Thursday, December 10, 2015

Something to aspire to in the budget department...

So yeah, about that two pennies a mile maintenance/operating costs...

Let's say you're a person of VolksCruiserish leaning and you want to sail around the world on a budget of, shall we say $750 a month of which $200 is set aside for maintenance/operating costs which, from my experience, is a reasonable amount providing you do your own work and don't have any budgetary black holes on your boat.

Since we're conjuring this all up we'll also say you do your circumnavigation in five-years and you actually sail around 30,000 miles in the process.

That gives us something like 40 cents a mile and, since I'm not exactly known as an overly optimistic person, I'd round that up to a half dollar a mile. Which is less than most would consider prudent but a lot more than I'd like to spend...

So, the question is, how do we get that number down to a more manageable level?

Time to put on your cunning plan hat.


  1. Using a food drier is a great way to cut cost and weight.

    I'm astounded by how often cruisers stock up on expensive CANNED goods. They may sail far out of their way for deals, lug cases across town by taxi, squeeze it all aboard, then sail for the next semi-urban hell hole to replenish. All that adds to costs.

    Dried foods, whether prepare or DIY are cheap, lightweight, retain more nutriients, and stow, keep and taste well. Thermos and other retained heat cookers (eg. 'Hayboxes'g make reconstitution water and fuel efficient.

    Win win!

    1. One thing I learned after provisioning in Florida or a nine-month cruise through Mexico, Belize and the Rio Dulce in Guatemala and back was that it's NOT necessary to buy 10 lbs. of rice when traveling to places where rice is a staple.

  2. Here's an economic plug for Junk Rig. I believe it can cut initial outlays and long-term costs to the bone.

    DIY JR sails range from dead simple to easy. They can be built from inexpensive cloth (expensive, high modulus sailcloth actually reduces performance), generally without requiring a lofting floor. Most JR sailplans have very little fabric waste. They are cheap and easy to repair. Due to JR's dispersal of stresses, useful sail life is potentially indefinite. JR generally benefits from sail stretch, so no 'tired sails'. Unless one finds a REAL bargain on other types, used, you will cut costs by factors of 10.

    JR standing rigging is low stress, inexpensive and can be made and repaired using materials available anywhere around the world. Simple blocks and knots hold it all together. No need to stockpile or wait or the arrival of expensive tools or replacement materials. Tensions are light in the rig... not even turnbuckles are necessary. Multiple purchase sheeting (via DIY blocks?) means no winches.

    Masts can be grown wood, and don't even need to be straight! Minimal hardware keeps them cheap and simple. All can be easily fabricated DIY. When set in tabernacles, they are easy to raise/lower without yard or other costly assistance.

    JR's already reliable windward performance is improving with recent innovations, while retaining the inherent simplicity and economies of the rig.

    Visit for more.

    Lug and Gaff Rigs are attractive as well, though require shaped sails which benefit from low stretch fabrics. Gaff Rig, especially, can benefit from various bits of less simple hardware and linear spars. Still, they both provide powerful, simpler, lower tech, fail safer and cheaper alternatives to conventional Marconi Rigs.

  3. Seems like a lot of that $200/mo avg has to come from engine and related system needs?

    A pure sailboat has gotta help.

    Two outboard related ideas, if an engine is a must:

    a)Select a dinghy that can be used with OB as a yawlboat. Some of the Port-a-bote and other folding dinghies may work.

    b)Carry a suitcase generator + electric OB. Most needs will be met by solar, but the gen, which wears a lot more hats, can back it up for, say, nasty currents in the Tuomotos.

    But if one can stand pure sail, and doesn't get crazy about the rig, both initial outlay and operating costs can drop significantly.