Cost Tally For the oddgodfrey Circumnavigation
(2 People, 5 year Plan, 1981 Vintage 40 Foot Cutter Rigged Sloop)
Curious about what it might cost to sail around the world? This page gives you the dirty details of our circumnavigation in progress. It is unique to us based on our specific list of factors: our timeframe of five years, our plan to work when we return home, the type, size and maintenance status of S/V Sonrisa, Andrew’s tendency to do all the repair work himself, our eating (and drinking!) habits, land tourism, sailing location, sailing speed and insurance decisions. Your Sailing Trip could cost more or less depending on your own individual factors. Hopefully, this gives you one data point to consider with enough information that you can analyze what we might have in common, and how you might differ. If full excel spreadsheets with penny by penny tracking, day by day would be helpful to you, send us a personal message and we can send you the spreadsheets, too.
Total Capital Investment to Purchase, Maintain and Prepare Sonrisa 2012-2015: $227,875.76
This might seem like a lot, but when you consider Sonrisa is our home, it isn't more than the cost of buying a house on land. In fact, if you are looking for ocean front property, it is probably a whole lot less! Boats are as numerous and unique as the stars in the sky. Design quality, size, age, condition are all major factors in how much the boat will cost and the purchase cost can range anywhere from $0 - millions. You can find boats dirt cheap, but you will put in significantly more money repairing problems. You have to find a balance you can live with between sailing qualities, living space, original condition and your tolerance for completing refit repairs and maintenance.
For us, Sonrisa struck our perfect balance.
Purchase Cost $124,154
Purchase Price: $112,000
Survey, Engine Survey, Rig Survey: $960
Lender's Fees: $694
Marina Deposit: $1500
California Sales Tax: $9,000
Carrying Cost: $37,049.97
Slip Fee at Shelter Island Marina, San Diego x 3 years at $749/month
Monthly Bottom Clean: $45/month
California Property Taxes: $1190/year
These costs included the upkeep and repair of any system already in place on Sonrisa.
Initial Capital Improvement/Refit Costs: $54,054.78
These costs are for those items we either added to Sonrisa or removed and replaced. This figure includes the replacement of all standing rigging, repainting the mast, installation of a DC driven refrigeration compressor, new solar panels, new stanchions and lifelines, replacement of all chainplates, replaced toilet, repaired deck substrate in small locations and rebedding deck equipment causing leaks, updated worn running rigging including storm jib halyard/topping lift, new main halyard, new main sheet blocks, update electrical system, purchase new deck of AGM house and starter batteries, parts to rebuild autopilot and water pumps, spare parts for engine and autopilot, final haul out and inspection of through hulls and rudder, labor and parts for replacing through hull backing plates. We did the majority of work ourselves with the exception of the standing rigging and installation of the DC driven refrigeration compressor. Therefore, this cost is significantly lower than it would be if we hired someone to handle all refit installations.
Mid Circumnavigation Capital Improvement/Refit Costs: To Be Updated End of August
Circumnavigation travel costs
Costs of 5 Year Circumnavigation
Estimated at $48,000 per year, Monthly Avg. $4,000 per month, plus a $35,000 Refit at Some Point
Actual Total Spent Traveling in 2016: $47,908.00 (Left February 28, so only 10 full months of travel)
Actual Total Spent Traveling in 2017: $61,018.00
Actual Total Spent Traveling in 2018: $53,705.00
Actual Total Spent Traveling in Jan - June 2019: $32,880, plus an additional $12,655 on Sonrisa’s Major Refit
Actual Total Spent Traveling 40 Months: $206,989, excluding the mid-sail refit: $194,334
Actual Monthly Average with 40 months of Travel, excluding the mid-sail refit: $4,858/month
We are over our monthly budget by $35,334 and behind schedule by one and a half years on our original route plan.
We can’t sail across the Indian Ocean until the proper season opens up. We expect to be living aboard Sonrisa again by end of August, and we will cast off to sail further Westward beginning in January/February. Route to be determined.
Is anyone else starting to panic?
I would say we have a healthy set of nerves about the budget, but we are not panicking, yet. While I say that we budgeted $4,000 per month for our average budget, we also had set aside a pot of money earmarked for more major refit items. We knew we would want to/have to buy new sails midway through our trip, and we feared we might have to address the keel bolt problem. So, in addition to our $4,000 per month average for regular living costs and maintenance, we also had money set aside for a refit. Things are still looking sketchy because we are so far behind schedule, and we are a bit over budget even when you take the refit expenses out of the monthly average. But, we’ll figure it out. There are options:
(1) Quit having so much fun! Stop with the land tours and guided scuba diving and just sail instead.
(INSERT TANTRUM HERE: BUT I LOVE SCUBA DIVING! AND I WANT TO GO ON SAFARI!!!)
(2) Change our route: We may have to choose between South Africa and Europe, instead of doing both as we originally planned. We can choose either route, then continue straight on through the Caribbean, through the Panama canal, and back northward to San Diego. This would cut off a whole year of sailing, and Europe is one of the most expensive areas in the world to sail - so it would be an efficient place to put on the chopping block.
(INSERT TANTRUM HERE: BUT I WANT TO ANCHOR NEXT TO CASTLES!!!)
(3) Get Creative: Sell our souls or our bodies in exchange for cold hard cash. I.e. figure out a way to make money at sea.
(INSERT TANTRUM HERE: WAHHHHHHHHAAAHHAHAH!)
Notes on The Overruns
We considered the $48,000 per year to be a very generous budget, but as you can see - at least so far - we were incorrect in that assumption. Here is a list of factors we did not consider well enough when we first estimated our budget:
#1 Scuba Diving
We didn’t know we’d like it as much as we do, that it is as expensive as it is, and that we’d be sailing through so many places in the world that are “once in a lifetime” scuba diving locations.
We built our $4,000 budget based on the idea that insurances for boat, health, life, and disability would be approximately $1,000 per month. The premiums for health insurance started at $550 per month, but this is creeping up every year and now costs $790 per month. Sail boat insurance stayed within expected increases until this year. Now, the quotes for comprehensive insurance on Sonrisa have doubled and tripled depending on the company requested (Pantaneous, Australia; Jackline, and The Marine Shop New Zealand) and in a lot of cases, the insurance companies are refusing to insure us at all (Pantaneous US and . The reason we’ve been given is that we are an American flagged ship, American owned vessel. We do not know why that is a factor, but the fact is comprehensive insurance looks like it may be cost prohibitive going forward.
#3 Health Insurance
Likewise, health insurance premiums are increasing at a rate higher than expected.
#4 Trips Home
We failed to include additional money in the budget for visits home to the U.S. When we made our budget, we assumed we could cash flow the trips home like any other month in that $4,000 range. But, flights and existing as visitors in the U.S. is more expensive than life at sea on the boat. At this point, we have made two trips home to the United States to visit family and deal with administrative issues associated with our land house. Should our trips home be included in the "budget" for a circumnavigation? We realize now that given our circumstances, a circumnavigation would not/could not be completed without trips home. If you are calculating your own expected costs, you will have to add or subtract based on your historical patterns.
I still think you can circumnavigate on the amount we budgeted, or maybe even less. As is obvious from our blog and stories, we do so much more than just “sail around the world.” We have taken a lot of land tours, traveled inland by plan, bus, train, and rental cars. These things add up. I also know if you live aboard and sail one small and cheap area of the world you can cruise on a significantly lower budget. The locations in which you choose to sail will make a large difference in your budget. Cruising in Mexico is far cheaper than cruising in French Polynesia. Also, a circumnavigation costs a bit more on the whole than cruising one geographical area. If you are keeping a quick pace, the budget is subject to more frequent check-in/check out processes, more frequent equipment failures, and we tend to stack more tours and trips into the small amount of time available in any given country.
As always, we track our spending in an excel spreadsheet, penny for penny. Because we are constantly on the move, every month is very different from the last. We still hope pour $4,000 estimate may hold true, if we change some aspects of our sailing style.
February 28, 2016 - August 31, 2016 Actual Expenses $30,985 (Monthly Average) $5,164 per month
Baja Penninsula, Mexico, Galapagos Islands Ecuador, Marquesas Islands, Manihi and Fakarava of the Tuamotus Island Group, and Society Islands of French Polynesia.
Yard Fees/Slips/Moorings: $617
Blog/Communication Costs: $1,378
Sonrisa Maintenance: $1,965
Check In Fees: $2,306
Dining Out: $3,596
Entertainment: $4,656 (Lord, Scuba Diving!)
September 1, 2016 - December 31, 2016 Actual Expenses: $22,622 (Monthly Avg. $5,656.00)
Rarotonga, Niue, Tonga, and United States
Healthcare: $149 (Spent entirely on cold medicine during our stay in wintery, US)
Yard Fees/Slips/Moorings: $2,035 (Haul out, monthly fees for yard in Tonga 485/mo)
Blog/Communication Costs: $824
Sonrisa Maintenance: $1,481
Check In Fees: $693
Groceries: $2,019 (Includes a large stock up run in Rarotonga, and the unintentional purchase of a $24.00 head of celery.)
Dining Out: $2,690 (Rarotonga is the foodie capital of the Pacific Islands, Visiting friends in US)
Entertainment: $6,056 (Scuba diving, Advanced Scuba Certifications, Flights to the US)
Insurances: $3,754 (Life, Disability, Health, Boat)
January 1, 2017 - June 30, 2017 Actual Expenses $36,001 (Monthly Average) $6,000.16
New Zealand, Tonga, Fiji, Vanuatu
Healthcare: $998 (Includes $360 Antimalarial supply through South Africa, $300 prescription glasses and sunglasses)
Yard Fees/Slips/Moorings: $3,243 (This figure includes Sonrisa’s yard fee in Tonga and all campsites in New Zealand)
Diesel/Gas: $1,983(Sonrisa and Kitty insist that I tell you $1,638 of $1,983 is fuel for Sister Mary Francis The Van.)
Blog/Communication Costs: $2,100 (Includes Internet, SatPhone, Ting and $538 spent on Nikon Coolpix camera.)
Sonrisa Maintenance: $2,079
Check In Fees: $1,120
Groceries: $4,132 (We had to restock Sonrisa after her land stay in Tonga. Hey! Groceries are still outspending dining out!)
Dining Out: $3,491
Entertainment: $9,196 (Scuba diving, tours like New Zealand Black Water Rafting, Vanuatu Land Diving, mountain bikes in New Zealand)
Insurances: $5,729 (Health, Life, Disability, Boat)
*(The gift/donation amount does not include all the food, clothes, parts, or equipment that we have on Sonrisa that we gave away or traded for coconuts. These items would be wrapped into other categories (like groceries, maintenance) because we purchased them intending to use them. Come to Vanuatu ready to trade! Bring extra sugar, tea in teabags (teabags are a luxury here), matches, writing paper, rope, fishing line or lures. Be aware that any plastic or wrapping that you give them will end up on the beach. Remove everything from packaging and take care of the garbage yourself when you get into town.)
July 1, 2017 - December 31, 2017 Actual Expenses $25,018 (Monthly Average) $4,169
Papua New Guinea, Kei Indonesia, Timor Leste, Flores Indonesia
Clothing: $417 (Includes wardrobe revamp for Islamic countries with very conservative dress)
Yard Fees/Slips/Moorings: $882 (Mooring balls in Vanuatu and Marina Slip in Papua New Guinea)
Diesel/Gas: $1,075 (Sonrisa and Kitty are embarrassed because they never expected to use this much fuel!)
Blog/Communication Costs: $3,958 (Internet, SatPhone, Ting, $1,100 sat phone antennae, $1100 Canon800 D)
Sonrisa Maintenance: $1,240 (engine mounts, small generator Tom Kat help the batteries out.)
Check In Fees: $1,076
Dining Out: $2,410
Entertainment: $4,267 (Scuba diving)
Insurances: $5,309 (Health, Life, Disability, Boat)
January 1, 2018 - June 30, 2018 Actual Expenses $32,452 (Monthly Average) $5,409
Labuan Bajo Indonesia, Sumbawa Basar Indonesia, Gili Air Indonesia, Gili Gede Indonesia, Lombok Indonesia, Jakarta Indonesia (Air/Land) Bali Indonesia (Ferry/Land), Kuala Lumpur Malaysia (Air/Land), Beijing China (1 Day Land), Las Vegas USA (Air/Land), Utah USA (Air/Land), Washington USA (Air/Land), Darwin Australia (Air/Land), Lombok Indonesia, Kangean Indonesia, Bawean Indonesia
Health Care: $107 ($699 total, but health insurance reimbursed $592, leaving us with only $107 out of pocket)
Clothing/Hair: $1203 (Swimsuits needed refreshing while in the US.)
Sonrisa Mooring Fees: $705
Blog/Communication Costs: $937
Sonrisa Maintenance: $349
Check In Fees: $1,992
Dining Out: $4,249
Entertainment: $13,973 (Flights to all land destinations and hotels are included in this figure.)
A Note about all this Air/Land Travel. Should we include these figures in our "Circumnavigation Budget"? I don't know. They are not strictly associated with sailing around the world on a sailboat if one is able to keep a purely sailing time-frame of life. I personally think these higher budget months resulting from trips home and land travel are representative of what will likely happen on any circumnavigation. Duty will almost always call from home and adverse weather seasons will require you to hole up and wait. We have found it is difficult to sail around the world on a sailboat for five years straight without making some provision for travel back home via airplane to visit family and handle administrative affairs we were unable to close up before our departure (sell our land house). Also, adverse weather seasons are a problem for every circumnavigating sailor. You need to watch your timing to stay in good weather seasons, or you will have to wait somewhere safe until cyclone season passes. Those of us with itchy feet are highly likely to start land traveling with the boat as home base. Take these numbers for what they are worth, and realize they are higher because of time spent in the U.S., Australia, flying, staying in hotels or paying for campsites.
July 1, 2018 - December 31, 2018 Actual Expenses: $21,253 (Monthly Average) $3,542
Kalimantan, Indonesia, Belitung, Indonesia, Tanjung Pinang, Indonesia, West Coast Malaysia, Land Trip to Singapore, Phuket, Thailand
Health Care: $110
Sonrisa Mooring Fees: $972
Diesel/Gas: $699 (Very little wind from Borneo Northward through Thailand between the SW/NE Monsoon Seasons)
Blog/Communication Costs: $950
Sonrisa Maintenance: $3,027
Check In Fees: $513
Dining Out: $2,151
January 1, 2019 - June 30, 2019 Actual Expenses: $43,757 (Monthly Average) $7,292
Phuket, Thailand, Phang Gna Bay, Thailand, Road Tour of Northern Thailand, Ayuttaya, and Bangkok, Phuket Thailand (again), Langkawi, Malayisa, Major refit work for Sonrisa, flight/land tour to Bali, Indonesia
Health Care: $3,426 (After reimbursement from Insurance. Gallbladder surgery, Annual Exams, MRI for Back)
Mooring/Housing Fees: $3,101 (This includes marinas and mooring balls, haul out costs on land, and our land apartment because we wouldn’t be living on land save for the gnarly refit we have to do.
Blog/Communication Costs: $1800 (This includes a new computer.)
Sonrisa Maintenance: $5,363 (This includes projects that are maintenance related, not larger capital refit.)
Check In Fees: $260
Dining Out: $3,099
Entertainment: $5,329 (This includes flights, hotels, tours, etc. in Northern Thailand, Ayuttaya, Bangkok, and Bali)
Sonrisa Capital Improvement/Refit Items: $12,655 (An update with full repair list will be provided in capital improvement/refit section once everything is complete and totaled.)