How much does it cost to sail around the world?

Money is a funny thing. We all think we need a lot of it, but no one can agree on how much.

If you asked any sailor, “why don’t you quit your job and sail around the world”, I guarantee that nearly all of them will answer, “Money!”

When April and I started thinking about the idea of sailing around the world, the first question that came to mind was, “Can we afford it?”  When we started asking the question, “How much does it cost to sail around the world?” We kept getting the same response, “As much as you have”. For me, this was really frustrating. Not enough people were willing to share their actual experiences when it comes to the cost of cruising.

Some costs were easy to figure out. Understanding the costs of purchasing and outfitting a boat were fairly simple to determine. With a few hours online at Yacht World and West Marine it was easy to understand the hard costs of buying and outfitting a boat. But understanding the soft cost of living this lifestyle proved much more difficult.

Admittedly the answer to this question is not simple. Each individual has a different location, a different boat and a different lifestyle than the next guy. Therefore we realized if we wanted a detailed answer, we needed to ask a more detailed question.  So the next question we askd was, “How much does it cost to maintain a middle class lifestyle, on a small boat, while sailing around the world”. This is where things started to come into focus. After getting information from at least a dozen sailing families, we averaged out the answers and came up with $17.

No really, $17.

$17 per person, per day. This number was far less that what we had expected. We had found that some families would spend 5 times this amount and some spent a small fraction of this number, but overall this was the number their costs averaged out to.

We were being told that for approximately $1500 per month, our little family of 3 could cover the cost of food, insurance, basic boat maintenance and other misc. costs associated with cruising.  

The catch?

Nearly all of the sailing families we had contacted pointed out three key items that would be required in order to keep our costs down;

Maintaining your own boat

Anchoring out

Cooking your own food  

Buy from our perspective, these three seemed reasonable.

Once we had this critical piece of information we realized that our dream of sailing around the word was not only financially possible, but was within our reach. From here the budgeting for our trip became straightforward. We simply multiplied our monthly cost, by the amount of time we wanted to travel Then added in the cost of our boat and the refit. Just like that, we had our saving target. Next we set up a weekly transfer from our checking account to our savings. This not only made the process easier to track but also reduced the urge to over spend each week, knowing that at the end of the week we had to pay ourselves and the money was going to be transferred whether we liked it or not. Fast forward several years and we now have our trip savings topped up and ready to go, (with a little extra to account for inflation).

So did we get it right? I don’t know, but we will soon find out. In addition to sharing our experiences along the journey, we hope to use this website to share the actual costs of sailing around the world. It is our goal to share our overall monthly expenses, as well as what we are actually spending the money on.  With this, we hope to show others the true cost of cruising, and with any luck help them start on their own adventure.