The biggest issue confronting frugal cruisers is that, for the most part, no one really wants to have anything to do with us. We don’t quite fit the official model of what a modern cruiser is supposed to be and therein lies a big part of the problem in that we are just that little bit different.
For instance, we’re not considered a boon to the local economy as not throwing money around like drunken sailors is somehow considered to be anti-social and our space in an anchorage would be better filled by someone with boat bucks to spare. I was once lectured by a welder on St Martin who I wanted to do some welding for me at his rather exorbitant rates and he refused the work because he was only interested in bigger jobs because the bottom line was that they paid more. Guys like me, he said, were not the sort of client he’d prefer.
I actually get that in that I’m only going to spend a couple of hundred dollars while a guy on a million-dollar condomaran will be spending much bigger money and won’t be paying attention to what it’s costing.
Governments are also a bit picky when lower-income visitors are concerned because tourism is all about the bucks and they don’t want you to become a drag on their economy. Face it, no paradisical island wants you to hang out longer than your bank balance.
This, sorta/kinda, brings us to the whole liveaboards or anchor-out issue which is a real problem. The fact that there is a real homeless problem in the US of A is a reality but it is not a problem about boats but it’s easy to point fingers at some poor guy on a boat instead of doing something to sort out the reasons there are people having to live in the streets in the world’s richest country.
The problem for cruisers is that anyone living on a boat, no matter what their budget, is considered by most dirt dwellers to be homeless or, even worse, a blight on their ocean view. So we now have a plethora of anti-anchoring and anti-liveaboard laws becoming an all too real issue.
So, I’ll repeat, what’s a poor boy going to do?
For starters, one needs to recognize that cruising is a nomadic pursuit and it’s a well-known trope that nomads need to keep moving. Or, as I think of it as don’t overstay your welcome thing. For most cruising grounds this is actually non-problematic as it’s generally easy to move to the next place which is why the Caribbean is such a great cruising area. Europe, however with the Schengen Treaty, which is not designed for tourists who travel at 6MPH, is a real logistics problem and visiting Europe via cruising boat is currently a real pain in the ass.
As far as destinations go you might want to relook at the same old same cruising routes and start looking further afield. Sadly far too many cruising destinations have started looking at cruisers as cash cows or a sailing ATM because of the throw money at everything wave of cruisers who have done a great job of distorting local economies.
Lastly, I’ll point out the obvious and mention that a well-found boat that does not resemble something used in a Grapes of Wrath migration and keeping a low profile goes a long way towards establishing that you’re not a down-and-out in a derelict boat.