“Money, Money, Money” would suggest a different track but the one I prefer pinging around in the far reaches of your personal consciousness whilst reading this is the Pink Floyd one.
The crassness of discussing ones own fiscal situation in a public forum has not escaped the author, however so many people have asked us on our YouTube, Facebook, Patreon, and Email how we can afford to sail that it appears that the polite thing to do here would be to reply, albeit en masse.
How I Managed To Afford La Vagabonde
No, I don’t have rich parents who bought a boat for me to sail around the world in. For eight long years, I worked offshore on oil rigs and in the mines of Western Australia, saving every dollar possible to be able to afford a halfway-decent Yacht.
Yachts are cheaper to buy in Europe than in Australia. The example I often use is that if a Yacht is worth $1 in Europe or the Caribbean it’s likely worth $2 in Australia and about $1.50/1.60 in Thailand. These are the places I considered buying (also the most popular) when I first got the boat, which is why I have included them here. It’s what I gathered by early 2013 just prior to buying the boat.
I bought “Puer Apuliae” now named La Vagabonde), a 2007 Beneteau Cyclades with 1400 hours on the engine from three arguing Italian businessmen.
They told me they couldn’t get enough business for it to charter because of the financial crisis. The engine hours agreed with that account and some locals whom I met concurred also so I agreed to buy pending Yacht Survey.
The Actual Cost
Nothing showed up on the survey and it appeared I had picked up the soon to be named La Vagabonde for roughly AUD $100,000 … a bit of a steal.
Throw in flights and the yacht survey and it was another $5,000.
Some of the improvements that I have made to La Vagabonde to make life first bearable then comfortable have centred around getting more power onboard.
- 2x Soliban Flexible Solar Panels inc. install 3,463 Euro (sic)
- 4x Trojan Deep Cycle Lead Acid Batteries 1,400 AUD
- 1x Air Breeze Wind Generator not inc install 1,920 Euro
- 1x Yamaha 2KW Generator 1,700 AUD
- 1x ‘Smart’ Alternator Regulator 80 GBP (this was cheap and awesome)
Other general improvements or safety include:
- AIS $500 AUD
- A new tender and outboard $3,637 Euro (zodiac and merc 9.9)
- 104m2 (or something I can’t remember the exact number, but it was obviously made by a professional. Ray Brown Sails from Adelaide. Legend, get sails from him if you can.) Assymetrical Spinnaker $3000 AUD
- An extra 30m of Anchor Chain $660.00 AUD
- 45lb Mantus Supreme Anchor $700.00 AUD
I surely don’t need to include here that each boat and occupants thereof are different and will deem all sorts of things unnecessary depending on their financial situation, desired comfort level and individual expectations of safety; as that is so banal and obvious that it would make ones eyes sore and perhaps even discharge involuntarily. Would it not.
The same can be said of weekly expenditure on food, etc. Once you have your boat set up as best you can you can get by on rice and tea or caviar and champagne, up to you.
Insurance is 3,000 AUD a year, probably a touch more and many of the cruisers on a tighter budget and even people who aren’t are starting to not get insurance as they deem it either too expensive, to not provide the proper services or unnecessary.
For example I’m not covered if the Hurricane is named which I’ve never heard on the news about Cyclone no name tearing across either hemisphere leaving a path of destruction in its wake. I have heard it mentioned also that if you were to drag anchor (we have) and unluckily end up on the rocks (like we did) that repairs are much less than the insurance (about 1/6th + a couple of very hard days work). So a bit of food for thought there.
How We Make Money Now
So now… onto what is really interesting for Elayna and I at the moment. It is Thursday the 9th of July and we currently have $1670 on our Patreon account.
Nearly 200 people have decided that they like our YouTube movies, way of life or whatever; enough that they will donate anywhere from $1 to $50 (I don’t think we’ve had more yet) per movie that we post on youtube and subsequently to Patreon.
This is really exciting for us. Mum is constantly checking in and writing us emails with Patreon updates “130 Patrons now Riley. 150 Patrons now guys. Milestone. Well done!” With this income we can foreseeably continue our journey around the world.
This is what we would like and hope can be our actual source of ongoing income.
Elayna and I have met some cruisers, particularly younger ones, getting around on small boats with almost no amenities aboard. No fridge, no auto pilot, rowing their tender and with an iPhone for a GPS. Living extremely cheap on an inexpensive boat anchored right next to me.
Same water, same view.
Looking back I wish I had left sooner on a smaller boat but then I really had no idea. At one stage I had a 1984??? 52′ or something foot racer pulled out of the water in Thailand and the Yacht Survey guy pulled me aside and said “what the hell are you doing? You can’t learn to sail on that singlehanded!”
I should find that guy and buy him a beer.
I haven’t added any of this up, I don’t do a budget. We live pretty cheap. I hope this helps explain things better.
Some Tips On Saving Money Whilst Cruising:
- Research a place before you go, Definitely the best way to save money IMHO. Time spent in reconnaissance is seldom wasted as they say.
- If friends or family come to visit, let them buy you dinner. Allow someone else to be generous. You might both enjoy it.
- Maybe don’t check into every single country you visit?? (you didn’t hear that from me).
- Try find an internet cafe or library rather than a restaurant.
I could go on here but I’m concerned that from this point forward I’m in danger of slipping into ridiculous advice that I’ve seen on other sites like “eat in” or “buy things that are less expensive”… Everyone knows that.
P.S. The question mark that would have been grammatically correct after ‘would it not’ was left out for aesthetic reasons.
^ This is a photo of Mark and I in St Martin. The guy helped me drop the rudder anchored in Simpson Bay, load it onto our tender (which the engine was playing up a lot in the past week) and drive it around to Marigot Bay for repairs. Cheers Mark, your a legend!