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Cruising With The Chilbergs: How to Save a Million Dollars Yachting (BLOG)

Trying to be a yachtsman without being rich is a challenge these days. BUT if money is power, the DIY boater reigns supreme.

Trying to be a yachtsman without being rich is a challenge these days. Sanding and varnishing Mud Puddle Rose’s teak is a daunting task. High gloss on the rails and satin on the floors at $45+ per quart. But now that it is done, she shines like a brand new yacht! People walk by the docks and comment on her gorgeous lines and shining teak! She looks so much better than the line of Clorox bottles around me, but this all comes with a price.

Everyday, I see mechanics and ship detailers lining up behind all the boats around me working on the other boats. I do wish that I could make a single call and ask someone to change my oil, varnish my rails, vacuum the bilge, change the filters, zincs, and impellers.

Just the other day my satellite TV had no reception. I wasn’t sure whether to call 911 or radio “Mayday.” The NFL channel did not record and I was about to miss my “Path to Draft” & "Black Sails" shows. HELP!


So, I call Direct TV in a total panic. The lady I spoke with was speaking to me from Honduras! What would Donald Trump say? She was very apologetic and reset everything short of my evening wine schedule. Nothing worked. So she said that she could have a service person come out the next day. Hell No! That would be $500 before he even opens his tool bag! He would be replacing things guessing that something would work, as I pay premium for parts and Dubai rates for labor. So what would any poor ex-jock do? Lucky for me, Lee was down in Sarasota, so she couldn’t tell me I was too old to climb up the mast.

So armed with my anti-corrosion spray, I climb up my 2-step ladder which I placed on the ice chest on the flybridge. Carefully, I place my feet on the top handle and reach up to the radar bracket and climb up my mast to the satellite dome. The ladder slips off the ice chest so I am now stuck up on the mast and my life insurance has lapsed!

Then I realize that I am wearing my slippers. They are true to their name and one slips off my foot. I reach up to the wires at the base of the satellite and spray the hell out of the connection. As I now attempt to disembark from my perch the Ospreys and Sea Gulls watch to see if I know how to fly.

"Dude, just come down already."

"Dude, just come down already."

Baci, my dog, is looking up at me with a ball in her mouth wanting to play, and I can feel the skin being removed from my shins as I attempt to slide down without landing on the dog and killing both of us. Fortunately the flybridge floor is overbuilt, anticipating some 64-year-old idiot stumbling down off the mast for unknown reasons. My blood pressure is raised around my heart but my shins are relieving it a rapid rate as blood drops down my leg. I land right side up and I quickly turn the TV on and rush to the master head for band aids before my newly varnished teak floor looks like a mass murder occurred.

We call these "supplies."

We call these "supplies."

Paper towels, band aids, hydrogen peroxide for the head rug and I am good to go. Up I go to the saloon and yay, “Path to the Draft” is on the screen. My fantasy as one of the performers in Cirque du Soleil is complete. The wine is poured and Baci and I sit down to relax. I avoided paying $10,000 for a complete varnishing job, $1,500 for an annual work up on the engines, and $3,500+ for a TV repair guy to fiddle with my TV and try to convince me to replace the satellite dome. All it did cost me was $3,00 for oil, filters, impellers and zincs, and $150 for varnish. Oh yeah, 50 cents of band aids, paper towels, and hydrogen peroxide! I probably drank a little extra wine to celebrate too.

Well, we are another step closer to leaving for the Bahamas and Nantucket. Well, I gotta sign off now and go up to Total Wine since I saved nearly a million dollars already and I’m low on wine again.

Read more of Joe's blog here