Here is a summary of 2017 in numbers! First off is the miles travelled during the summer cruise, scroll down to see how much we spent during the year.
- Miles travelled: 1383.3nm
- Of which we sailed: 327nm
- Percentage sailed to motor: 23.6%
The miles where we were motor-sailing (engine on and a sail up) aren’t logged separately and are included in the motoring miles.
We burned 650 litres of diesel.
The sailing purists out there might wonder what on earth we’re doing on a sailboat with such a low percentage of miles sailed. Well in answer to that – we’re not sailing purists. Of course we prefer to be sailing than motoring; not only for the cost saving but for the pleasure of it. But what we are doing is a lifestyle choice by living on the boat and using it as a means to travel. If we moved only on days we could sail, we wouldn’t get very far. And of course there are plenty of days when you expect to be sailing and the weather decides not to do what the forecast has said it would do.
Where we spent our nights this summer:
- Number of days between winter marinas: 177
- Of which:
- at anchor: 121
- on passage: 3
- in marina or on paid pontoon: 23
- on a free quay: 30
For us this was a higher number of nights in marinas than in any of our previous summers; however we did a lot more land travel, which is a positive change.
Our nights at anchor included being tied back to a tree, not our favourite method of mooring but the only sensible way in some of the Turkish places we visited.
- Countries visited: 3 – Greece, Turkey, Italy
- Of which:
- new countries: 1 Turkey
- new continents: 1 Asia
This was a great summer, visiting a new country and new areas of Greece. We did well avoiding the crowds and the heat wasn’t too overpowering, other than for a few days in Turkey.
Our route took us from Crete across to Turkey where we checked in at Bozburan, which turned out to be a very simple process. Our planned route choice from there didn’t really help with the number of miles sailed, having decided to head north up the Turkish coast against the prevailing winds. We gave up on that idea fairly early on, choosing instead to spend our time in the Turkish gulfs before checking out at Didim.
From there we had a horrendous slog across to Agathonisi and an even more horendous slog north to Samos. The slogs were worth it however, to put us in position for a couple of days when the winds stopped blowing from the north and turned southerly. Not enough it turned out for us to sail all the way but we did manage a quarter of the overnighter under sail.
The north Sporades were reasonable uncrowded for July and we had a great few weeks exploring. From there it was across to the Evia Channel and Gulf of Volos where we got stuck on the free quay at Volos for nearly a month. Nothing wrong kept us there, we were just in need of staying in one place for a while and we found that we really liked the city and it’s surroundings. Unfortunately we suffered our worst damage of the season here when a thunderstorm pinned us to the concrete quay leaving gouges in Emerald’s gel coat.
Having had enough of quays we set off down the Evia Channel which was deserted, finding empty anchorages wherever we went. Through the bridge at Chalkis and a couple of nights in the marina there. Which was serendipitously good timing, given that our throttle cable broke as we were anchoring after transiting the bridge. The marina time also allowed us to spend a few days in Athens.
We contined on down the Evia Channel and across to Poros, not hideously crowded in late September. Through the extortionately priced Corinth Channel (and in my opinion, not even worth it for the experience) and the very windy Corinth Gulf. But the wind was always behind us.
A brief stop in the Ionian and then an interminable crossing to our winter home in Roccella Ionica, southern Italy.
More details can be found by browsing through the year’s blog posts.
Breakages and Damage
Our worst damage was cosmetic, scratches and gouges in the gel coat topsides from being pressed against a concrete quay in 50kt winds, our fenders having got trapped under the lip of the quay. This also resulted in a guardrail snapping, but as the stainless steel bars that used to hold the solar panels were still in place, this wasn’t a safety issue.
Wind generator mounts broke – the new spacers that sit between the two parts of the new pole weren’t up to the job. We removed the spacers and simply bolted the two parts of the pole together.
Bow roller – the rollbar in the middle of the two cones broke, meaning the chain no longer rolled up or down but clunked it’s way over the roller. This was replaced for us by a fisherman in Volos.
Stern ladder – the stainless bar on our stern ladder broke so we had to tie it up with good old string. We will be replacing the ladder with a bathing platform this winter.
Reefing dogs – these are the straps that pull the sail down and fasten onto the reefing eyes. The stitching had perished and the straps fell out whilst we were trying to put a reef in. At the time there wasn’t strong winds, we were just preparing for their potential, so we had time to MacGyver an alternative, temporary solution.
Throttle cable as we were setting the anchor having transited the Evia bridge.
We also nearly lost BoB, our anchor marker that floats about 1m above the anchor to make it easier to see on the seabed. BoB’s tether line snapped, sending it floating away as we were leaving Epidaurus. Some quick boat handling and nifty net work had it soon safely back aboard.
Inspired by the costs post on the website “The Cynical Sailor & His Salty Sidekick“, this a breakdown of all our spending in the year 2017. Some background: we are both British and we convert all spend to £s and keep all our records in £s because that’s the currency of our bank accounts. We’re both in our 40s and we live-aboard Emerald, a Kelly Peterson 44 (44′ or 13.3m length overall), full time; currently based in the Mediterranean. Our income comes from savings and property rental. We are frugal people, doing all our own maintenance where possible to keep costs down. Emerald was launched in 1979 and we’ve lived on her since 2004.
Total outgoings were £17500.
Lidl is our friend when it comes to food shopping and having a large freezer and lots of storage means we can shop in bulk when there are special offers on. Although perhaps our bulk buying went a bit too ‘coals to Newcastle’ when we bought so much risotto rice in Greece that we took several kilos with us to Italy.
These are the costs of all consumables to keep us going in the everyday requirements of living – household, toiletries, gas, electric, printer supplies, batteries, etc.
Household = £80 Cleaning products, kitchen roll, all the exciting things!
Toiletries = £142 This seems quite high to me given that I don’t use shampoo or conditioner (I follow the no-poo method of keeping hair clean). We did buy various items in bulk such as mouthwash (there is a particular brand we can only get in the UK that doesn’t make my mouth feel yuck when I use it). We also buy in bulk when we see offers which is probably why the bathroom cabinet is full of toothpaste.
Home = £180 Lots of little odds and sods that all add up. New bedsheets (we do like high count cotton sheets which are still cool in the summer) and pillows (only feather for me), replacement kitchen appliances, tea towels and tablecloths.
Gas = £63 Previous year’s investments in fittings and hoses is now paying off and buying propane gas in larger bottles which we then decant from, is proving to be far more cost effective than buying the extortionate Camping Gaz bottles.
Electric = £81 This is our winter electric bill from January to mid April. We try to use as much solar and wind generated power as we can even through the winter, but our position in the marina created a lot of shadow and a cloudier than expected winter made us more reliable on shore power. We also used 100 litres of diesel during the winter which was purely for heating. We were told it was the coldest winter in Crete for many years. Electric is included in the winter berthing fees for 2017-18 so we’re using a hot plate to cook with rather than the gas cooker, only using the cooker for when we want to use the oven. We’re tending to use electric heaters over our diesel heater too, only going for the diesel option when it’s been really cold as it makes the boat feel lovely and cosy.
Living = £130 This category sweeps up all the odd items used in everyday life. We continued our replacement of light bulbs with LED bulbs, stocked up on batteries and bought a new torch.
Emerald, being an older lady, is rather demanding in our attention to her and it’s no surprise that the biggest spend is on her.
New or replacement items = £2400 She did get some new adornments this year – the largest (in both cost and weight) was a 33kg Rocna anchor to replace our CQR. We’ve used the CQR for all of our travels so far and only dragged a handful of times but we have seen an improvement in how quickly the anchor sets with the Rocna.
We also beefed up the solar array – 2 new 120W panels and a MPPT controller to improve the take from the panels. We’re fairly heavy on power usage with umpteen electronic gadgets in use at a time, however our biggest draw is from the fridge which despite our work a few years ago to increase the insulation still continues to drain the batteries faster than we could put it in on cloudier days. We ran the engine for engine charging for only 5.8 hours and used our Kippor generator for around 4 hours.
We had a new mounting pole made for the wind generator to replace the current one which was starting to shake the solar arch to pieces.
Maintenance = £1400 There is always some sort of maintenance to be done and spares get used and need replacing. The Coelaning of our exterior woodwork is a continual job, each year we coat a particular area; this year it was the cockpit sides. This year we needed some repairs making to our sprayhood and mainsail. Where we do usually try to as much of the sewing repairs ourselves, these jobs proved too big for our capabilities and the sewing machine. Our biggest gripe this year was the Groco toilet for which the spares are only available from the US – the postage cost more than the parts!
Insurance = £780 This is fully comp insurance from Y Yacht Insurance.
Marinas = £1300 This includes our 2017-18 marina fees of of €1000. This is the cheapest marina of all the winter marinas so far, especially as water and electric are also included. During the summer we were in marinas or on paid for pontoons in Rhodes, Turkey, Skyros, Patras and Chalkis. This allowed us to feel happy leaving Emerald, knowing she was somewhere safe for some further afield travelling.
Diesel = £920 Urgh, we dislike paying for diesel but we also want to get places so for us it’s a necessary evil. Approx. £120 of this was for heating during the winter of 2016-17.
Petrol = £70 Essential for powering our dinghy-taxi to shore.
Cruising = £390 The ridiculously expensive Corinth Channel transit makes up two-thirds of this plus our cruising and visa fees for Turkey.
I would say that this section is the one most personal to us and our tastes as it includes all our eating out and drinking costs (onboard and ashore), indulging our various hobbies, music and books.
We don’t eat out all that regularly, instead preferring to have a beer in a bar whilst we watch the world go by. We do like snack type foods and pitta gyros were a favourite of last summer.
Given it’s personal nature, I’m not going to go into any more details suffice to say that we had a good time!
Car hire, flights to visit the UK and inland trips fill this section.
Flights and Travel to UK = £900 Crete was particularly expensive to travel back to the UK from as during the winter months there are no direct flights, meaning there is always going to be the cost of a connecting flight from Crete to Athens. Contrast a return trip from Crete to the UK which cost £250 to the current winter in Italy where we are flying to the UK for £15 by timing it right.
Visits = £250 A couple of overnight stays and visits to many historical sites this year including cave dwellings in Cappadocia, Roman and Greek ruins in Turkey, the Parthenon in Athens, Delphi and many more. Trains took us up into the Greek mountains with car trips around eastern Crete, to the Meteora monasteries and the strange white pancake terraces of Pamukkale.
Our travel highlight was the bus trip in Turkey to Cappadocia, a fantastic chance to see amazing landscapes right inside the country with the added bonus that the bus journey was only €36 per person return.
We use a UK Vodafone SIM on both our phones which we are able to top up when we like, usually £10 a month each. The removal of roaming fees throughout Europe has been a huge bonus for us as it dramatically lowered our costs for calls to the UK and gave us more options for data.
Internet = £250 For data we tend to buy a local SIM for whichever country we are in as they typically give the best value. We also have an external aerial for picking up internet from free, external sources. The amount spent includes replacement of some of the electronics we use to do this.
Other communications costs include the payment for blog hosting, we do a multi year deal which gives us some savings.
Clothing = £111 No major items, just the replacement of a couple of essentials that had worn out and some new running clothing.
Shoes = £156 We do go through an awful lot of shoes, but then we do do a lot of walking.
A low spend year for electronics. This includes a new Kindle reader, bought as a refurbished item but it looked like it had never been used. A new toy arrived in the shape of a GoPro copy to allow us to so some underwater filming along with a battery pack to use when travelling to keep phones and gadgets topped up with power.
This bulk of this section is made up of fees related to our property; bank fees, and postal costs cover the rest. We keep our bank fees low by using a bank card that does not charge for foreign currency withdrawals and a Halifax credit card that doesn’t charge for foreign currency purchases.
This section sweeps up the odds and sods that don’t easily fit into any other category such as buying an occasional lottery ticket (we can dream) and random purchases.
Great summary! I like the way you combined your expenses with a review of NM sailed, where you sailed to etc. It’s really encouraging to see your numbers as we toy with the idea of cruising in your neck of the woods one day.
Thanks, you gave me the nudge to do it 🙂 Now I have to keep it up for next year too!
Fantastic article and breakdown of spend – thank you! My dream, one day, to do similar
Thank you Simon and fingers crossed your dream comes along soon
Colin, I was hoping to come to the UK this summer and visit with you and see the boat, but with the virus we had to cancel the trip.
You may not know that my wife Laura passed away in 2013 but since then I have re-married and am very happy.
She keeps asking about my big boat now that I have a 22′ Marshall catboat.
I now live in Florida and sail year round.
If you ever come to the USA let me know and we will come and visit I will also keep you aware of our travel plans.
If there are new pics of the boat let me know where I can find them