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Sunday, January 22, 2012

COST OF THE CRUISING LIFE IN THE EASTERN MED

During the last two years we’ve kept detailed records of our cruising costs.
Our blog entries dated 16 April 2011 and 10 June 2011 gave quite some detail on this, including an intended cruising budget for 2011 of NZ$90k (approx. US$71k).
As a general statement actual living costs such as food, beverages, “household” supplies and personal spending are about the same for us when cruising as at home back in New Zealand. Maintenance is dearer due to the higher cost of parts and greater distances traveled. What also bumps up costs is travel to and from your boat, additional fuel for the longer distances cruised, and sightseeing ashore – particularly rental cars and accommodation (occasional travel inland away from the boat is well worth the experience in the many interesting, new areas). Casual marina prices are also high, e.g. for our 14m Nordhavn 46 typically about NZ$130 (US$105) per night plus power and water. You pay considerably less (or sometimes even nothing) in town harbours, particularly in Greek waters, but the best option is to anchor wherever possible, which is always free. With a long term marina contract, e.g. for wintering over, costs reduce considerably and we pay NZ$15 (US$12) per night in Marmaris.
Other factors to consider:
- Some costs are fixed and are for the whole year, such as insurance, winter marina, travel, most regulatory costs, some R&M, while most other costs are variable depending on the time spent aboard and the distance traveled (e.g. living costs and fuel).
- R&M and fuel will vary greatly depending on the size, type (e.g. displacement or planing) and the age of boat as well as the distance cruised.

So our 2011 cruising budget was NZ$90k (approx. US$71k).
During 2011 we cruised 2,218NM, spent 31 weeks living aboard, and our actual costs totaled NZ$86.6k (US$68.4k), with the main costs being:
- R&M: NZ$27.4k (US$21.7k). Big ticket items here were re-galvanizing anchor chain, replacing genset fresh water circulating pump, replacing Lugger alternator, repairing Naiad stabilizers, reconditioning guest head, replacing start batteries, antifouling, oil and fuel filters, replacing aircon sea water pump.
- Living costs: NZ$16.6k (US$13.1k). This includes food, drink, “household” supplies and all ashore costs.
- Insurances, marinas (including winter layover), regulatory: NZ$15.5k (US$12.2k).
- Fuel (diesel, lpg, oil, petrol): NZ$8k (US$6.3k).
- Travel: NZ$7k (US$5.5k) for one trip from New Zealand to Envoy and back.
- Communications (phones and internet): NZ$4k (US$3.2k)
WHAT WE LIKED: We thought our living costs were good, averaging NZ$535 (US$423) per week for a quality life style.
WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE: The maintenance cost was higher than we hoped, but includes maintaining Envoy to a high standard and replacing all spare parts used. We estimate this is about 5 to 6% of Envoy’s capital value, and this has been consistent over the last 4 years.

Friday, January 13, 2012

FIRST POST FOR 2012

We’re enjoying the summer back in New Zealand, especially meeting up with family and friends, and will arrive back in Marmaris on 31 March.
Envoy is still in our minds though as we renew insurances, and source spare parts. Most importantly we ordered the Lugger parts and insulation to rebuild the dry exhaust system.
Envoy’s battery banks have been load-tested, and both the House and Bow Thruster banks were in poor shape. This is not unexpected - firstly as these battery banks are respectively over 7 & 9 years old, and secondly because when tested last year they weren’t looking good. To replace six x 6V and two x 12V USA-sourced AGM batteries is costly in Turkey, but something we have to do.
Good news for Turkish cruisers is that a new regulation restricting visitors to 90 days in any 180 day period (like the Schengen countries) does not apply mainstream western countries. So the status quo will remain whereby you can stay in Turkey indefinitely provided that every 90 days you leave the country for a few hours. This is easily achieved by making a brief visit by ferry to one of the many nearby Greek islands.
Meanwhile the Greeks zealously police their rule limiting visits by non-EU cruisers to 90 days in any 180 day period. You’d think the Greeks would want cruisers to stay and spend their money. For visitors from most countries the 90 day period is not only for the time spent in Greece, but the total time spent in all Schengen countries. However there is a special exemption for New Zealanders, who are allowed to spend 90 days in each Schengen country.
When planning a cruise these factors have major importance. This year we plan to leave Turkey and island hop across the Aegean, around the bottom of Greece to the Ionian and on to the Adriatic. We hope to spend more than 90 days in Greece by taking advantage of a regulation that professional skippers and crew can stay indefinitely. If that works out we’ll spend most of our time in Greece, visit Bulgaria and Montenegro, and probably end up in Croatia about early November to winter over. If we can only stay 90 days in Greece we’ll end up in Croatia several weeks earlier.