pleasant than being in a marina), do the majority of your own maintenance, and keep the consumption of liquor to moderate proportions, the 30K/year will leave you with a big cushion. Depending on the condition of your boat, and how you maintain it, this cushion should still allow for the odd major overhaul of whatever has gone wrong.

You will find Mexico and Central America less costly than the Caribbean. And in the Caribbean, the closer to South America you get, the less it will cost.

As to the boat, we are not big fans of cats. The condo versions offer a lot of space, but are very slow, and not very good at crossing oceans (in our opinion). My preference would be a longer monohull, with better performance, good ocean going characteristics, at the same price. But there is that space issue.

On the other hand, if you are going to be content in the Caribbean, a cat could do just fine (but the South Pacific is awfully nice!).

Good Luck with your plans – Steve

Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)

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