Cost Tally For the oddgodfrey Circumnavigation

(2 People, 5 year Plan, 1981 Vintage 40 Foot Cutter Rigged Sloop)

Curious about what it might cost to sail around the world? This page gives you the dirty details of our circumnavigation in progress. It is unique to us based on our specific list of factors: our timeframe of five years, our plan to work when we return home, the type, size and maintenance status of S/V Sonrisa, Andrew’s tendency to do all the repair work himself, our eating (and drinking!) habits, land tourism, sailing location, sailing speed and insurance decisions.  Your Sailing Trip could cost more or less depending on your own individual factors. Hopefully, this gives you one data point to consider with enough information that you can analyze what we might have in common, and how you might differ. If full excel spreadsheets with penny by penny tracking, day by day would be helpful to you, send us a personal message and we can send you the spreadsheets, too.

capital investment

Total Capital Investment to Purchase, Maintain and Prepare Sonrisa 2012-2015:  $227,875.76

This might seem like a lot, but when you consider Sonrisa is our home, it isn't more than the cost of buying a house on land.  In fact, if you are looking for ocean front property, it is probably a whole lot less!  Boats are as numerous and unique as the stars in the sky.  Design quality, size, age, condition are all major factors in how much the boat will cost and the purchase cost can range anywhere from $0 - millions. You can find boats dirt cheap, but you will put in significantly more money repairing problems.  You have to find a balance you can live with between sailing qualities, living space, original condition and your tolerance for completing refit repairs and maintenance.

For us, Sonrisa struck our perfect balance.

Purchase Cost $124,154

Purchase Price: $112,000

Survey, Engine Survey, Rig Survey: $960

Lender's Fees: $694

Marina Deposit: $1500

California Sales Tax:  $9,000

Carrying Cost: $37,049.97

 Slip Fee at Shelter Island Marina, San Diego x 3 years at $749/month

Insurance:  $309/quarter

Monthly Bottom Clean: $45/month

Electricity: $10/month 

California Property Taxes:  $1190/year

Maintenance: $12,617.01

These costs included the upkeep and repair of any system already in place on Sonrisa.

Capital Improvement/Refit Costs: $54,054.78

These costs are for those items we either added to Sonrisa or removed and replaced.  This figure includes the replacement of all standing rigging, repainting the mast, installation of a DC driven refrigeration compressor, new solar panels, new stanchions and lifelines, replacement of all chainplates, replaced toilet, repaired deck substrate in small locations and rebedding deck equipment causing leaks, updated worn running rigging including storm jib halyard/topping lift, new main halyard, new main sheet blocks, update electrical system, purchase new deck of AGM house and starter batteries, parts to rebuild autopilot and water pumps, spare parts for engine and autopilot, final haul out and inspection of through hulls and rudder, labor and parts for replacing through hull backing plates.  We did the majority of work ourselves with the exception of the standing rigging and installation of the DC driven refrigeration compressor.  Therefore, this cost is significantly lower than it would be if we hired someone to handle all refit installations.

G0333971 (1).jpg

Circumnavigation travel costs

Costs of 5 Year Circumnavigation

Estimated at  $48,000 per year, Monthly Avg. $4,000 per month

Actual Total Spent Traveling in 2016: $47,908.00 (Left February 28, so only 10 full months of travel)

Actual Total Spent Traveling in 2017: $61,018.00

Actual Total Spent Traveling in 2018: $53,705.00

Actual Total Spent Traveling 34 Months: $162,631;  Actual Monthly Average with 34 months of Travel: $4,782

Over budget by $26,631 and behind one full year on our original route plan as of December 31, 2018.

We considered the $48,000 per year to be a very generous budget.  You can circumnavigate on less than this figure, and if you are just cruising one small (cheap) area of the world, you can cruise on a significantly lower budget.  The locations in which you choose to sail will make a large difference in your budget.  Cruising in Mexico is far cheaper than cruising in French Polynesia.  Also, a circumnavigation costs a bit more on the whole than cruising one geographical area.  If you are keeping a quick pace, the budget is subject to more frequent check-in/check out processes, more frequent equipment failures, and we tend to stack more tours and trips into the small amount of time available in any given country.  Andrew and I enjoy scuba diving, tours, dining out and apparently the feeling of safety that comes along with too many insurance policies.  Insurance takes our budget from $3,000 to $4,000 per month, but health insurance has creeped up each year we've been out, starting at $550 per month for both of us, to $790 per month this year.  We are going to have to consider options in the coming years if the % premium increase continues in this manner.  Scuba diving was not included when we drew our estimates as we did not realize we liked it as much as we do.  And, we failed to include a budget for visits home to the U.S.  At this point, we have made two trips home to the United States to visit family and deal with administrative issues associated with our land house.  Should our trips home be included in the "budget" for a circumnavigation?  It should be included in our budget for a circumnavigation.  We realize now that given our circumstances, a circumnavigation would not/could not be completed without trips home.  If you are calculating your own expected costs, you will have to add or subtract based on your historical patterns.

We track our spending in an excel spreadsheet, penny for penny. Because we are constantly on the move, every month is very different from the last.  We always knew our months in New Zealand would be more expensive than a month in Tonga, so we planned our $4,000 estimate with the notion that the expensive months and the cheap months would balance each other out.  The data below is provided in six month increments to give you a more representative tally over time.  If you want to inspect everything down to the cent, send me a personal message and we can send you the excel spreadsheets tracking every single penny.


September 1, 2016 - December 31, 2016  Actual Expenses:   $22,622   (Monthly Avg. $5,656.00)

Rarotonga, Niue, Tonga, and United States

Healthcare:   $149 (Spent entirely on cold medicine during our stay in wintery, US)

Clothing:   $776 

Yard Fees/Slips/Moorings:  $2,035 (Haul out, monthly fees for yard in Tonga 485/mo)

Diesel/Gas:  $384

Internet/SatPhone/Ting:   $824 

Gifts/Donations:  $1,520

Sonrisa Maintenance:  $1,481

Check In Fees:   $693

Groceries:  $2,019 (Includes a large stock up run in Rarotonga, and the unintentional purchase of a $24.00 head of celery.)

Dining Out: $2,690 (Rarotonga is the foodie capital of the Pacific Islands, Visiting friends in US)

Entertainment:  $6,056 (Scuba diving, Advanced Scuba Certifications, Flights to the US)

Insurances:  $3,754 (Life, Disability, Health, Boat)


January 1, 2017 - June 30, 2017 Actual Expenses $36,001 (Monthly Average) $6,000.16

New Zealand, Tonga, Fiji, Vanuatu

          Healthcare:   $998 (Includes $360 Antimalarial supply through South Africa, $300 prescription glasses and sunglasses)

          Clothing:  $1,336

          Yard Fees/Slips/Moorings:  $3,243 (This figure includes Sonrisa’s yard fee in Tonga and all campsites in New Zealand)

           Diesel/Gas:  $1,983(Sonrisa and Kitty insist that I tell you $1,638 of $1,983 is fuel for Sister Mary Francis The Van.)

           Blog/Communication Costs: $2,100  (Includes Internet, SatPhone, Ting and $538 spent on Nikon Coolpix camera.)

           Gifts/Donations:  $594*

          Sonrisa Maintenance:  $2,079

          Check In Fees:   $1,120

          Groceries: $4,132 (We had to restock Sonrisa after her land stay in Tonga.  Hey!  Groceries are still outspending dining out!)

          Dining Out: $3,491

          Entertainment:  $9,196 (Scuba diving, tours like New Zealand Black Water Rafting, Vanuatu Land Diving, mountain bikes in New Zealand)

          Insurances:  $5,729 (Health, Life, Disability, Boat)

          *(The gift/donation amount does not include all the food, clothes, parts, or equipment that we have on Sonrisa that we gave away or traded for coconuts.  These items would be wrapped into other categories (like groceries, maintenance) because we purchased them intending to use them.  Come to Vanuatu ready to trade!  Bring extra sugar, tea in teabags (teabags are a luxury here), matches, writing paper, rope, fishing line or lures.  Be aware that any plastic or wrapping that you give them will end up on the beach.  Remove everything from packaging and take care of the garbage yourself when you get into town.)


July 1, 2017 - December 31, 2017 Actual Expenses $25,018 (Monthly Average) $4,169

Papua New Guinea, Kei Indonesia, Timor Leste, Flores Indonesia

         Healthcare:   $568 

         Clothing:  $417 (Includes wardrobe revamp for Islamic countries with very conservative dress)

          Yard Fees/Slips/Moorings: $882 (Mooring balls in Vanuatu and Marina Slip in Papua New Guinea)

           Diesel/Gas:  $1,075 (Sonrisa and Kitty are embarrassed because they never expected to use this much fuels!)

          Blog/Communication Costs: $3,958 (Internet, SatPhone, Ting, $1,100 sat phone antennae, $1100 Canon800 D)

          Gifts/Donations:  $960

          Sonrisa Maintenance:  $1,240 (engine mounts, small generator Tom Kat help the batteries out.)

          Check In Fees:   $1,076

          Groceries: $2,856

          Dining Out: $2,410

          Entertainment:  $4,267 (Scuba diving)

          Insurances:  $5,309 (Health, Life, Disability, Boat)


January 1, 2018 - June 30, 2018 Actual Expenses $32,452 (Monthly Average) $5,409

Labuan Bajo Indonesia, Sumbawa Basar Indonesia, Gili Air Indonesia, Gili Gede Indonesia, Lombok Indonesia, Jakarta Indonesia (Air/Land) Bali Indonesia (Ferry/Land), Kuala Lumpur Malaysia (Air/Land), Beijing China (1 Day Land), Las Vegas USA (Air/Land), Utah USA (Air/Land), Washington USA (Air/Land), Darwin Australia (Air/Land), Lombok Indonesia, Kangean Indonesia, Bawean Indonesia

Health Care:   $107 ($699 total, but health insurance reimbursed $592, leaving us with only $107 out of pocket)

Clothing/Hair: $1203 (Swimsuits needed refreshing while in the US.)

Sonrisa Mooring Fees: $705

Diesel/Gas: $184

Blog/Communication Costs: $937

Gifts/Donations: $413

Sonrisa Maintenance: $349

Check In Fees: $1,992

Groceries: $1,959

Dining Out: $4,249

Entertainment: $13,973 (Flights to all land destinations and hotels are included in this figure.)

Insurances: $6,381

A Note about all this Air/Land Travel.  Should we include these figures in our "Circumnavigation Budget"?  I don't know.  They are not strictly associated with sailing around the world on a sailboat if one is able to keep a purely sailing time-frame of life.  I personally think these higher budget months resulting from trips home and land travel are representative of what will likely happen on any circumnavigation.  Duty will almost always call from home and adverse weather seasons will require you to hole up and wait.  We have found it is difficult to sail around the world on a sailboat for five years straight without making some provision for travel back home via airplane to visit family and handle administrative affairs we were unable to close up before our departure (sell our land house).  Also, adverse weather seasons are a problem for every circumnavigating sailor.  You need to watch your timing to stay in good weather seasons, or you will have to wait somewhere safe until cyclone season passes.  Those of us with itchy feet are highly likely to start land traveling with the boat as home base.  Take these numbers for what they are worth, and realize they are higher because of time spent in the U.S., Australia, flying, staying in hotels or paying for campsites.


July 1, 2018 - December 31, 2018 Actual Expenses: $21,253 (Monthly Average) $3,542

Kalimantan, Indonesia, Belitung, Indonesia, Tanjung Pinang, Indonesia, West Coast Malaysia, Land Trip to Singapore, Phuket, Thailand

Health Care: $110

Clothing/Hair: $317

Sonrisa Mooring Fees: $972

Diesel/Gas: $699 (Very little wind from Borneo Northward through Thailand between the SW/NE Monsoon Seasons)

Blog/Communication Costs: $950

Gifts/Donations: $1,309

Sonrisa Maintenance: $3,027

Check In Fees: $513

Groceries: $2,151

Dining Out: $2,151

Entertainment: $3,082

Insurances: $6,018