© 1993 - 2017 CaptainJohn.org

We did it, and we had a really great time doing it!
To do this, my son and I both docked our existing boats. Reason? Our vessel's simply were not fuel efficient enough, and
we both knew it. We drove almost 4,000 miles and inspected about a hundred boats, before deciding on one in St.
Augustine, FL.
We purchased this 28 foot sailboat for $3,000.00.  We did nothing to the boat other than clean it and
paint the bottom; which we did ourselves. We also installed an additional VHF radio and a GPS Chart-Plotter, both of which
we had on hand.
       We cruised together on this voyage - strictly motoring the entire way, We traveled 6,100 miles averaging just
shy of 0.5 gph (gallons per hour) for a total fuel bill of $1,30
6. In the end, we paid $1,306 in fuel, and another $3,667 for
boat related expenses including Lock fees.

       This did not  include any fun expenses or any items such as food, beverages, ice, eating out or entertainment.  It did
NOT
include insurance, Internet or cellphone, laundry, toiletries, souvenirs, or any "non-boat" related expenses. Which in
our case came to about
5x the cost of the above listed expenses.
       Now. . . While this voyage was one of my best and certainly the most fun (being with my son), it wasn't our most
comfortable. Partly I'm sure because both of us are accustom to having our
own boat to our self.

   I'm not suggesting anyone should do what we did. Neither my son or I would do it again in such a small boat. What did this
voyage t
each me? It taught me that beyond doubt, a full displacement hull sailboat - even motored around - or 'true' trawler
is by far the most 'fuel efficient' way to go around the Loop. As a result, I returned home and purchased a 36 footer, t
ook the
masts off and had a huge Bimini installed that covers almost half the boat. This has now been the only boat I've made more
than one voyage around the Loop in.
   Keep in mind - the above expenses DID NOT INCLUDE such things as our meals, snacks, beverage, ice, bait,
entertainment, shore leave, site seeing, fun off the boat, toiletries or any personal expenses. It also doesn't include
insurance of any kind, cellphone, and other non-boat expenses. Which, FYI - costs us 10 times (plus) the cost of our "boat
related" expenses.
 That should however give you an idea of the absolute minimum cost. I don't suspect anyone can or will cruise the Loop on

less.
For me and most long distance voyagers the dream is really all about living aboard and cruising, with the ultimate goal of staying out longer. The
"afford ability" of long term cruising is much more important than say, a boater that only takes his boat out for 50 miles on weekends. For most of us
"long distance" voyagers, a "dream boat" is in fact our "dream buster". That is of course, unless our "dream boat" is also a very fuel efficient vessel.
Understanding why your boat needs to fit you like a shoe, (not too big, not to small, but just right for comfort) will help you make the very smartest
boat choice.
Out here, no one cares about "your" boat. That's a fact Jack! If it looks terrible, we will make comments about it, if it looks great, we'll
make comments about that too.
From bums to billionaires we all are. . . We are often at the same Marina, the same anchorage, or the same beach; sharing the same fish fry,
clam bakes and barbecues.  While our pocketbooks, bank accounts, and boats are not the same, what we all have in common is a fierce love of
freedom, a great respect for Mother Nature and each other.
No one cares who has a new vs old or even the biggest boat.
A boaters respect on the water is earned by being a good safe and considerate
boater. Not from the age or price of their vessel.
On the water, both on the Great Loop & on the Seven Seas, those voyagers that are on the smallest, simplest, and most humble of boats,
earn the greatest respect and admiration from everybody. You can bet, in most cases, they are the ones that have been doing it the longest, and
have gone the farthest - and that's really what it's all about.
More about cruising on a frugal budget - click NEXT
The COST of cruising the Loop
In 2010 my oldest son & I had this brainy idea to buy a boat and cruise the Loop, with the sole purpose
being to determine just how cheap a couple could do this - safely and comfortably.
We did it for pennies shy of $15.00 a day.
That included "ALL" our fuel, boat, marina and "boat related" expenses.
    We all have our own boats and budgets.  While I believe this voyage is surprisingly safe and so amazing that every 'American boater' should
experience it. I also believe if one passionately wants to live this dream, it is attainable and affordable for most everyone. However. . . MAKE YOUR
MONEY FIRST!
   In no way do I suggest anyone attempt this voyage without having the income or money to complete it successfully. That includes having a vessel
that is proven safe and seaworthy.
   Every live aboard size vessel planned for making this voyage should have a current
Certified Marine Pre-Purchase Survey. DON'T LEAVE
HOME WITHOUT IT!
   Additionally. . . Do NOT attempt this voyage without knowing you have all the money you need to complete it in a safe and comfortable manner.
Can't even begin to tell you the number of 'stranded' Loopers I've met. Even couples, that are stuck having to find jobs while waiting for needed boat
repairs or having to make money to buy fuel and continue their voyage. This is a long distance, year long voyage. It requires financial resources for
maintaining your boat, maintaining yourself, and for any possible emergencies that might arise.
      Yes, I am known for being "the frugal voyager". What most don't realize however, is it costs an awful lot of money to go cruising successfully on a
frugal budget. To do this, one has to be doubly sure your boat and everything on it is in great shape! One has to maintain everything on a routine
regular basis so that no minor repairs become major financial catastrophes. That means you have to have the money to take care of all these things
as they arise. Preventive maintenance is the best and least expensive form of maintenance! For example: A simple BoatUS or TowBoat rescue of
your boat could easily cost you $2,500 or more! If you don't have their insurance. (The Coast Guard is in business to rescue lives - they will NOT
rescue your boat!)
   Trying to make this voyage under any kind of financial hardship is doomed from the start. Moving onto a boat, and especially cruising is NOT a
cheap alternative or a viable solution to escaping bad credit or a bad financial situation. It simply won't work.
   Having lived on a boat full time for 24 years, and having owned one for over 50 years; I've seen just about everything when it comes to people that
think this is a 'cheap' way to life. It's not! Fact is, even with a fully paid for vessel, Marina dock fees, hook ups, utilities and absolutely necessary
routine maintenance will cost more than a decent small Apartment.
   Another situation that has happened to me four (4) times now, is having to leave my boat, rent a car and go inland to stay in a Motel, to wait out
hurricanes. I've never lost a boat, but having to leave your boat because of weather or repairs can easily result in a needed rental car and a week or
two in a Motel - just saying!  
   Finally. . . My intent is to inform. My goal is to give you all the options. My desire is to meet you someday soon, as you are cruising the Great Loop
is complete safety & comfort. It doesn't matter to me if you are in a $3,000 boat or a $300,000 boat - as long as you are safe, comfortable and a
happy camper!
   Take what you will from this site, and use what fits into your lifestyle and pocketbook!
Cruising
America's Great Loop
www.captainjohn.org                                                                      - Cruising America's Great Loop - Once Around Is Not Enough -