After 15 years of planning and
saving, the Richardsons finally cast
off their lines and embarked on
their new liveaboard life.
Here, they tell how they did it
BY MARTY RICHARDSON
Jeff and Marty Richardson, both former
sailors, now live full time aboard Monarch
their 52-foot trawler.
trip over multiple generations, because
that’s what we’ve been doing for the past
seven years, traveling from the Great
Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico.
How Much Does
The Dream Cost?
We started planning the cruising life 15
years before our scheduled departure. You
don’t have to think that far ahead, but the
earlier you can settle on what you want to
do, the better prepared you’re likely to be.
Plus, planning is a huge part of the fun.
Today, after working hard in our careers,
we live off our savings, and our invest-
ment accounts. We are careful and have
a fairly strict budget, but we don’t find it
restrictive. Fortunately, we have health-
care from Jerry’s former employer.
Obviously, budgets vary greatly. Some
cruisers delight in getting by on the cheap
or don’t have much to begin with; others want to have every possible comfort.
We landed somewhere in the middle
and started with a careful spreadsheet to
make a monthly “guesstimate” of what
we’d spend during our first year cruising.
Using historical data from our summer
liveaboard experience and from numer-
ous cruising vacations, we added infor-
mation from our library full of cruising
guides, from the websites and blogs of
fellow cruisers, and other resources. Now,
seven-plus years into our cruising life, we
continue to compile annual budgets, and
we’re repeatedly surprised at how close
we’ve come to those estimates. Many
specific annual budget items vary wildly –
such as unexpected maintenance and the
replacement of our old generator.