We've had lots of discussion here at AAC over the last year about whether it's possible to sail away in a seaworthy long-distance cruiser without spending a substantial multiple of the average person's net worth. The conclusion so far? It ain't easy, but it's possible to end up with an ocean cruising boat for something on the order of US$100,000.
Not For Everyone
Even then, there're problems:
- For many people a boat priced at $100,000, with all the attendant costs of ownership on top, is still well out of reach.
- So is quitting one's job to work full-time on a boat refit.
- And what if you find, a year into it, that cruising under sail just isn't for you after all? Will you be stuck with a boat that burns $10,000 a year just to dock, insure, and keep afloat, and which might take a year or more to sell once you list it?
An Attainable Alternative
One promising path: Start smaller, start simpler. Make your inevitable expensive mistakes with short cruises in a relatively affordable boat, learn what works and what doesn't work for you, and then look at your choices for stepping up.
So, what does a starter cruiser look like, for a couple or a family who can't cast off the dock lines just yet? Is it possible to cruise, short term, in a safe and seaworthy (albeit not too luxurious) sailing yacht, for no more than the average family in our position would spend on a new car?