Cruising sailors are notoriously tight fisted with money. I would like you to think of a friend who is tight with money. Got one? Okay, now think of how tight they are and double it. You are getting close. Now multiply it by ten. Welcome to the world of cruising sailors. I cannot begin to tell you how happy it makes me I finally have a group of people with whom I fit. Yes, I can hold my own with a group of cruising sailors. I loathe parting with money. What made me this way? Perhaps it is the fact we have saved money like squirrels hoarding fall acorns for over 25 years thus arriving at this point in life where a sailing adventure is affordable. Perhaps not spending money has become habit. Perhaps it is the fact Cindy and I have no safety net in life. Should we fall down financially, we have only each other to help us get back on our feet. Whatever the driving factor, we have learned to do without some of life’s luxuries. I coined a phrase, “Timex instead of Rolex”. I struggle to understand the need for a ten thousand dollar watch when a fifteen dollar watch can serve the same purpose. I do not hold it against people who wear expensive jewelry or watches. Live and let live. I just personally struggle to understand why.
Contrary to most beliefs, cruising sailors are not rich individuals floating on mega-yachts from one riviera to another. Okay, some are. But, most are like us. We have a fixed budget each year. If something unforeseen breaks on the boat, the wine budget shrivels. If we come in under budget for the year, we can add a little extra to the next year. If we go over budget our adventure is cut short. We are considered rich in the cruising world simply because we have a wine budget. There are many cruisers living the life on minuscule means unimaginable to most. There is a common doctrine amongst cruisers; it is not about the amount of possessions but more about what you think of your possessions and what you do with them.
I need a return on investment (ROI). Without the ROI, spending money is a thorny complex mind game in which I struggle. I am a person who would rather learn the trade, buy the tools and fix something myself than pay someone to do the task for me. There are a few skills I will concede and leave to the experts, like dentistry. But for the most part, I am willing to invest in equipment to save money down the road. If I can see the ROI, I invest. I don’t really consider this spending money. It’s more like not spending money in the future. Thus, we now own a sewing machine. No! I am not making our clothes. Those come from Wal-Mart. I wish I could say I am kidding about this but Wal-Mart has some great golf shirts that have quickly become my favorite boating attire. They are made out of some space age lightweight non-wrinkling, stain resistant, quick drying non-natural fiber. At $10 each, I was able to upgrade my entire wardrobe. Alas, they do not have polo horses on them. I have learned at Wal-Mart to dig through the nasty stuff and every once in a while there is a real bargain. I also found some shorts made from the same magical fabric. I would say I’m dressing pretty darn fancy these days. Sporting my new flip flops that replaced my dearly beloved slippers, my whole outfit is usually under $20.
We just purchased a brand spanking new Sailrite sewing machine (none were available on eBay). And yes, it was on sale and I had a coupon code. This is our second Sailrite machine. We wore out the last one, we bought used, when we owned Water-Melon. Sailrite’s are real workhorses. They can we used with or without electricity and can sew thick fabrics such as sails. We do all of our own canvas work. We want to make cockpit cushions that are more comfortable than those that came with the boat. We would also like to make a boat cover we can erect while at anchor. This will shade the cabin top, help keep the inside of Cream Puff a little cooler and lessen our burden on air-conditioning while in the tropics. We would also like to expand the bimini top to add more shaded area to the cockpit when under sail. Hmmm! Now that I think about this, I have just found an added ROI. The shade will also require less sunscreen purchases. Sunscreen is expensive. I’m so happy.