“The Cost of Cruising”

I love hearing about how other people manage their finances and what they spend their money on; so to be fair, I thought I would share our own little snapshot. These are totals from October 12th to January 1st, including the 3 weeks we spent working on the boat in the yard in San Carlos.

We’ve been tracking every peso and dollar since we arrived on Brio, but this is the first time I have done sub-totals. (Truth be told, I was going for the “ignorance is bliss” mantra, and was a little afraid to actually do the math). While I won’t claim our expenses are perfect or typical or in any way representative of what could be spent cruising, they are accurate and up to date for us.

Cost of Cruising (by category)

I really like Excel, so the categories are ordered by necessity and colour coded to match the “Overview of Spending” that I also created (below).

Although living in Mexico is extremely affordable (have you seen our total propane cost??), we are a little over the rough budget I had hoped for (of $1000/month). This is almost entirely because of marinas & restaurants ($500 on marinas = a big portion of our month!!). The good news is that we have complete control over both of these, and don’t plan on staying in marinas at all until we return the boat to San Carlos, so we should be able to stick to our budget for our last 3 months (and worst case… that’s what they invented Visa for, right?? ;).

I was also interested to see that we’d spent just over $2300 on upgrades to the boat. Given that this includes our 3 weeks in the work yard, launch, 2 gallons of epoxy barrier coat, 2 gallons of bottom paint, new batteries, a new toilet, new fans, and various tools & sandpaper… I was exceptionally happy with that number!

Last little note on the categories; travelling to and from Mexico is a big expense. The flights themselves are not the killers (ours were about $250 each), but the baggage fees (which we’ve had a decent number of!!), hotels, and taxis all add up quickly.

Cost of Cruising (Overview)

Anyways, I don’t know if this is boring or exciting for other people to read about, but I figured since I had such pretty little Excel charts… I might as well tell the world about our costs while I was at it 🙂

My hope is that by tracking our expenses carefully this year, we’ll have a better sense of what we need to continue to save for subsequent years… and will be able to continue working for 6 months and cruising for 6 months of the year. (Although to be fair, my consulting work is giving me about 20 hours of work a month… which in Mexico buys a lot of tacos!!!). The boat, and travelling to and from the boat, will continue to be large parts of our costs, but thankfully the affordable living & eating help make up for this 🙂

And at the end of the day, I am just thankful to be able to swing this in any way… coming home to Brio, with bags full of fresh local veggies and shrimp, and the perfect partner in tow… life seems pretty darn great.


“The Crossing”

The combination of this being the longest overnight passage we’d ever done, the rudder continuing to leak (albeit much, much, much less), the forecasts slightly unreliable (a “Mexican 6-10” really means “20-25 knots from whatever direction you’re trying to go”), and having a deadline (we’re flying home for Christmas on Wednesday) made this passage something we’d been stressing over *just* a little.

Here are the stats & photos of our successful and (to us, at least) momentous passage!

Our Route -- 240 miles from La Paz to Mazatlan, with an average speed of 4.8 knots.


Last glimpse of land, sailing under an amazingly blue sky


Enjoying the sunshine


Jon's varnish shining in the sunset (and very very flat seas)


Sunset Night #1


Sunrise Day #2


Jon keeping watch


Jon thinks it's ridiculous to post a picture of French Toast -- but if you could see how rolly it was while he was cooking this, or how excited I was to eat this French Toast, you'd think it was photo-worthy too 🙂 Passages make basic things -- sunsets, moon-rises, meals, music -- so much more important!


Also ridiculously exciting? Having an autopilot!!! This was a birthday present from my seriously awesome sister, and it made this passage freaking fantastic. Being able to read or even just move around while you're on watch is like heaven on earth. Now I understand why people freak out so much when their's break; I never want to do a passage without one again!!!


Sunrise over Mazatlan (Day #3) -- our second night gave us a taste of just how lumpy and bumpy the Sea of Cortez can be... rolling us gunwale to gunwale (which I always thought was spelled*** "gunnel" but there you go), testing exactly how well everything was stored, and making it very very challenging to sleep. Needless to say -- we were pretty darn excited to see land in the morning!! ***As I was fixing the spelling of "gunwale", Jonathan (the never-ending spell-check around here) informed me that "spelt" (which I had just written) is actually "a hexaploid species of wheat" and not the past tense of spell. Two grammar lessons in one freaking caption!!!


A tropical view as we entered the channel in Mazatlan. After tidying up the boat and clearing in with the marina, we fell asleep at 2:00 in the afternoon... and woke up the next morning 🙂 I need to figure out how people do passages without getting completely sleep-deprived, cuz right now we're struggling at it! I've been on lots of long passages before -- just in the past, night watches meant Disney movies and reading while mom and dad watched over everything. Being responsible is a new ball-game, and one I'm still working on learning 🙂

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