Sailing to New York, or not as the case may be

I always wondered why it was so expansive to sail to New York versus flying. So I decided to look into the costs of a DIY cruise to New York… and now I know why.

To save time, and as it’s mainly for fun, I’ve made quite a few approximations. None of which had a major consequence to the outcome as you’ll no doubt see.

First I found a boat on eBay that would “OK” for the journey. Obviously it would require to be big enough to carry enough fuel/water, yet not cost so much as it’s already on a downward spiral. So we’re not talking about the Queen Mary here.

65ft Italian Versilcraft Superphantom Motor Cruiser
65ft Italian Versilcraft Superphantom Motor Cruiser

I found a 65ft Italian Versilcraft Superphantom Motor Cruiser for £80,000. Not the best Ocean going liner, but given it’s limited range, this was always going to be series of 500 mile hops anyway.

It does 20kts (23mph) and consumes 190ltrs of diesel per hour.

With it’s 5,000 litre tank it’s range is approx 550-600 miles. But in a headwind or against the tidal forces, that could mean 1/2 that.

Worse for the Leather families dreams of the open sea is the reality that it chugs down the equivalent of £250 per hour! And you only move about 23 miles in that hour…. IF THAT. For a car, that would be equivalent of 7 gallons to the mile. That’s GALLONS to the MILE, not the other way around.

Any UK port to New York is approximately 4,000 miles. Of course, that’s via Scotland, Iceland, Greenland, Newfoundland; the hops I mentioned before.

So that’s 175 hours travel time (at 23 miles per hour). Sailing for a sensible 10 hours a day that’s the equivalent of 17.5 days. Or to think of it in other terms, that’s over a month in travel time to New York and back. Current Atlantic cruises get to travel the direct route, not stop for fuel and travel 24 hours a day.

The total approximate fuel use would be the equivalent of 33,320litres of diesel. In terms of this boat, that’s nearly 7 full tanks full.

So what would that be on today’s prices?


Of course, fuel wise, that doesn’t include the fuel used to

  • Heat the cabin
  • Generate electricity (when the engines are off) and so forth.

And the price, that doesn’t include minor sundries like;

  • Ocean seamanship training
  • Certificates
  • Licenses
  • Travel visas
  • Cost of exchange rate charges
  • Water
  • Food
  • Oh, AND THE £80,000 BOAT!

SO really, it’s more like


That’s £35,000 each.

All of which makes a P&O / Cunard / ? cruise look REALLY cheap and flying is like getting the bus!

Any further prices are only just going to prove my point.


Think we’ll stick to flying

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s