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LESSONS LEARNED WHILE CRUISING Jamie & Behan Gifford
The Money Question
Do you have to be rich to go cruising?
We don’t think so, but the definition of
“rich” changes a great deal from one
person, one lifestyle to the next.
“You must be rich,” our guide Bahamas, he was invited
said, as she clipped my harness into over to the only other boat
the zipline that skimmed the canopy in the anchorage – a large
in front of a large waterfall on the motor yacht. On board he
southern shore of Banderas Bay. “Not was treated to cold beer and
really,” I replied, hoping that was an fresh food. After the treat, he
acceptable answer for this person with felt a little down about the
my life in her hands as we launched boat that he was returning
over the brink from our treetop to. But as he looked around,
platform. Her words have stuck with he thought about the
me. In the zeitgeist of our floating life disparity in boats but both
aboard Totem, I heard the question two were anchored in the same spectacular few cars in the driveway, ski trips, nice
more times that week. place. On board Totem, we’ve been in clothes, and fancy phones. They can’t,
Do you have to be rich to go an anchorage one day feeling big about or won’t, make the changes to adjust
cruising? We don’t think so, but the our fine yacht; and humbled the next their lifestyle today so they can cruise
definition of “rich” changes a great day when several mega-yachts dropped tomorrow.
deal from one person, one lifestyle to anchor nearby. If you really want to go, When we sailed down the
the next. Cruising certainly consumes a less expensive, seaworthy boat that west coast, we fell into the trap of
plenty of resources, and requires gets you to that distant anchorage is overspending on “final” preparations.
commitment and planning. What it’s better than that Bristol yacht that keeps Once we arrived in San Diego, our
going to cost you breaks down into you tied to the dock. last port before Mexico, the cruising
three phases: purchase and preparation, kitty began to hemorrhage. We knew
the transition into a cruising lifestyle, Getting On Board that there would be people with the
and living with a budget once you are usual needs for food, hardware, and
cruising. Disentangling from the things household supplies in Mexico, but
that consume time and money in a anyone watching us shop and stuff our
Purchase and Preparations non-cruising lifestyle is probably the boat as if planning for every need and
hardest part. Shore based lifestyles eventuality could reasonably guess
How badly do I want to go cruising? tend to lead toward the creation of otherwise. We hit an irrational panic
When can I realistically cast off the dock acquisition needs: it’s easy to want button before crossing the border, and
lines? Answer these first and then work what someone else has, to stay in a spent money that would have been
backwards to determine what you cycle of unnecessary daily expenses, or much better off left in the kitty. Even
can afford to buy and prepare, while covet the fancy gadget you read about so, there were many other things we
saving the cruising kitty. Spending in a glossy magazine. Ready access to thought we had to buy before crossing
more on the boat and on gear usually stores and inexpensive supplies make the border. Finally we decided that
means less remaining to go cruising it easy to satisfy those discretionary too was much was spent already
with. Put another way, is having a needs, and continue the leak of funds and stopped cold. Now we have no
super fancy electronics package worth from your cruising kitty. This summer, recollection of the things we didn’t
six months less cruising? A cruising when we visited friends back in the buy. One cruiser after another has had
friend of ours here tells a story from his states, many people confided that they similar a refrain. We find comfort in
youth sailing a small, well worn sloop, wished they could do what we were familiar things and security in being
down the Mississippi River and as far doing, “if only I could afford it.” That’s our own, self-sufficient floating island.
as the Bahamas. While anchored in the a cover for other reasons: there are a Being on the brink of major transition
48° No r t h , Ma r c h 2010 Pa g e 38
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