This whole get an inexpensive boat and sailing off into the sunset gig generally gets a bad rap. A rap that’s mostly generated by folks who seem somewhat lacking in logic and critical thinking. Possibly it’s just me, but from where I sit, most of the bad rap is conditional on the fact that most of the negatives seem to be coming from people who are spending far too much than they can afford. They’re pissed about it which leads to the logical to them conclusion, that since they can’t make ends meet with a lot of money that anyone wanting to spend less is a fool or idiot.
With me so far?
The other day I watched our diesel mechanic working on a neighbor’s boat and kept an eye on the clock to see how long it was going to take. At the end of the day, my tally was just about thirteen hours. Considering that our diesel guy charges $125-an-hour, that would cost something like $1625 which is a whole lot of money from where I sit. That said, I’m pretty sure that the owner of the boat did not even flinch at the cost, and to him it was filed in the “affordable necessities” category.
For our Islander, I realized that I needed a bit of expert opinion on what our engine required, how best to approach it, and just how to go about it. This amounted to three hours of his time — hours which I was more than willing to spend, as armed with his advice and a bit of his labor, it allowed e with all I needed to know to fix the various issues with the diesel. Sure, I’d rather have consulted a book like John Muir’s awesome VW tomes but since no one has written that sort of book for our Yanmar, I went with the next best thing available.
The thing is, I know what I can afford for the moment, the month, and the year and make a rule (no dear Reader rules are not meant to be broken) on what I can spend. Being on a strict budget keeps me a happy camper and having a budget which addresses one’s means makes it a lot easier to cruise and live on a boat in a sustainable manner.
The first rule of successful VolksCruising is knowing what you can afford.
The other day, I saw a boat for sale for $29K and the listing pointed out that the owner had spent over $150K and, I’ll let you do the math, but just remind you that those numbers simply do not add up in anyway that makes sense.
In the next few posts I’ll be pointing out various ways to find alternatives to the “just throw money at it and pray it all works out” method. To get started, here is a great post that talks about the best, least expensive places for folks of a nomadic mindset can go. While it’s does not target boat folk, there is a lot of information that can save you a shit ton of money and is key reading for anyone planning a world cruise on a frugal budget.