Mailport: April 2012
I started out in Flying Juniors at Stanford and crewed on Thistles. Occasionally, I have chartered 26-footers on Lake Lanier in Georgia. Next year, I plan to purchase a 40-foot live-aboard cruiser. I’m looking at Block Island 40s, Brewer 12.8s, and Whitby 40s.
No one ever discusses what it takes to cruise. What minimum costs are there? What are the possibilities of earning additional income along the way?
There is a ton of information available that can help you plan and start your journey. If you’re even remotely computer savvy, we suggest joining a few online cruisers forums (www.cruisersforum.com and www.sailnet.com are two popular ones). You’ll find experienced cruisers who—more often than not—are happy to share their experiences and insights. But keep in mind that you’ll find good and bad advice on these forums, so be conscientious of this as you filter the info. Check out (and join) the Seven Seas Cruising Association (www.ssca.com), which offers a treasure trove of information and networking options.
Several authors have books addressing the exact questions you’ve asked. For starters, noted marine authors and long-time cruisers Lin and Larry Pardey’s “Cost Conscious Cruiser” speaks to the budget requirements of cruising and Lin’s “The Care and Feeding of the Sailing Crew” is a revised classic. Annie Hill’s “Voyaging on a Small Income” will also be a helpful read, and Beth Leonard offers an excellent chapter, “Adequate Financing, alternatives for financing the dream” in “The Voyager’s Handbook,” a book we highly recommend for cruisers (you can find it in PS’s online bookstore, www.practical-sailor.com).
Search for upcoming cruisers’ workshops and seminars. They nearly always have some planned at boat shows, and several maritime organizations—like the Annapolis School of Seamanship (www.annapolisschoolofseamanship.com) and the Northwest Maritime Center (www.nwmaritime.org)—offer weekend symposiums.
As far as money-earning opportunities while cruising, there are as many as there are for landlubbers. Any portable profession is an option. If you can work remotely on a laptop, you can work from your boat. Check cruisers forums for chats about this.