Frequently Asked Questions

You Asked, We Answered

We get asked a ton of questions. We’ve added the most common here to help answer all your burning questions as quickly as possible. If you don’t see something here, ask a question below and we’ll get to it as soon as we can.

If you’re interested in info around any of the Delos Crew and their history, visit The Crew page first!

You can track us at any time, just by heading over to the Where’s Delos? page.
Oh, so you’re new here! Let us be the first to show you around. For the full story, head to The Start. If you’d prefer kicking back and catching up over a cold one, head to the Sailing Videos section. After all, this all started as nothing more than some home movies made for friends & family (still is, but the family is a bit bigger now). Lastly, if you’re a reader, head over to the Travel Blog section and forgive the typos… things get bumpy out here! 🙂
Delos is a 53 foot Amel Super Maramu, and she is one of the finest built cruising sailboats in the world! She was built in La Rochelle France in 2000 and has seen what most sailboats dream of seeing. She’s a sailing ketch (2 masts) and has enough room to comfortably sleep 6 people. For the full tour, check out The Boat page.

 

This is a popular yet extremely difficult question to answer.  It depends on many factors including the type of lifestyle you want to live (beer or champagne) and whether or not you are capable of doing boat repair work yourself.  The numbers below are what we feel is a pretty good estimate for the way we sail on Delos.

Personal Expenses-

Our average over the years has been about $500.00 US per person per month.Sometimes more and sometimes less depending on if we’re in a cheap place (like SE Asia) or an expensive place (Australia).  This covers food costs, a few tasty beverages (we have a still onboard), general fees and travel expenses, fuel for Delos, and other odds and ends.  This does not include boat and maintenance costs because those vary so much depending on the age and type of boat you have.  But this should give you a ballpark idea of the “people” expenses.  This assumes you buy local foods, provision in bulk when possible, and eat the vast majority of your meals onboard.

Boat Insurance-

Our insurance has ranged from 1.5-2% of boat value per year, depending on where we are cruising.  This is for liability, basic medical coverage for the crew, and hull, rig, and machinery coverage. Most remote locations often mean higher insurance, for example our insurance crossing the Indian Ocean was higher than in the Caribbean.

Boat Maintenance-

The costs for the repair and maintenance of boats can vary a lot depending on the size and complexity of the systems.  For the past few years we’ve used the following rules and found it to be a pretty good baseline for Delos.

When I think about boat maintenance I like to break it down into two pieces.  We set aside 1.5% of our boat value per year for general ongoing repairs and preventive maintenance.  For example, if your sweet cruiser is worth about $100,000 US, then figure $1,500 per year for things like pumps, impellers, oil changes, sail repairs, and other routine items that may break along your voyage.  Delos is a pretty complicated boat with lot’s of systems which means there are many things to service.  We do 100% of the work ourselves, which means we are paying for parts and the odd expert opinion only. If you don’t plan on doing the majority of your own work I think this number will grow by quite a bit. 

The second part of boat maintenance to consider is the longer term items such as changing your standing rigging, replacing your dodger, new dinghy engine, new sails, haul out and bottom paint, etc. These things don’t happen often, but when they do they are expensive.  When we first started sailing this was another 1.5% of boat value per year, however now that Delos is a bit older and we’ve put some miles on her we’ve seen this in the 3% range the last few years.  The more expensive the boat, generally the more complicated and therefore the more required to keep her ship-shape.

There are a lot of factors when considering the entire cost of cruising.  If you’re looking for an excellent book that covers this in detail I would suggest The Voyagers Handbook- Beth A. Leonard.It has some great information on cruising costs.

If you’re looking for some blogs on the subject check these out:

To reduce trash there are a few things we do. First off, we try to remove all packaging BEFORE anything comes on board. For example we have re-usable plastic egg containers you can find at a camping store which gets rid of egg cartons. When we go provisiong we remove all plastic and cardboard packaging and use the shoreshide recycling for that. We also have re-usable airtight containers for things like flour and sugar. We fill these and then discard the packaging at the dock. All food waste goes overboard when we’re at sea, and when we’re at an anchorage where we don’t want to throw stuff in the water we save it to dump later. If we are at sea for a long time (like a few weeks) we sink and then dump glass and any metal cans. There are some regulations depending on how far offshore you must be, and where this is allowed but generally if you are over 12 miles offshore in deep water you are allowed to sink glass and metal cans. Best to fill them with water so they sink. We clean any remaining plastic (so it doesn’t get stinky) and store that for our next port.

Wow, what a trip it’s been to sail with so many incredibly amazing people! It’s a dimension of the trip we never thought was possible. So far we’ve have about 50 different people from all over the world join us! Be sure to check out The Crew page to see who we’ve had the honor to sail with.
That said, we do take on crew from time to time. Sometimes, it’s cool people we meet while sailing and traveling. Sometimes, it’s family and friends we’ve known for years. And sometimes we run contests to get complete strangers to come join us! It really depends on our plans for the season and if people can easily fly on and off, which isn’t the case all the time.

When we do run contests we always post them on Patreon and give our supporters there a chance to experience the life. Check here for more details!

We also post on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube so be sure to Like, Follow, and Subscribe, as that’s the best way to know when we’re looking for new crew!

Especially on long passages, we absolutely devour everything we can! From books to get you into a Cruising State Of Mind, to Adventure Books, to books on Practical Sailing, we love a good read. For our full list of books, movies, and more, check out the Cruising Life section!
Navigation and Sailing Instruments
View original post here: Delos Navigation Schematic
When we were in Cape Town we decided to upgrade our old instruments with a new Maretron system that uses the NMEA 2000 protocol. It’s pretty awesome and has worked great for us in some pretty serious conditions.  Not only does it give us normal stuff like wind, depth, and speed but also has a full weather station built into the wind instruments that gives us barometric pressure, temperature, and humidity.  The multi function displays can be configured to show all this data over time which shows you trends graphically as your conditions change.  Too cool!
Software and Apps
We ditched our navigation laptop in favor of tablets, which we’ve used extensively for the last 12,000 miles or so. So far all is working awesome and we have a completely wireless system including all instrument data, routing, charting, and radar!  First off we run Coastal Explorer on a Windows 10 tablet.  This is our primary navigation and charting software when sailing offshore. It is easy, simple, and just works. One of the main attractions is it also works with TCP/IP Based radar , which allows us to view radar embedded on the charts on any PC. Since all the sailing instrument, GPS, and Radar data is broadcast over Wi-Fi this little $150.00 tablet suddenly becomes a hand held, completely portable navigation super computer.  You can even do anchor watch from bed 🙂
We also use OpenCPN , which is a free and open source navigation solution for PC’s. We often run OpenCPN and Coastal Explorer side by side.  On our iPad we run iNavx  with Navionics charts. This is an awesome little program and one of the best for iPads because it gives you AIS data overlayed on the charts. Too cool!
Lastly we also have the Navionics  app for Android installed on a few devices as a backup should anything happen to the other system. Since this uses the GPS sensor on the phone it’s very portable and will work even if something happens to your main system.Other Equipment
We use the Brookhouse NMEA multiplexer  to combine all the data from different systems together. It takes NMEA data from the autopilot, compass, GPS, AIS, and Maretron system and multiplexes it all together into one NMEA stream.  We use the Actisense NMEA 0183 <-> 2000 converter to let our new Maretron system talk to the older Raymarine Autopilot, compass, and VHF.  All the NMEA data from the navigation and boat systems are broadcast over a RS-232 Wi-FI router, allowing us to see everything on our laptops and tablets! We just grabbed the RS-232 port out of the Brookhouse multiplexor and it send all the data over Wi-Fi that way. Pretty sweet right?!?!?

Sailing around the world is tough on cameras, so we’ve gone through our fair share. 🙂 Check out some of the vlogging gear and cameras we use and have come to trust while traveling, sailing and scuba diving this amazing planet. If you buy any of the items using the links on this page we want to say THANK YOU, because we do get a cheeky little kick-back for the beer fund 🙂Best Cameras and Vlogging Gear for Sailing and Scuba Diving page.

    1. Our first source of information us usually www.noonsite.com.  Just head there and choose the country in question.  If you head to the section titled “Formalities” you’ll find a pirates treasure of all sorts of info from visa rules to the check in procedure to recent security problems.  This site is updated constantly by cruisers and kept pretty up to date.  In the news section you can find stories and incidents, both good and bad, that other cruisers have posted.  Keep in mind this information is not moderated so your own experiences may vary of course!

 

  1. The second source of info we really depend on is local cruiser knowledge.  Sailors are a very helpful bunch and if you happen to meet someone that’s been to the destination you are considering they will certainly talk your ear off if you ask a few questions.  With the spread of mobile data we’ve found private Facebook groups to be growing in popularity.  Sometimes these groups are closed for security purposes but after joining you’ll be linked in with boats that have just passed through the area and happy to answer questions and give you up to the minute tips on marinas, anchoring, provisions, etc.
    A group we found very helpful for the Indian Ocean was https://web.facebook.com/groups/IndianOceanCrossing/.
  2. For piracy and other reports here are a few websites we find very interesting:This website gives a map showing past and recent reported attempts on vessels at sea. https://icc-ccs.org/piracy-reporting-centre/live-piracy-map.
  3. The Office of Naval Intelligence also posts a weekly piracy report and forecast that takes into account known boat types operating in an area combined with current reports and forecasted weather.  Just click on the latest weekly release!  http://www.oni.navy.mil/Intelligence-Community/Piracy/

Actually it happens much less than you think onboard Delos although we’ve heard some interesting stories from other people.  Here are a few of the things we’ve found helpful to long term crew happiness J

  1. Set expectations upfront – We always let people know this is not a chartered luxury yacht, nor is it a massive cruise ship with crew to cater to your needs.  We always tell potential crew you will do all the same work as us.  You will cook, you will clean, and you will stand watch.  You will do dishes, scrub toilets, and take your turn for night watches.
  2. Set Watch Schedule – When at sea we have a set watch schedule that runs 24 hours a day and alternates. That way there is no question who is responsible and the rotation gives people a set expectation for when they can relax, watch movies, sleep, and most importantly prepare for their next watch.  You can find a sample of our watch schedule here.
  3. Set Cooking Schedule – We make sure that everyone has a turn in the galley on Delos, and when it’s your turn to cook you do lunch and dinner. You’re also responsible for cleaning the galley that day.  That way there’s no ambiguity if it’s your day or not.  If it isn’t your day just kick back and enjoy J  You can find a sample of our cooking schedule here.
  4. Set Cleaning Schedule – Just like cooking everybody cleans on Delos. We have a set cleaning day and the tasks rotate week to week to make sure everyone has a chance to clean the heads J  You can find a sample of our cleaning schedule here.
  5. The Love Circle – Since we have a larger crew on Delos we set aside an hour once a week to site and discuss how people are doing. No cameras, no recording, and no judgment.  This is the time to say if someone is leaving a mess in the galley or using too much water.  Getting things out in the open is crucial before they grow bigger in the confined area that is a sailboat.

This one is a very difficult question to answer because there is no right and no wrong, sort of like asking if you’d rather live in the city or the suburbs, in a house or high-rise apartment.  It has a lot to do with the type of sailing you want to do and where you are going to cruise.  There are monohulls I wouldn’t take across and ocean and the same goes for cats.  For some great info straight from the mouth of cat owners we’ve interviewed check out this playlist of videos:

Watch Interviews With Other Cruisers

That being said the type of cruising we do is better suited towards a mononull.  The ability for us to carry lots of gear and provisions is something that a similar sized catamaran just can’t match, couple this with the way the upwind performance and ability to handle heavy weather, both areas where it’s very hard to beat a monohull.  If we were to replace Delos we would look for another mono, perhaps a little larger and more suited to high latitude expeditionary style sailing.

After being at sea and traveling for so many years the option of seasonal cruising sounds pretty interesting.  There are so many amazing things about this lifestyle but sometimes you want a little bit of regularity and a home base of sorts.  We don’t know where or when it will be but eventually I think we’ll find a little “Delos Compound” somewhere where we can spend our time in the off season getting charged up for the next cruising adventure.
Yes absolutely!  Delos is a year 2000 and now has close to 17 years and nearly 100,000 nautical miles passed under her keel.  We recently replaced our rigging which was a major expense, and have found that our expenditures for things like pumps, electrical motors, alternators, etc. has gone up in the past few seasons.  Things live a tough life on a sailboat and they do wear out.  We did a mini-refit in when Delos turned 16 and replaced the electronics, dodger, and did quite a bit of preventive maintenance on the Volvo main diesel and Onan generator.  It’s a never ending battle and the older a boat gets the more TLC she will require.

Completely depends on what type of work you do of course.  Nearly everyplace we cruise now has cheap and available data on 3G and 4G networks.  If you have a job where you can work remotely and then occasionally sync up project and or emails when you get signal this works best.  We found stretches of weeks without internet access in some countries, and others where we got a great connection anchored in the middle of nowhere.  If you need email and SMS all the time check out the Iridium Go! Device with the unlimited data plan.  It’s slow but you can keep connected with text based emails anywhere, anytime.  There is no denying that working while cruising will affect your experience, but on the other hand it’s also nice to have something to intellectually stimulate you as well.

Another option is working in the off-season. For example when we stopped in New Zealand and Australia to evade the South Pacific cyclone seasons we worked on land, put some money in the cruising kitty, and set out for the next season afterwards.  Of course this totally depends on having a coveted skill set in the lands you are visiting.

He He, yes lots!  Check out the cruising life section for a complete list. In there you’ll find books to inspire, as well as books to learn from.

Our most valuable items:

  1. Good fitting mask, snorkel, and fins!
  2. A rugged, tough, reliable dinghy for exploring.
  3. Lot’s of solar panels to keep all our gear topped up. We can entirely run Delos of solar and wind power now…
  4. Heavy duty fishing gear- mostly hand lines. Check out the Required Reading in the Cruising Life section and search for the “Cruisers Handbook of Fishing” to get educated properly!
  5. A good, strong, and powerful waterproof headlamp.
  6. Waterproof, Bluetooth speaker for those chill beach days.

What turned out to be a waste?I installed a nice Wi-FI booster and antennae at great expense.  What we found is that 3G and mobile data so much wider spread we never used it…..

Not finding it? Submit A Question!