How long before you start to live your cruising dream? Are there many years of itchy, sweaty, painful boat work in your future? Does your to-do list seem to be forever getting longer? I think most boat owners can relate to having too many projects with no end in sight. We become enslaved to our boats in a boat yard prison with an uncertain release date.
After a few seasons of trying to balance out boat yard blues with living our cruising dream, we have come up with a few tips to help us get off the hard and back into the water a little faster.
Realising my level of “perfection” was too hard a task to accomplish took a few projects of unsuccessfully trying. The hurricanes have passed and the next cruising season always seemed to come fast while our list of to do’s never shrunk. I eventually decided that function was much more important than perfection. If our boat wasn’t as shiny with all the fancy gadgets that was ok with me. We got to share the same anchorages as the pristine super yachts with crews keeping the vessel in tip top shape. We of course need a safe vessel but maybe we can save some of the smaller projects for those lazy calm sails or those rainy day indoor projects.
For us, money was the main focus as we live quite frugally and prefer to work to live, not the other way around. Unfortunately for our wallets everything in the marine industry is expensive. Our income has to be more than our expenses to save for our cruising season. So any side hustles from mowing lawns, chainsaw carving, snow removal, whatever it takes to make a little extra. Of course we still need time to work on the boat project list so more importantly we reduce our expenses as much as possible. Anything that is not necessary can be put on hold aside from treating ourselves. It is easier to put fun on hold while working towards a big goal in the near future. Every expense is vetted and prioritised to help save. From smaller things like making your own coffee or food instead of eating out to larger savings like moving onboard your vessel when you can to save on rent. Deciding if you really need that watermaker, brand new sails, new instruments, etc.
Everyone’s situation is of course different and priorities will vary but simply deciding what you need for the coming season of cruising and focusing on that can help minimise expenses. That said, do not forget to spend on spares and parts now as it will likely cost more money and time to get it in the future.
Anyone who has done work on their vessel will likely tell you it takes longer than expected between the boat yoga, search for tools and parts and whatever other problems that come up. Allow some flexibility in your to-do list and focus on anything that must be done before you can launch. Anything below the waterline or anything that will make you less mobile (steering/propulsion). Set a launch date to help keep you focused on what must be done. You can always push it back if you need to. If you set aside time for projects while cruising, as long as you have all the supplies, completing the project underway can save a lot of time in the yard.
Getting out on the water sooner is the goal This helps anyone who is new to this lifestyle decide if it is for them before investing years of time and money into a dream that wasn’t what they pictured. A long term cruising vessel tends to come with a lot of extra expense that isn’t required for island hopping or weekend trips on a lake. Prepping your vessel for one season to see how you like it will motivate you during the harder duster days in cramped spaces.
We have met too many cruisers taking years to get their vessel looking just right just to realise they were happier doing something different or some just simply ran out of time. For some the journey is just as enjoyable during the repairing, rebuilding part but as for us we just want to explore.
Cory and Alex share their adventure with weekly videos on their YouTube channel “Wildly Intrepid Sailing” and share stories on their website www.wildlyintrepid.com . Their dream is to travel the world and to live without any regrets.