The primary purpose of my sail trip to Belize, you know the one where I lost my rudder and was adrift for a day of soul-searching and despair while I seriously contemplated the possibility of losing my boat, was not a pleasure sail nor was it to see Belize as I have many times before, but rather to renew my passport visa in Honduras for another 90 glorious days. To help with my decision making process, before departing on this ill-fated trip, I made a simple spreadsheet. Here it is:
Cost analysis pre-sail trip
Cost analysis post-sail trip
|The same spreadsheet revised with actual numbers from the sail trip.|
Notice the difference? Yeah, me too!** For people considering this sailing-life, the most common question, aside from those about pirates, hurricanes and sharks***, is how much does it cost? The best answer is that it costs whatever you have. That is, everything you have. That is exactly what it costs. It also takes whatever you have too, of which I will be discussing in a future post.
*Hah! You really thought there was a way to save money while sailing? You crack me up.
**These are just estimates and, frankly the fact that the rudder broke off on the trip does not actually mean that it wouldn't have if I never sailed to Belize. In fact, this is the best possible outcome other than perhaps noticing the rudder de-lamination whilst it was on the hard in the repair yard, as I will now be able to make it stronger than ever and prevent this from happening again, not to mention have few tricks in the bag for another rudder emergency, my boat or a friend's.
The autopilot was always a piece of crap and it remains so. If anyone reading this has some piece-of-shite Raytheon ST4000+ parts they want to sell/trade, otherwise exorcise from their boats (THE POWER OF CHRIST COMPELS YOU, release thy AUTOHELM!) , I'll happily give the evil little buggers a home. That's the real way to save while sailing by the way—asking your wealthy friends who have wisely moved up from the crappy ST4000+ wheel pilot to something better to have pity on you even though all parties concerned know that you will be doomed to bugs and failures. Hey, you get to fool yourself into thinking you have a working autopilot for a time, provided you actually never attempt to use it as such, and they get to watch your boat swing wildly around unpredictably in the harbour and snicker, with a smug look of self satisfaction on their faces whilst sipping on something wealthy people drink, like a martini or rare Port, and petting a hairless cat.
***Pirates! Hurricanes! Sharks! Oh my! I'm not saying that there is no risk of a pirate or shark attack or a hurricane, but you will have to believe me when I say that the risks are both manageable and much lower than many risks people accept in their daily so-called 'normal' lives. The actual risks sailing are more like falling on the deck and hitting your head or falling off the boat and watching it sail away happily without you, which would be sad, or a collision with a freighter which would hurt. These are preventable for the most part and it follows that I feel safer moving at 6 mph in my sailboat than I do in any car moving 60 mph.