What it costs and empowerment from a surprising source….

In my RSS inbox today there was another “is the cruising life for you” themed podcast. Which apparently answers all your needful questions like “What’s it all going to cost?”.

The thing is, I don’t feel the need to check out the podcast in question because it will just be a regurgitation of the same old same.

On the “what’s it going to cost” front, I recently concluded that the oft-given answer of “whatever you have” is the worst answer ever. We should center the question not on what it costs, but more on what you are willing to spend.

The universal thinking on cruising and boat costs treats the average cruiser or boatbuilder as being clueless, stupid, and unable to live on any kind of budget of their own making. While a lot of boat folk and cruisers I’ve come across match that description, it is not the majority.

Now folks of scant means (spelled lower income) have a significant advantage, as they know it’s a hard world, people have to make do, and living on a budget is a fact of life.The choice between buying a $1,200 CAL 34 that needs a bit of work or a $69,000 Pacific Seacraft that also needs some work, our scant resource guy/gal understands what they can afford and fits their budget.

A lot of the email I get asks me about what I think of certain sailboats and whether they should get one type of boat or another. Whenever I get this sort of question, the first thing I ask is what their disposable income is and what sort of boat/cruising budget they envision for themselves. Sadly, some find the basic idea of being on a budget something of an insult, as only poor people have to live on budgets.

The simple fact is that everyone’s on a budget, whether they know it or not.

Off-hand, I find the idea of living within a budget both needful and empowering. I know what I can afford, and it keeps me away from adverse monetary surprises.

Take that $1200 CAL 34 for instance, It needs a little work, but if I were going to buy it, I’d make sure I have enough set aside for the boat, a full-on refit, and all the other expenses involved in turning it into a cruising boat.

I’ve lost track of the number of well-off folks who have bought a boat and then complained about the surprises they come across in the rehab that added thousands of dollars and weeks/months/years to their project. Turning it into just another hole in the water you throw money into.

Since the less well-off have the advantage of both knowing what their budget is and how to get by. They know surprises are part of the game and have budgeted or sorted out workarounds. They get on with the job at hand.

Of course, for budgets to work, you have to be honest with yourself and realize the difference between what you can afford and what you can’t. A lot of folks I know have a genuine issue on this front. As a result, they find themselves far too often with a project or lifestyle beyond their means.

Armed with a bit of homework and choosing a project within your budget and skills makes all the difference. A budget done right empowers you and makes achieving your goals a lot easier. Knowing what you can and cannot afford in the long term is a great asset rather than something that cramps your style or inhibits your freedom. It is the key factor that defines the difference between success and failure where cruising and boat projects are concerned.

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1 thought on “What it costs and empowerment from a surprising source….”

  1. You must have been reading my mind yesterday. I had just finished surveying a very overpriced 40 foot yacht from the 1980s that has a big following as blue water passage maker. Its the reputation selling the yacht and unfortunately the people buying her are blind to reason that a substantial sum needs to be spent to bring this old yacht back up to a good standard again. I couldn't help but think for their budget I would be getting a slightly smaller newer yacht that is ready to go. But then in their newbie mind I imagine they believe that there were no more "Blue Water" cruisers designed and built after the 1980s. If they ever do get cruising I imagine they are going to choke on their Weet-Bix when they see the range of cruising yachts anchored around them.

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