Is budget yachting possible? Yes, it is!
We confirm it in practice - we have the cheapest Chinese cruising yacht and we don't spend much for maintenance. The fact that the yacht is Chinese does not mean that she's bad quality. We specially chose this Chinese manufacturer because the quality is much better than many European and American brands. This Chinese company dominates the yacht market because of high quality, reasonable prices and innovative modern technologies. The name of this Chinese manufacturer is FAREAST. Our model of yacht is Fareast 18. Her length: 18 feet or 5.80 meters. This is a very small yacht but we are planning to use her even for far passages. We will publish on this website our experience and everything concerning budget yachting.
Why did we choose this Chinese manufacturer?
We planned to live onboard a boat and to cruise Asia. Therefore, we looked for a local manufacturer. Shipping a yacht from America or Europe is not practical. Also in the event that repairs are needed, we can easily contact the local manufacturer who can send us required parts and equipment. We have been connected with yachts more than 20 years so we know most manufacturers in many countries. We chose Fareast because their quality is high while prices are affordable. However, it's impossible to say that yachts from this manufacturer are cheap. They are more expensive than Polish yachts. Additionally, Fareast uses expensive materials like carbon; even in the cheapest models. Also very important to note is that Fareast manufactures its own sails. The sails of Fareast are less expensive than other well-known sailmakers.
In March 2016, we visited the yacht yard of Fareast and saw how they produce yachts and sails. The manufacturing process is highly organized, like in Japan! A staff meeting of Fareast technicians was limited in time and dismissed quickly when their alarm sounded (which they themselves set). They ran back to work - generally they didn't walk but ran! The spacious factory compound is modern in build.
Why did we choose the model Fareast 18?
First of all, we have a limited budget. It was the cheapest cruising sailing yacht of this manufacturer and we paid in installments during the building of our yacht. It's very convenient when it's difficult to gather money for full payment. It's possible to pay in parts during the yacht's construction.
Fareast 18 is a cruising yacht but its hull is identical to Fareast 18R which is a racing yacht. As a result, she's lightweight and high speed. We planned to have a cruising yacht despite its capability to race.
The standard boat price without sails and equipment is US$15,800. The price of the yacht with sails and basic equipment is US$25,000. We also visited the 21st China (Shanghai) International Boat Show and bought almost everything else we needed to set sail.
We bought an innovative Chinese electric outboard engine designed by ePropulsion Technology (similar to the German brand Torqeedo). The price for a 1 kW engine is US$1,750.
Our yacht does not require fuel at all. Fareast included one built-in 12V solar panel which charges the main battery used for navigation lights, chartplotter, cabin light, fridge and other equipment. Our electric outboard engine is charged by another 24V solar panel.
At the Shanghai Boat Show we also found a high quality dinghy with a hand operated motor. This hand motor is the innovation of a Chinese engineer who patented this motor in many countries.
At a large Carrefour in Shanghai we found the 12V fridge (with ability to cool/warm) of our dreams! In a small Shell Gas store in Hong Kong we found a portable gas cooker with replaceable cartridges available at many shops in Asia.
The total cost of the yacht with electric engine and all additional equipment including chartplotter, depth sounder, VHF, compass, 3 bilge pumps, fridge, portable tiolet, portable gas stove and dinghy with hand motor, delivery to Hong Kong, stepping mast and rigging is up to US$30,000.
Of course it was possible for this money to buy a bigger second-hand yacht in the USA or Japan. However, we have experence with a second-hand 28 foot American sailing yacht and we are tired of the perpetual repairing which, each time, required a lot of money. Imagine buying a 30 foot second-hand yacht and you need to replace your sails. Or if your old diesel engine needs repairing. It's all quite expensive. Our 28 foot yacht had more space than our 18 foot yacht but what is the use of extra space if the smell of diesel and permanently damp wood (and therefore mold) prevents you enjoying it? Our former yacht had leaks which lead to fungus and our bilge pump worked so hard at one point that we had to buy a US$200 replacement often. These are not the only problems we faced with a second-hand yacht.
After this, we prayed for God to give us a good yacht. He gave us a new yacht. Yes, it's small but Jesus also used a small sailing boat, not a 70 foot Ferretti. We're here to prove to the naysayers that it's possible to live on an 18 foot yacht to cruise far distances.
Where to stay?
Thanks to its small size we can stay in marinas paying minimum berthing fees. For example, berthing at Marina Oceania in Cambodia will cost us US$5 daily.
The delightful news is that there are many places for yachts to stay free of charge in the world. Of course, you will forfeit the readily available freshwater and electricity provided by most marinas. However, with solar panels there's no need for electricity from shore and we don't mind traveling a bit further for the freshwater.
As of July 2016, we are berthed in Taiwan where we pay the approximate standard US$40 per month. One benefit of being in Taiwan is that there are many boat manufacturers so sourcing equipment or finding repairs and maintenance professionals is relatively easy. Living expenses are reasonable too so while we're here, we rent accommodation on land.
Sailing in Taiwan takes knowledge of local waters because the weather is capricious and there are a number of dangers when approaching the coast (like oyster farms, wrecks etc.). We are only just beginning to learn so we have limited first-hand experience to share.
If you are interested in buying a Fareast 18, please contact us.
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