Cruising With Less

Hannah under full working sail off the coast of Labrador the day we (Phyllis and John) met Mick and Bee the first time.
“Hannah” under full working sail off the coast of Labrador the day we (Phyllis and John) met Mick and Bee the first time.

There’s a whole genre of books and articles on how to buy a boat and go cruising on very little money. But really, how often do you meet people who have actually made it work for any length of time?

In reality there are only a few people with the courage, flexibility, resourcefulness, and just plain raw grit to take on the challenges of full-time ocean cruising on very little money. And make no mistake, it takes real courage to live this life without the safety net of savings, insurance, and perhaps a base ashore, that many of us enjoy.

JHHOMD1-070008Our friends Mick and Bee are members of that select group, having lived aboard and cruised their ferro-cement gaff rigged ketch Hannah for some 15 years and 70,000 miles, including two visits to Greenland and five trans-Atlantics.

In the next couple of days we will be publishing a real treat: Mick’s story of how the two of them have made it work on just US$15,000/year, including buying and maintaining the boat.

Don’t miss this one, it’s truly a wonderful story; and we will be publishing it free to all, so tell your friends too.

Spread The Word

Talking of which, if you enjoy Attainable Adventure Cruising, you can really help us by using the icons below to spread the word through your social network of choice, or you can click on the envelope icon to email a link to the article to a friend.

To put it bluntly, to keep up this level of articles, both quality- and quantity-wise, and properly compensate our writers, we need more members.

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jim clifford

Hi John & Phyllis,
I wonder if part of the solution to being able to pay contributors more for their articles would be to charge a membership fee more in keeping with the value of the knowledge and information contained in the site. In Australia we pay about $20 for a single copy of Yachting Monthly and while the quality of photography is impressive there is more, well researched information in one of Attainable Adventure’s books than a year’s magazine subscription.
I count the current subscription as the best value $20 that I have spent in many a long year and think that increasing it by 50% would not change that .
Maybe other members could add comment here to see if this change has widespread support.
Regards Jim Clifford Wonambi 2

Coen

Jim,
I agree and fully support this proposal. The information available here is the best value I have come across.

Regards Coen

Andy

Hi John & Phyllis, I wholeheartedly agree with the above comments.

Maintain the quality of what you do, but charge more for it. Your site has the best content of ALL sailing subscription sites out there.
If you reduce your input to save costs in an effort to make it pay you will spoil what you have created…

Mark Rooney

Yep, I’m cool with that.

Mark
Freo

Denis

Fully agree, a price increase would not hurt, a drop in quality would!
Denis
Freewind

Florian

I am new to the forum, my first subscription ever to a blog that charges. I thought it could not hurt so I signed up due to the small cost. Didn’t regret it a second and would pay more happily. Here in Norway bloggers make money on adds, but I really like that you don’t. I will try to spread the word and maybe one day would be good enough to be able to contribute a line.

All the best Florian

Rene

As you mentioned John, present members know AACs value, outsiders don’t.
So, one of the solutions is for present members to spread the word.
A little help from advertisers wouldn’t bother me.
Keep up the good work and stay the course.

Dave

I am new to this site. I first signed up for the free posts. Your marketing worked perfectly and I signed up for three years. Why three years? It was the most economic. There is such a thing as price resistance and when you cross that line you loose hard earned subscribers. The cable company and fast food restaurants know this all too well. The dollars I used to subscribe were at the expense of a sailing magazine that I had for some years. If subscription growth is the object, be very careful, and it seems that you are. It’s all about perceived value.

Marc Dacey

Same here. Three years made sense, even if being off the dock may make updating problematic before then. Or so I hope.

Mark

Is it just me or Have I noticed that some of the usual chest thumping types with the btdt* T/ shirts are unusually silent from the comments put forward here with these comments ( please I am not a trolling angry head ). It is just that, well I do not understand the silence from the usual legends
Phyllis and John this site is fantastic. The people that have bothered to write here really appreciate your work and we are happy to pay for it. I will say this just put up your subs, it will work and silent majority can just be dragged kicking and screaming with there wallets OPEN. P/J you are Brill and breathe fresh air into the sometime ego driven world that we all love and enjoy. I just wish to say a big thank you and please do not stop. Just do not go on a diet trying to make it work. G’day from Down under to you both and to Jimmy Cliff onboard Wonambi 2 well done with the bounce down?Respect!

* btdt t- shirts Been There Done That t- shirts

Coen

Hi John,
You have probably thought of this, but is there a case to be made for new members to join at a reduced price (or possibly for free?), for a limited time. It seems to me that the perception of value is high amongst the members who have commented and that this may be a way to increase the number of members who would then continue at the “normal” higher membership rate after the initial period. As a “old” paying member I would not be mind this, as my interest is that the site keeps going with the current high level content contribution and that it becomes worthwhile for all the contributors and for you and Phyllis. I note the internet price sensitivity that you mention above, so maybe this is a way to lock in curious non-members once they realise how much value there is in the membership only content? Of course I have no idea about how technically difficult and how time consuming this may be, so this may make this a non-starter.

Regards,
Coen

Rene

Coen makes a few good comments, but as he already mentioned, it looks like a lot of paper work involved to keep track of it all. If the majority of members were students, then the subscription probably is something to think about. However, for owners with boats in the $50K to $500K and more, then I fail to see $20 per year for 3 years term is an obstacle, considering the possible savings you likely to make when you do some work yourself, will be many times that amount.

Stay the course.

Steven Schapera

It’s always easier to get more from existing customers rather than recruit new customers. Perhaps increase existing subscriptions by say 50% to $30, and reduce entry cost for new subscribers by 50% to $10 for a 12 month period to make it really attractive. Also, consider some “reward” for existing subscribers who can introduce new subscribers? Personally that wouldn’t motivate me, but it might others. The value of a subscription increases with time as the archive of information accessible increases with time. I have stopped buying ANY yachting magazines.

Marc Dacey

An interesting observation given the time and effort Practical Sailor is employing trying to incent me back into the fold. The plain fact is that a monthly paper read just doesn’t cut it for us anymore when I can get product information (which I’m better judging, having been a PS for about 15 years) online.

I suspect the same applies here. You get renewals based on perceived continued utility.

Steven Schapera

Yes, it might discourage renewals – wont know until you try it – but perhaps your existing subscribers are fair and honest bunch, in which case you could do a simple survey.
An email blast to all existing subscribers, explaining the plan inthe context of the problem (how to further improve the site and the already-excellent content) and how this is solved by additional revenue generated from a mix of increased existing subscription fees and reduced “new subscriber fees”. I know which button I will click on, and if others do the same you will have a fair idea as to the risk. Just a thought. Its not often I tell anyone to put their prices up!

Rene

Hi John and Steven,
Steven appears to be the marketing wizard, I’m more the technical, thinking in black and white. My earlier offer will be hard to implement for John and Phyllis . John, please contact me with my e-address to make a donation up front.
As I don’t like paying taxes, where most of the money is wasted, as such prefer to donate to charitable organizations , and reduce my tax bill that way here in Canada. Not sure how it works in the USA. So my question, “Can you turn it into a Charitable organization??” May be not.

Marc Dacey

Boats are cheap these days…I know, I’m trying to sell one. If you are feeling charitable, however, I would talk to the RYA to see if you can organize Competent Crew or Day Skipper scholarships, because that builds a better sailor and a better crew for the thousands of undermanned boats out there lacking it.

Ernest

Hi John, I joined a couple of days ago only with a yearly auto-renewal. I have to say that I never – NEVER – found a place offering such a wealth of information and entertainment on a topic which interests me most 😉
This said I have to confess that I wouldn’t bother if you charge the double price, however it might be a showstopper for curious non-members.
Being in the Telco industry I would suggest to offer a (not too long) free trial membership, 3-6 months reduced membership fee (just as the Telcos are doing ;-)) and bump up the regular subscription pricing.
If you fear that bumping up the regular price would scare away customers after the free and indtroductory period you might opt to leave it where it is – the free and intro period alone should suffice to lure more members, and your content is what keeps them aboard anyway.
Try to find a software whiz to make the whole user and subscription management automatic.
Just my 2c, and keep up the good work!