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Cost to Buy Sailboat and Travel

Estimated amount of money we will need to begin traveling by sea – – “How long do you think it will be before they have their our boat?” Midwife questioned the rest of the sailing party as we beat against the waves towards Maine’s Belfast harbor. After looking upon our smiling faces, consensus was within [...]

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Estimated amount of money we will need to begin traveling by sea – –

“How long do you think it will be before they have their our boat?” Midwife questioned the rest of the sailing party as we beat against the waves towards Maine’s Belfast harbor.

After looking upon our smiling faces, consensus was within a year.

Though, in this moment, I felt that this mark should have been moved up to within the next three months.

Yes, within three months I would like to have my own sailboat to begin my travels around th world by sea with my small family . . .

Though intention is only one half of inertia. The other have is made up of the nuts and bolts of doing so. One year may actually be a very accurate estimate.

I know that this venture has the potential to surely make my time in the USA draw out a little longer — unless I find extremely gainful employment abroad easily and soon (such as teaching English in East Asia) — but I feel as if this will be worth the sacrifice.

I would ideally like to purchase a sailboat in or around Maine and then practice sailing it here until both Chaya and I feel comfortable. Whereupon, the plan is to sail south down the inter-coastal that runs along the east coast of the USA and look for work within range of a cheap harbor. Though it is a major question about whether these actions will happen this season or next.

The sun is falling on the summer of 2009, and the winds of autumn are holding fast on the nearest horizon.

“What is the minimum amount of money that you think we could travel the world by sailboat?” I asked the Captain, who is a fellow extremely knowledgeable about such matters.

“Well,” he answered, “there are some books that say you could do it on $6,000, but I think $8,000 is more realistic.”

Junk rigged sailboat

Junk rigged sailboat from http://www.bruceroberts.com/public/HTML/JUNK-1.htm

Not bad. Even the higher estimate was within the range of Chaya and I. Though given both of our well trodden sense of thrift and experience traveling, I am quite sure that we could potentially shoot for the lower mark . . . given that we could come upon a boat that did not scream for pricey repairs.

$15,000 is the amount of money that I predict we would need before we can comfortably buy a boat and set sail out of the USA. On 15 grand I feel as if I could easily acquire a good boat, fix her up and rig her for offshore voyaging, AND have enough bean money to last the next 6 months of wandering by sea without having to work a formal job.

Chaya and I have $6,000 saved up now. We are more than a third of the way there.

Though I have the sent that there is much contention as to how much it really costs to travel the work in a small sailboat. The books I read and some of the people I talk to say that it is dirt cheap: $6,000. While others say that owning a boat, “is a hole in the water in which you throw your money.”

This is a jagged scenario, and one that will surely take experience — and experience alone — to lay flat.

Projected expense sheet

$8,000 for a good, tested and tried racer/ cruiser style sailboat. Preferably one that is around 28 feet in length, rigged for offshore travel, with a long and sturdy keel, as much beam as possible, and simple in every regard to the maximum extent of the definition.

$2,000 to repair, customize, rig for off shore travel, and to buy any additional necessary equipment.

$5, 000 to last out 6 months of sailing without needing to find formal employment.

Total: $15,000

We are looking to buy a boat as soon as we find one, and then take it a little slow as my knowledge of sailing makes its way from the pages of books and manuals to the open sea. Once we have a boat we could possibly do short sails around the east of the USA in search of work to collect the rest of our projected necessary funds.

As soon as the boat is purchased, ready to go, the travel funds re-provisioned, and my knowledge of sailing is workable, we will leave the USA. This will happen, perhaps, around autumn of 2010.

This is looking as if it will be a mulit-season project. With my scanty knowledge, experience, and money base, it does not seem as if  we will be storming across oceans prior to this working season in America drawing to a close.

“Within the next year,” sounds like a good estimate.

Photo of junk rigged schooner

Photo of junk rigged schooner

Filed under: Boat Travel, Maine, USA

About the Author:

I am the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. I’ve been traveling the world since 1999, through 91 countries. I am the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China and have written for The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3703 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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VBJ is currently in: New York City

9 comments… add one

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  • Baron August 18, 2009, 1:17 pm

    Here are some resources you might like. I am not associated with any of them.

    http://www.oarclub.org – these guys are big on engineless sailing

    http://www.latsandatts.com – commercial magazine focused on the cruising life style

    http://www.sailnet.com – forums, articles, and a ships store

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  • man with no name August 18, 2009, 3:43 pm

    http://www.instructables.com/id/The-Free-Yacht-Saga/ —story about restoring a free 30 foot sailboat. might be of interest

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  • roy August 19, 2009, 5:41 am

    That’s right! Walk slow 😉

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    • Wade | Vagabond Journey.com August 25, 2009, 8:27 pm

      Thanks Roy!!!!

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  • Wade | Vagabond Journey.com August 19, 2009, 11:57 am

    Thanks for the links! I will check them out!

    Thanks for the help,


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  • Christopher March 13, 2010, 12:35 am

    Good luck! As I see it, the biggest hurdle to accomplishing your dream is your lack of practical experience in sailing. As a former sailing instructor and delivery skipper with decades of experience in cruising and racing, I would at least double that budget, and remember, I can fix almost anything on the boat myself, so my costs would probably be less than yours.

    However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to do it. I will trot out my favorite Mark Twain quote: “We regret the things that we did not do much more than the things we did do”, or something along those lines.

    My advice would be to get some practical sailing experience before you start looking for a boat. Most yacht clubs have casual weekend or evening races and you can either sign up to crew or put a notice up on the yacht club bulletin board, if they don’t have a formal crew list.

    I know that you are interested in cruising, not racing, but many people do both and you will learn a lot about sailing very quickly when you race.

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    • Wade | Vagabond Journey.com March 13, 2010, 10:40 am

      Thanks for the advice, Chris,

      The sailboat idea was put off for a while until my daughter is old enough to swim — or at least keep her head above water. We are in the Caribbean now, going to Central America — do you know of anyone around here with a boat who may let me work on it to gain some experience?



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  • Inflatable Boats June 7, 2010, 3:52 am

    What a shame you did not follow through with your original idea. Children raised on boats learn very quickly the dangers just like on land. I am sure you are having a great adventure nonetheless do not give up on your dream of owning a sailing yacht. I learned to sail in the Solomon Islands. We then sailed to the Fijian Islands and then finally to Australia before selling our beautiful but small 30 foot live aboard.

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    • Wade | Vagabond Journey.com June 7, 2010, 12:05 pm

      We are just putting off getting a sailing boat until Petra is at least old enough to swim. We should be sailing soon.

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