On this page we’ll share our cost for sailing south through Northern Europe. 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 15th. In total we spent 52 days sailing Northern Europe. We sailed through Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands and France. Due to Corona we didn’t stop at the Channel islands or UK. 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.
- We also did a return trip from Europe where we stopped at the Azores, UK and Sweden again, click on the link HERE to get to that page.
- 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 Northern Europe. More details of each category can be found further down the page.
|Food & Drinks||16’562||1’623||1’987|
Food & Drinks
|SUMMARY FOOD & DRINKS||16’562||1’623||1’987|
Before we left Sweden we did a huge grocery shopping of dry food (pasta, rice etc), canned food, lentils, beans, oils, spices and so on. As we started our sail pretty late we wanted to avoid having to do spend time grocery shopping, at least through Northern Europe. This huge grocery shopping is included in the costs above.
This huge grocery shopping was definitely a mistake..
When we got back to Sweden we still had food left that we bought in Sweden… Food is quite easy to find throughout Northern Europe (and for the rest of the trip, for that matter). Especially food like pasta, rice, canned food, beans and so on. They might be a bit more expensive in the Caribbean, but not much. What can be harder to find (and what’s expensive) in the Caribbean are specific seasonings. Like pesto, taco seasoning, sun-dried tomatoes and so on. If you want to make you own bread, good quality wheat and yeast can be hard to find in the Caribbean, but it is something you can buy throughout Europe. Food is cheaper in southern Europe than northern Europe.
If we would have this trip once more, we would buy more spices and seasonings in Sweden and throughout Europe good quality wheat 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!
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.
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
Throughout northern Europe there were very few visits to a bar to just take a drink without eating any food.
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||9’300||911||1’116|
|SUMMARY BOAT MAINTENANCE||9’947||975||1’194|
Spares & Repair
In Denmark we had some issues with the engine. We had to order some new spare parts for that so really early on we had to spend a lot of money in this category. Some parts to get the autopilot up and running, for example. We have an old boat so always something to do.
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 didn’t use public transport at any time in northern Europe.
Sailing on a budget? Take the bus or walk instead of taking a cab or renting a car.
We rented bikes once in Fecamp, for a day, to bike to Etretat.
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.
|Cruising permits/check in costs||0||0||0|
|Covid-19 PCR test||0||0||0|
|SUMMARY CRUISING FEES||8’318||815||998|
Cruising fees/check in costs
All the countries we sailed through in northern Europe are part of EU/Schengen.
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).
For northern Europe the cruising fees basically translates to marina fees. We managed to save some money on marinas by starting our sail late. We got a lot of low season fees. When traveling on the Fixed Mast Route we also stayed moored in the canal instead of going into a town for the night. There are not many options to anchor in northern Europe so marina fees are hard to avoid. In total we stayed 40 nights in marinas (we spent 52 days sailing through northern Europe) so the approximate price/night has been: 205 SEK (€20 / $25).
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 didn’t have to do any PCR tests when sailing through northern Europe.
Due to the coronavirus the Kiel canal was free of charge and through the Standing Mast Route we only paid for a some bridge openings.
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.
Sailing on a budget? Buy local sim-card, use Wi-Fi at bars/restaurants.
As we departed late we have had to have a good speed to get south. We have run a lot by engine, which means higher fuel costs. If departing earlier with more time to wait for a good weather window the cost for fuel could be much less.
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 once in northern Europe and that was in Sweden.
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 northern Europe.
|Third party liability (for the boat)||806||79||97|
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||1’477||145||177|
It was very cold for us to sail through Europe, bought necessary gloves. Some clothes for exercise and so on.
We did our laundry in the marinas. Usually paid a few euros to use the machines. Bought some equipment for the kitchen, which we needed.
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 northern Europe. Here are the links for the other geographical areas:
- Cost for sailing Atlantic Europe and Africa
- Cost for sailing Caribbean
- Cost for sailing Europe return trip
and also the page presenting the costs for the entire trip: