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Couple Living Onboard a Self-Sufficient Yacht Says the Sailboat Dream Isn’t Cheap

After six years of living on board a 40-foot (12 meters) sailboat, Ryan Ellison and Sophie Darsy have enough experience to shed some light on the adventure of living at sea. It may not be as glamorous as it looks from the outside, but the perks are worth the trouble.
Ryan and Sophie have living onboard Polar Seal for six years 11 photos
Ryan and Sophie Live Onboard Polar SealRyan and Sophie Live Onboard Polar SealRyan and Sophie Live Onboard Polar SealRyan and Sophie Live Onboard Polar SealRyan and Sophie Live Onboard Polar SealRyan and Sophie Live Onboard Polar SealRyan and Sophie Live Onboard Polar SealRyan and Sophie Live Onboard Polar SealRyan and Sophie Live Onboard Polar SealRyan and Sophie Live Onboard Polar Seal
The pandemic determined a lot of people to give up the high costs of conventional living and opt for the freedom of mobile living, from tiny homes and RVs to boats. Now, some of them are finding that maybe this lifestyle isn’t as easy as they believed, despite the unique advantages. This seems to be the case for Ryan and Sophie, who made headlines with their adventurous lifestyle.

He’s American, she’s French, and their adventure began in Sweden, where they became a couple and decided to sail away onboard a Beneteau Oceanis sailboat called Polar Seal. Powered by a 40 HP Yanmar diesel engine, this classic model can carry 53 gallons (200 liters) of fuel and cut through the waves at 7.5 knots (8.6 mph/13.8 kph). The Polar Seal proved sturdy enough to take the couple through six adventure-filled years. But was it worth it?

In a recent interview, the two shared their conclusion that the sailboat dream is definitely not a cheaper option compared to conventional living. Although they had previously said that they are able to live off-grid most of the time when they do need to connect to the real world, that comes at a high price.

Marine bills are the main expense – it averages at $1,000 per month but can triple during high season. Food supplies can also become very expensive, depending on the area. Plus, they also have the regular phone bills and life insurance. The boat’s maintenance adds up to 20% of their expenses, which can amount to $20,000 per year, they told Insider.

Plus, Ryan and Sophie are in charge of the boat themselves while still holding jobs so that they can afford to live at sea. This means almost constant work – there’s always something onboard that needs repairing. Add to that a toilet that requires manual flushing and maintenance, and you get a picture that’s much harsher than the romantic image of self-sufficient living at sea.

Of course, there are also unique perks, such as friendship with other sailors all over the world or unforgettable experiences out in nature. But the hardships were enough to determine the couple to start thinking about living at sea for only half of the year – the cost of freedom can sometimes be too high.





 
 
 
 
 

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