“How are you going to finance this?”, or “I wish I could afford to do something like that” are among the most frequent responses that many people have when we tell them about our sailing plans. The short answer for us is that Shane will be the breadwinner, continuing to work as an information technology consultant through, Shane Dennis Consulting. Shane has enough clientele lined up to provide a basic income for our family. We’ve rented out our house (using a local property manager), and are selling our cars before we leave. The boat was bought and paid for by a combination of cashing out years’ of hard earned savings, topped off with a (relatively) modest inheritance. We’ve been living on a frugal budget, and we’re expecting a very frugal lifestyle aboard.
Sailors from many economic situations have found a way to make their voyaging dreams come true. Below are some links to a few of the resources that we have used as we worked to cobble together a plan that would work. Many sailors are able to work their way around the world in a variety of professions. IT professionals are heavily represented among the cruising sailors, of course because of the relative ease of telecommuting from anywhere when you do Internet work. I’ve read of nurses, carpenters, free-lance writers, and even a hair stylist that worked their way along. Captaining/chartering your own boat for vacationers is another way that some make a nautical living.
How to Inexpensively Buy, Outfit & Sail a Small Vessel Around the World is a humorous work of genius, tailored to the aspiring sailor with very little money.
Voyaging on a Small Income by Annie Hill is an excellent resource, written by a voyager who maintained a budget of something like $150/month for $20+ years.
SaiLast but certainly not least, sailors and land-lubbers alike can enjoy the short film Hold Fast, by the Anarchist Yacht Club. This is an absolutely fantastic adventure video-zine/documentary about a group of 4 broke young anarchists who rehab a derelict yacht hull (s/v Pestilence) and sail to the Bahamas. Trust me, if they can afford it, you can! Catch the trailor here:
Although this memoir is not primarily about financing the cruising lifestyle, the author of A Sail of Two Idiots is quite forthcoming about the details and dollars that went into their Carribean sailing adventure.
For two hillarious takes on the tale of a 1950′s sailing family sustained by the earnings of their nomadic sign painter father, check out Chasing the Horizon by Cap’n Fatty Goodlander, and Dreamseeker’s Daughter, by Carole Borges. Both are great reads. The fact that these nautical memoirs are written by two siblings, describing the same adventure each from their own perspective is priceless.