Tag Archives: sailingcosts

Refill the kitty in 3 months!

After 10 months of sailing around, it was time to refill the cruising kitty. We spent over our $12,000/year budget in unexpected, yet typical, repairs and replacements. Since we were so close to the US and easy  access to work, we decided to take the hottest time in Mexico (July, August, September) off of the boat and head to The States to refill our hungry cruising kitty.

If you haven’t read the “about me” part of our blog, then you may need to be informed of my profession. I’m a Registered Nurse, specifically a Neonatal Intensive Care Nurse. If you’re saying to yourself “what’s that?”, I take care of premature and very sick babies. I’ve been doing this for over 12 years now and I still haven’t lost my passion for it. In fact, it was actually hard to put in my notice at UCSF 11 months ago so that we could sail away.

In mid May, of this year,when I was able to check my email from La Paz, I found out that my old Unit at UCSF was hiring Travel Nurses for June 28 start date. I checked in with the management team and they said that they would love to have me return for a 13 week assignment! It was too good to be true! June 28 was a little sooner than we wanted, and 13 weeks was a little longer then we wanted, but really, its perfect.

We made it to San Carlos, Mexico, by June 14th with plenty time to put away the boat in Marina Real for a 3 months detour to the US. It took about 3 full days to complete the check list of things to do. This included, but not limited to:

  • pickling the water maker
  • fresh water flush through the engine
  • taking down the sails and stowing them down below
  • Putting up the sun shades
  • Cleaning and leaving the heads (toilets) filled with fresh water and vinegar
  • fresh water washing as much salt waterlogged gear as we could
  • laundry and getting rid of clothes
  • eating and cleaning out the perishable food (we did leave cans of tomato sauce, so hopefully we don’t arrive back to the boat with exploded cans of tomato everywhere. Apparently this happens when it gets too hot.)
  • Placing Bay Leaves in almost all of our bulk food containers. Apparently the Bay Leaf helps keep the Weevils at bay (no pun intended). Thanks Deb on SV Coastal Drifter for that tip.
  • Packing clothes (REAL shoes, socks, pants AND A BELT, sweaters, and WORK CLOTHES!) , oops I forgot a beanie!
  • And a couple more odds and ends stuff.

Our pile of stuff to bring back to the US was huge. Mostly because we had to pack for 3 months of on the road adventures. I say “we” but I really mean Christian and the kids. My list of things to bring was small: work clothes, 2 pairs of pants, 2 shorts, and one “nice outfit”, flip flops and my work shoes. Oh and my awesome Brompton folding bike, that we store in our aft shower, for my San Francisco commuting, yay!

Our 10 hour bus ride on the Tufesa bus line ended up being more like 11 hours, but it still wasn’t bad. Reclining seats, AC, 2 bathrooms, 1 check point and 1 border check, and 5 movies  later(3 of them, very inappropriate for kids), we made it to Phoenix, AZ for a nominal $80 fee.


After a few days at Christian’s sister’s house in Phoenix, I flew off to start my 3 months of work, leaving behind the family to road trip their way around The States visiting friends and family.

“Was it hard to leave?”, you ask.

EXTREMELY !!!  After being so close with each other the last 10 months I’m finding myself really missing their company. But I also know it’s only a short time in the grand sceme of things and totally worth it !

So now I’m here in San Francisco. Christian is on super land nomad dad duty. Boat school is out for summer break and we’ll be doing this up through late September. After all is said and done, we should have overfilled (wishful thinking) our cruising kitty with enough $$$ to get us to New Zealand by our (Northern hemisphere) fall 2017. But you know how cruising works… “We’ll see as we go”!


Yummy grub next to (Cerca de) the bus station in Guaymas. Missing me some good Mexican food !
Christian visits the Grand Canyon while I meet Travel Nurses


Then use my trusty Brompton Folding bike to get to work. Here my “brommie” is sitting pretty on the Bay Area CalTrain. 

9 month Tally 

I’m not sure what’s going on, but a few of my posts didn’t post:

May 20th, 2016 marks our 9 months of being out cruising. We can’t believe so much time has past already. We are currently making our way up the Sea of Cortez with plans to leave the boat in Guaymas or San Carlos for the hottest three months of the summer. During that time we will be heading back to the United States as land nomads to travel around visiting friends and family. I will, however, be working as a Travel Nurse during that time to cover the expenses we manage to summon over the last few months. Here’s the latest and greatest….

9 months out tally count/costs for days anchored, days moored, days docked, and how much we’ve spent on each of those. And the good old unexpected expenses, yippee:
230 days anchored (all free except the days spent in Morro Bay)
4 days moored 
28 days Docked (14 of which were free with our YC reciprocal) 
Paid $: Mooring $40 (Morro Bay YC)
              Docked $105 (Ensenada’s Baja Naval Marina), $96 (La Cruz for furler work), $235        (Marina Mazatlán- see post)
              Dingy Dock: $15 (Cabo San Lucas), $4 (La Cruz), $4 (La Paz)

              Anchored $159 (Morro Bay Guest Anchorge) 

Fuel consumption for 9 months (85 gal diesel for Shawnigan and 6 gal of gas for dinghy) = ~    $360 
Mexico check in expenses in Ensenada: $105 for passport/tourists cards, $256 for Port Captain fees, $60 for TIP card, and $45 for fishing license.
I still haven’t been too good with figuring how much we spend on food. I’m guessing we spend around $500 a month. We’re not eating out all the time, but we aren’t living on beans and rice either. I will say that Costco in Mexico is not much cheaper than it is in The States. 

Big ticket items that were not anticipated: 
replacing our windvane with a new hydrovane. Let’s just say >$5,000 . 

replacing our windlass. Another $2500! (See our 6 month tally post for more on this)

Switching over to a harken furling set up from our previous Hank-On. $2,300 plus $550 in sail work to go with the furler. 

Plus another $275 for me to fly the old windvane up to the states to try to sell from there vs down in Mexico.

Then another $400 for emergency haul out and engine intake repairs in Mazatlán. 

Yikes! Seriously….that’s over our yearly budget of $12,000! Thank god for tax returns and an upcoming Travel job! Hopefully that will hold us over for a while as far as big ticket projects on the boat go. Oh and while I’m at it, we still have our previous Aries Windvane for sale… Contact us if interested! 



Above: Isla San Francisco with the Sierra de la Gigante range of Baja California Sur in the background

6 months out tally count/costs 

Just a quick post of a running tally we have on days anchored, days moored, days docked, and how much we’ve spent on each of those. 

158 days anchored (all free except the days spent in Morro Bay)

4 days moored 

17 days Docked (proud to say, still only 17, all free except for Ensenada) 

Paid $: Mooring $40 (Morro Bay YC)

              Docked $105 (Ensenada’s Baja Naval Marina)

              Dingy Dock $15 (Cabo San Lucas)

              Anchored $159 (Morro Bay Guest Anchorge) 

Fuel consumption for 6 months (60 gal diesel). 

Mexico check in expenses in Ensenada: $105 for passport/tourists cards, $256 for Port Captain fees, $60 for TIP card, and $45 for fishing license.

I haven’t been too good with figuring how much we spend on food. I’m guessing we spend around $500 a month. We’re not eating out all the time, but we aren’t living on beans and rice either. 
Big ticket items that were not anticipated: 

replacing our windvane with a new hydrovane. Let’s just say >$5,000 (yikes!). 

And just recently, replacing our windlass. Another $2500! Our manual “triple nickel” finally had its last days. Rods sheered, springs broke. Basically, our manual windlass had reached its final day. Unfortunately you can’t find a new manual windlass for a boat larger than 32 feet anymore. Since we are in this for the long haul, we chose to go with a new windlass that is electric with a manual override. Shawnigan had previously had an electric on her, but we wanted manual. At least she’s pretty much all set to install a new electric windlass. Hopefully that’s it, for big ticket purchases this first year of cruising. 
Overall a very inexpensive way of living! We’ve noticed that we are one of very few kid boats that anchor instead of docking at a marina if one if available. I’m not sure why this is, but we wished more kid boats anchored out too. I know it can be more of a challenge in ways, but to us, it’s worth it.  By not going in to Marinas we basically extend our cruising time by at least 3 months without having to refil the cruising kitty.  Or another way to look at it, a month in the Marina at Barra Navidad is about 3 months of food for our family of five! Plus we enjoy our time being  more than 10 feet away from the boat next to us. It give us time to focus on each other or school without interruption. It does take more time management to be anchored, and maybe more meal planning, but again, it’s worth it. I enjoy the 15 minutes it takes us to get from our boat to town with our little 5 hp tahatsu outboard. And in more situations, the extra time to row in and out (a little exercise never hurts). 

If you’re a kid boat reading this, come anchor with us!

   
 
Here’s our pile of chain prepping for windlass change!