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Living Aboard a Sailboat – A Fun and Frugal Retirement Lifestyle

Living aboard a sailboat is a great way to enjoy retirement. It is not only a lot of fun it is a very frugal way of living.

My wife and I retired in 1994, when I was 49. We lived on our boat for 8 years prior to swallowing the anchor in 2002. We bought our boat, May 1994, in the Clear Lake area south of Houston. I sailed the boat to the British Virgin Islands 6 months after purchase and that is where it stayed for the next 8 years.

My comments are therefore directed at people who want to retire to living aboard a sailboat in the Caribbean. It was 8 years of fun in the sun, and it was sure cheap, less than $ 1,000 a month.

Why so cheap? Good question. I think it is because cruising sailors as a group are some of the most frugal (cheap?) People I've ever met. Birds of a feather?

Why so frugal? They would do anything to avoid returning to work. So they spend less. You also need less.

Clothes for instance … upon arising, I pulled on a pair of swim trunks, a T shirt … that's it. I had 2 collared shirts, 1 or 2 pairs of light long pants (for church), one pair of shoes … Teva sandals.

Wife's wardrobe, same deal, swimsuit and cover up for going ashore. A few cotton long dresses and … you guessed it Teva sandals.

Folks living aboard a sailboat there is not much room, so you keep on board only what you use. Because you use local transportation, mini buses, you don't shop much … just groceries.

The only salesmen you encounter on the water are ones with lobsters for sale or trade. Not much opportunity to spend anchored out … that's free incidentally. I especially loved it when we anchored near a resort hotel. Their guests were paying $ 500 a night, we paid zero, and we had a better view.

How much do you need to know about sailing … not much, you are not moving 98% of the time. Bad weather, not a problem, your sails between islands were short. From the VI to Trinidad, the longest passage was 95 miles … BVI to St Maarten. You waited until the seas were calm, 4 to 6 foot max. You are not in a hurry if you are a cruiser.

Think you can't retire because of the economy … think again. Living aboard a sailboat in the Caribbean, is fun and frugal. Enjoy.

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