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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 $1,306. 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 teach 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, took 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
That should however give you an idea of the absolute minimum cost. I don't suspect anyone can or will cruise the Loop on
| 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
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.
America's Great Loop
|www.captainjohn.org - Cruising America's Great Loop - Once Around Is Not Enough -