Alex and Daria Blackwell, long-time cruising sailors and authors of the anchoring bible 'Happy Hooking', sail a 1976 Bowman 57 ketch ‘Aleria’. Here, with their Ten Tips, they make one of the strongest arguments for why you should not wait for that perfect boat or win the lottery before you go cruising:
This could be you
'Yachting' has the image of being an exclusive and expensive sport, and it can be for the likes of Larry Ellison. Yet, for the rest of us, it’s the most economical way of seeing – nee experiencing – the world up close and personal from your own floating home. Where else can you have a multimillion dollar view at a fraction of the cost? Where else can you pull up anchor and change the view if it no longer suits you at no cost?
But there are things that can add up costs if you fall prey. Lots of expensive gadgets hit the market every year, many of which tug at your 'need' to ensure safety at sea. Many people flock to the perceived safety of marinas and moorings when they get there, all of which add significant cost to the adventure. Only you can decide what is best for you, but there are plenty of ways to adjust your expectations to reduce the costs and fund the adventure of a lifetime.
Here are a few things we’ve found can help reduce the cost of cruising:
1. Start with a sturdy, simple boat that you know how to fix yourself. The more gadgets, the more electricity, and the more fuel you will need, and the more headaches you will have. The larger the boat, the greater the costs of replacing just about everything.
Sunset scene: The lighthouse at the entrance to Hamilton Island’s harbour
2. Learn to fix things that break or do without. When things break, and they always do, your options are to fix them, replace them, or do without. Make a list of things you cannot do without and carry spares. Sourcing spares in remote places can be very expensive. Carry service manuals for the rest.
3. Learn to anchor confidently. Invest in good ground tackle and learn how to use it properly. Soon you’ll be able to avoid expensive marinas and exposure to shops that will tempt you to spend money.
4. Avoid motoring. You are on a sailboat and wind is free. Wait out the calms if it’s feasible and safe to do so. Carry extra provisions in case you are becalmed and you won’t be tempted to start that engine. Row or sail your dinghy whenever possible – you’ll get exercise and save on expensive fuel.
5. Be flexible. Remain easy going about your schedule and your 'needs'. How often do you need to fly home? Do your friends have to join you on specific dates? Aside from forcing you to have a schedule which can lead to rash decisions, it is often more expensive to motor on a schedule, stay in marinas, and so on.
6. Shed your possessions. The less stuff you have, the less money you spend, the less it costs to insure, and the less you have to worry about. The one thing not to skimp on is tools. Everyone brings too much clothing and not enough tools.
7. Spend time with locals not just the sailors. The local people will not only treat you to a rewarding cultural experience, if they like you, they’ll also bring you into their fold and show you where to get the best supplies at the best prices.
8. Try regional foods. It’s surprising how many people avoid foods they don’t know and opt for expensive imports. Part of the fun is experiencing the local flavours and textures. You will be pleasantly rewarded.
9. Cut your alcohol intake. Alcohol is expensive in many places. Go with the local drinks, like beers and fresh fruit juices that don’t need alcohol to taste and feel splendidly refreshing. Stock up in the places where alcohol is reasonably priced.
10. Live naturally. Relish the simple pleasures of swimming, snorkling, hiking, reading a book, watching the sunset, identifying stars, fishing for the evening meal. Keep a bicycle onboard for visiting ashore.
Traveling by sailboat is a most amazing way to see the world while bringing your home with you. You never have to unpack. You see everything slowly so you get to absorb it. The best times are the ones you didn’t plan for, the ones that create lasting unexpected memories because you just let life happen and it took you to places you didn’t even know existed. Those places in your heart are not usually bought with money.
To learn everything you need to know about anchoring, http://www.coastalboating.net/Resources/Books/CSBooks/HappyHooking.html!click_here for Alex and Daria's 'Happy Hooking, the Art of Anchoring.'