What is it like to live in a big boat

Despite the rapid growth of boat sales and charters, yachts remain a mystery to most people.

CNBC talked to some yacht owners who agreed to answer all the questions about the yacht lifestyle, and perhaps more importantly, how much it would cost.


Nim and Fabiola Hirschhorn Riding the Luna in the US Virgin Islands, the 2019 Lagoon 450S Catamaran is 45 feet.Couple works All-inclusive crew charter In the Caribbean.

Sophie Darcy and Ryan Ellison The 2007 Beneteau Oceanis 40 is in the Azores on Polar Seal, equipped for marine sailing.A few years ago, the couple learned to sail, quit their job at the company, and now Record life at sea..

How Much Does a Decent Yacht Cost?

N. Hirschhorn: It depends on some basic parameters. Was the boat used or new, how many years it was built, a monohull or catamaran, a former charter yacht, or was it always privately owned … just want a coastal cruise or cross the ocean?

Hirschhorns operates a charter in the Caribbean, and a four-night trip for two guests starts at around $ 12,000.

Courtesy of Sailna

Luna was newly purchased for $ 650,000. However, many people live in boats purchased for $ 30,000 to $ 80,000.

On average, you can buy a durable mid-range 45-foot monohull that can navigate the world for $ 100,000 to $ 150,000, and a catamaran of the same size for about $ 250,000 to $ 500,000. Of course, there are boats at both ends of the spectrum and in all price ranges in between.

A rough guide to buying entry-level boats

cost size Year of construction What you need to know
$ 5,000 to $ 20,000 20-30 feet 1960s-1980s May require maintenance, which can be as easy and costly as a boat
$ 30,000 to $ 60,000 30-40 feet 1970s-1980s The unlikely boat is ready for cruising.Budget at least 25% of the boat’s value for post-purchase repairs and upgrades
$ 70,000 to $ 110,000 40-50 feet 1990s-2000s Entry-level modern boats or old large boats.The cost here is the balance of age, size and equipment
Source: Sophie Darsy

Are there any other costs I should know?

Darcy: The purchase price is only part of the budget needed to buy a yacht. When we received the boat delivery, the cost was faster than we expected!

Ryan Ellison, an American who is now a Swedish citizen, and Sophie Darcy, a French woman, bought a boat for $ 90,000 in 2016.

Courtesy of Ryan and Sophie Sailing

In the first three years of owning Polar Seal, we spent at least $ 40,000 to provide her with cruising and ocean sailing.

  • Cockpit enclosure to keep the cockpit dry: $ 7,000
  • New sail: $ 8,000
  • Dinghy and electric outboard motor [engine for the dinghy]: $ 5,000
  • Water maker that makes fresh water from seawater: $ 2,000
  • Parts for Lithium Batteries and Power Equipment: $ 6,000
  • New autopilot: $ 2,000
  • Lifesaving raft: $ 2,500
  • Safety and communications equipment: $ 3,000

If you want to buy a boat, keep at least 30% of your budget for maintenance, repairs and upgrades.

There is also an annual fee for boat insurance ($ 1,000 to $ 4,000 depending on location), non-Europe travel and medical insurance ($ 1,500), and flight tickets for family visits (about $ 2,000 a year).

How much do I need to make or save to live on a yacht for several years?

N. Hirschhorn: Think about the cost of living on land. What kind of lifestyle do you live in? Do you like eating out at fashionable restaurants and buying nice things? You could do the same when you live in a boat. So your lifestyle often costs the same. Do you anchor — it’s free — or stay in the marina? Do you live a sabbatical life away from savings or work along the way? Are you a family or a couple?

Nim Hirschhorn said he would pay $ 90- $ 300 per night to dock a boat to a Caribbean marina.

Courtesy of Sailna

How much does location affect cost?

Darcy: In 2019, we spent the winter in a marina in Spain. There, I was able to benefit from a favorable rate ($ 300 per month). However, the food was very cheap ($ 300 per month). Taking advantage of the time at the dock, we embarked on several major boat projects, which significantly increased our maintenance budget. A $ 15,000 upgrade was made in 6 months.

However, thanks to local deals, you can rent a car virtually free of charge, and enjoy cheap restaurants and bars with friends throughout southern Spain, so your budget for “fun activities” is almost zero. It was.

Yacht owners also have a budget, and with Ryan Ellison, about $ 3,500 a month for activities such as boat maintenance, data plans, groceries, occasional marina stays, diving, windsurfing, car rental Sophie Darcy, who is spending time, said.

Courtesy of Ryan and Sophie Sailing

By comparison, groceries and restaurants were very expensive when we detoured to Bermuda for three weeks. But we spent those weeks anchoring and didn’t have to pay for the marina. I didn’t spend anything on maintenance or repairs. I spent the rest of the month at sea, but I didn’t spend the two weeks so I budgeted.

How did the pandemic affect yachts?

N. Hirschhorn: It’s more complicated … Some countries close ports to visit yachts, and some require immigration protocols that may include up to two weeks of pre-approval and quarantine on board.

Some countries do not accept all nationalities and travelers from a particular origin. Therefore, it is difficult when 3 to 4 nationalities are participating. In other countries, only vaccinated travelers are welcome.

Covid’s testing requirements meant “Island-Hop is no longer possible,” adding that frequent rule changes and delayed test results complicate the yacht’s logistic.

Courtesy of Sailna

Darcy: The pandemic made voyages between countries a little more difficult, but in 2020 the options were very limited, but in 2021 we were much more fortunate.

Like the housing market, the boat market exploded in 2020 and 2021. Everyone, and their neighbors, seem to want to buy a yacht … prices have risen in unprecedented ways. The value of our boat has increased to the point that even if we sell it today, we will not lose the capital we have invested.

Is having a young child compatible with living full time on a yacht?

F. Hirschhorn: There is no reason why children of all ages cannot live on a yacht. There are many families who live on boats on the water, and they are usually very confident, intelligent and secular children who thrive in this lifestyle.There are hundreds of “kids boats”, especially in the Caribbean [boats with families living on them]..

Is there Wi-Fi at sea?

N. Hirschhorn: Yes, there are several service layers. There is a cellular data service that can receive signals up to 20 nautical miles offshore. We usually sail between the Caribbean islands, so we are usually always connected. There are two other satellite-based systems with limited Wi-Fi, but they cover the world.

Darcy: No! Wi-Fi is only available at ports or anchors if you have a data plan for the country you are currently sailing in. In the open ocean, there is satellite internet where you can download weather forecasts and basic emails, but don’t watch Netflix or listen to Spotify.

Is seasickness common?

Darcy: Many seafarers suffer from seasickness, and I am especially prone to seasickness. The secret is to prevent it. Once the nausea has subsided, it cannot be removed.

We know many boat owners who are not wealthy at all. It’s just a different lifestyle …

Nim Hirschhorn

Captain of Sail Luna

Here are my best tips:

  • Take your medicine the night before your departure and get a good night’s rest.
  • Drink plenty of water and eat more than usual. Hypoglycemia accelerates seasickness.
  • Keep your body warm. Invest in sailing clothing and gear that protects you from the elements, as it’s cold and you’ll soon go to nauseating hell.

Is Nude Swimming Allowed?

N. Hirschhorn: No, you must comply with local laws and customs. However, nudity is much more common in the Mediterranean.

Darcy: It is not uncommon for us to anchor off the uninhabited islands. No one is watching …

What is the most common question you are asked?

N. Hirschhorn: Many ask us if there is a house on the land. We love to see surprises on their faces when explaining that Luna is our home.

According to Darcy, European countries can move “easily”, but Caribbean countries can experience the “old-fashioned” and costly process of yachting.

Courtesy of Ryan and Sophie Sailing

Darcy: All my friends asked me if they were afraid to encounter storms and big oceans that capsized our boats, and honestly I was before we left!

But now I know that I always leave the port when the weather is nice. In three years, I sailed only one strong wind, 13,000 nautical miles and two sea crossings, and it worked perfectly well.

What is the biggest misconception people have about the yacht lifestyle?

N. Hirschhorn: Some consider the yacht owner to be a millionaire. We know many boat owners who are not wealthy at all. It’s just a different lifestyle with many bonuses, but many sacrifices.

Darcy: People believe that we are very wealthy, come from a wealthy family, or we make a lot of money. None of this is true. We save a lot of money, make some sacrifices, and keep going … and we stay within budget.

When we were working full time, Ryan and I brought home a comfortable salary and lived the dream of “two incomes, no children.” We now make less than half of what we earn and live on half of our old budget … but our lives are much richer.

Editor’s Note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

What is it like to live in a big boat

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