No more bills, rent, insurance, car tax, household waste tax. There is no doubt: living on a boat is much cheaper than living on land. And if you also swim in distant warm countries, there is significant savings due to the almost complete uselessness of the wardrobe, the absence of bars and restaurants, the absence of cinemas, theaters and seductive shop windows. In such situations, to live with dignity on a boat, you don’t need much money at all.
However, some resources are needed!
In the oceans and ports of the world you can meet sea vagrants of various incomes. There are daddy's sons there who, who knows how, at the age of twenty or a little more already have a sailboat and travel from one part of the world to another with no other worries than watching and having fun. There are also those who built the boat themselves from improvised materials, live practically without money and driven by need, get out of various situations sometimes showing brilliant ingenuity. There are French families constantly moving between overseas territories and former colonies.nii France, stopping at each place for a couple of years to find work on the sea or on land and earn money and ensure a couple more years of survival. There are pensioners who decide to enjoy the fruits of their life's work at sea, staying for a long time in different places. There are many people who have temporarily left their jobs, living on savings and planning to spend only a few years sailing, only to return to their old life. Someone is just looking for a place on earth where it will be possible to start a new life.
Any of these choices assumes the presence of at least a small amount of capital for life. The amount of capital, apart from the investment in the boat, depends on the time available, the itinerary chosen, the size and condition of the boat, whether there are children on board and even the age of the crew members.
If the route is long and you plan to travel for several years, you can save a lot by stocking up in ports where prices are favorable and staying less where it is expensive. If time is short, then there will hardly be a desire to worry about the price of each individual item, but you will need to meet deadlines. And it is clear that if the problem is money, then the less spending, the longer you can travel.
A very rough estimate for a mid-range trip around the world, say three or four years, with the ability to choose places to stop and resupply and some entertainment - sometimes a restaurant, souvenirs, car rental for a few days, so as not to constantly count change and not tighten the belt , you can quite count on an amount of five hundred to eight hundred euros per month for two people and a boat. This amount also includes the ongoing maintenance of the boat, a couple of times painting with antifouling, with a careful choice of location, but does not include expensesdy on the likely return home by plane.
Naturally, spending six months in the Caribbean will cost more than a year in the Red Sea.
The best option, especially if the trip is going to be short, is to have the money before you leave. You can rent out your own apartment if you quit your job, you can count on severance pay, or you can save money for a few years before you leave. It is enough for a couple of years to reduce trips to restaurants, shopping for clothes and, perhaps, not to go on vacation. We did the same during the entire period of preparation of the Vecchietto for the round-the-world trip.
Some savings are also needed in case of all sorts of surprises, from getting into a hospital or a broken engine, to an armed conflict in some country that may force us to lengthen the route, as happened to us in the case of the Gulf War and the uprising of East Timor. It is also very important to leave some money for the first time after the trip, returning to your old life will require expenses.
Will go at any cost, even without money, very romantic, but can lead to a sad situation. You can be a beggar far from home or a homeless person, where others have fun. Become a helpless witness to the slow but inevitable degradation of the boat. Problems will begin with the authorities and local residents, and in the end, even the crews of other sailboats will avoid you.
1. Expensive and economical countries.
The cost of living on a boat, as we said, depends very much on which area you choose to sail.
Take, for example, a consumer basket that includes: food, fruits and vegetables, fuel, marina costs and port fees.
In the Mediterranean, the cost of these components is on average slightly less than in Italy, but much more expensive than in the rest of the world. In addition, in the Mediterranean countries, the temptations of civilized life are always waiting for us: restaurants, bars, cappuccino with brioche, cinema, shops. You can’t even imagine how they can undermine the fragile balance of the sailboat, especially at the prices of European coasts.
At the very beginning of the round-the-world trip on the Vecchietto in a tavern in Menorca, we ordered two ham sandwiches:
- What kind of ham do you want?
- Then Pata Negro.
The ham was excellent, and two sandwiches cost fifty thousand lire in 1998! It was ham from a wild acorn-fed pig!
That's when we realized that although a free boat trip around the world gives the feeling of a vacation, you can't act like vacationers, because at the end of the month there is no next salary that will cover all the bills.
But back to the topic. The Mediterranean is very expensive. A little better than the coast of Turkey, Tunisia, Morocco and Israel, but still expensive.
Passing through the Suez Canal and ending up in the Red Sea, a pleasant surprise is revealed, you are now rich. The cost of fuel falls below 50 percent, the same is true for food and even more so for vegetables and fruits. The choice is not so great, but if you make good supplies in places like Port Said, Suez, Hurghada and Massawa, you can live on rent for many months. And the fish is completely free!
When passing through the canal, you need to pay an agent (about 250 euros for a boat of 15 meters), but then there are no port fees. You can even afford any restaurants if you can find them.
If you leave the Strait of Gibraltar, the situation in the Canaries is still the same as in the Mediterranean, only fuel is slightly cheaper. There isn't much choice along the coast of Africa, but everything is incredibly cheap. On some of the Caribbean islands, fruit and vegetables are worth their weight in gold, as are alcoholic beverages. In Venezuela, on the contrary, everything is cheap. The first time we were there, we spent one dollar for a hundred liters of diesel fuel, and we can stock up for the galley there, and then go to other islands. Some even lived for years buying alcohol.ol in Venezuela and reselling under the floor, for example, in Martinique, but now it is difficult, as the Venezuelan authorities put spokes in the wheels. Perhaps they also want to have an income from exports.
Prices are also low in Panama, but the canal fee is now about a thousand dollars for a 12 meter boat. When we passed it for the first time in 1989 on a boat that was eleven and a half meters long, we spent less than seventy. In the Galapagos Islands, although prices are twice as high as in the rest of Ecuador, they are still quite moderate.
The shock comes in French Polynesia. The first time we came to the Marquesas Islands, we did some shopping at Khiva Oa. With us was a Yugoslav who traveled alone and on a very small budget. The poor fellow exchanged one hundred dollars and with this money he managed to buy only six eggs, a box of wine and a can of Nescafe! He was so shocked that the shop owner agreed to take back the wine and took him to his farmer friend to buy fruits and vegetables. And so throughout French Polynesia, of course, where there are shops. Where there are none, soap or T-shirtseat bananas and eggs.
On other Pacific Islands, prices are lower. The selection is small, but everything you need is there.
Suva, the capital of Fiji, is a good place to stock up. Supermarkets sell Australian produce, are full of canned goods of all kinds, and even cheeses are making a comeback! Prices are lower than European ones, fruits and vegetables are almost for free. Local meat is very cheap. Also the fish. But in New Caledonia and Vanuatu, the price level is the same as in French Polynesia.
Australia is back to civilization again with marinas and mooring fees, although many sailboat clubs provide transit boats with free berths and breakwaters for a short period. The rest of the cost of living is about the level of Europe. However, there are many rivers, channels, bays and islets where you can anchor for free, even in Sydney Bay. And thanks to the ebbs and flows of four, five and even six meters, it is possible to do bottom processing at almost no cost. All marinas have moles equipped for this purpose. enough to waitsailing the highest tide of the month, bring the boat to the pier and moor onboard at a shallow depth, securing with many moorings and fenders. When the water leaves, the boat will be on dry land. Subsequent tides will be less and less high and after a couple of days the water will not return at all. Then you will have at your disposal about ten days to clean and paint the underwater part of the boat. The cost is just a few dollars a day. If the work requires the involvement of a mechanic, carpenter, welder or other specialist, then Australia is also not cheap.
Further north, Papua New Guinea, the country is quite expensive in everything, but immediately after, in Indonesia, food, clothing, souvenirs, fuel, workshop services and everything else is very cheap. Really very cheap! Even beer! However, a sailing permit ($150 for three months) and an entry visa are required, which cost $40 and can be extended.
Further along the way, Malaysia and Thailand are a little more expensive than Indonesia, but still inexpensive, and there are no problems with visas or permits. A wide range of products and materials for the boat. In addition, there are duty free ports in Malaysia where you can stock up on any alcoholic beverages.
On the other side of the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka and India, where the cost of living is very low, while in the Maldives, where almost everything is imported, it becomes quite high, and in the Seychelles even higher and reaches the level of French Polynesia.
This can be continued throughout the world. Intuition tells us that spending is much lower in Third World countries than in developed countries, but as we have seen, there are rare exceptions. For those who are going to be traveling for months and years on little money, the choice of where to stay, where to shop, where to paint the bottom and repair the boat becomes fundamental. It is no coincidence that when the crews of two boats meet, conversations sooner or later converge on how much beer costs here or diesel fuel there, is it possible to buy canned meat for such and such a month?those and how much it costs to raise and lower a sailboat in such and such a country and whether there are laundries there, etc. And what to do, life on a boat is a very simple life, and often leaves its mark even on philosophical conversations.
link to the ranking of cheap and expensive countries www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/gmaps_rankings_country.jsp
If the route passes through the most distant islands and places remote from big cities, you often have to deal with a situation where money does not circulate. The inhabitants of such places live by the fruits of their land and sea and, due to the lack of communication with the rest of the country, have little opportunity to purchase materials and essential goods: clothes, flour, sugar, medicines, fish hooks. In these places, every single thing you have on the boat is a small treasure for people who cannot get it. exchangeeverything is possible. Collect used T-shirts from your friends and make a lot of people happy and also get hold of fruits, fish and souvenirs. Ropes, fishing line, shoes you don't wear anymore, not to mention masks and fins, sweaters, cigarettes, salt, sugar and even canned fish go well.
Once in the Salomon Islands, women, in exchange for wooden figurines, asked us for sarong, meaning fabric. The only unnecessary fabric on board were old faded mattress covers. At Suva we sewed new ones, but left these for rags. I was ashamed to give them away, as I thought they were shabby, but the women were happy and continued to go to the boat and carry their crafts to get another piece of the cover.
Also in the Salomon Islands, an old man tried at all costs to convince us to give him an outboard motor. In exchange, he brought two logs of ebony. For us, it would be a very profitable exchange: a few hundred dollars worth of our old and worn-out four-horsepower engine, against several thousand dollars for these two pieces of the most valuable wood. But we couldn't go for it. This old motor was the only one we had! During the whole week that we were anchored near the village, the old man came every day, bringing more pieces of wood, trying tochange the motor anyway. The moral is that the cost of a thing varies, and very much, depending on the place and its availability.
On Lamalera, in Indonesia, we stopped for a few months to film the whalers. The women there make ikat, traditional fabrics that are woven and hand-dyed with natural dyes. Very beautiful! But they have no way to sell them to tourists, for the simple reason that there are no tourists here and they don’t even know approximately how much their goods can cost. I wanted to buy, but I didn't want to rob people, not to spend a lot of money. Then I took out sheets, towels, blankets, mosquito nets, plates,which we no longer used and organized a nice barter market. In the end we were all very happy!
Now, as I write, we are anchored in the lagoon of an atoll in Papua New Guinea, we have not yet passed the border formalities and we do not have a single cent of the local currency. But for a whole week we have been living exchanging fruits for old T-shirts, sweaters for lobsters, old magazines for eggs. We carved a pipe in exchange for a basket of mangoes, and yesterday we gave the village chief our old sail as a keepsake!
But it is not only in poor countries that exchange is possible. In French Polynesia, away from Tahiti and Bora Bora, girls are crazy about cosmetics. Perfume, lipstick, shadows, creams, everything can be exchanged for grapefruits, bananas, fish and mangoes.
Work while traveling.
If you don't have an annuity and don't have enough money set aside, you might consider working while traveling. With a higher education and an Italian or European qualification, you can find a job in almost any country in the world. This does not mean making big money and getting rich, but you can earn a living. Of course, the French and the British have a great advantage, primarily because many countries of the world speak English and French, but also because in the countries of the British Commonwealth and French overseas territoriesthey always have excellent opportunities to find a job with a salary twice as much as in their home country.
For everyone else, everything is much more difficult, but not impossible. If there is an idea to settle for some time in a certain country, it is better to get a work permit from the authorities in order to avoid unpleasant surprises. In Fiji we met a young man from Canada who contributed to a newspaper in Suva for minimal pay. Perhaps his intention was to make this cooperation more serious, but local authorities noticed that he was working without a permit and gave him 72 hours to leave the country. It happened between RoChristmas and New Year, at the height of the cyclone season.
Although it must be said that often, when a work permit is requested, the authorities give a negative answer, if not even an offer to leave the country. Therefore, you need to keep abreast of the situation and possibly legalize, where necessary, only when you have already found a job.
A simple and reliable way to find a job and learn how to better behave with the authorities is to contact one of the fellow countrymen or other foreigners who have already settled in place and have gone through all these problems. Opportunities will always present themselves: in Kilifi, in Kenya, we met a New Zealander who was repairing the boat of an Englishman living in Nairobi; in Tanzania, a South African ran a sailboat shop owned by an Italian; methan allurgical plant in Bali, an American who arrived on a sailboat, managed the marina of the port of Benoa, etc.
There are also plenty of opportunities for temporary work. Mechanics, electricians and carpenters are always required, especially if around the sailboat. We also need cooks, waiters, salespeople who speak another language besides English, especially in French Poltnesia, where there are shops and tourists, and the local population speaks only French.
A higher intellectual level is the work of a guide, conductor or assistant in the office, especially in tourist structures or those associated with sailboats. For these works, English is fundamental and at least a minimal knowledge of the local language.
Some professions also have good chances for employment. One Dane, traveling with her husband and four children for more than five years, has been staying in different places for quite a long time and got a job in her specialty, a highly qualified nurse, with a very decent salary. An elderly Canadian international lawyer traveled with his wife and gave paid lectures at all the universities he met, after which he went on a sailboat and lived as a hermit, so we met him on Suvarov Atoll.
Physicians also usually find work without problems.
Naturally, as for the salary, you have to be content with what you have. It can be both very cool and bad: in Bali, our friend works ten hours a day on a boat that takes tourists on day trips. She speaks Indonesian, English and Italian and earns the equivalent of ten euros a day. In Papeete, a girl from Switzerland who knew a dumb language in 1990 worked half a day in a boutique and received half a million lire a week.
However, all of these options require a long stop in the place where it is supposed to work. It is possible to combine stops with the cold season or the rainy season. In this case, let's not forget that life on a boat is still not very convenient (here we all agree) and the inconvenience becomes especially obvious in contrast to convenience. It's all good as long as you live on a boat most of the time naked or in shorts, or even in a sweater and a windbreaker, but away from everything and everyone. If you have to go to work every day decently dressed, and you need clothesabout washing, drying and if not ironing, then at least somehow smoothing ... and then another boat with your needs, shopping, cooking, washing dishes without a dishwasher, maybe more children ... Yes, it’s better to still live on rent, but We have already talked about this.
And in the end, the places to find work are almost always the exact opposite of the beautiful places you would like to visit: work is much easier to find on the squalid industrial outskirts of a large port than on beautiful semi-uninhabited atolls. But all these inconveniences are endured with a smile if they allow you to travel longer. And many live like this. When we were in Darwin, there were families living on boats at the shipyard. In the morning, each went about his business, to school and work, and when they returned in the evening, each pair of hands wasate. And everyone seemed always happy!
Some people manage to make do with small means, using their creativity to earn a couple of coins. We met one South African who painted the magnificent flags of all the countries of the world for twenty dollars apiece. A girl from Switzerland made earrings from silver wire and shells. In Bali, she sold them all from a makeshift stall. One of our acquaintances, who permanently lives on a boat in the Red Sea, makes jewelry from silver and coral, another sold flowers from soap in the Indian markets of Fiji. ctsomething paints T-shirts and pareos (this was also done by Muatissier's wife), makes jewelry, leather goods, sews shirts or makes wooden crafts. All these things can be made on a boat, while sailing, when there is a lot of free time. Naturally, this can only be earned in places visited by Western tourists or where, at least, there are shops interested in buying. If there are wealthy people in the area, you can always come up with something, such as an Italian couple. At the anchorage in Novaya ZelaIn India, they went around all the boats in the morning with menus for orders and brought ravioli, tagliatelle and a huge number of delicacies from which the crews of other sailboats went crazy for lunch or dinner.
However, the palm branch for originality belongs unquestionably to an Irish-South African couple whom we met in the Canary Islands. As a journalist, she divided her time between teaching her two sons and teaching English at the local British School. He, on a nine-meter boat, made magnificent classical guitars, on which he gave concerts in places where he stopped. They had to arrive at the appointed place a couple of months before the concert, so that possible wounds and nails broken during sailing had time to heal and not affect the qualitiesgames.
One of the simplest, at first glance, ways to earn extra money on a boat is to ride guests for a fee. However, this business requires some organization. It is necessary to organize a minimum of advertising, collect orders, determine the exact place and time, determine the route that would take into account the wishes of all guests, organize galley supplies for the entire period of their presence on board. All these preparations become difficult if the activity is not regular and the boat is not inpermanently in one port. If a trip is made around the world, long stops can be planned in advance in the most beautiful and easily accessible places where food and water can be stocked up and, most importantly, where the local authorities do not interfere with the change of crews on sailboats. And these stops should come in the right season, not in the season of rains or cyclones, and not in winter, if the voyage takes place in cold countries. Ideal destinations would be the Caribbean or Polynesia, but flights there cost a fortune, the islands of Indonesia, Thailand and Madgascar, Tanzania and the Red Sea and possibly many others. Today, with satellite phones and e-mail, it is easy enough to communicate with future guests, arrange time and take orders. If the charter is not a permanent job, but only a periodic one, perhaps a couple of months a year, it is enough to spread the word among friends, who in turn will spread it. Customers who enjoy the boat often become repeat customers and introduce their friends to you. And it also ensures the qualityclients. The rest is a matter of luck. On a trip around the world, a boat is a home, a haven, and it is not very pleasant to see how other people use it only for entertainment, albeit with the best of intentions. Summing up, let's say that a charter is not a means of enrichment. To do it all the time you need to have the right boat, stay in one port and, above all, be professionals. If practiced periodically, during a long voyage around the world, it can bring some income, give long periods of respite and, among other thingsth, will allow good maintenance of the boat.