Don Cochrane, Burnsville, MN USA asks:
Capt. Scott. Your responses to questions regarding
expenses are, "PC" but do not provide answers. In one response, you
mention your cruising costs are less than your "dirt living" costs--I paraphrased a bit.
I suspect your "dirt living" costs were much higher than mine, so
your answer provides little in the way of useful information. Your
past postings are full of useful information and advice and have
fueled my desire to follow, probably not in your direct path, but "out
there". I believe you would provide a great deal of encouragement to
others if you would provide a more accurate and meaningful answer to "costs questions."
I suggest a figure +/- 10% of what it has cost you "out of pocket" for
the past 18 months. This of course doesn't include the initial
purchase price of the vessel.
Scott Flanders from Egret responds:
Don, I purposely don't put a dollar figure on our yearly expenses. First of all, I honestly don't know. Secondly, we live differently than most other Nord owners we have met. We live more conservatively and most owners haven't gone 'all in' by selling their home and tings. This is a giant leap of faith we took even after buying an interim boat and doing all the research we did. We too tried to find a dollar figure of overall cruising expenses. Years ago Cruising World Magazine did a survey based on over 100 boats cruising in the Sea of Cortez. The cruising costs ranged from $400/month to $5000/month. Both the low and high ends of the scale had few participants. Those are old figures but we tried to interpolate those figures into our lifestyle and early cruising aspirations and again, took the giant leap.
While we were still working we took a one month cruise to the Bahamas aboard our first trawler and kept track of literally every cent we spent. We purposely tried to keep things to a minimum to see what we HAD to have. After retiring and starting to cruise aboard Egret we kept track of our expenses but not quite as carefully. Along the way after the years passed and since we got over the initial fright of how much is enough - did we do the right thing, etc, we have settled on a comfortable lifestyle that suits us. We are conservatively invested, don't have a ton but are comfortable with our expenses to the point we have loosen up quite a bit since retirement.
HOWEVER, this is us and our lifestyle. We are all different. During the past 18 months you asked about we were cruising in a part of the world few cruise, particularly in a small powerboat. We suffered expensive boat insurance payments, paid over $9000 in various air fares flying from the bottom of the world and so on. Those expenses don't relate to normal cruising. I feel we have a responsibility to readers not to give specifics they can hang their hat on or encourage folks to take a chance and have them run out of money down the road. As I said before, we live differently than most Nord owners. Our personal expenses are less than most and boating was my business so we have that advantage as well. Only you will truly know if you are taking a chance. If you feel you may be taking a chance I would suggest you buy a modest boat of some type and cruise in less demanding locations so you don't feel restrained and are comfortable. The only thing I would suggest is not to buy an N look alike for less money and try to do the things Egret has enjoyed other than coastal cruising.
The bottom line I keep parroting we heard first while chartering a 'rent a wreck' in Scotland. There was an American couple aboard a sailboat that had been out for some years. I did everything but ask them directly about expenses. She heard it before and smiled, then recited the boating gospel; "You spend what you have". This sage advise we found to be quite true and is advise we repeated in every inquiry about expenses. I'm sorry we can't simply say it will cost you X/year to cruise. It wouldn't be fair to you or others. Ciao.