E-Mail Dialog


Hi !

Thank you so much for your thoughtful reply. The expense ideas really helped. We were thinking along the same lines as far as how we will anchor out and pick up moorings. We usually eat breakfast on the boat, the ideas for other meals are good. We do like to eat out, but like a cozy meal on board too. Your partnership sounds similar to ours in division of worries and skill sets too!

Barry is very mechanical and technical, and tends to worry more about weather and potential problems. I think it is frustrating for him that I don't worry as much about the same things. I think as I learn more I will share his worries! I worry about domestic things, will I miss the kids too much, will we kill each other on an extended cruise, will we keep the house or sell, will we have enough money to be able to do this -what kind of boat should we get, will we make the right choice. I am really excited about this next step in our lives, but scared too.

We really like the Whitby for it's live aboard potential and being so solid. Like I said we only looked at one, and it was in pretty bad shape. Any ideas on what we should expect to pay for one in reasonable shape? Did you go through a broker? Did you look at a lot of Whitby's? What else did you consider? Did you buy before you retired or after? ( I am wondering if it is better to buy before we retire, and pay on it, and work on it, or to wait till we retire) I am more of a do it now kind of person, and my husband is more of a conservative planner. ) Do you have one with a bow sprit? Does yours have 2 settees or the chairs to starboard? Did you do have to do a lot of work on her? I read that you got a garage and apt. in Oriental, how is that working out?

I so appreciate your willingness to share your experiences with us. Ever since you e-mailed me I have been thinking about your trip down to the Keys. We lived in Fla. for 20 yrs. I think it is a great idea to post the correspondence. You are living our dream, and have so much to share! We have read tons of books, mostly by folks who have cruised but did it some time ago, and lived by the bare minimum on a little boat -( I will not eat seagulls!) but there is nothing like talking to someone our age who is doing this NOW in 2004! Enjoy - life IS a trip, and you are on it!!

Jo Lawson

Hi Jo and Barry!

Yes, yes...the question everyone asks, but no one can answer for sure... "How much does it cost?"

That was OUR biggest question too! All I can do to answer it for you is to tell you about what WE spend for the way WE cruise. And it ALL depends on what kind of "cruiser" you plan to be.

So, here's how WE cruise: We anchor almost all the time. We almost never go to a dock... of course we did so recently in Port Orange for the special circumstance of helping out Roger's mother, but that is an exception to our rule. We're more likely to pick up a mooring ball, if one is available, but usually still prefer to anchor if there is a good place to do so. Often there is not. We've found, for instance, that once we get to NYC and North, virtually ALL the good anchor spots are filled up with moorings... you kind of need to pick up a mooring. But the price of a mooring still beats paying for a dock!

We don't eat out a lot. We do breakfast on the boat. If we're out "sightseeing" we'll usually buy a sandwich and/or salad for lunch and eat it in a park or some other pretty spot. If we DO eat a sit down restaurant meal, it is likely to be lunch rather than dinner (cheaper, and we like to be on the boat after dark if we are anchored). In Key West this past winter we would go out for happy hour drinks in the evening at the few places we found to serve free food with happy hour. Once or twice a week we may get together with other cruisers for hors d'ouvres or a full dinner on board in the evening. This is done "round robin" so maybe once or twice a month its our turn to entertain. Usually when we get together everyone brings a little 'something' to contribute to the meal, whether it is wine, a salad, desert, etc.

Roger is a marine engineer by trade and the designated "worrier" in our partnership... he keeps a really good stock of spare parts on board and we replace what we have used as soon as possible. We do virtually all repair and maintenance ourselves. I'm a good seamstress and make and repair our canvas covers and tops, upholstery, etc. So far I've been too chicken to touch our sails though... they're serious stuff! Roger does all the mechanical stuff.

We think sailing is a great idea, as long as the wind is cooperating. After all, it is "free" (as long as you can trick your mind into forgetting all the money you paid for sails and rigging). But we are not "die-hard" sailors who will tack way-to-hell-and-back just for the fun of it. Nor do we "wait" very often for the wind to clock around to a favorable direction. If the wind is on our bow, we motor. And since it seems to ALWAYS be on our bow, we motor a LOT!

We walk or take public transportation rather than take a taxi or rent a car. In short, like most of the "cruisers" we know, we are CHEAP! Still... we manage to spend $2000 to $2500 a month on boat and cruising expenses. This does not include things like medical insurance and the expenses associated with the upkeep of our house... I'll tell you more about what we chose to do about a house in a future letter.

I hope this helps you... is this more or less than what you expected?

Listen... while I'm sharing my "sage" advice (yeh! right!) it occurs to me that others may be interested as well. Would you mind if I pass along your questions, and our replies to our webmaster? He's an avid "armchair" sailor and keeps the website up for us as a hobby. He might like to start a section on the website featuring our "conversations. Would that be okay with you guys?

I'll write more later as I get more time. You'll find my letters will always be less than 3000 characters because of the limitations of my pocketmail device (a great invention for cruisers!) so you may get multiple letters on a single subject if I get long-winded. And I AM likely to get long-winded!

Until next time... Life's a trip!


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