what VolksCruising actually costs…

OK, I’ll start with a phrase I really hate…

“It costs what it costs”

Sure, this inane assembly of words is correct but it implies that you have near zero control of what you have to shell out money for and that really pisses me off. The reality is that we all have a great amount of control on how much we spend but, for a great many, we allow others to tell us how and why we need to spend that hard-earned money. Have an issue with something on your boat? They’ll tell you to replace it with a newer hipper version and all you have to do is shell out a boat-buck or two to do it.

Hardly anyone will suggest that you could repair it or, heaven forbid, just do without. Obviously some things you can’t do without but a lot of so-called essentials on cruising boats are anything but and you could happily/safely sail off into the sunset without them. For me, the first tool in your happy budget arsenal is application of running all spending through a critical need/want test. You’d be surprised at how much this simple act can bring a measure of control back into your life.

Being a mobile nomadic platform makes a sailboat an excellent means of cost control. For instance, you hardly ever hear much in the way of how expensive or inexpensive cruising destinations are. If I need to do a haul out, which I do, I can do it here where the yard won’t allow me to do my own work or sail to another island where a haul out costs a fraction of what it does here and they’re more than happy to let me work on my boat as much as I want. The same can be said for such needful things as provisions and other big drains on the pocketbook.

I really do hate the term “boat-buck” as, for me at least, it’s always a negative but maybe it’s time to embrace the term in a positive manner. Like pointing out that doing a haul out in the DR would save three boat-bucks or, I saved two boat-bucks by doing almost all of the engine work myself, and I saved five frelling boat-bucks by building a self-steering gear instead of buying what’s hip at the moment. What a difference it would make if saving money became a virtue and boat-bucks as a bragging rights element becomes a negative.

“Bless his heart, he had to spend all that money because he’s just not handy enough for the cruising life.”

But it’s not just about buying or not buying, it also has a lot to do with not just doing the same old same. Going where everyone else goes has a lot of negative issues. I used to live on St Martin as it was a center for the charter biz, had great resources for boats, and was more affordable than the USVI. Then all of a sudden it got expensive, the resources became megayacht-centric and the vibe became kind of funky. While still a place for a nice short visit, it’s no longer on my chosen destination list.

Trying to get my head around how to survive a year or two in Europe with the Schengen Area has me looking at affordable alternatives to work within the Schengen time limits. So, all of a sudden I’m checking out Bulgaria, Albania, and Tunisia. Three countries that are affordable for cruisers on a budget and appear to be very likely to be enjoyable places to hang out. The few cruisers who have spent time in those places seem to have mostly positive experiences. Having the luxury of researching destinations is a huge money saver and, in our Internet world, there is no excuse being stuck somewhere shelling out boat-bucks because you cannot navigate the current costs, laws, and rules.

The bottom line is that it does cost what it costs but you have a lot of control on what that cost is and you’re not locked-in to some group-think idea of what it should be.

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1 thought on “what VolksCruising actually costs…”

  1. Brexit and the “90 days in 180” travel allowance has put an end to many Brits cruising in the Med. Its hard to relax when there is a clock ticking, weather variations, and knowing you need to be in “country X” when your time expires. Malta seems to be a popular destination to run to also, with good services and connections.

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