Monday, November 3, 2014

By the Numbers

For those of us who love to quantify, the trip in numbers.

Days: 328

Nautical Miles Covered: 6000

Crew: 2 human + 1 canine

Number of Times we dragged anchor: 3

Longest Passage (hours): 67

Longest Passage (nm): 336

Total Cost ($): 36,263.42

Diesel Fill Ups: 35

Fish Caught: 5

Lobster Caught: 1

Boats Met: 51

Countries: 6*

Nights slept onboard (vs. on land): 309

Marinas (docked): 7

Major Engine Failures: 4

Average Cruising Speed (knots): 4.5

Man Overboard Emergencies: 0

Times we were in real trouble (life, limb, property): 7

Max Wind Speed (knots): 37

Max Boat Speed (knots): 10.5**

Max Wave/Swell Height (ft): 12

Locks: 48

Lift Bridges: too many!!

Run Aground: 5

Blog Posts: 97

* counting Puerto Rico as a distinct country from the USA
** surfing down wave running in following seas

Friday, October 10, 2014

Final Accounting – Costs of Cruising

Now the trip complete we can conclude on that all important, often asked but rarely definitively answered issue, the cost of cruising.

As a follow up to a previous post Costs of Cruising 1.0, we now have the final accounting. From A to B and back to A over eleven months all bills are in.
Drum roll please….


Overall it has cost just over $36K for eleven months, 6000 nautical miles from Montreal to Spanish Virgin Islands and back. That's it! No "and" "if's" or "buts" about it. If you want to go cruising down to the Caribbean for a year this is what is costs! Settled.

As I said in the preliminary post these costs do not include costs before leaving (ex. the cost of the yacht, cost of first dinghy, etc.). Any equipment costs listed are all for things we picked up en route.

We were way under budget in some categories and over budget in others. We were over budget the most in the Social Activities category (+69%) mostly due to Eating Out. We were also slightly over budget in the Provisions category (+36%) mainly due to Groceries. So eating has cost a lot more than we expected.

While the Boat category came in on budget overall there were some interesting sub-category variations; Diesel was overbudget by +43% and Spares & Equipment was over by a whopping +600%. Spares & Equipment was mostly impacted by a new dinghy ($1000), new batteries ($400) and safety equipment ($1000)(Inflatable PFD’s, tethers, EPIRB, VHF Handheld with DSC, etc.). Beyond these though I am surprised at just how much other Spares & Equipment we bought, as evidenced by our now bursting storage space. It all really adds up!

We also had some “exceptional” costs that other cruisers may or may not have (ex. loss of aforementioned dinghy $1000, visit to Disney Land $860, two trips back to Canada for weddings $1300)

On the positive side we were vey lucky not to have any significant unforeseen medical issues and insurance was a lot less than we thought.

I also must also admit here that the canine crew cost far less than I thought!(72% less). He gets to stick around.

If you’re comfortable with spreadsheets and want to see the raw data or use it as a template you can find our final budget and full list of expenditures on my google drive here.

Some notes on the file:
- Cells highlighted yellow in monthly / yearly budget tab indicates numbers are entered there, non-highlighted cells are calculated from entries elsewhere.
- All amounts are in either CAD or USD currencies (when we left, the currencies were at par but during the trip they averaged about 5% difference, not enough to merit calculating the exchange for every entry)

If we had had to budget again we would make distinct entries for fishing equipment (now included in Spares & Equipment)

In conclusion, even though we had significant budget exceedances in some categories we are pleasantly surprised that overall two people (and a dog) could live this wonderful adventure for about $36K per year. I’m not sure but I think this is likely equivalent or possibly less than living on land. 

I would love to hear any thoughts, comments or questions you might have (click below).

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Back from Being Back

Back on the blog! Sorry for the lengthy hiatus in posting but being back on land and reintegrating in “normal” society has been absolutely overwhelming. (or underwhelming)

The entire month of August was dedicated to friends and family, immediate and extended. Welcome home dinners, family golf tournament, country houses, visitors from New York and California, birthday parties, summer BBQ’s,. Cassandra met a lot of people!

Everybody has been welcoming & enthusiastic about our trip and our return.  And so full of questions!
Top questions:
  • How was it?
  • Did you have any really bad weather?
  • Were you scared?
  • Did you run into pirates?
  • How did the dog like it?
  • Are you getting married?
  • What are you going to do now?

We have failed miserably at responding adequately to the barrage of interest but we are improving.  It’s an interesting interaction and the key is to very quickly evaluate the person asking: do they have any concept of boating? do they understand the distances involved? have they read our blogs at all?

We are now living half on the boat and half at my parents’ house in the suburbs.
Poor Topanga didn’t get any attention the entire month of August and must have felt abandoned :-( but now we are reunited and are taking care of her again (she took such good care of us!). We’ve been out sailing three times on the river and even slept one night out at anchor.

Cassandra has started her Masters Program in Art Therapy. Beauty and brains!

I’m helping my parents out and starting the search for gainful employment, taking advantage of some free time to work on the boat and get all kinds of “back-burner” things done on land.

I’ve also re-started racing on Jesse’s J24 Rushmore. Competitive sailing on a race design boat with a five-person crew is very different than the cruising we’ve done over the last year.  Different catalyst, same adrenaline rush.  So much fun.


Josie came to visit!

Dexter en garde... so much space to run in

Tom Seleck

Not sure about this guy...

Not ours

Warminf up the water for Josie

Ballon animals

Good looking family

Up at the lake

Cassy's chainsaw incident

So many stitches on such a little toe
Exactly what happened

California knows how to party


Jack and the fam

My cuz is so badass

Short trip to Quebec City, oh the thread count in these beds was amazing!

Flying the spinnaker 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Lines and Waves

My very talented brother-in-law Matt Stamm just released his fifth album Lines and Waves.

Check it out on iTunes

Control yourselves ladies... he's married to my sister!

Here's a Lincoln Center favourite from a previous album

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Home Port – 6000 nautical miles round trip!

After gruelingly slow motoring against the strong current of the mighty St-Lawrence river we finally made it back to our homeport in Montreal. We were greeted by our excellent ground support team to help us immediately re-step the mast and install the sails. We are so grateful for Paul, Patrick, Jean-Francois and Josh along with my parents! Dexter as usual did nothing. 
We had an immediate little beer & pizza party to celebrate.

The next morning we had an in-studio interview Canada's national broadcaster the CBC about our adventure. You can hear the interview here. I'll have to have a word with our media manager about scheduling these things before I've had my morning coffee...

That evening was Welcome Home party! So nice to see friends we've missed.

Now to adjust back to land life.... we're freaking out!

Last night at anchor

Can Dexter come out to play?

Farewell old friend

Our last sunset

Canada's got some game too!

6000 nautical miles!!!

Easy does it

That look straight to you?

Thank you!

Tina from Brin de Folie!!

Let's be honest... came to see Dexter

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

All Locked Up

Rode the tidal current all the way up the Hudson river to Catskill NY where Sean and the boys at Hop-O-Nose marina unstepped the mast. Unfortunately the amazing mast supports that we designed, built and used on the way south disappeared from their storage barn and so we had to build new ones. The stands were clearly labelled with Topanga's name and my cell phone number. I don't make threats lightly but if I ever find the person who took our stands... a punch right in the kisser! Take another man's mast stands... it just ain't right. If you sailors happen to see my stands around please let me know.

We follow the blog of two Michigan twenty-something girls and their dog who've been doing the Great Loop on their small 27ft sailboat Louise. Who should we see when we pulled up at the Hop-O-Nose marina? We went over and introduced ourselves and when they started to introduce themselves I told them, as un-creepily as possible that we knew who they were and had been following them for a while. These girls are pretty impressive and have been featured in several Sailing magazines and Women's adventure publications.

My parents were kind enough to once again meet us and take our sails and some other gear by car. It was so nice to see them again, and looking so great! Thanks mom & dad!

After passing the ten locks of the historic Champlain Canal system we motored up lake Champlain and dropped anchor in front of my family's in Essex NY. On the return leg of our amazing adventure, to have Topanga anchored in the exact spot where my love of sailing and this dream had their genesis was very special. We spent a wonderful few days with my cousins Carole & Laura and even got to go for a sail on their little boat Laughing Gull. This was literally the first time that we've sailed on another boat in the last eleven months. Small boat sailing is such a joy.

Unfortunately we couldn't stay longer (go go go) and continued motoring up Lake Champlain to the Canadian border. Good to back in Canada. Another ten locks and seven swing bridges in the historic Chambly Canal has us currently making our way up the Richelieu river.

We are almost home.

Fare thee well New York

Following Henry

West Point

One last Wing-on-Wing

I'll miss you sails, we'll be reunited soon

Down she comes

Louise and the girls and Reggie the dog

Dexter ready to grab a line... ya that'll be the day this dog does something productive!

Just like our deck

Grill master

Topanga in the background

Also where my love of scooters originated

New Yorker by the pool... classic Cassy

Sailing on someone else's boat is so less stress!

Raising the fashion quotient as usual

Drunken sailors


Coconut shrimp!! Heyo!

Drop the boat 100ft. And an H&M advert