The cost of sailing is one of those topics that pops up time and time again. It would seem that if you put the word ‘sailing’ or ‘marine’ next to anything, it instantly triples in price! Now, those of you who know me will have heard me say that sailing is for everyone, and I do believe it is. The key to budget sailing is to not listen to sailors. Ok, don’t leave just yet, although I count myself as one that you should not listen to, I’d be grateful if you read on while I explain myself.
Let me give you an example; most sailors love to nose about other boats, seeing how others arrange things, what layout they have etc., etc., and I am no different. Knowing this, I am happy to extend an invitation to a chatty passing sailor to view our ‘construction site on the water’. On one occasion recently, the visitor enquired as to where and what make of plotter we used. I replied that we had opted to use a laptop at the nav. station as our electronic solution, backed up by paper charts etc. (not uncommon for live aboards). I went on to explain our reasoning behind choosing this arrangement, to which he uttered the following, “Yes, but it’s not very nautical really, is it”.
Perhaps not, but I had a laptop and the GPS antenna only cost me €27, add to this free navigation software and we have saved the best part of a grand. Do you have any idea what work I could do on the boat for a grand? Not much if you listen to sailors, but if you suit yourself, then it could cover most of the refit! It doesn’t stop there, you can look at most aspects of the boat and find ways of reducing the cost of getting on the water. Wind instruments for example, it costs nothing to stick your head out and feel the breeze, or even tie a short length of wool to the shrouds. Both techniques are far easier to maintain and much more reliable than the complex mast head systems found in most boats these days.
Of course, if you like these things, then no one should tell you not to get them, but not having them should not be a barrier to getting out on the water and enjoying the freedom of being pushed along by the wind…