On this page we’ll share our cost for sailing south through Atlantic Europe and Africa. As far as we understood it, what you spend money on will vary throughout the world so that’s why we thought to divide our costs to separate areas of the world. Our hope is that what we share will make the planning easier for others. We have divided our sailing trip into four different geographical areas:
- Northern Europe (Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, France)
- Atlantic Europe & Africa (Spain, Portugal, Canary Islands, Cape Verde)
- Caribbean (St Vincent & the Grenadines, Dominica, Antigua & Barbuda, Sint Maarten)
- Europe return trip (Azores, Wales, Scotland, Sweden
All of the above are quite detailed, if you just want to read the summary go to this page:
During our year sailing the Atlantic Circuit we have kept close watch on what we spend money on, and will present which categories we think it’s possible to spend less money and also when it’s not possible.
A little note, all crews and all boats are different and a lot of the costs presented here could be both higher and lower for another crew or boat. We have not lived on a minimum throughout our sailing trip. We have been eating out a bit, for example and done some excursions. We also have an old boat, so boat maintenance is a big post for us.
First some info about us:
- We left Stockholm August 24th and started our sail over Bay of Biscay October 15 and departed on our Atlantic crossing December 18. In total we spent 64 days sailing through Atlantic Europe and Africa. We sailed through Spain, Portugal, Canary Islands and Cape Verde. More details on how we sailed and where we stopped along the way can be found under Our route.
- Our boat is 35 ft (10,7 meters) and 3,3 meters wide which is relevant for marina fees. The bigger the boat, the more marinas will cost.
- Our boat is old (built 1965) so boat maintenance is a biggie for us.
- We are on a work-leave for one year. During that year we will plan our budget so that the money will last for our entire trip but at the same time maximize our experience. This means enjoying local food, some touristing activities etc. This is a cost that could easily be less.
- All the costs are for the two of us and not per person.
- And finally, we have done a trip like this ONCE. We are not experts. Everything we write is based on our experience and is not an ultimate truth. Our tip is to read about different peoples experiences and conclude all of them.
Here is our cost for sailing through Atlantic Europe and Africa. More details of each category can be found further down the page.
|Food & Drinks||21’515||2’108||2’582|
Food & Drinks
|SUMMARY FOOD & DRINKS||21’515||2’108||2’582|
The food you buy in grocery stores is generally cheaper in Atlantic Europe than northern Europe. We bought a lot of food both in Portugal and Canary Island, which both had really good stores and possible to find everything we wanted. We were afraid that food in the Caribbean would be very expensive, but it was not! Specific stuff, like seasonings and stuff like that is very expensive, but pasta, rice, canned food is not very expensive. If you make your own bread it can be hard to find good quality flour and yeast at some islands in the Caribbean.
In Mindelo in Cape Verde there are small grocery stores, and not very good for provisioning for the Atlantic Crossing. But there are a lot of markets where you can buy nice fruit and veggies.
And on the topic of provisioning. When we provisioned for the Atlantic Crossing towards the Caribbean we bought a ridiculous amount of food. Of course, we planned that some of it would last for some time in the Caribbean, but still, too much food. On the crossing towards the Caribbean we spent 18 days at sea and bought several carriages of food. On the crossing from the Caribbean to the Azores we spent 26 days at sea and didn’t even buy one full carriage… And we didn’t run out of food on that crossing.
So, don’t overdo the grocery shopping and you save some money and time 🙂 Don’t just buy a lot of food because everyone else does it (we all now the provisioning photos on Instagram 😉 ), instead do some serious meal planning and buy food you like that also lasts long. If you never liked canned tuna you probably won’t start to… Pasta with pesto is for example really good, simple to cook and lasts long, can add tomatoes in the beginning of the crossing and feta-cheese by the end.
Also make sure to read up on how long fruits and vegetables last and how they are best stores. There are several good books on the subject. And plan the meals so that you eat fruit and vegetables that ripe fast (tomatoes, salad, paprika for example) at the beginning of the crossing and save the ones that last longer towards the end. We did a more serious fruit and vegetable – planning for the crossing towards the Azores, and we could eat fresh food during the entire crossing. When we arrived to the Azores we had potatoes, cabbage, onions, apples, garlic, lime, lemon and oranges left, perfectly fine to eat. When we arrived to the Caribbean we had no fresh food left, we had eaten it all or it had gone bad.
If we would have this trip once more, we would buy more spices and seasonings in Sweden and throughout Europe good quality flour and yeast. We would have bought olive oil and natural oil in Spain or Portugal instead of Sweden (way cheaper) and less dried food and canned food. We didn’t even use half of our cans! And we wouldn’t buy so much food in the Canary Island for the Atlantic Crossing. We would also plan the boat to be able to store fruit and vegetables better.
So as a conclusion: Don’t buy too much unnecessary food!
Sailing on a budget? Make sure to make a proper planning before buying food. Don’t buy food you’ll never eat. Plan where in the world you buy certain food. Buy beans, lentils etc instead of meat and fish.
We tried to eat most meals on the boat but at the same time we want to try local restaurants, so every now and then we visit a restaurant. We ate at restaurant more often in Atlantic Europe and Africa than northern Europe. It was pretty cheap. In Mindelo, Cape Verde, we probably ate more meals at the Marina Bar than at the boat. The Marina Bar had good, cheap food, cheap drinks, nice music and atmosphere and free wi-fi.
Sailing on a budget? This post could easily be less, by simply eating all meals at the boat or make sure to choose cheap places.
Bars & pubs
The drinks also got cheaper, so naturally we sat down to have a beer/wine/drink at bars more often than northern Europe.
Sailing on a budget? This is also something that could be less, if sailing on a budget. Buy drinks at the grocery store instead or just skip the drinks.
|Spares & Repair||14’665||1’437||1’760|
|SUMMARY BOAT MAINTENANCE||16’953||1’661||2’034|
Spares & Repair
Our autopilot drive unit broke down in Portugal so we had to buy a new one. We also did a lot of boatjobs and bought a lot of boat related stuff. Most small jobs but together they quickly add up…
Sailing on a budget? The boat maintenance is an unnecessary evil and very dependent on what kind of boat you have. But all boats that do a trip like this break down eventually, you can only hope that it is something that can be fixed and that it won’t be too expensive… We do all work ourselves, though, and by doing that it saves us a lot of money.
Other consumables that we have bought for the boat; engine oil, buckets, oil filters and things like that.
Sailing on a budget? Don’t skip maintenance to save money. Service the boat and all that goes with it in time, or it might cost more than to just do it in the first place.
We took a cab two times after doing grocery shopping at the Canary Islands and used public transport a couple of times at Gran Canaria. We also rented a car one day in Lanzarote, took the ferry to Santo Antao, Cape Verde, and rented scooters in Cape Verde.
Sailing on a budget? Take the bus or walk instead of taking a cab or renting a car.
We went on a port wine tasting, went to museum, rented bikes to explore La Graciosa, visited the volcano area Timanfaya at Lanzarote for example. We had the mindset that during this year we will see and explore stuff. We still try to not spend to much on it, but if it is an tourist attraction we really want to do, then we do it.
Sailing on a budget? There’s a lot of excursions in the nature and in cities/town you could do without spending so much money. Just walk around and don’t visit places that charges.
This cost here was for filling up the petrol for the scooters we rented at Cape Verde.
|Cruising permits/check in costs||54||5||6|
|Covid-19 PCR test||2’608||255||313|
|SUMMARY CRUISING FEES||10’645||1’043||1’277|
Cruising fees/check in costs
All the countries we sailed through in Atlantic Europe are part of EU/Schengen. The cost presented here is the check-in cost for Cape Verde.
Sailing on a budget? The check-in costs have to be paid when entering a new country (if not EU/Schengen) but by staying longer in a country and visiting fewer countries money can be saved. (Also way nicer to stay a while in a place and not rush)
There are some possibilities to anchor when you get to Spain and Portugal, and also Canary Islands. We anchored at the Douro river, outside Cascais, one night outside Lagos and at La Graciosa. We stayed 40 nights in marinas through Atlantic Europe and Cape Verde, so we paid an average 200 SEK (€20, $24).
Sailing on a budget? Anchor instead of staying in marinas, if possible. Stay longer at one place, in a lot of marinas you pay less if you stay a longer time.
Covid-19 PCR tests
We did a covid-19 PCR test at Gran Canaria as we needed it to enter Cape Verde.
This category for communication costs is for any communication cost that is outside of our normal mobile payment. As there is free calls and surf within EU/EES countries we kept our mobile subscription as we had in Sweden and haven’t paid extra for calls or Wi-Fi when sailing in Europe. We did one or two regular calls in Cape Verde.
Sailing on a budget? Buy local sim-card, use Wi-Fi at bars/restaurants.
We left Sweden quite late and arrived to Spain mid-October. When sailing along the coast of Spain and Portugal we either had no wind or too much wind. We choose to go by engine instead of waiting/drifting. We also very little wind when we sailed to the Canaries, and with bad weather approaching so we didn’t want to go to slow either.
Sailing on a budget? Don’t be in a hurry and wait for a better weather window. Have a good setup for light winds.
Refill of gas bottles for the stove. We did it and that was at Lanzarote.
We have paid both our personal insurance and the liability insurance for the boat in advance. But as both are valid throughout our entire sailing trip we choose to divide it to all geographical areas, otherwise northern Europe would show a higher cost than is actually true. So below is the insurance costs corresponding to the time we spent in Atlantic Europe and Africa.
|Third party liability (for the boat)||967||95||116|
Third party liability
We had a third party liability insurance only, with limit €3’000’000. The liability insurance covered all areas we would sail through. We used Y Yacht (now bought by Topsail). Finding insurance wasn’t easy, and you can read more about it HERE.
We extended our travel insurance offered by the insurance company we already have.
Sailing on a budget? Have a third liability only for the boat (but of course depends on what your boat is worth). And research to find a good insurance. Don’t go without an insurance to save money, that is stupid.
|SUMMARY OTHER COSTS||3’467||340||416|
Just minor pharmacy stuff.
Bought some diving gear, a few clothes.
Went to IKEA and bought some Christmas stuff and other things we were missing. Did laundry at the marina, usually pay a few euros to use the machines. In Kap Verde we handed in our laundry.
Played padel tennis once in La Coruna.
Sailing on a budget? Simple, don’t buy stuff you don’t need.
Comparison Different Geographical Areas
Here is our cost/day through the different geographical areas we sailed through. It is presented in EUR/day.
|Northern Europe (EUR/day)||Atlantic Europe & Africa (EUR/day)||Caribbean (EUR/day)||Europe return trip (EUR/day||Entire trip (EUR/day)|
|Food & Drinks||31||33||40||34||36|
|Cruising Fees (excluding covid-19 PCR tests)||16||12||8||13||11|
This was our cost for sailing through Atlantic Europe and Africa. Here are the links for the other geographical areas:
and also the page presenting the costs for the entire trip: