Cruising America's Great Loop
13. Power or Sail: (especially cruising)
   There are advantages to living on a powerboat. There are advantages with living on a sailboat. There are also disadvantages with both.
Powerboats require much -much more fuel, maintenance and expenses. They also provide more inside comfortable living space for their size than a
comparable sailboat.
   Even if you motor your entire way around in a sailboat - and never raise the sails - a sailboat is much-much cheaper to operate. It requires
much less fuel, maintenance and expense. Inside however, it will
NOT have the room of a comparable size powerboat.

14. Boat size:
   Something very near 36' is the most common size for the most experienced cruising live a-board couples. Of course some live on smaller boats
and some on larger. The only small limitation is "How small can you go and still be comfortable"? The only large limitation is "How large can you go
and still
safely handle the vessel all by yourself?"
   A single person or two "backpacker" types could voyage on a boat as small as 24'. In fact, we met a very nice young couple (both between
jobs) that were cruising on a 24 foot sloop they said they paid $800.00 for. Their "dream boat" was a 28 footer.  
       So you see? Boat size and your living a-board cruising costs are really dependant on your lifestyle, philosophy and pocketbook. Indeed,
whether cruising America's Great Loop, sailing the Caribbean, or voyaging around, or around "in" the world, requires much more faith than finance.
There is a good used boat which can be made suitable for living aboard and voyaging for everyone - on almost any budget.
   Of course,  the length of your boat affects your on-going costs. Even after your boat is fully paid for; it's length will determine your long-term
cruising and living a-board expenses.
Everything you do from docking at Marinas, to having your bottom cleaned or painted, to hauling it in and
out of the water, is charged by the length of your boat. In addition, when it comes to maintenance and equipment, when you double the length of
your boat, you more than quadruple cost of everything related to it.
       For example: One might think a new anchor with chain and rode for a 40 foot boat would cost twice as that for a 20 foot boat - but it's not. It is
5 or 6 times as much.  Not only is the chain and rode for a 40 footer twice as long as the chain and rode for a 20 footer, it is also twice the gauge,
strength and thickness. As a result, you not only pay twice as much for the length, you pay twice again as much for the thickness. Where anchor,
chain and rode for a 20 foot boat might be $200, it will be almost $800 for the 40 footer. Same goes for everything else - including parts and labor -
for everything on the boat.
   For sure, when you make your decision on what boat to buy, more important than the initial cost, is the fact that you have just predetermined
your long-term cruising and living a-board, boat and boat related, expenses
   When living aboard and cruising, you will meet couples doing the same in a 24 footer whose "dream boat" is a 28 footer. Likewise, you will
meet couples in a 42 footer that are quick to let you know they wish they had bought a 32 footer. In fact, I don't believe I have ever met a cruising
live aboard that is completely satisfied with the boat they have. It seems we are all dreaming of "that perfect" boat. . . But we make do with what we
   The key is self-sufficiency.  As soon as you realize you can live comfortably on your boat on a totally independent basis for an extended
period of time, that's when you will realize what true freedom really is. That's when keeping up with the Jones’  and all the complexities of life on land
will fade away with the sunset.

15. Lifestyle and Comfort Zone:
Living a-board and cruising fits well within my comfort zone. At my age, truthfully, I was long ago tired of shoveling snow, mowing lawns, cleaning
gutters, racking leaves, and taking out the trash. Now, while I seriously miss the space and luxury of my 5,000 sq foot home with walk-in closets, full
basement and a three car garage, I am completely comfortable. I sleep in a comfortable bed, cook my meals, eat at the dining table, watch TV, use
the computer, talk on the phone, read a good book, and simply enjoy the most wonderful of water front views - all in the confines of about 200 sq
   The big difference is, that I now live in a space that would fit in the Master Bedroom's walk-in closet of the last home I owned.  I can't leave
anything out to come back to tomorrow, because I need the space for whatever it is I am going to do next. The trade off, of course, is freedom.
Freedom to pick up anchor and move anytime, anywhere, and I do exactly that 5 days a week, sometimes only 4, and sometimes even more.

16. Absolute Freedom
While cruising and living a-board, you will develop an entirely new definition of freedom. In doing so, you will gain an increasingly greater
appreciation for it.  Soon enough, you will realize how really incredible and unbelievable it is, that we Americans have unconsciously, unawarely, and
even eagerly grown up, and given up, so much of our freedom for some very bad reasons.
   Simply keeping up with the Jones, comes to mind. Working for someone else's profit, comes to mind. We have all lived a life founded on
dreams and goals, many of which were never our own, but of those that held up their goals in a mirror for us to see.  Many of us have lived a life
filled with best intentions to please others. From our parents, to teachers, pastors, bosses, and best friends, and from peer pressure to public
approval - we have successfully shackled ourselves from our own freedom.
   It is no coincidence, I believe, that in the face of certain death for treason, all the signers of our Declaration of Independence, had experienced
the freedom of crossing the Atlantic Ocean at least once. Franklin, Jefferson, Adams, and Monroe had crossed it several times.  
   Cruising gives you that "absolute" kind of freedom. It is a fierce independence from all shore side pressure, stress, and entanglements. You will
in the process, realize that the true meaning of wealth is not having more, but needing less. The richness of life is hidden away in your "emotional"
portfolio, not in your financial portfolio. And the key to happiness is not earned by burning your candle at both ends, but letting it burn more brightly
at one.

THINKING Big are you?  Here is a boat size fact to consider: Fewer then 1% of all registered pleasure boats in the USA are 40 feet long or longer.
Of those
over 40 feet, only 1 in 10,000 reaches 60 feet or longer.  So, if you are thinking of that 40-foot plus size "yacht" - you might want to think
again. Most
cruisers can in fact, afford them, many in fact have had them and traded down. For the average cruising couple or lone sailor - they are
simply too big to be safe to handle and too much work to enjoy.  
Cruising on a frugal budget
continued - click NEXT
© 1993 - 2017
Living aboard & Cruising on a Frugal Budget                                                                      - Cruising America's Great Loop - Once Around Is Not Enough -
America's Great Loop
Contrary to what some believe, You can also spend a lot of money living on a boat.  If you stop at a
Marina every night and fall into the habit of spending the evening at the Tiki Bar and eating out, instead of making your
own meals you can spend an absolute fortune.
   We eat out a lot! Part of my "More Fun than Fuel" boating philosophy includes; "eat to live" on the boat. "Live to eat"
when ashore. It keeps things simple for
us. I seldom actually "cook" on the boat except for the fresh seafood we catch.
Usually I eat out 10 or more times a week. When I see or hear of a new place that looks or sounds delicious, I stop.
Furthermore, I almost never pass up an old favorite.
   For my son & I both, eating out is just one of those things that keeps us happy, and I'm talking "real" restaurants. I
haven't eaten at a fast food chain in over 25 years. When I eat out, you can bet it
is going to be delicious. I won't waste the
time, money
, or (especially) the calories if I don't know for sure all those calories are going to be scrumptiously delicious
and worth every single bite!
   There are some Loopers that almost never eat out, and many keep their same 'eating out' routine that they enjoyed at
home. Some Loopers plan their voyage in such a way that their evening routine includes stopping over-night at a Marina,
visiting the Tiki Bar, and eating out for dinner and going for breakfast the next morning. This way, they only have lunch and
snacks on their boat.
I practice what I preach. This is my 'Sweet Chariot'. She is 36' in length, her mast removed, she is motored around burning 1-gallon of
fuel per hour. She is almost as old as I am. I in fact, have made the Loop 9 times in 6 different boats. I never purchased a brand new
boat and this is the only boat I've taken around the Loop more than once.