How Much Does It Cost To Sail Around The World?

If you, like us, are in the initial planning stages to circumnavigate the globe in a sailboat, you can find all of the information you need to know online, except for one thing.  It seems that the question “How much does it cost to sail around the world?”  is one of those questions like “How long is a string?”  or “What’s the best kind of dog?” in how the answer to all of them are” it depends”.

I’ve heard of people estimating the cost of a round the world trip by taking a look at what they spend on land, minus costs of some things like mortgages and car payments, and then you’d be close to figuring out the magic number.    We’re still a bit far out to make a very accurate projection, but the planning and saving is well under way.  What our monthly expenses are right now as a family of 4 with a baby and toddler in 2013, could be quite different from what they are in say 2019?  The thinking is, that to be the most comfortable, you will want to make your lifestyle and habits on land part of the water routine.  For example, if you eat out a lot on land, you will at sea as well.  If you are not really a DIYer on land, you won’t be at sea either.

It is generally accepted that there are four ways a crew will put togther the required resources for such a trip:

A – Already being rich.

B – Work as you go.

C -SAVE Save save save save savesavesavesvesvesvsvsv

D – Come up with a residual income that will see you make money each month.

So now that ‘A’ has been laughed out of the realm of possibility, we are left with B, C, and D.

Work as you go

This sounds really fun.  But probably not for us because working in other countries is getting trickier every year with paperwork, security etc.  Also with two kids aboard, we can’t really bank on getting odd jobs in exotic ports.  If something presents itself, then great, but we couldn’t rely on this happening very frequently.  There’s also the bothersome fact that we have no marketable skills.  We know about things like media, social justice, marketing and politics; in other words, nothing useful.  Erika and I both have freelance work we currently do for clients remotely online.  I do voiceover work, Erika edits academic papers.  Since the recording studio won’t be coming with us, that will have to end, but with internet access, the editing could continue?  Again, this is not enough on which to cruise the world, and therefore the bulk of our financing will come from C and D.  On the brightside, with today’s technology, working online from a boat has never been easier.


* photo by talented two year old photographer Frances!

* photo by talented two year old photographer Frances!

We have been saving like mad.  For the last couple of years we’ve been lucky enough to squirrel away some money each month.  It’s the familiar ‘pay yourself first’ startegy which takes some getting used to, but once in place for a few months, begins to bear fruit, and you can see your savings grow.   Sometimes we have to make tough decisions in order to continue putting the same amount each month.  Our house is a two-unit building, half of which is rented out to help with the mortgage.  We decided to stay a one car family to cut down on maintenance and fuel costs.  No cable, lots of coupon clipping, many  trips to Louis Good Used Clothing (which we love!)  etc, etc.  For Christmas, Erika and I got each other off-shore sailing jackets that were half price, and would eventually need down the road.  (They’ll come in handy crossing the Atalntic in 7 years, and putting around Sydney Harbour this spring, and THEY MATCH!)

Residual Income

As mentioned above our house is a two unit building, we live in one half, and rent out the other.  Once leaving, both units would be rented out.  We hope to add to the number of units we manage over the next few years, and create a residual income.  I follow the blog of the husband and wife crew of Camomile who are able to cruise with a combination of savings and rental income.  It’s a proven formula! The unfortunate bit about trying to figure out how much such an endeavour will cost, is that it’s a taboo subject.  You don’t want to ask a stranger how much it cost them any more than you want to answer a complete stranger who asks.  My favourite answer that I have seen to the question “How much does it cost to sail around the world?” was found on Yahoo Answers:

It’s free . . . as long as the wind blows and you brought a fishing rod.



Filed under The Big Picture

4 responses to “How Much Does It Cost To Sail Around The World?

  1. A great book I found had many of these answers and more was “9 years on the 7 seas”, or check out their site at Also a great read was “North to the Night” by Alvah Simon.

  2. We have been asked the same question a lot..In my opinion, the answer is the same as to the question: “How much it costs to live on land?” Some people spend more than others, so the answer is inevitably: DEPENDS.

    • RC

      I’ve also heard that you will spend whatever you have. The more you have the more you’ll spend. Some regions are more expensive than others as well.

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